Lessons from Lucy

Live & Learn

dave barry

I turned 70 in the same year that my dog, Lucy, turned 10—or, in dog years, 70. So we’re basically at the same stage of life, namely, Getting Old.

Lucy is handling it a lot better than I am.

I’m not complaining: I’ve had a good life, and I’m content. But Lucy is more than content: She’s happy, often exuberantly happy, constantly finding excitement and joy in everyday events. It occurred to me that maybe I could learn some life lessons from her—that I could find more happiness in my own life by doing the things Lucy does, except of course for drinking from the toilet.

One thing Lucy does is love people. She is extremely friendly. Even though, as a puppy, she was abandoned to the streets, where she probably had some unpleasant experiences, she shows no fear of strangers, human or canine. She is determined to shower love…

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Why My Babies Rarely Cried

Lena Arnold

I am prompted to write this post with a link to the article below in the hopes that it will bring comfort to a mom who may need to do things different from what the “experts” say.

Many years ago as a new mom I was desperate to get some sleep.  My oldest could be sound asleep, until you tried to put her in her own bed.  She was having none of that.  All the “experts” said she should be sleeping in her own bed and had all kinds of ideas about how to make that happen, including letting them cry.

I tried that-for 30 minutes!

I couldn’t bear it.

I thought it was cruel.

Here is this little baby, brand new to the world.  She couldn’t speak, so the only way to communicate her hunger, her fear, her anxiety was to cry.  She needed me.  And after 16 years of infertility-in essence being apart from my baby through the disease of endometriosis-I wasn’t about to leave her alone.

Screw the experts!  If my baby needed me to help her sleep she was gonna get it.

I bought a shallow, small, soft basket that I kept on my bed, and after rocking her to sleep in the chair I gently transferred her to the basket and drew it as close to me as I could. This kept me from rolling on her but made it easy to breastfeed the moment she cried.  She was close to me. She was safe. She was happy. During the day, when my babies cried I picked them up and held them close-EVERY TIME.

People said I would “spoil them.”  I said, “they’re babies not fruit.”

Who knew, I was raising them the way my ancestors would have and the way most Africans still do.  Babies are kept close-all the time.  Their every need is met immediately, and as a result they rarely cry. (Click link below to read full article)

This whole concept of babies sleeping in their own rooms alone is modern.

Image: http://www.pixolo.it/2012/07/tenerissime-immagini-cuccioli-cane-alta-risoluzione/

Our oldest slept in our room till she was two, then shared a room with her siblings till she was seven.

So to you new moms. Expert advice is okay, but remember your child is YOUR child.  At the end of the day you are the best expert on what is right for your kid.  If your kid wants to be held constantly, wrap them up like the Africans do and keep them close.  It’s hard, but this is a short blip on the screen of life.  It will pass and one day they will be teenagers who will run when you try to kiss them goodbye.

Enjoy the moment while you still can.

Why African Babies Don’t Cry:

An African Perspective

by Claire Niala


One of the Most Beautiful Stories I Have Ever Read

This is a beautiful, heartwarming, and well written piece of journalism I have read in a long time.  I encourage you to read the full story by clicking the link below.




My Friend Kim-Tribute to Kimberly Jo Brodnax Winters

My Friend Kim

By Lena Arnold


I’m just gonna say what many of you are thinking.

Kimberly Jo Brodnax-Winters aka Kim got on my last nerves!

She was stubborn.

She was a know it all. You couldn’t tell her anything.

She NEVER listened!

She was always right. Even when she was wrong.


She was ALWAYS trying to manipulate me into doing her bidding, which was often the primary source of our falling outs and disagreements over the years.  In fact, we were in the middle of one when she died and I’m mad at her for dying before I could prove to her that I was right.

Yeah, Kim drove me nuts!

But she was my friend and I loved her.

I’m going to miss our phone calls.

I’ll even miss our fights because for all her faults and frailties she was a good person.  She loved to fight on behalf of those who were hurt and abused because she knew what it felt like to be hurt and abused.

She cared about kids and would do just about anything for a young person. She sacrificed and gave up a lot of herself to work on behalf of the downtrodden and I can’t think of a single person besides Kim who would have the courage and the nerve to minister to prostitutes on her own time, her own dime, and without police protection. You know it’s bad when the police find out and say “We need to get this woman some help before she gets killed.” And they helped her.

I can’t count the number of programs Kim has created an implemented over the years, or the number of those she roped me into helping her with.  Probably just equal to the number of lawsuits she’s filed over the same number of years.  Kim was a fighter.  Whether it was fighting for justice or fighting for the life of a child she would do it.  Having one leg didn’t stop her either.  Sure it may have slowed her down, but she always found a way to get things she wanted done.

This is going to sound like a set up for a joke, but I promise you it’s not. Kim was a one legged, blind, obese woman and wrote a book okay.  Yeah she needed help-but she got it done!  What’s your excuse for not achieving your dreams?

Over the years we talked about writing a sitcom based on her life, because she was always calling and telling me about some crazy thing that happened to her.  Things that never happened to other people.  Like how does a blind woman in wheelchair almost get arrested for passing counterfeit money? Or get tossed in jail for having “too much money” after being pulled over for an expired tag, while she way on the way to the DMV. Well actually, I know the answer to that question-Kim’s mouth.  LOL. She wouldn’t stop getting smart with the police officer so he arrested her just because he could.  And no one else but Kim could almost find themselves in a run in with the KKK after a routine gas stop.  That’s a long scary, but hilarious story; and it could only happen to Kim.

I will truly miss sharing our day and hearing her incredibly crazy stories.

Yes, Kim drove me bananas, and I imagine right about now she’s driving God bananas as well.  I can see her trying to tell Him how to run heaven and that he needs more orange up in the place.  Her mansion is probably decorated in coke motif, with orange leather furniture and African artwork, iguanas and snakes, all over the place-and kids are everywhere!  She’s surrounded by them, cooking for them, planning heavenly activities for them.

I look forward to seeing her in heaven one day, although I probably won’t recognize her because she’ll be in her new body.  She will have achieved that level of perfection she was never able to attain here on earth and she’ll be happy.

I hate that I am not able to attend her funeral having used up all my time for the year, and since friends are not considered “family” I can’t claim funeral leave.  Which is unfortunate because there are friends who are closer to us than our own family and it’s not fair that they don’t count.

So here’s to you my friend.  My final words that you never got hear, but I believe God will share them with you.

You cheated death so many times that the reality of me not being able to call you anymore has just kicked in and I am really, really sad. I type these final words through blurred vision.

You do count Kim.

You do matter.

I love you.

I will miss you my friend and I will never forget you.

Kim with her boys that she loved dearly and wished the best for.

Join Lena Live on the Evening Experience April 4, 6:30 PM

Evening Experience

Are you available  on, Thursday,  April 4th at 6:30PM  EST?   If so please tune into The Evening Experience-a digital talk radio show with over 1.5 Millon listeners!  I’ll be live with host on the air talking about poetry and reading from my books.  I hope you’ll join us. Lena
IG: @theveningexperience

Combating the Home Schooling Myths

Lena Arnold- March 13,2019

Combating Home Schooling Myths

So I was having a great conversation with a colleague and the topic of homeschooling came up.  Somehow that led to her making a comment about homeschoolers and vaccinations. Apparently, as I was informed, vaccinations and homeschooling were somehow synonymous in the minds of many. By synonymous I mean the thought that all people who homeschool are anti-vaccinations.

Once again homeschooling parents have been pre-judged in the minds of many as kooky, anti-government, anti-vaccine, religious, hippie nuts. Even my colleague, as I learned was in this camp.

I gotta tell you, I was a little hurt.

I like to think of myself as a pretty intelligent, fairly open mined conservative who respects government.  I’m good at my job, and while I do work in radio-I hope I’m not perceived as kooky.

“Actually, that is a myth,” I said.

“Huh?” She responded.

“That’s a widely, and non factually reported myth that parents who homeschool don’t believe in vaccinations.”

“It is.  I just thought…”

“As one of the founders of a local homeschool network I can tell you that virtually every child in our group was vaccinated against most of the major diseases-at least the ones that can kill you.”

I went on to tell her, that of the two who weren’t vaccinated it was only because they had health issues and the parents had decided to wait until those issues were resolved before embarking on full scale vaccinations that could negatively impact their issues.

Some parents had elected not to vaccine for chicken pox, preferring to allow the illness believing that going through it would strengthen their immune system, and others had insisted the doctors give one shot at a time-over time, rather than multiple vaccines at the same time.  But for the most part all the kids were vaccinated.

Other groups report the same thing.  While some parents elect not to vaccinate, and some only vaccinate for the major diseases-most still believe that they do more good than harm.

Probably the only difference between homeschool parents and non-homeschool parents are two things.

  1. Home school parents respect those families who chose not to vaccinate their kids. They don’t pressure them or try to shame them into vaccinations. They don’t shun them, and they don’t exclude their children from play groups.  They respect the importance of parents having the right to decide what is best for their child and they resent government and medical attempts to override parental authority. Contrary to media hype, most parents (homeschool and increasingly non homeschool alike) don’t buy into the myth that un-vaccinated kids are a threat to society.

2.  Homeschool parents are more likely to reject new, unproven, and unnecessary                  vaccines such as the HPV vaccine.  Most parents (including many non-homeschool)              parents reject the notion that children who are not yet sexually active need to be                protected from an STD.

There are so many more myths associated with homeschooling, but since extensive and well-written articles on that have already been penned, I will simply provide links to many of those articles below and I truly hope if you are here you will read them.

While there certainly are people who homeschool for nefarious reasons, the vast majority of Home school parents are quite altruistic in their reasons for electing to educate at home.  Every person in our group had a different reason for doing so, but we all wanted what was best for our children.  We are intelligent, rational people. Our kids are not socially inept. We come from all walks of life and socio-economic backgrounds. We all have one common goal-to educate our children.

Please read the following articles to help combat common homeschooling myths.

9 Biggest Myths About Homeschooling | Connections Academy


Top Myths About Homeschooling – Calvert Education

https://www.calverteducation.com › Homeschool Topics


30 Common Misconceptions About Homeschoolers and Homeschooling


Debunk Myths About Homeschooling | The Truth About Home School

https://www.homeschoolacademy.com › … › Homeschooling 101


Debunking homeschooling myths – Montgomery Advertiser


Five Myths About Families That Homeschool | HuffPost


The 5 Biggest Myths About Home Schooling – Scary Mommy


20 Homeschooling Myths, Debunked | Moms – Moms.com


The 5 Most Common Homeschool Myths, Busted – Babble


“Your kids will be anti-social” and all the other myths I believed about homeschool families… until we were one.

The Top Five Misconceptions About Homeschooling – FamilyEducation


The root of many misconceptions about homeschooling is simply a lack of information about homeschooling.


Happy President’s Day

white house

The White House

Your door is shut against my tightened face,

I am sharp as steel with discontent;

Yet I possess the courage and the grace

To bear my anger proudly and unbent.

The pavement slabs burn loose beneath my feet,

A chafing savage, down the decent street;

And passion rends my vitals as I pass,

Where boldly shines your shuttered door of glass,

Oh, I must search for wisdom every hour,

Deep in my wrathful bosom sore and raw,

And find in it the superhuman power

To hold me to the letter of your law!

Oh, I must keep my heart inviolate

Against the potent poison of your hate.

Claude McKay (1890-1948)

obama family

The White House

Your door is open wide to my ecstatic face,

I am happy as a lark with great content;

I embody the spirit of courage and grace

To bear my newfound crosses without repent.

The pavement slabs welcome my shod feet,

A cool water flows on the burning hot street;

And restrained passion fills my heart as I laugh,

To see your open doors of wood and glass,

Oh, and I will pray for wisdom every hour,

Where deep in my grateful bosom to God I call,

And find in it the superhuman power

To revise the letter of the law!

Oh, I must keep my heart in constant grace

If I am to win this race.

Lena Arnold (1966-)

Penned upon the Day Barack Obama won the Presidential Election


November 4, 2008

I cry today for things endured

For brave battles fought

And for victories yet unsecured

For conquests hard won

I weep now for the women like me

Discarded and placed

On the bottom of the heap

I weep today for those

Full of sorrows

And for those who

Never believed

In better tomorrow’s

And though there are battles

Still to be fought

And wars from which

We’ve yet to prevail

I still weep

Because today I see

With my own eyes

What I never thought I’d see

A man in the White House

Who looks like me

by Lena Arnold

NOTE: These poems are not intended to be political or to confirm nor disavow my personal political affiliations. Rather they are intended to be inspirational and encourage us all to remember that God does not care about color, or race, but that He does care about each of us personally.  Barack Obama being elected is a constant reminder that there is still hope for our country and stands as a testament that perhaps we are not as divided as those who spew hate would like us to believe.  Because now, people of color can truly proclaim the words Happy Presidents Day! God bless you all today.-Lena