You Are ‘Mike’ Sunshine, My Only Sunshine…

“Don’t worry about it. Everything’s going to be fine!”


My first professional mentor, dear friend, and one of the most amazing supervisors I’ve ever had, Michael Thomas Murphy (August 5, 1948 – May 1, 2020) is being laid to rest today.


This was no debate when it came to Mike. I mean, who is ever FRIENDS with their WORK SUPERVISOR?!?


It is so befitting, likened to the day we said our earthly goodbyes to my mother in 2014, it is a beautiful, bright, sunshiny day. God’s blessings are surely neverending, even when we pass from this life to temporary death.


Mike was the type of supervisor that should have began a business training other wannabes as leaders. He didn’t judge, he didn’t argue, he didn’t make you feel bad about your choices and he could work with anybody. ANYBODY.


I believe that was a major gift he passed along as a leader. The power to work with multiple attitudes (be them multiple personality disorders, or whatever).


Now, he threw you to the fire, ready or not, while he stood by like a father, waiting to catch you should he need to.


To this day, I have not had a supervisor like this man.


Had things been different during the change in leadership at the agency, I likely would have never left. But when you’re headed into work crying every day, something is definitely wrong and you have a choice to make.


I left.


But that was the culture Big Bob Luckie, who founded the agency, and his sons, Bob and Tom  Luckie, created and cultivated at their ad firm. It was the best place for me to begin a successful career, especially after a previous supervisor from a job I had fresh out of my first college graduation, had cursed me out, then fired me when I asked him to talk to me with more respect.


Mike was such an understanding leader for me, other interns, and all of the adults on his team. He saw your potential past your imperfections and stood by you no matter what hit the fan! And when it did, he was a leader and took accountability for all of it, saying,”


“Don’t worry about it. Everything’s going to be fine!”

This is a hard hit because even now, I can hear him saying this, and hear his laughter ringing loudly despite any negative news you brought his way. That laughter made you laugh, and if you weren’t feeling great, you forgot it in his sunny company.


This is how he would want us to be now: happy.


I don’t ever believe death is a loss, because God said in I Corinthians 15:55,

“O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”

So WE WIN!!! This death, Mike, is your first step to eternal life in Him, and so we celebrate your amazing life, legacy, love and laughter.

You maintained through all of the hills and valleys our Heavenly Father brought you through, and taught others to do the same.


Today’s Wordz blog post is dedicated to you and the phenomenal life you lived despite your trials. You helped me name Wordz & Rhythmz when I started writing and performing poetry professionally back in 2002. I love you for being a great friend, father, mentor, business advisor and simply just being YOU.


All of us who knew you are better because of your friendship. I can only commit to living and leaving a legacy such as great for my own family, with no regrets whatsoever.


Rest in heavenly peace, my dear friend. We shall see you when we get there…


You Are “Mike” Sunshine

By LaShanna R. Tripp

© 2020 Wordz & Rhythmz LLC. W&R Publishing.


You are…

“Mike” Sunshine

My only sunshine…


When everything doesn’t line up right

Fighting a good fight

And bringing light

Into sordid situations


Raising your babies

Instead of raising hell

If only other supervisors

Could take this lesson

They would never fail


And the only failure I had

Is not having enough time

But I cherish the time

Spent well in your laughter

And know the heavenly angels

Are singing with you

In the hereafter


The elevation of your soul

As it now resides with our Holy Master

All of the pain in your body

No longer keeping you down

In this COVID-19 pandemic disaster


I am at peace for you

Because this world

Has seemingly lost its mind

And you are now safer

You’re so much better


You are “Mike” sunshine…

My only sunshine

You made us happy

When skies were grey

We have our memories

We have our families

We’ll never let your sunshine go away…


This song by Fred Hammond is dedicated to you…


New Devils STOP!

What adversaries are stopping you from taking a leap of faith? Just pick any distraction.

Distractions are interesting. Distractions cause us to pause and more often than not, miss out on important, right-now moments in a life we’re not promised to be living tomorrow.

These disruptive distractions are unnecessary hesitations that delay what we know in our hearts we need to be doing. They are also emotions fed to us by others seeking to infest us with their own innate fears.

Today should be the day we stop living our life based on other people’s fears!

These distractions are simply your adversary seeking to delay you from your purpose. And man, did one hit me just this week through a loved one.

I found myself on a call that was intended to be a moment to catch-up, but it became pretty shady fairly quickly. I felt as if my talent and choices to transition to a new career was being attacked through a hidden, one-sided verbal war I thought I was unsuited to fight.

Out of respect, I could only sit there in shock as I listened to an onslaught of self-righteous opinions that sought to apparently somehow correct me. The goal, of course, was to stall me and take me off of my game!

I finally just hung up, but I could only stand there, stupefied. And then it hit me out of nowhere.


Earlier that morning, while running errands with my husband, he pulled to a STOP sign in our neighborhood that we’ve passed hundreds of times before. However, my eyes caught something posted on the sign that I had never noticed before. The two words somehow screamed at me just then, and I instinctively knew that it was a warning:


I Corinthians 16:9 rushed to mind. I recalled that as doors and resources are being opened up to us during a season of growth and transition to greater, many adversaries rush in right along with the blessings. Now, this sign can be seen in different ways if we add punctuation:

  1. NEW DEVILS STOP. (Meaning new devils distract you and keep you from moving forward.)
  2. NEW DEVILS, STOP! (Meaning we shout out and tell the new devils to stop distracting us!)

I immediately just thanked God for the warning because it allowed me to focus back on what He told me: that this time won’t be like last time!

Both interpretations of this sign today were important to me!

Some of you, like myself, have taken risks before and failed very well, and are now in a season of trying again. God has promised that this time won’t be like last time.

That last time, you didn’t have a plan.

The time before last time, you were younger and didn’t seek wisdom and understanding.

This last time, you didn’t trust Him like you do now.

This is not the last time. This time, is your time.

Despite what your adversaries are doing, focus on what God said to you! Do you need discipline? Buckle down. Do you need help? Ask Him for it.

Fulfillment will only come when you are in pursuit of utilizing your gifts and talents to help others.

Cory Asbury’s moving song, Water and Dust, reminds us that God makes beautiful out of our ugliness. When everything around us is falling apart and not shaping up to be what we thought, don’t lose heart. He is working. 

You were created for greater! Tell the new devils you are three feet from striking gold, and you are not quitting!

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Everything you have is because #GodDidIt!


Everything you have is because #GOD DID IT!

LaShanna R. Tripp

©2019 Wordz & Rhythmz LLC Publishing. 


Everything we have is because God did it.

What happens when we forget Who brought us from meagerness to greatness?

This poem is a reminder of this truth, which God spoke to me through a rushing wind as I stood on a hill overlooking Homewood from a building our production studio now calls home. In that moment, I knew that He was trusting us to never withhold giving Him glory for what He was doing in our lives.

We have been able to overcome lack and stagnancy only because God did it. 

It is through divine connections that we are in this studio space. The years of being stripped of everything we owned, enduring heartache through miscarriages and hurtful jabs from people we loved and trusted had culminated into this moment. And I was completely full!

All I heard Him say was simply, “Don’t forget Me!”

Can God trust you in the territory you are wanting Him to bring you into?

Will you be able to to tell everyone that God Did It?


#God Did It!

©2019 Wordz & Rhythmz LLC Publishing. 



A mouse, caught in a trap

Public classrooms / brought dooms

Your sista didn’t see that on a map!

Now, it served for a time

But poured out too many limits

Admins slapping my hand, saying, 

“Mrs. Tripp, betta quit it!”


That daily grind?

Honey, I surely don’t miss it!

Educator, underpaid

And these kids don’t get whippings?!


Brand new theatre, no respect for the craft

Directing shows, teens calling each other hoes

As colleagues I respect

Just stand back and laugh?

I looked up to God in year 7, and said,

“Lord, is this job complete?”

See, it served for a time

But poured pain into me!


So when things didn’t change

After four years plus four more

God spoke, loud and clear,

From Luke 5 and verse 4


“Launch into the deep…”

And tears raced down my face,

For I knew, in my soul

It was time for a change!


So, I stepped out on faith,

Though scared, yet upbeat!

Where I am is because

All my fears He defeats!

And as I look around, from this hill to those streets,

I holler,

(Hashtag) GodDidIt!

On all social media feeds!


Inspired? Share this link via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest!

When It’s Time to Let It Go…

LRT Headshot

I woke up full of anxiety.

Tell me you know what that feels like?

The anxiety of leaving a job that is literally killing you or the anxiety of not knowing exactly where your rent is coming from.

Are you bursting so much at the seams with a dream, that you are ready to explode in a pointless panic?


OK. Maybe it’s just me.

So, now I stand here, completely consumed with the failures of my past. I am overwhelmed by the expectations of my future, that I seem to be frozen in time. In a cold, solid and unproductive standstill.

It was easy for Elsa to tell others to ‘let it go’ when she was the one doing all of the freezing!

HA! That girl was in control!

Maybe that is what I need. Not absolute power, but control over my runaway thoughts and aimless actions. And a ton, not a dash, of discipline and commitment…

Hmm… Can I commit to staying in bed all day watching the Hallmark Channel?

Well, yeah, that type of commitment would plummet me into a sad and sorry state of an empty bank account… That wouldn’t be fun…

Ok, fine. But I am so there for those premieres!

Look, I lived a life of being told what to do, and after years of just trying to please everyone, I walked away. I lost the support of some family members for a while, some even turning their backs on me in an effort to prove a point.

When I walked away, it was great on so many levels, but I was riding the lowest low at the same time.

I walked away from a great career in advertising and took on an understudy role at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. Then, I got married and transitioned to non-profit work. Two weeks later, my husband was laid off due to a plummet in the housing market.

A year later, I lost my job when the director canceled a grant that paid for my position. But the “fun” didn’t stop there.

We ended up getting evicted the same day we discovered we were pregnant with our second child. During that entire pregnancy, we moved around about three times before ending up with family.

Talk about a sordid, nomadic life.

However, an opportunity to teach theatre in public education opened up, and it enabled us to get into a rental home.

Reliving this now brings me to tears, as I am reminded of the only vehicle we had at that time.

It was a white 1991 Honda that my parents had given us, and the reverse gear no longer worked! We ended up having to be strategic with where and how we parked the car. We would then put it in neutral on an incline when we needed to back up!

Tears are flooding my eyes as the current revelation of what that car symbolized to us washes over me: young, innocent hearts, being strategic and moving forward in faith, never looking back!

Wow. What we could have done with that revelation back then had we known.

But there is a season for everything. Not one of us can make our dreams a reality if we are stuck reliving the failures of our past.

One evening, as I was praying for anxiety to leave me, I heard a whisper in the stillness:

“This time won’t be like last time.”

It was resolute. Final. Sure.

And I could do nothing but accept it as a warmth raced over me and tears streamed down my face. Our “last time” involved:

  • moving around with babies in tow,
  • living off of the government (WIC/EBT),
  • struggling just to put gas in the car,
  • drowning in extreme medical debt, which lowered our credit scores, and
  • led to our inability to get approved for business and home loans.

Was I really going to risk it again?

But, then, that whisper repeated:

“This time won’t be like last time.”

So, I now understand that there are, for me, at least seven ways I can only fail at pursuing my passion this time.

1. I continue dwelling on the failures of my past

It’s okay to remember them so we don’t make the same mistakes, but we must not allow those past failures to immobilize us in any way! LET. IT.GO!)

2. I don’t believe in something greater than myself

For me, it is Father Yahweh and His Son. When I was at my lowest, He was the only one who could have rescued us.

It will take another post to share the miracles we saw after the only one I told my troubles to was God.

3. I don’t believe in myself and what Father God has gifted me to do

You must be your own #1 fan! I am discovering that it is truly “mind over matter.” Your feelings and actions follow what you think.

Listen to some great, motivational speakers to get your mind out of a negative rut! Les Brown is one of my favorites, and he is the #1 motivational speaker in the world!

4. I don’t make a plan and commit to the plan, even if it has to change from time to time

As a freelancer, you make your schedule. And, “Schedule to fail” is not on it. Make an achievable schedule and stick to it no matter what you have to do!

5. I don’t celebrate achievements, no matter how big or how small

Treat yourself when you finally tackle and organize that closet, or when you land your first major contract! WHOO-HOO! If you don’t first love and celebrate yourself for every gain, no one else will!

And here is where you can toot your own horn… TOOT! TOOT!

6. I don’t focus!

After completing an idea web, I realized there were multiple projects I wanted to pursue. But, man, was I all over the place! And this just increased my anxiety!

A personal coach I consulted with suggested that for the next 30 days, I focus on the one project that could bring the quickest money. This would enable me to equal my standard income by the time my last check comes.

Those simple words changed the trajectory of my thoughts and my efforts!

7. I don’t get a personal coach or trusted mentors. Anyone that will hold me accountable!

Who do you answer to when you don’t stick to your plan or your schedule? You must have someone you trust completely who loves you for everything you are, no strings attached.

Who in your corner will not let you drop the ball because they want what’s best for you, just as much as you want it for yourself?

Who won’t criticize you, but encourage you should you happen to mess up, fail, and need to get back up and moving ahead? Answer this question, and you will be on your way up the ladder of success, whatever that means for YOU!

Emotional Roller Coaster

The emotions following a major career transition are like those wacky roller coaster rides. One day you’re up, the next day you’re down. You have to harness your emotions expeditiously.

Being consistently productive is the only way to ease the anxiety you feel. And if you’re still trying to figure it out, go and utilize your gift or skill to help someone else, and clarity will come!

I truly believe I am about to crest the hill of a mountain that seemed to be growing despite the ground I covered.

There’s an electricity in the air that’s unexplainable.

As I move forward in obedience and follow the path laid out before me, even though I don’t feel like it at times, there’s a shift working in my favor. And I have to work it as well.

A wave of fear attempts to crash over me daily as the reality of walking away from my 8-year embryonic tenure as a classroom teacher is ever-present.

I could rescind my resignation, but I was already pushing on a pull door to develop a program no one seemed interested in participating in and supporting.

For me, it had died despite the vast sponsorship dollars and grants I was able to garner to further grow it. So, I lost my zeal, and it almost sent me into a nervous breakdown. I had to choose my family and my sanity over a paycheck.

It was time to move on and pursue my passion to develop me and my husband’s business, and my own career as a director, writer and artist. I chose to let go.

What will you do should that time come for you?



How to Craft the Perfect Schedule As a Work From Home Freelancer – This is a great article from Wonolo Co-Founder and COO, AJ Brustein, if you are planning a transition to work from home.

“Let it Go” from Disney’s Frozen sang by Idina Menzel

Motivational Speaker Les Brown