Commas Matter

The commas matter

commas

I remember my first real job like it was yesterday. My boss, Elliott, who was about 45 and built like a Green Bay Packers linebacker, made it crystal clear the first week that his intentions were less than honorable. I was 19, half his size, (and absolutely half the size I am today) and still trying to figure out where the bathroom was. As he made his first move, I heard Forrest Gump’s friend Jenny yelling “Run Cynthia Run,” so, like Forrest, I took off around my desk and kept running until he got tired. I showed up for work the next day and after another two or three chases, I found a job that didn’t require a cat and mouse routine.

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When The Storms Are Raging

When the storms of life are raging, Stand by me.

storms

Hurricane Florence wreaked havoc on parts of the country and after watching days of wind and rain-drenched reporters bringing us authentic wind gusts and toppled houses and trees, I think we get “it”—this storm is/was ferocious. The governors and emergency management personnel have done as much as possible to get residents out of harm’s way, but weather these days is such a serious thing, being prepared has taken on a life of its own.

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Make Every Day Grandparents Day!

grandparents

Grandparents Day in 2018 was September 9 but as an official grandparent, I’m advocating for Grandparents Month and here’s why:

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If You Can’t Say Something Nice…

say something nice

Pic Courtesy: mashable.com

Lest I incur the attention and ire of both President Donald J. Trump and his new object of disgust and scorn, Ms. Omarosa Manigault-Newman, let me say if I don’t hear another word or tweet from either of them about who said what, when, and where, I will shout hallelujah!

After listening to their conversations the past few days, I suspect truth is probably somewhere out there in the middle struggling to be free. Unfortunately reason and truth keep getting drowned out by two individuals who are most likely more like each other than they care to admit.

I was a loyal fan of the 80s drama, Dallas, and when stars J.R. and Bobby Ewing went up against their much-despised rival, Cliff Barnes, we knew it wouldn’t be pretty. When Cliff showed up one night at the Cattleman’s Club where the Ewings congregated, one of them asked loudly “Who let that S.O.B. (no bleeps but spelled all the way out) in here?” I was shocked but the salty language wasn’t unexpected because their hatred was deep and lasting.

Nevertheless, this running feud between the president and his former employees and the insults and extreme name calling really must stop. The bickering, accusations, tell-all books, steady dribbles of this and that, and the foolishness–for lack of a better word, distracts us from REAL ISSUES like affordable housing, poverty, immigration, adequate and accessible mental and physical health care, veterans and their families, the environment, legitimate concerns that so desperately cry out for attention and solutions. And, these are grownups – is it too much to ask that they act like it?

I have never met President Trump or Ms. Manigault-Newman but I want to gently remind the both of them that they are role models whether they want to be or not. ENOUGH ALREADY! I fear if we don’t stop soon, this ugly, bitter train will roll swiftly down a track we can’t come back from. I taught my children the lessons I learned: before you speak, ask the following questions: 1) Is it true? 2) Is it going to improve the silence? 3) Is there a more diplomatic way to handle this situation?  4) Would you want your words repeated about you?

In this age of social media where everything is instant and immediate, things are faster and much more sophisticated than ever before, but the values and behaviors that we hold dear still matter and require us to be respectful, polite, courteous, gracious, sensitive, and kind to one another.

I expect more from both President Trump, Omarosa, and all those who want to lead and serve in public office. I’m hoping for authenticity, a willingness to collaborate, sincere work toward a goal that’s bigger than parties and partisan politics, and a genuine commitment to make the world better. Our children deserve better and we must insist that these leaders/servants 1) be more intentional and deliberative before they speak and tweet, 2) that they lead with honor, dignity and integrity, and 3) “get” that if/when they can’t say anything nice, they shouldn’t say anything at all.

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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Thank you Aretha For Giving us Your Best

Aretha

Seeing the Queen of Soul in concert was on the top of my bucket list and when I did almost eight years ago, there was no doubt she had earned/was born for that title. Time literally stood still as she sang hymns, hits, gospel and classical numbers with the same ease and then she sat down at that Ryman Auditorium piano and triumphantly conquered it, too. I thought if I die right now, I have no regrets!

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Go to Church, if You Want to

Church

A recent Pew Research Center article about why people go (and don’t go) to church, started me thinking about the role “church” plays in my own life.

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Here’s a cheer for Great Dads!

dad

When Olivia Michelle Burgess arrived June 11, at 6 pounds, 5 ounces, her father and my nephew, Wesley Everett Burgess, announced her triumphant arrival and held her proudly so her whole generation could admire her and bask in his delight. Olivia is his first born and her appearance just in time for Father’s Day, was perfect, thanks to her beautiful mom, Dannielle.

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Surely We Can Do Better

immigrant children

Pic Credit: nbcnews.com

A recent article about immigrant children being separated from their families brought the conversation about immigration center stage for me. I’ve been saying yes, we need better and more fair and equitable legislation and policies. I’ve been whining about yes, we need to set the record straight about who took whose jobs and who crossed whose borders, but I haven’t done all I can to raise my voice and my righteous indignation about what’s happening to us as humanitarians and advocates for justice — agitators for doing what’s right for our neighbors. Today I am silent no more.

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Misbehavin’ at college graduations is not OK

college graduations

Celebrations during commencement ceremonies have become a sad excuse for pride in academic achievement and our accomplished graduates deserve better.

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Cinderella is to Blame

Cinderella is to blame. If she hadn’t married the prince and ridden off into the sunset to live happily ever after, we probably wouldn’t be so fascinated with the handsome young prince with multiple names and the beautiful princess or duchess who were married last week. Harry and Meggun, as the priest pronounced it, have given us a front row to something very special and I, for one, am grateful for the gentle reminder that young people still fall madly in love and commit themselves to marriage.

Every time I watch the video (I’m up to six times already for some segments) I am moved by how they can’t stop smiling and looking adoringly at each other! I’ve listened to Ben E. King sing Stand By Me at least 329 times but what the Kingdom Choir did with it Saturday had to be what God intended when marriage was dreamed up. The production was flawless. From Prince Charles escorting the amazingly composed Meghan and her mom, the scriptures and readings, the Bishop’s stirring sermon on the redemptive power of love, to the well behaved little people—this magical moment offered a brief respite from government investigations, trash talking, police/school shootings, elections, political jockeying, agendas that divide, unstable markets, heartless deportations, and rumors of wars. Harry and Meghan are concrete proof that love can build a bridge and yes, it’s time we got our own hammers and nails and got busy building some of our own.

And lest we forget the reason for the season…

Memorial Day

As Memorial Day 2018 quickly approaches, please take time and remember our fallen heroes in a meaningful way. I poignantly remember October 8, 1968 when Vietnam became more than a foreign place we heard about on the evening news. Corporal R.T. Perry from my hometown was killed and almost 50 years later, I still remember the tremendous loss we felt along with his family. The devastation was real and it seemed to permeate every corner of our small church and community. During my first visit to Washington, DC, I proudly saw his name inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and was delighted to see him remembered in this significant way.

Our military families and communities are shattered whenever a “routine” mission becomes anything but routine and soldiers are killed or die in battle for freedoms we often take for granted. Please pause today and pray for our soldiers and their families because serving often means frequent and extended deployments, life-changing injuries, post-traumatic stress syndrome, higher rates of divorce, and the list goes on.

The familiar line “all gave some, but some gave all” must be our clarion call today to (1) pray for peace everywhere,(2) do all we can to elect officials who will study war no more, (3) provide more comprehensively for our widows and orphans, (4) offer intentional support to our first responders and chaplains who care for our families, (5) tell our heroes’ stories and keep their memory alive, and  (6) celebrate and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

On behalf of a grateful nation, thank you to our soldiers and their families. We owe you a debt we can never repay. Amen.

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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