Kindness in a Time of Uncertainty

A few weeks ago, a stranger paid for my lunch. This random act of unexpected kindness was shocking. Had it not been for my temporary state of disbelief, I may had “paid it forward” immediately. However, this weekend, I saw the perfect opportunity for kindness in this current time of uncertainty.

Let's make a world of kindness in a time of uncertainty
At any time in this world, someone is dealing with uncertainty. Always find kindness in your words, actions, and thoughts!

I went to a store to buy a couple of items. During checkout, I noticed some bagged items had been left. I brought the bags to the attention of the cashier, hoping that no one left them accidentally. Afterwards, the cashier motioned toward the near-by customer using the phone. Then the cashier realized that the customer was attempting to use an EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer/ Food Stamp) card, which the store did not accept. As I finished my transaction, I quietly asked the balance of the other customer’s purchases and paid for it before they had the chance to leave the building.

Kindness is Contagious

Kindness is contagious! Although we will witness some ‘ugly’ acts such as hoarding needed supplies, we often see very beautiful acts of kindness during our most difficult times. We could never predict the exact affect of such actions. We cannot know with certainty how many lives a seemingly small act can touch. The recipient may pay-it-forward with kind words to a friend or an unexpected call to family member. Perhaps they will be encouraged to help an elderly or physically challenged person with a difficult task. Or just maybe, they become a little less bias because of receiving kindness from someone they normally would judge as ‘bad’.

We do know, however, that we all can greatly benefit from kindness. Check out these Kindness Health Facts! And if you have never visited the Random Acts of Kindness website, please check out their wonderful resources!

Kindness in a Time of Uncertainty

Many of us are currently connected through the unprecedented times that we are currently in, but please remember that people all around the world are in crises and are suffering everyday. When new cases plateau and the threat level has receded, don’t forget to be kind to the man, woman, or child fleeing from extremely impoverished and/or war-torn countries. Do not forget to be kind to the activist fighting to improve the community of children who live in uncertainty everyday. Be kind to the homeless, even if it is just an acknowledging smile. Kindness is always needed!

Kindness in Action

I would love to hear from you! What are some acts of kindness that you have experienced?

Many of us are staying home more then usual. What are you watching, reading, or listening to in order to stay busy or entertained? What hobbies are you picking up? Which interests are you building upon?

A lot of us parents are overseeing school assignments that are usually completely at school. Teachers, what advice to you have for parents? What resources do you suggest? What special accommodations are you making for your students?

Some of us are cooking at home more. Are you trying any new meals? Do you have tips or recipes to share?

Let’s share and spread kindness!

Support Not Mad. Motivated.

Tennessee Orange Youth Size XS

As always, we invite you to support Not Mad. Motivated. Please leave a comment, subscribe to our blog and/or newsletter. Visit our shop and help us spread the Not Mad. Motivated. mindset with every purchase of a t-shirt or tote. Our current inventory of youth size t-shirt are $10 online until they are gone. We only have six shirts in our smallest size, XS. Show your support by purchasing one today!

Teaching Future Leaders

Every day is a opportunity to make a better tomorrow!

For weeks, the lyrics to Greatest Love of All have been playing in my mind often. I believe the children are our future. Really, I do. Teach them well and let them lead the way! We are constantly teaching the youth in our lives with our words and actions. Whether we like it or not, what we say or do to or around children can greatly influence our future leaders and communities. In other words, we can make a difference on how they view themselves and others, how they react to disappointments and difficulties, and how they celebrate accomplishments. So when we are around children, we should remember that we are teaching our future leaders!

Show them all the beauty they possess inside. Let us encourage the youth. Highlight their strengths, while advising them in areas that they have opportunities for growth.

Give Them a Sense of Pride to Make it Easier

A Little Bit of Everything: Hygiene

There is a segment in the Not Mad. Motivated. Newsletter called A Little Bit of Everything: Starting Conversations with the Youth in Our Lives. In our first issue, January 2020, our focus is on hygiene. Although most children learn about aspects of hygiene at an early age, it is important to keep those conversations going and the lines of communication open.

Talk about the different types of hygiene and the benefits of healthy practices. Discuss when and how to wash hands, clip nails, brush teeth, etc. Evaluate if skin and hair are getting moisturized properly. If there is physical evidence of the need for improvement, help pinpoint what is being done incorrectly. Revisiting these types of lessons can be very helpful.

Poor hygiene habits can also affect your self-esteem. Looking and feeling presentable can give you a confidence boost and a sense of pride in your appearance.

Creating a Personal Hygiene Routine: Tips and Benefits

If necessary, establish a hygiene routine. Include tasks such as washing clothes, changing sheets, towels, and pillowcases, and cleaning living environment. These tasks are not just chores, they are extensions of our wellness habits.

A Little Bit of Everything: Following Instinct

Our second issue, February 2020, we are encouraged to speak to our youth about trusting their instinct. One way to do this is to talk to them about their feelings and to value the thoughts that they share. We have to help build their confidence while they are young so that they are better equip to make those hard decisions later.

Acknowledge their perspectives, and value their choices. Don’t fault them for trusting their own instincts, even if their choice doesn’t match yours.

5 Ways To Teach Your Child To Trust Their Instincts, According To Experts

Check out 25 Things You Can Do Right Now To Build a Child’s Confidence!

Let the Children’s Laughter Remind Us How We Used To Be

No one has a perfect childhood. Therefore, being reminded of how things used to be may not always bring up the best memories. However, if your childhood is overshadowed by negativity, let the youth of today be your way to “make it right”. Be reminded of the good that you experienced. As far as the bad, be reminded of the love and compassion that you deserved! Let’s stop teaching our future leaders destructive cycles of hurt (disguised as anger) and abuse.

Home and school should be safe havens for our youth. Everybody’s searching for a hero. People need someone to look up to. Be that person that the youth in your life can look up to! We do not want to make “our children” look too far for a hero; they may find someone not worthy of that title. So be the model that they need to see.

Teaching Future Leaders: A Not Mad. Motivated. Point of View

My oldest son has been struggling academically, while my middle son struggles with behavior at times. Although there are some elements of each of these circumstances that have been frustrating, I have decided to get back to the basics! Starting with establishing better hygiene practices to build a solid foundation of confidence and self-esteem.

It could be easy to get upset and blame children for their challenges but I understand that their “failures” are really representations of my own failures. So I’m Not Mad. I am Motivated. I want to encourage my children, and any child, to look at their struggles as opportunities for solution. Above all, I want to inspire parents, teachers, and caregivers to model the Not Mad. Motivated. mindset to the children in their lives. We need to uplift our future leaders and accept that if they fail, it is because we failed them somewhere along the way.

End-of-Inventory Sale on Youth Shirts!
Stay Motivated!

Help us get the Not Mad. Motivated. message to communities across the country by purchasing a t-shirt or tote! We want to spread encouragement to people of all ages, but have a special interest in uplifting our young community. With this in mind, our youth size t-shirt will be sold at $10 each until we run out of our current inventory.

Pizza, Cars, and Confederate Flags

Tickets and passes from the Bank of America 500 NASCAR race held at Charlotte Motor Speedway in October 2017.
Bank of America 500 tickets and passes from 2017.

Are you are wondering how pizza, cars, and confederate flags go together? Read how these three thing aligned within my world one day in 2017.

A Finalist

On Thursday, October 5, 2017, I got a voicemail that I could not believe! The follow-up email stated:

You entered into our contest to win an all-new Toyota Camry last month and you have been chosen as a finalist!
You are one of three finalists who have the opportunity to win the car. The final part of the contest will happen this Sunday, 10/8, at Charlotte Motor Speedway before the Bank of America race.

Digital Strategy for Papa John’s of the Carolinas

Can you imagine? I did enter the contest. I used promotional code PAPAWHEELS when I ordered a $9.99 Papa John’s pizza. That’s it! I had some doubts about the whole thing, but I was assured that someone would leave a winner. With a 1 out of 3 chance of winning, I could not resist confirming my intentions to make the two hour drive. My family was invited, and win or lose, it was a new experience for everyone.

Pre-race Show Excitement

We were up and out early Sunday morning in order to make it to the track by 9:45am. Our VIP treatment started with a golf cart meeting us in the parking lot and driving us to the infield. The Pre-race show was already going strong. Fans were everywhere! Giveaways, celebrity NASCAR guests, all going on as the Papa John’s team prepared the three finalist for the contest.

The time came for our part of the show. The hosts moved from the main stage to the stage featuring a 2018 Toyota Camry and started introducing the contest and the finalists. They called me Margaret Brown. My name is not Margaret Brown. I immediately wondered if that “slip up” was a reference to my Brown skin, but then my thoughts were right back to winning my car – I was claiming it!

The contest was simple. A trunk full of single pizza boxes with a few of them colored gold. The finalists takes turn finding a gold one until they find one with a code. The code in the box matches a code on a key. If your key starts the car, you win. And guess who won!

The 2018 Toyota Camry SE in Galactic Aqua won from Papa John’s of the Carolinas at the Bank of America 500

Pizza, Cars, and Confederate Flags

We had a great time at our first NASCAR events! After the rock climbing wall, bouncing obstacle course, and some lunch, we headed to the grandstand to watch some of the race. Like a bunch of amateurs, we sat in the first row as if they were the most sought after seats. But when those cars came around, we realized that they were NOT popular seats for a real good reason. I did learn something priceless though. My youngest son, who was diagnosed with Autism months earlier, seemed to be soothed by the noise or vibrations.

It was such a fun outing and an amazing experience. Although, all the confederate flags in the infield were very distracting to me.

Photos displaying confederate flags at the Bank of America 500
Confederate flags at NASCAR race in North Carolina.

Had I paid attention to NASCAR, and its history, these flags would have not caught me of guard. However, seeing the flags did trigger a subconscious knowledge of such relationship.

The confederate flag once was as much a part of the NASCAR landscape as the green, yellow and checkered.

Confederate emblems decorated race souvenir programs, and a man dressed as a rebel soldier was a regular in victory lane celebrations at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina.

NASCAR fans: Confederate flag still important symbol
USA TODAY

Remove the “Offensive Symbol”?

Formal NASCAR chairman, Brian France, eventually called for, but did not require, the removal of the “offensive symbol” in 2015. Some tracks even offering to exchange the controversial flag with an American flag. France, grandson of NASCAR co-founder Bill France Sr., later went on to endorse Trump in 2016, proclaiming:

If the people that like and watch NASCAR vote for Donald Trump, they can cancel the election right now. Nobody else can win. Nobody.

NASCAR fans: Confederate flag still important symbol
USA TODAY

He also went on to plead guilty for DUI after an 2018 DUI and possession of Oxycodone (a controlled substance) arrest. Jim France, uncle to Brian France and son of Bill France Sr., is the new NASCAR Chairman and CEO. Will ideas about the confederate flag, and its role within NASCAR, change under his leadership? I don’t know, but I do know that Trump is the Grand Marshall of this week’s Dayton 500.

A Not Mad. Motivated. Point of View

There you have it! This is how pizza, cars and confederate flags have intersected in my life. Being called Margaret Brown in this environment was a bit frustrating. However, I used the car that I won to help start Not Mad. Motivated.!

Seeing those flags caused all sort of feelings, but outside of my own family’s enjoyment, I saw something else that made me extremely happy! Another Black family! What made this family special is not that they were Black; it is that they were being themselves.

It was before the race and a NASCAR driver was being driven through the crowd. The dad urged the son, who was dressed down in NASCAR appeal, to get an autograph. With the son’s hesitation, the dad grabbed the son’s hat, ran aside the golf cart next to the NASCAR driver, and got the autograph that he knew his son desired. The son displayed an undeniable reaction of a true fan!

Don’t get me wrong, I did not experience any hatred from any person that I interacted with that day. Everyone was actually very pleasant and welcoming. It was just those flags and beliefs that they symbolize to me and to many.

We have ‘symbols’ that can trigger the worst of our feelings and behaviors, but we win when we find the motivation to thrive beyond those negative feelings. We would love your help in spreading the Not Mad. Motivated. mindset! Let’s turn failures into fuel, obstacles into opportunities, and mistreatment into movements! Shop Not Mad. Motivated.

Reparations Plus Interest: A Not Mad. Motivated. Point of View

February 2020 - Reparations Plus Interest

I starting working on my credit when I was in college. I was approved for a loan to purchase a house and I thought that my work paid off. When I bought my house 13 years ago, my excitement was sky high. That was before I realized how much interest I was expected to pay. That realization definitely diminished the moment some.

I still live in the house that I “bought” in 2007. After a few years of financial instability (mostly due to a toxic relationship), I pretty much owe the same amount on my home loan. This shocking reality is where my thoughts went after hearing about talks on Reparations for Slavery. My conclusion. . . let’s start talking about Reparations plus interest.

What is Reparation?

Reparation: the act of making amends, offering expiation, or giving satisfaction for a wrong or injury.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Our history has many examples in which amends were attempted through reparations. The German government continues to pay reparations to Holocaust survivors and to the State of Israel. The United Kingdom paid over $25 million to over 5,000 Kenyan who suffered torture and abuse during the Mau Mau uprising “at the hands of the colonial administration” in the 1950s.

A Selection of U.S. Reparations

The U.S. did provided “reparations” to Native Americans as payment for seized land.

However, the actual funds only averaged out to about $1,000 per person of Native American ancestry, and most of the money was put in trust accounts held by the United States government, which has been accused of mismanagement over the years.

Native American Reparations: Belated Payment for Unjustly Seized Land
The Thorny History of Reparations in the United States

When the U.S. government overthrew the Kingdom of Hawai’i, Native Hawaiians where forced to live in crowded cities. Many Natives died from foreign diseases. As “reparations” for the land, people of at least one-half Hawaiian ancestry by blood could lease homesteads from the federal government for 99 years at a time for a total of $1.

Much of the land was remote and unfit for development, and it put people who married non-Native Hawaiians at risk of losing their land. Today, those problems persist.

Native Hawaiian Reparations: Land Leases for the Overthrow of a Kingdom
The Thorny History of Reparations in the United States

After a lawsuit for being left untreated for syphilis while in a “treatment program”, victims of Tuskegee Experiment were awarded $10 million, healthcare and burial services. The state eventually awarded healthcare and other services to the men’s spouses and descendants, too.

Decades later, the experiment is correlated with increases in mistrust of the medical establishment, overall mortality and reluctance to see medical providers among black men, who face significant health disparities compared to their white counterparts in the United States.

Tuskegee Experiment Reparations: Compensation for Medical Brutality
The Thorny History of Reparations in the United States

Reparations Plus Interest: A Not Mad. Motivated. Point of View

When we think about reparations for the U.S. enslavement of (descendants of) Africans, many of us will think of “40 acres and a mule”.

By June [1865], roughly 40,000 Blacks had settled on four hundred thousand acres of land before Confederate landowners, aided by the new Johnson administration, started taking back “their” land.

An Historical Timeline of Reparations Payments Made From 1866 through 2019 by the United States Government, States, Cities, and Universities
Reparations Payments Made in the United States by the Federal Government, States, Cities, Religious Institutions, and Colleges and Universities

Wide-spread land ownership for newly “freed” Blacks could had been a game-changer! These were incredibly skilled people. They were blacksmiths, carpenters, shoemakers, weavers, cooks, caregivers, and more. Within this population was every talent needed to build up successful communities. Although such communities did emerge, it was at a much smaller scale than true reparations would have allowed.

Enslavement was devastating enough, but compounding it with systemic racism was and continues to be cruel. And that’s the reason for saying when we talk about reparations for slavery, we should be talking reparations plus interest! Land is great – I would love not to spend another $80-100K in interest for a house that is barely worth that amount. However, the very minimum should include free education and unlimited medical care of choice for the generational stress.

Do you think Reparations plus interest is a fair concept? If so, support Not Mad. Motivated. and let’s get the word out together.

We now have Reparations plus interest shirts and totes available!

Have a Not Mad. Motivated. New Year!

Are you doing anything special to prepare yourself for a new year? At Not Mad. Motivated., we are planning a Motivated New Year and we are loving it! We are developing goals in order to provide you with more content that inspires, encourages, uplifts, and connects our communities.

What to Expect from Not Mad. Motivated. in 2020

With excitement, we will launch the Not Mad. Motivated. Newsletter in early 2020, which we intend to deliver monthly! We are looking forward to our newsletter being energizing and thought-provoking for the creators and readers, alike. Remember to subscribe to our newsletter so you do not miss a single issue.

Also new in 2020 will be our weekly blogs. An important aspect that we will bring to our blog is active goal setting. Setting goals helps improve productivity, focus, and growth, but sharing goals with others can add a useful level of accountability! If you feel the desire to share your goals for the year, month, week, or day with the Not Mad. Motivated. community, you are welcome to leave a comment on this, or any, blog post. We would love to hear the success that you are planning to achieve – not matter how small or large!

In addition to our monthly newsletter and weekly blogs, we offer merchandise at our shop. Your support will help us build a sustainable business to create future employment for our Autistic family member. Purchasing a t-shirt will also help us all remember that obstacles may occur but when we use our obstacles as motivation for new solutions and positive outcomes, we win! Wearing a Not Mad. Motivated. t-shirt really can help boost my mood and mindset!

Our NMMountain t-shirt comes in many colors. Check out our shop for more options.

This is an exciting time at Not Mad. Motivated.! I pray for us all to have a Motivated New Year! God Willing, we will have good health, success, growth, and achievement in 2020.