Harold Engelking – My Grandpa

IMG_4107[1]It’s a weird feeling to be so sad and yet feel so blessed.

My grandfather passed away last night at the age of 93. He died peacefully in his sleep.

It’s hard to put into words how much i will miss him.

I’ll miss him calling me Dumpling.

I’ll miss never giving him another Farmer’s Almanac for Christmas.

I’ll miss him saying “I’ll go” no matter when or where anyone was going for whatever trivial reason. If someone needed company, he was your guy.

I’ll miss his love of politics. To the day he died, he could give you facts about any of the Presidents.

I’ll miss his compliments. And his ability to always say something positive.

I’ll miss his kindness most of all.

He set the bar impossibly high for men in my life.

At 6’4″, he was truly a gentle giant.

And he loved his family well.

Very well.

I know he’s in Heaven & that he’s in a much better place.

In fact, he probably picked last night to leave Earth so he could be in Heaven for the big ole party you know is happening up there celebrating Jesus on Easter Sunday.

See you again soon Grandpa.

Til then.

Love you.



The Art of StoryTelling

I have long been fascinated by a good story.

As a child, I spent alot of time camping with the family and one of my favorite times was the “campfire” story.

Most recently, I’ve been very interested in storytelling as it relates to your brand.

Saturday, I had the pleasure of meeting one of the greatest storytellers of our time.

My man, Bill Cosby.

I could go on and on about him, but since he’s famous I’m betting most people are familar with his work. But just in case, watch this video. It’s one of my favorites


He is a true artist & I was fortunate to see him perform live and meet him in person.

Here’s 3 things everyone can learn about how to tell your brand’s story from the master himself.

1. Let your story develop.

Bill Cosby get’s his message across in T  I  M  E.  He doesn’t rush it. In this world of social media everything is immediate and fast and I think sometimes, we, as brands can actually wait, & allow our story to develop.

2. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

One of the greatest thing about an authentic brand is that it’s something people can relate too. Find common ground between your brand and it’s constituents. Then, have fun and understand how to use humor.

3. Be Yourself

Bill Cosby showed up Saturday in a sweat shirt and sweat pants. He sat in a chair on the stage with nothing more than a bottle of water and a box of tissues and he entertained an audience of thousands for over 2 hours with nothing more than stories.

Is your brand strong enough to stand on its own? What other things have you seen matter when story telling your brand?

You have to Want the Ball…

Today, i attended one of my favorite annual events.

The Women of Distinction Girl Scout luncheon.

I love empowering women therefore, this is right up my alley. However, the message went way beyond gender.

The speaker was a lady named Deborah Roberts. After reading her credentials, I still didn’t know her. They mentioned she’s Al Roker’s wife. Still didn’t know her.

She seems like a great lady and was an excellent speaker. You can find out more about her here. Who knows, you probably already know her.

My point is the message was worth listening too no matter who did the delivery. It’s something everyone should know.

She summed up her success in two points:

1. She wanted the ball. 

This lady grew up with a mother that couldn’t wear pants b/c at the time women only wore dresses. She grew up in rural Alabama where she had to wait in a “black only” section to be served. When she started working she applied for jobs in a male dominated field and was told she could be their secretary and nothing more. She was paid 50% of her male counterparts doing the same role.

But, it didn’t dissade her. She took extra jobs no one wanted. She kept asking for more. She wanted the ball.

2. She encouraged others to take the ball.

When she was in 3rd grade a teacher told her “Deborah, your a smart girl. You can go far in life”. This teacher encouraged her when society said they shouldnt.  Not many people at the time were telling young, black girls they could amount to much. But this teacher did, and more importantly Deborah believed her.

Encouraging others is a rare thing.

I’m always surprised by it b/c it’s so easy to give.

When was the last time someone brought you an idea and you said:

Good idea. I think that will work. Go for it.

I remember being a small child & my grandma asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up. I said I didn’t know & her response was “You can be anything you want in this life. And it’s fine if you want to collect garbage, I know if you do you’ll be the best one there is”. I was fortunate to have this encouragement in my life and I hope I’m able to do the same for others.

Bottom line is, successful people want the ball and then they share & encourage others.

And that’s a lesson for us all.

No need to boil the Ocean

Every once in awhile life throws you some changes…

You start a new job

You start a new project

You get married, you have a kid, you lose someone close to you.

It may seem overwhelming.

So much to do, where can you start?

I know one thing.

Start with a small piece.

Win the little victories.

Knock tiny things off your plate while keeping your eye on the big prize.

In other words, don’t start by trying to boil the ocean.

Flat Stanley Meets Mister Derrick Brooks

Hi kids, this is my last post on Auntie Lynn’s blog. It’s a short one but very important.

Today, I got to meet one of Auntie Lynn’s favorite people, Mister Derrick Brooks. Before we met him, Auntie Lynn made me watch a video about him. She kept laughing the entire time during this video.

Mister Derrick Brooks is a huge NFL star and even has a Super Bowl Ring. He’s a very big guy and when we told people we were going to meet him someone said “Good thing you are already Flat, Stanley b/c on the football field, Derrick used to flatten his opponents”.

I didn’t really get that one but it must be a good joke b/c everyone laughed.

Anyway, after watching that United Way video I was a little scared to meet him but Auntie Lynn assured me that the video was just a joke and he was a really nice guy.

When I met him, Mister Derrick Brooks was very nice to me & told me he went to the same college as Auntie Lynn.

Auntie Lynn says Florida State is the best college in the whole wide world and she really hopes Kaleigh and Noah go to college there. Mister Derrick Brooks agreed with her.

I asked her if we could visit her college but Tallahassee, FL is almost 4 hours away from Tampa so there wasn’t enough time to visit this trip. Next time though, she promised to take me to a FSU football game so I can cheer on the NOLES as long as I bring Kaleigh and Noah with me.

Mr Derrick is President of the other team Auntie Lynn works for, The Tampa Bay Storm, they are an Arena Football team and Mr. Derrick and Auntie Lynn hope they can win a Arena Football Bowl and get championship rings of their own very soon.

Anyway, despite the scary video where he yells at kids, Mister Derrick Brooks was a really nice guy and it was great to meet him.