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African American black blogger Black History Month February Heroes Uncategorized

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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2022 Blog Blogging Christian Faith Happy Holidays Healing Health Lifestyle New Year New Year Resolution Thoughts Year in Review

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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Christmas December Happy Holidays Love New Year Thankful

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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Blog Blogging Love November Thankful Thanksgiving

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.

Categories
2022 5k Christmas Conditioning December Fitness Healthy Lifestyle November Race Running Training

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

Categories
Christmas Holidays Music Thanksgiving

I Tried Waiting for Thanksgiving to Start Listening to Christmas Music, but…

…I failed! And this year it happened three days after Halloween. Let me explain.

It was the day after Halloween. The Spiderman costumes were stored away. The candy bowl still filled with treats. No more children ringing the doorbell for their trick or treat candy. My family peacefully sleeping. I, on the other hand, was sitting in my car preparing to drive to work. The heat inside was set to a comfortable setting while the temperature outside was cool that morning. Here I am scrolling through Apple Music finding good music to listen to before the drive. I took a sip of iced coffee and pressed the “Search” image on the app. The search page appeared on screen, and there it was! A box with a purple background with Christmas lights in the top right corner titled “Holiday.”

“Should I?” I asked myself while taking another sip of iced coffee. “No, it’s too early for Christmas music. Like besides, Halloween just ended. Let Thanksgiving come first, then play all the Christmas music I want from that day until New Year’s.” I pressed the “R&B” box, found a suitable playlist for my drive, and drove to work.

Work was busy that day. Test after test, an endless cycle. Around 1:00 p.m. I took my lunch break. The room was empty as I sat at a table near the exit and begam to check Facebook. The first thing I saw was one of my friends posted he started listening to Christmas music today and does not care what anyone thinks. “Ok, is Facebook listening to my thoughts?” I asked myself. “These algorithms are getting too personal nowadays.”

Two days later I repeated the same cycle before leaving for work. As I took a sip of iced coffee inside of my car, I pressed the Apple Music app in search of music. Pressing on the “Search” image, and there read the word “Holiday.” This day I actually pressed it and the first thing I saw on its page is “Christmas Playlist.” Below this title read “Essential Christmas.” I press on the playlist, and the first song I see is Mariah Carey “All I Want for Christmas is You.” Memories of Christmases pass began to flood my thoughts. I can never escape this song. From a kid to man, I never missed a Christmas season where I did not hear this song. I have heard it so much a few years ago I stopped singing along to Mariah Carey and just sing with the background singers. And here I am three weeks later still playing Christmas songs.

And this would be the day I began listening to Christmas music this year. Three weeks before Thanksgiving, four days after Halloween. I tried to stay strong, but it is the Holiday season.

What about you? When do you normally start listening to Christmas music? After Thanksgiving? The week of Thanksgiving? At the start of November? Year around?

Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

Categories
2022 Anniversary Believe black blogger Blog Blogging Getaway Hope Life Motivational Thinking Writing

My Time Away from Blogging

Written By: Preston A. Thompson

It has been two months since I posted a new blog. Two months since I unintentionally took a leave of absence from what I love to do: writing and blogging.

It just happened, no real explanation to it. Commuting to work every day I thought about my next series of blogs, but never got a chance to sit and write them down. I don’t know, my best guess is life got busier, and writing took a backseat in my mind.

One would think after the success of my last blog “A Think Piece of Sunday #4: If I Told You One of Your Biggest Blessings was a Rejection, Would You Believe Me?” I would post more frequently. Catching the next wave before the wave I was riding settled, but that did not happen. One of the downsides of when your side hustle is not your main hustle, time.

Please note I had no personal issues during my absence. In fact, my time away has been great! Spending it with family and friends, running behind my son, visiting a new city (thank you for a great time, Raleigh and Apex, NC), attending a Lizzo concert with my wife and family in Atlanta, celebrating Halloween with matching family costumes, learning new things, all of this served as a much-needed getaway. Not a getaway from blogging, but a getaway from my normal Monday through Friday. Time used to enjoy other parts of my life.

Although blogging and writing was not included during the last two months, I had it on my mind daily. Now, I am back! The pencil and notebook are here, the laptop is ready, and the brainstorming is forecasted to be strong. My dedication has been revived to a new level. I am excited to share with the world more of my thoughts and perspectives. I still want to see how far I can go with this blogging. Crafting every part of its future success, it’s the ambition in me that drives my passion for writing.

As I close out this quick blog, I want to thank you all for the follow. I am so excited I have 50 subscribers in my first year of blogging, I thank you all. Please feel free to like and comment on any blog post I have. Share with others that you know. And if you like what you see on my site and want to come along on this journey…join The Book of Think Pieces family by subscribing. Have a great Sunday.

Preston T.

Categories
Believe Blessings Christian Faith Healing Hope Lessons Life Motivational Opportunity Perseverance Perspective Positive Strength Sunday Thankful Thinking Thoughts

A Think Piece on Sunday #4: If I Told You One of Your Biggest Blessings was a Rejection, Would You Believe Me?

Written By:  Preston Thompson

What is a blessing? The best definition I found comes from Vocabulary.com where it defines a blessing as “…a prayer asking for divine protection, or a little gift from the heavens” (https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/blessing, 2022). In the Bible (NIV Version) 2 Corinthians 9:8 reads, “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”

We can never receive enough blessings. Just being alive and well is a blessing we should never take for granted. But what if I told you one of your biggest blessings in life did not come in the form of money, acceptance, or healing, would you believe me? What if I told you one of your biggest blessings once came in the form of rejection? Yes, REJECTION! Let me spell it out…R-E-J-E-C-T-I-O-N.

Rejection is not wanted, but it is a part of our lives just as much as acceptance. No one applies for anything hoping to be rejected. If we knew the outcome would result to this, the odds of us applying would be exceptionally low. Each one of us have been rejected from something in our lives. A relationship, friendship, job offer, promotion, school, anything that helps better our lives. Receiving a rejection often triggers sad and regretful emotions, the feeling of not being good enough especially at the time it happens. It can linger in our mind for days, weeks, months, even years wondering if our worth is qualified to move on to the next level in life. We put our best efforts into getting an acceptance only for rejection to tear our hopes and confidence down.

Take it from me, I have had my fair share of rejections in life even when I needed the acceptance more than the others applying for the same position. Growing up in a hometown where “who you know” had more value on receiving an offer than your skillset and character, I wondered if I had bad luck when it came down to getting offers to better my life and increase my experience. I could not get a job as a teenager despite applying to countless jobs throughout the county, I ran for leadership positions and lost by landslides, not making the cut to join teams to build teamwork experiences, etc. I started to question if I really had what it takes to make it in the corporate world. Then I graduated college only to struggle to find a job during the recession era of America. I had the experience and did everything advised to avoid being unemployed after graduation, but none of that experience helped me during that time. Rejection letter after rejection letter, I began to question if my college degree was worth the years put in since I was not receiving the benefits of earning a degree. I even questioned if I did not do enough in college. Despite the hardship of rejection, it molded me to become a stronger person. I learned valuable life lessons from the experience that high school nor college taught me. I gained skills and character that not only helped me receive a job offer, but also learn how to maintain the blessings from acceptance.

Switching gears here. Rejection can be disguised as a blessing that comes in the form of protection tying in our faith. Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV) reads, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” This means faith is believing something good will happen although you have no clue if that good will come. If good does not come, then faith will convince you that good will eventually come. It may not come how you envisioned it, but the rejection can protect you from the unseen dangers the acceptance never told you about. It is optimism about the future on overdrive. Protection is minimizing the chances of a tough situation that may cause hardship, hurt, or harm physically, financially, and/or mentally from happening in the future by understanding the dangers of a current event based off evidence in the past.

Like a devasting storm that destroys a town. After the storm does its damage, there is a cold period that follows. A feeling of loss and confusion looms over the town wondering how they can recover after the storm, and what will it take to improve the infrastructure. Suddenly good people come to aid of the town after receiving news of its devastation. Before you know it, the town has rebuilt itself better than before the storm. Should another storm happen, the people are more prepared than before. Rejection works in a similar matter when we take the time after it to heal and learn from it. It hurts at those moments and may leave you feeling lost, confused, and down, but there is an unexplained peace that follows.

That is why we must be very mindful of each acceptance. You ever applied for a job, worthless got the acceptance offer, started working the job and a few months in, the job does not satisfy you as it did when you originally started? At some point the money does not matter because your happiness does not align with the job. You find yourself stressed and angry about your job now that you know the truth about it. Anything that goes wrong on the job amplifies your dissatisfaction. Before you know you are back on the hunt for another job. What happened to that good feeling you had when the acceptance first came?

Sometimes acceptance can be fabricated to lure you into a trap. “Accept this job offer. You will earn a livable wage, have a great work/life balance, work with a wonderful staff, and become a valuable member of this team.” That is all you may read before signing the offer letter but read a little deeper and you may discover what is promised may not be reality. Sadly, you may not discover it until you are working at the job. And that is how acceptance can be. An outsider looks at acceptance as a better opportunity from what they currently have. Acceptance will convince you everything will be better, and you got it because you were the most qualified. If we fail to investigate what we are signing up for, we may miss signs that this acceptance is something you should pass on. Before you know it, your acceptance may cause more hardship than what the opportunity was worth.

I am not encouraging rejection. If offered an opportunity in something you worked hard for, I recommend taking the chance. What I am writing is rejection does not always mean failure or giving up on our dreams. We always see rejection as bad; it can be a blessing in disguise. Remember, a blessing does not always come in the form of money, health, or good fortune. Oftentimes, it comes to use as protection. Not just protection from harm and danger, but protection from unseen dangers that may present itself in the future or even protection for our own wellbeing. Sometimes we take on opportunities when we were not prepared and end up more stressed than before the offer was made. Viewing rejection as “God knows what’s best for us” will save us from opportunities that cause more harm than help and life lessons. Allowing rejection to work in our favor can open doors we never knew we were capable of walking through. The main goal is to not allow rejection to make us feel like we are unworthy to success. We should use it as a learning tool to understand why this opportunity that did not work is good and to learn more about ourselves and what we are capable to manage.

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2022 Family Grandparents Grandparents Day

Grandparents Day

September 11 is Remembrance Day for all the fallen victims of the 9/11 attacks, and this year it is the first NFL Sunday of the 2022 regular season. But, did you know today is also Grandparents Day?

Grandparents are great people, always making themselves available and ready to take care of their grandchildren. Their advice for childcare is spot on, no degree required. They have some of the best stories and the voice to go with it to all children of all ages.

I remember reading a study that said grandparents who take care of their grandchildren or visit them from time to time tend to live longer and have healthier lives. They are usually happier as well.

If you have living grandparents, even great grandparents, today is the day to spend time with them, or give a simple call letting them know you’re thinking about them. Any kind gesture will do as some restaurants and retailers are offering discounts to grandparents on this day.

As I close out I would like to wish all the grandparents, first time grandparents, and great grandparents a Happy Grandparents Day. I want to extend these wishes to the great aunts and uncles who may not have had children of their own, but took care of their sibling’s children and grandchildren as if they gave birth to them always willing to step in when called upon. To the older generation who professionally took care of children all day (teachers, day care teachers, etc.), these wishes go out to you too!

I love you all. Have a great day.

Preston T.

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Autumn Blogging Fall Happy Birthday September Summer Uncategorized Writing

Happy September

It’s the best month of the year, September! I can hear Earth, Wind, and Fire singing “September” in my head right now as I type this. And despite the horoscopes, what’s not to love about this month?

The weather gets a little cooler outside as Fall/Autumn arrives, the days get a little shorter, and nature becomes a little more colorful. Our favorite TV shows return for a new season. It is also the return of college and professional football meaning some of us have mindless hours of TV watching over the weekend. Schools from preK to college are back in full swing (test, books, and all). For some of us September represent a fresh start and new beginnings. A time to finish what we started during the hot summer months or start something brand new altogether. A time to really grind in our careers, or take on a whole new career path.

So, to all my September born family, friends, online friends, bloggers, followers, etc. have a Happy September!