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Maybe They’ll Outgrow It?


Written by – Barbara Anne  (PROFILE/BIO:

We have chatted about bullying – young people and bullying.  I spent time talking about both standing up for yourself, standing up for your friends as well as strangers and working to be sure that your child is not treating others poorly – even if that means peeking in when they think you are not looking…

MB1When I started writing this I was upset by the behavior of a man – who also happens to be a sports figure.

I had to whittle away at what was really bothering me.  Who was I really upset with?  What was I really upset about?

Well, I am upset with the player – and other players who think that they can be violent outside of their arena and have no consequence.  The ones that think they have their own rules.

But then I had to realize I am also upset with whoever it was that let them think, gave them the impression that because they are that good – they have their own rules.  That didn’t just pop into their heads the day they signed a contract.  That may have been their tiny team – high school – college –

I had to remind myself I wasn’t upset with all of sports – I am mad at the higher level organization that puts points before people – but then when I made that statement to myself – I realized something.

This is bullying.  I am upset at the top, the middle, the bottom, the team – those in the stands –

Which lead me directly to the sad, unfortunate reminder that this happens all around the world – and I am upset with “all of them” too – because they … WE let this happen, every day.

Any time someone uses their size, their youth, their strength, their power, their money, their influence, their confidence, to hold back, to harm, to belittle, a smaller, older, weaker, less powerful, poorer, scared human or animal – they are a bully.

Maybe I am upset with more people than I originally thought.

Bullying isn’t just in the schools people – it isn’t just about children or teenagers; look around you.

We tell our children, at least I do – that they are who they say they are – not who anyone else “thinks” they are – I tell them to stand up for not only themselves but their friends – for those who are not prepared to do it on their own.

What you would not accept – do not do.   Would you accept what you are about to do – being done to your mother, your sister, your daughter?  Your father, your brother, your son?

MB2What you would not accept for yourself and those you love – do not do.

Do not accept inappropriate behavior – anywhere.  In the hall – in your home – in the car – in the mall – at work – on the street – anywhere – whether it has something to do with you or not.

Whether it has something to do with you – or not.

That’s right – stick your nose where it doesn’t belong.  There, I said it.

If someone around you is doing something harmful to someone else – speak up.

If you are at the water cooler talking guy talk – and it turns to a “funny discussion” about what somebody did this weekend – and it really isn’t funny… in fact it is mean and cruel – don’t stand around and laugh about it – at the very least, excuse yourself – but even better be the one who says, you know, I don’t really find that comical – and I bet others will join you.

It truly takes a village – because if they didn’t learn this lesson at home or on the playground, and they didn’t just “outgrow” it – we have to do something about it.

Whether that means you choose not to play on the same field with them, whether you will not laugh at what they incorrectly find funny, whether you step in when you see someone harming another – by calling the police, talking to the assaulter – or perhaps by building up the assaulted so they understand and remember that they do not deserve what you know is happening to them…

These are scary things – they really are – I get that.  But society should find action to be more acceptable than inaction when a larger human attacks a smaller human because the cheese burned on the pizza – over the past, or because they didn’t signal, cut them off, folded the towels the wrong way, put the toilet paper on in the under instead of over position, didn’t answer fast enough, or just because they had a bad day – and what happened to them, actually had nothing to do with you – but there you are – wrong place… wrong time –

Until we all find inaction to be unacceptable we are no better.

If we continue to sit by and just let abuse happen – and do not up the consequence – and empower the terrified – we are no better.

In the cases where the accuser is afraid and the accused walks free – if you know better – I’m not talking about doing anything drastic here – nothing Dare Devil, vigilante style – but help this person get some help – being the same ol’ friend, brother, sister, parent you have always been and not saying or doing anything about behavior that you know about – you are in a way condoning it – that has to stop.

And never automatically think NOT MY _______________ – without investigation – because every person who has had a moment where they lost it – and done something they shouldn’t have that harms another was first someone’s baby.

So yes, I am upset.  I am upset about all of it –

MB3At the end of the day, I am upset with me.

Because while I work hard on this in my own little personal corner of the world – do I really do enough when it has nothing to do with me?  I’m not sure any amount of work could ever be enough – as long as this behavior exists – so I will find more to do.  I will work on it – I will make something happen, I will make a difference – I will #DoSomething.

How about you?

Blessings and Grace.


(Barbara Anne ARCHIVES:

I Raised Him Better Than That…


Written by – Barbara Anne  (PROFILE/BIO:

the time he implied that sexual assault in the military is inevitable, “what did these geniuses expect when they put men and women together?

the time he clearly forgot what I taught him was important about perception, “You know, it really doesn’t matter what the media write as long as you’ve got a young, and beautiful, piece of ass.

when he ignored what I taught him about generalization, “They’re rapists… And some, I assume, are good people.

then there was this, “The beauty of me is that I’m very rich.
and this, “My fingers are long and beautiful, as, it has been well documented, are various other parts of my body.

Then – “The problem is we have the Geneva Conventions, all sorts of rules and regulations, so the soldiers are afraid to fight,”… does he know why the Geneva Convention was created?  It is there to protect people who are not or are no longer taking part in hostilities; these include the sick and wounded of armed forces on the field, wounded, sick, and shipwrecked members of armed forces at sea, prisoners of war, and civilians.  (Which includes our wounded, our sick, our shipwrecked, our prisoners of war, our civilians….)

But wait – step back – I did raise my son better than this.  He said none of these things.  If he did – whether when he was a minor – or now as what the country declares a man – he would hear from his Mother and he would be thinking long and hard about what it really means to be a man, and how a big part of being a man is granting respect to others.   As a side note, he is in the military – and I guarantee you he has no illusions about what the word “NO” means.

These things were said by a Presidential Candidate.

Much less than Presidential if you ask me.

There are many people in the world.  Many different people.  The foreign powers are not all the same – and by the definition of “foreign” they do not match you – you cannot walk into that room and try to bully the bullies – it doesn’t work.   Intolerance brings about further intolerance.

If your child spoke the way he speaks in what my grandmothers would have called “mixed company” back in the day, their behavior would not be allowed to continue – they would have given him a serious “what for” that he would not soon forget – yet some of you want to grant this behavior access to one of the most important offices in the land.  Placing him above all as an example to our children – ?  To our grandchildren – ?  For all posterity – ?

I’ve seen grown men stand behind him, and at simple words – not plans – just single words without any full functioning meaning to them… wall, terror, kill… scream and cheer with their faces looking like that kid in The Karate Kid that was standing in the Cobra Kai area… the one that was yelling “get him a body bag” yeah, you know the look, you know who I mean…

That is who you want to side with in this election?

I hear people saying there are no good choices.  Well, that may in fact be true – but there certainly are poor choices that cannot lead to success and I will not be forced into one like this.

Have you seen how the world lives?  And I don’t mean your world – I mean the world… do you know how great your country is?  How good you have it?  How many opportunities are there to make it even better –

Better can happen – when we work together – when we listen – when we respect each other.

When we work as individuals to do what is right – and not just what is easy.

When we remember the attitude of our Grandparents and Great Grandparents – and emulate them.  Each of us must work every day to be better – to be a blessing to our families, our friends, those we love and those we haven’t met yet and to care for the beautiful gift of this world that has been entrusted to us.

Ghandi  provided a lesson – seven social sins I have seen them called – I have also seen it listed as seven dangers to human virtue – politics without principle rounds out this list – the fundamental truth in a campaign for this office should be one void of hatred, void of disrespect – void of fear mongering –

It should be about respect…. options – working together – compromise – solutions that create firm foundations for all of us to stand on…

I thought as a country we learned a few things from the past – for example, didn’t we cheer as another wall was torn down, not all that long ago?  Didn’t we come to find out – Pearl Harbor was not a reflection of all Japanese?  It was not all Germans.  Just as it is not all of one religion.  It is not all of the people who were not born here.  It is not all the green people – not all the purple people…

The solution cannot be to behave the same way that “they” do – the unidentified “they” that people lump all others they are afraid of in to – if that is our solution we truly will have released the gift of the new nation that “our fore fathers brought forth on this continent…”

If you would not be proud of your child speaking that way – if hearing it would make you shutter, if it would have you instituting punishment, then why on Earth would you be proud to have the leader of your country – a representative of you – speaking that way…

Many of the behaviors of our children reflect upon the family unit – that is why our grandparents and parents insisted on appropriate behavior.

Now a days we sometimes point to societies influences and schools – but no matter what excuse you want to tie to comments like these – or how you want to say how beautiful it is to have someone “speak their mind”… consider what they have really said.

I have heard the insults – I have heard the disrespect – I have not heard anything about options – compromise – or serious solutions… I have not seen politics with principle…

All of these behaviors – from someone in that position – will reflect directly on you.  This is not how we should want the world to see us.

And if you would be proud of your child speaking this way – perhaps you are using the more negative connotation of the word pride, the one that has to do with arrogance, conceit, haughtiness…  pride that is foolish and irrational, rather than the more positive definition that “refers to a satisfied sense of attachment toward one’s own or another’s choices and actions, or toward a whole group of people, and is a product of praise, independent self-reflection, and a fulfilled feeling of belonging.”

There may in fact be a need for change in the political world – he is different – I’ll give you that… but the definition of different is not better, and if isn’t better – you haven’t changed a thing.

Blessings and Grace


(Barbara Anne ARCHIVES:

If… Why?


Written by – Barbara Anne  (PROFILE/BIO:

If… Why?

We have chatted before about this topic – If The Big G and His Son are so good – Why XYZ?

IW1I have written about the gift of free will and how it was given to everyone – and at times, someone’s action by free will can cause sorrow in the life of another.  The Big G is just as saddened by these developments as we are – in the end, He is not a puppet master, He is the creator, not an orchestrator.

Today – I’d like to talk more about a different why – my personal why…

Why do I have faith?  How can I hold onto it – where does it come from?  Why do I still believe?

I grew up in faith – at the church I still attend –

I felt His presence on my darkest of dark days, in fact I felt it so much – in that moment, I tell you – I could see.

But neither of those is really my why.  My why is actually embedded in what others have seen.  And when I say “seen” I literally mean – seen.  Many people say seeing is believing –

Twelve men picked up – left their families and all they knew was to follow a man.

Why did they do that?

They left their homes – their cities – on foot – this wasn’t a rock star kind of life where you are in it for the fortune – for the fame – they couldn’t just fly back for the weekend if they were homesick…

Why did they do that?

Because not only did they hear with their own ears what He had to say – they saw with their own eyes what He could do.

They saw – and they stayed –and at the end of it all when they were told to go out and carry on – they did – why?  Because they heard, they saw, they believed – – not because it was in their best interest, not because it was easy – not because it yielded great earthly reward…. Because it didn’t.

It meant persecution – it meant jail time – it meant exile – it meant execution –

But they did not denounce Him – why?  Because they saw with their own eyes – the love, the compassion – the strength, the courage – the morals – the miracles…

IW2aHow can I have any doubt in His love for me – when those men – and others, were willing — after what they personally witnessed – were willing to share His teachings, knowing just how high the cost would be – (even the many who chose to follow faced great danger…)

How blessed am I that I can walk this walk – without that same fear?   I don’t have to meet in secret, I don’t have to use secret hand signals and messages to let my friends know where we can worship together.  How could I possibly not share the love that I know to be true, when others who have gone before me did so with such horrible consequences?

Does this mean that I never stop and wonder what His plan is for me?  Why I am in the circumstances I am in?  Why I am stuck with what I have, why I don’t have what I don’t have – I wish it did.  But it does not – I am human – when I feel this way, there is only one place to return to – I am not just OK, I am not mediocre, I am not a big ol’ hot mess – I must always remember I am “fearfully and wonderfully made” –  He has “plans to give me hope and a future”.  Thoughts of the opposite nature are not from a friend  – they are from a foe.  (Reflections from a recent message series…)

When I wanted to start writing about this – I asked a man I had known for a short time, yet consider a fine friend and Pastor his thoughts, and he told me something that I have shared with others a few times since then – and now I will share it with you.  When thoughts like that creep into his head – he has learned to think to himself, “who knows better, the creator – or the created”? – Just think on that for a minute.

At first glance, you may think that answers nothing – kind of like when a parent uses the ol’ “because I said so” routine.  Or maybe even the “as long as you are living under my roof” line… but to me, it is much more than that – there is comfort in knowing that I am in His hands.

I am capable of everything He has planned for me – yet I have control over the path I walk.  He knows better – no matter what happens – no matter what obstacles outside forces should create – I have to move forward – in His love –

In all honesty – without that free will – how happy would you be?  Walking only within the confines of that straight line some puppet master has placed you on?

As humans – we all want it – we think we should have it – but we think those who hurt us or those we love shouldn’t – but it can’t be that way.  We need to walk in the way that leads to life – we need to shine our light in such a way that many others want to walk that same path – no matter the cost.

IW3Then the misuse of free will becomes a thing of few and far between.

It isn’t about Him making us follow Him – He doesn’t even force us love Him – that isn’t what He wants – He wants to be chosen – over and over again – no matter what – in the morning when you wake up, at night when you fall asleep – in the middle of that “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day” – I choose Him.

Who knows better?

Blessings and Grace.


(Barbara Anne ARCHIVES:

School is in Session


Written by – Barbara Anne  (PROFILE/BIO:

It is about that time – I know, if you are a kid you don’t want to talk about it.

SS2Let me ask you something – why are you going to school?

What is the point of all of it – what are you doing getting up in the morning and spending a chunk of your day there?

What is the purpose?

I’m sure there are a few groups out there – some thinking it is pointless – others saying, duh to learn.

For those of you who feel it is pointless, I would imagine you consider many things in life to be pointless and we really need to work on that.  I hope that by the time you finish reading, you will find a point to not only going to school – but to getting up in the morning.

For those of you who say to learn – well, to learn what?

Is it all about English, Math, Science, History?  Is it about Art, Music – is it relationships?  Lunch?  Study Hall?  Gym, Field Trips?

I say the reason you should be there – is to learn, but it is to learn where your passion lies – where your skillset is, to realize your strengths – to improve those skills where you are lacking so you can grow up and Do Something.

I am not talking about the something you will do for money.

Although, do not get me wrong, you can make a difference to the world in any job – example, waiting tables.  The respect and kindness you choose to show the patron who feels he has been disrespected by the world all day – the one who has not seen kindness lately – you changed his day – you adjusted his outlook – you made a difference in his life.  And perhaps it stops there – but I doubt it.

Each day when you wake up you are a pebble thrown into a body of water and life – and you make ripples.  You have your immediate initial ring – but from that ring other larger rings are formed that continue and will grow your entire life.

How you treat that patron sitting at that table – has an impact on how he now views the world, on what he feels he can now accomplish –

Now, while you can make a difference with your something that is also how you make a living – you are more than that.  I know you know that I know this.  Now, I need to convince you.

SS3The world is an amazing place.   Many things happen on their own – others – need a push.

This year as you sit in your classroom, think about the classes that inspire you – the ones you have passion for.  Is your skill coordination, finding others to participate, making lists and checking them twice, or physically doing the work?  Pay attention to what comes easy to you in the classroom, excel in those things – and work even harder on the things that are more difficult.

Because one day my friend, you will be called upon to save the world.

It may not be the entire world – but it will be someone’s world.  You may not even know that you did it – but it will happen.   You will be called on time and time again – and you need to be prepared.

Everything you do has meaning – everything – so evaluate – and do what matters.  I’m not saying never have fun – but were you listening before?  Find your passion … and then use that to Do Something… if it is your passion – even in saving the world, you will find peace, contentment and happiness.

You may think you were just born – and whatever happens just happens – you may think, you weren’t meant to be here because you know you were a surprise – you might not feel you have purpose other than to just get by – but if you really think about that – and are honest with yourself.. that isn’t enough.

You will never be able to convince me that you do not care if you make a difference or not.   It does not matter if it is to one life, three lives, or an entire village of lives – make a difference.

What are you waiting for?

I have had people tell me about something that happened when I was in school – that changed their mindset – do you realize what that means?  That means that the difference made for them by some act 20 something years ago – is still with them.  That could happen because of you.  You choose the type of impact you have on the planet and those who live in it – make it positive.

Enjoy your time in school – enjoy the opportunity to learn, remember not everyone has the opportunity, many have to fight for it – some have to take dangerous paths for miles to get there, so appreciate it –build friendships.  Look for ways to contribute.  You have it so easy now – information on organizations literally at your fingertips – you can search for anything and find where you need to be.

SS4You are more than where you live, more than your parents’ pocket book – you are not defined by the size of your home or what you drive.  The crown you win or don’t win doesn’t make or break you, wisely choose your friends… The clothes you have on do not make the man – who you are, is directly tied to what you do.

School is so much bigger than reading, writing and ‘rithmatic – if you let it be.  Don’t just do time there until it is over – learn and Do Something, expand your abilities –

Because once you are out of school – and you join life – your world will grow – and you are going to need practice – that body of water and life you are thrown into each morning was once a pond – but it gets larger after graduation – and you need to be prepared each day to make that first ripple – and make it count, so it grows.

Blessings and Grace.


(Barbara Anne ARCHIVES:

Finding Your Boat


Written by – Barbara Anne  (PROFILE/BIO:

A friend of mine lives where a drive often includes the view of a huge boat in a yard, not a little boat by any means – but one you could probably live on.

FB1Why does it sit there?

I’m sure that many people wonder that as they drive by, as did she.

I would imagine some even think it shouldn’t be there – they should clean up the yard – but those would definitely be people that do not understand how the boat came to be – and just how important it is to the family it belongs to.

Many of those same people just might be searching for their own boat – and if they took just a moment to learn the story of this one – perhaps this boat – could end that search for them, or guide them to finding their own.

My friend came across the story of this boat, in a blog by Karman Rosendahl, and shared it with the rest of us.

You see – this boat is actually a reason.

Once upon a time a young man was stationed in the Philippines during World War II.   They were running out of food and ammunition, and the troops were surrendered in hopes that would save their lives.  They became prisoners of the Japanese Army.

This prisoner of war then spent three and a half years in a prison camp in Northeast China.

At night, when it would get quiet, and the prisoners would have as close to peace for a few moments that they could possibly have, they would talk about home.

Together they would dream – about a special girl, about a nice piece of land where they might start a farm – for this prisoner – a boat.

He said the men that had nothing to hold on to – nothing to dream about – nothing waiting for them back home – no reason – they were the ones that didn’t make it.

All he kept thinking about was how he wanted to build that boat, and building that boat meant he simply wasn’t planning on dying.

At some point that camp was liberated by the Russians – and eventually he made it back home.  In between re-enlistment and Korea – and work, family – life – he built his boat.

And now that boat sits in that yard – Karman says it is a little yellowed –
Perhaps it longs for a day on the open water – but it knows –

That boat, saved a man’s life.  It was his reason, his reason to carry on, to endure, to make it through just one more day – to live.

FB2Today, it continues to be a beacon of hope – right there for you to see – you just have to look at it with new eyes.  Do you still see an old boat?  Or something much more…

We all need a reason – we all need to have hope – spend a little time considering – and find your boat, build it – and share your story.  Help other’s find what they are looking for, take the time to listen – you may just end up being a reason yourself.

Live – Love – Enjoy –

Have faith.  Find hope.

Blessings and Grace.


(Barbara Anne ARCHIVES:

Over the Top


Written by – Barbara Anne  (PROFILE/BIO:

I have a little voice that I hear in my head from time to time, it is normally accompanied by an overwhelming feeling to take action on something.  Whether it is something I should write, something I should say, or something I should do…

OT1I spent a lot of time trying to keep that voice quiet.  Not sure if people would understand what I meant – if people would think I was weird for whatever it was – if they would stare or think I was crazy or too overly devout or a host of many other things.

One of the groups I am involved in at my church is the team that reads the scripture.

We have a fairly new Pastor, and I want to share something that happened not too long after he arrived.  I had met with him a few times, and I knew that he was really working to keep services moving – to always be prepared for the day – and to know the plan.

It was my turn to read, and as I was reading – I had an overwhelming urge to repeat a line of the scripture.  And I am telling you it was that voice in my head, and it was even a little louder than normal – and it was perfectly clear.

I hushed it.

I know – bad.  I hushed it out of concern that I would freak the Pastor out with my boldness.

After the service ended I approached him, and I said, I have to tell you what happened – and I gave him the run down, and he said, you are right I may freak out.  But in his next breath he said something to me that changed my outlook.

Don’t let what Steve may say or be worried about get in the way of what The Big G is telling you to do.  Now, I am paraphrasing, and if you read the Barbara Anne you know “The Big G” is my phrase – but you get the picture.

I do many things differently now.

I do what I feel.   And I am not afraid of it.  And you know what is most beautiful about that?  Sometimes when these things happen – I see someone else out there – stop being afraid.

This could mean that I make notes about something I want to be sure I remember – or I grab The Book and look something up because I want to know more.

OT2I am no longer worried about clapping, I’m not afraid to raise my hand to the beat of a song – there are a few songs where this has become quite “normal” for me – and it doesn’t matter if it is just me – or if I have a group joining me – I know that I can respond to something, out loud if I want – and that isn’t weird – and if it is weird – it is the good kind of weird.

Losing this fear has elevated my experience; it makes me feel more aware of what is going on around me – helping me to be better connected to others in the room – to the lesson.

I am grateful for that moment when he reminded me how important it is to act if you feel The Big G is speaking to you… and for the way that allowed me to respond in the manner that feels best to me, to stop hiding.  I can now honestly say I participate – which is so much more than going through the motions in your seat.

Pastor Steve stands before us broken, not perfect, he shares his own personal stories – and allows us to relate.  He doesn’t point fingers or shame, or pretend that he is above it all.   He is in it – with us.

He agreed to play Judas, an uncomfortable character, in a musical, when he is uncomfortable with singing, and will tell you he doesn’t – because we needed him to.   And I would bet that all started with a little voice in his head too.

There may be those watching me, wondering why would she do that – but for each time that happens maybe someone else is thinking – I wish I could do that.  Guess what?   You can!

OT3This age of stepping away from fear prompts me to mention one other thing.

I have struggled with this – not because I am afraid to speak my heart, but because it is important that it is received in the way I intend.  That is one of the dangers of writing something, then letting others read it on their own – I cannot see them as they read it.

The color of your skin, your creed, your religion or lack of it, your decision on who to marry, how you live, whatever it is you identify with, has no impact on our ability to be friends.

I love ALL of my friends – and I love who they love.  I am proud of all of them, because they are good to me, they are good to each other and to the world we live in.  These are the things about you that make you a good human.  In life, it is these things that matter.

Recently a change was made to the legal side of an institution.   It is separate from religion – it is interesting sometimes people want the judges to think with a religious mind and sometimes they want them to think without it – depends on the purpose – it doesn’t work both ways.

We cannot choose which variations we are o.k. with.  There are so many that we encounter every day – and say nothing.  We are either all in or all out.  I’ll give a few examples –

People throw away marriages every day – some for necessary, very serious reasons, I get that, I am not talking about those situations – but those that are thrown out more because someone is no longer interested.

Marriage is bigger than the individual – because it is the two made one – and if you think it is ok to just “undo” that because you are “bored” – well, maybe you should reconsider getting married in the first place – it takes commitment, it takes strength, it takes heart – it is work.  Divorce isn’t supposed to be the end goal – yet has become commonplace.

What did they used to call it?  Back in our Grandparents day?  “Living in Sin”?  Living as married – without being married – people do it all the time now…and don’t think I am throwing stones here… I did it.

Having sex before marriage – people do that all the time too.

OT4Having children out of wedlock?   Quite common – Well, I can’t very well tell you I did this one – without admitting to the one right before it, now can I?  If you are concerned about the “morality” of others are you taking note there are plenty of other places to be looking?  Are you considering even the possibility that the direction should be inward?  It is for the majority of us –

Now that you know some of my story – do you look at me differently?  Am I not the same person I was yesterday?  Did my behavior reflect on you in some way – did it mess with your belief system?   Can we still be friends?  Am I still a Christian – I’ll answer that one – yes, I am.  Did The Big G maybe cringe at me from time to time – perhaps – but did He love me every day – and anyway – in spite of everything?  I’ll answer this one too – You bet He did, He still does.

My point here is if you are ok with any of that in society today – or any of the many other variations on what you think we are supposed to be witness to – then you have to be good with this new evolution as well.  No one is trying to change who you are or what you believe to be appropriate.  If this development doesn’t apply to you – then it truly is not about you.

Just to cite one legal example – I have read about families disowning people because of what they consider a choice.  Even though a couple spends decades together, they never accept it – and in the end, the family is next of kin – and then has the right to keep them apart as the other leaves this earth.  This has happened – and is wrong.  This legal change, when the choice is to marry will prevent things like that from happening in the future – and that is right.

It is our job to love one another, even if our views, thoughts, behaviors, colors, creeds, life choices among other things are different.  You are to live your best you – and let your light shine so bright that others see the love in you – and want to walk your path because of the peace that you have come by – it is not ours to try to force change in others by condemnation.  “They will know you are my disciples by your love for one another” … Love really does win – and because of that, our world will be just fine, with all of us in it.

OT5I was always afraid that certain things would make me seem “over the top” – but what I have found is they just feel right – and there is a strength to be found in stepping away from that fear – and if this is over the top – well, I’m ok with that.

Think about it – it can be pretty difficult to change the world from the backseat.

Blessings and Grace.


(Barbara Anne ARCHIVES:

That Girl


Written by – Barbara Anne  (PROFILE/BIO:

I recently found a supplement solution that has honestly, changed my life.  I have dealt with fatigue from MS for 24 years – that is a long time to be tired.  The current regimen I am on, is of course not a cure – but it has eliminated that fatigue for me and given me my life back.  This has encouraged me to make other changes in my life, including a strength training program that I would have never been able to attempt in my previous state.

TG1I would not be telling you the truth if I said that I was not hoping for a change in my outward appearance and that I wasn’t taking full notice of what I already see and hoping for more.  It is a fact that I hope to become more comfortable in my own skin, to enjoy a pool – a sleeveless dress for the first time in many, many years, to make my kids proud.

But this new program has taught me something – that above and beyond how I look, how I feel is so much more important and for the first time, in years, I feel amazing.

My health has now been put back in the forefront because for the first time in those same 24 years I finally feel I actually have some control and can do something about it.  I can work on my weight, I can strengthen my muscles – I can strengthen my heart – improve my breathing – I can continue to better my quality of life while likely increasing the number of days I have left to live it.

I am working on all of these things and I really believe this time, I can do it.

There is just one big hurdle.  That girl – see that girl in the photo?  Well, she believed a lot of things.  She believed she was smart – she was a good friend and a friend to all – she had some talent in dance, music and drama.  She was healthy and fit.  She was positive – and worked to smile even on bad days – and liked to cheer others.  She was outspoken and a bit loud – confident… in most ways…

For all those good things she knew were there – she had a serious flaw.  She never found herself to be good enough.  She never really understood that anyone could possibly be interested in her.  While she did not have an eating disorder like anorexia or bulimia – she always thought she needed to lose weight.  Forever unhappy especially with her leg size, which from years of dance were muscle –she never “got” that … she never found true happiness with all of who she was.

I have come to realize something else on this new journey.   That girl, she still lives inside me.  I am making all of these changes – but if I do not get my mind right, I am going to once again ignore all of those things that I know are right about me – and focus on all the work I still need to do.  I do not want to that to myself anymore.

TG2Young people, if you are doing that to yourselves now – stop – I tell you the older you get, the worse this thought process will become.  The more toxic it will be to your self-worth, your overall wellbeing, your relationships and career – your ability to go for all the things you have dreamed of.  If you do not adjust now – years from now, you will be looking at old photos saying – what was I thinking – and wishing you hadn’t sold yourself so short.

Get your mind right.

People of all ages – you are all so much more than what you see in the mirror – and although you may not see it – what you see in the mirror is beautiful.

Why can’t you see it?  Because every time you look, you look for that one blemish, the one scar – the stretchmark, the missing patch of hair you wish was still there or the additional hair where you wish it wasn’t – that one strand of grey – the fact that you are certain that your ears are two different sizes, or you think you are too short or too tall or your arms are too long, that wrinkle, skin that is too loose, or too tight – too pale or too dark – or a list of many, many other things – that just do not matter.

I am not going to go as far as to say just let everything go and accept who you are – or perhaps who you have become.  Because I am not going to stop this new journey, even if I am able to figure what that girl never did… My overall health is important to me – and I will continue to work on that, but my focus for my sanity needs to be getting fit.  Not that I won’t find excitement in clothes that become too big – or in others fitting again – because I most definitely will.  I just think a part of my recovery is going to have to include accepting all of who I am – as I am right now.

TG3That must be step one.

I must take this step, if I do not – it does not matter how close to the “perfect shape” I become – I will never see it – I will never embrace it – I will never be happy.

My cross-fit friend reinforced this for me when she told me that she hopes that while people are noticing her physical changes, that they understand just how much her brain has changed.  She knows she will never have the perfect body.  She is a great fitness level, but she is talking about those “marks” we were talking about earlier – and now she knows her body tells a story – it is the story of her journey – of her life.

I agree with her – no one should judge that.  If they do – they should take a moment to sit down and learn it first.

And men – if you think because you were never “that girl” that you are immune – you might just be wrong, as my Marine called while I was in the midst of writing and told me something that has stayed with him – “the day you started lifting is the day you got small… lift because it makes you happy, not because of the desire to be bigger than someone else”.

The reasoning here is simple – whoever that is didn’t get that size overnight – and they likely aren’t going to stop improving tomorrow.  Don’t fill your body with all sorts of chemicals and enhancers with “being bigger than them” or “lifting more than them” being your goal – don’t feel defeated because you haven’t lifted as much as your mentor – work against yourself – not anyone else.

Your best competition is you.

TG4Wake up in the morning happy with you – work hard to be a better you than yesterday – lift more than you did yesterday, run farther, jump higher, show more kindness – love more – this is how you will become all that you can be.  This is how you will find a way to be a blessing to yourself, to the others, to the world.

Elevate what you already accept as good qualities about yourself, especially those that have to do with your mind, your heart, your strength, dedication and loyalty… they truly are the most important parts of who you are.

Work every day on seeing all the things of value in your reflection.

Realize that each mark you objected to in the past – tells a story, the story of beautiful you.  Embrace them, be proud of them, especially those you “earned” and those that mean you overcame – for they make you – and you are a creation like no other.

It is time to be happy – I have said it before – you only have to choose it – and I mean really happy, accept who we are –be proud of who we are – love who we are – in every moment – and then anything else we achieve above and beyond – is just icing on the proverbial cake.

Take another look at that girl.  I have been doing that a lot lately.  She wasn’t perfect – but she certainly was good enough – it is high time she started believing that.

Blessings and Grace.


(Barbara Anne ARCHIVES:

Good Coach Bad Coach


Written by – Barbara Anne  (PROFILE/BIO:

I want to tell you a story.

BC1You hear a lot of “good cop bad cop” stories – well this is more like “good coach bad coach”.

One of my kids came home at the end of first grade and shocked me by handing over a flyer for wrestling camp.  This seemed totally out of character for this sweet little no contact guy, but he seemed really excited, so I took the paper, signed him up and waited for day one.

When we arrived, we were greeted by the high school coach.  He leaned in and put an arm around my son and said oh he’s going to be a big boy.  This is not the first time I had heard that – this particular child has always been thick in the chest, and we have always been told that should he decide to lift weights – he will have success.

Off he went.  I was still in disbelief.  Five days in a row – five days he seemed to be enjoying what he was doing.

On the fifth day parents were to stay and hang out and see what the kids had been learning.  They had matches setup for the kids – and they were really varying skillsets.  Some of the children had done this before – others like mine, had not.

Well, at the end of it all my son did not win his match.  But that high school coach, a big man mind you, especially when you consider he was standing in front of a first grader, leaned in and took that little face in his hands.  He looked him right in the eye and he first told him all the things he had done better than what he did the first day he arrived, all of the things he had done right – and then let him know how he can improve next time.  Not what he did wrong – but what he could do to be better.

That boy came home proud of accomplishment and fired up.  He did not come home a loser.

Now – I am not saying there shouldn’t be a winner… in competition someone wins someone loses, and I do believe we all need to understand that – I am saying there is more than one way to coach those who didn’t win – and more than one way to coach those did.

So this same boy starts second grade, and receives paperwork in school letting him know about a wrestling program to groom kids into the high school program one day.  He brought it straight home and said he wanted to sign up.

This is a good program, one that does build a fine high school team – it seemed to be a good idea if this truly was an area of athletic interest for him.  I was disappointed to learn the high school coach that had really set a good adult example for my son was not involved – but so many kids go through the program, I didn’t expect anything different from these coaches.

BC2Well, this was not cheap – and I gave him my regular – once you start this – you will finish, and you will do your best and we will not argue about practice.   If we invest in this, you must give it your best.

We were in agreement.

The program began.  Now, this child was not all that active before – and all of a sudden he is in a program where for two hours, twice a week, they were expected to be in constant movement.  If they were not doing anything else – they were running in place.

After two hours of this he would come home soaking wet and red in the face but happy.

His cousin was participating as well and because of this he would often have a ride home, I didn’t always stay the entire two hours.  After a bit I started to notice he wasn’t as excited any longer.  He seemed a little frustrated.  He wasn’t really talking about it – but he was adamant it wasn’t about the activity or the running – or the work.

Not long after I stayed for a practice to watch.  I was not happy with what I saw – I was even less happy with what I heard.

I watched my son who had just a few practices worth of experience – against a veteran kid – which in general, I have no issue with.  You can learn from an experienced athlete as a peer.  But that is not how this was structured.

Kids were paired off all over the gym, trying to take each other down – the coach walking around and giving input here and there.

As expected, our side was being taken down – the other side began to get a little timid about it – I think feeling a little awkward and bad – understanding it was currently a mismatch.

The coach approached.  He laid into the experienced kid for not continuing to take the inexperienced down faster.  He encouraged him to do that, more and more – which ok, they have to do that in an actual match – I kind of get it … but then you know what happened?  Nothing.

BC3What do I mean by that?  Well, I may be a girl, but I know there are two sides to wrestling.  One is offense the other is defense.  There was not one bit of instruction to my son explaining what he needed to change in his stance to stay on his feet.  Not one mention of anything he could do to reverse his situation.  It was all about the experienced kid taking him down faster.

Now, was my kid there to learn something about the sport – or was he there just as some kind of punching bag?

I was disenchanted.

What should’ve happened?  Well, I think the experienced should’ve been empowered to give the inexperienced pointers.  When I do this – you should try that.  I think the coach should’ve encouraged that – and I think the coach should have coached both kids – not just the “winner” and let them know after instructions and trying again just what they did that was better – and what they should work on for next time.

Not long after the kids were receiving instructions – and of course while they were receiving them, they were to be running in place.  My son was running – but he shook his hand a few times and looked at his finger.  The coach approached, and asked him what was wrong – which you would think was a good thing – well, he answered… while he was still running in place mind you – and do you know what the coach’s response was?  (Keep in mind that this boy is in 2nd grade, he is 7 years old…)


I about fell over right there where I stood, I was in complete disbelief.

I was disgusted.  The coach ASKED him what was wrong; it wasn’t like he walked up to him whining about his finger.  He shook it because it was bothering him – the coach asked he answered – and that was what he got in return.  It didn’t have to be sympathy – I would have accepted perhaps a “well, shake it off…” but I do not accept what he received.

My son said nothing – just kept running in place – but that proud look he had on his face – when he lost that first match, when the “good coach” had taken his face in his hands – it was gone.

On the way home, I kept thinking about how to handle this.

Now, I have a no quit policy with all of my kids – we don’t quit – and we don’t halfway do anything.  If we are going to do it – we are committed for the season and we do our best.

But part of the reason I was happy to see him do this was for the positive male role model – one I thought would be like the “good coach” – and now that was gone.

BC4Did I want my son to grow up and think that was the way to encourage others?  Not really.  And if you think that coach isn’t having that impression on some of those boys – you are beyond wrong.  Some of them will have enough different influences on them to not behave that way – but many will not.  Why take that chance?

In my book you have to earn the right to be a role model.

That pride that boy had that one afternoon in his little face was long gone, and you know, he stayed away from organized sports after that.

For the first and only time in my life as a mother – I let one of my children quit something.

You think you as a coach do not impact lives?  Well look at that impact.

“Good Coach” will: be patient, teach them it is important how you play, important not only how you win, but how you lose, the effort put in is important, the personal improvement – not just the result – then you end up with a player who loves the game – plays forever – maybe those kids “good coach” one day too.

“Bad Coach” – game over before it even starts.

Young people learn best in an environment that fosters their growth, one that does not cut them down.  There is more than one way to explain work needs to be done – one way to encourage them to do that work – and one way to turn them off forever.

Coaches have the ability to change young people’s lives.

BC5That “bad coach” changed my son’s life all right – but not for the better – it is also possible that he changed the makeup of future teams.

I believe we all have the ability to be that “coach” that influence – kids are watching what we do every minute – on field trips, just walking through the halls at school – your kids, their friends – friends of their friends…

Which coach are you?  Which one do you really want to be?

Blessings and Grace


(Barbara Anne ARCHIVES:

Sunshine and Roses


Written by – Barbara Anne  (PROFILE/BIO:

Surprise!  My life isn’t all sunshine and roses.

Is yours?

SR1Sometimes I look back at what I have shared throughout the course of a month, and I wonder what would happen if I really let go, and really shared it all?

I don’t – but not because I am ashamed – or because I don’t want anyone to know.  It isn’t because it is some big secret.  It is because there are certain things that I could share about my life, my struggles – and if they were out there, in public, in my own words – they could hurt someone else.

It could serve as a wake-up call and maybe the other parties would realize just how wrong they had been, how they had scared me or just how bad they had made me feel – but that isn’t what would happen.  Their feelings would be hurt that I shared the reality I was in at the moment – for the world to see – and comment on.

It isn’t that I do not talk about these types of things – I do, I let people know how I feel about what has transpired – but I do not have to let the world know how I feel about what transpired – nor do I have to explain to the world what I would like to see change.

This does not make me dishonest; it does not mean I am not transparent and it does not mean I am hiding anything.  It just means there is a time and place – to everything, turn, turn, turn…

Personal struggles deserve, in person – personal attention.

Now in generics – I may share situational information.  If I do this the goal would be for someone else to learn from my struggle, from my pain.

The other day I read an article about all the things you don’t see behind a posted photo.  The anxieties, the earlier arguments, struggles between the kids, the pets, your parents… the things you do not see behind the smile and the closeness the photographer achieved.

But you know what – that doesn’t make the photo any less beautiful or share-worthy.  Look at that photo – seriously look at it – look what you achieved in that moment.  Look at the love everyone in it has for the other to be together – and to document it.

I mean, I’m not going to take a picture of my kitchen with dirty dishes all around it – I’m just not.

I know that you understand that dirty dishes exist, and that I must have them at one time or another – but I don’t need or want to document that – but my family – who was a “dirty (arguing, struggling, aggravating) mess” – and is now “cleaned up” for 5 minutes – you betcha I’m getting a photo of that.

SR2Those are the moments I want to hold onto – and behind that photo – there will be a story – and those in the photo will know it.  And as they are ready if they choose to, they will share those “remember when’s” and if they are smart and those moments were poignant, they will write them down – or those they tell the stories will write them down.

So you may refuse to believe my “sunshine and roses” social network persona – and that is ok.  I’m not trying to pretend that my life is perfectly beautiful all of the time.  I am trying to share the warm stories, the accomplishments, the strength and the courage, the fight that is within me – along with a few things that I think just might help someone else get through their day – things that might make some of you smile, because that is who I am – who I want to be.

That portrayal is honest, it is transparent and right up front where you can all see it – and it will always be the time and the place for that.

Blessings and Grace.


(Barbara Anne ARCHIVES:

Feeling Special


Written by – Barbara Anne  (PROFILE/BIO:

You are my friend, you are special to me… if you are around my age or older, you are probably quite familiar with that song and many others, by a man who worked very hard, hoping that we would learn from him to see the value in all those around us.  I know a lot of people make fun, but the truth is he was a good man and in all honesty, I have a great deal of respect for Mr. Fred Rogers – and the “neighborhood” he wanted to create, for the rest of us to live in.

FS1It is really quite simple to make a friend.  There isn’t much to it, if you are not shy, you strike up a conversation.  Find some common ground – if you are meeting you are in the same place, doing the same thing – so there is likely something present you both enjoy talking about or share.

The trick is turning that into a friendship.  Adding that “ship” on the end turns it into something that needs a little bit of tending.  If you really want to be a friend – you work at it, just like any other important relationship.   You have to decide if you are going to be the one that is there when they need you – the one that knows just when to lift them up – just when to sit quietly and let them cry, the one who makes them feel, special.

I had forgotten how important that last one is.  I think that I feel fairly good about myself most days, but I forgot just how awesome, someone taking a moment to make you feel special, can be.

I do not go out a lot, and when I do, it isn’t usually somewhere new.  Do not misunderstand, I am not complaining, I am just stating a fact, to lay the groundwork for the rest of the story.

Two of my friends were making plans for a night out – and they turned to social media for suggestions for a new adventure.  Now I love reading their posts because they go to some really interesting and fun places – they have shared some great photos of great food – and overall, they are just a lot of fun.  I saw that and I thought, I am absolutely no help there – I told them, I usually look to them for suggestions!  And then later, when they had decided – I added, “Well, tell me about it!  I live through you!

Now my thought was at night’s end I would see photos that I regularly see of them, together, enjoying each other’s company, the food and the location.  But this time, it was just a little different.

In the middle of their adventure, they took time out to specifically include me.  They arrived at their first destination and the posts began – I received a tag – I took a look – and there in their picture, is a piece of paper where they have written my name.  There I was – in their picture – on their adventure!

Two more destinations followed with photos – and my paper namesake – it was something so simple – but really did make me feel that extra kind of special.

It was an out of their way thing to do – and they didn’t have to, but while they were enjoying themselves they thought of me and did something about it – and there is no other word for it – that is the definition of special.

Now I think it is important to note that one of them has been a friend of mine since the 80s… and the other, has not yet met me in person, which tells me that she cares so much about her relationship that she agreed to include me – and in that, they should both feel special.

It was special to want include me and special to care so much for another to include someone you haven’t officially met – and special to be worthy of that type of care.

FS2I have several friends that I know regularly do little things for others.  I think often a lot of us think about doing things for others because they just need done.  And that is great, it is important – but I think we should all sprinkle in a few extras just to make someone else feel special.

If it is worth it to be their friend – it is worth it to develop a friendship and to put a little work in it, do that something extra every once in a while – make someone’s day.

I’m sure I would’ve felt fine this morning either way – but with the surprise of yesterday I have that extra spring in my step, even though I had to give up an hour of my day to daylight saving time.

Thanks to my friends – these two and all the others, those who take the time to chat, who help me see what is important – those who inspire, cheer me on, those who remind me to laugh and those who cry with me.  I love you all.

You are special.

Blessings and Grace.


(Barbara Anne ARCHIVES:

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