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BurnBush_052910_02a SMALLERBy ellis j. still

People sometimes say that dogs and their owners start to look alike over time. While I certainly hope that isn’t the case, I can say that we adopt mannerisms from each other. Here are five things that I learned from our family dog, Peanut:

  1. Bacon makes everything taste better. Everything.
  2. Life is fun. Live is a vibrant canvas from which to play around with. Sure, one does face life’s challenges, but only for a short time. Joy comes with the morning.
  3. Unconditional love is beneficial. Love is patient, love is kind, love is not jealous, it does not boast, it does not become conceited, it does not behave dishonorably, it is not selfish, it does not become angry, it does not keep a record of wrongs,  it does not rejoice at unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
  4.  It is important to take time to refresh and explore the great outdoors. Go camping. Visit the local park. Enjoy quiet time with nature, and with God. Revive yourself.
  5. Get some rest. Exercise. Take care of your body. If you don’t take care of you, then who will?

Bonus: It’s ok to hit the reset button. He can be mad at us for leaving the house (even if it’s just to take out the trash) but as soon as we come back in he’s already forgiven us and ready to play.

Question: Are you a dog owner? What have you learned from your pet?

© 2014, Ellis J. Still. All rights reserved

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I may have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

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Top ten things to do when you are snowed in
by ellis j. still

This post is intended to take advantage of a snow day and to have a little fun. Between last night and today we got over two feet of snow. Needless to say, we didn’t go anywhere meaningful, except to take the family dog outside to play in the snow (I think I had more fun than the dog.
:- ) Here is my our family’s top ten things to do when you are snowed in:

10.) Catch up on work
9.) Watch movies & TV shows: we spent the day watching back to back reruns of One On One on BET
8.) Eat food: Leftovers from the night before
7.) Clean the house / Laundry: Not much to talk about there.
6.) Rearrange furniture: We have wood floors, which makes it easy.
5.) Look out the window & wonder why people are outside: You can barely see your hand in front of your face. Anywhere you are going at this point is closed, with the exception of Chinese restaurants.
4.) Sleep: Aahhhh… bliss…
3.) Play Wii: we don’t own a Wii, but I would imagine that it would be fun
2.) Procrastinate snow shoveling: everyone else’s sidewalk has been shoveled at least once. I’m no fool… I’m waiting until all of the snow has fallen
1.) Ask me again in nine months (*for married folk only :- )

What is on your list???

:- )

© 2010, Ellis J. Still. All rights reserved

Universoul Circus

By: ellis j. still

About six years ago, I had my first visit to the Universoul Circus (http://www.universoulcircus.com/). I was a mentoring a young man at the time who was dealt a bad hand in life (for the purposes of this blog, I will call him Eric). I heard about the African American owned circus on the radio… that they were coming to the Newark, NJ area. I have heard good things about the show, but never experienced it myself and I wanted to support. Us as African Americans have a reputation for doing things haphazardly, so I didn’t expect a lot out of the show… it was just something to do. Boy was I wrong.

 

The show was awe-inspiring. The talent was great, and was accompanied with good music and amazing lighting. I would find out later that Eric had a great time, but he didn’t show it during the show. He had grown accustomed to not showing any signs of weakness to others, and appearing to have a good time, in his mind, was a sign of weakness. However, there was a point where his emotions lit up. There was a short skit the included the movie series “Roots” by Alex Haley, and Eric knew the script word for word. As it turns out, he watched the entire movie series of Roots many times over, and read the book as well. After the circus, he still had his bad days, and his good days, but he began to open up to me on a regular basis. This experience opened a door for higher levels of communication between us, and a higher lever of reflection and healing.

Since then, I have been a fan of Universoul Circus ever since. Tickets are inexpensive, and nowhere else can you find high quality entertainment in inner city communities that touches people’s lives. I have been known to borrow other people’s kids whenever the circus is in town, and when I met my wife, Tina, I would talk her into going. The last time Tina and I went, we bought tickets online through Ticketmaster, so we got seats up front. The ringmaster called us up into the ring to participate in this old school R&B lip-sinking competition. My Tina did her thing, but I bombed… I didn’t know the words to the song, so I had to fake it. It’s a popular song, but I am really bad with remembering lyrics. To this day, people walk up to me on the street or at church, joking and asking me if I had finally memorized the words to the song, and reminded me that I should have know them in the first place. :- )

I would imagine that it takes vision, perseverance, and faith to create an institution such as this, and I applaud Founder and CEO Cedric Walker for being persistent in creating something that is important to urban communities across the country. A personal delight of mine is that towards the end of every show, acknowledgement is given to the one who created us through song or in another creative art form. As a Christian, this is a part of the show that always touches my heart, and moves my spirit. Universoul Circus is fun for the entire family. My wife and I do not have any kids yet, but when we do, we look forward to taking them (and our grandkids in were lucky) to Universoul Circus!!!!

© 2010, Ellis J. Still. All rights reserved

Photographs and images ©  Universoul Circus. All rights reserved

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like what you read and you are not yet a Subscriber to my blog, why not subscribe now? All posts are original, there is no fixed schedule, so you would not have to check my blog regularly, and you will be receiving an authentic review of books, organizations and life experiences as a husband and entrepreneur. If you change your mind, it is easy to unsubscribe.
Once you sign up, visit your email inbox to verify your email address. Check your spam folder if you don’t receive any verification emails.
Thanks!!!
ellis

Happy New Year!!!

by ellis j. still

2009 was great in many respects, and was horrible in many respects. The year provided for many life-teaching moments, and I am much wiser because of it. As we celebrate the departure of the old and the creation of the new, these are some of the things that I am looking forward to in 2010: 

  • My light will shine much brighter and greater than last year, and will continue to be a light for others.  
  • Growth in word, and in deed.
  • Distinguishing and separating from things that do not align with the essence of who I am.
  • Everything I touch will bear fruit that will be for the nourishment and good of others.
  • I will continue to work and pray diligently towards my dreams, yet rest when it is time to rest.
  • Our family dog, Peanut, will continue demonstrating the true essence of the gift of love, as well as continuing to grow in obedience.
  • That my wife and I will bear children that will learn and grow in the things of Christ. 

I am also looking forward to spending another year with my wife. Tina is my biggest supporter. I draw my strength through Christ, but she encourages me when I feel like giving up. She is my core… she is my everything. I Love you Baby!!!

© 2009, Ellis J. Still. All rights reserved

Christmas 2009: Reflections

This year my wife, dog, and I spent Christmas in Durham, North Carolina at Tina’s mother’s house. Although this is my first time not being in the Northeast for the Christmas holiday, I always enjoy the drive down south. NC has this calming quiet about it, providing time for reflection, and peace. If I had a sleeping bag, I would have spent the night outside on the front lawn, in order to truly enjoy the southern stars during that clear evening night. There were many people happy to see us – both immediate and extended family. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen many of them in a while because of the distance. This was the first time Peanut was around a lot of people, so it was interesting watching how he adapted and interacted. He is really good with kids… loving and kind. But yet still most people, including the kids, have not been exposed to dogs as pets, so people sometimes tend to be nervous at first. But then most warm up to him over time.

I also had the opportunity to spend time with my brother Allen in Winston Salem. Its funny how no matter how long siblings are apart, no matter wherever and whenever you get together, it feels like home… like family. Reminiscing about the times growing up, reaffirming common interests, getting reacquainted with the nieces and nephew, just enjoying each other’s family. I remember when I was little he took me to the circus for my birthday. That was the first time I had been to a circus, so it was a really cool thing for me. He is also a brilliant musician and songwriter. He cut his first record at 19 years old. I remember it being a ’45’, one of those small records with the huge hole in the middle. I would play it over and over again… thinking to myself how cool it was to have a brother that is a music star. I remember going with him the studio where his band practiced. They told me to stay away from the drum set, but I was curious, so I refused to listen. In the end they understood my excitement, and allowed me to have my way for a little while. The drums are the coolest instrument to a kid, and to be exposed to that at such as early age was incredible to me.

On our way back up north we stopped over my Cousins house – Keith and Michael in Philadelphia and got fed Christmas dinner. We hung out, watched the Dallas vs. Washington football game, watched Peanut chase his tail, and talked mostly guy stuff. We are around the same age, so even though we did not grow up in the same household, we hung out from time to time (which reminds me… I never found out who let my skateboard roll down a sewer hole). Their mom and my mom used to make/sell chicken and fish dinners together, which meant that us kids we were guaranteed at least two plates per person. My oldest brother Maxie was under the weather and I wasn’t able to see him this go round, but we spoke over the phone. Like Allen, he is also a superstar in his own right, but I will go more into that in later posts. I do not take times like these for granted. Although family is never far from our hearts, sometimes we get so caught up in our day-to-day routines we don’t spend as much quality time as we could or should.

Jesus is the reason for the season. Yet, He doesn’t want us to be nice to each other just because we are honoring him during the holiday, but to be thoughtful and show the love of Christ that is in us on a regular basis. I generally don’t do resolutions, but one thing I will make a concerted effort to do is call people more often… not just at holidays. I have nieces, nephews, and cousins that are growing up, and I know little about them. It’s time for me to reconnect to what’s important – Family!!!

© 2009, Ellis J. Still. All rights reserved

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