A Slice of Happiness 

Happy Sunday! 

I have been around or at home for the past few weeks, so this weekend I packed up my car and took my daughters to go see my dad in North Carolina. This time of year is always difficult for my father. Today is his mother’s birthday and although it has been over 20 years since she passed away, he still feels the magnitude of her loss as he celebrates her life. Our family is also still reeling over the loss of my Uncle Alonzo this past June. My dad has several siblings, but they had an extremely close bond and his death has changed him in ways that words cannot properly describe. There is a spark missing from his eyes and a tinge of sadness that permeates through his laughter and smile. Uncle Alonzo meant so much to him and to all of us and I’m sure we will never be the same. I’m dedicating my book Orion’s Chains to him and fashioning a character in his honor. 

I spent most of last night and this morning talking and laughing with my dad about love, life, friendship, creativity, music, and so much more. I didn’t realize how much I needed to hear his words of wisdom and encouragement. And, he was uplifted by my children as they told him knock knock jokes and giggled at the dinner table. He recently lost his beloved dog Tommy and he admitted to feeling lonely as he came to an empty home after work. His afternoons would be spent with his dog as he waited for my stepmom to get home. It was the last thing he needed to happen at this crucial point in his life and I was glad to bring him a slice of happiness during a turbulent time. 

I honestly didn’t think my presence could be beneficial to anyone at this moment. I’ve been caught in my own emotional storm as I battle my own mind and feelings of inadequacy. But, I have found a renewed sense of purpose and a burst of creativity and determination through spending just one day with my Dad.

This week, take a moment to pick up the phone and call or go and see someone that you love. It’s amazing how one great conversation can give you the boost you need to walk into this week with confidence. 

Love to all of ya and I’ll see you on Wednesday đź’• 
-Tai Gooden 

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3 Lessons I Learned from My Father

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Happy Father’s Day!

This weekend, I was fortunate to see my oldest daughter graduate from Pre-K. We now live away from our family and friends, so we didn’t expect anyone to come out to the short (and hilarious) graduation. But, my dad decided to make the drive out to spend time with my family for a couple of days. I don’t get to see him often, but I always enjoy our candid conversations.

So, to honor my dad on Father’s Day, I want to share 3 Lessons I Learned from Dad:

Your Attitude Determines Your Altitude:

My dad has always told me that I am aesthetically beautiful. But, he encouraged me to invest in my inner beauty. Because of my Dad, I celebrate diversity, treat others with respect, and I understand how to be an advocate for my cause without bashing others in the process. I truly believe that how you approach situations and how you treat others will determine the goals you can reach. I also believe that an open mind and an open heart will lead to open doors. And, I have my dad to thank for the way I view life.

Slow Down and Enjoy the Moment:

Anyone who knows my dad knows that he never moves fast. Ever. I remember when I used to rush to work or school and he would tell me

“Tai, if you are late, then your are late. That building is not going anywhere. They can get another employee, but I can’t get another you. Drive careful.”

Although I have not fully adopted his snail pace in all areas of my life, I have no problem taking a Saturday morning to sit down and veg out with my family. Sometimes I get in my daughter’s tiny bed with her and we talk about random things. Other times I sit up with my infant baby girl and play with the tiny curls on her head. I live a very busy life, but I always remember to take time to slow down and enjoy those fleeting moments. 

Stop Making it Complicated:

My dad’s advice is straightforward. If you want to learn something, close your mouth and listen. If you want advice, seek it from someone who is in the position you desire to be in. If you want something different out of your life, then do something different. If you don’t want people to know when your home is not happy, then don’t tell them. If you want to waste time worrying, then don’t waste time praying. If you want peace, then look to God. If you want people to know how you feel, then tell them. 

Life does have its complicated moments, but there are many things that we have the power to control. 

Thanks for all of the lessons, both negative and positive, over the years. I love you Dad!

-Tai Gooden