Being that one

We have that one (or more) people in our life that is a role model, guiding light and sense of motivation. They’re who we vent to, go for comfort and for truth.

My Aunt Margaret Gaines was that for me and more. It will hurt me for a while that I can’t pick up the phone and call her just to talk.

Therefore, make yourself available to others to talk and be open. Treat those folks as they wish to be treated and as you wish to be treated. Be honest with folks and have caring words.

You want to really ensure you know that person and are interested in their life. Don’t steer them wrong in your advice and words. Do let then be adults and respect their decision.

Check on them randomly and do random acts of kindness. They should be able to feel and know your love.

I’m grateful that so many such as my precious Aunt Margaret have poured into me or listened to me vent. I hope I can or continue to be a shining light for someone else in need.

#imjustdrew #fromdarktosunshine

Margaret McGill Gaines: So Many Words

It’s always kind and positive words when one speaks about my departed Aunt Margaret McGill Gaines.

She was that person: Proverbs 31 woman; always staying in touch; very loving and inspiring; true example of what a Godly person is; and just an awesome gem of a person.

This is an especially hard loss for me, especially since we had such a close bond. Coupled with losing my cousin/her son G to COVID just a month ago, it’s a lot on my entire family.

Aunt Margaret was simply a shining example of positively and treating folks as they should be treated. She always knew the right words to say to someone regardless of the situation. She truly believed in equality also. She was born with many strikes against her and things could have went South. Aunt Margaret chose to accept Jesus Christ into her life and was a relentless spiritual warrior until she took her last breath.

She simply helped and poured into so many people: family, church folks, at her jobs, the schools, etc. It’s safe to say there will not be another like her and she’s rejoicing in Heaven.

Auntie was also a relentless worker.. She literally was employed most of her life; textile mills and later on returning to school and becoming a teacher’s assistant. She kept working after retirement as a substitute teacher and then COVID hit. Ironically that’s what took her out.

We could all benefit from the strength, grace and peace this woman possessed. She seemed to always bounce back and would inspire you when you thought you were trying to help her.

Rest in Power Aunt Margaret! I will miss our conversations and visits and I know you’re looking over us all now!

#imjustdrew #fromdarktosunshine #scaredeyes

The silent P

There’s no question people often see what they want to see. Moreover, it’s what they feel and associate with.

Decades later, many, many Winthrop alumns still think Thomson Hall (where “the Cafe” is) is spelled with a “P”. Being the grammar nerd I am, this still drives me bats. The name is clearly embroidered on both sides of the Hall. Also the proper spelling is in every brochure.

I then had to step back and think. Many, many associate Thompson with being spelled and pronounced with a P. That is honestly the 2nd time I have seen it without one. The silent “P” resonates mostly due to past experiences than what is actually shown in broad daylight.

I then saw a much hyped film on Netflix this weekend “Malcolm and Marie”. I was warned that it was about a toxic relationship, it would drain you, and you may feel some type of way afterwards.

I watched it, had my coping mechanisms all ready. It was a well written film and the acting was good. However both, especially the male, were overly dramatic. There was clearly a lot of unresolved mess in that relationship but to me, the film only shown bits and pieces of any abuse or toxicity. I left feeling unphased.

Bear in mind I am a writer that has experienced a ton of verbal abuse in various venues. I have also attended one act plays, love theatre, and am a forensics junkie. Therefore with all of this, I felt like much more could have been added to really make the audience feel the toxicity. It seemed more like an overly dramatic one act play that watered down the experience for the audience. That’s how I feel and it doesn’t mean I am wrong.

The point (with a P) here is that we see things through different lenses and that’s OK. We are not meant to be the same or to live in an echo chamber. Our experiences are what shapes up and makes us who we are as individuals. Both scenarios are different but show the results of having our own experiences and expectations. You are or will not see that “P” unless it is in your subconscious. To further my point, remember the “magic eye” pictures from the early 90s? Some people saw the same image, others saw nothing, some saw something different. It honestly meant something was there. Only that not everyone could see it.

Therefore really sit back and think before you expect everyone to see or feel what you’re supposed to feel. Unless they share every experience or trait you have, chances are they may miss something.

Understanding a person and communication goes a long way.

#imjustdrew #fromdarktosunshine #scaredeyes

Following Directions

I’m pretty sure I have referenced this more than twice in my writings and it’s importance.

Ok well social media has brought back more challenges: then and now, bussit and silhouette. I decided to do a #followingdirectionschallenge and see how it would go.

I have noticed if you ask someone to pick between Coke and Pepsi, someone is gonna say Dr. Pepper or RC Cola. Well I decided to make it clearer and if you did not follow directions in your response, it would be removed. Thus far, I’ve had nearly 50 responses and only 2 people failed to follow directions.

My hypothesis: people can follow directions when they choose to or are motivated. I speak about this with my coworkers when we train delivery drivers. Many of our trainees simply aren’t getting it or understanding, even after we break it down. Some people aren’t going to listen regardless (like those that refuse to wear a mask or social distance) and it’s interesting.

I just wouldn’t want to taste your cooking if you cannot follow directions. If it’s more of a freelance thing, that’s different. How hard is it really to follow directions? I will do more tests and find out?

#imjustdrew #fromdarktosunshine #scaredeyes #followingdirectionschallenge

Greg “G-Baby” Gaines: The Man’s Man, extrovert, family guy and very forward

It’s nice when some posts write themselves. This one of my cousin G definitely does that.

Many around the area and in the transportation world knew my cousin Greg “G-Baby” Gaines well. He never met a stranger, was confident and the life of the party but always willing to lend a helping hand to anyone in need.

He had a checkered past and made mistakes in his younger years. He bounced back and grew up, showing folks can change. He grew into an beloved and awesome son, father, grandpa (G-Paw), uncle, brother,husband, cousin and friend. He is loved and at worst respected by all that knew him.

G had a very nice gift of gab and could talk to anyone about anything. It could be about his kids, ladies, his beloved Dallas Cowboys, school, or doing the right things in life. He was the first person to tell me I look like our grandma Ellie Mae and I haven’t been able to unsee it.

He gave to many in need through community service or helping out someone else. If you called him for help, especially as a youth, he rarely if ever turned you down. He wanted to be there for so many.

His forward, confident nature didn’t vibe with everyone. You respected his hustle, flex and honesty at day’s end though. He had a grown man swagger and kindness that is unmatched.

G was not scared to call you on your crap, especially if he didn’t think you were reaching your full potential or you were headed down a bad path. It could get annoying but the dude cared.

It’s sad that he was a statistic to COVID-19. Perhaps it could inspire more to take the virus seriously since he did have quite a reach and platform. Right now is a time of mourning and celebration.

So for those that were closest to him: his cousins that he grew up with, parents, siblings, children, grandchildren, aunts, uncles and of course his wife. Continue to share pics and videos of G being G: laughing, smiling, helping others and of course dancing. He lived quite a good life despite many odds and that should be celebrated.

This is the saddest week for me with so many deaths, the Challenger and of course my brother’s death. It will serve as a reminder that death doesn’t have to be dark and scary. It’s a time of rejoicing and knowing where you can end up if your heart is pure and you live a proper life.

Rest In Power Gregory Lamar Gaines 1969-2021. As you would say “it’ll be a dun ball” when we reunite.

#imjustdrew #RIPGBABY #fromdarktosunshine

Self-Care in the form of art and painting

Before Sip and Paint events and the likes were popular, many thought you had to be Picasso to create a masterpiece or paint between the lines.

Now a certain natural born talent and skillset is expected to birth a masterpiece. However one can still be creative and release stress.

I recall doing some painting in my early years and my uncle and cousin were into painting model cars. I can now see why.

I participated in painting miniatures at Wisefire this past Friday and maan! That was so relaxing. It felt like I was doing yoga and getting a massage. All of my energy was focused on painting that figure. I’m blessed my hands are still steady enough to be able to do this. Beyond that, I did not realize how thereaputic art is.

I used to be intimidated by many of the painting events I saw. Now I want to try them all. I need all of the peace and tranquility I can see.

I highly recommend it for all!

#imjustdrew #scaredeyes

Reviews: Bridgerton v WW84

Ok being at home on vacation for the last few weeks, I’ve been watching a lot of shows and movies. Two of the most hyped and acclaimed are WW84 and Bridgerton and I see why.

To start off, one company showed what the audience and even the producer wanted; the other dared to be different.

I’m going to make this clear: WW84 is NOT a bad movie. It just had way too much of a slow period, was too much like an origin and the action was there but fans were already bored by then. This said, it’s for the fan that sees the deeper messages and what’s to come. We see who’s playing Asteria, some good lessons and redemptions, how cheesy the 80s can be, and finally Cheetah. DC wanted to tell an in depth story and they did. However often one must realize if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. They have finally been on the right track and now they will need to return to the lab for a better balance in part 3.

Shonda Rhimes sure knows the meaning of not trying to recreate the wheel and her audience with Bridgerton. It’s everything she wanted to do on ABC for 20 years plus add in the good love story in a period drama. If you’re a fan of her work and know her flow, then you won’t be surprised either way. In subsequent seasons, you won’t be surprised either. She saw that she needed another hit, Netflix is really capturing her demographic, it’s the end of the year and more folks are at home. Love or hate her work, she nailed it! She has a template and does not deviate from it.

So there you have it. Stay focused on what you know and what works. Also take heed when switching up on your audience. It can be easy to lose them and hard to regain them.

#imjustdrew #scaredeyes

2020 Holiday Letter

2020, wow, enough said!

I, like many others, didn’t think I would be distanced from so many people and activities I regularly enjoy. Aside from a mountain trip and possible excursion to Charleston, vacations were halted also. However, this year still had plenty of positives for me.

I welcomed more dogs and cats into my life to give the existing ones company. I didn’t see many prior to COVID and it’s good to have them and love them as my own family.

Personally and professionally, I feel things have gotten deeper and tighter. The racial, political and social injustice that has been 2020 has seen a lot of people keeping more than 6 feet away from me. I am speaking out and educating more folks about this and why it is still tough for a person of color. I am keeping myself safe and following CDC guidelines. Finally, it feels good to have a change of guard at the executive office (bye Trump) and hopefully the Georgia senate run-off can help with change as well.

I celebrated my 5th year working for Amazon and 25th year overall. I transferred in September from being a Learning Trainer in Charlotte to being a Delivery Driver Trainer in Greenville. I feel really blessed to be in a much more relaxed atmosphere, back in Upstate SC and still able to train others.

This is also my 10th year of blogging and my 20th anniversary of graduating from Winthrop University.

Two of my best friends reached milestones as well. My friend Rashad turned the big 4-0 and his son graduated high school and is a freshman at the College of Charleston. My friend Bill and his wife Felicia finally have their home and are getting it fixed up for a housewarming party and to live in.

My mom finally has her financial and medical situations at a good place. Finding psychiatric assistance in this area is still a challenge but we won’t give up. Home improvements have been slow but we are also not giving up there.

My uncle Kenny decided due to medical reasons to voluntarily step down from his role as a trustee for Anderson City jail and is back in the prison system. We did to have a brief visit with him before he moved. He has less privileges but is resting more.

I’m happy not only for Black-owned business that have survived 2020 but also small businesses in general. The one I frequent the most is Wisefire Cafe. Despite obstacles, they have thrived, made renovations to expand the place and even bring on a part-time barista. The town of Blacksburg was able to do some safe activities such as two carnivals and an adjusted Iron City Festival to help out the town. Gaffney did similar activities.

My own health is overall good but I have adjustments to make so I can be my best self inside and out. Keep praying for me because it is working.

I said goodbye to some that have been close to me: my aunt Sybel and my cousin Barbara Childers and other relatives I wasn’t acquainted with.

It’s indeed been a different year with Zoom meetings for business and pleasure, staying at home more often and watching more TV and reading more than I have in years. I continued to be blessed as always and am optimistic that things will look up.

I wish everyone a Happy Holidays as I want to cover every December holiday and not just Christmas.

Missing the Forest for the trees.

Can you believe this nightmarish of a year only has about 30 something days left?

That said, one lesson we should take away is not to miss the forest for the trees. I’m seeing a lot of people not seeing the big picture.

I finally got to get my coveted day trip to the mountains this weekend. I enjoyed the fresh air and scenery. When I was enroute home, I had a fresh view of the WNC mountains and it was awesome. Some ugly trees were in the way. It would have been so easy for me to focus on those trees but I did not. I had a slice of Heaven on my passenger side and loved it!

I posted a meme of a couple with an insane amount of food on their bed that stated “Would You Like This Type Of Date?”. It was referring to a stay at home date opposed to going out. So many people were focused on that food that will be larger than some Thanksgiving spreads this week.

I had to shake my head at how much I have seen this. It’s easy to get distracted by irrevalant details. We simply need to be bigger picture folks and see the point.

Many people could benefit from this and the world would be kinder and easier to live in. Enjoy your forest!

#imjustdrew #fromdarknesstosunshine #scaredeyes

On my BS

We have had one crazy week. Summer part 8, Election Day part 5 (and counting), all of my sports teams won, and my BP took its once per decade spike.

It’s a good time to get on my BS with all of this horror movie pettiness.

Biden won’t finish his term but he will get a lot more accomplished than people think. To all those that voted this year, maintain that energy for 2022 if you want the legislative branch to remain the same or sway in your favor. Biden is only one person: he and Kamala need help.

That said, Jaime Harrison has gotten a lot of attention. When Biden chooses his cabinet, I don’t think he’s going to forget that

Many of my WU folks will create their own alternate virtual Homecoming. Even if it’s just a few of us getting up at Empire or even one of the spots White Horse was at.

I will eventually get my mountain day trip before it gets too cold.

When I re enter the dating pool, many of these women that have curved me will stalk me

The Ninja Foodi grill is gonna change my cooking life!

This month I’m cutting down the year long honey-do list of mine

The social calendar is filling back up but I am turning down more invites as COVID is still around

I will find a way to deep fry my turkey since I’m not househopping this year

Someone will offer to give me a pig

I will win at least one of my fantasy football leagues this year

I will have Firesticks in both of my rooms and will have a Baby Yoda doll

My second book will win myself some awards in 2021

I will finally be in a relationship on my birthday in 2021

I will catch COVID but fortunately there will be a treatment by then

Don’t take all of this seriously

I plan on another career move, stay tuned!