Growing up, my Pa was my EVERYTHING. I come from humble beginnings. My grandfather a minister and teacher, my grandmother also a teacher, my mom a teacher and my father a milkman. We didn't have a lot, and time was a limited commodity because both my parents had to work as hard as possible to keep the family afloat. Most of my early childhood I spent attached to the hip of the person pictured above.
Vance Shultz was such an amazing man. Spending his life spreading the gospel of hope, faith, family, hard work and loyalty. He wasn't your typical Minister. He didn't believe that you had to act or think a certain way to gain acceptance. He believed that the most important person to be spiritually accountable to was yourself, whatever that meant to each individual.
Growing up in the south, that open minded philosophy didn't always go over so well, causing people to not always have a favorable opinion of him. But he marched to his own beat, was sound in his principals and wouldn't waiver for anything or anyone.
Vance was a man of many talents, and I remember being awestruck by his ability to tinker and fix almost anything. We spent countless hours in the garage, working on lawnmowers or broken household items, and I credit a lot of my own personal handiness to the time spent with him.
I definitely was spoiled. The "apple of his eye" would be a severe understatement describing the way he treated me. Anything and everything I asked for, he provided.
My grandfather was an exceptional botanist. On their property, he had a huge garden that supplied almost every vegetable to not only his own family but to all their neighbors. He loved to nurture his harvest, meticulously making sure that each plant got the right nutrients, water, sunlight, etc., to grow to its fullest potential. I feel like the way he treated his garden is the same way he treated me, nurturing me with knowledge to help me reach my full potential.
I recall vividly some of the things we talked about when I was 4 and 5 years old. He spoke to me like an adult and we talked about everything; God, the universe, biology, botany, art, history, etc.. He always advocated to research everything and to come to my own conclusions about things that were important to me instead of relying on theory or prevailing opinions.
My grandfather always had rubber bands lying around. There wasn't a shelf, a drawer, a table, anything that didn't have a few of them sitting. That was his Gorilla tape, the fix anything miracle! As a minister, he was always working on his sermon sporadically throughout the week and if a thought or idea came to his mind and he didn't have his pocket notebook, he would jot it down on a rubber band and wear it on his wrist until he could transfer it to something more secure.
As children usually do, I started to mimic this but since I still couldn't read or write, I would draw on mine. I remember sitting in the garage spending hours working on my rubber bands, thinking they were mini Picasso's on my arm.
I was blessed to spend the first 8 and a half years of my life with him. There are always things that people say or do that stick with you, sometimes for reasons you can't currently understand. I feel this is what my grandfather left with me as an eternal memory. He used to always tell me that I was capable of doing anything no matter what anyone said. That there was only one person that could hold me back from achieving my dreams, my desires, my goals in life not only for myself but for anyone who's life I touched.
Me. Myself. I.
He used to always say, "If it is to be, it is up to me."
My grandfather died on the way to Wednesday night church service in January 1989, a car that I was supposed to be in.
I used to always go to church with my Pa and Ma. The reason I liked going was not for the sermons but the communion bread and grape juice I would steal out of the refrigerator. That Wednesday night there was a big basketball game on television that I chose to watch instead, so I decided to pass and stay home.
I remember hearing the phone ring that night, my parents coming into my room and telling me that they had been in an accident, telling me everything was going to be OK, knowing deep down that it wasn't.
The next morning when I found out that he had passed, my teeth chattered so hard that I thought they were going to break. That night changed my life. My grandmother never fully recovered, finally succumbing to numerous strokes and losing the ability to walk and speak.
Throughout high school and college, I used to wear a rubber band on my wrist everyday, with that quote scribbled on it.
Even today, while I don't wear the rubber band anymore, I still carry a small piece of paper in my wallet that has it written on it.
I have lived my life by this saying. I have lost sight and focus many times along the path, but I always find a way to come back to this simple truth. That is what lyfebeast is all about. Making a difference not only in the lives of the ones I love but in the lives of everyone I touch everyday.
I thank my grandfather for the knowledge and wisdom that he still gives me. The amazing thing about lyfe is everything is tied together, everything happens for a reason, and we always get to choose what the outcome is.
Lyfebeast will be, because it is up to me.
HYPE FOR YOUR LYFE
LyfeBeast exists for those who are willing to learn more, grow more, invest more and go for more… to do what others don’t, so they can live the life others won’t.
LyfeBeast exists to be a guide for those who seek to become all they can with all they have been given.
For those choosing their better future, to live the life they were meant to live.
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