Saturday, March 20, 2004

The Amazing Spider Man Pt 2

I’m Spider Man.


You know..Peter Parker...the photographer-student-pizza deliverer-caring nephew-superhero..Spider Man..I’m him.

Uh ohh..I knew it was only a matter of time before that writing stuff made you go crazy. You’re just like Jack Nicholson was in The Shining!!! All work and no play makes D a very dull boy huh?

My wife probably doesn’t think that’s funny.

Shiii…ol buddy’s wife, Shelley Duval freaked out…then she put that butcher knife to Jack’s az.

Shelley Duval in The Shining

Say mane, don’t tell ALL the movie…some folks haven’t seen it yet.

Aww mane, if somebody was going see The Shining, they would have seen it by now!!

Not necessarily, there are some young people who weren’t born when Stephen King’s classic horror story about a deranged writer, was made into the movie starring Jack Nicholson and Scatman Cruthers.

Oh’s not bad to tell people a little bit about a movie.

Naw, but don’t SPOIL it, the writer works hard to build intensity and intrigue to get to that climactic moment of the unveiling of surprise. Giving away the score at the beginning of the game, it takes away from the excitement of the uncertain viewer. That’s spoiling it Monique and her big loud mouth az did with Man on Fire at the BET Awards.

I don’t have a problem with that..everybody knows that Denzel..

Heyyyy!! Don’t spoil it for MY readers! I’ve done a movie review before with Dirty Pretty Things, and I didn't let the surprise elements of the movie out of the bag.

Like I say, that’s YOU. Some folks don’t mind people telling them what happened..everybody doesn’t like surprises mane.

But that’s where you lose the REAL element..movies, books and the like are the best when they pull you in and make you feel IN the action. When you’re gripped to your seat and watching the deranged writer Jack Nicholson pursue his wife inside that bathroom with an axe? That’s real right there. Stephen King laid that down FRESH. And when you read the book, it’s even a lot more intimate than the movie.

Oh..okay. I see what’s going on now.


You’ve been reading some of that Stephen King ‘crazy-horror-man’ type sh’t lately huh?

What makes you say that?

You know how you are..when you read the comes out in how you write..just like when you read..A Purpose Driven Life, or The Cost of Discipleship, it comes back out in what you put down on the paper. Sometimes I read the stuff you wrote and I can tell that you must’ve just came back from church or something when you penned it.

We all have ebbs and tides of the spirit. I just think we all have to be responsible for the food that we feed our souls. Just like Danny Glover was mentioning in his Humanitarian Award acceptance speech, the media that’s out there plays a great influence on our society.

But society also influences the media…artist are keeping it ‘real’ and rapping, singing, writing, dancing and acting about how it’s really going down in the world.

But that’s just the mass. The mass moves and contorts towards the images it sees in the media, via television, movies, radio, music videos, fashion, party lifestyle, etc. It’s each media person’s responsibility to put out the most positive product possible, so as to lead the mass in a more positive, peaceful and charitable lifestyle.

C’mon now, let’s be real. Rappers like G-Unit or Lil Jon don’t care about peace and charity, they’re just trying to get paid as much and as quickly as possible.

Yeah, but I think social responsibility increases as a person matures. Some of these guys are young and hungry and all they see is that cream. Their eyes are unopened to the ways of the wise. The only wisdom they know is how to work the block.

Oh yeah? And just who gave you the honor of being the ‘wise king of the hood’??

Wisdom is a gift from God.

And I guess you just got all of it huh?

No..actually I’ve spent a large part of my life living in blissful ignorance. I didn’t know and I didn’t want to know, all I wanted to do was have fun. But once you submit to the learn to live your life so that you can approach His throne boldly..

Approach the throne boldly? You mean with an attitude or a ‘can’t touch this’ mentality? this instance in Hebrews 4:16, boldly translates as ‘freely’. It’s kinda like if you want your father to do something for you, but if you know you’ve been disobeying his rules, you can’t come at him asking for stuff, because you feel guilty. But if you’re handling your business, and doing all the things that your father directs you to do diligently and obediently..well then, when you seek his counsel or favorable decision, you can approach him BOLDLY with your request or dilemma, always humble, but without any reservations tied to what you were doing wrong in your life.

I feel that. So what does approaching the throne boldly have to do with wisdom?

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. People want to figure it all out for themselves, break it down and rationalize everything to it’s absolute..but we’re only human and have a limit to our understanding. Some things we just won’t be able to figure out or understand.

Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom huh? That sounds pretty fresh.

It is..I’ve been taking the Proverbial Challenge and I can already feel my eyes becoming more discerning and wise.

What’s the Proverbial Challenge?

Read one chapter of Proverbs everyday for a month. After Day 31, holla at me and let me know if you feel any wiser.

Aww know I’m not all into reading the Bible and stuff..

Proverbs is an easy read mane…it’s full of proverbs, ‘wise sayings’ that will help you understand the essence of God. Proverbs was written by David’s son by Bathsheeba, Solomon, the wisest king in history. Give it a try mane..don’t be scaid, be real.

Aiight long is it going to take?

It shouldn’t take you more than 15-20 minutes to read and absorb the verses..the rest of the day you can meditate on it, and try to feel it. Do it for 31 days. I’m doing it too, and everyday I post the verses of each chapter that really hit home with me.

Proverbial Challenge huh?

Already! Trust in the Lord with all of thine heart and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.

Is that a proverb too?

You already know!

Wait..what the hell does all this have to do with you thinking you’re Spider Man 2?? the movie Peter Parker was faced with an inner conflict that we all go through at some point in our lives. Whether you get bit by a spider, pricked by the Holy Spirit or just really unhappy with your life, everyone must make a decision on what path they’re going to follow..or in some cases create.

Wow..that’s pretty deep.

Yeah..Spider Man 2 is also one of the leading search engine ‘hot words’ on the world wide web this week. By using that
Spider Man, Pt. 2 headline and photo, I gained a lot of new visitors just via web search engines alone. All you 1st timers?? WELCOME TO SERVINEMUP!!! :)

That’s pretty slick….so you’re hustling on the web huh?

You gotta turn heads if you wanna hit licks mane.

Monday, March 15, 2004

Lucas Exclusives 3rd Annual International Hair Explosion -

Lucas Exclusives 3rd Annual International Hair Explosion

Compared to modern day standards, I consider myself a very simple kinda guy. Sunday mornings my wife and I take our kids to Sunday School and after we leave church, I normally spend the rest of the day on the couch and computer, reading and watching football. Football fans have a special treat with the Sunday night football game on ESPN, so watching football can easily turn into an 8-9 hour commitment every Sunday. Which millions of football fans do... religiously.

But this last Sunday was a bit different, because my boy Curvey’s wife was entered into a hair contest and I had promised to go out and show support for one of our own getting down for hers in her arena. I believe we all have our different stages to dance and display our God given talents for the rest of the world to enjoy and benefit from. Ms. D is no different, because anybody that’s seen some of the hairstyles she manufacturers on a daily basis knows that she has some of those special gifts that money can’t buy.

So I headed north, to the Multi-Service Center on Ennis in Third Ward to attend my first hair show. First of all, when Curvey told me that it was a ‘hair show’, I had visions of women in a wide arrange of coiffures, rotating around a table and all you could see was from their neck up. But as soon as I walked into the entrance lobby for the show, I knew that this event was about to be very different from anything I had experienced before.

I arrived a bit later than the scheduled time, but fortunately, it was CP time adjusted, so ‘they wuzn’t ready’ to start the show on time. So I quickly perused the swelling crowd in the auditorium, looking for a familiar face to sit next to. I knew Curvey was probably somewhere helping Ms. D prepare for her display, but since we were on the Southside, I also knew that chances were high that there were people in the audience that I knew. Bingo! I spotted three Southside divas in the crowd who had came to support Ms. D just like me. I sat down next to one of my podnas from Sugarvalley, but he didn’t want to kick it with me too long, because as the seats were quickly being taken, he realized that he didn’t belong in the ‘general’ admission crowd and he casually shot me the duce as he got up and moved to the preferred seating area in the front..

“I got VIP n’ga..I’ll holla atchu later!”

I was still kinda glancing around trying to get a feel for the crowd. Several vendors of hair products had booths set up with free samples and mailing list sign-up sheets. I knew this must be on a higher level than your regular street corner bootleg assortment, because the crowd was full of beauticians, models, stylist, vendors, distributors and a lot of people who like to look fly. The great part about this, is when you’re at a ‘show’, then people are more inclined to show up looking like they’re ready to model on stage too. A lot of people talk about how live and fly L.A., New York and Chicago are, but I’d put Houston women up against all of em in a beauty, fashion or hair contest and it would still be what and what. We run deep down here in H-town

The best part about this show, was that it was a young hustling brother out there doing his thing that promoted it and made it all come together. The name of the event was the Lucas Exclusives, 3rd Annual Hair Explosion. Derrick Lucas, owner of Lucas Exclusives assembled 10 beauticians from as far away as New Orleans and Austin (A-town!) in an event to showcase each beautician or ‘artists’ skills and creativity. Each contestant was given 7 minutes on stage to display ‘what they do’ to the panel of judges. They had a full range of musical accompaniment via a great sound system, as well as use of a full stage.

Before the show started they had an opening poem/prayer and then they had this cold Southside poet by the name of Seven get up on stage and rock the house spitting a poem that touched on why women hate on each other, along with a poem that reaches out for black men to be present father’s to their sons. After that they brought out the host of the show, Kier Spates. You might recognize him from BET Comic View or maybe from his doing opening acts for artist such as Anthony Hamilton or Rickey Smiley. But no matter if you’ve never seen or heard of him before, this brother is FUN-NEE. The best part is, whenever you see someone who can get up and have people cracking up laughing, but then at the same time he’s feeding them with jokes that use ‘and He will make your enemies your footstool’, you know that he recognizes the real amidst the game.

I hung back in the crowd and enjoyed the first few acts, then Curvey motioned for me to join him backstage as Ms. D and crew prepared for their turn onstage..that’s when it started getting BUCK WILD. Imagine 10 different women who know what they want and how they want it, yet they don’t want the other 9 to see what it is they’re going to ‘bring out’ onstage. Throw that in with a lot of women adjusting their skirts, taping their breasts to make sure they don’t fall out and all that kinda stuff and I could feel my head on a swivel. By the time it came for Ms. D to go onstage, I couldn’t stop smiling..

"Boyyy Curvey (smiling) If I would have missed this, I would have been MAD!"

Once everything was set up, we rushed back out to see Ms. D and her team perform. I was a bit confused at first, because some of the folks I couldn’t even see what their hair looked like, but then when I paid closer attention, I realized that Ms. D had fashioned one of the headdresses from real human hair!! There was a wonderful assortment of fashion and style that permeated throughout her act, which she aptly named, ‘A Paris Runway Show’. Because by the time the chick came out in the chain dress showing that ‘uh-ohhh’ for the whole audience to see, I knew that this wasn’t a joke. They were in it to win it FO-REAL.

After Ms. D’s act was over, when Kier came back out onstage, he went on and let the rest of the contestants know..

“I don’t know WHAT ya’ll go do to top that one. OoooWEE!! You gotta bring yo ‘A’ game if you wanna win here podna!!”

There were several other contestants that had comparable shows that grabbed the audience attention and made you go “Hmmm…” Folks like Tight Ends Hair Studio and Hair by Bridgett got down for theirs and kept the crowd hyped and energized. But in the end, there can be only one winner. And after the 3rd and 2nd place winners were announced, the moment of truth had come…the grand prize winner for the 3rd Annual Lucas Exclusives International Hair Explosion was…..

Doris Barber & Beauty

Hair by Ms. D’

3122 Sunnydale

Houston, Texas 77051

(713) 738-8394

‘Appointment Only’

Performance: ‘A Paris Runway Show’

Of course, I guess I’m a bit biased, because these were ‘my people’ who won, but hey, for all ya’ll hating because I didn’t feature your shop in this article? Win next year baby and you got a spot in the spotlight..ya feel me?

Congratulations to Ms. D. Curvey and everybody in the crew!! I look forward to celebrating with ya’ll this weekend. Remember what Billy Dee Williams told Diana Ross in Lady Sings the Blues.."Success is nothing if you have no one to share it with." Ya’ll keep SERVINEMUP!!

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

The Bruhs

The Bruh’s huh?


What fraternity is that?

What do you mean?

You know..what frat..did ya’ll have Alphas, Kappas or Omegas at Stanford?

The Bruhs aren’t affiliated with any Greek fraternity or anything, although some of the Bruhs were in those fraternities at Stanford.

Really? They had black fraternities at STANFORD???

Yeah. When I was there, over 10% of the student body was black.

How many students went there??

I was there between the fall of 1988 and the spring of 1992, and they had about 6,000 Graduate and 6,000 undergraduate students then.

So that’s over 1,000 black students.

Yeah, but don’t forget, that includes everyone who considers themselves African or of African descent. So all of the international Negroes were included in that number too. As well as the inter-racial students who pimped that ‘minority’ card on paper, but in real life they only hang around non-black people.

D’mn! It’s people living like THAT??!

Of course! ‘Passing’ is nothing new, it’s been going on for centuries. Even Moses ‘passed’, it’s all about survival in this world.

Yeah, but it just seems sad and archaic that someone would have to ‘pass’ themselves off as something they’re not. It seems like everyone should just be allowed to be who they are, without any fronting.

Well, that’s what the Bruhs are all about.

So..what do you have to do to be IN the Bruhs? Is there some kind of initiation or something? just have to be real.

What about white boys? Can they be a Bruh?

Of course, our boy Keipp in L.A. is a Bruh, but he grew up around almost all black folks, so, he’s not a REAL white boy, he’s just passing (laughing).

What about women? Can they be Bruhs?

Naww..only dudes can be Bruhs…but we DO have a lot of Bruh-ettes.

What’s a Bruh-ette?

A female Bruh.

Well?? What does it take to BE a Bruh then?

If you have to ask, then you don’t need to know.

This is ridiculous! Can you at least tell me if that picture at the top is ALL the Bruhs?

No, that’s just some of the Bruhs. That picture is from one of the Bruhs weddings. Bruhs can pop up on any continent at any time. Sometimes traveling solo, sometimes with a crew, sometimes with a lady friend, you never know.

How do you get IN to the Bruhs?

Everybody comes in on their own path. Some lived in Uj, some married Bruhs, some are related to Bruhs or Bruhettes, it’s a big family.

I just can’t understand why ya’ll have to be so exclusionary and secretive. Why do you need to form cliques and groups that separate yourselves from the entire community?

Because it’s a Bruh thang, you wouldn’t understand.


Since I am from a large family of kinfolk, it was quite a new experience for me once I was 17 and arrived at Stanford University for the fall quarter in 1988. I had left behind all of my blood relatives and homies and ventured to a beautiful part of the world, nestled in the redwoods of Palo Alto, California. Once I arrived there I knew that I was not the ‘typical’ Stanford student. My parents were not high powered corporate executives or billionaire entrepreneurs. I didn’t attend a high ranking college prepatory school on the East coast. I was from a working class, urban all-black environment and the way I looked at the world was a bit different than your ‘standard’ Stanford student.

Once I stopped tripping over the social and economic differences in backgrounds of all the students, I started noticing a lot of similarities. There’s a lot of brothers who grew up in an upper class environment, but they still liked to hoop like I did. There’s a lot of brothers who grew up with all of the strappings of wealth, but they were hustling to holla at the finest honey just like I was. Stanford had the NY-Chicago ‘house’ crew, the ‘go-go’ D.C. crew, the fly Atlanta crew, the showtime ‘L.A.’ crew, as well as that Southern Texas-Louisiana Flava. With all of the differences in backgrounds, social and financial status that we brought to the table, we all brought much love also.

As a freshman leaning toward majoring in Electrical Engineering, there were 2 brothers in particular who looked out for me and the rest of the EE bruhs.
Chris was from LaMarque and his infectious smile and LOUD voice quickly put me at ease. ‘Thank God I’m not the only loud and crazy n’ga from Texas here!’ His podna in crime was our brother Okon. Okon really exemplified the heart and soul of the Bruhs, because more so than anything else, the Bruhs are about helping each other along in life. Sometimes this is with a shared laugh, being study buddies and most recently, someone to embrace in love when the pain of a loved one moving on seems just too great to handle by yourself.

The Bruhs scooped me up and let me into the family of love and support. From having someone to go half on a sandwich with, or a study podna for an upcoming exam, the Bruhs were always there to help out in any way they could. I can honestly say that if it wasn’t for the close knit positive support group that the Bruhs afforded me, my chances of graduating from Stanford would have been greatly reduced. Some people have to go through life completely alone and without any family or friends to look out for them. I went to Stanford without any relatives and I left with one of the warmest, largest and most heartfelt assemblies of brothers and sisters on the face of this earth.

The Bruh’s are a family of folks that went through that change of life at Stanford University together. Most of us arrived as kids, but we left as adults. Having to take care of our own bills and make all of our own decisions in life. The funny part is, no matter how old we get, and how many great things we accomplish, we all know each other’s heart. It’s a lot of bruhs that go about their business in mainstream society handling up like no other..taking care of the business! But once the work hours are over, and its time to relax and unwind amongst the family, Bruhs are ready to start sipping on the margaritas and playing some good music while we sit back and enjoy life. Bruhs take road trips together, Bruhs get married (to women) and have kids, Bruhs go out in the world and shine a positive love of life wherever they go. Hopefully we all can remember a Swahili term that sheds so much light on what it takes to be a Bruh. That word is ‘Harambee’, translated ‘The power of the collective soul.’ Our brother Okon was a staunch believer and advocate of Harambee. In so many ways he led a lot of us along the path of spiritual enlightenment. Being able to channel into the power and energy of the soul collective is an enlightening experience. By taking this path, I was able to shed a lot of my inbred Southern prejudices and phobias. We are all individual souls in the eyes of God. No man is greater, no woman is lesser, we’re all the same. Fortunately, God had in His plan for me to experience the Bruhs and all the love they have to offer. The Bruhs reinforced in my mind just how intelligent, aggressive, loving, thoughtful black folks can be. Some people feel that there shouldn’t be such exclusionary ‘black’ overtones, but it really didn’t matter the color. If you liked classic hip-hop, fried chicken, dancing , playing basketball, chasing the flyest honeys and/or busting out exams, then you would fit right in with the Bruhs.

Now that the Bruhs are older, and we’re going through REAL life experiences like losing our loved ones, having children, getting married, pursuing our various careers, it’s always good to get together and remininsce on our more carefree days. Being around the Bruhs, laughing, talking, eating, drinking or whatever it is we’re doing, is like a breath of fresh air. It’s our opportunity to come up for oxygen from the underwater society we all navigate through. Being with the Bruhs gives us chance to catch our breath and enjoy the comradarie of other brothers who are out there swimming in the same deep ocean, just in different places. And above all else, Bruhs keep it real:

If your breath stinks?

Say Bruh, you need to get a mint or something.

If your stomach is looking a bit ‘paunchy’?

Say Bruh, can I set my drink on your gut?

You’ve got to have thick skin and a good sense of humor to hang around the Bruhs. I’m just glad I met them. I had tested my writing skills out on the Bruhs several years ago with email stories. Okon was one of the Bruhs that urged me to pursue my writing skills.

Another one of our EE Bruhs in Atlanta, Mike (pictured on the right with Okon) hooked me up to the world of weblogs by way of example with his own website, (Happy Blogiversary!) and direction. The circle of Bruhs is expansive and strong and with their help, love and support, I've always felt strengthened. Thanks to all the Bruhs and Bruhettes for being a part of my life. In the end, we all shall conquer as long as we remember the power of the collective soul. Harambee.

Saturday, March 06, 2004


I got a call from one of my Booker T. homies last week...

Say Skull?

Hey, what’s up Chi?

I checked out that Good Times article bruh, and I was just calling to tell
you that there’s an error.

Oh yeah? Where?

In the lyrics for the opening theme, it’s not ‘hanging in a jury’, it’s
‘hanging in a chow line’.


I got the 1st 2 seasons on DVD bruh..I KNOW.

That’s strange, because I just copied and pasted the lyrics directly fromthe Good Times website.

Was it the OFFICIAL website??

Uhhh..hold on, let me was, so no, it’s not the ‘official’ website. If you click on the ‘show facts’ tab, they have the opening and closing lyrics at the bottom of the page. I
didn’t even know what the outro words were saying until I read it..

Just lookin' out of the window
Watchin' the asphalt grow
Thinkin' how it all looks hand-me-down
Good Times
Keepin' your head above water
Makin' a wave when you can

Do you watch the Dave Chappelle show?

Hell yeah! That show is HILARIOUS!

Well he even had an episode on Good Times lyrics bruh, and that was part of it. I’m telling ya, I’ts ‘chow line’ not jury.

Alright then, I’ll make sure to make the correction in my next post. Thanks Chi!


It seems that there are a LOT of servinemup readers who are die hard Good Times fans. Some people have remarked how much they enjoyed the show and some people have even gone so far as to correct my own Good Times recollection, especially my sister...


Yes Jackie?

You were crying TOO when James died!

I was? Hmm..

It's funny how our memory can be selective at times. I probably
‘blocked’ that part out of my memory, because that was back in a time when I felt that crying men were weak men. But now that I’ve gotten older, and experienced a few of those pains in life for myself, I realize that tears are not a sign of weakness, but rather a product of strong emotions. Once you’re able to connect with a person or situation, it doesn’t matter if it’s a neighbor or on a TV show, there’s an emotional attachment which will cause you to feel their pain. Of course not in the physical sense, but more the
spiritual nature inside. It’s that twinge you feel in your stomach when you hear one of your kinfolk has been rushed to the emergency room. It’s that weakness in your knees you feel when you learn that a loved one has passed away.

Sometimes, life can seem like an enormous ocean of never-ending tidal waves that we all must swim through alone. No matter what type of support group or family structure we have, each and every soul must navigate through their OWN lives. Mama won’t be able to go to the doctor for you, daddy won’t be
able to sign your name in the Book of Life, grandma’s thousands of hours in church won’t get you into Heaven. We are all responsible for our own souls, that’s just how it is. But once you get out into the world and start experiencing some of the things in life that make you grow up and mature, then you realize (some later than others) that you can’t do this thing called life alone. We all need something to lean on for help and support
from time to time.

As large and diverse as my family structure is..from all my blood kinfolk, to my inlaws, my homies from the Southside, my fellas from Booker T., the Bruhs and my Stanford family, my golf fraternity, and even my support circle of Believers, I still have bouts of loneliness. These ‘spells’ normally come on when I watch the news or read the newspaper. There are so many throwed off things going on in the world, encouraged by morally corrupt institutions and selfishly motivated individuals, that it causes this loneliness to creep in from time to time. Every day, each and every one of us has to get up and go out into a world that has no guarantees. We don’t know if we’ll be in a major car accident, if we’ll have a sudden congestive heart failure, or if we’ll be victims to a terroristic act..we simply don’t know.

It’s easy to assume that if we go through life working hard, following all the rules and loving our fellow human beings, that we’ll have a safety shield around us to protect us from all those evil intentions that are preying on the world. But once you start seeing all of the things that are REALLY going on in this world, parents killing their kids, kids killing their parents, spouses killing each other, lying, deceit, embezzlement, poverty, sexual perversions, it’ll make you want to lock your doors and keep
all of your loved ones inside, safe from all of those predators and
pratfalls that are becoming more and more numerous in the world we live in. Then when you add in social conditions, such as soaring healthcare costs, rising unemployment, crime and it’ll make you start wondering, ‘How the hell is this all going to end???’

Once I started contemplating on the fleeting nature of life and how short a time we all have on this earth, I knew I needed something to lean on for support. Some of us are blessed with a wonderful support structure of family and friends who are there to render aid and assistance. But even with my immense support group, I still felt weak and alone. I didn’t know enough, I wasn’t strong enough, I wasn’t wise enough to walk this path by myself. I knew I needed a definitive support to guide me along through my journey of life. I knew that I needed a Saviour.

Before I had this realization of the need to be ‘saved’, I thought I could make it by myself. By using my rational thought and ability to reason, I felt that I could figure this all out on my own. Okay..go to school, learn all that I can, get a good job, work hard, do good, take care of my family and its all good..right? Wrong! I tried that..I still felt helpless and alone. I had no power when my daughter lay sick with pneumonia, I had absolutely no control when my niece was in the hospital for respiratory difficulties..I was nothing. There was no amount of money or show of force that I could muster that would change their conditions one way or another. It is quite often, during these times of trials and tribulations, that we all seek to strengthen our relationship with God. I had a skeptical aversion to ‘organized’ religion, because they all seemed shady to me. Catholics,
Jews, Muslims, Baptist, Methodist, Jehovah Witness, Scientologist, it seemed like everybody had their own private agenda all masked under the pretense of serving God.

My journey began in a quiet and dark room, alone..on my knees, praying to God. Normally, whenever I prayed, it was usually before I ate, the typical, ‘God is great, God is good, let us thank you, for this food. Amen.’ That was pretty much my relationship with God..thank you for this lunch I’ll talk to you later at dinner. But once I started feeling some of those real pains in life, the pains that will make you know that you are NOT in control of what’s going on, no matter how much you wanted to think you were..that’s when I had to submit my all toward seeking His will. Those first few times down on my knees praying were kinda strange. I didn’t know if I was praying, or just talking to myself in my head. Was God listening to me?? Had I already committed so many sins that now my prayers would go unheard?? Was I worthy of even attempting to go before the one Almighty God asking for stuff??

I looked at the 3 major religions and I found a common bond, the Bible. The Jewish Torah is the pretty much the same as the first 5 books of the Bible. All Muslim imams and holy men have to be proficient and well read in the Bible, some Christian denominations have their own added books, but they all have the Bible. It’s that hot book to read mane.

Even though I was raised as a Southern Baptist, I always knew that I was a Baptist because that’s what my parents and almost all of my kinfolk were. Any talk of converting to Judaism or Islam or even Catholicism was almost sacriligeous in our family. The only thing I knew for certain was that God is real. So I picked up the Book, and I spent almost 8 months reading it from, ‘In the beginning,’ all the way to, ‘May the grace of our Lord and
Saviour Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.’ I wasn’t alone when I read it though, I made sure to get down on my knees and pray to God for understanding before each reading session. I also had a MacArthur Study Bible which has footnotes and comments which aid in the historical interpretation of canons which were written thousands of years ago. Just getting through all of the begats can be tedious and monotonous, but once you get IN to the word and start learning more about the tribes of Israel and about obedience and sacrifice and realizing that God has a plan for man, that's when I found my Rock to lean on.

It may seem a discouraging and fatalistic image, but the truth is that life comes with no guarantees. Just because you get out of bed on time everyday, and go about your routine of taking care of yourself and whatever responsiblities you may have in an earnest and honest way, doesn’t mean that you will be immune to these feelings of pain. It rains on the just as well as the unjust. It is during these times of trials, these pains, these
obstacles that we all must go through in life, that we all reach a point where we have to believe in SOMEthing. I thank God for all of the love that He has put into my life through my family and friends. And I REALLY thank God for giving us Jesus Christ so that we might have a way to reach up to Him. All of ya'll who are still out there floating and searching for something solid to lean on, there is a place where the weary can get rest. Once you start leaning on those everlasting arms of Jesus, you'll find a peace and joy like no other.

We buried one of our brothers, Okon (pictured middle) this week. A man that has brought a lot of love and happiness into ALL of our lives. I'm looking forward to introducing ya'll to Okokon B. Okon III, as well as the rest of the Bruhs and our entire Stanford family. You can check out more pictures of Okon and his entire family at We're all family here. So ya'll sit back and enjoy the ride I've got a lot of Bruh stories to tell.

Friday, March 05, 2004

Happy Plates

When I was a child, growing up in my parents house, there were strict rules and guidelines my older sister and I had to follow regarding meals and snacks:

Cafeteria Hours: We couldn't stand aimlessly in front of an open refrigerator door trying to figure out what we wanted... "Hurry up and close that d'mn door!! What are you trying to do..refrigerate the whole house??!! My light bill is too high as it is!!! Dinner is going to be ready in a couple of can wait, you ain't about to starve to death!" Of course as we got older, they gave us more leeway as far as snacks and such, but what it did was make sure we built up an appetite, instead of spoiling it on snacking.

Breffast is THE most important meal of the day: I was one of those privileged kids that grew up with some COUNTRY parents, wasn't none of that doughnuts, pop tarts, toaster strudel (i.e. JUNK) and stuff like that for breakfast. Instead my mom (and a lot of times my dad) got up early and made sure we had eggs, toast, bacon, ham, grits, oatmeal..we had 'HOT bref-fast' every morning except Saturdays..on which we were allowed to have cold cereal. Both my grandfather's always used to make sure that I realized that breakfast was the most important meal of the day. It's important to get your body fueled to handle the rigors of the daily grind. All that refined sugar found in that junk food deters the mind and body from being in the peak condition to learn. A lot of the kids are running around school right now on those early morning sugar highs and parents are spent trying to explain why lil Johnny can't sit his bad az down somewhere and be quiet & still.

3 Squares: My father was a strong advocate of the 4 basic food groups. Everytime we sat down, we were going to have at least one fresh vegetable, a meat, a starch (rice,pasta or potatoes) and some bread. Today's world of 2 working parents and time crunches makes drive-thru and microwave dining so appealing and convenient. And in a pinch..a biggie sized combo meal can solve a problem..but once its a regular part of the dining regime (more than twice a week)..then it becomes a crutch. Shopping for, preparing and cooking fresh fruits and vegetables, quality meat is definitely more time consuming than the fast food. But what so many are giving as a willing tradeoff (time vs nutrition), is an addictive lifestyle that American society is overdosing on daily.

No Food? No Drink!!: Along with each meal, we had SOMEthing to drink. Sometimes Kool-Aid, Lemonade, soda, water, milk, etc. Water we could have abundantly (as long as we were past the age of peeing in the bed)..but anything that had sugar in it (Kool-Aid, soda, etc.) was rationed out during the meal...
"Put that d'mn soda down and and finish eating your food!" We couldn't just gulp down our drink and dwadle over our food..there had to be a proportionate consumption of food and drink. If we had few of our cousins or friends over, we had to check in before we took a drink.

"Take a sip now boss??.
(scrutinizing the plate to see how much food was left) Eat a couple more bites of them beans, then you can take a sip.
Thankya boss!

Full Bellies: Once we were of the age that we could serve ourselves (fix our own plates without breaking something, spilling something or hurting ourselves) we were given one rule, "Don't waste my food." Whatever we put on our plates, we HAD to eat. A couple of times I tried the ol, "Chew the food then spit it out in a napkin while I act like I'm wiping my mouth" my complete amazement, my father already knew that one! Probably because my parents are one generation away from people that didn't have a full belly everynight, they took this rule very seriously. We couldn't have any desserts, snacks or special treats if we didn't eat ALL of the food on our empty plate is a happy plate. If you took all the clean, edible food that Americans threw away in restaurants and at their homes every day, I'm sure it could easily solve the world's hunger problem.

Work hours, education, culture, finances, health,schedules, etc. all play a part in how well we feed our families. Some people were never told that it was dangerous to eat fried chicken and bacon cheeseburgers everyday or that you need to make sure to drink water (not soda or beer) everyday. Some never knew why their heart stopped pumping..they had no idea that a grease-filled diet is not the recipe to a long and healthy life. It doesn't matter what color you are, or what your religion is or how old you are...learning how to eat to live, is a lesson that ALL can benefit from.

And remember..I'm not only the writer..I'm also a fried chicken, biscuit & gravy, bacon double mushroom cheeseburger with a fried egg on top LOVER!!!..I just can't eat that stuff (that much) anymore. :)