Long before last week's killings in Charleston, South Carolina, which appear to have been motivated by racial hatred, at least one expert in belief systems wrote that a person's prejudices can be changed.
It's official. On Tuesday, Donald Trump announced that he is officially running for president of the United States. "And we are going to make our country great again," he added. While I agree with his goal -- making America great again -- it will be interesting to see if his running for the nomination takes us along this path.
School is out, Memorial Day is past and summer stretches in front of us. Maybe it's because I live in the South, but summer seems to be a time when everything slows down, as if to pay homage to the heat and humidity that abound. Without the invention of air conditioning, there is not doubt there would be few who would choose to live in the deep South today, at least during the summer.
Selfies, followers, likes and the fascination with celebrity anythings (chefs, decorators, stylists, authors, etc.) are just a few of the ways that today's society focuses attention on individuals. It's not enough to be a great chef - it's better to be a celebrity chef. It's not enough to participate in an event - it's better to snap a selfie of yourself at the event and then post it online for all to see.
It's mid-May and time for celebrating graduations. It's a time to look back on accomplishments and, more importantly, to look forward to new phases and opportunities in life.
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The headline to this story is an adage taught by journalism schools throughout the country. News is supposed to be based on facts and reported without bias. But alas, reporters are human and have biases, acknowledged or not. If they are blatant and obvious, then we can dismiss them out of hand, (example: Chris Matthews saying, "I felt this thrill going up my leg," when listening to a speech given by then-presidential candidate Barack Obama).
A New York Times article this past Tuesday titled, "Teenage Girl Leaves for ISIS, and Others Follow," by Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura, struck close to home for me. The three young women who left London to enlist in ISIS in Syria were 16, 15 and 15.
Earlier this week, my sister Kathy called me, "Am I correct in thinking that Mom used to send us little kid Valentine's like the ones school children use?"
In grammar school, Valentine's Day meant wrapping a shoe box with brown craft paper, cutting a slot in the top for cards to drop in and decorating the outside of the box with hearts and cupids. Store-bought Valentines were labeled the night before and carefully taken to school to be given away. When the big day came, it wasn't only if you received Valentines that counted, it was from whom, and if they gave you your card first that mattered.
This week marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Sir Winston Churchill, Britain's prime minister during World War II. Churchill took up painting as a hobby in 1915, after the Gallipoli debacle, where 46,000 allied lives were lost over nine months of the campaign. He went on to paint more than 500 paintings during his lifetime. As wartime prime minister, he took a break from painting, focusing instead on the task at hand - winning the war, no matter the cost.
Enthusiastic, entertaining, energized and eminent, President Obama's demeanor and delivery at the State of the Union belied his political reality. Unbowed, unbroken and possibly unaffected by the recent midterm Republican wave, Obama displayed his great skill by delivering an emotional teleprompter-driven speech that was a throwback to his first election. Varying tempo, pitch, passion and inflection, his speech was more a theatrical performance than a delivery of a prewritten, pre-released text.
As members of the 114th Congress were sworn into office on Tuesday, their party affiliations described what happened last November: 246 of the 435 representatives and 54 of the 100 senators are Republican.
New Year's is the almost-perfect holiday (Christmas takes the blue ribbon). It's a combination of reflecting, celebrating or possibly just being glad of getting rid of the old year - while at the same time looking forward to the potential and possibilities of the year to come. It's the bridge between the past and present, where what has been done is over - but the future still looks bright, if a bit hazy.
Almost four decades ago, when I was in Mrs. Carmichael's Sunday School class, I memorized Luke Chapter 2, (the King James version of course). It took hours of practice and study, but the words still come when prompted by the line before.
This is my second Christmas season without my mother, and so far it's been harder than the first. I had known that the first year would be hard, and all I really cared about was surviving it. Activity was my friend: My sister Kathy and I spent the fall wrapping up her estate, selling her house, and sharing her prized possessions with family and friends. We talked every day. Much of our connection was activity-based: Was her account closed? Were the papers signed? It was hard, but I had known that it was going to be hard -- so I ...
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. A chance to be grateful instead of focusing on gift-giving and gift-receiving. Family, friends, bountiful feasts and football are at the forefront of our minds rather than cocktail parties and gifts. Think of it as a time to pause and give thanks before the whirlwind of December.
Part of the allure and fascination of politics is that you don't know what's going to happen until election night is over and all the votes have been counted. It is real-life, high-stakes drama. In the 1970s, it was volunteers who would call in the vote tallies from the precincts. They would be written on the blackboard and the totals calculated as the votes were called in.
Prognosticators are predicting a Republican takeover of the United States Senate, and a pickup of a few seats in the House of Representatives. Driven in large part by the unpopularity of President Barack Obama (latest Gallup poll 42 percent approve, 53 percent disapprove of Obama), this potential change in control provides both an opportunity and a risk for Republicans.
My mother was diagnosed with uterine cancer in the mid-1970s, when I was in grammar school. Her goal, at that time, was to stay alive to see my older sister Kathy and me graduate from high school. She neither dwelled on the disease, nor on why she was stricken with it, but instead focused on getting rid of the cancer and living for her two daughters.
While new and novel might be exciting, routine and habit can help create a structure and framework for success. From eating breakfast, brushing our teeth or exercising every day, much of our lives are driven by routine. This reliance on routine behavior can startle us when we are driving and find ourselves not at our planned destination, but at our routine destination.