October is BCAM/DVAM: Videos Show Us How to Really Help Those Going Through It


Ribbon:YMCA Knoxville -Click to learn what they are doing for women.

October is:

Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Aside from wearing pink, donating money to the ACS and the NCADV,
or calling the cops on your neighbor…
check out these other ways that you can really help the person going through it:

Help victims of domestic violence from a victim’s point of view (video)

Help someone with a breast cancer diagnosis (video)

A cancer survival story from a friend of mine (Oct. 2011)

Fun Friday: Feral Cats, Come On Down! (A Poem)



My friend sent me this poem last week. She makes and sells personalized greeting cards at Iambicchick.com. They’re often funny because, well, that’s Deb. She is also sincere, so if you have an important event you want to send a card for, check out Iambicchick.com.

This poem happens to be about animals, Bob Barker and a true story.

After catching our 3rd of 4 outdoor cats to get fixed earlier this week, I want to be like Bob Barker and spread the news about spaying and neutering your pets. Did anyone ever think about his last name and his mission? Pretty funny that as an animal lover, his last name is Barker! For those that don’t know, latest statistics put Cleveland on the map with 75,000 feral cats!

Sometimes, it’s difficult
Herding cats in a yard
Our kittens are wiley
And made it quite hard
But we were victorious
On Monday near dawn
Stormy is a boy
And now his *#(A$ are all gone
We bought a big cage
But the kitten has smarts
So, we had to think fast
Because when he sees us, he darts

So, while he was eating
I came behind his small head
I grabbed with both hands
He scratched and bit; we both bled
Injuries were minor
But Julie went for a shot
And now we’re both grateful
For the AFLAC she’s got!
All ended well
Now just one more to go
Little Tiger is precious
He can put on a show
If you want to adopt him
He’d make a great pet
And we’ll do the work
Of getting him fixed at the vet!
From your office or home, send someone a poem!


What About Concussions? (Kids In Sports)



Did you know:

-There are grown men who still harbor resentment because their mothers never let
them play football

-Everything carries risk; including driving your children to school

– There is no real easy way to talk to a child about how he or she would feel if they
got hurt playing a sport they love

Concussions are always talked about on the sidelines at practice (and many other places for that matter) and there are many differing opinions. I let my son play, but I still worry a little. In most cases the
conversations don’t usually involve him though. I’d like to discuss it with him, but I guess I just haven’t
found a good way to bring it up.

But, recently…

One of his teammates got hurt, and yes, it was a concussion, and the boy will not be returning for the
rest of the season.

I’ve always followed my gut.
My kid loves football and has since I introduced it to him at 2 1/2 yrs. old
He began playing the sport when he was 6
After 2 years of flag he begged me to let him play full on tackle and so…we entered ‘real football’
He (and his entire 60 lb little body) has never complained about being the smallest (or taking heavy hits)
Though I cringe when I see it (or any other boy get hit)…

Am I concerned? ABSOLUTELY, I am.
Every parent cares for their child and wants them to be safe and healthy.

But, my Jay thrives being a part of a team.
He has passion, enthusiasm, and a love for the sport.

And who am I to keep him from it?

When we talked about the boy who won’t be returning, I found it the perfect moment to casually say,
“You know, I kinda worry about that sometimes too” – He just nodded (I knew it meant he agreed that he thought about it too; how could he not?).

It was the perfect time to ask:
“So, bud, if you got hurt would you be regretful that you were in football; would you quit playing?”.


(Quick Reply!)

He being a boy (males are known to avoid elaborating unless completely necessary-or asked)
ME being a female (with a need to get deeper) I prodded, “Really!!! Why?”.

“I don’t know, I guess because I love to play the sport and I want to play it- and its just..eh…”

I filled in the blanks.

“Some things we do carry risk- it’s just something we are aware could happen right?”.

A nod was all I got, and enough to know my Mommy-gut was right.

Isn’t life too short to worry?
Doesn’t it feel bad to dwell on stuff we cannot control?
Isn’t it sad when a child grows up to say, ‘I couldn’t, because my parents worried’ ?

That is what I’ve heard over the years from grown men whose mothers would not let them play football for fear that little Johnny would hurt. Those ‘little-Johnnys’ are still resentful now always asking, ‘what if’.

I am still unhappy about how much I was not allowed to do because my father was fearful.

I won’t succumb to it as a parent. My son is out there on the field. And, yes, he could get hurt.

He could also get hurt under his parents’ care; in the car, at school, or at the park. I cannot rightfully keep him from a dream- because of my what-if’s…that would just be selfish.

Wanna know a secret???

With so many health issues plaguing kids these days after being on the football field, I’m honestly petrified…

But this isn’t my life… it’s his.

**Ironically, when this post was in draft mode…and scheduled to be published-
my son had an accident at the field. It was a head injury, but a non-sports related one. Not serious at all, but went down as traumatic. He’s fine, and back on the field.

– Yes, I freaked
– Yes, I worried
– Yes, it made him apprehensive to put a helmet on again even though it had nothing to do with football
– Yes, he did fully recover
– No, it did not stop us from returning (because there were no residual health issues)
– I did wonder what we would do if it were worse

I looked at this experience like this:
At least we know what it’s like to go through it, and if a true on-the-field injury happens we know that we are surrounded by people who really care, who know what to do, and that Mommy will be there, even if she isn’t right there.

More on my feelings and his when I write about it in another blog.

This Message to Teachers Goes For Parents Too: Do You Matter? (Video) 

There’s no time like the present to stop and think about the impression we make on our children.

Every second of every day, 365 days a year, our kids are ‘watching’.
Now it’s our turn to watch

Check out this video of 3 hardworking kids (who invested half their summer to memorize these lines) so they could deliver the entire W/E School District of teachers and Principals a very important message.

It’s a 10 minute performance which will bring most of us to tears.

If you can, please share this with as many parents and educators as possible via email or social media…. it’s an important message and kind of a big deal (and not just because my Middle Schooler is in it 😉

A Quote for Parents Who Worry

This past weekend at my church, our Pastor offered a sermon on worry. I could really relate because I grew up in a worrisome home.

Full of anxiety, my Nanny would always remind me of the scary stuff I had to watch out for in life: strangers, pedophiles waiting in parked cars on my walk to school, staying up too late, getting hurt outside, drowning in the pool, driving in the car…. the list went on and on.

While in my other ear, my dad would not allow me to do things which could result in a bad experience, or worse: harm. For instance, I could not drive a small car. When I was sixteen I wanted a Corvette (okay, champagne taste on a beer budget I was told)…so I settled on a white Toyota MR2. Nope, he vetoed that and wound up giving me his Ford F150 to drive to school instead because the car I wanted was too small and I could get killed in it.

I could not do this, or that, go here, or there, all because ‘God-forbid, something could happen to me’. I realize they cared, but honestly…

As I grew older, I inherited that habit of worry. So much that while I was dating my children’s dad back in 1994, he gave me a worry stone as a gift.

Interestingly enough, I can say I have never been afraid to try new things (probably felt stifled), but it has actually been just over the last two years that I have been able to drop the stress of daily life and what-if’s, and relax more.

Much of it has been prayer, some of it is this year’s My One Word: “Relax”, and some is just refusing to live in fear- and choosing instead to focus on ways to enjoy life (and the moment).

I am happy to extend this faith to my children. Life can bring us much to fret about, it’s our job to let go of it and enjoy the moment-and teach them to do the same.

A football (and New Orleans Saints) fan, I’ve been reading ‘Coming Back Stronger’. It’s an auto-biography about Drew Brees. I picked it up because I admire his leadership and wanted to learn more about my team. (Okay, haters, I have/do support the Browns and always pray for the team to do well, and make good choices, I just enjoy the Saints and Drew Brees more- can you blame me?)

Anyhow-in his book I found this quote comforting and inspiring:

Worry about the Day ~DB

With all there is in life to worry about, only concern yourself with the stuff you can control. Let go of the rest and let it fall into (or out of) place. Your kids need you to be in the present, and they need to lead less stressful lives themselves so that they can cope with all the stuff already being thrown at them.

If you want to listen to the sermon on worry, click here, it should be online soon.


Summer Down-Time Can Mean Trouble for Kids (Column Related)

quote teaching kids

Summer can bring a ton of down time for kids, and not all parents can stay home to supervise.
Because of this, many children are left to their own devices and are roaming free for the season.

I remember being about 11 or 12 years old. Back then I thought I had quite a bit of freedom to do as I pleased. My dad was a single parent, and he owned some rental property in addition to working 5 days a week second shift. He was a busy guy. When I wasn’t helping him, I had a pretty big window of time and I spent most of it roaming around the neighborhoods with friends and hanging out at their houses. There were some good points and some not so good points to that freedom.

Life is all about balance. Kids need guidance, but they also need a healthy amount of freedom. If you’re wondering how to help your tweens and teens make good decisions this summer when you are not around to influence them-read my July News-Herald County Kids Column. It will help you take action right away if you need to (or assist in laying some ground work for your up and coming independents).

Obviously, spending time with your children is the absolute best thing for your kids,
but no matter what, there will be those instances when they will be away from you-
It’s then that they need solid decision making ability- and the reasons to make the right ones.

The No Diet Challenge Step 9: What’s the Deal Between Organic and Regular Food?

applesI love to eat healthy foods. Sometimes when I’m at the store I buy stuff that I think is pretty good for me- then I realize that the person next to me is eating clean. No worries, my food will be clean later too, after I wash it.

Sometimes, I accidentally pick up something that’s organic and don’t realize it…and don’t care.
But later on, I read an article on organic and wonder if I should…

This week’s No Diet Challenge is to learn more about eating healthy and that includes organic and eating clean. Since I’m not the expert on this, I want to refer you to these links I found helpful:

What does organic mean?
Should we all be buying organic?
Are we healthy if we aren’t eating organic?
What is clean eating?
Can I afford to eat clean?
Is it worth it?

Stay tuned for the No Diet Challenge Step 10: What’s in your grocery cart & mine.

The Pope: On the Sports Page, Soccer and People


This past weekend I had the chance to sit down and read the newspaper (yes, I’m one of those people).

As I scanned the front page, then flipped to the sports section where I usually end up, I saw a great deal regarding the World Cup. Since I don’t follow it I kept on skimming. I was surprised to come across the Pope quoting before the World Cup. I’ve been reading a book about him, and love quotes, so it caught my eye:

‘To win, we must overcome individualism, selfishness, all forms of racism, intolerance and manipulation of people.’ -Pope Francis.

One of his stature, he could have chosen to speak of religion, faithfulness, God or the bible, but instead he decided to use his position and power to send a message like this one.

One which reminds us of what’s wrong with the world today.

For decades we have been fighting prejudices of all kinds. There are people everywhere who are starving for love, and there are even more people preoccupied with their obsession for power, are void of empathy, responsibility, and have no respect for others, and who will stop at nothing to exploit those looking for integrity, kindness and a tender heart.

Pope Francis says it like he sees it and isn’t afraid to point to the world
and ask us how we will make a difference.

I’ve never followed a Pope before, but I can tell you that I’m liking this guy…(can I call him that?)

It’s disappointing some days, being a parent and having to explain to my children that there are ‘bad people’ in the world who only have own their best interests in mind. It’s tough when my children trust someone who backstabs them, lies to them, or puts them down in attempts to gain some sort of upper hand….(and those are just the adults, never mind the kids). So far, two out of three of my children say they want children of their own someday. Truthfully, if society continues on the way it’s going… I’m not sure they’ll feel the same way in ten years… I’m not sure how I feel. But, I’m hoping that it somehow gets better.

While our Pope might stand for a higher power- one that some might not believe in- he should revered for his honesty, and praised for  desire to hold us accountable and ask us to be the change. He should also be applauded for knowing how to teach people the bigger message; that you need not beat people over the head with it for them to get it. Right on, Pope Francis.

He is sharing a similar message Family Matters has always believed is what we need to carry with us as well as instill in our children:

  • Give love, kindness, patience, understanding, respect and communication…
  • Expect no less from others.

I dare you to read more from Pope Francis: “His Life in His Own Words”.
Simple read, it’s real, and you’ll learn a lot about him and the way he thinks. We are very lucky. The Pope is a pretty awesome guy (there I go again-calling him a guy…is that alright…? Eh, I have a feeling he’d be okay with that reference; he seems as though he is up with the times).

Follow the Pope on Twitter
(Crazy, I know!)

The No Diet Challenge: Step 8 “R U 2 BZ 2 GET HEALTHY?” Put A Twist (or App) On it~


Drink More Water
Eat More Roughage



Preaching to the choir right here.

I would much rather have a cup gallon of coffee over a glass of water anytime-
I’d enjoy french fries over an apple any day…
And I’d absolutely grab the closest parking spot at the store if given the choice.

If you gave me a fruit salad….
A mid-way parking spot with a little extra time…
and a nice sunset or sunrise walk…

I’d probably take them all.

TRUE: To be well (or healthier than we are now) we have to sacrifice and/or try new things-but
eating right and getting healthy shouldn’t be boring, difficult or yuck.

Step 8:
~Finding a Compromise~

Just like with our finances- it should be about balance. We aren’t going to save every dollar we make every week (we would starve and be homeless- or living with our mom!). Likewise, we wouldn’t buy a new house, car, boat, jet ski, a new wardrobe and go on a family vacation all in the same year! (I’m assuming most of my readers aren’t millionaires – forgive me if I excluded you).

My point? There’s no way we can become ridiculously fit in a week, month or even sometimes a year.
The ‘No pain no gain’ motto was great in the 80’s, but honestly now a days with all the distractions, conveniences and busy schedules– we are all at least a little ADHD, a lot exhausted and most likely stressed out too. Hate to say it, but getting (and staying) fit has to be appealing, convenient and it wouldn’t hurt if it could be fun.

Try these on for size:

-Need more help drinking water? Check out this App- Splashy Water Tracker (has great ratings)

-Start walking at your favorite park, lake or beach (grab a friend on your lunch break and go around the block; time will fly).

-Mom- sign up for a class at the gym or your community center (time away from the kids PLUS fitness)!

-Love to talk on the phone? Lift weights while doing it (they can’t see you).

-Hate to work out, but love to dance? Load up your most motivating favorite music and shake!

Make it a family affair
–Dads- challenge your kids to a basketball game (time spent with kids AND getting exercise- 2 birds
with one stone right there).

–Go bike riding with the kids – that’s healthy AND fun!

–Not enough money for a full blown vacation? Get outside by going on a camping/biking/hiking trip locally!

There’s no excuse not to try. On the contrary, there are so many reasons to make it work.

A few of my own hurdles:

-I hate plain water, period, and I won’t drink it.
-I hate eating apples because the skin gets stuck in my teeth (other than bananas, I don’t like to eat fruit
-Vegies- unless they’re cooked, it’s sad, but almost it’s almost the same deal as fruit (aside from carrot
-I don’t find a whole lot of time to get a decent workout routine in.

My solutions:

-I love the taste of lemon. I will drink water with two slices of lemon in it (yes, precisely two). It’s cheap enough to buy a bag of lemons, slice up a bowl of them and keep them in the fridge for the week, then toss a couple in my water (I reuse the couple that are already in the glass on refills).

-I will consume three times as much fruits/vegies with a precut/mixed salad over biting making one, and/or biting into an apple. I will however, eat sliced apples with peanut butter yum (double healthy bonus!). Most of all, I like my fruit liquified. My favorite is Bolthouse Farms or homemade smoothies using a base of water or juice.

-I have learned to build in a little more time into my errands so I can at least take a parking spot farther away from the store for extra exercise. I will also walk into the bank over using the drive thru (walking across the parking lot is much better for me over sitting on my butt in the car- plus I get a few extra minutes out in the fresh air).

A few more favorite tricks:

1. I don’t keep junk food in the house
2. I go to the store only 1x week with a specific list
3. I rescued a dog (she makes me walk more often than I would if she weren’t here)

Okay, so I didn’t rescue the dog just so I’d have a reason to get back out there and walk…
But, honesty, when I know she depends on me, it’s helpful for motivation.

Never Say Never

Try changing your mindset and look at the list of blachs differently. Be open minded and find your middle ground. Nothing is impossible. Need more help? Check out these:

Cravings Calorie Counter (which even offers eating suggestions-BINGO!)

Click Here If You’re Too Busy To Get Exercise

If you have suggestions for others, whether it’s recipes you love and which encourage you to eat foods you never thought you’d like, or an app that makes exercising or eating fun… please share!

Next Week: Step 9 Clean, Green, Organic- What?


(photo credit:”Silhouette” by arztsamui via freedigitalphotos.net)