Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is tomorrow so, of course, I want to write about what I am thankful for this year.
  • God’s grace.  Enough said.
  • My family, especially my mom.  I love them more than they will ever know.
  • My great job.  It is a privilege and a blessing to have a small part in helping the innocent victims of child abuse and neglect.  And without our great board members and donors and volunteers, none of it would be possible.
  • My co-workers.  These remarkable women inspire me every day.  They are smart, energetic, caring, and beautiful.
  • The USPS.  I love being able to write someone a note and have it arrive at their house the very next day for 44 cents.  You couldn’t pay me 20 dollars to do that.
  • The Dallas Morning News and The Today Show.  They are pretty much my only news providers except E.
  • My sweet and wonderful housekeeper, Isabel.  She makes my life easier and her smile will stop traffic.
  • My best friends.  My world would be cold and harsh without these fabulous people:  Joanna, Cynthia, Maria, Lynn, Jill, Jan, Lori, and Joe. 
  • My new friend, Dave Romanelli.  Dave is known as “Yeah Dave” and can be found at  Dave has changed my way of thinking about things this year.  He has encouraged me to find something beautiful, delicious, and funny every day.  I wish that I had our phone conversations on tape.  His wisdom has helped me to get over some long-held crap.
  • You.  When I started this blog just over a year ago, I really didn’t know if I would like writing.  I do.  And I am so grateful that you like me enough to read it.
I’m sitting here now with a few tears in my eyes.  At this time last year I wrote about all of the things in my life that I loved – my car, my IPad, etc.  I find it interesting that this year it is about people.
I am wishing you a blessed and happy holiday.  Tomorrow, hug those people around you a little closer.  They deserve it.  You do too.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I'm thinking about Coats

Community Partners of Dallas is giving away Coats tomorrow.  Unless you have lived without one, you may not know just how important a Coat can be.

  • Coats keep us warm.
  • Coats keep us from getting sick – at least according to my mom who is adamant that you can get sick if you don’t keep warm.
  • Coats are fashionable and will help define your personal style – my favorite reason for a coat.
  • Coats help us remember that it really will get cold some day in Dallas – I promise, it will.

For the abused and neglected kids of Dallas County, a Coat is a not just a Coat and not even just those things I listed above.

For these kids, even if their lives are in turmoil and they have started to believe all the things they have been told by their parents – that they are stupid and worthless and ugly and dumb – a Coat is something special.

  • Coats mean that someone cared about them.
  • Coats mean they are warm and fashionable.
  • Coats mean they are just like the other “normal” kids at school.
  • Coats mean that they fit in.

And for them, that might be all they need to see a new future.

P.S.  Please join me in thanking the Presenting Sponsor of our Coat Drive, Fidelity Investments, and all of the other donors and many volunteers who worked to make this drive happen.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Seventeen Children

Seventeen children died due to abuse and neglect last year in Dallas County. 

Didn’t someone else know about these children – know that they were in terrible danger?  Why didn’t their relatives intervene?  What about a teacher, a neighbor, a pizza delivery guy?

Surely someone knew.  In a world where we have instant access to the World Wide Web in our pockets, news bombarding us 24 hours a day, instant updates, live feeds, Skype, and more – why couldn’t someone save these children?

The author Toni Morrison devised a test many years ago that I use in assessing people.  Watch people and notice this:

Do their eyes light up when their child (or any child) walks into a room?

I would venture to guess that these 17 children faced dark eyes just prior to their deaths.  But I also bet that multitudes of other dark, blank, sad, and dead eyes looked away.

P.S.  You are required by law to report suspected child abuse.  In Texas, use this secure website: or call 1-800-252-5400.  If you are not sure if the situation is abuse, please call the hotline and the staff will discuss the matter with you.  You may remain anonymous if you choose. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Does Your Hair Color Matter?

I was super excited this summer when Alyssa Campanella won Miss USA.  I didn’t watch the Miss USA show – although I used to when I was young because my grandmother and I always watched together – but the next day I saw Alyssa on The Today Show.  Why was I so excited?


If you are not a redhead, you probably don’t get it.  Redheads are different.  We have freckles.  Patti Stanger (The Millionaire Matchmaker) hates us.  The most famous redheads are Lucille Ball and Carrot Top.  Bozo the Clown and Pippi Longstocking come to mind as well, and not that there’s anything wrong with them, but well, they’re funny – not necessarily considered beautiful. 

NOTE:  I know that you’re thinking about Nicole Kidman and yes she is beautiful, but the new lips really bug me now – don’t they you?

For me, there were always jokes about the milkman since I am the only redhead in my immediate family.  And being a pudgy redhead at Highland Park High School was not much of a draw for dates to Homecoming – I went once in 4 years and my date and his husband are currently very happy together.  And I still bring it up to Joe that he took a sophomore girl (a blonde) our senior year while I stayed home, but back to my story…

The other thing that made me feel different was that it was almost impossible to find a redheaded doll.  Raggedy Ann was in there, but other than that the choices were few and far between.  And certainly very few of the redheaded dolls were beautiful.  My mother searched and searched, but to no avail.  Doesn’t every little girl want to have a doll that looks like she does, but better?  Of course, as I gave up playing with dolls, this issue became less important.

Fast forward to about10 years ago when I started working for Community Partners of Dallas…

Our annual Holiday Toy Drive serves 5,000+ CPS kids with toys.  We rely on donors to fill wishes for individual kids and we also collect money from donors who don’t have time to shop but still want to make a child’s dream come true for the holiday.  In other words, lots of us (both volunteers and staff members) are out shopping for toys in December.  And that first year that my mom and I went out shopping for our wishes (my mom loves to do this with me each year – we always take my nieces too) – every bit of my redheaded doll problems came rushing back to me in a flash. 

It is very difficult to find African American dolls.  And since about 1,250 of our kids for the Toy Drive will be African American girls – this is a problem.  At first, I thought I just must have been shopping in the wrong store, but no.  This is universal – no matter the type of store, the neighborhood, etc..  I asked some of my African American friends about this and they confirmed it.  Why is this the case?  I don’t have an answer, but I think it hurts our little girls.  To not have a doll that looks like you confirms that you are different or at least maybe not what the world thinks is beautiful.

And we all need to think that we are beautiful – whether we’re 5 or 50.

So, when you are out and about during the holiday season, we sure would appreciate your purchase of any African American dolls to donate to us.  And if you have any influence with any mass-manufactured doll makers out there – I’d love to have a conversation with them about this problem.

Oh, and that thing about redheads having a temper?  It’s true.