A Salute to Those Who Served

A salute to those who served, died

Memorial Day

Every time I hear the mournful tribute Taps played, or see soldiers fold the American flag, kneel, and place it in the hands of a widow, parent, or family, I stand a little taller, a little prouder because I love the words that come next.  “On behalf of the president of the United States, the United States Army and a grateful nation, please accept this flag as a symbol of our appreciation for your loved one’s honorable and faithful service.”

A grateful nation, appreciative of honorable and faithful service–that is what we are and what we must continue to show and be this Memorial Day and every day as we pause to reflect on the enormous sacrifice of those who died while serving in the U.S. armed forces.

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Let the Fourth Graders Be In Charge

Fourth Graders

Leave Fourth Graders in Charge

I was born in 1955, 10 days before Rosa Parks took her historic seat in Montgomery and catapulted events into a new and unfamiliar place in the South. I share this because our place in and perspectives about history are shaped by pivotal events and experiences—the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I lived through segregated-then-desegregated schools and facilities, discrimination, and the Civil Rights Movement, but I don’t often have to describe or explain that to 75 fourth graders. I write about my childhood and historical events. I listen to the voices of the elders and I write about that too, but putting myself in fourth-grade shoes recently was life-changing. I learned more than I taught. Here are the lessons:

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Pay Attention, Strokes Are Preventable

stroke

Filmmaker and academy award nominee John Singleton’s death at 51 years old last week from a stroke hit me right between the eyes. Perhaps it was because he was so young (when you’re over 60, everyone under that age is “young”) or maybe it was because his death so closely followed that of actor Luke Perry, who died in March at 52.

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Appreciate the Work

Appreciate the work, workers this month

workers

“And when it’s cold outside, I’ve got the month of May…” Songwriters Ronald White and William “Smokey” Robinson probably had no clue all the images these few words would conjure up when they wrote this classic love song, My Girl.

There’s absolutely something special about May—spring is in full bloom, end of school parties—darned near everything makes me smile. As a child, May Day was always May 1 and we got on the bus and went to school but we didn’t do school work. We got to run and play, eat junk food, and skip math– it was a beautiful day.

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Let’s Do Our Part

Let’s All Do Our Part

make the world better

My husband, Roger, always says “Be careful,” as I am leaving home and my usual reply is “I’ll do my part.” When it comes to self-preservation, trust me, I work hard to keep my word. I buckle my seatbelt before I start my engine. I merge lanes beautifully and let other drivers in. I’ve slowed down and stopped depending so much on my brakes. OK, I’m working on the tailgating but I’m courteous and don’t block intersections—the list goes on and like Avis Car Rental, I try harder.

I’m figuring if I do my part and everyone else does theirs, the world will be saved by our good intentions. My friends, it ain’t necessarily so! Our deliberate intentions are a good start but nowadays we must make sure our part is done in every place and every situation.

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April is Child Abuse Awareness Month, so Be Aware

child abuse

As a child every time I got a whipping from my mother, I just knew she was killing me. I had to select my own switch and if you got the switch you thought you deserved, it would be in shreds by the time you got a couple of licks. If you brought the kind she thought you needed, you’d have a sore butt for days. Her “this hurts me more than it hurts you,” couldn’t possibly have been true because she made sure I clearly understood the error of my ways and I had tears to prove it.

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Reuse, Reduce, Recycle, for Earth’s Sake

earth

I clearly remember rolling my eyes on more than one occasion when my mother reused the Wonder bread bag to wrap my sandwich or when we used the jelly jars for things that had nothing to do with jelly. Back then we weren’t even talking about recycling when she washed and reused the foil and those Styrofoam trays from the pork chops– all we knew was that if you reused it, that was less you had to buy.

Today there are more conversations about conserving, recycling and saving the planet and we are discovering that if we’re not careful, trash will take us over. Before we began recycling I noticed how much trash my husband and I generated. One Saturday I realized that this was just our trash—how many other folks were generating this much stuff every week, every month, every year?

Think about how much water we use/waste. From everything I know, water will be the new “gold” in the future. It will be the entity that wars are fought over, the bargaining chip for countries whose clean water supplies are scarce. Think about how precious our water supply is.

Think about how much good, clean water goes down the sink daily when we brush our teeth, shower, wash dishes, wash clothes, water the lawn–then consider how many news reports we’ve gotten lately about floods and droughts in other areas. A few years ago Flint, Michigan had a severe problem with its water supply and the long term effects are still unknown.

We are not bad people but bad habits are driving our inattention and abuse and we must decide today that we’re going to do better.  Experts believe that it takes 21 days to form new habits so please commit to do at least three or four earth-friendlier things on my list to make a difference in your home and in the environment:

  • Reuse your towel at least two times, and switch to a low-flow shower head.
  • At the restaurant, if the server brings you water, refuse it if you never drink it. If you receive water, be kind to your body and drink it. The following statistic prompted this suggestion: researchers found that the average American eats out close to five times a week and about 315 million Americans eat 260 meals at restaurants each year. If each person receives six ounces of water and it goes unused, they estimated a total of 3.8 billion gallons of water per year is wasted. Add another 16 billion gallons to wash the glasses and the total comes to 20 billion gallons nationally—enough to fill 31,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools. https://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/07/california-drought-restaurant-policy/ Need I say more?
  • Make sure the dishwasher and washer are full before you run them. Instead of turning on the dryer for one item, throw in a few more.
  • Request an energy audit from your utility or heating/cooling company to see if/ where you’re wasting energy.
  • Use real plates and glasses instead of paper ones for your beverages and snacks.
  • Keep your reusable grocery bags in the car so they’re always handy.
  • Wet your toothbrush, turn the water off, brush for two minutes, then rinse.
  • Buy smaller quantities of food so it doesn’t expire before it can be consumed.
  • Look for the “reduced for quick sale” items at the store and enjoy yummy food at a fraction of the price.

Changing habits takes time but if we each give our best efforts, together we can make THE difference. In 1855, Native American Chief Seattle of the Duwamish people, said “Every part of the earth is sacred.”  And so it is. Let’s treat it that way.

Looking for inspiration, empowerment, uplift, straight talk, an encouraging word to brighten your day? You’ve arrived! Meet Dr. Cynthia Ann Bond Hopson, best-selling author, educator, inspirational speaker, sistergirl–she’s all that and more. All the way from Stanton, TN (you can’t get there from here) to 50 states, six continents and everything in between, she’s wise, witty and altogether wonderful. She enthusiastically invites you to slow down, sit a spell, and share a giggle or two.

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What’s That You Say

closing ears

“I may not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

I’ve read this quote from Voltaire at least a hundred times and the more I read it, the more I embrace it. The frightening thing these days is that the sentiment seems to be “I don’t like what you say, I don’t want to hear it, and I don’t want anybody else to hear it.”

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Mueller is Finished, Now What

Mr. Mueller is finished, now what?

Election candidate

I don’t know about you, but I am relieved that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has completed his investigation into alleged irregularities surrounding the 2016 presidential election. I don’t know Mr. Mueller personally but over almost two years I have come to trust him since he seemed to be one of the only honest/honorable/trustworthy men on earth, or so we’ve been told.

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Getting The Best Money Can Buy

money

I’m having all kinds of feelings about the admissions scandal that hit the news last week. It seems that rich, powerful parents paid thousands of dollars to get their children into the best schools, on the best teams, and then the person who’s responsible for masterminding it, decided to tell everything.

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