Pay closer attention to your desk, Martin, this week

clean your desk

Almost every week I put “handle desk” on my daily “to do” list; and every week it needs to be there because I ignore it until I can’t find a thing. Monday, January 13, “Clean off your desk day,” rattled me because I didn’t know it existed.

I crave order and my desk is sometimes reflective of that, other times not. Closets, drawers, and shelves don’t stand a chance when Cynthia Ann, the organizer, is around; however, my beautiful rolltop desk at home and my nice oak one at work offer a different challenge. What I have, what I need, and where to find it are almost always at war, so today I’m on a mission to become an official clean-desk person.

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We Need an Ambitious Plan for 2020

plan for 2020

Whoever said, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail,” knew this moment would come when we’d have to have a serious discussion about 2020. It’s a new decade, and I have an urgency to again offer wise words so 11 months from now, we’re not still in this same place. Indulge me please because the purpose of having wisdom is to share it:

  • Go the extra mile and be the best–the additional effort is worth it. Even if nobody notices, do it for the pride you’ll feel and as a testament to what excellence looks like. There will always be somebody cuter, smarter, richer, savvier than you but when you give your best, you are unbeatable and absolutely unstoppable. As poet Robert Frost did ages ago, “take the road less traveled and it will make all the difference.”
  • Be more discerning. It’s no secret that I love to shop and I’m good at it. Nevertheless, I’d come to the place where I loved everything I touched. Every pair of earrings was cute, the sandals were to kill for, the purse was perfect, the skirt would look great with the top I already had—you get the picture.

I finally had to have a long talk with Cynthia Ann and let her know, yes, all these things are cute, but you can’t love them all. I have a one-in/one-out policy– for everything I bring in, something must go, and if it won’t fit in one bag, I can’t have it. Now my conversations go like this: “You can have it only if you really love it.”

Most folks don’t like to shop so discernment about shopping isn’t the concern. It may be whether to leave a job you hate or stop seeing someone who’s always negative. If you’re in a dangerous relationship, it may be planning the safest time to leave. It is critical that you not act hastily but take a minute to pray, listen, and then decide what you can live with and what’s best.

  • Recognize your power. We each have some– whether we choose to use it or not is the color of another horse. Unfortunately, being powerful is like being a lady—if you have to tell someone you are, you probably aren’t!

Imagine what could happen if we used our power for good. British philosopher Edmund Burke reminds us, “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good *people to do nothing.” Good people, please know that with the state of our national and international affairs, doing nothing in 2020 is not an option.

  • Seek meaning and purpose in your dailiness. It’s easy to drift from day to day and before you know it, you’re a zero with a line through it as my friend Cheryl loves to say, but there are a million ways you can find meaning and purpose–Meals on Wheels, rocking babies in the neonatal unit, reading to and having lunch with second graders, etc.

We got a request Sunday from Kairos Prison Ministry to help bake cookies for prisoners. The sweet treats are to gently remind our oft-forgotten brothers and sisters during March that they have worth, forgiveness, and they’re not forgotten.

This request is right up my alley since Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster and I loooove cookies, especially chocolate chip ones. While I wasn’t looking for meaning and purpose in chocolate chip cookies, I know it’s there and I don’t intend to stop until I find it. For more info or to join the chipmobile, http://www.kairosprisonministry.org/blog/tag/cookies/

*Pronoun changed

I am all ears for your wonderful 2020 plans at #drbondhopson on Twitter and Facebook!

Looking for inspiration, empowerment, uplift, straight talk, an encouraging word to brighten your day? You’ve arrived! Meet Dr. Cynthia Ann Bond Hopson, best-selling author, educator, inspirational speaker, sistergirl–she’s all that and more. All the way from Stanton, TN (you can’t get there from here) to 50 states, six continents and everything in between, she’s wise, witty and altogether wonderful. She enthusiastically invites you to slow down, sit a spell, and share a giggle or two.

Hold on 2020, Not so Fast…

2020

My, how time flies when you’re having fun! It took a minute, but I finally realized time flies even if you’re not having fun! Every decade, every year, and every day brings its own set of challenges as old years become new ones and time marches on.

As 2019 fades into history there’s so much happening—school-public massacres, religious and migrant persecution, the highly anticipated presidential election, equity squabbles, severe weather, wildfires, flooding, teen/veteran suicides, domestic violence, impeachment, —it’s difficult not to be anxious. Nevertheless, the future moves ahead and though we’re in a firestorm of upheaval and change, we get to choose whether/how we fight — with water or accelerants.

There is much we can’t and don’t control, like where or when the sun rises and sets, but what we can control, we must. We can make 2020 better and I pray we will. Start with these five suggestions:

Adjust your attitude. Your attitude determines your altitude according to author Zig Ziglar. If you think you can, you can, and nothing great can be achieved without enthusiasm. Avoid negativity and cynicism because they rot from the inside out.

Get politically active and involved. You don’t have to be passionate about every topic but please fight for those that matter— affordable housing, education, and healthcare, fairness, justice, care for veterans and their families, safe neighborhoods, public places, and schools. My new bumper sticker will be a gentle reminder: “Voting makes the difference—whining doesn’t.”

Pay attention. A man on his phone almost walked into me last week. I wondered what was so important it couldn’t wait. I thank God for the new Tennessee Hands-free phone law because it will save lives.

It’s much better to focus on driving and talk when you get to point B instead of juggling both. Pay attention to your surroundings, your health—all facets of it –financial, mental, physical, your personal information—everything! An ounce of prevention is priceless.

Get ready to live and die. Nobody’s getting up a load to eternity today, but you need to be ready, just in case. Make known your preferences so we won’t have to guess if/where you want to be cremated/buried/etc. At every funeral I’ve attended lately, I’ve made notes about what I want and don’t want at mine, just in case.

I’m also planning for an official living will to replace the make-do one I fashioned 15 years ago. Make a regular will, too. Somebody somewhere said even if you only have a dime, make a will. After the fights that come when famous and not so famous people die without handling their business, do it for you and your family.

Cousin to the one immediately above, invest in people, places and things that you love. In 1982, Roger preached at two small United Methodist churches in rural western Kentucky. The children and I tagged along, and we were the only African Americans for miles around, but the parishioners decided that they would invest in us and our big new adventure—seminary for Roger and undergraduate studies for me. For three years, every month like clockwork, we received a small check from them and over the years we have been paying it forward.

Invest in your public library, arts community, or other great causes—let your heart decide. It’s not how much you give, it’s the consistency and intent.

Finally, let’s imagine what’s next and enjoy every moment of this new year. It will be filled with innovation and upheaval, but let’s be brave as we conquer our fears, keep calm, and carry on.

How do you plan for 2020 to go? Drop your comments to me at #drbondhopson on Twitter and Facebook.

Looking for inspiration, empowerment, uplift, straight talk, an encouraging word to brighten your day? You’ve arrived! Meet Dr. Cynthia Ann Bond Hopson, best-selling author, educator, inspirational speaker, sistergirl–she’s all that and more. All the way from Stanton, TN (you can’t get there from here) to 50 states, six continents and everything in between, she’s wise, witty and altogether wonderful. She enthusiastically invites you to slow down, sit a spell, and share a giggle or two.

Texting May Be Fun But I’d Rather Talk

talk more

I’m trying not to be judgmental, but I am concerned about our obsessive texting, excessive phone and social media usage. Perhaps if I were a more proficient texter (still at the one-finger-thinking-too-much-no-abbreviations-shortcuts-stage) I would enjoy it more.  Further, if I had lots to talk about all day, I probably wouldn’t try to control what other folks do with their devices, but hear me out:

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OK, Boomer

woman rolling eyes

Whatever baby boomers do, though I technically fall in that category, don’t count me in it. First off, I don’t like labels and Baby Boomers has been one of my least favorites since it made its debut years ago. Secondly, labeling gives folks an opportunity to judge me and my book by the cover without taking time to know who I really am.

My 41-year old daughter said her 12-year-old daughter replied with this “OK Boomer,” term last week. Of course, she had to explain it to me. Younger generations—Millennials, GenXers, etc., use it when older people say things that are old-fashioned, outdated, or judgmental, and an eye roll comes with it for maximum effect.

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Boos, Chants Aren’t the Solution

Boos and chants

Boos, Chants May Make Us Feel Better But Aren’t the Solution

I’m not always up on who’s hot and who’s not but when four-time Grammy winner Drake got booed by an audience Sunday because they were disappointed, he, and not Frank Ocean, was the surprise opening act, I am dumb-founded. Drake, a gifted performer, has been described as “the bestselling rapper of the decade,” and “top selling solo male artist in American history” by entertainment sources, was also taken aback by the crowd’s reaction, but cut his performance short, politely thanked the crowd, and left the stage.

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Perhaps We Should Pray More

pray

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…” – Charles Dickens, from A Tale of Two Cities

I planned to end this quote at “it was the worst of times,” but I realized that much of what’s going on these days is foolishness, and wisdom doesn’t seem to be part of the discussion. The late Congressman Elijah Cummings often said “We are better than this,” and dadgummit, it’s high time we started acting like it.

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