Join the Conversation – Free Speech for all, not just the Few



When I was 12, my older sister and I were constantly quarreling. She was five-and-a-half years older than me and was already earning money working at a local newspaper. That year, she won the Dairy Princess contest so I was jealous of her popular status and her closet full of clothes.

Once designated as my sister’s “tag-along,” she had now surpassed me leaving me in the dust. Now she was never around when I needed her.

After she left in the mornings, I’d search through her closet and find something to wear to school. Since I returned in the afternoons before she did, I could put the clothes back. I got away with this for weeks. Bless my mum’s heart, she never squealed on me knowing I’d get caught sooner or later.

The discovery came a few weeks later after I’d soiled one of my sister’s sweaters. First I stood accused, and then admitted my guilt. After that, we barely spoke to each other. She refused to listen to my reasons and excuses. I remained accused and unforgiven.


It wasn’t until after she married that we became close again. She had finally moved on and I had grown up. The teenage bickering and sibling rivalry was behind us. I discovered that conversation doesn’t work unless both parties contribute.

I told my husband about this on one of our daily walks. He likes to talk and threads his words together with ands and buts which makes it difficult to jump in. I reminded him that conversation is a two-way street. When he is the only talker my mind drifts because I feel I’m being lectured to. He’s a slow learner, but finally he’s getting the hang of it.

When the Broadway play “Hamilton” was attended by Vice Pres. Elect Pence and his daughter, they received a “piece of Aaron Burr’s mind.” He addressed Pence with the cast’s doubts that he or Pres. Elect Trump could serve all the people. The diatribe lasted several minutes followed by clapping and cheers from the New York Liberal audience. Burr said he simply wanted their feelings to be “part of the conversation,” yet Pence had no chance to

That, my friends, is the Progressive definition of free speech: a one-sided argument where only one party gets to have their voice heard.

A college student clarified this for me when she told a reporter, “I hate free speech. People shouldn’t be able to oppose or offend someone else.”

Of course she proceeded to tell the columnist that they were protesting a conservative that was coming on campus to speak to the students.” In other words, a conservative was not allowed free speech on their campus because they only wanted to hear one political point of view – theirs!

We usually choose friends that are similar to us and have many of the same opinions. If you were to shut your friend up when their ideas and preferences differed from yours, you would have no friends.

If Liberals truly wanted to be a part of the national conversation, they would be willing to listen to the other side; but they’re not. Instead, they are whining and throwing a tantrum because they’re side lost.

They are upset because their candidate won the popular vote, but you see that doesn’t matter. The Constitution created the Electoral College so that everyone, even the smallest communities could be heard and their votes counted. If the popular votes won, then the same state or states and party would win every year.


Some also want to amend the Constitution and change some of its rights and privileges so that it favors only a few. They want to take away the 2nd amendment (right to bear arms) so the people would be defenseless if a tyrant or dictator took control and chose to take away the people’s rights and freedoms.

The Constitution is an inspired document that never gets old. Its wisdom preserves liberty and justice for all. Don’t think for a moment that the people of this great land want to change the very thing which has protected them for hundreds of years.

As you partake of your Thanksgiving meal, offer up a prayer of thanks that you are still able to call upon your God and feel safe in your community. If Liberals had their way, we’d be inundated by the people who are flooding our land with illegal aliens and radical minorities intent on taking away what we have and replacing it with their own idioms and values.

When Liberals stop killing cops, stop detesting the Military and label rioting and destruction as a protest perhaps I’ll believe that they really want a national conversation. But if they refuse to listen or to allow another point of view to be heard, I’ll still insist that Liberals are sore losers.


The State of the Nation is only as Good as the Hearts of its People


“Cafe’ Costa Rica” acrylic on 20 x 20 canvas (SOLD), prints available (close-up of coffee beans)

When I was raising my family, multi-tasking was encouraged for everyone who wanted to succeed. Instead of lighting the home fires, women were encouraged to engage in career acceleration, pushing many out of the home and into the marketplace. That’s when the songs “I am Woman” and “Nine to Five” were the beat we marched to in our efforts to accomplish more in less time and to be more productive.

I once bragged to a friend that I could bathe my two youngest while cleaning my bathroom fixtures and scrubbing the floor all at the same time. I made my own cake mixes, yogurt, granola and bread to save money, and I could whip up a meal and have it on the table within 30 minutes without the benefit of microwaves or crockpots.

"Queen of Diamonds" 20 x 20 acrylic mixed media on canvas

“Queen of Diamonds” 20 x 20 acrylic mixed media on canvas

A generation later, the results were a nation of hyperactive insomniacs who didn’t know how to “chill.” Multi-tasking became the cause celebre´ for depression and nervous breakdowns; the culprit for lack of focus, and the fragmenting of a person’s time and energy.

We were accused, by the so-called experts, of short-changing our spouse and our children. Some women came back home and recommitted themselves to family life, while others were too entrenched in the upward climb to turn back. They had come close to the “glass ceiling;” and by golly, they were going to crash it if it killed them. The casualties were enormous. The ones who made it never looked back.

Once abortion was legalized, women were set free to crash the barriers that had held them back previously. The toll has only recently been felt as the Social Security Fund dries up because there are not enough workers to replace those who either have been aborted or who are on welfare. America has painted herself into a proverbial corner.

The women whose children grew up and moved on in their absence feel cheated of the experience of motherhood. They rushed here and there, watched their kid’s games and celebrated their achievements, but do they really know them? How many times have they actually had a loving conversation without telling their kids to “hurry up, we’ve got to get going?” or criticized their obnoxious antics and behavior.

Today, we look around us and see not a nation of happy and well-adjusted people, but a country full of drug addicts who participate in road rage, riots in the streets, and mayhem. Our leaders are immoral and dishonest. The people in whom we put our trust are untrustworthy. Tyrants rule in our board rooms and on our streets. We have made a mockery of that which once was sacred and blasphemed the God who gave us life.

"Blending In" 11 x 14 acrylic on canvas (How often do we "Blend in, rather than Standing Up?"

“Blending In” 11 x 14 acrylic on canvas (How often do we “Blend in, rather than Standing Up?”

Collectively, we desecrate the holy, the weak, and elevate the swindler and the swine. We worship pleasure and wealth and turn our backs on the lowly and common. Children in many cases dishonor parents and parents turn their backs on the children who need them. There is a lack of common decency and respect. “It’s all about me” rings from the rafters of homes, automobiles and businesses. “I want what I want, and I want it now.”

Never in the history of the world has there been more need of a Savior to bring us back to our Heavenly roots. Jesus said: 7 “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love, does not know God because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only son into the world that we might live through Him. 10 This is God: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for sin.”
(I John 4:7-10 NIV)

“If this is true,” you say, “then why isn’t there peace on earth? Why is there so much violence?”

First off, God is not the author of confusion, nor violence, nor evil. Mankind does that very well without him. Before Christ was crucified, he did clarify this point for us: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth give I unto you.” (In other words, His peace is within) “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

Our world could use a little more peace, especially in the hearts of its people.

"Lady in Waiting" oil on canvas (prints available)

“Lady in Waiting” oil on canvas (prints available)

Five Steps for Success in almost any Situation

Sea Breeze

“Sea Breeze” 30×24 acrylic on wrapped canvas

My first full-time job after having raised six children was traumatic, to say the least. As a new divorcee’ my self-esteem was as low as my expectations. My emotions and brain were seriously fragmented.

I learned the hard way:

  1. To listen
  2. To focus
  3. To follow directions
  4. To assume nothing
  5. To check and double check the details

Along the way I discovered that these same rules work well in almost any situation.

Put yourself in a social setting where you know absolutely no one. You’re meeting new people and feeling self-conscious. “Will I remember their names?” “Where did she say she was from?” What’s her connection to the host?”

Now review that employee checklist above. The first step is to listen. Most of us are busy thinking what we’re going to say next and we fail to listen and repeat the information in our minds. We also lack focus and forget the details we’ve just been given.

If it’s a work-related gathering, you’ll need to follow important directions/instructions. You must never assume you know what is required, because usually you don’t. Once the project or assignment is underway, you’ll need to proof it, check the details for accuracy, and make sure your purpose was achieved.

Sea Nymph

“Sea Nymph” 24×18 acrylic on wrapped canvas

Now suppose you’re in a conversation with your spouse or significant other. Each of you wants to be heard. Be sure you listen with a desire to understand before you spout off your grievances.

Focus not on yourself, but your relationship. Follow your spouse’s lead and listen for hints or instructions that may guide your answers. Never assume you know what’s going on in his or her head because you don’t. You never know what another person is thinking.

Repeat back what you think he or she said (check and double check). When it’s your turn to express your views, you’re more apt to be listened to if you give the other person your full attention.

Sea Swirls

“Sea Swirls” 24×18 acrylic on wrapped canvas

In turn, these same skills are what a parent needs to teach a child in order for them to become good students, to make friends and to have a better relationship with you. Conversation is a two-way street, and both sides need to walk away satisfied.

Now put yourself in a prayer relationship with your God or higher power. Rather than always rattling off your needs and wants, expressing a little gratitude goes a long way. Listen tor the spirit to either warm your heart or speak to your mind.

Focus on this most intimate of conversations. Don’t let your mind wander. If you sense a direction for your life or are given instructions, obey. Don’t assume that God is either angry with you or that he doesn’t love you. The scriptures (his Word) say otherwise.

Check and double check means going back to the feet of God often. Any relationship requires nurturing and familiarity to prosper. This is especially true in a prayer relationship. Listening, focusing, and following through with what you know to be right will bring a light into your life that will clear the way for joy and prosperity.

And that’s my “Five Step” program!

The Perfect Ending

“The Perfect Ending” 24×18 acrylic on canvas

The Handshake – when it’s Appropriate, and when it’s not!

"Does this hat make me look fat?"

“Does this hat make me look fat?”

One of my grandson’s has moderate Asperger’s Syndrome. Asperger’s syndrome was named for the Austrian doctor, Hans Asperger, who first described the disorder in 1944. However, Asperger’s was not recognized as a unique disorder until much later.

This condition is believed to be hereditary in families and has to do with the development of social skills. It is believed to be related to Autism, but not directly. I’m amazed at how well my grandson has been able to function while suffering from this neurological and behavioral condition.

"Ibis on a Perch" Sometimes we must go out on a limb to meet people!

“Ibis on a Perch” Sometimes we must go out on a limb to meet people!

Most of us would probably consider ourselves inept in certain social situations especially as we go through the stages of growth and development. Social skills don’t come naturally to many people. The lucky few learn these skills from their parents and teachers, but most will learn from experience and from their own personal failures.

Entering someone’s “space” or touching them before you know them well is often considered inappropriate or “too much too soon.” For “touchy feely” people like me restraint is difficult. I must pull in the reins even though it feels perfectly natural for me to reach out a hand or put an arm around someone when there is shared laughter or humor.

In certain circumstances, even a handshake seems too forward. For instance, you wouldn’t go around shaking people’s hands in a crowded airport. It may be absolutely normal to engage someone in conversation if you need directions or help, but going beyond that may raise a few eyebrows. Appearing too snoopy or friendly may cast suspicions on your motives and your character.

"Ibis Only Peeking" Are you being overly intimate?

“Ibis Only Peeking”
Are you being overly intimate?

As a writer, it is necessary for me to interview different kinds of people in varying professions. I’m expert at prying into other people’s business. In a personal setting, I have to back off or risk being too aggressive and hurting someone’s feelings.  Playing the role of investigative reporter can really put people off unless they know that’s why you’re there in the first place.

Here’s a tip for my grandson and for all those who feel awkward in social settings and want to make brownie points,. “Get the other person to talk about themselves. If you do this, you may never have to speak again.” I say this in jest, but have you ever noticed how much people like to talk on and on about themselves?

'Hut two three four" Take the first step: Ask a question?

‘Hut two three four” Take the first step: Ask a question?

To put yourself at ease, have a few interested but non-personal questions prepared beforehand. “Are you new to Florida?”  “Are you a friend of the hostess?” “Did your profession bring you here?” Once you get the other person talking, you may want to contribute some information about yourself. Once the give and take starts, you have a real conversation going.

In a more intimate setting where most people are known to you, the handshake can bring an added feeling of warmth and friendliness. Be aware of how the other person reacts. If they seem uncomfortable, perhaps a handshake is too much at this point in time or there may be an underlying problem.

I have arthritis in my hands. Some people clamp down so hard that they cause pain. I have learned to reach out with both hands to these people; one for shaking, the other to disarm them or add an extra bit of intimacy. They are so surprised by my two-hand shake that they release their grip on my painful hand and I’m saved.

Handshakes are especially appropriate when introductions are made. A firm handshake tells you a lot about the person’s confidence and warmth. A limp handshake signifies that person is holding back and isn’t sure about this new relationship or they may be shy and unsure of themselves.

Don't get left in the dust. Ask a question?  When introduced, offer a firm handshake.

Don’t get left in the dust. Ask a question? When introduced, offer a firm handshake.

Friendly handshakes are good for greeting or welcoming other people to a group setting or fellowship. Like interests have brought them here in the first place and so attendees already share something in common.  This is true of a church or worship setting or a place where people come back more than once to share their views, interests or problems.

Social skills can be learned and acquired. It just takes practice and experience. There is a learning curve that happens until you pick up a few secrets to enhance the interchange of ideas and information. Once you conquer your fears, it gets easier each time you put yourself out there.

Friends at last -- flying together into the sunset!

Friends at last — flying together into the sunset!

If people with a disability like my grandson can do it, you can do it too!

If you’re interested in learning more about Asperger’s go to  @

The Secret to Becoming a Good Conversationalist – “It’s all about them!”


“India Rising — Prince of Thieves”

When the internet first came out, kids and teachers discovered that they “hadn’t even scratched the surface” of the information out there. They also learned the hard way that some of it was erroneous.

Today’s students know better. They live on the fast track where what they want is only an “app” away. The internet is so easy that many people rely solely on the information they get without knowing the source. Where does truth lie? If you want to know something, do you go to the experts or do you take the word of friends, relatives or some nobody online?

When you find a nugget of truth are you willing to accept it or do you argue with the evidence? Do you trust yourself to make judgments or do you know that you’re wishy-washy, at best, and lack confidence?

How deep do you go inside yourself? Do you really know how you feel about sex, about God, about Socialism, Capitalism, Communism, and Buddhism? What hidden secrets are you afraid to confront? But don’t spend too much time “navel gazing.” There’s a fine line between knowing yourself and becoming narcissistic or arrogant. In fact, the more insecure people are, the more time they spend internalizing.

Reggae Night

“Reggae Night”

Many years ago, I was self-conscious at parties and around groups of people. I didn’t know what to say. I was so shy and introverted. I stood on the sidelines and observed before I even dared enter the conversation.

When I started working as a writing consultant, I had to interview people. I was terrified. Then I discovered that if I could get the other person or persons to talk about themselves, I didn’t have to talk about me at all! I soon became very popular and known as a “good listener.” I made a point of keeping other people’s information private, and soon gained their trust. It was a winning combination.

Pulling others out of themselves is a skill that can be learned. It doesn’t matter if you’re shy. All you need is a question to ask the other person, either about their job or where they are from? A compliment about what they’re wearing is also a good starting point or perhaps finding something you have in common like interests, co-workers or friends. Planning a few icebreakers or interview prep questions can get you off on a positive note. The more they talk, the less you’ll have to unless they start asking questions, too. It isn’t as hard as you think to respond back.

Information is all around us. We may get confused looking for answers. There are certain things we must learn to trust in or we’re bound to get lost. History that has not been altered can teach us a lot about human nature and the course of human events. Our own experiences may teach us about whom to trust and how to make better choices.

"India Rising -- the Lost"

“India Rising — the Lost”

Knowing your enemy is important. There may be certain people in your life who always discourage you or intentionally “put you down.” Honesty is important. You want friends who level with you; but if their motives stem from jealousy or envy, their so-called truthful answers may actually harm you.

Poisonous people are not your friends. If you feel less confident and authentic around someone, change course and find others who are uplifting to be around and inspire you to be a better person. Then watch your self-confidence soar!

Where do you go for spiritual knowledge? Do you find a card reader or a fortune teller in the yellow pages, or do you read the Word of God? Do you check your daily horoscope, or do you ask the God you believe in for guidance?


“Prayer Circles”

Authority, history, books, newspapers, can provide additional data that may make the difference in the accuracy you’re looking for. Just remember, that most information is written by other people and may have shreds of personal opinion and untruths. Use discretion and compare notes. Don’t rely on one source. Trust your “gut.” Listen to your heart.


“India Rising — The Found”