Dream Big

MESSAGE! (from 1.9 – 1.11 PATH Leader’s Retreat)

(I’ll be posting a topic once a day highlighting something I gleaned from an incredible leader’s retreat for our church the weekend of 1.9, and how I can use it in my own personal walk with God & my family)

DREAM BIG

In 2014, my wife & I were looking into buying a home.  When you pop babies out at the rate we have, more space is a precious commodity.  I wanted to clean a few things up on my credit to be sure we were qualified to get a good home with a great rate. Fast forward to 2015, and we can finally start looking. But for a while in 2014, we just stopped looking at homes since we knew we weren’t ready to buy.

BIG MISTAKE…

I have found when we do things like just DREAM about the home(s) we want to buy (1st home together, and then our eventual $1.2M home one day over in the Prado of course:-), we are typically happier, more enthusiastic, and just overall “giddy”.

This is true in all things. When we DREAM BIG, the sky is the limit.  The times my wife and I have spent DREAMING have been some of the most fun & intimate times together.  Whether it has been looking for homes, searching for used cars, going on open home tours, or just planning out our lives, when we dream BIG, we are most at PEACE.  This can be true in your spiritual walk, financial fitness walk, physical fitness walk, or any WALK of your life.

The message for today is….

Please don’t stop DREAMING!

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This Year Halloween Fell on a Weekend…how’s your New Year, New You coming along?

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**Tatum, Daddy, & Trinity – Halloween 2014**

Good day Soulmates!  It has been a fun and exciting year.  As the holiday’s set in, I started to reflect and wanted to post something to see how things have been going.  Let’s see:

*Tacoma & I were blessed with a new child (welcome Tatum Rose Perry! We love you!)

*Trinity started some home schooling, as well as going to a co-op home school class with her Mommy

*Tacoma left her job as an TV Reporter/Personality to spend some quality time with Trinity & Tatum

*We are now leading a Bible Talk at our Church

That’s just four of the MANY amazing things we are grateful and thankful for as we enter this 2014 holiday season.  My last post on the website was January of this year.  I took some time this morning to read over that post, and it laid out some specific goals about having an “New Year, New You” mentality.  It was both refreshing, and yet sobering.  The goals were:

*Continue maturing in my relationship with God, making Christ Lord over ALL (always a work in progress!)

*Be more empathetic towards my wife in all things (I’d give myself a B in this.  I hope she does too!)

*Lose 50 lbs (I’ve only lost 20.  Argh!)

*Buy a Home (we chose to push this until next year, if not longer)

*Write a blog post a week (this, sadly is the 1st post SINCE I wrote that post!)

Continue Maturing in my Relationship with God

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Let me go through these step-by-step.  I have definitely matured in my walk with God, but this is always something I am constantly working on.  Taking on a role as a Bible Talk leader has been such a gift, more than I could ever have imagined.  Having a group of individuals to learn with, grow with, and love on has been rewarding beyond measure.  I love my Jesus Peeps (that’s our Bible Talk), and I’m excited for the many things we have done, and will continue to do, as we grow in spreading the gospel.  Thankfully, this may be the one area I feel I have been “most successful” at this year.

Be more empathetic towards my wife in all things

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Tatum, Mommy, Trinity circa Oct. 3, 2014 aka 5 years to the day she said YES!

I pray I have been more empathetic towards her needs.  On May 2nd, we were blessed with the newest addition to the family, Tatum Rose Perry.  This day also happened to unofficially be the last day she would work for her previous employer, as her contract was up May 17th, and we wanted to devote more time to our two daughters.  So Tacoma took on the incredible title of full time Mommy/Wifey, and she has been AMAZING.  Let me say this…I don’t believe there is a more important role in the world than that of a TEACHER.  And what is a MOTHER more than anything?  A TEACHER, who spends more time with her children than almost anyone else.  I’m so grateful for her heart, and her willingness to, as the world would say, sacrifice her career for the sake of raising her children and taking care of home.  That’s not to say there haven’t been some bruises (anytime you have worked as hard as she has for the past 20+ yrs, it’s kind of weird not having a corporate JOB), but she has been incredible!  I can only pray she feels I have been more understanding of this transition, and I’m just happy she has the patience to deal with having me as a husband.

Lose 50 lbs

If I had to give myself a grade, it would be an F, simply because I didn’t achieve the goal.  With that said, there’s still time to get closer.  I did lose 20 lbs, then gained 5, then lost 5, then….well, you get it.  But there is time to at least get CLOSER.  I’ll start to write more in detail on the highs & lows of battling weight.  I pray it will be encouraging to SOMEONE out there….I’m certain it will be for me.

Buy A Home

See, the way our checking account is setup…All jokes aside, we have pushed buying a home back on purpose.  If we see something that is JUST TOO GOOD TO PASS UP, this could change.  But in the meantime, we are being very strategic and purposeful in our quest for the home we want, which is why we have opted to wait until 2015 to explore this further.

Write a blog post a week

Sadly, this is what I have failed at the most.  I could blame it on work, or leading a Bible Talk, or having a new baby, or…I could just be honest and say I haven’t been as diligent as I need to be.  How many of us have felt this way?  How many of us FEEL this way?  The reason I came on to blog today is because THIS was the one thing I totally reneged on from JUMP.  But I also came on here to write to say THE YEAR IS NOT OVER PEOPLE!

 YES, YOU CAN LOOK BACK AT YOUR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION OR GOAL(S), AND YOU CAN STILL MAKE THEM HAPPEN!!!

 This is the joy in taking advantage of this day!  No matter what has been going on, YOU can still go after your goal!  Don’t quit!  If I can write this post, you can still go and work on whatever it is that will build and bring JOY in your life!  Don’t allow past hurts, past failings, past ANYTHINGS to stop you from going for it!  Today is your day….if need be, it’s the beginning of the rest of your year!  Don’t let anything stop you!

And so my journey to blog more begins…

WRITE

New Year, New You!

New Year, New You!!!

Woodruff Park  Atlanta, GA

Woodruff Park
Atlanta, GA

    Happy New Year Soulsters! There is no day like TODAY to utilize as an opportunity to work on YOU. Each year many of us start with New Year’s Resolutions. Some are to lose weight (probably most common), while others may focus on being more social, growing in relationships, or building businesses. Whatever your “New Year, New You” focus is, remember it will take CONSISTENCY in order for you to grow in your CONVICTION. What does this mean? It means there may be some bad days mixed in with the GOOD days, but you have today to make it happen! How amazing is that!? Here are a few ideas to help you get your year started right…

1. Write it down! It’s proven you are more likely to actually BUILD on your resolution if you reference it. Ever heard the saying “plan your work and work your plan”? Plan your work by actually WRITING IT DOWN! One of the main reasons people fail to complete a goal is because the goal is not written down. Believe it in your mind, build conviction in your heart, and put it on paper to help hold yourself accountable!

2. Reference what you write down. This may be in the form of a picture for those wanting to lose weight (picture of the end goal and/or where you currently are by the fridge or in the bathroom), a note about your finances (dream big people!), or writing in a JOURNAL. For my spiritual walk this year, I am working on putting more of my quiet times with God in a journal. Case in point, my wife just started back up writing in her journal. She hasn’t written in her journal since 2008, but one of her posts that year was very telling. In one of her last posts for 2008, she wrote down “I think I may have just met my husband”. As you may have already guessed, she had met her future husband! Reading that entry was very encouraging for BOTH of us this year, and hopefully she’ll lean on that on days I upset her (insert LOL right there folks:).

3. Share your goal, vision, or resolution with people. This will help keep you accountable. In terms of say a business, this may not be as easy, because you obviously can’t tell any and every one your ideas, but find someone (or people) whom you can confide in, and preferably, will keep you accountable. I was recently having dinner with some of the brothers from my church when our lead Evangelist asked us what our New Year’s Resolutions were. Believe it or not, I wanted to keep quiet, and I know this is because I did not want to have another person keeping me ACCOUNTABLE. Don’t listen to THAT inner voice! When it was my turn to share, I was open. I looked him in the eye and said my goal is to lose 50 lbs (the total goal is really to lose close to 70 lbs, but the wife thinks that would be a bit much! Remember, happy wife, happy life!). The beautiful thing is some of the other brothers had similar goals regarding health, and we are now on a mission to get fit and eat better together. This may not have happened if we hadn’t shared with one another!

4. Pray over your decision(s). One thing I have learned is to pray over decision(s). The beauty in prayer is understanding God hears all and sees all, so He really has given us an outlet to take the pressure off ourselves. If you have strength in HIM, then you can conquer ANYTHING. You can truly MOVE MOUNTAINS!!! How amazing is that!? By sharing our goal and/or vision with other people, guess what? They can pray for us as well! We are increasing our blessings just by sharing our goals/plans/resolutions for 2014!

5. WORK YOUR PLAN! This is going to more than likely be the HARDEST part of our transformation for the New Year! We now live in a world where technology is at the edge of our fingertips. At no time in history has there been more connectivity than where we are in 2014. The internet has connected us like never before, more people have phones (and especially SMART PHONES) than ever before, and an idea is just a click away. Because of this “have now” mentality, we have to be careful to understand what we want is not always going to happen right away. We live in a “not now, but RIGHT NOW” society, but success is truly a JOURNEY. There are some people who are going to be blessed immediately with their finances, hopes, or dreams. For the MAJORITY of us, it will take TIME. It does not mean it has to take the ENTIRE year to make our Resolution happen, but it just might . Remember the saying “Rome wasn’t built over night”? God didn’t create the Earth and Heavens overnight either. He took his TIME. What’s awesome is we get to enjoy the JOURNEY! For you, it may not be an overnight sensation, but that is okay. Just remember to WORK IT!

Being a Christian, I want to end this post with a scripture from the Bible that discussing the mentality needed to achieve your New Year’s Resolution. In Matthew 28: 19-20, Jesus told his disciples:

Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

The command was to go and make disciples of ALL nations and baptize them, but the true WORK starts with vs. 20….TEACHING THEM TO OBEY. That is the WORK. The work for us as we head into the New Year is to build a CONVICTION on making our Resolutions reality! It’s going to take WORK. In other words, it’s easy to talk the talk, but are we going to walk the walk?

I pray whatever your New Year’s Resolution is, you are willing to put in the WORK to make it happen. It might hurt, it might wear on you, but in the end, it will be worth the sacrifice.

Below, I have listed my Top 5 New Year’s Resolutions for 2014. Feel free to use for your own ideas or thoughts as well.

1. Continue maturing in my relationship with God, making Christ Lord over ALL
2. Be more empathetic towards my wife in all things
3. Lose 50 1lbs
4. Write a blog post a week on SOS! (minimum)
5. Buy a Home

Cheer’s to you on your New Year, New You goals!!!

Valentine’s Day is Every Day!

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I Corinthians 16:14: And do EVERYTHING with love.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! I want to send a VERY special Happy Valentine’s Day to my beautiful wife, Mrs. Tacoma Perry. She has been everything a husband can ask for and more. A lover…A confidante…A fighter (for me and against me if necessary)…A partner…A WIFE! She has been my Proverbs 31 wife, and she’s been my Ephesians 22 wife. She’s even done this “at the same time”. She loves on me, she loves for me, and she loves “through” me. What do I mean by THROUGH me you ask?

Loving “THROUGH” me means she actually loves me for who I am, not necessarily who I have been, and not even for who I will become (Lord willing, I will continue to GROW). She loves me for all my FLAWS. I once heard a saying…you know a woman loves you when she loves your daughter drawers. My wife loves me for all my faults and flaws as a human being. She prays for me, she prays with me, she cares for me, she cleans for me, she cooks for me, she loves me, and she LOVES me. She’s the epitome of all I want in a woman, and she’s a vital reason I can continuously look to God and give thanks for answering my prayers. I always talk about the time in 2008 where I literally asked GOD for a woman to “complete” me. I didn’t use that exact word…COMPLETE ME. What I asked God for was a beautiful, sexy, smart woman who would love me for who I am, and would allow me to love her with my entire heart. Notice how selfish I was in my request, as the first thing that came to mind was “beautiful & sexy”, not smart, God-fearing, social, disciplined, hard-working, and selfless? Yet, I was actually rewarded with ALL those things I just stated, along with beautiful & sexy thrown on top as an icing. I asked God for a slice of heaven on Earth, and he gave me the whole pie. How great our Father is!

Fellas, if you truly love a woman, then show her more than just today. Let your actions be the standard, and your words be the reinforcement. Not just on Valentine’s Day, but every day. We all know this isn’t possible…to treat the one you love with every fabric of your being as if every day was just sunshine…but don’t let a day go by that she doesn’t know you love her. That she doesn’t feel your love radiate in your words and actions. And on those days it just doesn’t seem to come out right, be sure to follow up with just a little “tenderness”.

Tacoma Perry, thank you for all the many blessings you have given me. Every day with you is Valentine’s Day

Holy Halloween

Halloween was never a celebrated holiday in my household. At least not in the same sense that “the world” celebrated Halloween. Growing up, my good, church-going family always told us it was evil. In school, while the other kids were giddy at the idea of dressing up as a witch with the promise of free candy, the Newsome kids secretly admired them. As we got older, my mom loosened her restrictions and we could dress up, just not as anything scary. I was Cleopatra one year, Mary, the mother of Jesus another. But soon you grow out of dressing up for Halloween and the novelty wears off.

Halloween of 2008 was no different than any other in my life. I was a reporter in Columbus on my way hopefully to bigger and better things. But it was in October of 2008 that I realized how I’d failed to cultivate a social life in the city. Whenever I move to a city, I move right into downtown. To this day, my worst nightmare is waking up in the suburbs. I like the vibrancy of the city. Because I’m a people watcher, I want the option of having an interesting and colorful landscape of characters to observe. What and who would I watch in the suburbs besides a long line of anonymous neighbors mowing their grass? But in the 2 1/2 years I’d been in Columbus, I’d not done a thing but turn down invitations.  I’m an introvert at heart. Social situations are awkward for me. When you’re on TV (in any capacity), people are usually expecting you to perform. I’d much rather spend a performance-free evening home alone. But with only 6 months left in the city I made a pact with myself to say YES to every event I was invited to until I left Columbus.  One such invitation came from a sweet guy I knew from college named Darrell Perry. It wasn’t the first time he’d requested the ‘pleasure’ of my company. 2 years earlier, we saw each other again for the first time since college at the funeral of a mutual friend. He gave me his card and suggested we get together sometime.  During the course of 2 years he’d occasionally send me an email to remind me of the original suggestion. But I did what any well-mannered lady does when she’s not interested; I acted as if getting together was a remote possibility, but then ignored all attempts at follow up. After all, he wasn’t my “type.” I’m 5’9″ barefooted and well over 6 feet in my beloved high heels. He was 5’8″ at best. He was cute as a button but didn’t have my usual attribute of an athletic build. It sounds so shallow when I think about it now, that height would be a serious criteria for even accepting an invitation to dinner. But with my internal pact in my mind I accepted his invitation to a Halloween party. I decided to go as a beauty queen simply because I had been a bridesmaid in my brother’s wedding a month earlier and had the dress and shoes at my fingertips.  I bought a crown from a prop store for a couple dollars, but still needed to make the outfit authentic. I didn’t want anybody confused about what I was. My co-worker (who was the traffic reporter) was ACTUALLY a former Ms. Franklin County. She let me borrow her winning sash (which I’m pretty sure is against some sort of official pageant rule, but it’s awesome she trusted me) and THAT made my costume complete. JR was the first person I looked for when we walked into the party. I was there with friends but I wanted him to know I came. I said I would come and I came (a first in our short history of almost get-togethers).  Turns out he’d forgotten he invited me. He was dressed as a doctor. The night turned out to be one of the most fun I had during my Columbus tenure. My husband is a great dancer and “Dr. Perry” and I danced the night away. Although I had to field tons of annoying people who thought I’d actually WON Ms. Franklin County (why would I come dressed as something I already was?!), but I guess I should be flattered at the authenticity of my costume. That was the first night I saw Darrell Perry as a possible hang buddy. Not somebody I could date, but definitely worth spending more time with.  He would later change that. Like my Halloween costume fooled everyone in the party that night, he fooled me. I thought he was in one category but he proved to be on a whole other level. Soon, he single-handedly redefined what I thought I knew about men and about me. All of a sudden short was the new tall, thick was the new ripped and cute as a button was the new fine as heck!!!

The next October, my husband lured me to a restaurant where 30 of my closest friends and family awaited while he got on bended knee and asked me to be his beauty queen. He’s still my doctor. The surgeon who reconstructed my idea of love and healed my heart. I thank God in Heaven for Halloween. I know, not exactly the holiest of holidays, but October is month I will always celebrate – the novelty will NEVER wear off.

Before I Let Go….

You know I thank God sun rises and shines on you
You know there’s nothin’, nothin’, nothin’ I would not do”

Ba, ba, ba….

Halloween, Halloween, Halloween….

Should be one of my favorite holidays of the year, but I typically brush it off.  Don’t know how or why I do, because it was this time, 4 yrs ago while at an Halloween party, in walked Tacoma Newsome…the most amazing woman I have ever laid eyes on.  I forget what I was dressed as (really, who cares!?)…but I remember her like it was yesterday.  She dressed up as a beauty pageant contestant….Ms. Franklin County if I’m not mistaken.  Light Teal blue dress, tiara…the whole nine.  So fine everyone there thought she actually won the pageant (me included), and just chose to wear it.  I remember being so intimidated by her beauty.  Her face, that smile…flawless!  She grabbed my hand, and we danced…and danced….and laughed. The song that was playing?  Before I Let Go by Maze featuring Frankie Beverly.  As we danced, I realized I was getting all hot and sweaty, not from the miniature two step we were doing, but because I was NERVOUS.  I mean, this was Columbus’ very own Tacoma Newsome, all 5’9” of her incredible beauty.  If you’ve seen how gorgeous she is reporting the news, imagine her dressed as a beauty pageant contestant, and you couldn’t blame me.  The most alarming thing was just how down to earth she was (and still is), and how she LIT UP THE ROOM.  I mean, seriously, she has a laugh that catches your attention.  This was the night I actually realized I had a crush on her (someone else had pointed out to me my reply emails to her, with a group of our mutual friends included, were full of signs of me being “smitten”, as they would say), but at this party, I realized I actually wanted nothing in life more than her.  Yeah, I said it, a CRUSH.  Like, the feeling you had in high school for the person you wanted to go to the prom with…or when you were a kid and first realized girls were pretty and not “yucky”.  It was like a scene out of a movie, when you see someone walk into a room, and time stands still.  Yup, that’s EXACTLY how I felt when she walked in.  If this were a stage play, she made an ENTRANCCE.  Man, just dancing with her made my night.  A month later, I overcame my own personal fears of rejection, “manned up”, and asked her out to dinner.  11 months after that, we were married.  Lord, thank you for giving me the courage to overcome my own fears and self-doubts to step up!

My wife said it best: “It just goes to show, just beyond our fear is a glorious destiny!”. 

She couldn’t be more right.  I look back on that Halloween weekend of 2008, and I’m reminded just how EASY it is for us to take our wives/husbands for granted.  We can get “complacent” in our affection, in our ability to realize this precious gift of LOVE God has placed in our hands, the responsibility to care for someone more than yourself.  I’m always telling my wife just how incredible and important she is to me, but I truly don’t think I appreciate and comprehend just how incredible she is.

I look back on that chilly Halloween night, in 2008 when a beauty pageant contestant walked into my life and totally blew my mind away, and I realize just how blessed I am.  My beautiful wife, and my Father who art in heaven, PLEASE forgive me for ever taking this love for granted in any aspect of my life!

And Maze feat Frankie Beverly, thank you for helping make the memory!  I hear the song playing in my head, and all I can see is the MOSTBEAUTIFULLESTTHINGINTHISWORLD, with the MOSTINCREDIBLESMILE, and the MOSTINTOXICATINGLAUGH.

Tacoma Perry, you truly do make my LIFE.

Reflections…of a life already blessed.

It’s late…

Or maybe it’s early!?  I don’t know, because I have always been a nocturnal creature, probably since the time I was in my Mother’s womb.  She tells me stories of how my Aunties would hold me at night, and I would just look up at them, staring at their eyes, staying awake until the Sun would come up.  It could be a coincidence, or simply just because, but I find myself up, at 4:26 a.m. on this 20 something (uh hmmmmm) birthday of mine.  My Mother tells me I was born early in the morning (I can never remember if it was 4:11, or maybe 6 something a.m….oh well), but it was EARLY in the morning.  And since then, I’ve been a night owl.  Always have…

Now I have a daughter who likes to wake up nice and early in the a.m. just to make sure her Mommy and Daddy love on her.  Bless her little precious self, she got her grub on, and went back to sleep.  Then I think about my little man, and how he is probably sound asleep right now in Evansville.  I remember when he would wake up this early, tap me on the head, and make that cute sucking sound with his lips…or when he got old enough to whisper “Daddy…I’m hungry”.  So precious, and as I think about these moments in life, all I can think is SO BLESSED!

I’m full of joy today, as I am blessed to be 33 years old (I’ll always be 20 something at heart).  My most incredible other half, my wife, continues to ask me what she can get me for my birthday.  She’s so giving, and so loving, she feels she has to do SOMETHING because it’s my birthday.  What she doesn’t realize is she gives me her love everyday, and that is all I really need in this world.  Between Jesus, her, my children, my mother, my sister, the Church, and my family, I have no major wants, no major needs.  The Lord blessed me, and trusted me, to be her husband.  He trusted me of all people with her heart, with her love, and with her undying affection.  She asks me what I want for my birthday all the time, but I already have what I want.

I HAVE HER!

I’m so thankful and reflective this morning, because as much as I want in life (it’s a shame how the WORLD will tell us we need more, more, more!), and I’m no different than anyone else, I truly have all I need.  I thank God for the sacrifice of his Son, whom without HIS love and sacrifice, I wouldn’t have a place in HIS Kingdom forever and ever. I think about my life, and realize in my 33 years, I haven’t done ANYTHING compared to what he did in his 3 1/2 years of ministry here on Earth.  HE changed the world forever in 3 1/2 years, and in my 33 years, I have the audacity to ask for MORE.  The only person asking for MORE should be HIM….of ME. And more is what I am definitely going to give HIM.  I’m grateful for all he has entrusted in me, and as my wife asks me what I want for my birthday, I can only ask these things.

1.  I ask the Lord PLEASE continue to work on me to be a better husband to my wife.  To be more caring, more selfless, more loving, more understanding, more passionate, more forgiving, and more patient with her.  I ask HE works on my heart so I can be a better leader for her, and to guide her in HIS ways in all things.  I ask HE allows me to be a provider, and to not only be the MAN she loves, but to be a MAN better than her wildest dreams or expectations.  Ultimately, whatever she seeks in a MAN, I ask that HE take me beyond that expectations.  I ask all this in his SON’s name.  

2.  I ask HE makes me a better Father.  I want to be a good example for my son and my daughter.  I want my son to look at his father and want to emulate who I am, and what I am in life.  I want my daughter to look at her father, and see qualities in me she can look for in her future husband.  I want to raise my son to be a real MAN, who loves on his family, and strives to be the head of his household.  I want my daughter to see a man who loves his wife and children unconditionally, who shoulders the burden when trials and tribulations rear their ugly head.  Most importantly, I want them to see a Daddy who loves them for who they are, and finds his blessings are increased each day he gets to see them grow.  Daddy loves them so much!

3.  I ask HE makes me a better son to my parents.  My Mother, who truly “held it down” for me all my life.  Not only when times were great, but when they were hard.  When I have disappointed her, she has never lost sight of who I am, and what I mean to her.  I’m so thankful for all she has done in my life.  I ask that GOD always works on my heart, so I can make sure I get on the phone with her more, and I love on her more.  I don’t call as often as I should, and this is something I want God to work on me for, because her and I always have so much to share, and so much to discuss.  I’m so grateful I have a mother to speak with, to love, who loves me, and who has nurtured me into the man I am today.  I ask he works on me to be an even better son, a more disciplined son, like the SON HE sacrificed for all of us.  I ask that he makes me a better son to my father.  A son who calls to check in on his Dad more, and keeps him as a priority in his life.  

Quick tangent…Remember people…our parents don’t MAKE decisions in our lives.   They gave us LIFE!  One of our lead Evangelists preached about this a few weeks ago.  And he is so right…We have to quit blaming our parents for the byproducts of our lives.  WE make the decisions that shape and mold our lives, not our parents.  Stop blaming them for your plight in life…and take ownership of who you are!  We all do this to some degree, whether we want to admit it or not.  We find SOMETHING to want to blame our parents for.  Well guess what…THEY GAVE YOU LIFE!  As my wife would say…”get your life together!”….Focus on what you need to do to be a better person.  And if you want to start somewhere, then start with Christ:)

4.  I ask that HE makes me a better brother.  I don’t talk to my sister Angel nearly enough.  She’s about to be a married woman!  I have to make sure I’m more involved in what transpires in her life.  She will always be my little Angel.  I’ll always look at her as my little precious sister, running around with hazel eyes, and a bottle in her hand.  She’ll always be my sweet little Angel…I just pray HE can make me a better brother.  I ask that HE puts me in contact with my brothers and sisters who are all over this country.  Christopher and Christina, who are in Virginia, and sometimes even here in Atlanta.  I need to reconnect with them.  With my brother Lamar, who is in prison, and my brother DeWayne (Snoop Troop!) in Terre Haute.  With my sister Tasha down in Houston, and my sister Tiesha out in Cali.  With my brother Doran, who I believe is about to be down here in Kennesaw, along with Johnny, Mya, and Danni…with all my brothers and sisters.  I want to be a better brother, and I ask GOD work on me to do that.  I love my family, and I want to be a better example of HIS love in their lives.

5.  Lastly, but most definitely not least, I ask that HE work on making me a better STEWARD to his Kingdom, to my CHURCH family.  2012 is my year of finding who I am, and what I have to offer the kingdom.  Whether it’s Kingdom’s Kids, or reaching out to the lost in the world, or speaking with the teens or singles in our church, or whatever capacity it might be…I just want to be a better CHRISTIAN, a better DISCIPLE of HIS word.  I’m so grateful for the man, Larron Perry (no relation), whom GOD used to give me a chance at a TRUE life in this crazy world, and spot in HIS kingdom.  I ask that HE keeps me open…keeps me rooted in HIS love, and keeps me ready for all HE asks of me.

These are the things I ask for on my birthday…not presents, or anything material…

I ask that HE continues to work on me, and makes me a better MAN…a MAN he sees fit to help lead HIS people.

I ask all this in HIS son’s name, in JESUS name….

AMEN

Love Without A Limit

Greetings fellow readers,

I thought I would jump on here real quick and put a challenge out there to all the REAL MEN in the world.  Fellas, we have to do better.  Yes, I’m talking to YOU.  Believe me, when I say YOU, I’m including myself as well.  Currently, I am trying to nurse a sick daughter and sick wife back to health (somehow I caught their cold for only 4 hrs and I feel fine…whew!), and all I keep hearing in my head is….”Loving you, is all I wanna do…Loving you, is all I wanna do…Loving you, said Loving You, is all that I, All that I wanna do, babaaaaaay, babaaaay, babaaaaaay….whoaaaa ohhhhh oohhhhh oh!”.

Sidebar:  big shout outs to Mary J. Blige for that song.  Seriously, some songs are just timeless.

When is the last time you loved someone unconditionally?  To all my married brotha’s out there, I challenge you to love your wife as if she were a newborn baby.  Right now, we have our little “munchkin” as the wife likes to call her, and I find myself learning to love in a whole new way each and every day.  I think back to when my son was born, and I remember feeling so helpless while living in California.  I remember on his 2nd birthday, I spoke to him over the phone, and then cried like a BABY before I could even get off the phone.  2 months later, I had a job in Columbus, OH, which was only a drive to Indiana instead of a 5 hr flight plus 3 hr drive.  All for LOVE.  Because of my love and need to be closer to my son, I now have a beautiful wife and daughter.  I would have NEVER moved back to the midwest if it weren’t for him.  Fast forward to 2011, and we have a newborn in the house. Needless to say, she’s a handful.  Looks like me, but every ounce of her personality screams “MY MOMMY IS TACOMA PERRY, SO PLEASE KNOW IT’S MY WAY, OR NO WAY”…with a smile.  Seriously, she’s smart, cunning, and smooth, just like her Momma.  And I say that with HIGH PRAISE, because her mother is one of the most incredible people I have ever met.  I know, I sound biased, but I’m being real with you.  I didn’t choose Tacoma by “accident”.

But here is where I am asking you fellas about the last time you have loved someone unconditionally.  See, I actually wake up every night between 3 a.m-4 a.m. to feed the little booger.  Then I wake up again around 6:30 to feed her again, and we rest or sleep until 7:45 to start our day.  Now, if you have heard my wife tell it, I would “choose death if it weren’t so final” over waking up.  And there is some truth to that, because I CHERISH sleep.  But somehow this creature, this precious little munchkin, has totally softened me to the thought of waking up.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s still not “easy”.  I actually wake up with a slight scowl, because she wakes up CRYING and SCREAMING 9x out of 10.  But here’s the kicker…the minute I go to change her diaper, or warm her bottle, or just rock her, she gives me the BIGGEST GUMMY SMILE IN THE WORLD, and I just MELT.  Seriously, I just melt, and I realize I don’t care how tired I am, or how tired I’ll be the next day, or what I still need to do once I do get up to get ready for work…NONE OF IT MATTERS, BECAUSE AT THAT MOMENT, I LOVE THIS BEAUTIFUL CHILD MORE THAN ANYTHING IN THE WORLD!  Doesn’t matter how upset I am she ruined the few hrs of sleep I got away with.  Doesn’t matter she ruined that dream of her Mom, where…Oops, this is PG, so never mind that dream.  But seriously, nothing else matters in that “moment”, because I know I have a gift from GOD, planted here on Earth, for me to raise and nurture to glorify HIS name and bring HIM JOY!  See, in that one smile, I find unconditional love.  Unfiltered, clean, pure, LOVE.

Now, when’s the last time you looked at your wife through THOSE eyes?  Seriously, when is the last time you looked at your wife and realized you have nothing but PURE, UNCONDITIONAL LOVE for that woman?  I pray she is a woman of God, who challenges you to do great things in HIS name.  Realize, regardless of who she is, or what she has done, you CHOSE her.  For her faults and all, you chose this woman to build a life, to create a family (with or without kids, she is YOUR FAMILY NOW), to grow as ONE in your WALK.  Or a better question….HAVE YOU MADE THAT CHOICE IN YOUR HEART!?  This is what I had to realize.  See, when I wake up 2-3x a night to take care of our child, even at my most tired moment, she makes me give her unconditional, PURE love, by just SMILING at me.  It’s the same feeling I had when I had my son over night for the first time.  This un-brittled JOY to see this life I helped create.  This is EVERY SINGLE NIGHT and MORNING.  Do you wake up with this same joy for the LOVE OF YOUR LIFE?  If I love God above all things, and my wife next, I know I will NEVER go wrong.

In life, and love, there will always be trials and tribulations.  We will be stretched beyond our wildest means.  I know, for a FACT, my wife and I haven’t even gone through our “roughest patch” yet.  I mean, come on, it’s only been 2 years, one month, and a day of marriage at this point.  But here’s what I also know…EACH DAY I WILL WAKE UP, GIVE GOD HONOR AND PRAISE, AND THANK HIM FOR BLESSING ME WITH THE RESPONSIBILITY OF PRESENTING THIS INCREDIBLE WOMAN TO HIM “WITHOUT STAIN OR WRINKLE OR ANY OTHER BLEMISH, BUT HOLY AND BLAMELESS” (Ephesians Chp 5).  See, in our household, everything starts and ends with ME.  If we succeed, it’s because we did so as a UNIFIED TEAM.  And if we FAIL, it’s because I wasn’t diligent in my duties as a righteous husband, who leads his home.  Notice WE WIN as a team, but as CAPTAIN, ALL LOSSES ARE MINE!  This is true in LOVE as well.

Which brings me back to my point….LOVE WITHOUT A LIMIT!  If she is mad at you, LOVE HER.  If you are mad at her, LOVE HER.  If she did something that really upset you and made you want to commit mass murder, PRAY, and then LOVE HER UNCONDITIONALLY!  When you LOVE ON HER, make sure you do it with the eyes of your newborn.  Or better yet, love her THROUGH THE EYES OF A NEWBORN.  Our little “munchkin” looks at us, with our flaws and all, and she just smiles.  And when she smiles, I feel as if the world just stops.  I can feel the unfiltered love she gives us, and I give it right back.  When I see her and my wife look at each other, or just play and make gaga noises, my heart fills with joy.  When you feel you are hitting a “rough patch” (Not IF, but WHEN, because face it, WE ALL DO!), just remember that “newborn joy” you felt when you got married.  NEVER lose that.  This is the same love I promise to give my wife, through good times, bad times, sickness and in health, til death do us part.  When the day comes for us to no longer walk God’s Earth and go home, you should leave knowing you laid it all out on the line to LOVE HER WITHOUT A LIMIT!  If you do this in all walks of your life, she will have no choice but to LOVE you back.

Renew yourself DAILY in your love with her, and explode with JOY for the gift you have been presented!!!  Now, to all my SINGLE fellas out there…I challenge you to find a righteous, God Fearing woman whom you can LOVE like this every day of your life.  Remember, Jesus said it best in 1 Corinthians 13:13: And now these three remain:  faith, hope and love. BUT THE GREATEST OF THESE IS LOVE.

LOVE WITHOUT A LIMIT!!!