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The Book of Think Pieces is Two Years Old

Two years of learning. Two years of growth. Two years of adapting and evolving. Two years of writing and blogging. Through the ups and downs, I just want to thank you all for the support over these last two years.

Two-year anniversaries are represented by fiber and cotton. Due to cotton’s durability and flexibility, cotton gifts are given to married couples to remind them to stay interwoven and close with each other throughout their marriage. If I can translate this into blogging for a second then my goal for year two is to remain strong in blogging amongst changes. I must withstand any changes that brings negativity my way and continue this journey of blogging for the reward is greater than the expectation. Not only must I face outside changes, but also changes from within myself. When those feelings of doubt and intimidation start to attack from within, they come to change my confidence in the work that I perform. However, when my confidence is interwoven with faith I am able to drive out those confidence-killers and withstand the forces that are working against me.

As I close out this blog post for the two-year anniversary of The Book of Think Pieces, I encourage all of you who are reading this to be interwoven with your confidence. Let it be such a strong binding together like clothes made of cotton. It may become worn with time, but those fibers of confidence are built to last. Protect your confidence and go out into the world wearing it proudly!

Preston T.

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After 200 Likes

I am truly honored right now. In less than 2 years of blogging and under 100 blog post, I hit 200 likes! Sure this is small for some while I thers can get more than 200 views off one post, but considering I juggle multiple balls (family, self, career, home, etc.) throughout life while running a small blog site I will take this as another victory!

This milestone has me reflecting on my blogging journey and where it can take me. The determination I had in the beginning from planning this blog site to attending free blogging and writing classes to writing blogs during 30-minute lunch breaks at work just to think and plan for the next topic I feel passionate about. I set goals like these for each blog post; however, one goal stands out the most with this milestone and that is overcoming my fear of actually sharing my work to social media, particularly Facebook.

Listen, at first I struggled with confidence of sharing my blogs on social media. I was (and still am) very confident in my writing. After completing a blog I would hit post to this site with all the confidence in the world that this blog will be better than the last. I took the time to think of tags and topics that would attract similar bloggers whom I have never met in person to view my blog posts, and it works! The views and likes come in feeding my confidence to a point beyond satisfaction, gluttony levels. OK, then I share it to my Twitter page and with others through the #writerslift threads and similar hashtags with threads that appear on my timeline. The positive responses and views come in, cool. Next up, LinkedIn because I view this site as a business; therefore, I need to keep promoting my work like an ad. From LinkedIn I networked with groups of bloggers who use it in the day way. But then there’s Facebook, and suddenly I find myself contemplating whether or not to share my blog. Sometimes the contemplation was so bad I had more confidence sharing it through the Instagram-to-Facebook Stories and Reels connection rather than an actual post that last forever.

Some would ask why don’t I just skip sharing on Facebook? The answer is I actually know my Facebook friends or have interacted with each at least once in my life. Facebook was the first social network I joined followed by MySpace, Black Planet, and this one social network I cannot remember the name of at the moment but it did have a little run in the mid2000s. Facebook is where I am friends with close family, distant relatives, my hometown of Johnston/Edgefield County SC, childhood friends, high school and college friends and classmates, former and current coworkers, etc. Of course I should have no shame in sharing my blog, but the curse of comparing my post on social media to others in the same circle hit hard when the blog was posted. Sometimes I felt I wouldn’t be noticed by Facebook friends and family or that my blog would not be good enough when compared to others. Imposter syndrome was the case I constantly fought. That feeling of not belonging or measuring up to others when you are in the field. Just when I thought I finally overcame it to share blog post on Facebook, it would come back resulting in delays and wasted time. In this case, it involves people I actually know.

So, how do I overcome the fear of sharing my blogs on Facebook so people I know will see it? That’s not an easy answer for me, but I dive in. I post it anyways and move on. The right people will see it, click on the link, like, and maybe comment. It has made all the difference to boost my confidence in blogging.

I can honestly tell you I enjoy writing and blogging. I am committed to doing what I love while adapting to the growth I have gained from blogging. You, the audience, have made this 200 likes possible. To me that means when you hit the like button my blog touched you. Whether it’s the entire blog, a paragraph, or even a sentence, those likes are greatly appreciated.

Thank you again for supporting The Book of Think Pieces with likes. Family, friends, writers, and all I encourage you to keep me lifted up by likes and support. While you are here please like others work and support those who support you.

Thank you all for the likes! It only goes up from here!

Preston T.

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Seasonal Allergies vs Lemon Water

Written by:  Preston Thompson

               Who loves Spring weather? I do! It may be unpredictable sometimes with cold mornings and mild to hot afternoons and evenings, but after a true Winter season is over you can enjoy the warmer weather. It’s just something about the Spring that says, “I want to start new and clean out all the junk I had stored in the colder months.” It also tells us, “Now is the time to rearrange my life!” Activities from walking the dog without wearing layers to little league baseball with the children to barbecues that leave a nice-smelling aroma around the neighborhood make Spring one of the best times of the year.

We human beings are not the only creatures participating in the Springtime fun. Nature, of course, gets involved in all the Springtime activities. As soon as the vernal equinox gifts Earth with more hours of sunlight, nature takes its course. Since the beginning of time, nature has a natural affinity for the Spring. The grass starts to wake up from its six-month dormancy, the animals begin to roam more, and oh yeah, pollination reaches its peak during the Spring months. Trees, ragweed (weeds), and grass begin their mating season by releasing pollen into the atmosphere in hopes that it catches its mate to germinate and produce more offspring during this time. Then the bees, nature’s most valuable player, play a major role in most plant cycles.

               This sounds like the best time to be alive, and it is…unless you have springtime seasonal allergies. As soon as the first signs of warmth hit the atmosphere and the plants begin to release pollen, our sensitive immune systems become active! Immunoglobin E (look it up) is our own antagonist for the perfect Spring. One of five immunoglobin antibodies involved in allergic responses kicks into high defense mode when our body detects an allergen (for this blog, the allergen will be pollen). It fights pollen by releasing histamines from the mast cells (can you tell I took a biochemistry class before?). Our responses include watery itchy eyes, coughing, sneezing, itchy skin, rashes, snotty noses, itchy throats and mouths, swelling, and enough mucus to keep the paper wipes manufacturers in business. In extreme cases histamines can cause fevers. People with asthma suffer from difficult breathing when allergens are present at high levels thus producing more histamines that tells the body to create more mucus in the lungs.  

               And if you are like me, my best friends are the antihistamines during the Spring months. Thanks to today’s smartphones I am looking on the Weather Channel App and to see the predicted pollen count from day to day. I have had most brands of antihistamines throughout my life from Allegra to Zyrtec. Year after year I am telling myself just make it to June, the Summer will come and the pollen count will not be as high, yet manageable. I get that 12 to 24-hour relief when I pop one with some water, but I have had situations where my immune system developed a tolerance to the antihistamine and had to switch up the brand. It is an uphill battle for many of us allergy sufferers.

               Please note I do not work in the healthcare industry nor am I a dietician, but I found a sidekick that alleviates most of my allergy symptoms in an unexpected way. On my path to becoming healthier, I wrote a blog or two about running in 5K’s and how I want to continue running in more so I can stay disciplined on my path to become healthier. So, one day in February my coworker told me about how he drinks lemon water for more energy. I thought to myself that I should give it a try. I do love lemons, and if it can give me energy then I want to take my chances.

               Spring started a few weeks earlier this year. As pollen counts begin to rise, so did the allergy symptoms. Day after day I took Zyrtec and a nose shot of Flonase as a part of my daily routine only to see those symptoms of springtime allergies return hours before the 24-hour relief ended. Thinking to myself this cannot be my entire Spring. By the first official day of Spring, I maintained my routine with the addition of lemon water.

The mixture is very simple. I cut one whole lemon in half followed by squeezing the juice with a handheld lemon squeezer into a cup. Then, I pour the lemon juice into 7 ounces of water. Next, I stir or cap and shake for a minute then drink. Some experts recommend drinking lemon water twice a day in the morning and at night before bed. I typically drink lemon water everyday during allergy season in the morning and go about my day.

SKIP THIS PARAGRAPH IF YOU ARE SQUIMISH: The first week of drinking lemon water I noticed I was coughing up lots of mucus, thick mucus at that. My sinuses were constantly draining mucus out of my nose as well. Within a week I noticed my allergic symptoms reduced, and the expelling of mucus from my nose and mouth decreased.

NOW YOU CAN CONTINUE READING:  After one week of drinking lemon water, I was skipping days of taking allergy medication as the forecasted pollen count was rising by the day. I was able to do more outdoor activities with little to no symptoms from the pollen allergy. For even better relief I began adding natural honey to my lemon water for a soothing feeling.

I still use allergy medication from time to time, but since drinking lemon water daily I have not been as dependent on it as I was in previous years. What I like most about this lemon water is not only has it minimized my allergy symptoms to pollen, but this home remedy is so easy to make for the on-the-go person. Since lemons are a good source of vitamin C, it can help reduce risk of heart disease and aid in digestive health. And did I not mention since drinking lemon water daily I have more energy to juggle my busy life.

Please note I am no dietician, nutritionist, or work in the medical field. Everything I wrote in this blog is self-observed improvements I have experienced within my own body as a person who suffers from seasonal Spring allergies associated with pollen. Human physiology comes from the years I took courses in Human Anatomy & Physiology and Biochemistry. Talk to your healthcare provider about the benefits of drinking lemon water before deciding to stock up on lemons from your local grocery store and/or farmer’s market. Your healthcare provider knows what works best for your health and has developed a plan to make you healthier. If drinking lemon water is part of that plan, then I say give it a try.

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Running in my Second 5K

Written by: Preston Thompson

What’s going on family and friends? It’s your favorite and only blogger here at The Book of Think Pieces, Preston, coming with some new content. It has been a month since I last posted a blog so I will get right to it. In the morning I am sticking with my New Year’s Resolution and running in my second 5K.

I am excited I can’t sleep right now so I am writing to get this excitement out of my mind. I feel good, got my family and support cheering me on, I am ready! Training three times a week leading up to this moment. I even picked out my athletic wear for the 5K like it’s the first day of school. Fake Spring has left for the weekend as Winter weather is forecasted for the start of the Saturday morning, and temperatures may climb up slightly by the end of the 5K. Breakfast is ready and stored in the refrigerator, got my alarm set for two hours before the race…I am ready!

Well, wish me luck, and I will see you at the finish line!

And if you have any advice for my next 5K, please comment below. Have a good Saturday!

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What LeBron James New Record Setting Milestone Taught Me

On Tuesday, February 7th, 2023, it finally happened. A convincingly unbreakable record held for 38 years was broken, and a new record was set that is on-going. If you haven’t figured it out by now I am talking about LeBron James becoming the All-Time Leading Scorer of the NBA regular season.

Basketball is my favorite sport. Although I was not good enough to make an organized team until joining a summer intramural league in college, I watched basketball on tv since maybe three (maybe before then). You could say I have been a part of basketball culture my whole life. Not just on the court, but I also follow my favorite NBA players off the court as well. And with the evolution of social media my algorithms seem to fix itself on the NBA players of old, present, and new.

Then there’s LeBron James. A man who lived up to the hype before suiting up for his first NBA career game. A man who revolutionized the game, a one-of-a-kind who will be hard to duplicate. What amazes me the most is he’s 38 years old playing like he’s 23. Very few players made it to 20 seasons. LeBron, on the other hand, is in his 20th season as we speak playing like he has 10 more in him.

What has LeBron James new record setting milestone taught me during this Black History Month of 2023? The answer comes in the form of a question. It is what are you willing to sacrifice to achieve greatness in your career, hobby, passion, etc.? You see most of us talk about it but never put in the effort to get started while some of us live in it but don’t have the discipline to get to the next level. Others have luck with little effort and plenty of representation while the remainder actually master their craft.

I have been following LeBron’s career for some time now. What he does during the offseason in preparation for the upcoming season proves why he reaps the benefits of his labor. Luck, namesake, and representation has little to do with how he made it to number 1. I see persistence, discipline, knowledge, understanding, purpose, and evolution in his possession.

This milestone has taught me no obstacle is impossible to conquer when you have the drive to succeed. Despite the odds, we can achieve the impossible whether it happens in our youth or old age. Sometimes we have to make moves that better our chances for success in this life.

Another lesson I have learned from this milestone is failure is inevitable, but no matter how many times we lose to it, we get back up and keep trying until something good happens. With each failure, we must learn and evolve. And even after victory, we keep going to setting new records for the next generation to witness. We know our limits and work with them to reach the ultimate goal of success. Maintaining that tunnel-vision focus that blocks all doubters and critics, how much are we really willing to sacrifice to be the best at what we do?

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This Black History Month

I want to do something a little different this year for Black History Month. For years we always talked about famous African-Americans like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, President Barack Obama, Jackie Robinson, Harriett Tubman, and many others who have done extraordinary work in American history. We celebrated their achievements throughout the month of February and continue to build on their work today. This year for Black History Month, I want to discover more African-American greats. The unsung heroes of Black History Month whose work is celebrated by a small audience like family, friends, a small town, and/or people who work in the same field. Someone like Jerry Lawson, a team lead who pioneered the video game cartridge.

So, as I begin this journey in the month of February and beyond, I am open to learning more about great African-America not usually mentioned. If you know of someone whose work deserves acknowledgment, please feel free to mention their name in the comments. Thank you all in advance and have a great Black History Month

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A Think Piece on Sunday #5: My 2023 Prayer for You

Written By: Preston Thompson

First, Happy New Year!

2022 is over and our New Year’s resolution did not go as planned. It started out well with hope, ambition, and determination, but somewhere in the year those traits gradually decline. Before we knew it, the 2022 Holiday Season was here while our resolutions from the beginning of the year never got out of the first steps. No big deal! 2022 was not our year, but 2023 will be!

Year after year we set New Year’s Resolution to better our lives. This year will be the year we lose weight, eat better, exercise more, get those numbers down at the annual physical, find a better job, get a promotion, start a business, start a side hustle, be a better person, improve our mental health, work on clearing debt, the list goes on. From there, once we accomplish our resolutions for the year it hopefully becomes a lifestyle.

Like the average person who have real lives, we started strong in January 2022. By Spring 2022, we began to drop out one by one. We became good at our resolutions when the first results were good, but when the results became consistent our efforts began to decrease. What happened? Year after year we get to a certain point within the resolution then stop. What is missing that have us making the same resolution every year only to see little to no improvements in our lives?

Well, it is quite simple. For 2023 I pray you find discipline in your resolution when it gets tougher. I also pray that comfort does not overtake change. Let us talk about it!

Discipline is what separates the achievers from the stragglers. When we set a goal to do something better with our lives, discipline will keep us grounded. It makes us come back repeatedly despite the odds against us in achieving our goals. Discipline will make us study early and often. It reminds us why we chose this resolution and what the end goal will be.

As our resolutions get tougher, the results begin to differ from what they were in the beginning. They become delayed, consistent, and/or diminished. For a discipline person in his or her resolution that means adjusting or working harder to achieve their resolution’s reward. An undisciplined person to their resolution becomes easily intimidated when the resolution does not produce satisfactory results thus becoming submissive to his or her own comfort. This same person is also more likely to give up on their resolution when they receive satisfactory results rather than continuing to make it their new lifestyle. Why is that?

Comfort is easier than change. We can be so comfortable in our lifestyle that it is easy to fall back into it when changes become tough. This is because we know the results of our comfort and know how it makes us feel, comfortable. Even in our New Year’s Resolutions we can achieve our resolutions, and rather than making them a lifestyle, we go back to what has been comfortable throughout our lives. In addition, we can begin a resolution that is a change from what has been comfortably but not beneficial in our lives, become discouraged by the results and go back to comfort.

Whether you are the new year new me, leaving behind the negativity in 2022 and steppin’ on necks all 2023, or New Year’s New Gym Members type of resolution person, I pray you keep going in your resolution all 2023. And if the change becomes the opposition, keep going in your resolution because you could be closer to reaching your 2023 goals. Just know you are not alone on this journey; you have an entire network who wants the best version of you in all of 2023.

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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

Written By: Preston Thompson

I hope the frigid temperatures from the arctic blast of 2022 does not prevent the warmth inside. With temperatures dipping into the single digits in the South and windchills making it feel like negative temperatures, I write this to thank you all for a wonderful 2022! It was a great, yet challenging, year but we made it! I learned so much about myself professionally and personally.

As we open up the gifts from under the tree, have (or already had) a Christmas Party, listen to Christmas music, toast, and spend time with family, I wish you all the best Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays 2022! Let’s close out the year on a high note. See you all in 2023!

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Happy Thanksgiving

Written by: Preston Thompson

I would like to take the time out to be thankful. I am thankful every day, but to go with the theme of Thanksgiving, I figured I wanted to express my thankfulness with writing and blogging.

First and foremost, I would like to thank God for granting me life daily and gifting me with the means to write. Next, I am thankful for my wife and son who always support me through my dreams for our family. They are my biggest supporters, and we love each other equally. I am excited to be on this journey with you and look forward to the future. There is no other way I want to spend Thanksgiving to be with you now and forever. To my mom, sister, and family members who are also my biggest supporters, I thank you all. I wish I could sit here and name each and every one of you, but that would take up so much space and time. So, I thank you all. To my in-laws, thank you for taking me in as one of your own. To my friends, thank you for always being there for me as I have returned the favor. To my job, thank you for working with me during the good and difficult times and allowing me to utilize my Chemistry degree with silicone chemistry. My home church, thank you for supporting me. I know I have not been around since my grandparents died, but just know I have each of you in my heart and use your teachings to live a good life. And last but not least, to all my Book of Think Pieces fans and supports, thank you. Yes, we are small, but small with quality is good enough for me. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

And to anyone I missed, thank you all for being a part of my life. On this Thanksgiving Day, I pray you all have peace as you are celebrating this day with your loved ones. Even if you cannot be there this year, just think of all the good times you have and make an effort to be with them someday in the future.

I thank you all for the support. Please take care of yourself, your mental health and each other.

The end.

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Running My First 5K

Week 0: Signing Up

I do not have a true athletic background. As far as team sports with competitive play goes, my resume is not spectacular. The “somewhat” athletic experience I have are at fitness centers where I am working out to my own pace.

With that being said, I do not know what it takes to be a true athlete pushing myself beyond my physical limits. Although I played some sports in more fun than competitive leagues, I do not know what it is like to practice daily for countless hours conditioning and training my body for the next game. My current body and mind have very little discipline to become a true athlete.

In Week 0, my wife and I signed up. Excited, yet nervous, I know we will do well. Signing up was the step to prove to myself I can run one. No need to focus on what I have not done in the past or what the other runners have done, I am challenging myself to do something I did not envision I would be doing in my mid-30s. Before taking a step on anybody’s treadmill or running a single mile outside during South Carolina’s unpredictable Fall weather patterns, I told myself I can do this. Running my first 5K in my mid-30s sounds crazy but that feeling of a runner’s accomplishment and the preparation before the actual run feels like it will be more rewarding when it is all said and done.

So, with that being said, why do I want to run a 5K? And not just a 5K, but my very first one. One that I will be running in my mid-30s when most started running 5K’s in their teens and twenties. It is simple. It has always been on my mind to be able to run long distances without getting tired after a short run. I have tried running on my own in the past at my own time and pace, but it got me little results or reaching my goal. I want to maintain a healthy lifestyle, so signing up for a 5K would motivate me to continue conditioning even after completing my very first run. It will discipline me to stay on a healthy routine. Just like school, I am more disciplined to studying when there is a test involved. Well, I see this 5K as a test to my physical health. Will my health and endurance improved when I am challenged to run/walk 3.2 miles in a race to the finish line with other runners? Going against my norm, what am I made of when I am running on the day of the 5K? Will I surprise myself or give in to fatigue? Most importantly, how well will my training and conditioning be leading up to the 5K run day?

I cannot answer those questions at the moment. However, I will find those answers through training. Through the process of training and conditioning I hope I find out just how determined I am to reach my physical fitness goals.

Stick around. My journey to running in my first 5K is just beginning.

Written By: Preston Thompson