A Friend and a Jacket

A Friend and a Jacket

They say angels can come in any shape, size, race or gender. I agree with that. I probably have meet one or two in my time, and I hope I made them proud.

There is a local gas station that I frequent a lot for different reasons. I come in contact with all kinds of people there. Friends, family, clerks I know, but today I saw two people that stood out. I saw two people I did not recognize. Two homeless looking men (being completely honest) one white and one black. Both of them seemed so out of place. At first glance, I saw them from a distance, sitting near the front door. My first impression raised the question in my head… what are those two guys doing? Their clothes were dirty, and their jackets seemed old and frail. As i continued to mentally judge them, I saw one attempting to fix his zipper of his coat to zip it up. As I began to walk towards the door, I continued to watch them. The closer I got, the more judgmental I became. Their clothes seemed more worn and I noticed now that one of them had a backpack. A green backpack with a water bottle, and other items that was probably all he had to his name. I began to think of the last homeless person that I had seen at this same gas station. He was intoxicated, rude, and non appreciative. I immediately put these two guys into that category. I was wrong.

I went inside the store, purchased my items and began to leave. As I came out, the two men were still in the same spot, but I noticed something. I noticed their clothes, even though they did not show a name brand, not freshly washed or matching, they were neatly tucked into their pants. I noticed a smile from the black male and his teeth appeared to be freshly brushed. The white gentleman who was working on his jacket zipper was now half way zipped and had gloves on. The other had put a toboggan on and gave me a slight head nod with a polite. “Hello sir”.

I’m not sure what clicked, or what happened next but I stopped and said, How are you? He replied with ” I am blessed to have a coat and a toboggan, it is going to be a cold night”. I smiled and said, yes it is chilly. My curiosity aroused. I was close enough to smell alcohol, but didn’t smell anything. I was close enough to hear his voice, and I knew what he was saying was truthful. He was thankful. I asked the only question that was on my mind “Do I know you from somewhere?”

I asked him this question because he was so familiar to me. His face was so recognizable, and his eyes silently said gave off the feeling of someone saying…hello old friend. After my question, his smile got bigger. He giggled as he said “I get that a lot” I immediately asked if he was from around here and he replied, “my whole life”. By now, his friend had stood up and walked near enough to hear our conversation. I asked them where they were heading and the other said they were going back towards the shelter. I said Shelter? Obvious to them I had said in a manner that sounded like a question, the one I had been speaking with said, “Yep the shelter, my mom kicked me out of the house and I am trying to get on my feet”. He goes on to tell me that he had met the other man the first night at the shelter when someone tried to steal his coat while he slept on a small portable bed. His new friend had prevented the theft from occurring. About the same time, the other man let out a “We have to take care of each other” I then immediately understood why he was proud to have that coat because that was the only one he had and it almost was stolen from him. He continues to tell me he had interviewed for a job nearby and was passing back through going back to the shelter. Passing through I thought, just like we all are.

I introduced my self by name and reached my hand out to shake his hand. He told me his name was Matt and his friend was Roger with a firm handshake then the introduction was over. He talks again about the cold weather and makes the comment, “it is not as cold as I thought”as he begins to walk away. I start to walk back to my car thinking about Matt and Roger. I began to wonder what their story was. Why did they seem so different and why did he give that smile when he responded that he gets that a lot when I asked if I knew him. I shrugged it off and went on with my day.

I think about that interaction that day. I question my premature judgement of who they were before I came out of the store. I question why I saw them so differently walking into the store versus walking out of the story. I remember distinctive qualities about their clothes and backpacks but one thing that is blank to me now is their face. I cannot remember their face. I remember the one I spoke with was a black male, and the other a white male. I remember how familiar he looked but now less than a few days later I can’t remember what he actually looked like.

I think back to our conversation and how I can remember it so vividly and remember thinking how thankful he was for his friend and his coat. He had probably been looked down on before. He had probably been laughed at, ridiculed, made fun of and more. I am glad I caught my judgmental actions before I left. I am glad I cleared my negative thoughts and learned a valuable lesson that I want to share with you.

Sometimes we forget that everyone doesn’t have it as good as we do. We have jobs, stable relationships, supportive spouses, roofs over our heads and healthy kids. We over eat and leave food on our plates, judge others that are not like us and do this why we are angry over trivial meaningless things. We don’t know what storms others have been through. We don’t know the paths they have taken, or do we realize how quick we could be on those same paths.

The experience reminded me of Gods love. Who were those two men? Will I see them again? I don’t know, but I do realize …No matter how big you are, how small you are, no matter if you make a ton of money, or struggle to pay the bills …just be thankful. Thankful not to be so judgmental. Be thankful for what you have. Be thankful to have a family that loves you. Be thankful for the roof over your head. Be thankful for the meals you eat. Be thankful for your health. Be thankful for being able to live your life with freedom.

And most importantly be thankful for a friend and a jacket, someday that may be all you have…

Who’s life will you touch today?

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The love of power vs The power of love

I just finished reading a motivating article about a pastor who dressed himself up as a homeless man before they announced him as the new pastor of the church. He walked around the parking lot for 30 minutes before the church, asked a few people for food before coming inside church. When he came in, he sat in the front only to be told by elders to please move to the back of the church. After the church announcements, they introduced the new pastor. As everyone clapped and waited for the pastor to come on stage, the homeless man stood up and walked to the front. He revealed to the church that he was disappointed in the way he was treated but before he did he quoted “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in. I needed clothes and you clothed me. I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

What a great lesson for people to have their eyes forced opened that morning in church. How did they feel after they knew the truth? Do you know people who treat others with dis-respect instead of respect? I often wonder how they feel about their thoughts or actions. Do they know who the person really is that they are judging so harshly? Are they basing their decision off the love of power instead of love from their hearts? They can answer that question better than I can, but it doesn’t make it easier to swallow if you or someone you respect is on the receiving end of negative actions.

I encourage you to be better than that. We all have our strengths and weaknesses and no one is perfect, but at the start of your day ask yourself…… How can I do better today than yesterday? Challenge yourself to this daily. Remind yourself that your heart was made to love others, not hurt others. If you let negativity become the only thing others hear from you, then that negativity will push people away. No one wants to be alone with only negative thoughts and being avoided like the plague, so why be that way? Leaving your legacy doesn’t mean you are leaving what you feel others think, but you are leaving what others think of you. Remember to spread Gods love for everyone and remember that person you asked to sit in the back of your church could be your pastor one day:)

Everyone can change, Change for the better.

Gratuity don’t forget it…

Grateful, what a lovely word.

A friend of mine shared a couple news articles with me that I found very interesting. The articles were stories about a horrific event. An event so horrible it would make anyone feel sympathetic. As I was reading them with grief in my heart, I couldn’t help but notice how many times I was seeing the word Grateful or a reference to it.

How could this be? Grateful is defined as .. To be deeply appreciative of kindness or being its received, to be thankful. How could anyone be greatful about anything or even be thinking about thankfulness to anyone at such a time of great sorrow. Every reporter, every interview, every sentence, every word….all with the general feel of gratuity. Why?

Why not anger for the answer? Why not inquisitive on who did what wrong? Why not hate?

Anytime I ask why enough, I go to the bible, and I then get a better understanding of what I am searching for. So as I was questioning how can someone be grateful at such a horrible time, I finally did it. I wanted the answer so I prayed and researched the Holy word. Of course I found something…

Colossians 3:17 – And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, [do] all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God for everything.

That helped me. That verse helped me understand that God has a plan. A plan for each of us and to give thanks and be greatful for all we do. To have faith in him and to give him the glory because we don’t understand his plan.

Do the right thing. No matter how you may feel about the issue. Just do the right thing. Turn to God and ask for his direction in prayer. He is always there for you. He will lead you in the direction that you need to go. And when you get there don’t forget to stop and say thank you. Thank you for the love, compassion and warmth that he is always watching over us and will guide us if we have faith in him.

Life is about moments. Good, bad, happy or sad. We all have moments. Make of them what you wish, but remember be thankful. Noone may ever know what road you traveled to get to the moment where you realize that we are not in control, but when you get a glimpse,,,,just a glimpse of Gods love for others, why not be grateful? Be greatful and show thankfulness to others because God is always with us during every moment.

I will never have the opportunity to meet you here, but I did get to know those around you. The loved ones that cared for you regardless of your faults. I am thankful for the new friendships and with the lessons this incident has taught me. The reminder of living for God and having faith in his path.

Lead with love, compassion and gratuity but always remember … We work for God.

Thanks for the reminder:-)

To love as he loves us….

I would like to stretch out of the norm for a minute of usually useless information that I am know for sharing to share something that touched my heart this morning. I call it a good reminder of the meaning of love.

 On my way to work a side job this morning I got stopped by a red-light.  My first thought was dang, I could have made it! As i abruptly stopped my car before the line, I slowly looked up at the light.  It was one of those times that for the first few seconds after you stop,  you realize how far under the light you are and have to lean forward just to see the light.  Well I had to do just that.  As I mumbled in my head about my decision of stopping, something caught my eye and my heart.

I was not far from an low income government subsidized apartment community that some would call run down, dirty, old, ugly and probably more derogatory words.  Truth be known, I have probably thought those same thoughts before having to remind myself to not be judgmental.  As these thoughts ran through my head of the times that I had been in that apartment community, and the bad things I had seen with my own eyes, Spiderman got my attention.  

This Spiderman was on the back of a new, clean backpack of a little boy being carried by his mother walking.  She had him all bundled up with a jacket and a toboggan, with gloves and holding him tight against her chest.  This is a congested area of work commuters, that probably are not paying attention to what is going on around them…just as I was, until Spiderman captured my heart.

As I sat there and waited, I looked over to the car beside of me.  This mother still carrying the love of her life was now in front of this car as the light turned green.  I saw the look in the drivers eye .. it was as if I could hear what he was saying in his mind.  Almost like a thought bubble over his head…..Hurry up woman! Gosh I am late! This Starbucks coffee is horrible this morning! Dang i wish this woman would hurry!… As I looked back away from the driver, The loving mother holding her proud Spiderman was now almost in front of my car.  She made eye contact with me and knew she was in the intersection at a bad time with the light turning.  I motioned her to pass in front of my car without hesitation.  At this point, my heart was filling with enough love to get out and stop the whole intersection myself.  The look she gave back was a thank you.  With heartache in her eye from the daily stresses of life, I thought to myself .. Who are you? What is your story? What are you doing?

She passed my car and made it to the corner, where I saw her stand under the KAT bus pick up sign.  That is when I realized what she was doing.  I began to pull through the intersection and looked through my rear view mirror.  She was still holding him, but he had turned his head to look back at the intersection.  The innocence in his face screamed at me.  It Screamed, this is my mommy.  She takes care of me.  She holds me close when it is cold and puts on extra clothes along with my gloves to keep my hands warm.  She makes sure I put on my Spiderman backpack for daycare and I know she loves me.  

I continued to think.  The mother was dressed as if she was working, and her son was dressed as if for daycare, no old enough for school.  Emotions flooded my heart with how this little boy doesn’t know struggles or pain that the woman holding him is going through.  The pain having to ride a bus to her work, and not having a car.  He doesn’t understand why he has to get up a little earlier than other kids, so they can make the nearly half mile walk from his apartments to get on that bus.  At this point, He doesn’t know that there is any difference in his run down playground, than the playground at McDonalds. All he knows is that he is loved.  He has friends that he loves to play with, He has a soft pillow for bed time and he has a mother who bought him an awesome Spiderman Backpack. Love, that is what he knows.

I said a quick prayer for that mother.  A prayer for strength and for God to show her that she is doing great.  That life throws curve balls, and from the love I saw in 45 seconds, she is doing everything right.  

It reminded me of Gods love for his children.  For all of us.  She held him tight, she was keeping him warm, and she was caring for all his needs to the best of her ability.  Just as God Loves us, holds us and is with us regardless of where we live, or what we do.

It was a humble reminder that our God is an awesome God.

John 13:34-35

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

 

Matt Black vs Computer Speakers

I often get asked the question, what are the best speakers for my laptop. My first response usually starts with, is this for in your car use? The reason behind that is if it is for use in your car, look for an audio input on your stereo. This is usually a standard 3.5mm input that lets you connect external devices to be heard through your stereo speakers. With the growth of I pods, this is coming to be more common in car audio systems. All it takes is cable that has a 3.5mm jack on each end (Usually about 10 bucks via Walmart, Radioshak..etc). Connect one to your headphone jack on your laptop, and the other to the input on the car stereo. Change your input selection to the audio in jack. Then all audio played through your computer will be heard through your stereo speakers.

If you are just looking for external computer speakers then there are several things to consider. Standard speakers on a laptop are usually less than optimal. Due to power and size restraints, a lot of people purchase external speakers to help with laptop sound. You’ll find 2.1-channel speakers starting around $20. But these won’t be the most powerful speakers available. You’ll need to spend more to get better ones. You want powered speakers. These plug into a wall outlet. Or, purchase a pair that connects to your computer via USB. Both sound and power will be delivered over the USB connection. You’ll want to pay attention to watts when buying speakers. The more watts, the more powerful the speakers and remember a speaker system is labeled with its ENTIRE wattage. Dig a little deeper into the specs. You’ll see the watts for each speaker, or channel. Now, you may be perfectly fine with a 9-watt system. Or, you may need something much more powerful. It just depends on how you will use the speakers. Maybe you just want to listen to music while you surf the Web. Or, you could just use them to hear feedback from your computer. You don’t need particularly powerful speakers for these tasks. But you might want to use your computer to watch movies. You could also want to use your computer as a stereo. In either case, opt for more powerful speakers. I don’t recommend buying speakers online. That is, unless you know exactly the model you want. Rather, head to an electronics store. Test the speakers out individually so you will know what wattage you may be looking for, then shop for that wattage of speaker. After all, personal preference comes into play when buying speakers. You might also consider surround sound speakers. You’ll find 5.1-, 6.1- and 7.1-channel systems. But your computer must support surround sound. This probably won’t be the case with a laptop. Check with the manufacturer and if your computer doesn’t support surround sound, you can always add a sound card. This can attach to your computer via a USB port. Or, look at ones that fit into a PC Card or Express Card slot.

How about wireless speakers? You’ll find wireless options that use Bluetooth. That’s a wireless networking standard. It is most commonly used for cellular headsets. But it can do much more. You can stream music in stereo over a Bluetooth connection. Both the source and the speakers or headphones must support the A2DP profile (don’t worry about understand A2DP technology unless you are really serious about wireless connections) Implementing Bluetooth speakers shouldn’t be terribly difficult. However, your laptop may not have built-in Bluetooth or the built-in Bluetooth may not support A2DP. In either case, you can purchase a Bluetooth dongle (about 20 bucks). Bluetooth speakers or headphones will support A2DP. A2DP will work with stereo speakers. There are also 2.1-channel Bluetooth speakers. But you won’t find Bluetooth surround sound speakers. You’ll need a wired connection for surround sound.
Now you can also use a media hub. You would attach it to your stereo or home theater. It also connects to your network to stream music and other content. There are wired and wireless media hubs. They’re great for listening to music or watching videos. But they won’t work for playing system sounds, but maybe something fun to play with!

Matt Black and Everyday Heroes

Super Heroes are everywhere, just look around.

Have you ever really thought about what makes us do good? I am a firm believer that we are all born equal and are all Good people. Then comes life. Life experiences, geography, peers, family, are all things that mold the person you become. But the core is good. Everyone still has that inside of them. Some find it earlier than others and some tend to pack it away in the back somewhere until something else pushes it out.

Lets take a look at numbers….In almost any profession you work from them. Just think about it….Statistically speaking if the majority of the people like a certain item, then it will sell. If the majority of people feel someone is guilty in a jury trial, then the defendant is found guilty. I feel the same goes for living for God and trying to do the right things. If you try your hardest to do right, the most you can… then opportunities will open for you.

Have you ever noticed that bad people usually avoid being around good people? They don’t like us because they feel like we are judging them. When truthfully we are not even thinking anything about them. We just live to help others, and deep inside would love to help anyone!

It doesn’t take a cape or a mask to be a superhero, but it does take wanting to do the right things and help people with nothing in reward. I challenge you to do the right things and to help fight evil in what ever capacity that you can.

Challenge yourself with this task and see what happens… Look at the people You come into contact with throughout your daily activities and see how they are radiating good. A smile at a drive thru window. A thank you for holding a door. A nod of a head when walking by a stranger. A tip of the hat to a fellow hat wearer, a wave to another motorcycle rider. What good can you produce today? Live your life to the fullest and remember good will prevail! The more good, the less space evil has.

Join in my quest to rename superhero to everydayhero. Because that is what every single one of us can and desire to be. Somewhere in that scar ridden heart is good. Harness it, embrace it and lets tell evil his days are numbered.

God Bless us all friends…..Blacks out!

Matt Black vs Top 25 Super Heros

Found this article, and I agree with a lot. Jury still out on what power I would Choose…

http://list25.com/the-25-most-powerful-superheroes-of-all-time/

what do you think?

Matt Black vs Bad things happening to good people

Life is a book

I often ask myself, Why does bad things happen to good people? I was recently reading a post where a guy was questioning God and how he felt like he had turned his back on God because there was never a reason why all these bad things were happening to him. It was a very sad story which I will not sit here and retell in my own words, but it did make me thing to do this next blog entry.

Have you ever asked yourself Why me? I think we all have and if you tell yourself that you have not then you probably are just lying to yourself. I probably have done this a thousand times. I seem to be the kind of guy that tries to do the right things in life, but sometimes things back fire. So like usual, I try to pray about my problems and look for scripture in the Bible about how. Right off there were several verses that discuss not understand God plans, and to walk with faith and to try and not question Gods will. There were verses on compassion and caring and love. I didnt find one verse that I just had to talk about, but I did find a couple that help me make sense of things.

The first being John 16:33 “You will have suffering in this world” hmm, I don’t see a may have or possibly have or even a might. He says it is going to happen. So knowing it is going to happen how can we get our minds around horrible events like mass shootings in schools or illness and death to children. Or maybe even personal questions like Why did I loose my job, or why did my family abandon me. It is all very complex and easy to ask out. I don’t think I can stand in anyone elses shoes and give a complete answer to any of those questions, as no one else can either. We dont have Gods mind, we dont see with Gods eyes. Which brings me to my second verse Corinthians 13:12 says “Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God no knows me completely” Pretty deep huh? I think so.

So in a nut shell I think God is telling us, we will never know the answer to that questions and to try not to question it. Just have faith that he will deliver us from the pain and suffering and one day when we are in Heaven we may understand things more clearly. I read a story when I was researching this and thought to myself it made since.

God is Love. We have all heard this, and through his faith we find love. The more we seek it, the more it comes around. I find that the more I do out of my true heart and emotions without being fake or trying to impress others, the better outcome in everything associated with it. If we were programed to say I love you, then would it really be love? Almost like that creepy doll every kid has that you pull a string and it says “I love you” Do those dolls love you? Of course not. It was programmed to say those words. To really experience love,that doll would need to have been able to choose love, to see hurt and pain and understand what they are. It would also need to feel those different emotions to understand it. So in order for us to experience love, God gave us free will.

Our life experiences show us good, and unfortunately bad. We know the difference and it builds our hearts stronger to live for God and to do the right things. Generally speaking if you try to live your life right, you will feel better about yourself.

I try to think of life as a book. If you pick up a book and read a chapter, or a few pages from the middle, there is no way you would understand it. To read it from start to finish, then there comes understanding. How do we know our entire story, until it is complete? We dont and wont. God is still writing it. If you live your life with love and compassion and glory to God, I feel your book maybe easier to get through than others, but trust me bad things will happen. There is no answer for that on this world, but remember to do the things that make those bad issues easier. Love God. Pray and pray often. There will always be bad parts to a book, but living your life for God will bring more good.

Matt Blacks APP of the week! Contact Clean

I’m calling this one a great app for you apple and IOS users. You will have to drop .99 cents on it but I promise if you have ever had any contact/address book issues, that 99 cents is worth it! This app will scan all your contacts and pull up problem entry’s. such as duplicates, single names, multiple numbers! Takes just a second to analyze and gives u options of what to do with problems! If you have multiple I devices with iCloud and contact share, this may be nice to have if you have any problems

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Matt Blacks APP of the week! January #1

This weeks app of the week is a little known, ok not really little…but it’s sounded good ..note taking app that is a free download called Evernote. A lot of you May be familiar with note taking apps like Springpad where you can create folders and sub folders for your notes, but Evernote takes home the prize. Over the years I always used Springpad and was happy with it, until I tried Evernote for the first time. The smooth multi platform app makes for a very cool experience.

Evernote is available for all mobile operating systems as well as a downloadable client for your desktop or laptop. A cool feature for your PC is the option to save web pages you are browsing into Evernote with one click. Evernote also has an email feature where you can forward or send an email and tell it to put it inside whatever folder you wish. You can also mark notes with #hashags for easy searches later!

Evernote is free, so what are you waiting for!

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