Category Archives: Children

How Auntie Dealt with a Shutdown~a true story.


Auntie pulled into the driveway, excited to have time with her nephew’s family.

‘So, where are we going?’ she asked her nephew, happy to spend time with them.

‘Not sure. The kids can’t decide on a movie.’

Auntie cocked her head to the right, slightly forward, and looked over her glasses before saying, ‘Do you mind… if I… take care of this?’

‘Nope! Go ahead!’ her nephew quickly said with a smile.

Due to the family size, they were taking two cars and Auntie asked the little one—a tween—in the parent’s car to get in her car.

‘I want to stay in here,’ the tween said.

‘Please get in Auntie’s car. There is something we need to take care of before we go. Thank you, ’ she said before the child even moved. And her parents didn’t say a word. One wonders if they were secretly looking forward to the entertainment value of what the kids were about to encounter. It is believed the parents laughed.

Auntie got into her car. All the children were now in the car with her.

2013-10-02_14-23-18_324

‘Soooo, I understand there is a problem,’ Auntie announced. ‘We can’t agree on a movie?’

Auntie let the children express their desires and frustrations.

‘I wanted to see A. We never get to do anything I want, ’ one whined.
‘Well, I was asleep,’ another said.
‘I want to see B,’ answered another rear passenger.
One child was silent.

Then they started to challenge what one another said. Auntie didn’t say anything and listened carefully. They bickered a bit. She gave it a minute or two before chiding in. ‘Well, let me explain it this way. I came over to have fun and enjoy the company of your family. Your parents are excited to go out to a movie too. And because you all can’t decide we are sitting in the driveway INSTEAD of on our way to the movies. I’ll give a minute to decide. Begin.’ Auntie began to look at the car’s clock. They noticed. The car was silent for a few seconds before the blaming and the ‘I …’ started. One minute lapsed. No answer, just more of the same.

‘Time’s up,’ Auntie said while wearing a smile.

Then Auntie turned and addressed the group, looking at each youngster. ‘ We are sitting in this car instead of going to the movies because YOU keep saying you want to see A, YOU keep reiterating that you were asleep and that you were left out of the original decision making, and now at first YOU wanted to see B but now you say that you too were asleep, and… YOU haven’t said anything at all.’

Auntie’s words were sweet like honey, but it appeared that truth stung like a little bee. And then she continued.

‘Let me help you understand something: today is a great example of what will happen the rest of your life. Someone will give YOU the chance to make a decision and an ENTIRE GROUP will depend on YOU making a decision. It might be your classmates, your family, or a job you have in your future. Sometimes you’ll feel very strongly about your choice, sometimes you will not. And I am not saying you can’t stand your ground when you feel strongly, but others will depend on YOU to COME TOGETHER with other people and MAKE a decision for the GROUP. You might have to give a little. And if it isn’t a big deal to you, you might have to just decide it is about the end result—in our case that would be movie fun. Silence won’t be an option. PEOPLE WILL DEPEND ON YOU.’

Auntie nodded her head as she said, ‘And, you WILL disagree with others. And, you may or may not have a strong feeling one way or the other. But a decision will be necessary. You WILL HAVE TO LEARN to find a COMMON GROUND, a common thing you all can agree upon. And right now, you haven’t been able to decide and we are ALL sitting in cars instead of on our way to the movies. Question. Is it fair that ALL OF US are missing out on the movies because you are fussing with one another and can’t come together on a decision?’

The silent child softly said, ‘Noooo’. Some thought about the question and then began to shake their head in agreement to the spoken No.

Auntie went on speaking, ‘Okay. So that is something you will have to learn. Now, I came to have fun with everyone, your parents want to have fun, and I thought you all wanted to have fun and enjoy our time together. But now because you can’t decide I WILL DECIDE on a movie. And, here are the rules to that: No grumbling. No complaining. We go and have a great time together as a family as we planned. But…,’ Auntie paused, ‘if you don’t like the rules… there is a still another decision you can make. You… can… stay… home.’ Auntie let the words linger for fairness of time to make a choice. Then she smiled and asked, ‘So, who is in?’

Not a child got out of the car. No one cried or complained. The busy parents had rare alone time in their car on the way to the movies, and the family and Auntie had a great time together! And… the whole crew still loves Auntie time.

Do you know of any group that needs honey talk, truth, and tough love? You know! People who’ve shutdown something because they don’t know how to find common ground? Auntie is available to visit them, but let them know in advance: Auntie moves things forward, and is pretty good at calling out nonsense. Auntie doesn’t play that!

After Indianapolis’ Trayvon Martin Rally for Justice–‘I’d rally in the rain’ could be heard.


In locations around the USA, people held vigils or rallied with calls for justice in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, a 17 year old African American Florida teenager.

Even after Indianapolis organizers ended the rally due to heavy rain, people endured the rains to display their commitment to seeing justice served.

A woman is overheard saying, ‘A man disregards the police, shoots and kills a child he followed, and goes free claiming self defense. Where is the justice in that?’

A sign suggests mothers want “Gun Sense.”

A man states the Stand Your Ground Statute, the Florida statute used to defend George Zimmerman, needs to be eliminated.

And a teenager around Trayvon Martin’s age says, ‘….if George Zimmerman isn’t held accountable for Trayvon Martin’s death, nothing will be right after that’.

It continued to rain, and protesters continued to stand. Some late arriving protesters questioned, ‘Why did it end [the rally]? I just saw other people who were trying to make their way here.’

‘I’d rally in the rain,’ said the woman standing under the tree for shelter.

‘Me too,’ said another.

It is reported by police that several hundred protesters attended the rally. There were no incidents, just calls for justice.

1406 1407 1376 1390 1384 1381 1389 1383 1386 1378

The Matter of Doubt–State of Florida vs. Zimmerman in Trayvon Martin’s death.


Last night I sat, unable to think about sleep, wondering what God will do in this matter, grieving over a young life senslessly ended by a grown man’s dreadful choice, and remembering my mother’s words to me long ago in my younger days,’Baby, sometimes life is not  fair’.

And today, life seems so unfair because of doubt. Doubt.

I remember when my hands were tied as a juror because of doubt. Everything pointed toward the guy’s guilt, but there was one thread of evidence left empty.  One thread that would have tied it all together. My eyes scanned our juror’s governing document –a description of our role and responsibility–and it was ironclad. I did not doubt my obligation or what was left for me to do in this case. Doubt.  After the trial, the  jury foreman and I knew it was our duty to talk to the Prosecutor. If only she would have provided the security tape they had referred to, the tape they had seen, the tape they kept from all of us as evidence! If only we would have seen it too,…no doubt…no doubt…because we were on the edge of decision. There would have been no doubt.

‘Why didn’t you provide the security video?’ we asked the Prosecutor.

She shrugged.  We fumed. And as we walked to our cars in the wee hours of the morning, having been there all day and night, it seemed the most unjust act had just been witnessed–her shrug. Time wasted, money wasted, and our sense of justice and duty was greeted with a careless shrug. The guy walked. Doubt.

Doubt, a critical part of our justice system that is the bridge between being held accountable for one’s own behavior and walking away from a situation in which your bad, malicious, ill-timed, or unfortunate decision created a loss of some kind–the consequence.

Doubt.

George Zimmerman was active in his comunity’s crimewatch program. I do that.

George Zimmerman judged activity as being suspicious. I have done that.

George Zimmerman chose to pass character and behavior judgment on another human being unknown to him. Have any of us done that?  Excerpts from his call… (click here for the 911 call)

‘This guy looks like he’s up to no good or on drugs or something,’ Zimmerman says.

(It was dark and raining, according to reports.)

‘These a*******  always get away’

A*******???

Doubt.

George Zimmerman chose to wear a gun.

George Zimmerman chose to call the police.

George Zimmerman chose to follow a ‘kid’ who was running in the rain on a dark night. An unknown kid, a neighbor, that he had already judged at least twice.

‘Are you following him?’

‘Yeah,’ Zimmerman admits.

‘We don’t need you to do that,’ the male police dispatcher said.

Doubt?

Was that George Zimmerman’s last opportunity to make the choice to return to his car? Was  it  Trayvon Martin’s last chance to continue his run to his home which was located near the shooting?

Doubt?

And there were two unaccounted minutes, known only to George Zimmerrman and God.

Doubt!

A teenaged child made decisions. A grown man made decisions. The child, Trayvon Martin, now rests in a grave. May his parents and loved ones be comforted and may he rest in peace.

Doubt.

Doubt is created when the heart and mind of an individual is unable to TOTALLY trust what is before them. Personal experiences and knowledge–true or false– filter information. Fear , suspicion, trust and mistrust are factors. (Read any definition of doubt.) In a court of law, reasonable doubt is created when moral certainty is lacking. Certainty and doubt–individual and personal conclusions which can waver and vary– are a part of our justice system. A big part.

Note to the wise: Remind yourself of choices and consequences. Teach your children about  choices and consequences. Have a discussion about the significance of doubt–in life and in our court system. 

In court, doubt doesn’t always result in freedom. Sometimes innocence is doubted. Google “Innocent man freed” and see if you agree. Where was doubt for them? Misplaced.

It is with the heart and mind that we doubt; it is with heart and mind that we judge; and it is with heart and mind that we interact with one another. And, it is my hope and prayer that those who read these words, and those grieve for justice in the death of this child will with heart and mind realize that true justice reigns in hands much greater than our own–the hands of a Sovereign and Mighty God.

I believe in God through faith, and further believe without doubt that God and Christ Jesus know our hearts, where we must grow and how and what we must turn from to be more just toward one another. THIS is OUR accountability–our own hearts and minds. We start the course of more just treatment toward one another by remembering our OWN accountability and then, perhaps, we will see the EXACT POINT at which we should stand to seek  and demand justice for another.

In that, I believe without doubt.

The skies on 7/13/13.
The skies on 7/13/13.

Yesterday, long before the verdict, the rays of the sun drew my attention. Today, the image reminds me to keep my eyes to the heavens when things don’t seem fair or just. God’s glory is there, and just as he changes the details of the day to day skies, He is at work in our life and world, bringing truth, justice, and love. The sun’s rays returned me to the Scripture about the heavens (Psalm 19:1), and the subsequent verses of  Psalm 19  reminded me that justice begins in me.

A wiggle, 4 seconds, and an occasional drive…


Sparkle in the eyes,
Laughter from the gut,
Wonder that transcends time and place…

These are a few traits that I adore in children; one day I hope to write an article, story, or book that evokes any or all of these responses in them.

In my work with children I’ve seen the range of joy in their life, but I’ve unfortunately also seen heartache, illness, and pain. I don’t yet have a story that makes them smile or laugh through the rough spots, but I do what I can to help. And today I am encouraging everyone who reads this, that you can too!

If it only took 4 seconds each time, and an occasional drive, would you help?

It takes roughly 4 seconds to remove the most resistent beverage can tab and place it in a storage container. I have been collecting beverage can tabs for many years and it does become second nature. It might take a few wiggles, but it is worth the effort when I know it is helping sick children and their families.

Your local Ronald McDonald House Charities benefits from these beverage can tabs (tabs, not cans) that are turned into much needed funds for the Ronald McDonald House, Family Room (at the hospital), or Care Mobile (provides access to healthcare in vulnerable communities). Why don’t I just let Ronald explain:

Collecting beverage can tabs can be a fun personal project, or one that involves your family, church, or community group. For more information on the beverage tab collection program in your area click: