Are You There God? It’s Me, Lauri

As a young pre-pubescent tween girl of the Seventies, it was almost a rite of passage to read the ever-popular book “Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret” by Judy Blume. It was a story about a girl writing letters in her journal discussing the impending arrival of her period.  Gasp!!!  There, I said it!  For some reason, the word “period” or “menstruation” has always been one of those words that makes people uncomfortable, particularly teenagers once they know what it means.

I am going to talk about another word that surprisingly makes people uncomfortable.  No it isn’t the “f-bomb”!  I discussed my thoughts on that in an earlier post. For some reason, which is beyond me, this word has become so out-of-bounds naughty to some, it actually makes them vicious and hateful.  Others, especially those who have become shackled by political correctness, whisper it and talk about it with such sensitivity you would think it a vulgarity.  The word is GOD. There, I said it! What a potty mouth!!!!!

A few weeks ago, my daughter and I met my husband for dinner after we had all had a very long day. He looked especially tired and told me that he started his day in the Hamilton County courtroom in Cincinnati. He was there as an observer because he was selected to be part of a team utilizing their proven leadership skills to create collaborative initiatives focused on improving the city. He showed me a picture of a guy that had been arraigned and had had his bond set because he had allegedly robbed and murdered someone. Showing me a picture he pulled up from the Internet, he said, “Look at his eyes.” The eyes of the man in the photo were dark, soul-less, abysmal pools. We then touched on the large number of criminals that had gone before the judge while he was there. One every minute or two. It was like an assembly line. The name was called, the bond was set, the judged stamped their paper and said, “Next.”

He was telling me how depressing it was to see so many lost souls, and how they just keep cycling back through the system because they don’t know a better way. The jails are overcrowded, so if it is anything other than a major offense, they pretty much walk. He said that in most of these situations there is no father in the picture, and if they are hungry, they might have to steal. In white suburbia, he told me, we just can’t imagine what that is like.  SCREEEEEEEECH!!!!! Hold on just a minute!  I hardly think hunger is the main source of the crimes committed. “The problem is so big, there really isn’t a solution.” Really??? Hellur….GOD? He’s pretty big!


I once saw a quote,”Don’t tell God you have a big problem, tell your problem you have a big God.” I am not going to beat the Bible over anyone’s head here, but I believe a quick reference guide for “Top 10 Ways to Stay Out of Jail” can easily be found in Exodus 20….a.k.a. The Ten Commandments.  Now, I am no theologian, but the Bible talks about the wilderness, and I am pretty darn certain that if you follow these simple instructions, you will stay away from the depravity..just sayin’!


There are initiatives, welfare programs, studies, and data created in an effort to treat the epidemic, but why not be proactive in staving off poverty.  If one knew there was a deadly disease, and one could be vaccinated to prevent it, wouldn’t one opt for the shot instead of hoping the body would fight the contagion?  My question is why haven’t all these so-called specialists interested in fighting poverty ever blamed the removal of prayer from schools…the breakdown of families…the low number of people attending church?  It seems like such an obvious answer.  President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society was supposed to be a “war on poverty”.  As one can see from the image below, $22 TRILLION has been spent and we are NO BETTER OFF!!!


Two years prior to launching The Great Society, prayer was taken out of school.  Here is a photo taken in the Fifties of children saying prayer in school:


In his book “America: To Pray or not to Pray”, David Barton lists some staggering statistics:

Since the 1962 removal of prayer:

SAT Total Scores


Includes: Gonorrhea, Syphillis, Chancroid,
Granuloma Inguinale, Lymphgranuloma Venereum, and AIDS


Under 15 Years of Age


Under 15-19 Years of Age


Under 15-19 Years of Age


Percentage of U.S. Teenage Girls
Who Have Had Pre-Marital Intercourse


Female Head, No Spouse Present



Prior to 1977, unmarried couples living together was such a small group that data on this group was collected only in the 10-year census reports.* Note: Unmarried couples represented only 1 in 85 of all couples in 1970,
compared with 1 in 25 in 1983. Basic data from Statistical Abstracts of the United States


“The U.S. is at the top of the world’s divorce charts on marital breakups.”
U.S. News and World Report, June 8, 1987, pp. 68-69
“The number of divorces tripled each year between 1962 and 1981.”
Time, July 13, 1987, p. 21


VIOLENT CRIME: Number of Offenses


Amazingly, if one studies the Liberal Progressive movement, it abhors the family unit, claiming that it subjugates women.  Isn’t a single woman/mother, who is dependent on the government for their necessities, a subjugation? As the Bible tells a woman to submit to her husband, isn’t a woman beholden to entitlements submitting to the government?

The country was started when, at their peril, brave Puritan men and women began reading the Bible against the wishes of the church leaders.  They realized that their rights came from God, not from man.  I once heard that, many years ago, one was only thought scholarly if one had read the entire Bible.  My guess is if the scholars of today, teaching our nation’s children, taught the very same principles etched on those stone tablets of yore, we would see a dramatic decrease of poverty, crime, and brokenness.  So, each day when I say my prayers to heal our country, it begins like this, “Are You There God, it’s me Lauri…”

Have Street Sweepers That Paint As Michelangelo Gone the Way of the Neanderthal?


I greatly appreciate a job well done. A couple of weeks ago, I made my weekly trip to Costco. It was the usual trip, you know, going in for eggs, milk, apples, and bottled water and, $400 later, leaving with all kinds of things that I didn’t realize were necessary until I was milling about through the maze of new products that weren’t there the last time I was. A table (I couldn’t live without) caught my eye, and, as is typical, I still shop with the mindset that I still have my old Cadillac Escalade ESV (the really big one).


Now that my step-children are grown and I only have one child to chauffeur, I drive a small SUV. It is accommodating in most instances, but sometimes I get to my car and memories come flooding back of when I was in high school and I would have to lie down on the bed to get into my favorite pair of jeans. At least, I never had to resort to threading a hanger through the zipper tab for extra grip😉…you ladies know who you are. Nowadays, they use the term jeggings (jeans and leggings hybrid). Yes, jeans were that tight in the Eighties, and yes, my hair was crazy big!

As I was walking to my car, a smiling young Costco employee, that I had seen loading my cart on earlier visits, was at the entrance restocking the snake of bascarts that had been sitting in the corrals in the parking lot. I would guess his age to be between nineteen and twenty-two. As I was leaving the store, he saw that I had a full cart and asked if he could be of assistance getting the box into my car. I told him that I might need it, because it will be like putting 10 pounds of sugar in a 5-pound bag.


Once we got to my car and I lifted the hatch, the sight was even more grim. I may have heard him gasp! In the cargo area sat my daughter’s Michael Phelp’s Pro II swim backpack fully equipped with a solar-powered mini fridge with a backup generator (or at least it looks that big), her swim fins and snorkel in a separate mesh bag, and a large box of books with a destination of the Salvation Army. Oh yeah, AND my 55-pound Portuguese Water Dog, who persistently cries and moans if he is left behind, expectantly sat perched in the back seat. If only he was bilingual and spoke something other than Portuguese Dog-ese…oh, the stories he could tell!


Now, seeing my predicament, I was really hoping that the nice young man would be kind enough to help me with the box (things always looks smaller in the big box stores than they really are). I quickly, and nervously, moved the contents from the cargo area transferring them to the forward passenger seat. I have only once before needed to dismantle the cargo hold cover, but I must have looked like a deer in the headlights because he said, “Don’t worry, I know this model of car very well.”


Sure enough, he pulled this latch, that latch, and we were in business. He smiled the whole time and was nothing but enthusiastic and pleasant. Wow, how refreshing and in short supply that is these days! Shortly afterwards, I was on the road and called my mom. I profusely bragged on this kid’s demeanor. I said, “I am going to have to tell a manager next time I go in.”

Sure enough, this week, I was at Costco, again, and he was walking towards me. I stopped him and asked his name. This time, he looked like a deer in the headlights. He hesitantly told me, “Ja-a-a-mes…what is yours?” By the tone of his voice, I could tell that he thought he may be in trouble. I told him I wanted to know so that I could compliment him to his manager. I said his enthusiasm and energy were to be recognized. He lit up.


I stopped someone that I recognized as a manager and told him about James and asked where I could put it on record. He told me where to go and what to do. He was grateful that I would make the effort, and I told him that it is so unusual to see that level of pride in ones job, much less in someone so young. I told him that people have no problem complaining about being slighted, but so few go out of their way to recognize a superior level of service. Doesn’t positive reinforcement encourage that behavior?


My husband travelled recently, and he lamented the decline of service with the airlines. Years ago, I used to be a flight attendant for a major airline. I too have noticed a HUGE decline in customer-friendly service. Most, not all, ticketing and gate agents no longer engage with travelers. All those years ago, the Vice-President of Inflight Service for the airline I worked for received a letter from a passenger saying that I was more memorable than the Grand Tetons (get your minds out of the gutter). He and a few of his friends were returning from being out west. I gave them great service, told them jokes, and made their trip home a cheerful one.

For my daughter’s eleventh birthday in mid-November, she wanted a crystal chandelier for her bedroom (yes, she is another princess in the making). We found the one she wanted and purchased it on Amazon. Following the chaos of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and my daughter’s participation in the Middle School musical, I was finally getting around to hanging it a couple of weeks ago.


I am pretty handy, so I decided to install it myself. As I was assembling this 75-piece masterpiece, I discovered a cracked-crystal bowl and a decorative crystal arm that had threads that wouldn’t grab ahold of the part that twisted into it. I felt my face flush.

My first thought was, “You ding dong! You should have checked all of the parts when you took delivery.” My second thought was, “Oh, poop! Where is the receipt?” Thirdly, I thought, “Gulp! How do I get ahold of the seller on Amazon that sold it to me more than two months ago?” Well, I am so fortunate to say, the seller has been amazing. His professionalism has been off the charts! He gushed apologies, thanked me for my business, and thoroughly has followed up with ever step of rectifying the situation. These days, it isn’t often that my expectations are met, much less exceeded!

My daughter’s dance team has been doing a routine in which the girls had to stand atop little wrought-iron chairs. The seat had come off of her chair and was therefore unsafe for her to use. Honestly, I didn’t know what the heck I was going to do. I didn’t have a tool to drill holes into the iron, and she had a national dance competition the next day.


We have all gone into hardware stores with a problem that needed solving, only to leave feeling dejected when they tell us they can’t help us fix whatever needs fixing. I stopped at a hardware store and asked if there was someone in there that was handy. I was referred to an elderly gentleman, Larry, that eagerly accepted the challenge. He told me to give him a couple of hours and call him. I felt such relief! I called him after my daughter finished swim practice and it was finished!!! When I picked it up, it was solidly fixed, and he recommended I replace a missing pad for one of the legs that would make it even more stable and safe! He earned a loyal customer!

It isn’t difficult to take pride in your job. As Dr. Martin Luther King said, “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.’ ” Though those “brush-wielding street sweepers” seem to be going the way of the Neanderthal, there are still those that take pride in doing their job well. I strongly believe their efforts toward hard work and attention to detail are worthy of recognition and praise.


Contrary to the Incessant Negative Propaganda, WE ARE AMERICA!!!!

Anymore, the headlines are filled with sensationalized stories about weaknesses in our country and around the world. The tension among different factions of our culture is almost palpable: Atheists vs. Believers; Homosexuals vs. Heterosexuals; Pro-Gay Marriage vs. Anti-Gay Marriage; Gun Rights vs. Gun Control; Pro-Amnesty vs. Seal the Borders; Pro-Choice vs. Pro-Life…and the list goes on and on. These endless schisms are NOT unintentional. As Americans, if we peel back the cloak of propaganda, I think we will find a commonality: the blood that runs through our collective veins is RED, WHITE, AND BLUE.


As a nation being steered by leaders that profit by focusing our attentions on our differences, we sometimes miss how similar we are because we are nefariously encouraged through our politicians, educational system, and mainstream media to focus on that which will make us choose sides. To keep us stirred up gives them more power. These wrongly-trusted advisors are negligent in their fiduciary responsibility to be honest with the American people. They will even go as far as promoting falsehoods such as the “war on women” or comparing racism today with the days of Jim Crow Laws.


Sadly, the uninformed and apathetic fall victim to these fabrications instead of doing their own research. They don’t use their own anecdotal evidence or experience to make their judgements; they are told what they are to think and they accept it without question. They are merely lemmings ready to follow their often un-vetted leader off the proverbial cliff. What we are told is twisted and shaped to promote their agendas. I was in church yesterday and saw a video that flipped this propaganda on its ear and it prompted me to write this post.

I became relatively interested in the news during the 2000 Presidential Election. I had my candidate, “my team”, and I wanted him to win. The suspense of the recount following the election prompted conversations and I started watching the news hoping to see my choice for the next President of the United States be victorious.  I was spending a good part of the year in Sarasota, Florida at the time, and it all boiled down to the Secretary of State in Florida making the state’s results official and giving the win to George W. Bush. I had voted in every election after turning 18, but as publicized as that election was, I found that I, too, was holding my breath over the hanging chads.


In the months to follow, I kept myself pretty well abreast of what was in the news, but September 11, 2001 changed all that. As a result, to say that I listen to Conservative Talk Radio/ News a lot is an understatement. I want to be in-the-know so that I can inform others. I feel that as a stay-at-home mom, it is the least I can do, and I feel a certain sense of civic responsibility. Between the radio, emails, television, and internet, I know almost everything that is going on in real time. Thus, what I saw in church yesterday had me perplexed.


The church I attend has themes that last 4-5 weeks, and this week kicked off the theme “We Are (Fill in the Blank)”. At the end of the message, a video was shown of the 9/11 Boatlift rescue. After being summoned by the U.S. Coast Guard, boats of all shapes and sizes transported 500,000 stranded people from Manhattan to safety as the World Trade Center buildings were toppled in a terrorist attack that claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 people…IN NINE HOURS!!!!!! It was a colossally successful mission!

I sat there watching the video as it rekindled the feelings that I had on that horrific day. As the video progressed and I heard the accounts of those involved, I began to feel such an inspirational pride that I hadn’t felt in quite a while. It was like steak to a starving man!!!! As it ended, I thought, “Why have I never seen this? Why isn’t this story told over and over again?” This film shows who we are as Americans. The fabric of our nation’s DNA was so obviously knitted into each of these heroic boat captains! Instead of our politicians, educators (it goes without saying this does not apply to all of them), and mainstream media cultivating disdain and divisiveness in our country, why not promote the amazing triumphs in her history? Are we flawed? Yes! Are we fabulous? Absolutely!!!! After all, WE ARE AMERICA!!!! Now, let’s start acting like it!


IMG_0322.JPG(This amatuer photograph was taken on the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11. Amazing!)

Note to Self-Proclaimed Feminists: Go Ahead and Devalue Yourselves but DON’T EXPLOIT YOUR CHILDREN

Every morning during the school year, I drop my daughter off at the front door of her Middle School and ask Siri, on my iPhone, to call my mom. I sometimes check in with her again in the afternoon or evening. We have a very close relationship…it’s what we do. I talk with her about dilemmas either of us may have (I admit, it is usually me that has the dilemma), current events, recipes (we both have a passion for culinary creativity) and a host of other things that might come up.

Last night, while waiting for my daughter to finish her dance class, I sat in the car and decided to call Mother to check in. She asked me if I had seen the commercial with 6-year-old girls dropping the “F-bomb”. I told her that I hadn’t seen it. When I phoned her again this morning, I could hear the news in the background, and twice during our 15-minute conversation, the subject regarding the ad was brought up. My mom was appalled to say the least. I could hear some of the discussion on the news which wasn’t very positive. I decided to check it out myself. I mean, REALLY, just how bad could it be?


IT IS THAT BAD!!! At least, it is to me. The commercial in question is a pro-feminism ad about women’s inequality featuring little young girls, rumored to be around six years of age, and one boy, dressed in princess dresses. Hat tip to the cross dressers! After all, in our current culture, we must be diverse and tolerant of everyone and everything! I can’t imagine where a mother’s mind is that commends exploiting her child and glorifying the use of language like is on display in this ad. Do they really think it furthers the cause of equality for women? I think the “geniuses” behind this marketing campaign look like nothing more than ugly, trashy, and desperate women with no taste or sensibilities. To what end are they creating a video showing their children using such potty language? For posterity’s sake? Have they even given it any thought? If these classless women, who clearly lack any discernment, would like to humiliate themselves and it be put into the annals of internet history, go right ahead! Don’t exploit children! It is the unspoken rule of decency!

Thirty-two years ago this fall, I started my freshman year at the University of Georgia…GO DAWGS! My roommate and I were late getting in our application for dorm selection, so we were relegated to live in a co-ed dorm named Creswell, known more familiarly as “The Well”. Being from a small intimate town on the south side of Atlanta, I lived a pretty sheltered life. My roommate, from the same hometown, and I were both what I would consider “protected” in our upbringings. I remember exactly where I was when I heard the “F-bomb” for the very first time.


Her name was Edna…Edna from New Jersey. She was drunk (again) and walking through the dorm hallway shouting something. She continued on her rant and my roommate and I were in our dorm room sitting on our beds looking at each other over the tops of our studying material. We both agreed that Edna was “at it again”. After she shouted out what we thought was a resounding, “SHOW YOUR BALLS!”, Shelly and I bolted from our bunks to look out in the hallway. It was anyones guess what was taking place! Seiously, we were living in a co-ed dorm! After we two Southern Belles figured out what she was saying, we realized that her enthusiasm for the upcoming home football game “between the hedges” was uncontainable. She was actually shouting “Shug-ah Bowl!” That is how out of place profanity was back then. It certainly hadn’t become a cliched part of our everyday language!

I am not going to sit on any high horse and act like a swear word is totally foreign to me, but I must say it did give me a warm fuzzy recently when my daughter was in utter disbelief when I spontaneously let “Shit!” slip when someone almost T-boned me while going through an intersection. “MOM!!!!!!” When my daughter hears profanity, I try to explain to her that they are merely words. It is OUR choice to use DIFFERENT words. I explain that anyone can use those words but they are ugly and trashy and make the person speaking it look similar. Why would these crass feminists use little kids as a means of pushing their agenda? Why not cultivate a child’s innocence instead of promoting vulgarity? To encourage young children to profusely use profanity that will be viewed by millions to promote something they have yet to experience is beyond despicable.


In the offensive video, its message is to denounce inequality of women. Does repeating the “F-bomb” make us more equal? Does having little girls using words like f@#*, penis, and ass stop women from being raped and victimized by violence? This commercial is a disgrace to our gender and will not further the feminist agenda. It simply trashes them. I don’t know if the two crude loud-mouths in the video are mothers of these children or not, but if they are, they are the antithesis of a good parent, and I wouldn’t consider them worthy of equality in the parenting realm.  I wonder if they behave in the work place like they asked of these children. If so, they don’t deserve equality!  Nice work, Ladies!


Ladies…oh yeah, I forgot that you amazingly find the moniker offensive UNLIKE you deem the language in your advertisement…Women, your absurd attempt at promoting equality is so unimpressive. But then again, feminism has worked so well for these two ladies:


What’s Next…Is Godzilla Going To Do a Flyover????.


Anymore, life is getting pretty bizarre. Our thoughts and conversations are being inundated with haunting images and screaming headlines that vie for our attentions so much that we are becoming almost immune to the sensationalism.


Being a self-admitted Conservative radio junkie, I wrestle with whether or not to tune out like everyone else so that I, too, can enjoy a childlike oblivion, or to keep myself informed in order that I might help to educate others. I have been using social media as a platform to keep my acquaintances apprised of what is going on. I post it, and they can choose whether or not to look at it or skip over it. At times, I try to entice them, or even total strangers for that matter, into conversation with a question about what is most likely the currently trending story on the internet. It isn’t that I like to incessantly hear about the declining state of our culture and country, but it feels like I’m watching a train wreck and I want others to know they might not want to step out on the track right now! I can’t pull myself away.


Even if I want to enjoy a respite from radio and television, I feel surrounded by media of all sorts that broadcasts just how whacko things have become. My frequent comparison of our most recent culture is to the very popular dystopian novel The Hunger Games. Though it could just be in my imagination, I do congratulate Suzanne Collins and the movie’s producers on taming the gore down in the second film, Catching Fire, to suit a more diverse audience. Honestly, in the first movie, I could hardly shake the image of blood slinging at the camera as the District 2 tribute, Cato, used a machete to slash open the chest of his opponent. At that point in the movie, I remember questioning my judgement as a parent to have allowed my daughter to see it.


Everywhere you turn these days, there are piercings and tattoos that must have cost a small fortune. Some of these people look like they can’t afford a meal, but their bodies are emblazoned with people’s and pet’s faces, names, and a plethora of other pictures or verses. Good thing they last a hundred years…at least they will get their money’s worth! Really, who wants earlobes with holes in them big enough to hold a roll of paper towels? Okay, I have to admit, there is some practicality in it. After all, who doesn’t hate using a public restroom, then washing ones hands, only to find an empty paper towel dispenser? I mean, it’s okay if you’re wearing jeans, but…


I understand the desire for individuality, yet it has gotten so extreme that a little tattoo doesn’t cut it. People have to have their entire limbs done, their backs and necks, even resorting to their faces! People like this used to be a main event at the circus, and now it is no longer considered the fringe!


Globally, our world is on fire. Christians in other countries are being persecuted and not a word in the Mainstream Media. In the Middle East, young Christian girls are being snatched from their families and being forced to convert to Muslim. Their families have no recourse, because Sharia Law overrules civil law in the land. Where is the outrage? Does anybody care? Can you imagine someone overtly abducting your own child and not being able to fight it?

Even if one isn’t interested in the images of barbaric decapitations, they are all over Facebook, Twitter, the nightly news and even casually mixed in with Southern Living and Good Housekeeping in the magazine rack at the grocery store. As one flips through the “Best Tailgate Recipes”, it is really hard to imagine the flavor or “Chipotle Sliders with Pepper Jack Cheese” when ones eyes are riveted toward the kneeling, shaved, handcuffed, helpless man in an orange jumpsuit and the terrifying black-robed executioner wielding a machete. It is everywhere. It feels surreal. It is horrific. But, to our “selfie” society, that was so last week.

Meanwhile, we have a former Vice President and celebrity protesters flying into New York to protest Global Warming on their private jets committing the unpardonable sin of spewing CO2 (just as did the flatulent cows they flew over that were grazing in the countless pastures 30,000 feet below them).


Professional, paid protesters, consuming tons of diesel fuel, were bussed to New York City hailing cabs to transport them all over the city being led by Leonardo DiCaprio, who lives in fairyland surrounded by a number of other celebrities who believe in a Utopia that does not exist. The best part? How ironic that these tree huggers left the biggest mess of litter and debris in their wake!


Hellur…why don’t they go protest on the streets of China, which is the largest consumer of energy in the world, or some other Communist country with whom they align their beliefs? Don’t have an affinity for hard labor camps??? I am sure they will be treated swimmingly just like the brilliant American who decided to fly to North Korea where he tore up his visa, shouting he wanted to seek asylum. Guess what? After being delivered a six-year sentence for “hostile acts” and being thrown into a hard labor camp, he has the audacity to be pleading with the U.S. to do something to go and save his little butt! Imagine that! How foolish!!


Meanwhile, Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi, an honorable, former Marine, having served two tours in Afghanistan and suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, easily made a wrong turn from San Diego, California into Mexico, and has, since March 31st, been imprisoned in El Hongo Prison, a Mexican penitentiary controlled by notorious drug lords. Pleas for his release, i.e. phone calls from his mother, petitions signed by hundreds of thousands of American citizens, requests from certain Congressmen, coverage on social media and the news, are falling on deaf ears in the State Department!


Our country’s southern border is mostly wide open and, Lord only knows who/what is coming across. Some of these illegals crossing are possibly carrying diseases that aren’t indigenous to the U.S. so our immune systems aren’t used to fighting these maladies. Not only is our current administration not enforcing our borders, President Obama is transporting the illegals to various cities across our nation’s interior. As if that isn’t enough, Obama is giving the illegal children “HOMELESS” status which exempts them from the vaccinations that are required of other U.S. school children. I believe it is no small coincidence that a “strange and severe respiratory virus affecting children” has spread across two dozen states in recent weeks.


My mother is coming to visit me soon, and she asked me if she should carry a mask and gloves to wear on the airplane. She lives a retired life with her husband and isn’t exposed to the petri dish environment that is the interior of a commercial airplane. She has always been healthy and she would like to keep it that way.


We’ve all seen videos and photos in the news of Asian citizens that wear masks riding the subway system, walking in congested city streets, etcetera…”Maybe it isn’t such a bad idea”, I said. She nervously asked, “Do you think people will be staring at me?” She is of Hispanic descent and has almond-shaped eyes. I suggested that she put on some heavy eyeliner, wear her mask, and if someone tries to speak to her, she say, “Ni Hao!”


The craziest yet, is that the United States has had some of her citizens being beheaded in recent weeks with threats of more bloodshed, Mexican drug cartels are threatening and warning American protesters of a bloodbath if they demonstrate against illegal immigration at the border, and President Obama engages our military men and women to go fight Ebola??????


It has become as absurd as the old b-rated black and white horror film with masses of screaming people running from some unknown threat only to find out it is a huge, obviously fake reptile. Is that what we have been reduced to? Are we going to look up one day and see Godzilla flying overhead? Stop the insanity!


Live Your Life…Like a Boss!

“If your presence doesn’t make an impact, your absence won’t make a difference.” -Vincent “Vince” Lombardi

Every year, when my daughter starts school, I look for motivational quotes to write on her pencil box, planner or accordion file. For example, last year’s “It’s not how good you are that is important; it’s how good you want to be” was replaced with this year’s “Perfection is not attainable; but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence”-Vince Lombardi. I am not sure who said the first quote, but the second was spoken by a legendary and iconic coach who masterfully motivated his players to be “in it to win it” (source unknown;-)).


In my search, I came across the aforementioned quote, “If your presence doesn’t make an impact, your absence won’t make a difference” and thought, am I making an impact? In church the last three weeks, the theme has been titled “Like a Boss”. The pastor spoke of how our culture has gotten away from the idea of work being a good thing. He went as far as to quote a Gallup poll that was quite startling. He said, as recently as 2012, those polled here in the U.S. that were 18 and over and in the work force were either a.) 29% engaged, b.) 54% disengaged, or c.) 18% ACTIVELY DISENGAGED, meaning those actively disengaged actually work toward the demise of the company who employs them! What is the root of this malaise?


My pastor went on to quote Scripture regarding mankind’s responsibility to work. The pastor said to work “like a boss”…at EVERYTHING you do… including resting on the Sabbath. His list included marriage, parenting, employment, employing, studying, cooking, serving others, et al. His messages the past three weeks have truly resonated with me. In my own journey of the Bible, through the book of Proverbs and now into Ecclesiastes, I feel like I have had an epiphany! It is ALL ABOUT WORK! God’s Word is directing us to work “LIKE A BOSS”! It is up to us to choose to do our very best in all things. We must be intentional in our life here on earth. Amazingly, I feel that the tasks that I have formerly found to be repetitious and mundane have somehow become less tedious or wearisome. I am consciously looking at ironing uniforms (yes, I really do iron), making breakfast, and packing lunch through a completely different lens. What a difference it makes!


As my daughter’s crazy schedule is now in full swing, it is easy to get caught up in feeling like I am on a hamster wheel as I drive the same routes over and over to school, swimming, voice, piano, dance, and a plethora of other activities in which she participates. Obviously, Vince Lombardi is not with us any more, but his legacy and passion for pursuit of excellence is still very present and is oft-quoted to motivate us to our highest level of performance. I now realize it is all up to me to motivate myself! I am hoping to be more deliberate in living my life like a boss so that I leave an impactful example and legacy for my daughter to follow. I wonder how my husband is going to like it when I tell him, “Honey, there’s a new boss in town.”;-)


Rose-Colored Gifts of The Good Ol’ Days

Having described myself as a night owl for years, I have never been a fan of mornings. Oddly enough, since my daughter has started back to school this year, I have awakened between 5:00 and 5:30 a.m. without an alarm. When this had happened in the past, my usual choice had been to try to force myself back to sleep resulting in frustration if I was unsuccessful. If I was lucky enough to doze off, inevitably, I’d slip back into a near-comatose slumber. It seemed like mere seconds before the alarm jolted me back to life reminding me a little bit of defibrillator paddles. I would then experience a certain amount of sleep inertia and agonizing grogginess as I would grumblingly haul my body out of bed and heavily trudge my way to my work station in the kitchen. UGH!!!


I have been opting, instead, to open my eyes and start allowing myself to go through a mental checklist about what I have on my agenda for the day. My mother and husband have both been on me for years to make a list. My response: “That’s not how I roll!” I now submit to the list! Though I see the merit in routine, I would never have described myself as being regimented. Just between you and me, I am enjoying going to the kitchen, starting a pot of coffee, and while it is gurgling, reading my daily devotional, two chapters in the Bible, and spending a little time with God.


I once heard, that years ago, you weren’t considered educated if you hadn’t read the Bible. I thought, “I profess my Christianity, but how well do I know the Bible?” Soooo… I started with Genesis. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” I have made it to Ecclesiastes which is believed to be written by the wise King Solomon as he gets into the twilight of his years and reflects upon human existence. This morning a particular verse gave me pause in which I, too, was reflective. ‘Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?” For it is not wise to ask such questions…When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about your future.’ Ecclesiastes 7:10,14

Wow. I thought about all the times recently that I find myself lamenting the current state of affairs in our world, and, even closer to home, our country. The verse’s associated devotional suggested that we look for today’s gifts instead of our very selective rose-colored memories of the past. In my close circle of influence, I recognize a multitude of gifts: my family and friends, my health, my faith, etc. Technology has bestowed upon us Skype and FaceTime with which we are able to see our loved ones in real time. We have portable all-in-one computer/camera/phones the size of a deck of cards that we can easily slip into our pockets. They store thousands of our favorite songs, photos, and videos that can be uploaded to FaceBook and a host of other social media websites to be instantly shared with family and friends, some of which we haven’t seen in 30-40 years. That is really cool stuff! I get that.

What I am wondering about in my reflection? Are my memories rose-colored and selective? In the “good ol’ days”, our music was less vulgar and more discreet in its sexual innuendoes. For example, “Mama’s got her squeezebox, Daddy never sleeps at night” were lyrics of implied sexuality but it wasn’t as in your face as are the licentious lyrics of many contemporary artists such as Beyonce, Lady Gaga and even some Katy Perry. Thank heavens for a little Taylor Swift for our kids to listen to! I fondly recall Motown, Barry Manilow, Glenn Campbell, Disco, The Bay City Rollers, The Little River Band, Lynard Skynard, The Eagles, Bob Seger, Classic Rock, Gino Vanelli, Earth Wind & Fire, The Commodores, Toto…am I wrongly remembering a time of better melodies with acceptable lyrics? Popular music has devolved into harsh rhythms and gutter-speak that comes with a warning about explicit content. Where is the musical quality?

Years ago, I purchased a CD by Outkast that had a song “Hey Ya”…”Shake it like a polaroid picture”. Driving in my convertible, I was listening to the rest of the CD. I was sitting at a traffic light next to a minivan with its windows open that was loaded with children. The lyrics got so vile, I turned it off! What is the purpose? I haven’t listened to it since. Songs by Eminem, Beyonce, Lil Wayne, include lyrics that are overtly sexual or openly dropping the “F” bomb! Is it really music or is it profanity accompanied by an overzealous mixer that has a fondness for a heart-pounding, thundering subwoofer? Is it a contest to see how repugnant one can get?

When I was young, our sitcoms included The Andy Griffin Show, Gomer Pyle, Hogan’s Heroes, McCale’s Navy, Gilligan’s Island, Mr. Ed, The Munsters, The Brady Bunch, The Cosby Show, and Growing Pains. The shows were decent, AND some had parents, and even grandparents, around giving the children guidance. Today’s sitcoms such as iCarly, Good Luck Charlie, Victorious and Sam and Cat either have no parents on the show and they are being raised and influenced by peers, or the mother wears the pants in the family and the father is a blundering boob.

Who doesn’t prefer the nostalgic Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, The Little Drummer Boy or…wait for it…The Year Without a Santa Claus…”I’m Mr. Heat Miser! I’m Mr. Hundred-and-One!”?


Even though we have the movies in DVD, I still look for these classics in the newspaper to find their showtimes. Only now, I have to search amongst a calendar starting Thanksgiving week that has 30 days of Christmas shows that are shown and repeated over the month. Nope…it isn’t as special as it was back in the “good ol’ days”, because then, we were only able to see them one time every December. In recent years, we have a twenty-four hour marathon of A Christmas Story  on TBS on Christmas Day. Who doesn’t love it when Ralphie escapes getting his eye shot out with the BB gun only because he is wearing glasses? Will we eventually be subjected to twenty-four hours of Shrek the Halls???


Recently, my mom recommended that I get my daughter to come up with one meal per week: I will get the ingredients, and then she will cook it. We have now done it three times. It takes a lot of patience on my part, because I want to get it done as quickly as possible. Growing up, I remember my mom appointing me as her personal sous chef, so it is only fitting, that I have my own. I must say, she LOVES it. She enjoys taking ownership and is learning that the food doesn’t just show up on the plate. The memories that I have spending that time in the kitchen sure beat going to a restaurant or drive-thru which seems to be the preference these days. I even think some people that eat out all the time have adapted palates that would rather have a Chipotle Burrito then home cooking…not me! It is a labor of love that makes the house smell like a home. I think spending time as a family in preparing the meal is something that is going the way of the dinosaurs.

Perhaps, traditions are part of those rose-colored memories. Aren’t they what make us who we are? With the holidays quickly approaching, most of us look forward to rekindling those time-honored rituals that make us feel warm and fuzzy. Every year over the Thanksgiving holiday, my mom, daughter and I ice gingerbread cookies and take them to the firefighters and/or policemen to show our gratitude to those who are working over the holiday weekend. Due to the gift of technology, I greatly appreciate that I will be able to have a face-to-face conversation with my brother and sister-in-law on Thanksgiving Day! Better yet, standing in the kitchen slicing and dicing, basting and tasting alongside my mom and daughter will be most assuredly a timeless joy…just like “the good ol’ days”!

Give me Liberty, or Give Me More Candy Crush Tokens???

“Apathy is a sort of living oblivion.”- Horace Greely

Let’s face it. Anymore it appears that what was right is wrong and what was wrong is not only right, but even celebrated and revered. Our country is being led down a path of destruction and her citizens appear to continue with their fascination with Candy Crush (I admit I love Candy Mania), social media, or the latest post-apocalyptic drama that seems eerily possible in our current turbulent global affairs.


Where is the fight in people? Those whose beliefs align with the Tea Party are melting the U.S. Capitol switchboard and getting the same interns that take your name and zip code with your complaint. We write impassioned letters to our state and U.S. Congressmen and get the appeasing form letter telling us that they are understanding our grievances. It is nothing more than wonk speech. They are clearly not hearing the message.

What does this have to do with the musings of motherhood? Well, I often try to instill trust in my daughter that her mom and dad truly have her best interest in mind. Until she is legally an adult and paying for her bills, we are the custodians of her innocence, guidance, etc. As a representative Republic, are those representatives that we elect truly representing the values that we hold dear? Do they truly have our best interests in mind? Do they live by the same standards that we are made to live by? The utter and casual recklessness of the power-hungry, career politicians in Washington D.C. has resulted in the futures of our children and grandchildren being swept down the proverbial drain.

Recently, my husband and I attended a party, and I got into a conversation with a dear friend regarding the state of our Union. Politically, we are on the same page, and I sometimes forward certain emails to him that I feel worthy of his time. From our conversation, I concluded that he is a relatively big contributor to the Republican Party. He told me that he believed in my message, but that he felt I was a little too passionate in my delivery. However, he suggested that I get together with another politically passionate acquaintance of his to come up with a list of six bullet points that he would present to the person he supports to ask for answers to legislation and policies that do not align with Conservative principles. After all, if the Republican Party would like to have its Conservative constituency showing up at election time, the Conservative base, that has otherwise been relatively absent in recent elections, would like some of these issues addressed.

My friend said that the Republican Leadership has no power; its hands are tied. That is incorrect. The Constitution gives the House of Representatives the power of the purse and they are not using it to their advantage. Pressured by being portrayed by the bully pulpit of the President and the Main Stream Media as haters of all sorts, they feel compelled to do something, but sometimes doing nothing or keeping a President from doing something is the best plan. He said, “The Republican Party has to compromise.” Since when has the Democratic Party compromised? If a Republican compromises, the Democrats just move the goal post further Left. Again, sometimes the best strategy is to do NOTHING! It isn’t to give in to the opposition so they can further their agenda.

Admittedly, I can be a little too assertive in my opinions which are supported with dates, events, legislation, etc. I feel the average oblivious American needs to be brought up to speed whether they want to or not. I optimistically, and naively hope that it might spark an interest for them to become more engaged themselves.





I pondered what my friend said about my brazen delivery and thought to myself, “Were the Founding Fathers dispassionate about this country and her freedoms?” The final sentence of the Declaration of Independence is an oath among the Signers to “mutually pledge our Lives, our Fortunes and our Sacred Honor.” Is the tone of those words passive?  Then, of course, there is Patrick Henry’s famous quote, “Give me Liberty, or give me death!” Do you think it was accompanied with a yawn or a blank expression? I think not on both accounts. The Signers of the Declaration of Independence lost everything including their families. The turnout at the Primaries has spoken to an apathy that has been like a cancer spreading throughout our land.

I have recently read a Bible verse that has truly resonated with me regarding the apathy in our country as our citizens passively stand by watching the decay of the greatest nation mankind has ever known. Interestingly enough, it is in the book of Revelation:

“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm-neither hot nor cold- I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich: I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked.” Revelation 3:15-17 (NIV)

At the end of the day, without the freedoms that the Constitution guarantees and our elected have sworn to uphold against enemies of the United States of America, both foreign and domestic, will we not be “wretched, pitiful, poor…”? If you visit Ellis Island, you will find tomes filled with names of brave and courageous men, women, and children that had endured potentially life-threatening voyages to escape the horrors of nations where they had no freedoms and lived in “wretched, pitiful, poor” conditions.

In conclusion, I pray that we lock arms as a nation, regardless of political affiliation. I ask that God put passion for our country into our hearts and minds. What I have known of my country has been wonderful and she is certainly worth our efforts.


“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.” -Ronald Reagan

To Saul Alinsky Radicals: I Say No More!

I have been thinking about how I would like to address a potentially sensitive issue, and I think it has finally come to me. When I was a young girl, I remember my mother spending hours on the phone trying to summon support to keep my brother from being bussed during the desegregation movement of the early Seventies. Her dissent wasn’t based on concern about her son or daughter going to school with a diverse student population. After all, her mother and grandmother were from Puerto Rico. Her bone of contention was that her son was going to be bussed twenty minutes each way to school instead of a distance that was close enough for him to walk. I remember hearing stories of horrible things that had happened at my brother’s middle school that were acts of violence. I could never understand why there was any tension between blacks and whites, and I still don’t understand it today. Admittedly, there have been grave injustices to the black population, but we cannot exclude the many diverse factions of people that are victims to persecution of some form or another. Included would be the persecution and murder of 12 million Jews during Hitler’s Holocaust. Many Germans stood by silently while their fellow countrymen committed those acts of horror. There is no talk of recompense for the European Jews who suffered such atrocities. The difference is there are no politicians salivating at the opportunity to exploit the victim mentality.


To be quite frank, I am sick to death of the accusations of racism that get casually thrown around when there are absolutely no grounds. It has gotten to the point of lunacy in the most recent demand of Disney to pull Jungle Book from store shelves because they are contending that the character portrayal of King Louie is racist because he “sounds black”. Ironically, it is the voice of Louis Prima, a white Italian actor. 20140709-150424-54264678.jpg I distinctly remember black children in my fourth grade class that I really liked. I use the expression “black”, because that is what I grew up saying. THEY WERE NOT FROM AFRICA!!! It would be like me saying, “I am Hispanic-American!” I believe it is about as ridiculous as a Democratic Senator from Massachusetts and potential 2016 DNC Presidential Candidate Elizabeth Warren claiming that she was the first NATIVE AMERICAN AT HARVARD LAW SCHOOL BECAUSE SHE WAS 1/32 CHEROKEE!!! HOW STUPID IS THAT!!!! . So I guess if she were to win the presidency, she would be the first female Native American president? Who in their right mind would cast a vote for someone who would stretch the truth to such an extent? I can recall many of the black children by name just as I can the white children…Debra Jackson, Kendra Vincent, Holly Hudson, Susan Smith to name a few. I remember two black boys,in particular, that shared a title with me as one of the five fastest runners in my class. Obviously, I peaked early because I am anything but a fast runner today. Their names were Gainey Hicks and Michael Jackson. No, it wasn’t THE Michael Jackson. 20140709-144443-53083629.jpg During the Red Rover games at recess, Michael would break through the chain of students and he would always take me back to the other side. It happened so often, at a parent-teacher conference my teacher expressed concern to my mother that I might have a crush on him. No, I didn’t have a crush on him, we were both friends and highly competitive. Flash forward to Junior High. I knew several black guys that went to my school. Some I liked, and some I didn’t. Some would act politely and friendly, others would act a little too friendly, making catcalls and rude innuendoes as I went through the hall. It had nothing to do with their skin color. One of the guys in particular, Randy Jordan, was in my homeroom from junior high until we graduated from highschool. He ALWAYS acted as a gentleman. In all honesty, when I saw him at my thirtieth high school reunion, I was as excited to see him as I was anybody else.   20140709-145033-53433691.jpg I worked at McDonald’s at 16 and spent time in the drive-thru window with a black woman whose name was Bernita. She was a bit older, a single mother and had thick coke-bottle classes. Her teeth looked like they hadn’t seen a dentist in her 30-40 years on this earth. I had no idea her exact age, nor did I have anything in common with her other than the navy blue-and-white striped, smothering, itchy polyester uniform and goofy-looking hat. It was back in the day when even if you worked at McDonald’s you took pride in how you presented yourself. For whatever reason, I always worked the early morning shift during the summer months with her because she worked full time and didn’t work weekends. All I know is that I would sing to her: “Nothing could be sweeta’ than me being with Bernita in the mornin’ ” I never once thought of her skin color. She worked hard, I worked hard, and the drive-thru ran smoothly. We worked well together. Period. I went off to college at University of Georgia and after four years, I interviewed with Delta Airlines as a flight attendant. Upon graduation from Flight Attendant training, I chose my base to be Cincinnati because the company was just opening a flight attendant hub there, and I would have the opportunity to hold a better schedule. Once we were granted our bases, I chose two girls that would be my roommates. One was a white woman (Debbie), and one was a black woman (LaWanda). We followed each other in a caravan of cars from Atlanta to Cincinnati and after three days in a hotel, we leased an apartment that was convenient to the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. It was awesome! All three of us were from Georgia, and, when we weren’t flying, we were inseparable. To make rent less expensive, we put the word out that we would have room for other flight attendants that might want to use the apartment if they were commuting. We had two takers. One woman was white, the other was black. We didn’t see them much or even get to know them very well, but it was great getting a break in the rent. After two years, the “Three Musketeers”, as we liked to call ourselves, came to an end when LaWanda told us that another black flight attendant questioned her living with us. She decided it was time to go live with someone who was “more like her”. Debbie and I were sincerely hurt and didn’t understand her way of thinking Ironically, and contrary to the stereotype, we were both raised in the South. 20140709-144109-52869550.jpg Many years have sifted through the hourglass of my life and since I have truly started paying attention to the agendas of the power-hungry elitist Leftists and the most powerful Community Organizer-in-Chief, Barack Hussein Obama, and his ilk, I have learned that using terms like “racism” is a tactic straight out of a book by Saul Alinsky, The Grand Poobah of Community Organizers. It is titled “Rules for Radicals” in which he dedicates the idealogical instruction manual “To Lucifer- the First Radical” (a paraphrase). Hilary Clinton and many sixties radicals are big fans of Alinsky, so I am by no means saying that Obama is in this alone. Of the many “rules” is “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” 20140709-144226-52946212.jpg As a result of this strategy, our citizenry has been divided into 1.) “TEA Party Whackos” because they believe in lower taxes, smaller government, and free markets. Until you actually attend a TEA Party Rally yourself, don’t make any presumptions. Of course, the complicit mainstream media only shows pictures of enthusiastic white supporters (yes, there are proud, patriotic flag-waving blacks in attendance, but they don’t make any footage because it doesn’t fit the liberal racism narrative) wearing tricorn hats and carrying fifes and drums. 20140709-145238-53558885.jpg I have been to the rallies and they truly support our Constitution and American patriotism. When you leave a TEA Party rally, you won’t find as much as a discarded ticket stub because they want their image to be just as spotless. 2.) “Racists” if they question or disagree with anything that a person of color believes. That ranges from Xenophobes to Islamaphobes and everything in between. 3.) “Homophobe Haters” if you disagree with homosexuality or gay marriage. Funny, they are entitled to their opinion but noone is allowed to disagree with it, or you are labeled a “hater”! For example, Brendan Eich, founder of Mozilla and Firefox, recently stepped down due to pressure of donating to Prop 8 in California which was in defense of traditional marriage. Interestingly enough, all the Leftists that vilified Eich, demanding his resignation, supported Obama when he stated during his Presidential Campaign of 2012 that he also believed that marriage was between a man and a woman. 4.) The “War on Women” Conservatives who are intelligent enough to know that if you can’t afford birth control, abstain! If your sexual partner cannot afford birth control, what the Sam Hill are you doing having sex with him in the first place? Obviously, he couldn’t afford a child if there were a resultant pregnancy! Call me crazy! It isn’t rocket science! I AM NOT RACIST!!!!! I find it highly offensive, but then again, that is the idea. It is all in an effort to discourage public dissent. I am a woman who is embarrassed by my gender if they fall for the idiotic lies about the Republicans taking their “right to choose away from them”. Hello…Ronald Reagan AND George W. Bush both held office with control of BOTH HOUSES OF CONGRESS AND THE MAJORITY IN THE SUPREME COURT AND HAVEN’T REVERSED THE ROE V. WADE DECISION!!!!!!! I am a Christian! If anyone has no protection, it would be people of Christian faith. Our government should be ashamed of themselves for putting our soldiers into harms way and preventing them IN ANY WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM from worshipping their Heavenly Father. The liberals always love to quote Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from his “I Have a Dream” speech. He said, “I look to the day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” That expression isn’t only for one color of skin, nor is it for one set of opinions. It has been commandeered by a power hungry politico whose intentions are less than honorable. Their behavior is despicable and it’s ill-effects are the ruination of our once-great nation.<

Suit Up Parents…Our Kids Are Worth It!

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Ahhhh…..the lazy days of summer. Well, not so much lazy as they are relaxed. The mornings begin around seven, but instead of the obnoxious blare of the alarm clock, we wake at our leisure. We would be heading out at 7:30 a.m. for swimming, but, thankfully, it has been rainy and cool so we have skipped it. There have been no lunches to pack nor planners to sign. It feels so good to not feel like I have to be “on the muscle” making sure this assignment is progressing or that vocabulary list of words is understood.

How refreshing it is to not feel distracted by a lengthy laundry list of to-dos, but to actually feel present in conversation regarding the myriad of interests about which my ten-year-old randomly chatters. I can still hear the conversation with my own mother when I was about her same age. I would be rambling on and on about who-knows-what before realizing that she was tuned out. Indignantly I said, “Mom, you aren’t listening to a thing I am saying!” She’d say, “Lauri Ann, you haven’t stopped talking for twenty minutes straight!” It’s so nice to get a little glimpse of what it will be like to be a grandparent who gets to put life aside and enjoy nothing more than the sweet simplicity of their company.

There must be something about sleeping in a parent’s bedroom that makes it extra special. I must admit after three consecutive movie nights in mom and dad’s room, I have declared it to be a Kid Free Zone tonight. I will say that I do enjoy watching a movie laying on the bed, as tight as sardines (yes, after his big sigh, even the 56-pound Portuguese Water Dog snuggles in with us), with everyone laughing together at the funny parts. What I don’t enjoy is when my husband reverts to his younger alter-ego and hands out “monkey bites” where he takes great pleasure grabbing the fleshy part of your thigh and squeezing. The kids do much better than Mom at laughing during this torturous exercise…I get mad. It hurts like the dickens, and this self-proclaimed delicate flower finds no humor in pain.

Though I welcome the break from supervising her rigorous academic calendar, there are still parenting responsibilities that can’t be disregarded. I was reminded of the importance of those details when I was at my daughter’s voice lesson yesterday. Her homework for the week was to read the lyrics of a song on which she is working and articulate them as well and as clearly as she could, both reading them aloud and singing them. We used the dead time driving in the car to go through the exercise.

I told her voice teacher about this and he thought it would be very impactful. I said, “In our culture today, good articulation isn’t stressed. Kids aren’t talking to one another, they’re texting. Sometimes you will see them all sitting at a table together and no one is having a conversation. They could be texting the person sitting next to them. Worse yet, it is even happening at our own dinner tables and parents don’t want to battle their children about their phones (I will be doing a post on kids and cell phones at a later date). If they are talking, they think it sounds hip to say “yeah” instead of “yes” and “What up?” instead of “How are you?” He said, “Kids feel uncomfortable articulating clearly amongst their peers.” I agreed, and told him the same applies to table manners and modesty.



In our house, bad table manners aren’t an option. There is a level of expectation even if the television is on. We have repeated the rhyme “Mabel, Mabel, strong and able, get your elbows off the table!” so often that all we have to do is say, “Mabel” and it works like a charm. Sometimes all I have to do is clear my throat for a little unspoken “Heads up…your chewing with your mouth open.”


Recently, my husband had a great opportunity to show an example to our daughter when they stopped at KFC on the way home from swimming a few nights ago. Some muscle-head from the gym across the street got his food and sat at an adjacent table. He tore into his food like a ravenous bear and Grace literally pointed at him and told my husband, “Dad, look at his horrible table manners!” Of course, then my husband had to correct her on not pointing at others because it TOO falls into the bad manners category, but it was good for her to see first hand how bad table manners look to others.


As for modesty, the boys’ shorts have gotten longer, while the girl’s have gotten shorter… WAY shorter! I have seen shorts and wondered if the inseam was any longer than an inch. Why not wear underwear? They give a whole new meaning to the hot pants of the sixties. Historically, hemlines don’t get longer. It makes me shudder to think about it. I think many parents just get tired of battling their daughters and relent to these fashions. I say suit up! Here is what a concerned father did to discourage his beautiful daughter from wearing her shorts so short…love it! (For the record, I am not married to the man pictured below. I think my husband is the Best. Dad. Ever.)


Though it is nice to have a reprieve from our usual harried schedule, I will continue to fight the good fight, because one day she will be interviewing for a job and will need to articulate clearly. She may someday have to take a customer to dinner to land a big deal and will be able to feel comfortable in the most refined of settings. When she goes to meet the parents of her future husband, she will know that they will be more likely to welcome her to the family if her undies aren’t spilling out of the bottom of her shorts! I guess it’s official…I am old-fashioned!