Tag Archives: Family

Milestone Summer – Family Ties

Milestone Summer – Family Ties

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Already this summer may go down as one of the most eventful periods in my life. It started out with me celebrating the first birthday of my son Max. Not to be outdone, the following weekend I saw my brother become a husband. Witnessing the marriage of my little brother, as his best man, in front of our family was probably one of the most emotional moments of my life. So between that and the one-year celebration of my son, it’s been quite a summer thus far. With that said there’s been a lot of reflection a lot of introspective days just thinking about where I am where my family has come from and where we’re going. Knowing everything that emotionally struck me when I found out I was about to be a father to where I am today has been quite a path traveled.

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Max Turns 1!!!!

With that said there’s been a lot of reflection, a lot of introspective days just thinking about where I am where my family has come from and where we’re going. Knowing everything that emotionally struck me when I found out I was going to be a father to be where I am today is a major step. In conjunction with that seeing where my brother is at has made me so happy and so proud of everything that he has accomplished.

Interestingly enough, the announcement to my parents that I would be expecting a child and the announcement from my brother that his girlfriend had accepted his proposal all happened within the same November week back in 2015. So to have the wedding and Max’s birthday fall within a week of each other was kind of interesting and pretty cool. I say that now as I think back to the same younger brother who I used to play video games with, play ninja tag and get into fights with, to now seeing him as a grown man and myself now as a father is just a testament to the power of family.

#BestMan #BigBrother #MagicalMountainWedding2017

A post shared by Jason Francis – SMM (@smediasamurai) on

I have always said that nothing matters more to me and nothing is more important than family. It is a foundation that not only holds me together in some of my weaker moments but is the foundation that I plan on building and raising my son upon. It’s something that I’m still trying to capture in words right now, where I am where the time has gone and yet almost feeling like we are all at a point of new beginnings. I’m in the early stages of life within Parenthood and now my brother is embarking on the journey of marriage. It really is a brand new world. I look forward to what it will mean for him and I look forward to the life that I’m going to craft out for myself and my son.

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The Mysterious Month of Me – Facing Birthday Doubts

The Mysterious Month of Me – Facing Birthday Doubts

The Mysterious Month of Me

I don’t think I’ve ever had a month go by as fast as March has this year. The 1st fatherly Month of Me is complete and it has been one of extreme introspection. I’m trying to figure life out now without snapping at folks or losing my mind. The responsibility of fatherhood weighs on everything I do. Every time I look I’m my son’s eyes I’m dedicated that much more to not give up. Yet and still life is dead set on pushing me to my “adulting” limits. The juggling of family, finances, and feelings can get very tricky.

March does always remind me of a number of standout individuals in my life. I’m thankful for those people and the overall community that stands with me. The emotional pick me ups are clutch at a time when I’m battling serious feelings of inadequacy. The thing is, life doesn’t always provide a guy the outlet to release in the manner needed. I’m approaching a year since I left New Rochelle and so much has changed within me.

SMS MOM DD

I’m attempting not to hold so much inside but that is part of who I am at times. I’m trying to still be true to me in a world that wants my skills and talents but wants it in a different package. The emotions of life and daily economics clash often. It’s a puzzle I’m still working on. All the while Max gets bigger, smarter, more aware…….his Daddy’s story is an interesting one to say the least, but it’s still in its’ opening chapters.

As a new phase of this parenting operation approaches, I look forward to life presenting more opportunities. I also expect life to continue fighting me at every turn. Nothing worth having comes easy. I’ve slowly made moves to reestablish elements of life that make me full like my old self. The evolution of me, the progressive work of Jason continues and I’m looking to let Love, Faith & Family drive me forward.

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2016 The Year That Changed It All

2016 The Year That Changed It All

Digital Daddy, Social Media Samurai
Is this the end of the Social Media Samurai

Look around. Admittedly things have been a little quieter around here than many of you may be used to. The year 2016 was a monster for many people for a lot of reasons. While the theme of high-profile death has dominated the conversation recently, it’s been a focus on gain and new life that has been the signature of my year. From self-centered to selfless, my life went from 0 -100 with the May 27th arrival of my son, Maximus Xaiver Francis. Nothing was the same since.

Max’s birth came with me relocating to Philadelphia and a drastic shift in how I operated. My networks were changed, my access to certain levels of business were reduced and overall it was if I had just hit a mega reset button on my life. I’ve never been a person that took things and people for granted but the new perspective of my situation immediately made me see my daily New York routine in a different light. The small things that brought balance to my life that were no longer available weighed heavy on me for much of my time away from NY.

What really countered that feeling of displacement was a the beauty and happiness that washes over me everything I saw the innocent smile of my baby boy. Knowing nothing of the insane world around him, he only asks for love and protection. All the cliches’ are true regarding how a child makes you feel and how it changes you. As much as continue to juggle thoughts and feelings around my new status quo, I’ve never once looked at Max with anything but love and pride.

2016 forced me to change. It forced me to prove myself in ways I never thought. Those tests are still ongoing but I feel a renewed power and strength within me for what is to come on many levels. Social Media Samurai is not going anywhere. As I adapt to my new reality the brand will adapt as well. Who I am and what I am about will be revealed more as I expand SMS into new territory. With the growth of my own Tribe I will re-emerge stronger with a determination to get things done no matter what.

The previous 366 days at times knocked me down. There were many moments of doubt and frustration regarding all important aspects of my life, but as the saying goes if you are brought to it then you can make it through it. I’m here and ready to make 2017 a banner year for me and my loved ones. I’m not who I once was yet I’m still me. I’m better. For my son I will never stop evolving.

2017, it’s nice to finally meet you.

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SAMURAI RIDES: DADDY TIME W/ MAX & THE 2017 HYUNDAI SANTA FE LIMITED

SAMURAI RIDES: DADDY TIME W/ MAX & THE 2017 HYUNDAI SANTA FE LIMITED

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I’m always excited to get a look into the newest wheels that are coming to the people. Along with that, being able to share various aspects of my world is great. Now as I navigate the roads of Fatherhood, it makes my #SamurauRide features that much more special when I can share my son in the story. #DigitalDaddy duties got some help this time around from the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited. Keeping in the realm of crossover SUVs check out this latest from Hyundai!

A photo posted by nightfall914 (@nightfall914) on

The 2015 Santa Fe Sport was my Christmas shopping companion 2 years ago and made a great impression on me. Now getting behind the wheel of the 2017 Limited Edition it felt very familiar and keeps all the features I’ve come to expect from Hyundai’s SUV/Crossover series of vehicles. The Santa Fe is the largest ride within the series. Yet, to be honest with you, in terms of space the Tuscon is equally spacious. The Sante Fe Limited does add a few upgraded elements that really set it apart that I’ll get into shortly.

After a busy week catching up with family and handling major business in New York I returned to Philadelphia to see my son. October is here and while it is officially the Fall season, nature still appears to have a few good weather days left in her. What this means is a great opportunity to hit the city and enjoy some Daddy/Son time.

The level of trust needed in a vehicle and the attention to detail skyrockets once you’re joined by your child. Hyundai’s 2017 Santa Fe is incredibly roomy  for myself as the driver and Max with his car seat. The seat belts and fasteners held him in very firm as we hit the road. Also, the Limited edition Sante Fe gives you 2nd row captain chairs vs your standard passenger bench. With this upgrade Max’s car seat locks that much more firmly into his individual seat with more fear of sliding or shifting.

No shortage of space in the 2016 Santa Fe! #SamuraiRides
No shortage of space in the 2016 Santa Fe! Now let me get Max and his car seat in here. #SamuraiRides

Once Max is good I can take in the rest of the Santa Fe. The large touch screen, audio system, Bluetooth integration, safety alerts, panoramic sun roof and more are all there. Small but vital additions that really impressed me were the number of charging posts in this ride. Seeing a rear 3rd row usb charger was heaven in my eyes. As a social media manager there is time I need to just plug something(s) in and let it charge for the duration of a ride. The front ports are usually engaged with my phone so and 2nd and 3rd row options are clutch.

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Hyundai continues to stand out with its progressive SUV Crossovers.

I’ve always been impressed with how a ride that seats 7 handles as well as this does. I always remember the feel of my old Ford Expedition. It wasn’t a bad feeling, but you knew you were driving a legit truck so you had to handle it a little different. The Santa Fe could have you forgetting the type of car it actually is with how smooth it rides. Smooth enough that it put Max right to sleep in his seat.

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This is the Maximus stamp of approval for automotive comfort.

While Max catches up on some shut-eye, let me share a some images with you from my most recent time with Hyundai.

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For me,, the appeal of crossovers comes from the vehicle ability to be everything you need in any season. Speed and agility for the Summer gives way to size, power and durability for the winter. It can be packed full of riders for a night out, empty so you can enjoy a mind clearing cruise alone or get you around town w/ your child as you run errands. No matter the mission the Santa Fe serves you well.

Hop over to the Hyundai site for more details on the Santa Fe and all it has to offer.

**Check Out My Previous Auto Reviews**

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The Fresh Face Of Fatherhood

The Fresh Face Of Fatherhood

MaxXTags

At the time I’m writing this, I am 22 days into my role of dad. It’s a drop in the Fatherhood bucket as I think to the 35 years that my Father has put in thus far. You hear people talk about what makes a Father and how it feels to be a Father but I can honestly now say I had no clue until it happened. I don’t mean that in some magical incomprehensible way. It’s more like a new set of senses and feelings suddenly turn on that you never had to use before.

Continue reading The Fresh Face Of Fatherhood

A Man Provides…..

A Man Provides…..

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What matters most in this world? Who matters most? We often find ourselves in situations where our personal priorities trump our general sensibilities. Just how far would you go for your loved ones?

Well said. Pulled from the modern classic “Breaking Bad’, we get a reminder, no a proclamation of what a man does. A man provides no how others may feel about him. That core responsibility to family is so set in stone that gives both of Gustavo and Walter the internal green light to do deplorable things in the pursuit of success.

Have you ever found yourself in such a place? Have you been forced to put your wants to the side for the greater good? Your perspective changes when others are depending on you. I’ve prided myself on being a guardian. Providing safety and reassurance to my people has long since been my lot in life but there is more. The next stage is approaching and I’m not sure what it will bring.

Yesterday in Loreto, Mexico I took part in a morning Sun salutation. This spiritual activity serves as a connection session for personal, spiritual and natural energies. Asking for strength and guidance in the trials ahead. I’ve always said that my only definition to success was to make my people, primarily my parents proud. Life doesn’t just roll out a simple path for you to follow to achieve success. More often than not you will be broken down on a few occasions before you reach your goal.

I believe this breakdown is required. This is the process by which you focus your vision and finally see what and who truly matters. You may very well end up turning off the same people whose opinions were once so important to you and the funniest part is that you will gladly accept that loss for you new-found clarity and purpose.

I’m searching for that with a relative idea of where it is but limited time to get things right. In the end you do what you most even if you go unappreciated for it. A man provides.

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The Year That Tested Me Like No Other – 2015 In Retrospect

The Year That Tested Me Like No Other – 2015 In Retrospect

New Year, New Me right? Ummm maybe, maybe not. 2015 has been in a word “stressful”. On many levels I took chances and gambles to see just what I as made of and how I would deal with life and all it could throw at me. Both personally and professionally I’ve been in positions that were both exciting yet taxing. Some results made my smile, some results made me cry and others just had me asking why.

Freelancing was the business model as every dollar I earned this calendar year was via independent free lance work. I acquired my first long-term consulting client via my Social Media management business. I proved that I could do it and do it effectively. I expanded the #SamuraiRides branch of my brand and grew the following of the site with a steady flow of content like my #SamuraiSitDown series. 

Travel also stepped up a bit this year. I made the decision to cut back on event coverage that wasn’t fiscally beneficial but also decided to give a larger portion of my time to Nomadness. From the Summer BBQ now known as Nomadness Reunion weekend to the massive #UAETakeover in Abu Dhabi & Dubai, the heart of 2015 was spent putting in work to push the growth of the Tribe. All of which led up to the Sept launch of our 1st business conference NMDN.

Last minute trips to Miami and then to Antigua helped give me the little spark that I hope to bring over to the new year. Fingers crossed.

On the surface things definitely looked great. Yet as we know there is always more below the surface. I’ve been looking to take my social media skills to a larger platform. While growing the Social Media Samurai I see so many established businesses that are in dire of digital assistance. The search has been long and frustrating to get in the door. It’s the classic dilemma of people wanting you to have a certain specific level of experience to accept you. There’s no question that I know social media but hiring businesses see a man engaged in freelancing and indie work seems to scare people away.

As much as SMS has done for me it’s still not where I need it to be. From a money making stand point It’s a revenue stream but not profitable enough yet.

The goal is to be able to live a self-sufficient life doing what makes you happy. Sounds simple but nothing is simple these days…especially living in New York.

I won’t lie. I’m feeling real sub par. I’ve always been my own worst critic but by most standards I think I’m not looking too good. On top of that 2016 already promises to be 10X tougher in many areas. I’ve always said I don’t give up and I don’t break but patience is wearing thin. Life isn’t holding back on the tests and challenges and something has to give eventually.

There was also the personal side of 2015. I learned just how far love could go but that it wasn’t the be all of life. Love can feel great yet be equally frustrating. Years of friendship can be interrupted in many ways. Just as you think something is moving in the right direction someone throws you a curve. Pretty much I learned to accept what is given to me. You can’t make adults do what they simply have no interest in.

In spite of all that I’m thankful for the support system I have. I thankful for family and friends who repeatedly showed me love and appreciation through both words and actions. I’m in good health. My heart is in an interesting place but I’ll deal with that and mentally my mind is as (over)active as ever.

A beautiful mess? That might be another way to sum up 2015. I still see the light at the end of the tunnel. I just need to keep pressing on and be more focused and organized. Mental strength and precision in the form of self-control is a key virtue of Bushido. I need to put that into play.

I also believe in asking for help so I’m making a humble request of anyone reading this. If you are a person of faith please toss a prayer in my direction. If you’re not into religion shoot some positive thought in may direction.

Wishing you all Love and Prosperity in 2016.

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New York to Antigua – Back Home And Inspired

New York to Antigua – Back Home And Inspired

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After a 22 yrs I finally made my way back to my family’s home land of Antigua. The trip sparked a lot of emotion and thought within me. Below you can see the opening to the piece I posted on Medium.com. Hope over there for some personal reflections and rediscovery of purpose.

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New Rochelle, NY has been home my entire life. 34 years of existence, born, raised and shaped by the middle class suburban upbringing just 30 minutes north of New York City. With that being said, from a very young age I knew that where I’m from went deeper than that. I’m from Antigua, a small island in the West Indies. As a kid, the annual summer trip back to Antigua kept me connected but not fully understanding the bond I have with the island. Fortunately that’s a connection I’m now dedicated to strengthening and reinforcing.

The issue at hand is that until just recently, I haven’t been to Antigua since Oct of 1993. My last memories of the island were a funeral service for my great grand mother. I was 12 at that point. In the years that followed family from Antigua would start to visit NY for extended periods of time and then eventually move up here permanently. At the same time I was entering my teen years and wasted no time to getting my working papers. Summer trips to Antigua were replaced with summer time jobs or domestic trips to see family in closer locations. As I got older and could now travel on my own i wanted new locations. I also had new connections and relationships that drew me to another places. The final component was simply budgeting. $600+ for a flight didn’t work for me vs $200+ to other destinations. I felt that my childhood years earned me the right to see other places. A foundation was set in Antigua. As I grew and matured into the man I am I realized that those roots needed to be nurtured both externally and internally. Not just for me in the here-and-now but for the future.

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Getting back to the roots……

***View The Full Article Here***

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Curtis Jackson Bka 50 Cents Shares Honest Words To His Younger Self

Curtis Jackson Bka 50 Cents Shares Honest Words To His Younger Self

50-Cent-in-Jamaica-photoTime breeds honesty, reflection and introspection. 50 cents sat down with Big Issue and took a look back at the formative years of his life and his musical career. He really lets the people in as he addresses his feelings around his mother and grandmother’s deaths. While his platinum selling days may be well behind him Curtis remains one of my favorite interview subjects to listen to.

Check out some cuts from the full interview below.

I think shock is the best way to describe how I felt when my mother died. I didn’t understand it. To have a single parent as your guardian – they’re your whole life. I was eight. I was just like, what do you mean? She had spent a lot of time away from me, she was always hustling. She had to be very tough, to be around a lot of men… she had to adapt. At that time they didn’t have teen programs helping teen mothers [his mother was 15 when she had him] and my mother wanted to give me what I needed, so she couldn’t rely on welfare.

It scared me half to death when my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer. My aunt would call me with updates all the time and she always said, don’t worry, she’s fine. I’ve never told anyone this but two years ago, the day she called to tell me… It was early in the morning and I was on a treadmill in the gym. I got to the hospital and the whole family was there. My aunt told me the doctor said she’d had a stroke and there was nothing they could do. They took me to her and she was the smallest I ever saw her. I said ‘Hello?’ I saw her eyes jump when she heard my voice, like she was trying to see where I was at. Everyone else left and I talked to her for a little bit. Then they all came back in and her heart rate started to drop. My aunt said, shit, she was waiting for you. I’ve seen a lot of people pass in the neighborhood I’ve lost them to motorcycles or altercations or drugs. But none of them impacted like when my grandmother died. She was the love of my life.

If I could talk to my teenage self, I’d tell him to focus on music with a stronger intensity. He could still have this career without going through all the things I went through. And thinking about relationships – I think back to when I was with someone and that person could have been the person I was going to be with for the rest of my life but I didn’t have the references yet to know there was something special there. It’s like the clarity I got about my grandmother after she was gone. Some people have been better at that than me. If I look at Jay Z, I’d point out he capitalized on people better than I did.

Full Story Via Big Issue

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Is Discipline By Digital Embarrassment Solid Parenting?

Is Discipline By Digital Embarrassment Solid Parenting?

Dislike Holzstempel

The law of the land was very simple when I was a kid. Behave, do your school work and don’t make a spectacle of yourself. I was never a problem child but at some points a kid is going to act up and push the limits and when that happened I knew what was coming. “Just wait ’til your Father gets home” was a reality in my household. Beatings were a last level of punishment but never done in excess. Spare the rod spoil the child may seem like “abuse” to some these days but please believe I’d take that any day of the week over the antics that many parents are applying today.

It’s often said that kids are being given access to social media at too young an age. Consequently they aren’t grown enough to fully understand the ramifications from their actions but that applies to many of these “parents” as well. Many adults are taking punishment of their kids to a new level by posting said discipline on the internet. I get that idea of trying to teach them a lesson where they interact but there is a crucial flaw in this plan. When I was bad I was punished within the confines of my home. These were teachable private moments between myself and my family. My parents would always talk to me afterwards to make sure there was understanding as to what was done and why. I could not imagine what my growth process would have been like if my punishments were publicized. The most that might happen is being grounded and having to tell your immediate friends you can’t come outside.

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The true issue is that social media has NO RULES you are creating a vulnerable situation that will now live forever. In addition to that, posting a crazy hair cut, a beating or whatever punishment is essentially handing it over to others to do with as they see fit. Bullying was always an issue of growing up but it seems that the digital firepower that social media can become pushes many over the limit. Why add to that? Discipline should match the violation but even when you as the parent return things to normal who says that your child’s peers will do the same. Your brilliant idea to publicly shame your child may create an going social issue that lingers long after you thought the lesson was learned. What then? What do you do once your “genius” parenting move goes viral and a grade school kid can’t function socially because thousands of people are laughing at him?

Simply put its massive overkill. Social media has become so ingrained within the practices of some folk that they simply do not know how to do anything that does not have a “Let me show you” element to it. The time between think and post seems to be decreasing. For many the process actually takes place in reverse with the action of posting then being followed up with thought on what was just done. We need our parents out there to be smarter. This is exposing your kids. It is teaching them that when someone does something they don’t like it is an acceptable act to seek public embarrassment of that person. That is what leads to boys sharing images of girls they once liked. Pubic shame is a highly destructive tool and many adults don’t realize the role they are playing in conditioning their youth in this way of thinking and in turn causing trauma for them and others.

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