Saturday, May 26, 2012

Memorial Day Means More Than A Holiday Party

As the long weekend begins many have plans for parties, BBQ's, heading to the beaches, attending parades, catching up on household chores, or even working.  At some point during this weekend I hope all of us will pause and remember what Memorial Day means.  Teach our children and grandchildren what it means.  Let us remember that it is not just a day off from school or work.  It is a day to pay our respects to all of the military people who paid the supreme price to serve our country and protect our freedoms.  It is a day to pay tribute and give thanks for all of them and for all of their families and friends who lost their loved ones.  It is a day to give thanks for all of the men and women currently serving in our armed forces, facing danger and death, giving up precious time with their spouses, children, parents, siblings and friends.  We must also remember to ask blessings for those spouses, children, parents, siblings and friends who struggle to make ends meet based on low pay for high risk duty, who have babies alone, who raise children alone, and who relocate frequently, and who are unappreciated or acknowledged.  Last but certainly not least, let us give thanks for all of the men and women who are suffering from life-threatening and life-changing injuries.  Let us offer prayers for their healing and relief from their pain, for renewal of their spirits and hopes for the future, and for the never-ending love and support of those spouses and children whose lives are also forever changed.  May they all have faith, hope, love, courage and strength to keep on going and to never give up no matter what.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Fortune Cookies To Love

What would a night of Chinese take-out be without the included fortune cookies?  Not only do I actually like the taste of fortune cookies, but I think there is something fun about going around the table with each person sharing the prediction from his or her cookie.  One of my favorite "fortunes" has been taped to the top of my computer monitor for several years.  It simply says.................We are continually faced by great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.  Today life has thrown me a curve ball like no other I have ever experienced, and I am hoping that very soon a great opportunity will appear on my horizon.   

Monday, May 21, 2012

What To Think OR How To Think?

It seems to me that many young adults are graduating college without a clue about how to think for themselves.  They can be very opinionated, but those opinions are not necessarily their own.  From kindergarten until under graduate degrees are distributed our children should be taught how to think for themselves.  They need to know how to take the information available to them and make the best possible decisions or reach the best conclusions. They should be able to explain why they make the decisions they make or form the opinions they hold.   When was that type of teaching replaced with teaching our children and grandchildren what to think, what opinions to hold, and to have little or no regard for civil discourse when differences of opinion are voiced?  Our children and grandchildren are just "short people" who early on are able to make decisions as to whether or not they want to eat, whether or not they want to be held, by whom they want to be held, with which toy they wish to play, etc.  As soon as they have language skills we should give them choices so they learn to make decisions for themselves while we still can protect them from making bad choices. Do we know our children's teachers in grade school or high school well enough to think that we want our children to adopt their beliefs or parrot their opinions?  Do our children have enough self-confidence in college to not just automatically accept a professor's personal opinions or bias as their own?  Have we taught our children how to think for themselves or how to challenge other people's opinions in a civil, respectful manner?  If not, why not?  Debate classes should be offered to all students in order for them to learn how to research points of view which may or may not be their own, defend points of view, and prove their stances on different topics.  When I see the way journalists, politicians, talk show hosts and their guests behave rudely to each other, talk over each other, disrespect each other's right to have different opinions, etc. I wonder how we expect our children to behave differently?  We must watch what comes into our homes from our television sets and ask ourselves if that is how we hope our children will behave when they are adults. If the answer is no then we must do our part not only in teaching them how to think and behave, but we must also be role models for them when they witness our interaction with others with whom we may or may not agree.  

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Shrimp & Cheese Grits ------ Yum Yum!

If you have never eaten shrimp and cheese grits you are missing one of life's most delectable dishes.
The first time I ate it was in New Orleans, Louisiana. I knew it would remain on my favorite foods list for years to come.  I still remember it as if it happened just yesterday.  We were visiting friends, and our hostess prepared this wonderfully simple but incredibly delicious dish.  I never attempted to recreate the recipe myself for some reason still unknown to me until yesterday.  In the late '80's I was served a similar version of the dish at a luncheon. At that time I owned a bed & breakfast inn located in Wilmington, North Carolina where wonderful restaurants abounded (and probably still do) both on Wrightsville Beach and the Cape Fear River. Shrimp and Cheese Grits is a popular entree in most southern coastal cities and towns. On the Internet there are numerous recipes explaining exactly how to prepare it.  My personal preference has to be Paula Deene's recipe which I know you, your family, and your guests will enjoy.  Google Shrimp and Cheese Grits, and then click on the link to Paula Deene's recipe (or to any of many others from which to choose).  This dish is elegant enough for company, but it is also pure comfort food.  Enjoy!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Hope Is A 4-Letter Word

Are you filled with hope?  Have you ever been filled with hope? Do you really know what it feels like to be truly hopeful for your life, your future, and your children?  I realized recently that because of all of the negative news emanating daily from every type of media organization we are losing hope by leaps and bounds.  Think about the negativity with which most media coverage suffocates us.  I am encouraged because during the weekend I made a list of people who are eliminating some negativity and replacing it with hope for all who literally or figuratively meet them.  As I navigate the Internet and Social Media I have become an ardent fan of a number of young people who are bright, creative, enthusiastic, positive and generous in what they share while trying to build their own businesses.  Through their blogs, videos, products, courses, advice, life experiences, interviews, warmth and humor they serve to remind us that all is not lost ..........youth is not wasted on the young....................there is much to be proud of and great success to be achieved if we open our minds, our eyes and our hearts in everyday life.  There are so many young people whom I have not yet encountered, but I am going to keep my eyes and ears open so as not to miss them when perchance they cross my real or virtual paths.  Shortly I am going to listen to an audio program on line as a group of these terrific young people gather to talk about their businesses and share ideas to help other entrepreneurs.  Small businesses have been the cornerstone of our country since the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker were in every small town and city that sprang up as settlers moved across America.   Look everywhere for the goodness in people and especially in young people who truly are our best hope for the future.

P.S.  I am going to share the names on the list I for the next blog post!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Should You Be Honored On Mothers' Day?

Some people seem to be naturally maternal while others seem to have been standing behind the door when maternal instincts were passed out.  Do you ask yourself which type of mother you are?  The reason I pose the question as to whether or not you should be honored is because there are too many instances in the news today of women whose parenting leaves much to be desired.  Mothers are meant to nurture and care for their offspring.  Yet we see and hear many dreadful examples of women who either do not want to or are incapable of providing the love and nurturing their children need if they are to thrive and grow up  as undamaged human beings.  Our society is plagued with sociopaths, psychopaths, gang members, bullies and abused and neglected children of all ages.  Somehow it is inconceivable to me that these people grew up in loving, caring environments.  I do not believe that babies come into the world as anything except pure innocents, and we parents and other adults mold, shape, and enhance or tarnish the lives that are in store for little ones.  There are no perfect parents, but before we accept accolades on Mothers' Day and regardless of the ages of our children we should ask ourselves if we truly are worthy of being honored as mothers.  If the answer is affirmative then have a glorious day and bask in the warm affection of the family surrounding you.  If, however, the answer is negative then decide to find help to improve your parenting skills.  Ask a friend, a neighbor, a clergyman, a teacher, a doctor, or the person who is the best mother you know to help you.  All children deserve to be protected, nurtured and loved by their mothers so take any steps necessary to remedy things before passing the point of no return in your relationship.  It is a huge responsibility, but you hold your children's present lives and their futures as adults in your grasp.  Handle with care.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Malcolm For Tots In Your Language

Now that I am once again able to fully access my blog, I am really excited that I have added to it a translation widget. Now any of you for whom English is not your first language will be able to read my blog posts in your native language or any language.  The technology which allows someone who is not tech savvy (like me) to provide translation ability by the click of a mouse absolutely amazes me.

My son was for many years a translator in Japan.   I think of the hours he spent translating textbooks, documents, advertising and public relations items, Beatles lyrics, contracts, etc. for numerous clients.  Now with just a click of a mouse anything I write in English can be read all over the world.  I have been honored to know that people in so many countries take time to read my blog, and I am humbled to think that even more people may now choose to read a non-English version of it.

I hope everyone is having a great week.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Lost And Found

My apologies for having no new posts recently.  Without any notice my browser was no longer being supported by Google Blogger.  I could get to my blog but could not log in to make updates as I kept getting a message saying no such page or unable to connect but no explanation as to why.  Then I started looking for on line Google Blogger Help.  That was incredibly frustrating because there were no solutions but lots of complaints from others.  Not being a tech savvy person I exhausted every possible way I could think of to log into my blog to write posts, check stats, but nothing I did would work.  Finally today I again got to my blog, and when I tried to log in I was informed that I needed to change my browser to Google Chrome.  So that is what I have done, and voila I am back in business.  I am hopeful that future interruptions will be few and far between. Thanks for sticking with me.  I appreciate your support.