Thursday, May 5, 2016

Caroline meets Ruby Bridges

Last night Caroline and I attended an event that changed me forever.

A few months ago, Caroline was asked to participate in her school's Women in History event. The students asked to join this are to do a presentation about a particular woman in history. They present it in a first-person account with a script written by a member of the American Association of University Women (AAUW).

Caroline was asked to do her presentation as Ruby Bridges, the first black child to enter an all-white school after the Brown vs. Board of Education decision that declared that "separate but equal" is unconstitutional and ordered integration of public schools. For the first time, there was no separation of education based on race.

Caroline and I went to Pepperdine University for their Bible Lecture Series. Ruby Bridges was speaking last night. We arrived, found two empty seats before Ms. Bridges was scheduled to speak. I looked around at the 1000+ seating around me and noticed that the audience consisted of predominantly white faces and a few faces of color. I was pleased to see so many Caucasians attending and supporting something that probably did not historically concern their families, but they understood the historical importance of the speaker.

The first video they presented was the news footage of Ruby being escorted by four US Marshals into the William Franz Elementary School in New Orleans. She was instructed to look straight ahead and not look at the crowd of people that would be there. As she exited the car with the Marshals, crowds of angry white parents screamed horrible things to her, threats of violence and death permeated the air.  Threats that they would poison her food were screamed at her. A doll painted to look black and laid in a coffin was paraded around to frighten this six year old whose only "crime" was wanting a good education. All the parents at William Franz Elementary boycotted and did not allow their children to attend the school with "a ni***r." (their words, not mine).

The second video they presented was an  interview with Dr. Robert Coles, who volunteered to help Ruby with any trauma she would suffer through this. He told the story of how one morning, Ruby suddenly stopped at the top of the school steps, turned around and looked at the crowd and began mouthing something. He asked her what she was doing. She said she was praying for them. He asked her why she was praying for them and she said, "Well, don't you think they need praying for?"

Then it was time to introduce Ms. Bridges. As she approached the stage, she received a standing ovation. She hadn't yet spoken a word.

Her gentle and humble spirit, sprinkled with a sense of humor everyone could relate to kept the audience spellbound as she told little anecdotes of her story: How her mother made her wear a jacket she hated and now every time she sees those photos, she's wearing that jacket.  How the crowd was not nearly as fearful to her as her mama.

She explained that the school board, in an attempt to ensure the failure of this Supreme Court decision, allowed the integration to begin in the two schools they knew had the worst racism. Additionally, black children who wanted to be included in this program were required to submit to a test to see if they were intellectually qualified to be in the program. Ruby and 140 of others submitted to the test which was deliberately difficult so that few, if any children would pass and would therefore keep segregation in force by default.

The test took all day.

Out of those 140, only 6 passed enough to qualify for the program. She was pleased and proud that all 6 were girls. The audience laughed along with her. Three girls were in each school. Ruby was to be one of three girls in William Franz Elementary, but two girls dropped out at the last minute because of fear. Ruby was left to endure this alone. Her mother never wavered. She did not give in to fear. She knew it was right.

Ruby's previous all-black school was several miles from her home. William Franz Elementary was just 5 blocks away and was her neighborhood school. Her neighborhood was predominantly black families, but also had a few white families. What the cameras did not catch was that the residents of her neighborhood followed behind the car carrying Ruby, her mother, and the Marshals. She explained that this was at a time when parents looked out for each other's children. They wanted to ensure Ruby was safe too.

The "village" was in force that day.

Her first day was spent in the principal's office because no teacher wanted to teach her. The classrooms were empty due to the parents boycott. She and her mother sat all day in the principal's office despite the fact that there were plenty of teachers available to teach her. The bell rang to go home. Ruby told her mother that she thought this school was easy!

The second day, a new teacher, Mrs. Barbara Henry arrived. She was accustomed to teaching multiple ethnicities due to teaching on Naval bases where her husband was stationed. She warmly greeted Ruby and began teaching her that day. Mrs. Henry was subsequently shunned by her fellow teachers for teaching Ruby.

She was Ruby's only friend that year.

Ms. Bridges went on to explain that racism is not a black vs. white issue. It is a good vs. evil issue. It occurs when we only associate with those who look like us and think like us. She believes there are good and bad people and it cuts across racial lines.

Evil made itself known to Ruby at 6 years old. Good triumphed.

Evil made itself know to Ruby again in 2005.

Her oldest son, Craig, was murdered by someone who, in her words, "looked just like him." Out of all the things she endured: her brother was murdered and she raised his daughters, she lost her home to Katrina, her traumatic educational beginning as a 6 year old, THIS was by far the worst thing she ever endured.

Her son lived for 4 hours after he was shot 11 times. She and her husband were not allowed to see him because he told the doctors he did not want his mom to see him like this.  He died in the emergency room.

Two years later, Ms. Bridges was admitted to the hospital with chest pain and numbness in her arm and leg. She was checked over and there was no sign of a heart attack. The doctors asked her if she had been under any stress. She explained that she was a speaker and that was stressful. She lost her home in Katrina, to which they said everyone was suffering from that. She explained that her son was killed two years prior, to which they insinuated that she should be over that since it had been two years. They then left the room.

The attending nurse told Ms. Bridges that these doctors were young and didn't understand that grief takes time and that no one has the right to tell her how long she should grieve. She never had children of her own, but lost her nephew, who she was close to, a few years prior and was still grieving. She asked about Ms. Bridges' son. She explained that he died on July 4th after being shot. The nurse asked her where she lived. Ms. Bridges explained that she lived on the other side of town at the time.

The nurse was quiet and sat down next to her.  "I have not always worked at this hospital. I worked at the one across town and I remember your son," she said. He was carried in by a friend. I was his nurse that night. He told me he didn't want you to see him like this because he knew he was slipping away. He asked me if he could hold my hand and call me mom. I told him that was fine."

"I want you to know that he asked Jesus into his heart that night, He is now in a better place. You are not having a heart attack. God brought you here to me so that I could tell you about it and give you peace."

Good triumphed over evil again.

As she finished the story of her son, I began to hear a song in my head that we used to sing in church many years ago. I have not thought of this song in years:

This is Holy Ground
We're standing on Holy Ground
for the Lord is present 
and where He is is holy.

I cannot explain it any better. I felt the presence of the Lord in that place as she spoke, tears falling down her face, our faces mirroring her tears.

A sacred moment.

Ms. Bridges message is one of hope in spite of the evil in this world. Her message is that racism is good vs evil. Good can and will triumph, but it takes the village. It takes us to speak out. It takes us to call out racism, bullying, and hatred when we see it and stand in the gap for those being mistreated. It takes education. It takes associating with those who look different than us and think different than us so that we can learn to understand each other and learn something from each other instead of hate each other for not looking, thinking, or believing like us.

It takes doing the right thing, even when we're afraid.

"The more faith is tested, the stronger it gets" she explained.

A standing ovation followed her talk. It lasted easily twice as long as the first standing ovation. For the first time, the camera caught her from the side and I noticed she was barefoot.

Holy ground.

The Pepperdine choir director was invited up to direct us in singing "The Lord Bless You and Keep You" for Ms. Bridges as a blessing. To my surprise, I remembered my alto part and heard all the other parts being sung by members of the audience.

A 1000-voice choir singing to Ms. Bridges to bless her. Another sacred moment.

Afterward, Caroline and I stood in the long line to meet her. It was a very quick meeting so that we could respect her time as well as those waiting to meet her. It was quite late at night and she was understandably tired and emotionally drained.  Nevertheless, she warmly greeted Caroline with a handshake and thanked her for portraying her. She shook my hand as well. I took a photo of the two of them together. Her school and the AAUW were both thrilled for her to be able to meet the woman she portrayed.

We were grateful for the opportunity to meet a person of such great historical significance, who is still making a difference today. A woman who found her calling of unifying where there is division. Her steadfast faith in spite of the hardships she has endured is an example for us all.

I will never be the same.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Entering the IPhone Age

I have been a customer of a non-contact phone carrier since I first had a cell phone back in 2000. Yes, it took me that long to get a cell phone even back then. All I wanted at that time was an emergency phone, which became a necessity after I got stranded on the freeway and had to use the call box and decided that it would be better if I had a cell phone.  So I researched and found the least expensive plan I could find and decided I didn't want to have a contract so I would not be locked in.

In that course of time, I have had 4 phones, but the same phone number. My last phone was starting to have a screen that was fading a little, so I decided to get a new phone. That phone would not give me text messages from my friends. So I was looking into a smartphone for just a little more money and then I saw it!

I have resisted getting an IPhone because I didn't want to be locked into a contract paying $100 a month.  Well, Virgin Mobile has an IPhone and the price per month for unlimited talk, text, web, and data comes to $55 but I receive $5 off for auto pay. Exactly what I was paying for my other phone and service and I had no data plan since it was not a smart phone.

The other great thing is that I can write off a good portion of it because my business back office runs on the IPhone's platform so it really is necessary that I have one! Yay!!

I am having a lot of fun with it, as long as I can keep it out of my kids' hands! No sooner I had the phone and my 8 year old said, "Ok, mom. Here's how you change the wallpaper...and Babam!!"  My son comes home, sees my phone and immediately reaches for it to show me stuff.

Smack down! Hands off!! MY phone!! Back away and no one gets bitten!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Have Butternut Squash? Here's an easy recipe!!

I love squash. Love it, love it, love it!

Yams? Let me at 'em!

Spaghetti Squash?  Pass the butter and parmesan, please!

Pumpkin? Can you say "Pumpkin Spice Latte" and not smile?

Didn't think so.

So I had a butternut squash in my pantry and wanted to find an easy and delicious way to prepare it. I hit the jackpot with this recipe!Simple Roasted Butternut Squash

Simple, delicious, and the family loved it! We have a college student from Brazil staying with us and even he loved it!

If you have ever prepared butternut squash, you know that the most time-consuming part is peeling and cutting. I recommend Cutco knives for any kitchen. The best knives I have ever tried! I also have the peeler. Made quick work of the task so I could get on to the chopping. I then put the pieces in a large bowl, poured the olive oil over them, added some minced garlic (I use the pre-minced kind in the jar-much easier!), added salt and pepper, tossed and laid them out on a baking sheet. To make things even easier, I used the silicone baking liners available just about anywhere. Clean up is a breeze!

I had some leftover squash in the morning so I simply cut up some green and red peppers and a little onion in butter, added the squash, and then some chopped kale. A simple, healthy breakfast!

Since I am trying to lose a few (**cough** 25 **cough) pounds, this helped me start the day with something other than cereal!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Two Less Orphans. Two Precious Girls. One Great Family

Today, I am joyful! JOYFUL!!  JOYFUL!!!!!!


Because 2 girls who were about to age out of orphanages in China have a family!  Eliza and Evangeline were just weeks away from aging out at 14 and become unavailable for adoption and their future was living on the streets.

Not anymore.

They have a family.

They have brothers and sisters.

They have a mom and dad.

They have someone to take care of their needs so they can be children again.

They have hope.

They have a future.

They will never know human trafficking.

Stop on over to the McCaslin's blog:

And bring tissues.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I Never Thought I'd See the Day....

I never thought I would see the day that I would throw away all my skin care stuff.  But I did. I really, really did. Well, everything except my skin cleanser.

Why did I do this you ask? Because nothing worked.

Let me give you a backstory...

My friend told me about this new skin care product that she PROMISED me would have results. My thoughts? "Yeah, right."

I told her I will not sell skin care because nothing really works, nothing really erases those years. Nothing "makes you look younger." I refused to sell products that don't work to my friends who DO work hard for their money.  And I really didn't want a houseful of products I bought wholesale so I can sell them retail to my friends. And I certainly didn't want to convince them to sell it just so they can make money doing the same scam.   My sarcastic response was always, "Talk to my little, wrinkly hand."

But I decided since she would let me try it for a week for free, I gave it a half-hearted chance and was doing what I could to debunk her claim. I took my before picture, at the end of the day, with the terrible lighting in my bathroom, no makeup.

I used the product faithfully for 6 days.

Then I took my "after" photo under the same conditions in the same location. I put them side by side to compare.

To say I was shocked, was an understatement. My skin was brighter, the bags under my eyes were GONE! The dark circles were visibly reduced and my skin was definitely smoother!

So I took a gamble and posted these pictures on my FB wall. Within 1 hour I had 6 people who wanted to know what this was and how they could get their hands on it.

My husband tried it and has loved it. His keratosis (pre-cancerous lesions) on his face were gone in 4 days! His mom, my beautiful mother-in-law tried it for the lesion on her face. It was gone in a week. No more burning these things off!  They are both very happy!!

So what is this miracle elixir??  Nerium AD.  New on the market - the company is only 10 months old at this writing.  The website is

Friday, July 27, 2012

A Whole Year Has Gone By??? Sheesh!

Good grief! Has it really been a year since I blogged?? Facebook took up WAY too much of my time, I guess.  So here I am blogging again.

Peter turned 13 yesterday!! YIKES! I now have a full-blown teenager in the house! I will now begin hearing my mother's voice coming out of my mouth saying, "Just wait until you have kids of your own." Oh my word!

Actually, it has been happening for quite some time. Every night Caroline asks me what's for dinner and every time I reply, I hear "Yuck" to which I politely, but again with my mother's voice reply, "When you have your family and plan your dinners for them, you can cook what you want."

Thanks again, Mom.

Warning! Random rabbit trail ahead!!

Speaking of my children appear to have inherited my mother's aversion to peaches. More specifically, peach fuzz.  Let me explain.

My mother was able to tolerate the feel of peach fuzz. However, she loved peaches. So, we would go to the store and she would point to the ones she wanted and I would put them into the plastic bag. When we arrived home, I would then peel the peaches, rinse off any fuzzy residue, cut them up into a bowl and add a little sugar. Only then would my mother eat the peaches.

Many years later, my husband found out about my mother's peach fuzz aversion and decided to tease her.  He took a peach off of our backyard tree, washed it and was drying it when he went into the living room where she was sitting and said, "So I found out something about you this weekend that was very interesting." He then held out the peach to her and said, "Peach??" She retracted into the couch as if he were about to hand her a rattlesnake and said, "No thank you."

He laughed and said, "So when we have children, we're going to give them a peach and tell them to give it to Grandma and if she says she doesn't want it, it means she doesn't love you."

She looked him straight in the eye and said, "Your kids are gonna cry."

Fast-forward to today: Caroline never got meet my mother. Peter to my knowledge never knew the story of my mother and peaches.

Neither one will touch a peach.

Thank goodness for nectarines.

Monday, July 25, 2011

It's Time for Cooking With Caroline

This is the newest Food Network Star. Ok, maybe she has a few years yet, but I'm telling you, she's got the personality! She doesn't even flinch when her brother is screaming at the computer in the background. She just keeps going! What a pro!

Of course, my personal favorite part is when she says, "My mom is a brilliant and fascinating girl."