Slow Down & Enjoy Life

We live in a fast-paced world, rushing to arrive at places quickly and multitasking at every opportunity. We keep our mobile devices handy at all times, giving us instant access to emails, texts, social media, games, news, and almost anything to keep us entertained. We use our mobile devices while eating, socializing, working, and even driving.

That last one is what bothers me the most — using our phones while driving. In this quickly moving world that we find our self in, maybe it is time to slow down and free our self from distractions, especially on the road. Many of us are driving too fast (guilty) and are distracted while driving.

I know, I know — you are excellent at driving while looking at your phone. If you’re anything like 90% of the people I pass on the roads, then your just lying to yourself. I don’t look at my phone while driving anymore, because I know that I can’t drive while doing so.

Distractions while driving are not only limited to mobile devices though, but also include eating, putting on makeup, a dog in your lap, messing with the radio, and reading a book (how the hell do you read a book while driving anyways??). The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claims that 3,477 people lost their lives in 2015 due to distracted driving and 391,000 others were injured.

The Alabama law states that wireless telecommunication devices cannot be used to write, send, or be used for other text-based communications while driving — this includes handheld phones and computers. You are still able to use your phone for calls, but novice drivers are not able to use their device at all while driving. It is time to advocate for stronger laws and strictly enforce the laws that are already in place.

A few days ago, we were driving on a small side road about one mile away from our home. A lady driving on the opposite side of the road was traveling around three times the speed limit, and she drifted into our lane coming over a hill. I had a very small amount of time to react, but luckily she swerved at the last second — somehow managing not to flip her SUV. The lady was holding her phone in front of her face as she came over the hill, not knowing that she was drifting out of her lane.

Unfortunately, this is happening far too often. Try driving down the interstate for more than two minutes without looking over and catching someone on their phone. Vehicles are swerving all over the road due to distracted driving, and it is time that we all do better. Driving is a responsibility that we must all take seriously — our lives literally depend on it. Accidents are going to happen, and there is nothing you can do to about them, but we should do the best possible to prevent a few more.

A few weeks ago, there were several deadly crashes in Blount County, which is where I grew up and went to high school. There were 11 people killed over a period of a few weeks, which is far higher than normal. It’s just so devastating to hear news like this, especially from an area where I spent so much of my life. I’m not blaming anyone or distracted driving for any of these crashes, but if drivers were to slow down and pay attention, we might be able to prevent other deadly crashes like these.

When your driving, think about your life, think about your family’s lives, and think about the lives of others. Slow down, take your time, focus on the road, and enjoy the drive — it could be the difference in life and death.

Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast — you also miss the sense of where you are going and why. – Eddie Cantor

M David Scott

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Our Time In Louisiana

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St. Louis Cathedral in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Michael Scott

I once concluded that the shape of Louisiana resembled a toilet, and I even believed the smell resembled that as well — try driving through Monroe without wanting to vomit from the odor that the paper mill blasts into the air. It was probably the last state I had ever imagined myself living (except for Mississippi), but I would eventually spend three great years of my life in The Bayou State.

Me and my wife, Natosha, were shocked and surprised when we received an opportunity to move to Louisiana, but we both knew it would be an opportunity to spend more time together and embrace a new culture while we were still young. Both of us were searching for something different from our current situations, and a move to a new state appeared to be the answer.

We both formerly shared a negative image of Louisiana, but we entered the state with open minds and open arms. The Boot instantly flaunted its beauty, and we easily found a passion for a place that we believed had no potential. We traveled across the state and explored many areas, we attended events and festivals, we chowed down at some impressive restaurants, and we embraced a new culture. This place had found a way into our hearts.

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LSU’s Live Mascot, Mike VI

We gazed as the sun set over Lake Pontchartrain, we devoured so many king cakes– various flavors from bakeries and grocery stores, we cheered as we watched prisoners ride bulls at the Angola Prison Rodeo (the longest running prison rodeo in the nation), we attended part of the filming of Jack Reacher 2 — hopefully we are extras in the movie, we watched fireworks erupt over the Mississippi River for Independence Day, we pressed against the glass as LSU’s Mike the Tiger interacted with us and seemed to pose for pictures (RIP Mike VI), and we were amazed by the hot air balloons at the Ascension Hot Air Balloon Festival. Louisiana offered so much more than we had ever realized.

 

The swampy areas of south Louisiana once seemed dirty and gross in my mind, but I learned to appreciate the nature that God had placed in this area of America — the swamps hold a special place in Louisiana culture. As we toured different areas of the swamp lands, we encountered beautiful birds, turtles, snakes, and even alligators. The calmness of the swamp can best be complimented by the cypress trees. The bald cypress tree is a symbol of the swamp and the state tree of Louisiana.

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The Live Oaks at the Jungle Gardens in Avery Island. Michael Scott

The structure of the cypress could be towering and impressive, but Natosha found herself obsessed with yet another beautiful tree found in Louisiana — the Live Oak. The Live Oak is a monumental tree, and the tree’s beauty can only be understood when seen in person. They are usually not very tall trees, but the heavy branches can spread more than 100 feet across and are draped in Spanish moss. Some of the best live oak trees that we spotted were located at the Jungle Gardens in Avery Island and at the New Orleans City Park — unfortunately we never made it to Oak Alley Plantation which boasts a walkway that is lined with 28 live oak trees connecting the plantation to the Mississippi River.

The New Orleans City Park was one of our favorite areas of New Orleans, which is where we spent much of our time in Louisiana. Its a 1,300 acre park with a sculpture garden,

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Mr. Bingle at Celebration in The Oaks Michael Scott

the New Orleans Museum of Art, Botanical Garden, Carousel Gardens Amusement Park, a golf course, and so much more. One of our favorite events we attended was the Celebration in The Oaks where they light up 25 acres of the park with hundreds of thousands of lights and displays. It really was a magical time for all ages and was the perfect way to start off the holiday season.

 

City Park is only a small piece of the things to see and do in The Big Easy. The Audubon Zoo is another family friendly place that we enjoyed. We visited four zoos in Louisiana — Audubon Zoo in New Orleans, Zoosiana (Zoo of Acadiana) in Broussard/Lafayette, Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo in Monroe,

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Blue Dog Sculpture Located at the Sculpture Garden in City Park. Michael Scott

and the Baton Rouge Zoo. The Audubon Zoo was our favorite, because it was more renovated, displayed a vast array of animals, allowed you to be interactive with certain animals, and it featured a Louisiana Swamp exhibit that highlighted the wildlife and culture that can be found in the swamps of Louisiana. The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas was another amusing place we visited that complimented the Audubon Zoo(we prefer the Georgia Aquarium, sorry Nola).

When I was young, I looked at New Orleans only as a “party city”, full of trash and filth. The trash and filth can definitely be found around the city (Bourbon Street is overrated), but don’t let that distract you from the beauty that this city displays. You won’t find us in the party scene much, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t enjoy the French Quarter.

An ideal day in the French Quarter for us would start with a quick — or quick as possible — stop by Cafe Du Monde. It is impossible to visit this area without munching on some beignets. We would then start browsing the local art that surrounds Jackson Square

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Louisiana Pizza Kitchen  Michael Scott

while we listen to the local music that can be heard on most corners during a busy day. After buying some art, we would make our way over to the French Market and browse other local shops as we walk by. There are so many lunch options in the area — one of my

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Dat Dog on Frenchmen Michael Scott

favorites was the Louisiana Pizza Kitchen, but just a short walk away will take you to Frenchman Street, where you will find some of the best gourmet hot dogs around at Dat Dog. After lunch, we would take a stroll down the roads of the French Quarter and gaze at the New Orleans style homes — you won’t find them like this anywhere else. Jackson Square, the St Louis Cathedral, and the Woldenberg Park all make for great picture opportunities as you plan your dinner in the area.

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Cafe Du Monde 

We even attended our first Mardi Gras parades while living in Louisiana. Coming from the northern section of Alabama, we didn’t understand the magnitude of Mardi Gras — It’s a huge holiday! We ate king cake for the first time and instantly became addicted. We attended some smaller parades leading up to Mardi Gras and were surprised at how much Mardi Gras was celebrated, but we never fully grasped just how big it was until we attended the Krewe of Bacchus parade. Thousands of people lined miles of the streets to watch the parade and catch throws. John C. Reilly served as the King of Bacchus during our first parade, and Jim Caviezel served as King this past year that we attended. We fell in love with Mardi Gras season, and that is a piece of Louisiana that we will always keep close to us. Hopefully we will be back in the next couple of years to celebrate some more!

20150611_122212New Orleans was where we spent most of our time outside of Baton Rouge, but we also traveled to other areas of Louisiana too. We spent a couple of days in Monroe mostly visiting Duck Commander and other places that related to Duck Dynasty. We also spent a weekend in the Shreveport and Bossier City area. Lafayette was an hour drive for us, and we spent a few different days touring the area and trying the restaurants. One of our favorite areas that we visited though was Avery Island.

Avery Island is most popular because it is the home to Tabasco 20160326_144756Sauce. Tabasco offers a self-guided tour that will take you through a museum, a small greenhouse, the warehouse holding barrels full of pepper mash, and the factory building (you can watch the workers bottle Tabasco sauce on weekdays during work hours). There is also a store where you can purchase all of your Tabasco products and a restaurant serving food flavored with spices. Tabasco is the reason that people visit Avery Island, but the Jungle Gardens is the best reason to spend your day there.

I like to believe that the Jungle Gardens is the best kept secret in Louisiana. Many people that I knew and worked with had either never heard of the place or have never visited. The charming side of Louisiana can be found here as you experience the

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A “Do Not Feed The Alligators” Sign at the Jungle Gardens. Alligators Freely Roam the Area. Michael Scott

tranquility of this 170-acre garden. Hundreds of snowy egrets can be found in the Bird City area, and if you are brave enough, you can walk right up to the alligators like we did! The azaleas and camellias bloomed beautifully, the live oaks spanned as far as you could see, and the bamboo was thick and towering. Hiding in the middle of the garden is a Buddha, a centuries-old statue, that is positioned on a hill overlooking a soothing pond. I could not imagine a more peaceful area that displays the wildlife and nature that makes up Louisiana.

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The Buddha That Overlooks a Tranquil Pond Area in the Jungle Gardens. Michael Scott

I can’t forget about views from the city that we called home, Baton Rouge. The capital city features the tallest capitol building in the U.S., and it allows you to walk out on the Observation deck located on the 27th floor, giving you a stunning view of downtown. One of the most historic, beautiful sights in BR is The Old Louisiana State Capitol. It is located in the heart of downtown, and you can’t miss this ‘Gothic architectural treasure’ as it overlooks the Mississippi River. The admission was free to enter this National Historic Landmark, but it is worth so much more!

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A View of Downtown Baton Rouge From the 27th Floor of the State Capitol Building. Michael Scott

Only a block away from the Old Louisiana State Capitol, you will find the USS Kidd berthed on the Mississippi River. This destroyer ship is one of the largest attractions 20160117_005155downtown, and you can receive a great workout as you climb up and down the various levels of the USS Kidd. There are a couple of casinos on the river near the USS Kidd, but we preferred to travel farther down the river to gamble at L’Auberge Casino. L’Auberge is newer, nicer, and just a better all-around experience than the other casinos in town — and that buffet is delicious! We were not big winners when visiting, but we did have a great time playing. We even ran across Coach Ed Orgeron (LSU Football Head Coach), and he was nice enough to talk with us and take a picture.

Coach O reminds me of the people that we met across Louisiana, especially in Baton Rouge. The residents were hard-working, accepting, and friendly…not great drivers, but great people. We didn’t hear as many Cajun accents as we thought we would, but the people there are definitely proud of the Louisiana heritage. These great people in Baton Rouge endured some hard times though while we lived there. In July of 2016, Alton Sterling was shot and killed by two police offers sparking a national outrage and multiple protests. Only two weeks later, a man murdered three police officers and wounded others only two miles from where we lived.

We were torn to see what was happening in Baton Rouge, and so many others in the community could relate. Some of the protesters that were arrested were from other cities, but most were from other states. Even the man that murdered three police officers was a resident of Missouri. The killing of Alton Sterling was a terrible situation within the city that needed to be resolved without others coming in and trying to stir the pot more — results of the case are rumored to be presented this week.

Most people that I  came in contact with in Baton Rouge were sad to see that the Alton Sterling shooting occurred, and didn’t want to see more destruction take place. I believe everything negative that happened following that did not represent the people of Baton Rouge fairly. People in the city were grieving, and people were praying, and people were trying to find ways to help us all come together as one. Coming together is what Baton Rouge needed most then, and I truly believe that is what most others wanted to see happen as well.

20160813_092649The residents of Baton Rouge are resilient though. The media started to back off the stories, the protesters became tired and slowly settled down, and the U.S. Justice Department remained silent on what actions may be taken in the shooting of Alton Sterling. The people in BR were working to get back to the normal routine as the situation faded away, and hoped that they wouldn’t have to see anything that terrible again. In August of 2016, a historic flood affected many residents of Baton Rouge and nearby cities, and once again, the great people of Baton Rouge would face adversity.

The Louisiana flood claimed the lives of 13 people, over 100,000 homes and thousands of businesses were impacted by the flood, and costed the economy an estimated $10 billion to $15 billion. Nobody expected rainfall to exceed 20 inches in many areas or the rivers to rise well above historic records. Thousands were trapped and had to be rescued, and many lost everything they owned.

We found ourselves stranded on the interstate as the water from the Amite River rose and began to cover the lanes of I-12. The water was beginning to pond in different sections of the interstate, and we were forced to drive through water around two feet high. Eventually we were no longer able to continue driving through the portions of the interstate covered in water, and the water would continue to build around us trapping us in that area. A couple of nice people (in a larger vehicle than ours) offered to give us a ride to our exit, and I’m thankful everyday for them. We have never felt so helpless, but we could not have been more thankful to only lose our vehicle in the flood.

Once again, the people of Baton Rouge were forced to be resilient. I have never seen people come together to help others as much as I did after the flood. Once the water began to rise, locals with boats would go out and try to save as many people and animals as possible — they were known as the “Cajun Navy”. The local media presented excellent coverage of the flood, even when the national media failed to show the real impact it had on residents and businesses. People from all over donated their time, supplies, and money to help those in need. As soon as the waters started to diminish, the community worked hard to clean up and rebuild. It was amazing to see how fast these businesses and houses were being revived. The strength of the citizens was revealed in this area, and those were the great people of Baton Rouge that we knew.

We traveled to some amazing places, and we met some great people, but we also enjoyed some appetizing food! Some of the best seafood and Cajun food can be found in South Louisiana. I tried a great deal of new food in Louisiana including alligator, boudin sausage, boudin balls, and turkey neck. A few of my favorite meals were duck quesadillas from Coyote Blues, crawfish etouffee from Chimes East, and Acadian catfish (fried catfish fillets topped with crawfish etouffee over rice) from Sammy’s Grill.

Besides seafood and Cajun, Louisiana also knows how to fix the perfect bread pudding. Walk-On’s serves a Krispy Kreme bread pudding, Coyote Blues sold a Godiva white chocolate bread pudding, and every other restaurant prepares their own type of various flavors of bread pudding. When we were in New Orleans, we always made the effort to stop by District Donuts — their donuts are flavored, filled, and massive and are great for breakfast or dessert.

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Buttermilk Pie From The Cabin Michael Scott

Our favorite dessert, the buttermilk pie, can be found at our favorite restaurant, The Cabin located in Burnside. You can even buy their buttermilk pie recipe for only $1. The Cabin is the most unique restaurant we visited. It was an original slave dwelling of the Monroe Plantation, and the building is about 180 years old. You can feel the history when inside as you view pieces of antique farm equipment that is hanging from the walls. The history here is worth seeing, and the food is worth eating. The seafood platter includes catfish, shrimp, crab fingers, stuffed crab, crawfish tails, crawfish etouffee, and a cup

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Shrimp Scampi From The Cabin Michael Scott

of chicken and andouille gumbo — my favorite plate in Louisiana! If you are not feeling up to the challenge to eat that much seafood, I recommend the shrimp scampi or the encrusted chicken.

I’m already missing all of the mouth-watering food that Louisiana has to offer, all of the great people that we met and worked with, and all of those gorgeous places that can be found in the southern part of the state. We never thought we would end up there, but don’t regret making the move. We are happy to say that we made many memories in the three years that we resided there. If you have never visited Louisiana, we recommend that you plan a trip soon, we promise that it will not disappoint.

This was no longer a state that resembled a toilet for us, but instead it resembles a picturesque place that will always live on in our hearts and memories.

MDavidScott

Sweet Home Alabama, We’re Coming Home To You!

20160511_202520I love a place where people greet each other with a “Roll Tide” or a “War Eagle.” I love a place where I can bite into a juicy Milo’s cheeseburger while their famous sauce drips through my beard. I love a place where the only thing sweeter than a Southern belle is the tea.

That place I love is Alabama, and Alabama is home for me and Natosha.

Alabama is where me and Natosha first laid eyes on each other. Alabama is where I asked her to marry me. Alabama is where we both said, “I do.” Alabama is where a majority of our family lives, and it really is where our heart is.

We both look forward to starting a family sometime in the near future, and we would love to be close to our family when we decide to do so.

“The magic thing about home is that it feels good to leave, and it feels even better to come back” -Wendy Wunder

The best barbecue, the sweetest tea, and that Southern hospitality. That’s just part of what we love about home, and that’s just a few reasons why we are looking forward to moving back to the Heart of Dixie at the beginning of April.

Sweet home Alabama, where the skies are so blue. Sweet home Alabama, Lord we’re coming home to you!

M David Scott

 

 

My Nasty Habit

As of late, I’ve developed a nasty habit: saying the word hate. I know that may not seem as bad as developing a drinking problem, an addiction to drugs, or some other habits, but to be such a small word, it can carry a lot of weight and be a burden to you or those around you.

Hate is described as an intense or passionate dislike towards someone or something.

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“I hate this” and “I hate that” are thrown around without thought. When I say that I hate something, I do not necessarily mean that I passionately dislike it, but it has been a rather easy way for me to describe something. I’ve said,

“I hate Logan’s Roadhouse”

“I hate that cashier, she is always rude”

“I hate that color”

“I hate this movie”

“I hate Alabama football” (that may actually be true).

Those sentences are sometimes said jokingly, but other times it may be a fair representation of my current feelings. Even if I do not always truly hate the people or things that I talk about, I do believe that is something that will create negative energy for yourself. Negative energy will make you unhappy, and ultimately it will lead you towards an unhealthy life.

I think the word is even strong for children to use, but children are still developing and trying to understand their feelings, and it might just be the right word for them to use in order to find out how they feel about a situation. As an adult though, I think we should choose our words more carefully.

Hate may start as a small word I regularly use to describe something, but it could end up being a toxic emotion that depresses me, angers me, or even leads to a serious health issue. The old saying is true: Hate is a strong word.

As someone that deals with depression, I struggle, but work hard, to not spend my energy on negative situations — so today I will attempt to eliminate this nasty word from my vocabulary. Instead, I’ll work to clear my mind from this mental garbage, spread love, and think in a more positive manner.

Since we use this day to honor and remember the life of a man that brought hope to so many in America, I thought it would be appropriate to quote Martin Luther King, Jr. “I have decided to stick with love…hate is too great a burden to bear.”

MDavidScott

Marriage Looks Good On Us

“I am nothing special, of this I am sure. I am a common man with common thoughts and I’ve led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten, but I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul, and to me, this has always been enough.”

This quote from The Notebook is perfect, because I also feel that I’m just a common man leading a common life. And I love a woman with all my heart and soul, and love will always be enough.

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When I graduated college 4 1/2 years ago I never thought I would find a women to spend my life with. I had trouble finding women similar to me that I enjoyed to be around  — especially not one I would want to marry. But all of that would eventually change.

About 3 years ago, I was making a decent income at the Honda Manufacturing plant in Lincoln, paying bills, and had a potential career job, but I soon became unhappy working through their repetitive routine. I knew God placed me there for a reason, but I was unsure of why at that time. After a year of working there I started praying to God everyday, multiple times throughout the day. Talking to him was the only way to make it through my shift. Finally, there was a day that I broke down and asked God “Why?” I wondered why he would place me somewhere that I hated so much. I knew it was good money, but the money wasn’t bringing me happiness.

The week after I asked God “why” is when I first laid eyes on Natosha. She was being introduced as the newest associate on our processing line. I remember thinking about how beautiful she was, but it was about a week later when we actually talked to each other for the first time. We were both placed offline working together on a process, and I immediately knew after that process that there was something about this woman. I had finally realized why God put me at Honda.

We both stayed and worked overtime each day so we would have extra time to talk and get to know each other better. We began having lunch together everyday, and soon it would turn into a beautiful relationship.

We found love when we least expected it. Sometimes its funny how God’s plans come together.

Less than a year later, God blessed us with an opportunity to leave Honda by moving to Louisiana for a job opportunity. This not only allowed us to find jobs better suited for us, but also gave us more time to spend with each other and help grow this relationship.

Only months after moving to Louisiana, I proposed to Natosha at Vulcan Park while on vacation in Birmingham. Vulcan was where we had our first official date and our first kiss as well. I already knew her answer, but that moment she said “Yes” filled my heart with happiness and joy – I couldn’t wait to make her my wife!

DSC_0415I’m more than pleased to say that we’re finally married! The wedding was perfect, and everything we had been waiting for. It feels amazing to be married to my best friend – she is the only person that can put that smile on my face, the one who finds a way to stay positive in a sea of negativity, my biggest fan, and she loves me in a way I never knew was possible.

When I said, “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part,” I meant it. It doesn’t matter what life tries to throw at us, we’ll always be there side-by-side fighting through it. I look forward to spending the rest of my life with her.

We never stopped believing in love, and we feel blessed to have finally found it. I’ve been told by numerous people that marriage is both fun and rewarding. I can’t wait for us to find out for ourselves.

MDavidScott

Adam LaRoche Walks Away From Baseball

Adam LaRoche

I wanted to stay away from this story, but the story just won’t go away. By now you’ve heard of Adam LaRoche and his decision to step away from Major League Baseball. Adam retired from baseball and gave up a $13 million contract after his team, the Chicago White Sox, told him that his 14-year-old son was no longer welcomed in the clubhouse.

His decision came from a disagreement between him and team vice president Ken Williams. LaRoche claim his son, Drake, has been a regular presence in the White Sox locker room, and the organization agreed that he could be around the team prior to LaRoche signing a contract. He also said that there has been no problems from teammates regarding his son in the clubhouse.

In a statement released by LaRoche, he said Williams wanted him to scale back the time that his son spent inside the clubhouse and later told him that he was no longer welcomed at the ballpark.

“Prior to signing with the White Sox, my first question to the club concerned my son’s ability to be a part of the team. After some due diligence on the club’s part, we reached an agreement. The 2015 season presented no problems as far as Drake was concerned. (My bat and our record are another story!)

With all of this in mind, we move toward the current situation which arose after White Sox VP Ken Williams recently advised me to significantly scale back the time that my son spent in the clubhouse. Later, I was told not to bring him to the ballpark at all. Obviously, I expressed my displeasure toward this decision to alter the agreement we had reached before I signed with the White Sox. Upon doing so, I had to make a decision. Do I choose my teammates and my career? Or do I choose my family? The decision was easy, but in no way was it a reflection of how I feel about my teammates, manager, general manager or the club’s owner Jerry Reinsdorf.

The White Sox organization is full of people with strong values and solid character. My decision to walk away was simply the result of a fundamental disagreement between myself and Ken Williams.”

The full statement can be found here.

Ken Williams does have a point though — the clubhouse is no place for kids. Having a kid in the clubhouse can be seen as a distraction, especially when the team is coming off a season with more losses than wins. This is still considered a workplace, and the players should be focused on work when they are at the ballpark.

Adam LaRoche2Adam’s situation is different than most of ours. Playing baseball can be tough on a family. The Major League Baseball season consists of 162 games for each team spanning over a 6 month period. About half of those games are played away. There have been many players that have paid for their families to travel to the same city in which the team was playing. Many of the players make millions which allow them to easily pay for the family to travel.

LaRoche has performed well in his career, and has earned more than $50 million. Walking away from $13 million can’t be easy, but Adam showed that placing your family first should always be an easy decision. Adam can now spend more time with his son and family without worrying about disrupting the players or the organization.

But this isn’t a story of right and wrong. The White Sox made a decision that was best for the organization, and Adam LaRoche made a decision that he feels is best for his family. We don’t have to agree with the decision that Adam made, but we should respect it.

MDavidScott

Chick-Fil-A Helps People Put Down the Phone While Eating

Chick-Fil-A Family Challenge

Chick-Fil-A has introduced a new family challenge for customers. If you will agree to place your phones in a “Cell Phone Coop” while you eat, then every person that participates will receive a free ice cream cone.

In my opinion, Chick-Fil-A is the leader in customer service as they continue to provide an excellent customer experience. The restaurant is almost guaranteed to be crowded at lunchtime, but they move through a drive-thru line with haste, especially those with double drive-thru lines. The employees are some of the friendliest employees in fast-food, and they set the standard for how fast food workers should treat the customer. The restaurant is always clean (I try stopping here for bathroom breaks on trips), orders are usually accurate, the food is delicious, and they promote family nights.

I love that they are trying to help people enjoy their dinner with each other instead of staring into a phone. There has been numerous times that we have been out to eat and see other people spending more time on their phones than with each other. Couples are staring at their phones instead of staring at their partner, parents are ignoring their kids because they are checking their phones, and kids, yes young kids, are in a trance as they play with their tablets. What happened to kids wanting to spend time in the play area??

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The Chick-Fil-A Family Challenge. Photos Courtesy of Chick-Fil-A.

Jenny Radesky, a developmental pediatrician at the Boston Medical Center, studied parent-child interaction at fast-food restaurant. Her study found that more than 70% of adults used their cell phone during the meal.

Radesky said face-to-face interactions are the primary way children learn. “They learn by watching us how to have a conversation, how to read other people’s facial expressions. And if that’s not happening, children are missing out on important development milestones,” she said.

Maybe the noise is a factor for you — videos and games being played loudly, the girl snap-chatting every moment of her dinner, the guy talking on the phone so loud that everyone in the restaurant can hear, and those numerous selfies being taken.

According to a study conducted by Baylor University, cell phones can damage relationships and lead to depression. The study was used to learn about the effects of “Phubbing”or partner phone snubbing, which is described in the study as people that are distracted by their cell phones while in the company of their partner.

The results showed that almost 47% of respondents reported being pphubbed by their partner, and 22% of those people said it caused conflict in their relationship. Just under 40% reported feeling depressed some of the time.

Even though I think the family challenge is a wonderful idea, it still saddens me that we have reached this point. Technology is a great thing, and has helped us positively move forward in so many ways, but there are always a few drawbacks. When I was young it wasn’t “cool” to meet someone online, now everyone is just trying to swipe right. I’m not saying it is bad that we spend time on our phones, but I hope we don’t lose our ability to connect with others in person.

Put down the phone, and enjoy dinner with your family. It could potentially lead to a better relationship and a happier life.

The challenge is not currently being offered at all locations, but can be found at more than 150 restaurants.

MDavidScott

What would you do with $1 Billion?

Powerball

As we all know by now, even if you live under a bridge, the Powerball has reached a record jackpot estimated to be $1.3 billion.

That $1.3 billion would be payed out in 30 payments over 29 years, unless you prefer to take the cash option. The estimated cash value of the drawing is $806 million — that is before Uncle Sam takes his pile of change.

According to Forbes, the estimated cash prize would be around $415 million after federal and state taxes (assuming you live in a state with a state income tax). Still more than enough to enjoy.

There is a 1 in 292.2 million chance of winning the Powerball jackpot grand prize. The next drawing will be held Wednesday night.

So what exactly do you do with $1 billion?

You could buy 2,515 Lamborghini Aventadors with $1 billion, or 96,599 Super Bowl tickets at average broker price, or 5,263,157 pairs of Nike Air Max 2016, or you could buy 166,944,908 Big Mac meals from McDonald’s.

We briefly discussed what we could do with that type of money, you know you thought about it too. This is what we came up with:

  1. To start with, we would give 10% to God. We would also generously give to various organizations and start our own organizations as well, which is something we have always wanted to do.
  2. Helping our families would be a top priority if we won the jackpot. They all deserve more than we could ever give.
  3. We would help friends and others in need, especially at Christmas time. That is our favorite time of year, and we would love for everyone else to enjoy the holiday season.
  4. One of our favorite places to visit is a zoo. We would either start our own zoo, or donate to zoos that are in need of renovations.
  5. I would drop off a large donation at Troy University…under one condition: They must play better music at football games. Just think about it Troy.
  6. Natosha would have to rip the money out of my hands, but eventually would make a donation to that university in Tuscaloosa.
  7. Season tickets to Auburn, Alabama, and Troy football games, Boston Celtics, Oakland Raiders, and the Red Sox. We would donate all unused tickets to children that are dealing with diseases or living in poverty.
  8. We would splurge a little on ourselves too — a decent house, but nothing too big and a couple of vehicles.
  9. Invest. Invest. And Invest. Start a few business.
  10. Travel the world!

What would you do with that much money though?

We all sit around and dream of the possibilities that a billion dollars could bring, but sometime after Wednesday someone’s dream will become a reality.

 

Syrian Refugees: To Welcome or Not To Welcome

More than 60 percent of the nation’s governors now oppose the Obama administration’s plans to relocate thousands of Syrian refugees into their states.

There are currently 31 governors of states located across the country that disagree with allowing these refugees. All but one state is headed by a Republican governor.

Courtesy of CNN

Courtesy of CNN

The fear of having Syrian refugees relocated in America comes after the terrorists attacks in Paris. Authorities released information that one of the suspects entered Europe using a false name during a recent wave of Syrian refugees. Today, Honduran authorities arrested five Syrians intending to make it to the United States with stolen Greek passports.

These governors are opposing the plan in hopes of protecting the safety of each state’s residents while also asking for a stronger screening process of refugees.

I find myself at a crossroads when it comes to allowing refugees into our country. My heart tells me that I should be accepting towards these people that are fleeing from violence, but at the same time my head tells me that we should be cautious about this process too.

Alabama’s Governor, Republican Robert Bentley, talked with reporters on Tuesday saying that governors are looking for answers about the process of allowing refugees into the states. “We’re asking for answers on how these individuals who will be coming here, how they will be vetted and whether or not they will be vetted.”

Republican Nathan Deal, Georgia’s Governor, also said he will not accept Syrian refugees until the federal government and Congress conducts a thorough review of current screening procedures and background checks.

President Barrack Obama wasn’t happy with the Governors that oppose his plan though. “Apparently they’re scared of widows and orphans coming into the United States of America as part of our tradition as compassion,” he said. Parts of the video can be seen below.

 

President Obama wants to try to make us citizens feel bad for not allowing women and children into this country. I’m sorry Mr President, but ISIS is training women and children to kill.

According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there are more than 4.2 million Syrian refugees. Of these refugees, 49.7% are males and 23.4% of those males are 18 or older. That is far from a bunch of “widows and orphans.”

Once again though, my heart tells me that we need to help these people — it is much more complex than that. Would you be willing to allow these people into your neighborhood? Would you be willing to allow these people into your home?

Unfortunately the actions of a few have hurt the entire group in this situation. All Syrians are not bad —All Muslims do not agree with these terrorists.

I want the United States to come across as a compassionate group of people. I want to allow them into our beautiful country and experience all we have to offer, but I want to know that we are doing all we can to keep those out that have no right being here.

Governor Bentley said it best, “One mistake on our part could lead to tragedy.”

MDavidScott

 

That Starbucks Cup…It’s Actually Just a Cup.

The Design of Starbucks Holiday Cup For 2015

The 2015 Design of Starbucks Holiday Cups.

As most of you have seen, Starbucks has decided to go with a simple look for their cups this holiday season — a plain red cup accompanied by the Starbucks logo. Seems harmless right? Well, apparently some people have become outraged by this decision of Starbucks because they feel as if the liberal coffee giant is taking “Christ” out of Christmas.

Starbucks Cup from 2013.

Starbucks Cup from 2013.

This is no different from last year or 2013, or even 2009. You wont find a nativity scene or anything to do with Christ on those cups either. Cups of the past featured ornaments, carolers, and snowmen…all of which can be associated with a secular view of Christmas. If you look at the picture to the left, you will see a cup from the 2013 holiday season. You can see how Starbucks could evolve into a plain red cup with a more sleek look, right? Eh, maybe it’s just me.

This controversy over the cup was started by American evangelist and social media personality Joshua Feuerstein. He posted the video about Starbucks removing Christmas from their cups because they hate Jesus. He also points out that Starbucks employees are not allowed to say “Merry Christmas” to customers.

In an email from Starbucks received by The Atlantic, a Starbucks spokesperson said that baristas “are not provided a script or a policy around greeting customers. They are simply encouraged to create a welcoming environment to delight each person who walks through our doors.” I guess Joshua was wrong. Starbucks does sell a “Christmas Blend” coffee and offer a variety of gift cards that even say “Merry Christmas.”

Even presidential hopeful Donald Trump weighed in on the issue during a campaign rally on Monday. “Maybe we should boycott Starbucks? I don’t know. Seriously, I don’t care,” Trump said. “If I become president, we’re all going to be saying Merry Christmas again, that I can tell you.”

A Starbucks cup has never been about Christ though. Starbucks isn’t starting a war with Christians or on Christmas, at least not on the Biblical version of Christmas. We should be more mad that they are taking away from the worldly view of Christmas. No snowmen? No reindeer? No Santa Clause?? Why???

What about people who don’t celebrate Christmas, should they have to drink out of a cup that says “Merry Christmas”? I understand that other people practice different religions. I respect people who have their own beliefs and faith, even if it isn’t the same as mine. This cup has nothing to do with religion or Christianity…its simply just a cup.

Instead of being mad about this, Christians should be having conversations with non-believers over a (red)cup of Starbucks coffee. After all, the place IS pretty inviting, and the coffee IS delicious. If you still don’t agree with what they are selling though, then you have the right to not buy the product. But you can find me over at the corner table in Starbucks enjoying my White Chocolate Mocha in a little red cup.

MDavidScott