What is your ball? Inspired by Misha Horsey

We attended a conference in Philadelphia, PA in which PCRadio Live was honoring several people for their work in the community. During this event, I had the great pleasure of meeting a young lady by the name of Misha Horsey.

Misha Horsey is the co-founder of Pro Bound Training that teaches young female athletes from the age of 8-16 basketball skills such as ball handling and perimeter play. Their objective is to instruct their athletes in the techniques of ball handling as well as the fundamentals of an all-around game for aspiring female basketball athletes in efforts to compete at the next level. Pro Bound is committed to the development of their athletes, so every session is intense and treated as if it were an actual game. Every drill simulates in-game situation.

As I am learning about Pro Bound, I am thinking they are teaching something much greater than basketball skills. They are instilling discipline & structure. They are teaching these young ladies to challenge themselves in intense situations. Take what they have learned and move to the next level. They are equipping them with life skills.

Misha stated, “I knew when I had that ball in my hand it was my way out.” And immediately I knew I had to ask that question. What is your ball? What is that one thing in your life that will take you to the next level? Get you out of poverty? Get you out of a mundane stressful life? Get you out of mediocracy? Get you out of your shell? Take you to a position of giving back to others? It may or may not be a basketball, football, golf ball or any other type of sports tool, but you have a ball. We all have a ball, and that ball is what we find joy in doing. It is that thing that has a special place in our heart. That ball may not be easy to carry. It may not be easy to obtain. It may be hard to control. It may not be easy to explain to someone else. It may lead to some long and tiresome days. I also know this is not as easy as it sounds.

But after you identify your ball, pick it up, and every time you put your hand on that ball act on it with intensity and treat it as you are in a real life situation and make it simulate life as you have dreamed it. Do as Misha at Pro Bound Training is doing and stay on top of your game.

Visit Misha Horsey at http://www.proboundtraining.com.

 

© 2017 All words & images by Tanya Graham unless otherwise noted.

 

 

 

What is Freedom? (The Move part 6)…2 min. read

Early morning walks at the Historical Martin Luther King Center is an experience that most do not have the privilege.  This day is cool, slightly breezy with an overcast. It’s beautiful out here. I can feel the cool air caressing my skin making me feel alive. I am taking deep breaths, clearing my mind, and rejuvenating my body. I can feel my body increasing with life and energy. My mind is thinking of new opportunities. 

However, as I continued to walk and look at the different plaques that spelled out famous quotes and historical information about Dr. King, I began to think “What is freedom?”.  I thought about some of the many definitions of freedom from the past and the present. But I could not kick the thought of what freedom meant to me at this period of my life.

Transparency is something that I have had and still continue to struggle with in my life. Never really felt anyone could fix any part of my life other than myself. I even went through a period in my life when I questioned if God really cared enough to guide me through. So I often ask myself is “freedom” when you have gotten everything right? Is “freedom” when all the mixed up missing pieces have fallen in place? Is “freedom” when all your love ones have finally gotten it right and you do not have to worry and cry as much? None of these could possibly be the answer because if it was…we would all be in bondage.

This move has allowed me the opportunity to experience history every day. Not just the history of the past but the opportunity to make history in the present. A history that no matter my current situations I will make a difference in someone’s life even if it is not the ones I thought I would make the biggest impact on. So often we feel the greatest impact should be on those that we are closest to. Those that we have given the most attention and support to. But I am learning that “freedom” means more than any of the things I mentioned. I will not attempt to define freedom for anyone but I do know that I must stand for something in this life and each day that I am working toward that goal “freedom” is what I have. 

I leave you with this quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

No one really knows why they are alive until they know what they’d died for.              -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

So if I die tomorrow I will know that I lived to make a positive impact on those around me regardless of their responses, achievements, or failures.

~TanyaG

Living Your Life Out Loud (The Move part 5)

Crossing the Bridge Into a New Year (The Move part 4)

The Move (Blog – Part 3)

© 2017 All words & images by Tanya Graham unless otherwise noted.

My Plan Not My Purpose (part 4)…2 min. read

Just as I was about to settle into my new freedom another thorn stabbed me deeply. I awoke abruptly from my spell.

His actions affected me with the piercing pain of thorns from a “rose” bush. However, I did not see a beautiful rose flower in my presence. My mind drifted into hollowness. I began to hallucinate of beautiful roses that symbolized beauty and love. My nostrils inhaled pleasant scents that made me feel at peace. A spectrum of glowing colors burst in my optical senses. I was overwhelmed with such ecstasy and serenity. I took a deep breath.  I was feeling overjoyed that I was finally in my purpose. I could feel my body becoming lighter. My muscles relaxing. There was a crispness and clarity to my thinking.  God, I haven’t felt this feeling in a long time. If I had ever felt it at all.

Just as I was about to settle into my new freedom another thorn stabbed me deeply.

I awoke abruptly from my spell.

The room was filled with people. I had forgotten where I was. The thorns of lust were jabbing deep. Their eyes and body movements showed their attraction to each other. Her desire to be the attention of the false illusions that were inhabiting this space revealed itself each time she tried to look through me to him. She stood with a sensualness that I did not have the confidence to hold. She giggled like a mindless child playing with her favorite cousin at a sleepover. The smell of roses that occupied my nostrils during my hallucination was actually instigating from this girl that now challenged the entire room. Challenged the relationship that I ignorantly misunderstood was more important than my own sanity.

But I discerned my place in this space. I never was supposed to be here. I wasn’t supposed to be in his company. I wasn’t supposed to be in such a challenge because it was not part of my purpose. I wasn’t supposed to be holding this drink. Or in this room where these thorns of disrespect, disregard, and dishonesty were making me bleed from my soul.

I was disheartened. My plan, not my purpose had me bleeding. With each drop of blood, I felt myself losing control and my mind drifting back to that hollowness but this time my nostrils smelled the aroma of a stench. The disgusting odor of dreams dying because none of us would admit the plan that we wrote for ourselves was unbecoming of our purpose. The weeds disguising themselves as beautiful roses were suffocating me.

My plan, not my purpose was leading me to nowhere.

To be continued…

My Plan Not My Purpose (part 3)

My Plan Not My Purpose (part 2)

My Plan Not My Purpose

©2017 All words & images by Tanya Graham unless otherwise noted.

My Plan Not My Purpose (part 3)…2 min. read

As I walked each day to clear my head and shed the tears of regret, I begin to devise a way to say “I messed up. I am sorry. I am lost to my next step.”

Part 3

The streets are lit, busy and filled with litter. Not just the litter of empty bottles of Cisco, Alizé, MD 20/20, Malibu, Jack Daniels, Thunderbird, Colt 45, Old English, old cigarette butts, and fast food boxes from all the restaurants the lined the streets of this impoverished neighborhood… but deeply littered with lost souls with no direction. Souls like mine that were embarrassed and angry that their plan, not their purpose was taken them to nowhere. But unlike me, most did not know the difference between their plan and their purpose. They did not know the magnitude of their misdirection. 

Their days filled with drugs and alcohol showed on the young women with vanishing clothing, loose talk, and behaviors that mimicked the overgrown and wildly growing weeds that lined the streets. Pretending they did not need or want a man with purpose, drive, and ambition.

The boys trying to portray themselves as men but only successful at passing themselves a blunt. A blunt of idiocy that gave them a false illusion of control, dominance, power, confidence, achievement and success. Only to sit the next day in front of the little television that sits propped on the chair serving as entertainment that in a short period of time proved to be their distraction out of poverty.

Sadly, I knew it all to be a lie. And it haunted me with each waking day, with each step in the wrong direction, with each tear I shed. Each time I compromised my purpose to pretend that my plan was working just as I had planned in my undeveloped mind with lack of experience. How do I escape the position I placed myself? How do I say “My plan was full of childish decisions of false illusions of grandeur” that was supposed to be better than the couple of years of education I had completed at one of the best colleges in Georgia?

As I walked each day to clear my head and shed the tears of regret, I begin to devise a way to say “I messed up. I am sorry. I am lost to my next step” because my next step could lead me into drug addiction, prostitution, or even death. But this too proved to be as hard as the souls that walked with me. As hard as the souls that littered the streets of this impoverished neighborhood that was lined with empty bottles of false illusions and overgrown weeds disguising themselves as people.

My plan.

Not my purpose.

Was still taken me to nowhere. To be continued.

©2017 All words & images by Tanya Graham unless otherwise noted.

 

My Plan Not My Purpose (part 2)

My Plan Not My Purpose

 

Living Your Life Out Loud (The Move part 5)…2 min. read

Michelle Obama Farewell Speech with Oprah was on my list of shows to watch in the new year. As I sat watching the interview on YouTube, I knew that I would be inspired. There was no way that inspiration would bypass me while sitting watching two of the most powerful and influential women in the world. But I wanted to be more than inspired to watch and feel hopeful, I wanted to be inspired enough to change. Inspired enough to live my life in a way that would evoke change in others.

This statement from the First Lady moved me.

“Let me live my life out loud so that people can then see and then judge for themselves. Live it out loud. Don’t dial it back. Don’t dilute it. Don’t apologize for it.”

So how do I “live my life out loud”? How do I say exactly what needs to be said? How do I take advantage of those special teachable moments without actually saying a word? My actions are speaking with such authority my lips need not move. My life is speaking out loud with…no dialing back…no diluting…no apologizing. All without losing the effectiveness of the message I am trying to convey. The answer sadly is “I do not know”. I am learning.

I began to think…Can this be done with an assertiveness that makes people watch and listen? A way that does not offend but creates a desire to look within. A way that will impact the people that I see every day. Or even a couple times a month.

This historical area is ever changing but hurting. Buildings and homes are being renovated. New businesses are moving in. People are coming into town to enjoy the eclectic venues, good food, and spirits. But, in between all of this, we have a group of people that are lost. Consumed with the use of drugs, the selling of drugs, prostitution, panhandling, disease, and hunger. It is not only my responsibility to live in a way that provokes hope but to also provoke a different way of thinking and living.

Yes. I know sometimes the way I talk you would think I moved to an entirely different country rather than just a different city less than an hour away. Although the distance is not so great, the world that I have been divinely appointed to be a part of is quite different than that I have lived for my forty plus years. Some days I pray with a vengeance that it is divine and not of my own will, because if not, this may go horribly wrong.

Since the temperature in Atlanta was well below freezing the last couple of days, we had quite a few homeless people that continued to come in and out of the store trying to stay warm. This calls for heightened security, awareness, a special level of sympathy and a whole lot of patience. So often I struggle to balance business and outreach. But in order for me to be effective; I need to be able to present and represent my business goals and my limits of outreach. I believe the most effective and successful people can do this unapologetically, without dialing it back, without diluting their life down to a “message” that appeals to everyone but impacts no one.

I know this can be very difficult to comprehend. But I think if we all take some time to really think about whether we are “living out loud” and living an impactful life, we would start making some changes. That statement made by the First Lady probably meant something totally different for her just as it will mean something totally different to me and you but we all can decide to live in a way that will positively impact our individual “worlds”.

Please feel free to share.

-TanyaG

Crossing the Bridge Into a New Year (The Move part 4)

The Move (Blog – Part 3)

The Move (Blog – Part 2)

The Move (Blog)

© 2017 All words & images by Tanya Graham unless otherwise noted.

Crossing the Bridge Into a New Year (The Move part 4)…2 min. read

Almost the end of the year and I am feeling overwhelmed, heavy-hearted and anxious for the new year. I have typed and erased this blog more times than I would like to admit. I wrote a post about the new house. I wrote a post about some people in the neighborhood then I wrote a post about the Christmas Holiday. All of them I read and re-read then decided they were irrelevant since time had continued to tick before I could hit the “Publish” button. 

Then I told myself if I could get out and take some pictures throughout the city something inside me would spark. It would spark my heart, mind, and creative spirit but to my surprise, it did not happen. As I sit here in my little but cozy home still decorated with the beautiful  Christmas tree that my husband, mom, and son surprised me with one day while I was working, I am still finding it hard to find the right words. What is important? I think I am finding this hard because I really would like to share something that is important to me as well as important to you. I ask myself –  is it really important that someone walked up to my front door and stole my Christmas wreath right off the door? Is it really important that a day does not go by in which I am in some way or another engaged in the conversation of using drugs, buying drugs, or some type of criminal activity? Is it really important that I do not understand all the people and lifestyles around me?

This year has been an evolving learning experience for me. Can I sum it up in a few words without letting this go on forever? Well, let’s see.

I have met people who are living on the streets by choice. Met people living on the streets because they are not in their right minds. I have met people who commit crimes without a heart of regret. I have met people who commit crimes because they know no other way to survive. 

This year I have watched a family member make choices that I did not understand. Choices that made me rethink every decision I had made in the last 20 years. As these decisions are being made with disregard to the hearts that are silently praying, I experienced the transition of my grandmother. An experience that I never really thought would come but I should probably not be sad because God blessed her with a long life. As I began to come to grips with this year ending with only a couple of events that shook me to slight unstableness, I hear the news of someone I worked with for quite a few years passing away tragically just 2 days before Christmas. A life much younger than my grandmother. A life too young for death leaving behind a beautiful family. 

Now it is less than a week before the new year “2017” and my heart is overwhelmed, heavy-hearted and anxious.

  • My heart is overwhelmed with gratitude that even though I have experienced loss and disappointment that I can still see hope in the future. Hope in that no decision or situation that I or my loved one’s experience is forever. Overwhelmed with gratitude for my husband, family, business and our home to lay our head at night (no matter how big or small).
  • My heart is heavy only for the moments I missed to love and show appreciation for those that are no longer with us because our time here we do not know. It can be much longer than we expected or sooner than we feel is fair. But it will be okay because more of those moments will come for sure.
  • My heart is anxious for a new year of opportunities to respond differently to people.  To respond differently to the situations I find myself in. Anxious for opportunities to love better than I have in the past that includes loving myself more.

As I know I will shed a few more tears whether in joy or pain before the new year comes, I am grateful for the times, the experiences, the people, and the spirits that have passed through my life. I lift my hands in prayer for us all. Let us be overwhelmed with gratitude; cherish our moments; and be anxious for nothing but the opportunity to love better.

-TanyaG

The Move (Blog – Part 3)

The Move (Blog – Part 2)

The Move (Blog)

© 2016 All words & images by Tanya Graham unless otherwise noted.

The Move (Blog – Part 3)…2 min. read

I’ve had a few request from some of my readers to see the inside of our house. Some parts are a little scary looking but we are making great progress. These pictures are actually better than when we first came in. We have moved trash from the inside, swept and mopped throughout the house so it didn’t seem so scary to move around in. Remember this is a small house so there isn’t a lot of pictures. I think the people and the neighborhood are more interesting than the house anyway.

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Living Room

This first picture is our living room. It is the first room you see when you come into the house. It feels so weird to walk directly into your living area. I am so used to having a foyer. The room is quite small. We can barely fit our sofa, loveseat, and coffee table in the room comfortably and still have room to dance around.

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The Disgusting Ceiling

I know you probably have that disgusting frown on your face with your little voice screaming “I would never live there! Look at that ceiling!” Well, my usual little calm & reasoning voice was screaming “What am I getting myself into?!” And guess what, this wasn’t the only room with water stains.  But you should know, we got it under control. We had roofers come out to patch up the leaks on the outside then we painted the ceiling. You wouldn’t even know there was a ceiling leak.

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The Overly Green Bathroom

Now I am not a hater of the color green but I do hate the green in our bathroom. Although I am the last to talk, since I just leased out a house with some really horrible paint color in the bathroom (but that is what you get when you trust someone else to pick out the colors). This bathroom has an interesting combination of green, teal blue and black. If you take a peek into the mirror, you can see what I am talking about. Look close you will see it. Every part of this bathroom must be painted and the toilet is cracked so it must go as well.

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The Plain Kitchen

Okay. Here is the kitchen. Nothing extravagant but I really like it. The floors are going to be cleaned. They remind me of the floors in some of the Spanish style homes. A little hot water and bleach go a long way to brighten up the cabinets so they bring a clean look and fresh air into the room. Some decorations and new chandelier make for a great little kitchen.

Needless to say, I am loving this neighborhood so it makes up for the work we have to do in the house. Most of our time is spent outside of the house preparing and speaking about issues in our community, feeding, and clothing the homeless as best we can, and running our neighborhood store and ministry.

Like I have said this historical neighborhood on the eastside of Atlanta with its mixed-use developments, ever increasing Beltline developments, and the mixture of races and lifestyles is more interesting and more exciting to explore.

But I do think you will like the after pictures a lot better.

As I continue discovering “what I am doing & why”, I look forward to talking about the new and the familiar people and experiences that I will and have encountered.

To read more about THE MOVE please follow my blog. Don’t forget to go back and read.

The Move (Blog – Part 2)

The Move (Blog)

© 2016 All words & images by Tanya Graham unless otherwise noted.