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Social Media Uses

Guru’s, Wizards and Experts (Who can you trust to handle your Social Media)


When I decided to branch out on my own to become an independent Social Media Marketing Consultant for small businesses, I noticed that I was just one of thousands, maybe millions of people doing the same thing.  I browsed individuals titles in different LinkedIn groups and profiles, I even scoured Craigslist and other forums to view the competition.  I was amazed at all of the creative titles which included Social Media Guru, Expert, Specialist, King Queen etc.!  I got so confused, with all of the mentions of Wizards, Guru’s and Warlocks…..I wasn’t sure if I was reading a Harry Potter series or an offer of Social Media Marketing services.  By the amazing things that people promised, I was expecting Professor Dumbeldore, Harry or the one we do not speak of (Voldemort) to materialize to run Social Media Marketing Campaigns. While we mere mortals sit back and await the magic to spill down from Hogwart’s….the Wizards and Gurus form a special Social Media Marketing Strategy!

The truth is, there are no Wizards, Gurus or Experts.  The reason being, Social Media is ever-changing.  It originally shaped our personal communication and now we have seen how it has shaped the way we do business.  As small business owners, and large companies for that matter, scramble to form a voice via Social Media, they are met with empty promises!  If you are looking to contract someone who says they know all there is to know about Social Media…….in the words of Ghost Face Killah…..”Run”! Social Media is an ever-moving target, there is no plateau, just a consistent climb.  just because someone can construct a Fan Page doesn’t mean they are an Expert.

Misconception Number 1 

“People think if you build it they will come!” @JemekaShamae

This has to be one of the greatest misconceptions.  Social Media Marketers will contract their services to build a Social network, but they don’t advise their clients on how to increase traffic, how to track what posts are effective and how to maintain a constant online presence.  “You have to take time to develop your content and voice!” –Jarvis Holliday If not you’ll have a Social Media network no followers and a look of….”what now?”

Misconception Number 2

“Whoomp there it is!”

Some fraudulent Social Media Marketers lead their clients to believe they will see instant results.  The truth is, you have to develop content, you have to engage your followers and listen to your followers prior to dumping your marketing campaign on them. Think of Social Media just like a friendship, it takes time to develop trust and a connection.  You wouldn’t barge in on a new friend and ask for money.

Misconception Number 3

“It is what it is!”

So many people think that the world of Social Media is just a malaise of Likes, Retweets, Fans and Followers.  They fill as if they just post random thoughts that they will increase their following.  The truth is a real Social Media Marketing strategy is far more cerebral than that.  There is software out there that helps to measure the effectiveness of your content, the click-through rate to your website and also the conversion rate of page views to likes.  If your Social Media Marketer isn’t offering these services then you really need to explore your professional relationship.

The Marketing Cycle for Social Media is longer than that of standard marketing campaigns.  It can be compared to Transactional versus Relationship sales.  As you search for a Social Media Marketing Consultant, be sure they are not promising you the world…..and just  giving you Hogwarts School of Magic!

Juan De Cruz, Jr.

www.socialmediajuander.com

@juandeezee

Everyday Life, kohls, online shopping

Cold….Kohls…World


When Price Match Doesn’t Match

computer_fb_pic

I received a call from my sister who relayed an online shopping experience she had while dealing with Kohl’s. Like most young professionals, my sister mainly shops online but that doesn’t stop her from seeking a great deal. She is also part of a Facebook group called Dream Catchers, which is a group of females dedicated to living a richer life by managing their finances, budgeting and finding deals. One of those deals discussed in the group was the fact that Kohls.com would price match products that you find online at a cheaper price. Staying true to her dedication to living a richer life, my sister scoured the internet looking for products to furnish her new apartment in Harlem. She scoured the internet and found a series of Mikasa products on the Bed Bath & Beyond website. In total, her savings with using price match would have been between $200-$300. She called into speak with a representative at Kohls.com and arranged the order with the price match. After realizing she had additional Kohls cash, she delayed the order to use her Kohls cash. When she called back to process her order she received a different representative. This is where things get interesting…..very interesting!

She was told that the order would need to be reprocessed due to the fact that stores change their pricing frequently. As the new rep began to process the order and saw how significant the savings were, she began to make excuses for not honoring the price match guarantee. One of those sticking points came on a Mikasa Flatware Caddy the same product was listed on Kohls for almost $20 more. The rep original denied the request due to the product names not being the same. My sister refuted that claim and the rep look up both products and compare. The rep then came up with numerous excuses that did not hold weight. When my sister gave a rebuttal for all of her excuses the rep finally dug deeper and stated she could not honor the request due to the fact that the product on Kohls.com said it was 10 x 6.4 x 12 and the product on Bed Bath & Beyond states 10 x 6.4 x 11.6. Those familiar with the back-end of online inventory programs are familiar with the FTP file upload with images and other product information. That information while mostly automated also has a human input error margin for product description and title. A quick look shows the Bed Bath & Beyond product description to be more detailed. They include the correct trade mark presentation (Mikasa®) the product description itself is more detailed and gives more product information. So if Bed Bath & Beyond were more precise about not violating trademark guidelines, don’t you think they would be more precise in their product descriptions as well? Yet because of a .4″ difference in the product details, Kohls.com denied my sister’s purchased.  They advised her that she could complete the order, and have it reviewed by a different department to see if she could be reimbursed. Not sure what kind of bizarre world Kohls.com is living in, but rather than allow them to hold onto her money for weeks just to be denied a refund, my sister did what any practical person would do, she cancelled her order and purchased the items from Bed Bath & Beyond. For .4″ really Kohls.com, that’s cold….a cold Kohls world.

Google Ranking Help, How To Get On Google 1st page, Organic Search, Social Media Uses

Get Your Hand Out Of My Pocket……….Should You Pay For Back Links To Improve SEO


seo-link-building-service

 

With all the advances in technology  your business can go from being a thought to an real business with a website, logo and business cards within a day.  When I started my business over 3 years ago I was amazed at how much I could get done with Vistaprint. I was able to get 500 business cards for about $10.00!  There are many more services available to small business owner’s today.  Moo.com is the new  Vistaprint offering custom cards.  As soon as you register your domain you will be inundated with requests for your money to save you time.  SEO Strategy companies offering you free assessments of your site, Online listing services offering to get you listed on over 50 sites with just a click of a button.  You know you need to optimize your site, but do you need to pay an arm and a leg for it?  One of the best ways to gain page rank organically is to have back links, or links to your site, thus increasing the relevance and page rank of your site based on the referring sites linked to it.  I have received many requests to pay to have my site back linked to a network of sites to improve my ranking quickly.  I was tempted, but I wanted to see what the experts thought about link building so I did a little research and here are the results.

To understand the need for back linking you have to understand the usage or importance of a link.  If you compare the internet to the US,  your site would be considered a great hole in the wall microbrewery.  I’m in Washington D.C. but you are in northern California. The Natural Bohemian (Natty Boh) brewery is just a short drive up 295, it’s convenient easily accessible and familiar so I buy from them constantly.  A friend from California comes to visit and brings a 6 pack of your beer from California and I am hooked.  I go online and buy a case, and the next time I visit California I make it a point to visit the actual brewery.  My friend from California supplied that link that lead me to your brewery.  This is the same with back links to your site, if your site is new no one is referring to your site for information or for services so your relevance is low.  My friend created a link to your brewery/site.  My friend was a trusted source so the conversion rate was high.  This is the same thing as with link building links from influencers, authorities on the industry and educators confirm the relevance of your site.  But how do you build these links? Moz.com has a detailed strategy that goes the natural route but is very effective.

1.) Natural Editorial Links:  These are other sources linking to your site as a resource.

2.)Manual Outreach: These are links that you manual contact a blogger, website etc and ask a back link to your site.

3.)Self Created: These are links that are created by sites that have guest book sign-ins or blog comments.  These can be plentiful but

have low value.

 

If you are looking at the list you can see how daunting a task link building can be.  With that in mind, most SEO Strategist and Small Business owners will opt for the pay per link model.  Google, Bing and other Search Engine frown upon this option.  The reason being, you may be linked to low quality sites that may not be related to your site simply trying to trick the system.  As most Web Masters and SEO Consultants know, Google’s refresh will always catch up to you.  If is found that you have paid for link building then your site will be effected significantly.

Although the thought of paying for such a task seems wise, the consequences could be extreme.  It takes a long time to build relevant quality links, but manually building links is the only way to go.  The best way to achieve this is to create quality, useful content and others will link to your site.  You may not be able to afford the cost of the alternative.

 

Juan De Cruz, Jr.

http://www.socialmediajuander.com

jdecruz@socialmediajuander.com

(240) 479-0082

 

Social Media Uses

Starting Next Week: Blogging 201


The WordPress.com Blog

Blogging 201: Branding and Growth starts Monday, October 20. If you’re a recent alum of Blogging 101 looking to build on the skills you’ve developed so far, or a blogger looking for new ways to grow your site and its audience, this is the course for you.

What will Blogging 201 cover? We’ll introduce tools to increase your traffic within WordPress.com as well as through other platforms, discuss ways to develop a coherent, effective brand for your blog, and show how to use your archives and your site’s stats to build your readership.

During this two-week course we’ll give you a daily task and provide you with all the necessary resources and information to complete it (there will be no new tasks on weekends, to give you time to explore more on your own, or just publish a post or two). You’ll also have access to The Commons, a private, staff-moderated space where you can chat with other participants, ask questions, and give feedback.

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Google Ranking Help, Online Marketing, Organic Search, Paid Search Marketing

Dominate Locally To Compete Globally……The Importance Of Local Listings To Boost Organic Search


SEO-services-using-local-online-listing

 

Small business owners have enough to mark off of their checklist when starting out.  Once you have devised your business plan, the  next thing is to create your online presence.  You either pay a web designer or  embark upon building your own site by using one of the many drag and drop web design platforms.  No matter how you arrive whether paid or free…..the need is the same……TRAFFIC.  With all the other start-up costs, you don’t want to create a huge Google Adwords bill so what do you do?  The answer is to dominate your local online listing!

Most people think claiming your online listing means registering your domain with Google, Yahoo and Bing.  While that is a huge part of the equation, you can quickly gain relevance for your domain by claiming local online listings.  This is especially important if you live or do business in a suburb outside of a major city.  You can’t compete with companies with huge Adwords budgets but you can Search Engine Optimize your site to claim local searches for your product or services.  Most SEM companies buy keywords based on Metro areas because they have no knowledge of surrounding towns or counties.  The first step is deciding which online listing service to use.  I Googled top-online-listing-service and came up with this list from Hubspot.

Top 50 Online Listing Sites

hubspot50

This is a great place to start if you are a do-it-yourselfer optimizing your own site, but if you are a Search Engine Optimization Consultant this is a daunting task.  The screen shot above only has twenty sites listed, think of going through all fifty one by one!  One of the most visible is Yext.com.  Yext.com has partnered with many online listing services such as Manta, Mapquest, Yahoo, Superpages and Yelp.  They offer to save you time and effort by providing a single point mass listing service.  For about $500.00 you can have them list and correct errors for 50 sites.  I felt there had to be a cheaper option, so I continued to search and found Synup.com.  The dashboard is very clean and easy to use and the best part…..it’s FREE! The site checks your listing over 182 sites.  You can either go to those sites and correct your listing yourself or just click on the correct listing link and have Synup correct the listing for just $1.50 per listing.  That’s 182 sites for about $273.00!  This is a quicker and more cost-effective option if you’re a small business owner or a Search Engine Optimization Consultant.  You can add multiple sites/listings and it keeps them all organized.  There is also a function on Synup.com that allows you to check and respond to reviews received from your listings.

I registered with about 20 sites and then did a test search using the term chain-music-social-media based on a blog that I wrote yesterday.  Here are the results: The NUMBER ONE spot!

oganic-search-number-one-rank
oganic-search-number-one-rank

I then searched social-media-consulting-waldorf-md which is a suburb of Washington D.C..  I Search Engine Optimized my listing to highlight my local area and Washington D.C. to get added traffic.

google-first-page-rank
google-first-page-rank

The first spot in the organic search is the manta.com online listing.  When you click on the link my company is listed number two.  I didn’t opt for the premier listing or pay anything extra.  I just built out my free listing.

manta-number-two-listing
manta-number-two-listing

 

The task of dominating local web traffic is a very hard one.  You need to make sure your listings and content are optimized with local terms larger SEM firms may not know.  As your site gains relevance based on your local search, your search results will ultimately improve.  But whatever you do, remember to Dominate Locally To Compete Globally!

 

Juan De Cruz, Jr.

http://www.socialmediajuander.com

jdecruz@socialmediajuander.com

(240) 479-0082

Google Ranking Help, How To Get On Google 1st page, Online Marketing, Organic Search, Paid Search Marketing, Social Media Marketing Consultant, Social Media Uses

The Curious Link Between Social Media & Chain Music


Social Media Marketing Consulting
The Curious Link Between Chain Music and Social Media

I am a self-confessed Hip-Hop head.  I reached my Hip Hop heyday in the 90’s with groups such as Tribe Called Quest, The Pharcyde and De La Soul.  This form of Hip Hop was called “conscious” rap because of the content, thought and movement that was a product of the music of the time.  Studio Gangsta Rappers were shunned and your rep was based on the music you produced, not a marketing campaign.  As a 42-year-old Social Media Marketing Consultant I struggle to stay true to my Hip Hop roots, or move on to Classic Jazz?  I can not relate to today’s version of Hip Hop “Chain Music”.  No content, no point, just a catchy heavy base beat and a gold chain.

When you look at the current Digital Marketing landscape……one could say it’s gone the way of “Chain Music”! Social Media is  “en vogue” so companies jumped in flooding timelines with shameless sales plugs and pitches.  Forbes Magazine wrote about the importance of Social Media for Small Business as far back as 2011.  Over that span of time the Social Media Marketing Industry has changed immensely.  It was the connection that was important…….an online interaction that creates an in person engagement.  With the introduction of Facebook Ads and other products, you can pay for Likes and Followers.   It’s no longer about building an organic online community, it’s about paying to get into the timelines of the masses.  Social Media has gone the way of the Google Search Consultant…”but you have 50,000 impressions!”  When numbers become the game in Social Media, failure is imminent.  When there is no true content, people will eventually learn the truth.  There are those Social Media Marketing Consultants and Agencies that get it right.  They realize that just setting up an “Enter to Win an iPad” link  isn’t true traffic.  When I see companies and marketing consultants that get it right, I remain hopeful for our industry.  Despite all the filters that keep  your message out of timelines unless you pay to play……..we can still be heard if you have the rigtht content, the right message and the right audience.

Just as my hope in the Social Media Marketing industry is renewed from time to time, my hope in Hip Hop is renewed when I hear song’s like  Wale’s “Chain Music”. Wale is a Washington D.C. Metro area native and has been on the scene for years but he didn’t receive the national recognition he deserved until he inked a deal with MMG.  Although Wale’s message hasn’t changed, his delivery has……a line from Chain Music states, “tried to give you light and a message, but you’d rather have some VVS’ (diamonds).  He realized that the culture of the Chain Music era is a necessary evil, just as Social Media is a necessary evil for businesses.  If there is no engagement, no connection, no information exchange……..Social Media Marketers may as well trade their corporate suits in  for gold chains.

Juan De Cruz, Jr.

Social Media Marketing, SEO/SEM, e-Mail Marketing Consulting

http://www.socialmediajuander.com

(240) 479-0082

Social Media Uses

Testing 1,2,3 The Tiffany Taylor Cd Review


When I was asked to do a CD review for Tiffany Taylor, I first delved into her bio listed on her website http://www.646entertainment.com.  When I review music, the one thing I want to do is connect with the artist, to see what they are about and how their personality flows through their music.  Tiffany’s bio states that she’s on her alternative flow and that shows not only in the songs on her CD but also in the wide range of musical influences which range from Whitney Houston to Karen Clark Sheard.  Testing:1, 2, 3 is described as a love affair gone wrong…..that initial anticipation of something new and then the eventual realization that it may not pan out.

The Artist.....Tiffany Taylor!
The Artist…..Tiffany Taylor!

 

I received Testing 1,2,3 from Tiffany’s manager prior  to returning to the DC area from a short trip to Charlotte, NC.  While I am not a singer or musician and couldn’t explain syncopation or read a sheet of music, music is an integral part of my life.  To me the great test of a CD is if it can stay in rotation in your car during your daily commute. And there is no greater test than if music can survive a road trip.  As I set out on my trip up 85 north I popped in Testing:1,2,3 and noticed the wide vocal and genre range of Tiffany as early as Track 3 “Comin’ Home”.  “Comin’ Home” as Tiffany states is her…..”alternative flow”.  Another alternative head nodder is Track 8 “Get It Together”, I found myself nodding to the track uncontrollably.   I loved the energy of the track and the harmony.  Trust me, you’ll grab your Rock n Roll air guitar too!

The love story theme is heard in tracks 4 through 6.  My favorite track on the CD is “Freelude” which unfortunately is just an interlude.  This track and “I’ll Never 4get” are the tw0 most powerful tracks in my opinion.  While Tiffany does possess the skill to master the alternative songs, it seems as if her strength lies in the slower ballads.  Testing;1,2, 3 has something for everyone, from alternative, ballads and even the upbeat party track Tore It Down”.  Just like in love, there are many faces and forms, this is the same for Tiffany’s musical repertoire.  You can’t just peg her to one style!  Be sure to get Testing:1,2,3!

Social Media Uses

All black everything…..the proposed future of the internet! (A layman’s guide to SOPA)


You’ve probably seen the blacked out Google logo, the WordPress.com blackout and please don’t try to look up anything on Wikipedia today!  You may have heard of SOPA/PIPA, but if you’re not an attorney or super nerd, how do you decipher the legalese, and what does it mean to you? I am not an attorney and while I may be a nerd with swag, I’m not a super nerd, so I was as confused as others.  Most people simply scan issues and if they feel that it does not concern them they quickly move on.  While at first glance SOPA seems as if it only affects the big guys like Twitter, Facebook and Youtube…..look a  little closer.  I’m always about enlightenment, so please don’t take my word for it.  You can click on this link (SOPA) and view the bill for your self.

The Particulars

The goal of SOPA is to stop piracy on the internet by FOREIGN websites that are not under US jurisdiction/and also those that are, the way they are going about it is a little extreme.  We have all downloaded a leaked copy of an upcoming CD or even a movie or two.  The goal of SOPA is to regulate this copyrighted material.  This is where it becomes a little ambiguous, that enforcement can trickle down to bloggers and those who post content like myself.  The internet, Twitter, Facebook and Youtube has created a wroldwide info-share that rivals any news outlet.  When the recent Italian Cruise ship crashed, I had articles, reports and pictures many hours prior to local news outlets reports on the tragedy.  For argument sake, say that the site I received info from  had one photo or portion of content that was deemed copyrighted.

Under the rules of SOPA, the Attorney General can:

1.) Require the internet service provider to block access to the site within 5 days.

2.) Search engines will be required to remove all mentions of the site from it’s indexes.

3.) Ad providers will be required to stop ad service to the site.

4.) Payment providers will be required to stop payment to the site operator.

That international news source would be blocked from me.  I know you’re thinking that sounds extreme, and you’re thinking it really doesn’t affect you, but let’s look a little deeper.  Any site that has a comment box that allows it’s users to post comments, media or links can be in violation of this.  Say if you posted a parody of your favorite song to Youtube.  That song is copyrighted, so you would be in violation.  Even if you were not intending to profit from the posting of the video.

The main thing with SOPA is, we all are infringing on copyrights, we all post news articles, photos, songs and videos to our Facebook, Twitter and Youtube accounts.  But this knowledge share is what makes up the digital community.  I am a blogger and Social Media Strategist, while I do create my own content, there are times that I spool the internet for interesting stories and articles to post.  As an independent marketer under SOPA, I could pay the exorbitant fee to monitor my website to ensure that all of the content that I or my followers post is not infringing on any copyrights, or risk being pursued by the Attorney General.   It’s a digital “Witch Hunt” in my opinion.  Think of how stripped down the internet would be when everyone is scared to post content that may be deemed in violoation of SOPA?

I understand the feelings of groups like the  Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) who are looking out for their interests in regards to piracy.  But the issue isn’t right vs. wrong, left vs. right or good vs. evil, it’s a simple issue of new vs. old.  Piracy is wrong but in an attempt to end piracy, SOPA allows a blanket restriction of the new forms of news, idea and thought sharing.  No longer is news simply confined to national viewing audiences, as we saw with the revolution in Libya.  The internet and Social Media has leveled the playing field when it comes to the distribution of the news.  The public can decide what is newsworthy, versus ingesting what ever news story is fed to them.  We can form our own opinions, arguments and feelings based on the uncut, uncensored truth.  And isn’t that what America is all about?  Let’s not stop free speech on the way to stopping piracy!

Juan De Cruz, Jr.

The Social Media Juander

Everyday Life

Fly Away Home to Zion…..Fly Away Home


Today marks what would be 66th year of my father’s life.  He passed away at the young age of 51 due to complications from Lupus.  This time of year is bitter sweet because you are excited for the holidays, but at the same time you miss not being able to share those times with loves one that you’ve lost.  And although my father’s birthday is just a few days after Christmas, if you knew him, you knew he was adamant about receiving separate Birthday and Christmas gifts.  To be honest I haven’t seen him more excited than to have had a special birthday adventure. This makes the memory of my father even more of a dichotomy.  Although I recall the joyous times we had, the end of his life was a painful one, for both of us.

I can recall the Sunday morning I received the call from my older brother.  He was always nonchalant, so I was surprised at how excited and disturbed he was.  All I could make out was my father was in the hospital and needed surgery.  For most this would seem like an alarm but for my siblings, my father and hospitals were synonymous.  Some people even joked and called him the Bionic Man, due to his multiple surgeries…..2 hip replacements, 2 open heart surgeries, broken bones and a whole laundry list of hospitalizations and illnesses.  I was used to seeing my father sick, but this seemed different.  I got the nurses to connect a phone to my father’s room prior to the surgery.  I was living in Portland, OR at the time so I was not there to monitor my father’s day to day activities.  I remember he got sick earlier and I offered to have him come stay with me in Portland.  He laughed at the idea because he was forever the independent being.  The last thing he wanted was you to tell him what he couldn’t do, and what’s worse is you having sympathy for him.  So I was shocked when I asked if he wanted me to come home and his reply was yes.  I knew things were bad, but I wasn’t sure how bad until I reached LA.

My friend Latonya picked me up from the airport, her mother worked with my father, so she was more abreast of the situation than I was.  She prepared me for what I was going to see, she said…..”you know your father is very sick.”  I felt like a fool because I didn’t know how sick he was.  We talked all the time, I would send letters home and we had a great relationship….so how could it get this bad without  me being aware?  As I walked in to my father’s room, I was shocked, he had his leg amputated to stop an infection that was spreading throughout his body.  Cats, have 9 lives, but it seemed as if my father had 20, although hobbled and sick…..he never let it bother him or you.  He always seemed to bounce back from whatever setback he had.  But I saw this as one he may not be able to conquer.

I am my father’s child, and I jump right into things, just like he used to.  I quickly got in touch with the doctors and tried to seek some sort of rehabilitation plan to get him out of the hospital and home.  I was so focused on getting my father better and things back to normal, I didn’t realize what I was truly there for…….just to be with him.  We butted heads….I’m not Juan Jr. for nothing, I am just as strong willed as my father was, and when you have two trains on a crash course the result is never a pretty one. I remember getting so upset because I wanted my father to focus on the task at hand…..getting better, eating to get stronger….I wanted him to focus on the here and now.  I would continually get upset when he would recall old camp meetings he attended, his crazy friends he knew through the years and last but not least the musical groups he sang with through out his life time.

To me, this was wasted time, we had a job to handle, getting better so life can get back to normal.  Little did I know, those dreams were what was keeping him alive.  I had a routine I would spend the night at the hospital, make sure my father was taken care of in the morning.  Then I would run home take a shower, and pick my grandmother or any other family member up take them to hospital to see my father and then drop them off at home and start the cycle over again.  My only escape was the hour or so I spent at Redondo Beach prior to returning to the hospital.  I would just sit in my favorite lifeguard shack and listen to the waves, watch the moon dance off of the water and just have that moment of peace.  To me there is nothing like the beach at night to  clear your head.  I remember speaking with my grandmother about my father’s flawed thinking and what I thought was his not working hard enough to get home.  He has always come home.  My grandmother spoke to me in one of those maternal voices like only a grandmother could.  “Lil Juan, your father is tired, he’s in pain, more pain than you can know.  He’s prepared you kids for this.” At that moment I had a vision of my father, encumbered by his pain, his wounds and his illness.  The vision was so real, I could somehow feel the pain my father was feeling…..it hurt me to the core.  I let out the most guttural cry I have ever had.  It took me months to realize, I was driving my father, not caring for him.  I was a task master, making sure he did his physical therapy, took the right medicines so he could get better for ME, and the rest of the family.  I disregarded his pain, his fatigue, the things that he had gone through.  He needed to rest….and yet I was pushing him on, like an over exuberant Little League parent.

Once I finally understood I viewed things differently.  I was there to make his last time on earth comfortable.  I can recall the last weekend of his life.  I was spending the night at the hospital, we were having one of our late night chess matches.(To this day, I have never beaten my father.)  Although he was distracted he was still beating me, until he made a few crucial mistakes.  I knew something was wrong but we kept on playing.  I even got to the point where I called check.  Being the person he is, he drew on some inner strength and came back and beat me.  After that he was rushed to Kaiser Pemanente.  I can recall looking at my father as he lay in pain towards the end.

Journal Entry Excerpt 8/8/97

I have finally come to grips with my father’s death.  I know it sounds like giving up and that’s what I thought he was doing but I realize now that it is inevitable. Everything must come to an end.  As I look at my father, I am reminded of a mighty warrior surveying the scars of years of battle.  His shield has taken far too many spear jabs, his body has survived the rigors of war, but the clock is ticking.  His sword has been chipped and rusted so many times…..even sharpening it would be a waste.  He would rather stand and face impending peril than carry on and be a burden to others.  Despite being handicapped and sick my father did more with the half of body that he had than some who are totally healthy do with theirs.  I hope to live to be half of the man my father was.

My father was pronounced dead the next morning. I was ok with his passing because I knew my reasons for him to survive were selfish, I wanted him to get better for me.  So I could have that person to call when things got rough, that spiritual inspiration I needed when I seemed lost and that home I knew I could always run to when all the chips were down.  That had been taken from me.  As the years pass by and we near the 15th year of my father’s death I struggle with remembering him and dealing with the painful memories too.  Although I can’t call my father or enjoy his company…..his memory lives on in my dreams.  Just as his dreams kept him alive and fighting, it keeps his memory alive in my heart.  Our dreams unfortunately are not all enjoyable, there is the occasional dream that startles us from our slumber, but we must continue to dream.  Along with joy there is pain, along with life there is death.  But if you stop dreaming……you have in effect died.  Although my father wasn’t the richest, most educated or accomplished man, he dared to dream. He never let his current situation affect his mental state.  I need to get back on my grind and stop letting what’s in front of me affect my outlook.  Just as my father did, I  need to continue to dream.

Once you find your shoulders dropping and your speech gets slow and hazy,

you better change your way of being before you find your brain’s got lazy.

You can build a better future when you join the winning team,

if you desire a bright tomorrow, you must build a brighter dream.

Dare to let your dreams reach beyond you, know that history holds more than it seems.

We are here alive today because our ancestors dared to dream.”

-Maya Angelou The Dreamer Common feat. Maya Angelou

So fly way home to Zion, fly away home……it was your time to rest, but I hope we we’ll look on each other’s face again…….that’s my dream.

Social Media Uses

God will not be mocked…..even on Social Media!


It has been a while since my last post…..but trust me I have had numerous things to say! Well myself and a whole host of others have been having a verbal and written love affair with the ex-Gator Tim Tebow.  Although my Silver and Black Raider heart hates to say it……it is actually an interesting story.  A few weeks ago I read an article by Jemele Hill, Lions Disrespected Tim Tebow’s faith.  I dismissed the article as over sensitive and senseless……but if you really look at it, maybe Jamele Hill had a point.

Tim Tebow swept into your living room with no throwing ability or skill and yet he has managed to win 6 straight games! The main thing a quarterback needs to do is throw, and that’s the one thing that Tebow can not do.  The Tebow era started off with a surprise come from behind victory at Miami, where he struck the infamous Tebow (prayer) pose after the victory.  A few individuals took a picture of themselves doing the pose and posted it, and so the internet/social media Tebow splash began.  Even stars such as Dwight Howard were pictured posing doing the Tebow.

Enter the Detroit Lions, they sacked, tackled and intercepted Tebow so much he should have taken a knee and prayed for deliverance! After sacking Tebow, a Detroit linebacker struck the infamous prayerful pose, mocking Tebow.  I didn’t take offense to the action…..but others did.  They stated the Lions actions were classless…… distasteful.  When you analyze the mocking a little deeper, in essence they were saying that no matter what amount of prayer or Christianity it can’t effect the outcome of a football game,  I mean, doesn’t God have more to do than  make sure Tebow wins, I mean hey…..let’s just look at all of the world disasters and issues going on.

Tebow kept his wits about him, didn’t back down on his faith or beliefs, and somehow, through it all, he has engineered 6 straight wins.  Almost like the Red Sea parting, water being turned to wine or walking on water, Tebow has inexplicably managed to beat NFL teams without the use of his arm…..the ONE thing a QB should be able to do.  Is this a miracle, does God actually care enough about football to choose sides, or is it that he will not be mocked?

I was in a restaurant last week and overheard a group of guys talking about the Tebow phenomenon…..I butted into the conversation and we all said the same thing…..how do you win a game going 2-8 throwing?  How do you engineer a 95 yard game winning drive (against my Raiders) without throwing the ball?  We all came to the same conclusion, some defensive coordinator will engineer a defense that will expose Tebow, but sure enough……he won again Sunday!

How can you explain this?  Unless as one of the gentlemen I spoke to last week told me……”maybe this God thing is real!” Since the Lions mocking incident, Denver has not lost a game, and the once hot Lions have lost numerous games, had issues with their coach, their number 1 pick….and are in jeopardy of missing the playoffs. So who’s mocking who now……”maybe this God thing IS real!”