Thursday, October 27, 2011

Oprah, Maya, and Mom

When someone shows you who they are – believe them.

I love this line.  Maya Angelou said it to Oprah and she passed it along to me (Yes, Oprah and Maya and I are friends, if only in my mind.).

Of course I think of this line often when someone does me wrong.  You know the times when once again your friend is late to a meeting and you think about how you can’t believe she is late.  Why can’t you believe it?  She is late every time!  Or what about the friend who tells you every November that she wishes that her husband would get her a piece of jewelry for Christmas, but she never tells him that because she wants him to figure out what she wants.  Why is she disappointed that she gets another sweater wrapped under the tree?

We have to realize that it is very difficult to get people to change.  We have to accept them for what they show us.  And, most importantly, we have to decide how we want to react to that person.  Since we know that they probably will not change certain behaviors, we must decide how to deal with them – or if we no longer want to deal with them at all.

Now, I wouldn’t be working for Community Partners of Dallas if I didn’t believe that people can change bad behavior – but they have to want to change.  Parents who once let drugs rule their lives can give them up (with a hell of a fight) and become good parents.  Relatives can turn their own lives upside down and change their own living situations in order to take children out of the foster care system. Change can happen with anyone if they want it enough.

But back to our line:  When someone shows you who they are – believe them.

My mom turns 76 this weekend and she shows me who she is every single day.  I’m not saying she’s perfect (none of us are), but she’s the closest thing I’ve ever met.  If you ever have the chance to get to know Cindrette, you’ll find out right away that she is smart as a whip, hilarious, curious about everything (especially about what people like to eat and how they got skinny), and honest.  She’ll give you advice about your colon, your hairstyle, and shout hooray for the Texas Rangers – all in one breath.

I wish every kid in Dallas County CPS care could have had a mother like mine.

She’ll show you who she is with every word.  And she is someone you can believe.

Here she is at lunch today.  76 and still going strong.  XXOO

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Paige McDaniel: I Got Schooled

Paige McDaniel: I Got Schooled: I tend to “dance with the one that brung me” most of time. I stick with my favorite charities like CPD, JLD, HPUMC, and a few others. ...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I Got Schooled

I tend to “dance with the one that brung me” most of time.  I stick with my favorite charities like CPD, JLD, HPUMC, and a few others.  Never have really branched out much and while I graduated from college (in 4 years, I might add), that is pretty much where my education ended.  But the more I think about where our country and world are heading, I keep coming back to the importance of education.  So, I set out to learn a little more.  Here’s my first report:

Recently I have found out about a couple of great things that are happening here in Dallas and I want to share them with you…

First, I visited the KIPP Truth Academy at the invitation of my friend and Junior League of Dallas President Susan Wells.  KIPP Dallas is a charter school and they are doing great things with the kids who attend.  Here is their mission statement:

The mission of KIPP Dallas-Fort Worth is to provide underserved children in our community with a free, rigorous, high quality education that offers the knowledge, skills and character traits necessary to thrive in school, college and the competitive world beyond.

The Aha Moment for me came while we were on our student-led tour.  Outside of each classroom a sign was posted that listed the instructor’s name and the university from which he or she had graduated.  How smart is that?  In order to get kids to be excited about college, they need to know people who graduated and are proud of it.

Check out KIPP at  You’ll be “KIPP-notized” too!

Another great agency making a difference in our community is the Dallas After School Network.  Their CEO Tanya McDonald and I are friends and I have been on a tour of some of the agencies that they support.  Just this morning the DASN revealed their new campaign called “I Do” – it is the answer to the question “Who Cares About Tomorrow?” – and my answer is I Do. 

You may see some cars sporting their new logo or spot a DART bus with info about the campaign.  Remember you heard it here first.

In my opinion, one of the best ways to stop future child abuse is by better educating our kids now. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Paige McDaniel: Little Bird Has Gone

Paige McDaniel: Little Bird Has Gone: On September 15 th , I received a very excited email from one of my young friends. I met J in bible study several years ago and she is jus...

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Paige McDaniel: Little Bird Has Gone

Paige McDaniel: Little Bird Has Gone: On September 15 th , I received a very excited email from one of my young friends. I met J in bible study several years ago and she is jus...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Little Bird Has Gone

On September 15th, I received a very excited email from one of my young friends.  I met J in bible study several years ago and she is just a darling girl.  Absolutely smart, gorgeous, funny – everything you’d want in a friend.  J is probably in her early 30s and so is her husband, N. 

Anyway, J and N had let me know many months ago that they had decided to become foster parents.  This precious young couple doesn’t have any children of their own, but felt led to do this important work.  When they told me the news, I was elated – they are perfect and I knew that any children placed in their care would be loved and well-treated.

After many months of training, jumping through hoops and more, J and N were told they were on the open list and were ready to receive a foster child.  Just a few days later, the call came and a 15 month old little girl arrived at their home – that is when I received the excited email and was asked to pray for J and N and for the little girl who was coming to stay.

I prayed.

I didn’t hear much from J and N until yesterday, when this email arrived:

We received the much anticipated call this evening.  CPS will pick up Little Bird from our home at 8:30am tomorrow (Tuesday) morning and place her with relatives.  We don't know much beyond that. 

She was in our home for 28 days and it was the best 28 days EVER!

Your continued prayers for her, her family and us would be greatly appreciated.  

All our love,
N and J

PS - Please forgive us if we go "off the grid" for a few days, as we are learning how to heal from this.

How will J and N heal?  How do you love and care for a child, then let her go? 

I sent J and N this response:

What you did for that little thing will stay with her forever.  And I know with you also.  XXOO

I hope it stays or resonates with you too. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I hate Beverly Drive.

I hate Beverly Drive.  Well, let me be more specific – I hate the construction on Beverly Drive.
It was one thing when it was just the blocks between Westside and Douglas – annoying, but I could maneuver around that pretty easily.  Just made one or two different turns in my route and I was fine.  It was almost fun to see some new scenery.
But now that they have also closed the block between Douglas and Preston, my life has been significantly impacted.  Traffic on Preston during busy hours is a nightmare.  I pretty much have to take Beverly to get to my mom’s house – and if you know me, you know how often I have to get over there – and Beverly is just my best thoroughfare to get really anywhere.
I hate it.  I hate having to think.  Before, I could just auto-pilot my way to where I was going while belting out some Broadway show tunes.  Now I forget about the road closure and all of a sudden – damn. 
Now I have to think.  If I forget, I end up getting stuck in traffic or maneuvering way out of my way.
It is different for an abused child.  A little girl may have small periods of normalcy while mom and dad are “up” and all is fine, but the most part of her every day is spent living in fear – living in the moment – with ever-present danger all around.
There’s no forgetting it.
A teen survivor of child abuse told me that when he was a young boy he really didn’t think a lot about the future – he just kept thinking about how to make it until the next day.
The next time I forget and find myself faced with the Beverly construction, I’m going to remember him.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Paige McDaniel: Throwing Away the Negative

Paige McDaniel: Throwing Away the Negative: Recently Mark Craig gave a sermon that I keep thinking about. Mark is the Senior Minister at Highland Park United Methodist Church and when ...