Let’s Celebrate the ‘Good Stuff’

music album

June is African American Music Appreciation Month so before I run out of days, let’s get busy celebrating the “good stuff.” I’m suspecting that folks of a certain age—not old and not young, remember when we watched Soul Train, Ed Sullivan, and American Bandstand, and listened to the radio to hear all our favorite music. We knew the words, sang and danced along, and enjoyed every beat.

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Election 2020 is a Long Way Off

Election 2020

It’s not even July and I’m already sick of the 2020 round the clock “news coverage.” And, if one more person decides they need to run for president, I’m heading to the airport to have a real temper tantrum like the two-year-old I saw last week. Yes, I am going there–kicking, screaming, and crying with all my might (though I never was sure what prompted her misery and outburst).

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Want to Make a Difference, Give Blood

You, too, can be a Lifesaver

donate blood

Rarely ever do I advocate for things I don’t personally do or for actions that I don’t take. Okay, so I encourage folks to eat beets even though I don’t because they taste like dirt smells. And, though I was ticketed once by the Kentucky State Police for speeding, it was the blonde in the BMW who started it! That one time was plenty to slow me and my Mustang down, nevertheless, when Friday, June 14, World Blood Donor Day (WBDD) rolls around, I will enthusiastically pat the backs of those folks who give blood so others may live.

Never heard of World Blood Donor Day? Nor had I, yet when it showed up on my list of important things to do this month, I quickly signed on to do my part—I’ll have to keep my li’l troubled blood to myself but I will encourage donations and applaud donors.

According to the WBDD website, this annual celebration was begun by the World Health Organization and countries around the world celebrate to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products, and to thank blood donors for their voluntary, life-saving gifts of blood. June 14 was chosen because it is the birthday of blood research pioneer and Nobel scientist Karl Landsteiner (1868-1943) who is responsible for the A-B-O blood grouping discovery.

In every community I’ve lived in there were neighbors and friends who joyfully, religiously, generously and voluntarily gave blood as a natural outgrowth of living in community with their loved ones and friends. What a precious gift!

Researchers say safe, clean blood supplies are critical for transfusions, pregnant women pre and post-delivery, as well as for treatment of leukemia, anemia, hemophilia, other blood diseases, and life-threatening conditions during medical and surgical procedures.

The website goes on to say that this day is also celebrated to reduce death rates because of insufficient blood supply. Approximately 800 women are dying annually due to childbirth-related complications, or severe bleeding during or after delivery.

The demand for safe blood transfusions is increasing day by day in spite of the blood donation by almost 92 million people every year worldwide. “Adequate supply of blood and its products can only be fulfilled by the regular and safe donations by the self-motivated, voluntary and unpaid blood donors,” the site said.

Friday is the day of celebration but every day there’s a need for self-motivated, voluntary, and unpaid donors to offer themselves. Only you can decide what role you can and will play—donor, cheerleader, or prayer partner for a recipient, or supporting someone else whose health is failing. Here’s what I know:

Not everyone who wants to give blood will be able. When/if you can, please do, so there’ll be adequate supplies when the need arises. Encourage and cheer those who make this sacrifice joyfully and often.

Take care of your own health. You are absolutely what you eat (and drink) so don’t even think of having that fourth donut, that second ice cream sandwich (ok, this one is to Cynthia Ann, the speeder who believes ice cream sandwiches are best when eaten in pairs), and leave that bag of Archway iced oatmeal cookies down there on the  shelf no matter how loudly they call your name. Your health is a special treasure and it is much easier to keep good health than it is to try and regain it.

As we age, choose to live triumphantly — the life you save just may be your own.

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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Denver, Cleveland, Just Get There

missed flight

I am headed to Denver this morning and no, that’s not where I meant to/was supposed to go today.  I was headed to Baltimore then Cleveland before I arrived at the airport five minutes after they closed the boarding door and my plane left without me.

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Share Time, Bless a Heart

Clarissa and Cynthia

I am a mentor and I am much richer because of it. For as long as I can remember, someone has mentored me, or “took up time with me,” as my great-aunt called it. We call it “mentoring” nowadays but it simply means investing love, wisdom, patience, and time with others. I am of the mindset that mentoring is almost as important as food, breathing, water, exercise, and sending notes (and you know how I love mushy notes).

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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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