Friday, November 29, 2013

My 6-Pack of Thanksgiving

The day after Thanksgiving, I slept in late and woke up by the grace of God next to an awesome wife and without children screaming and jumping in our bed.

There are six things that I am most thankful for.

1. Dynamic Church Family

I am a proud member of Elizabeth Baptist Church in Atlanta led by Dr. Craig L. Oliver. We are spiritually fed throughout the week with multiple services. It is a community of disciples that are intentional about serving one another. May God continue to bless us as well as all churches open in the name of Jesus.

2. Amazing Wife and Daughters

I adore my wife and daughters. They are my world. My purpose in life is to protect and provide for them. I can only do this by submitting my life to Christ. I'm not perfect but I'm striving for excellence everyday as a husband and father. My girls are worth my daily sacrifices.

3. Healthy Family

I can say with excitement that all of my family members to my knowledge are healthy. At least they were looking good yesterday! That is a huge blessing to have your health to serve others. We don't know what tomorrow will bring but as for today, we have our health, strength and sound mind and may God receive the glory for that.

4. Awesome Friends

I have always been fortunate to have great friends. Ones that exist to help and not hurt. I don't spend as much time with my friends as I would like but they are always there when I need them.

5. Thriving Businesses

Baseball has always been my love and passion and through my for profit Diamond Directors and non-profit L.E.A.D., I use the sport of baseball to empower others. I have some amazing partners and mentors that help me achieve excellence daily. We are going to raise the bar in 2014 so be ready.

6. The Falcons Will Receive A High Draft Pick In 2014

Shaking my head about my Falcons. We are having a rough year but we are getting a top pick in the draft. It's time to RISE UP and win the Super Bowl and we will in 2014!

Monday, November 25, 2013

If L.E.A.D. ceased to exist, Ambassador Reggie would...

When L.E.A.D. wins, Atlanta wins! That's exactly why I'm sharing this interview of L.E.A.D. Ambassador Reggie Traylor (Freshman, Benjamin E. Mays High School, Atlanta Public Schools). It's not about L.E.A.D., it's all about Atlanta.

By the thousands, African-American males are not engaged in school in Atlanta.  By the thousands, they are dropping out of school.  Ambassador Reggie was on track to doing the same thing before L.E.A.D.  I can say with confidence that he will be a difference maker in our country in due time.

C.J.: What's L.E.A.D.'s mission?

Ambassador Reggie: L.E.A.D.'s mission is to empower an at risk generation to lead and transform their city.

C.J.: What are L.E.A.D.'s core values?

Ambassador Reggie: Excellence, humility, integrity, loyalty, stewardship and teamwork.

C.J.: Which core value are you the best at?

Ambassador Reggie: Humility

C.J.: Which do you struggle with?

Ambassador Reggie: Excellence

C.J.: Describe yourself with one word before L.E.A.D.

Ambassador Reggie: Confused

C.J.: What's the one word that describes you now?

Ambassador Reggie: Patient

C.J.: In 10 years from today, what will you be doing in life?

Ambassador Reggie: Hopefully somewhere with my own business.

C.J.: Not hope. What will you be doing in 10 years?

Ambassador Reggie: In Puerto Rico with my own business.

C.J.: Cool. What type is business?

Ambassador Reggie: Sporting goods

C.J.: Who is the most important person in your life?

Ambassador Reggie: My sister

C.J.: Why?

Ambassador Reggie: Because if I get into any trouble or not feeling so well, I know that my sister is the first person I can call.

C.J.: If L.E.A.D. didn't exist tomorrow, you would...

Ambassador Reggie: Do what I need to do in school to make another L.E.A.D. possible.

C.J.: That is an awesome answer!

Ambassador Reggie: Thanks!

C.J.: Your school experience would be better if...

Ambassador Reggie: I focus more with 100% effort.

Left to right: Ambassador Reggie Traylor (Benjamin E. Mays High School), CJ Stewart and Ambassador Tyrelle Wilson (Booker T. Washington High School) at Elizabeth Baptist Church November 2013

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Atlanta Braves Are Moving Forward

So the Braves are moving to Cobb County in 2017? A very interesting move that is causing mixed emotions from fans and members of the Summerhill Community that have called The Braves neighbor for over 45 years.

As a fan and community partner, I have mixed emotions too. The fan side of me would love to have more options surrounding the stadium to add to the game day experience. The community partner side of me wonders how the residents of the Summerhill and surrounding communities will be affected short and long term. 

Then there is the leader in me that understands we don't always get to choose what happens, but we always have a choice in how we react. And here is what I plan to do as we move forward from this decision:

- Continue to work with my colleagues of L.E.A.D. and engage partners to provide opportunities for young people in Atlanta to recognize their future and own it,

- Continue to provide a Pathway To Empowerment so the youth we serve develop into invested, committed members of the Atlanta community, and

 - Continue to connect L.E.A.D. Ambassadors to the business community so they can earn positions in leadership where they have a voice at the table of development concerning what happens in their communities.

 That's how I'm deciding to move forward. I'm a son of this City; I love the Braves and I love Atlanta. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

How to kill three birds with one stone

The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them. (Proverbs 11:3 ESV)

Why do people make good decisions? Why do people make bad decisions? I have accepted that strong core values precedes good behavior every time.

For the month of November, the core value that L.E.A.D. is studying is integrity. For our organization, integrity is a positive and consistent way of behaving. This is a simple definition to me that came from the mouths of our L.E.A.D. Ambassadors. It has to be a definition that they can own in order to uphold it.

In my opinion, there are three benefits to being a person with high integrity.

People will respect you
Do you enjoy spending time around people that you don't respect? Often times a lack of respect for someone is met with disrespect so it's best not to be in their presence. Respect is earned by positive and consistent behavior.

People will trust you
If I can't trust you, all that I can do is pray for you. For me, everyone starts with a clean slate of trust. Because we are humans, we will let each other down and I can live with that. It becomes a problem when your negative behavior is consistent and without conscience. If you want to be trusted, be consistent with your positive behavior.

People will follow you
If you have any desire to be a leader in your school, job, community or even in your own home, you have to be consistent with your positive behavior. An occasional crazy day of yours can be written off as you "having a bad day" but if you meet people most days with a bad attitude, late, full of complaints and excuses, know one will follow you because you are headed to destruction any way.

I'm not perfect but I am consistent with positive behavior and therefore I'm claiming to be a man of high integrity. I'm sure that means a lot to you if you are family member and/or friend of mine.