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Conversations Magazine's Inspirational Issue

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Super Bowl 2014 Champion Michael Robinson: Talk To Your Kids Every Day


Michael Robinson, Super Bowl Champion 2014 of the Seattle Seahawks, is the proud father to four kids. He recently caught up with parenting expert Daddy Nickell for My Life As A Dad, the popular new web series that delves into the lives of celebrity and professional athlete dads.

During the interview, the NFL star chats about how he celebrated his Super Bowl 2014 win with his kids. He also shares his top advice for new NFL players who are about to become a father.

Daddy Nickell: How did you celebrate winning Super Bowl 2014 with your kids?

Michael Robinson: “Because it was in New York and we were expecting bad weather, I didn’t bring them all out there. They were in Richmond, Virginia with their grandparents. They all got in front of the TV and watched it. When I got home, they were so excited…they thought that I was actually bringing confetti home with me! That was very exciting for them. They told me about everything that went on in the game…they talked about Percy and Russell Wilson and said, ‘I saw you daddy, you caught a pass!’ It was so great to share that moment with them.”

Daddy Nickell: How is the one-year-old doing?

Michael Robinson: “My one-year-old actually came to New York with me! She wasn’t one at the time, but she was about to be one. I had the chance to see her right after the game. Being able to see my kid after being out on the field, going to war with my teammates, and battling it out kind of neutralizes me. She isn’t worried about whether I made the right block or whether I am going to beat the Saints in the first round of the play-offs—she’s just worried about seeing daddy. I think that was probably the best moment of my life.”

Daddy Nickell: What is your advice for young NFL players who are about to become a father?

Michael Robinson: “Football is a stressful sport, and sometimes it’s hard to keep all of the stresses associated with football on the field. Sometimes the stresses do come home with you, because as soon as you turn on the TV there is ESPN, NFL Network, and other news channels talking about it. Also, you go on social media and they are talking about it. It’s kind of hard to get it out of your system. If you come home and take the approach of ‘Here I am,’ your life will be a lot better. You won’t worry about the stresses so much because you will be so concerned about how your kids’ day was.

I have a four-year-old son who will be five in November. He tells me about preschool every single day. That’s one thing I would advise to new fathers: talk to your kids every day and see what is going on. He tells me each letter and the numbers he is learning every day. He also reads my shirts sometimes. My ten-year-old has to also tell me a current event every day.  I don’t care if he catches it on the Internet or while he is in school or reading the newspaper, or if he asks the teacher to be informed.

My six-year-old girl is the same way—when she goes to her Kindergarten class, I say, ‘Tell daddy something!’ I would advise all NFL fathers to talk to their kids and be there and be present with them. Try to keep all the football worries out of the picture during this time.”


My Life As A Dad (mylifeasadad.com) is the first show of its kind to delve into the lives of celebrity and professional athlete dads to get their answers to important questions, such as how they feel about being a dad, their parenting philosophies, how they balance their family life with their professional life and, in some cases, how they relate their unique upbringing to being a dad today. The series features interviews with the likes Dancing with the Stars winner J.R. Martinez, NBA star Chris Paul, TV Host AJ Calloway, 2014 Super Bowl Champion Michael Robinson, and many more! You can subscribe to MLAAD on YouTube and follow them on Facebook (facebook.com/MLAADad) and Twitter (twitter.com/MLAADShow).

Monday, September 8, 2014

Chef Daniel Green's Chicken Orange and Pomegranate Salad

Chicken Orange and Pomegranate Salad
Serves 4

4 large oranges, peeled and thinly sliced
5 tbsp of olive oil juice from ¼ lemon
a handful of coriander, chopped
7 ½ ounces pomegranate seeds
4 skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
freshly ground black pepper

Place the orange slices in a large mixing bowl.  Add 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, plus the lemon juice, coriander and pomegranate seeds.  Toss well to combine and set aside to marinate while you cook the chicken.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a non-stick grill pan and sear the chicken over high heat for about 3 minutes on each side, or until cooked through.  Turn off the heat and set aside to rest for a few minutes.

To serve, divide the salad between 4 serving plates, top with the warm chicken slices and finish with a few grinds of black pepper.

Stay connected with Chef Daniel Green on www.danielgreen.tv. Get his new book The Paleo Diet on Amazon here.


Monday, September 1, 2014

Sunday, August 31, 2014

[Review] Kristen Moeller's WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

What I am waiting for?

It is a question we have all undoubtedly asked ourselves at some point.

Maybe it has to do with going after something that we say we want or moving to a new level in pursuing our passion. For Kristen Moeller the question forced her to do a self-examination of the good, the bad and the unknown, and what she has learned is now being shared with us in the book WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

After losing her dream home and all her worldly possessions to a raging and sudden wildfire that killed three people and demolished twenty-one homes, Moeller dove into an exploration of our cultural discomfort with grief, the existence of God, finding humor in the midst of tragedy - and what it means to be a human being with all our fabulousness as well as frailties.

I approached this book with some nervous excitement, mainly because I like others want to know the answer but then realize this will force upon me the need to do the work necessary to get what I want. Kristen went through degrees of loss in her life and afterwards found herself wondering what was really important. Sometimes we have to go through the fire (literally for some) in order to realize what is left behind, what have we chosen to carry with us and more importantly what are we going to do with ourselves now. Kristen helps us to understand the importance of not just being in the moment but embracing all the little things that it brings because those times and experiences will never come again.

This doesn't mean that we should live life in wait of the 'other shoe to drop', but we should always be mindful that what we have right now---this very moment---is unique and special, and so is what we choose to do with it.

Kristen encourages the reader to stop looking for the "perfect" time and instead focus on making the most of the time and moment we have right now. Using her own experiences and "Gentle Knocks" through the book for us to do self-reflections, she gives us everything we will need to move forward, making the leap that can result in our being present every day of our life.

Poignant and powerful, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? prepares us for the work necessary to rise to the occasion of our lives.

Stay connected with Kristen Moeller at www.kristenmoeller.com.

Actress Renee Lawless: Enjoying the Success That Comes From Loving What You Do

by Cyrus Webb

She may have become known to many through her work on stage, but since 2013 actress Renee Lawless has solidified herself as one of the unforgettable stars of the runaway hit The Haves and the Have Nots.

In the first 10 minutes of the first episode we saw her character Katheryn Cryer as the strong matriarch of her family, however, the show has also revealed another side of the woman whose cutting retorts and strength masks a world of hurt and pain. Now three seasons in millions have made the show must-see television and Renee couldn't be happier.

I asked about her thoughts of the first episode. Her answer? "This is going to be a hit, and I'm a part of it." Renee went on to tell me that they expected high numbers on the first one and as we have continued to grow that's what has really been more overwhelming. The drama is groundbreaking as the Oprah Winfrey Network's first scripted drama and the first of three projects created by Tyler Perry that appear on the channel. The importance of the moment is not lost. "Not too many people get to be at the start of something great," Renee said to me.

Renee Lawless' place in the spotlight is something that has been in the works for quite some time. "Even as a young child I was singing the loudest in church plays," she told me. "I always dreamed of being a movie star." When she began in theater, it just felt right to her. "This is my home," she said of the experience. "This is where I want to be." She knew in high school that no matter where she went that performing would be a part of her life. "I've been on stage many years, but my ultimate goal was always TV and eventually film." The Haves and the Have Nots has made that dream come true. She said that to not only have achieved her ultimate goal of being a series regular and a star of a series is an experience she is loving.

It was really intriguing to talk with Renee about how she has brought Katheryn to life. "I knew all these layers before you all did," she told me. "With any new television drama everyone is brought in in the middle. It's up to the characters to bring you in. The one thing that I love about Katheryn is that she's a very multi-layered person, it's like peeling back layers of an onion. She's like a hollow oak tree: outside she's a strong pillar of strength but on the inside she's rotting and hollow. What her husband and children and life have given her has made her a very lonely person. It's basically what it means to have and to have not."

Renee then gave an example that I think resonates with everyone. "Even though she's worth 50 million dollars she's a woman who's over a certain age, who doesn't like getting old, who is dealing with cancer and problems with her kids. Not many can relate to being worth 50 million dollars, but 50 million people can relate to what she's going through. She in many ways is one of the most relatable characters because she has all of these layers. She's just like me."

Though things are going well for Renee and she is doing what she loves, it hasn't happened without a real commitment to her craft. "I worked very hard and long and got many more rejections than I've had successes," she told me. "I do this because I love it, not for the award or the paycheck that it affords me." Speaking of the world that actors live in she adds: "Our career is very unsure. If you're just doing it for the fame and glory you're not going to go very far or last." Her next words are great reminders for all of us with a dream. "You have to love what you do in order to truly be successful at it."

May those words resonate with us as we identify our passion in life and vow to pursue it.

Renee's website is www.reneelawless.com and you can follow her online at www.twitter.com/msreneelawless.

[Special] NBA's Chris Paul Talks Fatherhood with 'My LIfe As A Dad'

NBA star Chris Paul is the proud papa to son Chris Paul II, 5, and daughter Camryn, almost 2, with wife Jada. He recently caught up with parenting expert Daddy Nickell for My Life As A Dad, the popular new web series that delves into the lives of celebrity and professional athlete dads.

During the interview, the NBA star chats about what guys can expect when their partners become pregnant, his best advice for dads, and how he feels about traveling for games.

Daddy Nickell: What can guys expect when all of a sudden their beautiful little bride is now pregnant and starting to go through changes? How can men support and help their partners?

Chris Paul: “Those experiences are exactly why I am not having any more kids. [laughs] It was a lot of fun and, well, for me, I am not the one whose hormones are changing and whose body is changing. Especially with our first child, my wife was on an emotional roller coaster.

I’ll never forget how we were about to walk into our bedroom and I stepped into the laundry room to mess with her, and I jumped out and scared her. She was hysterical and cried and cried. It’s funny, I still think back to it now. My son is kind of scared, and I think that because I scared her that day and that she jumped the way that she did, my son is a scared person now.

You definitely have to take deep breaths and you have to understand what is taking place. She is the one who is experiencing all of the body changes, but it is an experience for the husband, too. I was reading a book, What To Expect When Expecting. Every flight that our team got on, I was into that book to see what is happening this month, what is happening that month, what’s this, what does the baby look like now?”

Daddy Nickell: What is your top advice for all dads?

Chris Paul: “Every dad is different, because you don’t know his work schedule and things like that, but I say this as it pertains to me: the most valuable thing that you have is your time. I can care less how much money you make or anything like that. I tell people all of the time that my kids are the most important thing to me.

Any time that I have to go somewhere, it kills me. I hate it and hate traveling now, because my son is old enough and will tell me ‘Dad, I am going to miss you while you’re gone. Why are you leaving me?’ When my brother and I grew up, our mom and dad didn’t miss anything. You know how you see in those movies where the kid is looking for his parents at his recital and they are not there? We never had to look because we knew that they were there. It kills me to know that there are times where my son will be playing a basketball game or something like that and I won’t be there. Time…that is one thing that your kids will never forget. They may not remember something about money, but they will remember whether or not you were there when they needed you.”

My Life As A Dad (www.mylifeasadad.com) is the first show of its kind to delve into the lives of celebrity and professional athlete dads to get their answers to important questions, such as how they feel about being a dad, their parenting philosophies, how they balance their family life with their professional life and, in some cases, how they relate their unique upbringing to being a dad today. The series features interviews with the likes Dancing with the Stars winner J.R. Martinez, NBA star Chris Paul, TV Host AJ Calloway, 2014 Super Bowl Champion Michael Robinson, and many more! You can subscribe to MLAAD on YouTube and follow them on Facebook (www.facebook.com/MLAADad) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/MLAADShow).

Recording Artist Troy Petty: Using Music to Speak to the World

by Cyrus Webb

With my schedule I am not able to attend as many live events as I would like, but when I discovered the music of Troy Petty and James Tristan Redding in 2013 (and learned they were coming to my home state of Mississippi), I know that was one event I had to attend.

Petty is a artist that definitely bares it all in his music, and the listener is better off because of it. His album FAIRY TALE PEN is one that you will find yourself listening to again and again---and each time you will discover something unique and mesmerizing about it.

"I put myself through some tests to see if this was really what I wanted to do," Petty told me after his appearance in Mississippi. "I started pretty early on (about 8 years old) and growing through my teenage years I was pretty isolated. I imagined being on stage and carried on with my life. Music has been a form of therapy, something that became a part of me. It was something I could always rely on. As I was getting into my adult years I knew I was going to do it for the rest of my life regardless."

That is how I know that Troy Petty is an artist in every sense of the word. "I don't know what it would feel like to not have music," he confessed.

I can tell you from experience that he gives a part of himself away to the audience with every performance---and his project FAIRY TALE PEN is probably his most personal to date.

"I had a group of songs that I couldn't get out of my head," he explained. "At first they were just for my own personal satisfaction. I was feeling kind of vulnerable... I can't not be honest. I went for broke and picked the ones (songs) that moved me the most. FAIRY TALE PEN tells the story of what it's like to be an artist. I dug deep and really put myself out there."

Instead of feeling afraid, Petty says the release has had an opposite effect. "It was very liberating and like a renewal," he says. "A lot of times when I hear certain songs it's like a reminder: 'Look at what you did.' Everytime I hear it (the album) I am very grateful."

Stay connected with Troy Petty on Twitter at www.twitter.com/troypettymusic as well as on Reverbnation at www.reverbnation.com/troypetty. Information about his album and current projects can also be found on his website www.troypettymusic.com.