Life at Lee Academy

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Shirille Lee began documenting her time attempting home school through posts on Facebook titled “The Lee Academy for Hardheaded Girls.”

Shirille is keeping her humor while ensuring her girls are healthy, happy, and learning during the pandemic. The featured image above is a “before home school” and then the “after home school” image taken on April 2.

At some point, it became easier for Shirille to adopt a split personality and even brought her Mom in as a substitute teacher. Shirille’s postings on Facebook kept so many entertained that I asked if we could capture them in a blog and she agreed. I hope you enjoy these posts too.

“Clearly a Mom this close to the edge needs to be wearing a parachute,” one of Shirille’s fans.

The Lee Academy for Hardheaded Girls

Special blog by Shirille Lee

Well the first official day of The Lee Academy for Hardheaded Girls is over – thank God.

The Headmaster, teacher, custodian and bus driver left the students with a substitute teacher and went to her other job.

The students had their schedules – I mean classes didn’t start until 10:00 (2 hour delay because the sub is not an early riser- she is after all almost 81).

One student completed all the work assigned- headmaster left Social Studies off the schedule (it has been corrected for tomorrow) but the other student was rebellious.

Not only did the sub have to take her phone for playing gospel music in the classroom during work time, student refused to do spelling because she said the headmaster could not assign spelling words! Well, it’s on now!

The Substitute

The headmaster, teacher, custodian and bus driver will be in class tomorrow.

Plus the sub quit I think. I don’t know if she’s angry or cold.

Day 2

Today at the Lee Academy for Hard headed Girls went better- well depends on your definition of better! We’re all alive and no licks were exchanged!

Our day began with the Headmaster/teacher/Custodian/Bus driver-and newly added, Nutrition Director seeking God for patience , guidance and wisdom!

God is good – the work is done and everyone is unscathed and alive!

Areas the students must work on:

  • Your teacher is not a mind reader! When she calls roll, you need to acknowledge that you heard your name! Don’t cause said teacher undo annoyance!
  • When your break is over, it’s over- there is no “one more minute” or “let me finish my game”. It’s OVER!
  • When said teacher says “little girl” stop what you’re doing and look at teacher with apologetic eyes.
  • Teacher does not care what the schedules say, just do what the teacher said do (don’t argue, the teacher will win).
  • At the end of the school day, just thank God the teacher didn’t flip out from 1-4 and you’ve lived to see another day!!!!

Areas for the teacher:
* Stop trying to get the Headmaster to suspend the students. You know they really need to be in school!
* And at the end of the day, despite your many un-Christian like thoughts about your students, God still loves you!!!!!

Whew, what a day! I may go to bed before my students!!!

Day 3

This day at the Lee Academy for Hardheaded Girls began with the Headmaster/teacher/custodian/bus driver/ Nutrition Director and newly appointed IT person in prayer asking God for patience, guidance and a way to get in touch with the Governor to reinstate public school.

No response on the governor but I know His time is not my time but I hope He sees the desperation in my heart ❤

Classes started promptly at 10:00 with Kimberly working on Social Studies and Jay reading to said teacher.

The teacher realized quickly that she needed to go back to the prayer closet because if you said the word on the first 4 pages, it’s the same word on page 5. Don’t try to pronounce it different, and then look at me when I ask you to go back.

You said it wrong, little girl. 10 deep breaths and we move on.

Then when teacher ask questions about the story you just read, you look at me like I’m speaking a foreign language!

Little girl, you better answer your teacher!!! 10 more deep breaths- break time! (Lord, I’m going to need you to come on here and see about me and this little girl that is in mortal danger)

Kimberly calls because she needs the code for Zoom for her ELA class. Teacher checks her phone for the code that former teacher has not sent – she said she would.

Patience! Patience! Code is sent and we’re good.

Jaceonna and I took a break from work to do some community service, then back to work.

Jaceonna will work independently while the teacher works with the other student.

Kimberly informs the teacher she is on her lunch break. After a brief check on what work has been done, teachers go back to first student to find her sitting there – waiting because she has completed her work.

When teacher asked to see the work she was met with attitude! THAT’S it- go see the Headmaster!

Headmaster gives a heavy sigh and scratches her head. We will not tolerate insubordination – take the rest of the day to think about your behavior!!

Other student cries not fair and mutiny is in the making! The Academy will not tolerate this kind of behavior!

There will be consequences!

Kimberly says she wants the consequences if it means expulsion so be it!

Headmaster quickly realizes her precarious position. Thank God the headmaster remembered Jay had a doctor’s appointment and would have to release her to her mom.

After leaving Kimberly with a napping substitute (times are hard and good help is hard to find), Mom called Kimberly to remind her she had a math class via Zoom at 3:00.

Kimberly claimed she needed IT support to connect- what???

“I don’t have the link, it’s on your phone,” said Kimberly.

I can’t stand smart aleck children!

I think the Academy will have to close after 3 days. The teacher is threatening to walk!

Day 4

This day of the Lee Academy for Hardheaded Girls began with the Headmaster/teacher/custodian/bus driver/nutrition director/IT person and newly appointed title of Nurse in prayer- not asking God for patience (according to a friend, God is building my patience through these trials) but asking God to lead the custodian and nutrition director to the store that has eggs and Quilted Northern toilet paper.

The nutrition director scored but the custodian had to explain to the headmaster that the behinds at the Academy may have to adjust to generic toilet paper if things don’t change in the next week. The academy is not off to a good start. Nutrition director prepared breakfast for the students.

First assembly of the academy began with Kimberly telling the Headmaster she was a Headmistress (not the right time little girl).

Classes began on a delayed schedule.

Kimberly began with Science, Jaceonna with reading.

The substitute teacher (yes, she’s still hanging around) reported that Jay has been stealing toilet paper to shred and play with in which the headmistress went into overdrive– stop stealing toilet paper or charges will be filed. This is serious. If found guilty, you will serve time. Because of the toilet paper shortage, this could be a felony that comes with automatic jail time!

Student seems unconvinced so the headmistress asked the custodian to buy the generic paper and was told later that the store was sold out!

Missed opportunity! Jaceonna now must show both hands at the same time when exiting the bathroom to ensure school staff that she is not stealing the now coveted Quilted Northern toilet paper.

Because staff is now under tremendous pressure, students had a long lunch break while staff attended to other needs (like a paying job).

Jay reports her ear hurts and wants the nurse to look at it! Custodian thinks she may have toilet paper in it, but nurse couldn’t find any evidence.

Staff has decided that Friday will be a much needed mental health day.

Headmistress shared the news with students. Kimberly was happy. Jay decided she wants to work tomorrow. Teacher reminded Jay it’s been difficult to get her to complete work the last 4 days.

 “Yes, but I had toilet paper to play with. I can’t play with it tomorrow because you said I would go to jail and the Coron virus ( not Coronavirus) is out there, so I’ll just do my work tomorrow, “ said Jay.

She will be working independently because staff is out!!!!!!

Day 5

This day at the Lee Academy for Hardheaded Girls was different. Campus was closed today for community service event, yard work, and because the headmistress/teacher/custodian/bus driver/nutrition director/IT person/Nurse needed to work other job (the paying one).

My friend Jennifer suggested letting the girls write today’s entry. So brace yourself for these are quotes from the girls! (For those of you that don’t know my girls, Kimberly is very sarcastic about everything and Jaceonna is normally the kind one)

Me: Kimberly, could you write something describing this week at the academy?

Kimberly: Yea, it sucked!

Me: No honey, write a paragraph or two, describing what the week has been like for you?

Kimberly: why do I have to write paragraphs? Writing more is not going to change anything. I love YOU mom, but these alter egos or whatever you have been calling yourself this week suck! Terrible headmistress, terrible teacher, terrible….. well I guess you were okay as bus driver and custodian, but terrible IT and what’s the other one? Mom you’re obsessed with toilet paper and I think you need help. Let all them other personalities go and get you some help!

Me: Okay, thank you for not writing that. My feelings probably would have been hurt.

Kimberly: get over it mom!

Me: (trying to keep a straight face) Jaceonna, what did you think of this week?

Jaceonna: (shakes her head, gives me a thumbs down) It was bad mom! (turns and walks out)

There you go Jennifer, they’re even more entertaining than me!

Next week – same thing!!!!

Day 6

At the Lee Academy for Hardheaded Girls, this day went better, maybe.

The 3 days were good to have to re-establish our loving relationship – it had been tested prior days.

The girls were informed that at 10:00, school work would begin.

There was a lot of whining and mumbling, which ended with the teacher telling them to be quiet and get their packets. Jaceonna was asked to get her next reading assignment, so she could read to the teacher then work independently. She grabs last week’s schedule but the teacher explained it was a new week, new schedule.

Kimberly asked if she could decide what to work on and the teacher agreed. Kimberly decided she would work on Kinetic Energy. Science – good! Instead of getting her packet, she gets her Nintendo Switch.

 “Kimberly, what are you doing? It’s work time and you said that you were starting with Science,” asked the teacher.

“I’m not doing traditional Science. I’m working on my hand-eye coordination, Kinetic Energy. Come on my mom you can’t call yourself a teacher and not understand kinetics,” Kimberly responded.

Teacher told Kimberly she would have to stick with the packet of work given by her former school.

“I don’t understand why this school can’t be original. You should be encouraging my creativity, not crushing it! Geez…….,”exclaimed Kimberly.

Day 7

This was a very peaceful day at the Lee Academy. It was clear the Headmistress/teacher/custodian/bus driver/nutrition director/IT person/nurse/therapist was medicated (not sure who’s in charge of the medicine ) and calm. She remained calm when Jay asked for the 15th time if it was raining and when she asked what was for lunch 10 minutes after eating breakfast.

She even kept her cool when Kimberly challenged the very existence of the Academy.

“Other students have parents that are just parents that simply ask their kids if they’ve work on their packets. Mom, it’s not ideal for any of us to be home, but we are and I really don’t need the alternate personalities. I concerned mom that you may be on the verge of a psychotic episode. It’s a terrible time to get sick – even mentally. And I hate to tell you mom, if you go over the edge, you’ll probably have to stay – hospitals and doctors are too busy. You can’t stay here. Just think about it mom. You need a place to stay.”

Psychotic??? Me?

Day 8

The Lee Academy for Hardheaded Girls had another good day. Since the Headmistress and teacher have mellowed out, school runs much smoother.

Highlights from our day: The custodian scored big with an early run to Walmart. Yep, we scored Toilet paper and not just any toilet paper either. Quilted Northern!!!! The school Hineys will not have to adjust!!!!!

Kimberly and I listened to the robot call from the school.

AT NOON ON FRIDAY, APRIL 3RD, SPRING BREAK WILL BEGIN AND RUN THRU APRIL 13TH. THE SCHOOL SHALL HAVE NO EXPECTATIONS OF WORK FROM THE STUDENTS OR THE TEACHERS. USE THIS TIME TO REFRESH AND RECHARGE TO PREPARE FOR MORE IMPROVED AND INTERACTIVE ONLINE INSTRUCTIONAL LEARNING.

We are both a little teary-eyed by the end as it was proclaimed that spring break would begin at noon on Friday.

HALLELUJAH !!

The joy I felt had to be comparable to what slaves felt when Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 (history lesson) or what Nelson Mandela felt when he was released from prison!!

I love my girls, but this experience has been too much, especially since salons are closed and I cannot get my roots colored.

For spring break this year, I plan to go…… I forgot, I can’t go anywhere! (Deep breathes)

In a few months, after all this is over, if asked, I will lie and say this was a great learning experience for me and the girls. RIGHT

Day 9

We got off to a slow start at the Lee Academy. Students were already celebrating spring break. The teacher had to rein them in to get work done. Of course, it was not the teacher’s brightest moment when she suggested taking the students outside to work in the fresh air and sunshine. So teacher tried to inspire with a group shot but it’s clear we’re done and ready for a break!!!

After the early break, students returned to their rooms to work. Jay tried the teacher’s patience by asking upsetting questions.

Jay: Is it going to rain?

Teacher: I don’t think so, the sun is shining.

Jay: the phone says rain.

Teacher: the phone is wrong

Jay: no, you’re wrong – the phone don’t lie!

Teacher: (to save argument) Ok, it’s going to rain.

Jay: Why would you tell me that?

Me: you said it first. I’m just repeating what you said.

Jay: that’s not right

Me: Whatever….. (What????)

Then teacher checked on Kimberly.

Kimberly: I don’t need you checking up on me. I know what to do.


Teacher: okay, that’s great! What are you working on?


Kimberly: not being disrespectful mom, but can the teacher just call it a week and leave? I know how to do my work.


Me: So you don’t like the teacher?


Kimberly: Don’t like any of y’all- headmistress, teacher, custodian, nutrition, IT, nurse, definitely not the therapist


Me: You forgot the bus driver


Kimberly: no, bus driver is cool. When I get money from my mom, I need the bus driver to give me a ride


Teacher: you can’t go anywhere


Kimberly: no store is going to turn away money. Want to try it?


So glad spring break is here!

The Lee Academy has officially closed for spring break- Thank God!!!


These are trying times even for the most patient, most kind-hearted, most funny of my friends. Shirille entered my life many years ago when we worked on a very special adoption project. Over the years, Shirille has brightened my life with her entertaining stories of mentoring youth in Chatham County as well as her adoption story of two very special young ladies.

Thank you Shirille for the laughter and for being an inspiration. Over the years you have been a Mom and so much more for over 40 foster youth, a mentor to youth at Chatham County Together, and a friend to so many.

 

April Be Kind Day

It’s official. April Fool’s Day is canceled. In its place, let’s start an April Be Kind Day movement by sharing acts of kindness on social media using #AprilBeKindDay. Instead of online trickery, bad jokes and hurt feelings, we can put kindness everywhere.

It’s been about two weeks since life slowed in our home. We’ve been intentional about where we go and what we do. Our busyness is focused on helping others. Here are just a few ways:

Take-Out Surprise: One of our neighbors is self-isolated because of age. When I saw his favorite meal was available for take-out through The Mayton Inn, I picked it up and delivered it to the front porch. I rang the doorbell so he would know the meal was there and then walked up the driveway to wave as he opened his door.

Flower Surprise: When Preston Flowers had to close, they offered customers a chance to pick-up bouquets from an outdoor bin. After leaving a donation for this delightful company that supports the community in so many ways, I picked out a big bouquet that I brought home to divide up before delivering to three sweet friends.

Little Free Library: After receiving a donation box of children’s books from Dog-Eared Books, we restocked the Little Free Library in our front yard with great books for kids. For added safety, we put a bottle hand sanitizer by the library. If you live in the Wake County area, Dog-Eared Books offers free delivery. Check out the selection of educational books that can add to your child’s homeschool experience.

Chalk Art: It’s been fun to add messages to sidewalks and trails. The “Keep Moving” piece was part of a Custom Fitness by Marie effort to add fitness inspiration along the White Oak Trail near my home. It’s been fun to take walks and see the messages neighbors are leaving on their driveways.

Neighborhood Bear Hunt: If you look carefully, there are bears popping up in the windows of homes to encourage children to go on a “bear hunt.” The idea for a social-distancing scavenger hunt comes from the book “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.”

Sheila Ogle, owner of Cary Pink House is running a contest now through April 17 encouraging families to post pictures of their bears. A drawing will be held and the winner gets a copy of “The Pink House” and a much-loved rainbow Care Bear.

Activate Good, Wake County Schools and other groups are sharing ways you can volunteer to make an impact. Many companies are sharing acts of kindness instead of ads. It’s truly a way to brighten the world. What are some things you are doing to help others?

The Loneliness of the Cross

As our world is feeling COVID-19 isolation and asked to pray the Lord’s Prayer, I wanted to continue working through Grandpa’s study on Easter sermons. The image with this blog is the cross stitch my Mom created in 1960 from Matthew 6: 9 – 13 and is hanging in our dining room.

Grandpa Whit’s message on the loneliness of the cross is drawn from Matthew 27:46,”My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” The words below are Grandpa’s and I haven’t changed anything except formatting.

Loneliness was an unlovely and a trying experience to which Jesus of Nazareth was not a stranger. It met him very early in his ministry and from then on seems to have come with frequency and severity. He had hardly gotten more than well launched in His career before members of His own family turned on Him.

Sometime later, His fellow townsmen of Nazareth followed suit. A little later on, we have the startling statement “From that time, many of His disciples went back and walked no more with him.”

As though hurt by their desertion, He turned to those who remained loyal and inquired, “Will you also go away?”  At the close, one of his own circle abandoned Him and betrayed Him into the hands of His enemies. When the soldiers came to arrest Him in the garden of Gethsemane, His closest friends with one accord forsook Him and fled. Then while on the cross – that crude instrument of torture, as thou the last vesture of strength, support was gone, in despair – He cried, “My God, My God, why hast though forsaken me?”

As all the evidence concerning His love reached the climax when he went to the cross, so there too as a climax to all, His discomforting experiences came that which was the most trying, that of being forsaken, of being left alone.

Of a truth, He had to tread the wine press alone unattended, unsupported. If one ever knew what loneliness was like, surely Jesus, while on the cross, became acquainted with that in the superlative degree.

Often a man is robbed and left half dead, all become incensed that the injured is left unattended to follow the culprits. We become highly indignant of those who left the master. While we have given little attention to the painful wounds and suffering which Jesus must have experience as a result of his loneliness.

Who did He have in mind when He used the pronouns You? Those who stood by were uncertain as to the person or persons to whom Jesus referred when He claimed He had been forsaken. Those at the cross were not agreed.

Who was the “you” in this most difficult passage? Some claim the “you” referred to those about the cross. It is hard enough when your enemies will have nothing to do with you. Still harder is it when those you assisted turn on you; still it pierced deeper when friends forsake you. Others claim He referred to God. He that spared not His own son, but delivered Him up for us all.

It is hard enough when some of your friends have turned away from you. But to know that you have been left absolutely alone will break the spirit of the most determined mind. Jesus hung there on the cross, a convicted and doomed man, with no one at all, not even God, who seemed to care about Him. It was enough to take the heart out of any man and cause Him to cry out in despair.

As long as man has God with Him, hope lives. Take God away and no true estimate can be given of his hopeless, helpless, situation.

There was darkness over the earth; the veil of the temple was torn asunder. All this added to that deeper darkness which enveloped His soul.

Upon the cross Jesus was making atonement for the sins of the world, “bearing our sins in his own body on the tree, for upon Him was laid the iniquity of us all.” He was closely identified with the race which He came to save, that he felt the burden of its sin, and cried as a representative of humanity, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

If Jesus was weighted down and all but crushed by the experience of loneliness when He hung upon the cross, what must be the degree of his anguish if we now forsake Him and leave Him alone?

Surely he has born our grief and carried our sorrows.

He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. The Lord has laid him the iniquity of us all. He has poured out his soul unto death. He was numbered with the transgressors. He bore the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors.

We shall ever wonder at the way in which the prophet so long before the days of the Lord in the flesh understood and revealed the inmost of our Christian faith. He brings us right into the presence of Calvary.

He grasps and portrays the one way of salvation through the transcendent sacrifice of God himself.  All of this helps us to understand that the cross is a timeless thing, that the lamb of God was slain from the beginning for us, and that how in other ages than our own that men could find a way through the precious blood of the lamb and that Christ can minister; in a way that we know not of.

To contemplate the gospel of the Old Testament, we are told that the sufferings have power in them to avail for the expiation of our sins. He shall justify many. He shall bear their iniquities. He shall see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied.

As long as man shall live, the cross which Isaiah places before us today shall represent to us the deepest facts upon which our redemption is built. It tells of eternal justice, for the Lord laid our transgressions on Him. There can be no love without justice. Otherwise, weakness. God must recognize and take an account of son.

His commandments are of his own righteousness. Righteous nature and he must enforce them. It is only a just God that we can trust. The cross will stand to us for eternal holiness. Surely sin must be a terrible thing to cause this infinitely affecting picture of the innocent, suffering, non-resisting servant brings to us as nothing else can the true depravity and degradation of sin.

When we think of the how the bearing of it racked him, when we think of Gethsemane’s cup and the awful cry from the cross and then realize it was for you and me, we can only cry out, “Lord be merciful unto me a sinner.” The cross will ever stand out as an emblem of love for us.

God commandeth his love to us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.

And when we reflect that it was for us that love incarnate bowed himself in all the bitterness of the passion, it cannot fail that answering love shall be awakened in us as deep answers unto deep.

I know no more exalted words in scripture than the prophet’s vision which for us has been born out in fact; “He shall see the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied.”

He suffered a passion that no man can ever appraise, and in the midst of it he was glad. The message of the cross has reached its height:

I know not how that Calvary’s cross

A world from sin could free;

I only know its matchless love

Has brought God’s love to me.

E. Stanley Dover – Christ and Human Suffering

A revelation of God – the cross. It tells as nothing else. What sin will do. It tells what God will do. Paul’s estimate of the cross. The power of God. The wisdom of God.

“At the Cross” is the song for this blog and comes from Hillsong. If you have recommendations of music for this blog, please add them in the comments section.

Grandpa Whit’s Easter Sermon Series

Looking for peace and comfort, I was drawn back to my Grandpa Whit’s sermon collection with an intention of updating a devotion I started. What a joy it was to discover a file marked “Easter.”

It is extraordinary to have this rich body of work to study at time when our world is in need of hope that all will be well and knowing that whatever approach you make to the life of Christ, there is a cross that says love is the most powerful thing in the world.

I plan to update the collection for blog posts to this website and include the completed series in the 2nd edition of “Grandpa’s Whit and Wisdom.”

“Look to the Cross” is the first sermon in Grandpa’s Easter series and is also among the shortest. I am guessing he drew a lot of his message from the worship music that day and didn’t write as much in his journal. Grandpa was urging the church to …

 “Seek the meaning of the cross. Seek Jesus for Jesus’ sake and you will find the eternal symbol of your faith, hope, love and salvation. Jesus accepted the cross that was meant for evil. And thus we will discover that we must share with him the burden in the redemption of our fellows was all the realm of nature.

Will you see him? If and when you do, you must exchange your easy cushion for the cross.”

In Grandpa’s journal he jotted the lyrics from hymns including “When I Survey the Wonderous Cross” by Issac Watts:

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

The next hymn must have been “In the Cross of Christ I Glory” written by John Bowring because Grandpa jotted this into his sermon notes.

In the cross of Christ I glory,
towering o’er the wrecks of time;
all the light of sacred story
gathers round its head sublime.

When the woes of life o’ertake me,
hopes deceive, and fears annoy,
never shall the cross forsake me.
Lo! it glows with peace and joy.

Searching online for resources, I came across this song, “Look to the Cross” by Hillsong London that captures the essence of Grandpa’s message. Take a moment to listen.

Let’s Get Ready for School

Let’s Get Ready for Kindergarten (English and Spanish)

Let’s Get Ready for First Grade

When it comes to children’s books, I have a little bias towards Stacey Kannerberg. She is a fellow Mom Congress delegate and friend who recently sent me her books to help stock the Little Free Library in our front yard. I wanted to do a book review because I believe Stacey’s book series gets kids ready to learn. I like the bright colors and style that reminds me a little of “The Magic School Bus” with characters who care about learning.

When I think back to when my children were in elementary school, there wasn’t a clear guideline on what to expect or how to help continue the learning at home. Stacey’s book offer that and include tips for parents as well as ideas of what you can expect your child to learn.

Stacey’s books offer an early learning series that is curriculum based and includes engaging story line. The bonus is the books are sturdy enough for kids to use over and over with dry erase markers.

About the author: Stacey Kannenberg is an author, publisher, motivator, consultant, spokesperson and known as the “Get Ready to Learn Mom.” Stacey is a nationally renowned education expert and co-author of the award winning Let’s Get Ready series. Stacy is the founder of Cedar Valley Publishing. To learn more visit www.cedarvalleypublishing.com or order books through Amazon.

The Badass Girl’s Guide: Uncommon Strategies to Outwit Predators

CJ Scarlet packed “The Badass Girl’s Guide: Uncommon Strategies to Outwit Predators” full of tips and resources to help prepare in the event you are attacked.

This is a book to be taken seriously. Read it and then share with others. CJ is a survivor. She found a way to move forward from a rape when she was in college to become an advocate and empower others who have been victimized.

“My hope is that The Badass Girl’s Guide will encourage women and girls to stand up for themselves, making them feel more confident and secure,” CJ said.

Make the time to watch the videos CJ created that demonstrate possible ways to defend yourself from an attack. This ones shows ways to use your arms for self-defense.

CJ sums up her advocacy effort by saying, “You ARE worth fighting for.”

If you are interested in learning more, the two best resources to check out are the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (www.nsvrc.org) and RAINN, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (www.rainn.org).

About the author: CJ Scarlet is the author of “Badass Parenting: Prepare Your Kid to Deal with Danger without Scaring the Hell Out of Them” (pub date June 2020), “The Badass Girl’s Guide: Uncommon Strategies to Outwit Predators,” and “Neptune’s Gift: Discovering Your Inner Ocean.”

The Badass Girl’s Guide, winner of the Eric Hoffer and Pinnacle Awards, and finalist for the International Book Awards and American Book Fest Best Book Awards in the self-help category, is THE definitive guide on how to stop living in fear of becoming a crime statistic. Learn more at www.cjscarlet.com

“The Stress Overload Solution”

Imagine waking up to discover life is wonderfully easy. This is the idea behind Laurel Mellin’s latest book “The Stress Overload Solution.” Mellin offers a 30-day approach to rewiring your brain and respond to stress in a way that promotes well-being.

Stress is defined as the difference between conscious expectations and unconscious expectations. It makes sense when I realize there are times I feel overwhelmed by a situation and can’t easily pinpoint why. Mellin refers to this as cognitive clutter and indicates that at times, we have can have a series of stressors that zap our joy.

Mellin’s books is fascinating study in healthcare that begins with the magic potions from 400 B.C. to the possibilities of Emotional Brain Training (EBT). Looking through some of the history, she tracks the Germ Theory that led to eliminating some infectious deaths that brought longer life and then chronic diseases.

Researchers began working on drugs to treat the chronic issues. In the wake of some of the treatments lie opiod addictions and deaths from adverse reactions to some medicine.

Mellin suggests a solution to better health and well-being may not come from a pill or a bottle. It could come from understanding the synaptic connections between neurons in the brain. There is a lot to the study of neurophysiology and with a 100 billion neurons – give or take a few – learning how each of these tiny nerve cells work with 10,000 synaptic connections could take a lifetime.

Fortunately, Mellin lays out the process for rewiring for joy through the following 5 Stress Solutions:

  1. Live for higher purpose.
  2. Enjoy natural pleasures.
  3. Choose healthy comforts.
  4. Give and receive love.
  5. Create safety from within.

The five solutions can be used to reset your lifestyle by exploring ways to have fun, learn new things and ways to reduce the physiological stress in life.

If you are ready to embark on a journey to rewire your brain, then Mellin’s Emotional Brain Training  (EBT) could be a great way to do just that. The end result will be to reap 7 rewards: sanctuary, authenticity, vibrancy, integrity, intimacy, spirituality, and freedom.

Learn more by reading the EBT Blog. You can purchase “The Stress Overload Solution” through Amazon .

About the Author:  Laurel Mellin, Ph.D., is a New York Times bestselling author; health psychologist; Associate Clinical Professor, School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco; and founder of the Emotional Brain Training (EBT) method. She is also the leader of the Brain Based Health Movement, mobilizing individuals, universities and corporations to access the natural pathway in the brain to rapidly get from stress to joy. She has been a faculty member at UCSF for more than 30 years, and her work has been featured on KQED public television, Oprah, Today, Good Morning America, and in U.S. News & World Report, Time, The Conversation, Psychology Today, and many more publications. Her method was named one of the “Top Ten Medical Advances of the Year” by Health magazine.

“Little Faith, Big God”

Like a stunning sunset over the ocean, our lives become a brighter reflection of Christ when we read the Bible and share God’s truth with others. Time with Debbie W. Wilson is like that. She has a way of lifting your spirit as she shares her faith and passion to inspire others to become biblical thinkers.

Long-time friends and Christ-followers gathered on Feb. 11 for Debbie W. Wilson’s launch of “Little Faith, Big God.” Debbie’s newest book is an 8-week Bible study on Hebrews that will become an encouragement for all who read it.

Throughout the book of Hebrews, we read how God calls on believers to live by faith. Debbie draws on this narrative to create “Little Faith, Big God,” a meaningful study that will be cherished by those who gather to learn how to grow their faith that for me feels as small as a mustard seed at times.

“Our hope rests in a loving God. Even though we can’t see his invisible hand or understand his plan. Like the wind, his goodness is evident to those with eyes of faith,” says Debbie.

Each week, we read a little deeper in the study to read about biblical men and women who were flawed and kept going. It’s encouragement that we can keep getting up and will finish strong.

Watch Debbie’s book trailer below and then pick up copies of “Little Faith, Big God” for your Bible study today at Quail Ridge Books and Barnes and Noble or online through Christianbook, Cokesbury, and Amazon.

“Little Faith, Big God” official book trailer.

About the Author: Debbie W. Wilson helps people discover relevant faith, drawing from her personal walk with Christ, twenty-four years as a Christian counselor, and decades as a Bible teacher. Debbie is an Advanced Writers and Speakers Association certified speaking and writing coach and the author of Little Women, Big God and Give Yourself a Break. In 1991, she and her husband founded Lighthouse Ministries, a Christian counseling and coaching ministry. For her, a good mystery, dark chocolate, and a laugh with her two poodles make a great day.

“The Pink House”

It should not come as a surprise that my first book review would be Sheila Ogle’s “The Pink House.” The charming home on S. Academy Street in downtown Cary is loved by so many people that it has become one of Cary’s Top 10 Places to Visit. Sheila’s charming home becomes the lead character in this book that tells a love story from the home’s perspective.

I couldn’t put the book down. It’s a fast-paced read that includes wonderful pictures and stories. My favorite story is about the top of the tower and how a minister would write his sermons in this room that has a view of downtown Cary. This special space has been a lovely location for children’s tea parties, most recently one of my darling granddaughters had the chance for a visit and to sit-a-spell as we imagined all those who had come before us.

Watch the video below filmed inside the Cary Pink House that features Darelyn (DJ) Mitsch who wrote a special memory about the home and won the contest to have her feature included in “The Pink House.”

Listen in as Darelyn (DJ) Mitsch talks about Cary Pink House and reads from Sheila Ogle’s “The Pink House.”

Curious to learn who built the home? Want to know the story from the height of grand parties to sheltering the homeless to how a love story brought The Pink House back to being a showcase home in Cary? You will just have to pick up a copy today from Ashworth Drugs , Everything’s Better Monogrammed or at an event.

Talking with Friends

I started FRS Communications as a way to make our world a better place. My focus is working with people and organizations who need a source for creating meaningful, engaging, and sustainable content that reaches and engages.

I also want 2020 to be my year to spend more time with friends who understand giving back to the community. This could look like volunteering with some great nonprofits in our community or helping friends who are taking a stand by running for office or even something as simple as taking a bag with me when I go for a walk to pick up trash along the way.

I hope we can meet for a cup of coffee or walk along the trails. Let me know your goals for the year and how I can help!