Owning The Unknown


The statement, “Life is a process”, is something we hear all the time. Every day we get to wake up is a piece of the process we call life. As I talk with the youths of this generation and also many adults, I hear the same repetitive words come from many mouths. Those words are, 

I fear the unknown and don’t have much patience in my life.

I hear these words consistently and I want to enlighten anyone reading this that has those words stuck in their head every day. We currently live in a world that is becoming so accustomed to instant gratification that it is trickling down into how people approach and deal with their futures.

First, if you are scared of dealing with the unknown, right now you must come to grips with the reality that you have NO CHOICE but to deal with the unknowns of life. This is life we are talking about right now. Stop fearing life and the unknown of your future. Start living confidently and have confidence in who you are. Be confident in the fact that you have so much life to live rather than fearing the years you have ahead!

RIGHT NOW, start being grateful for everything you have and understand that you can handle anything that is thrown at you in life. RIGHT NOW, stop envying other people and things. Honestly, STOP acting like the unknown in life has any control over you. Start owning the unknown!

Larry Taylor is the founder of Vertical Vision and a graduate assistant for the men's basketball program at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida.  His playing career consisted of stops at Liberty University, Bob Jones University, and Southeastern University.

Why Mentors Are Important

I am so thankful for the people that God has placed in my life.  They challenge.  They build.  They love.  Without mentors to help me grow throughout my journey, I wouldn't be the person I am today.  They came into my life and called me out when I was wrong and they continue to give me the wisdom to continue my development as a husband, father, and coach.  


My closest mentors have been with me during some of the hardest times of my life.  They have seen me fail and they have seen me at my worst.  During these moments they cared enough to challenge me and allow me to see my potential.  I was challenged to change my mindset.  I was challenged to change my habits.  I was challenged to do things that were hard, and frankly, I didn't want to do.  But because of their willingness to challenge me, I was able to get out of my comfort zone and begin to tap into my true calling.  I am forever grateful for my mentors challenging me to grow.


As I began to pursue my calling and chase my dreams, there were (and still are) so many roadblocks and potholes along the way.  Naturally, I struggled with confidence and wasn't always certain if I was making the right moves.  My mentors came alongside me and gave me encouragement through all of these twists and turns.  A simple text or a quick hug was always enough to give me confidence and assurance that what I was doing was going to work out.  Their experience allowed me to gain a new perspective which sent my confidence to another level.  To this day my mentors continue to give me the confidence that what I am doing is making an impact in other's lives.  


As much guidance that my mentors have given me, I am most grateful for the wisdom they drop on me when it comes to the rest of life.  My role as a husband.  My role as a father.  My role as a coach.  My role as an employee.  My role as a mentor.  In all these areas I have people I can go to to seek out insight.  There are no words to describe how much I value having mentors in my life.  They all bring different perspectives and they all have unique ways of communicating to me.  But regardless of how they think or what they say, I know that they love me.  They have my best interest in mind and I can trust what they say.  I don't always like it, but I always need to hear it.  I can't be my best without the feedback and advice of these people.


To the people who have been and continue to be mentors to me, thank you.  You are appreciated more than you'll ever know and I'm thankful for your willingness to play a big time role in my life.  

If you have people pouring into your life I'm sure you agree with a lot of what I've said.  I hope that you tell those people how important they are to you and how thankful you are for them.  I would appreciate it if you shared this with them and would love to hear different ways that you have been impacted by a mentor!

Homeless Never Means Helpless




Throughout my life I've heard these stereotypes applied to people less fortunate over and over again. Much of society has a view on the homeless population as people that have no work ethic, aren't responsible, and don't try hard enough. I'll be honest, I even had this type of mindset when I was younger. Growing up you're taught that working hard and doing what you're "supposed" to do will give you what you need, but I'll tell you right now LIFE does not always work that way! This last week I had the opportunity of serving with an outreach organization called New York School of Urban Ministry where I went into the streets of Midtown Manhattan, the Bronx, and Queens to bring food, blankets, and Jesus to the homeless or less fortunate. But as I came to this organization with a mindset of blessing others, I was the one who was truly blessed.

The stigma that has been attached to the homeless that they aren't hard working or talented is completely false. My first night in Manhattan we went to a location where the homeless were able to stay until a certain time for shelter due to the cold weather. I met an elderly woman by the name of Erlma. She was walking down the stairs holding every type of bag you could think of while also holding a cup of coffee. I saw she was struggling, so I helped her carry the bags so she could get down safely. As we began to talk more, I noticed she was limping which she then told me she had a knee problem for the last five years. I went on to pray for her and her knee which brought us to her story. Erlma went on to tell me that she was a graduate at the prestigious Columbia University in New York where she attained two degrees and was once a college professor. As I kept on speaking with her I forgot all about the fact that she was homeless, but was viewing her as a human being with worth. I'll never forget what she said to me before I left. She said,  

The people you invest into do not always give you a return on your investment, but that’s not why we invest into others. We invest into others because we have a duty to love people and give them a chance to understand their potential.
— Erlma

I immediately gave her a hug because of how much those words meant to me.

Another woman I met named Paticia had her son with her that night. When I sat down next to Paticia she immediately began talking to me about the importance of having confidence when approaching my career. Her son, Tyrell, was only nine years old and I could tell he looked up to his mom like she was a superhero. Since Paticia is a single mother she would have to drop off her son at school every day somehow. She went on to tell me that before he would leave he would ask her every day what she was going to do today. Her response every time was that she was going to go save the world. Paticia told me she didn't want her son to know that she wasn't able to have a job right now. Tyrell just needed to focus on one thing and that one thing was just being a kid. As we got to the end of our conversation I told Paticia I wish I could just hire her myself. She went on to give me some encouragement in regards to my future, 

It’s hard. I’ll tell you right now that New York isn’t for everyone. But I see something in you. You have a gift with people and I don’t usually talk to people this much, so that should tell you something.
— Paticia

I went on to pray with Paticia, but she also told me she wanted to pray for me. She went on to pray for me in a very powerful way and I was truly blessed.

I had even more numerous amazing interactions with people such as Robert who went out of his way in one of the shelters to teach me how the game of chess has many connections with life itself.  Or Jason, who was younger than most of the homeless, helped explain to me the best way to reach inner city youth. Jason gave me knowledgable approaches to the youth of places like Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, or Manhattan. I couldn't believe a man with soo much knowledge was in his current situation.

As I reflect on the time I spent with this organization I would say the main lesson I learned is that the opportunity to serve others is an absolute gift. New York City has a homeless population of about 100,000. These people do not have less worth than anyone else. If we are truly going to apply God's Word to this subject then the worth of people is found in Christ, not in how big someone's house is or the title they have at their job. From my time this past week I have learned more from people that are less fortunate than I have from many people who are considered "successful" in the eyes of the world. That should tell us something. "Success" in the eyes of the world can take you down a detrimental spiral that can get us off track of what is important. Never take for granted the blessings we have that look simple. Because one day, those same blessings could be gone in an instant.


* I love seeing former players who have a passion for Jesus and serving others.  Larry is truly a special person and God is going to do big things through his life!  It was an honor to be able to share his story from his time in New York. - Coach Wingreen