Ted Williams’ Story Reminds World of the Relevance of Fathers


Ted Williams, Radio Man, golden radio voice - Bum that became a star – Ted Williams

A homeless man with a golden voice has inspired the world to believe that dreams can come true.  Yet in the midst of all the fanfare, there are nine people who are still crying with a pain that no amount of money can heal.

These are the voices of Ted William’s children who lived for years with his repeated absence, abandonment and neglect.   Several of his children recently appeared with him on the Dr. Phil show, where polite diatribe was exchanged before, in a more private setting, tempers flared and a more truthful story was told.  Forgiveness is earned when a person sincerely asks for it, and proves by their actions that they have changed.

In the Absence of my Father, published by Emperor Publishing, these issues are explored with heartfelt emotion and sincerity. “When a father leaves his family, and engages in a repeated pattern of neglect and absence, it is in many ways even worse than never having had a father at all.”  Said Lena Arnold, author.

I was compelled to write this book,” said Lena, “after viewing a talk show where a guest made a statement that his child didn’t need him.  He was absolutely clueless to how important he was to that child’s life.   While watching Ted Williams’s response to his children’s tears, and hearing his statement, I sadly realized that he, too,  had been clueless.  Unfortunately, many men think if a child is left with a strong woman that is enough, but that is simply not the truth.”

Glenn Jeffrey, founder of Life Coaches for Kids believes that the most important issue underlying the majority of troubled kids is the voluntary abandonment of children by their fathers.  To that end, Lena, who has more than 20 years experience working with troubled youth, believes her book will help men to understand what happens when they aren’t around for evil, and when they are around for good.  The course of Lena Arnold’s own life was negatively impacted as a direct result of the absence of her father.

Ted Williams is finding out that whether physically, mentally, or emotionally, when a man fails to live up to his responsibility, everyone suffers.  Ah, but when he meets those obligations there are great rewards, not just for his family, but the world at large.

This book is distinctive in that it is the only book of poetry deals with male abandonment from purely a poetic perspective.” said Dr. Carolyn L. Gordon, PhD. Div.

“Its balanced treatments are written to encourage men that contrary to what messages the world has sent they are needed for our nourishment, are important to our growth, and valuable to our development.”

For more information, or to purchase the contact visit lenafieldsarnold@gmail.com. Available on Amazon or wherever books are sold.



Who is Your Real Employer? On the Job Leadership

leadership image
In a recent leadership course a classmate emphasized the value of mandatory self-evaluations and I agreed with their post, especially if we utilize those evaluations as a way to remind ourselves that our real employer is God.  If we all considered who we really work for, we would spend less time looking for appreciation and accolades from our employers and/or our peers.

“One of the greatest things that humans have is the need for recognition.” (LU Presentation 2015) I personally have spent way too much time in the past expecting my peers and employers to “recognize” me, but it wasn’t until I learned to value myself that true job satisfaction kicked in. Realizing who my real employer is was the first step on the road to personal growth.

Scripture encourages us that “Whenever we do work we should do that work as if unto the Lord, not as if we were working for man. For doing so we’ll be given an inheritance from the Lord.” (Colossians 3:23-24, NIV) When I began to apply this scripture, not only did I feel better about my work but I found that my co-workers and employers began to feel better about me.

The article “Transform Your Workplace: Do Well By Doing Good” (2007) stresses the importance of  personal growth as a means to obtain job satisfaction, referencing Dr. Metzger who stressed that taking care of yourself  includes: defining your personal path to growth, nourishing your spirit, cultivating relationships, fulfilling your purpose as a leader, and finding meaning as a person.  “In light of “doing well by doing good” Dr. Metzger found that, by learning to take care of yourself, you not only enhance your own work and life, you also enhance the lives of people you encounter on a daily basis.” (Marques and Dhiman intro para 6-7)

I can personally attest to the validity of the above words.  A few years ago I attended a workshop sponsored by Dr. Karen Townsend author of “It All Started When I Stopped Using Lotion: One Woman’s Journey from Chaos to Calm.”

In the workshop we learned how much our personal attitudes affect not only job satisfaction, but life satisfaction. Dr. Townsend reading from her book discussed how as a child she treated herself to bubble baths.  It was a calming luxury she engaged in “just for her.”  Then she grew up, got a job, got married, had kids and she forgot her “me” time.  She shared her understanding that only till she began to take care of herself that she could leave the realm of chaos to a place of calm.  This led to peace in her relationships and balance on her jobs. (September 2014)

As I applied her words to my life I no longer looked for affirmation from co-workers or managers.  My life wasn’t to be measured by their ideas of my worth. I first had to be valuable to myself, and that had to translate into understanding that I am valued by God.  We know from the readings that personality can influence job satisfaction (Robbins and Judge) and that negative people are usually not satisfied with their jobs and further, those with positive core self-evaluation are more satisfied with their jobs. (2009)  As I became a more positive person I began to experience increased job satisfaction

I encourage all who read this post to consider the question, “Who is your real boss?” Think about who you ultimately serve. Consider the words from Colossians that remind us we do not work for man, but rather for God.  In doing so we further fulfill the Gospel which encourages us to be peacekeepers (Matthew 5:9) and by meditating on these verses we can remain balanced in our workplace relationships and have peace on our jobs-being the leaders we were created to be.


Dr. Karen M.R. Townsend, Sister to Sister Empowerment Conference, (September 2014)

Townsend, K. (2011). It all started when I stopped using lotion: One woman’s journey from         chaos to calm. Dayton, Ohio: Queen V Publishing.

Marques, J., Dhiman, S., & King, R. (2007). Transform your workplace: Do well by doing good.  Business Renaissance Quarterly, 2(1), 15-27. Retrieved from  http://search.proquest.com/docview/212535967?accountid=12085

Robbins, S., & Judge, T. (2009). Chapter 3-Attitudes and Decision Making. In Organizational      Behavior (pp. 75-79). Upper Sadle, NJ: Prentice Hall.

(2015, July 1). Individual Behavior in the Organization: Individual Inputs and Outcomes in an     organizational Context. Online Presentation. Lecture conducted from Liberty University,  Lynchburg, VA.


How to Talk to Your Kids about Bullying

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Available on Amazon, CreateSpace, or anywhere books are sold. Buy it Now!

How to Talk To Your Child about Bullying

By Lena Fields-Arnold

It was 1970 something and while it wasn’t my first experience with bullying it was certainly my most memorable.

I was about nine years old and I was being bullied by a neighborhood boy and it was threatening to take an ugly turn. I raced home in search of my father who I knew would protect me from this bully, only to find the door locked and him looking at me from the other side of the door.

“You cannot come back in until you have stood up to the bully. Now go back and fight.”  That was when I learned he had been watching the whole time and also that there would be no rescue for me.  I was on my own.”

It sounds like my father was being cruel, but that’s how many parents taught you to stand up against bullies back then. For many years I thought he had made the right decision because over the years if I encountered a bully that’s just what I did.  Not only did I stand up for myself, but I often stepped in on behalf of others who were being bullied.

It wasn’t until I became a parent that I began to wonder if he’d really made the right call. Was there another way it could have been handled that didn’t require a litte girl fighting in the street with another boy?

See because here’s the thing. The bullying didn’t end with that fight.  Not only would we fight over and over again over a period of several years, but another neighborhood boy started in, followed by another and I found myself constantly fighting, and growing more angry with each encounter. One of the the three boys stopped when my mom discovered him trying to bully me and she chased him home with a broomstick to his backside. He never bothered me again.

I often wonder what might have happened had my father stepped in at that moment and did something similar. I can state for a fact, as a person who grew up fighting-A LOT-it’s no fun. It is a terrible feeling to go outside each day, never knowing if today will be the day you wind up in another fight.  There is no pleasure in spending your childhood wondering if the bullying will ever end.  Frankly, it’s kind of terrifying going through life believing that no adult will step in to help you and that you are on your own.

I know my father thought he was teaching me to be strong. I understand he believed he was helping me see that you had to take care of yourself because you can’t count on other people to be there for you.  I firmly believe that he believed it would be good for me.

I wonder though, if inadvertently he actually taught those boys that they could treat me badly because there would be no consequences for them? See because many, many, years later a neighborhood boy thought he could treat my daughter that way and he got a quick lesson from her parents that he most definitively COULD NOT! He made the wise choice to not come to our yard to play and to leave our daughter alone.

Our children will stand up for themselves when they need to, but they also know they have advocates who will be there to ensure that their childhoods are as stress free as possible.

It’s our job as parents to protect our children and parents, school staff, and other caring adults have a role to play in preventing bullying. StopBullying.GOV provides concrete advice to parents to help with bullying. Some advice includes talking to your kids and teaching them how to stand up safely, making sure they understand  what bulling is, and letting them know that help is available when they need it, especially when bullying is cycling past a safe point.

Your kids need to know you are there for them. My father and I never talked about what was happening in my life after that day.  He probably thought the bullying had ended.  It didn’t.  It just made me believe I was alone. Fortunately I was strong (physically, mentally, and emotionally) I come from strong stock, as the old folks used to say, but I feel bad for the kids who don’t have my physical strength, or emotional resiliency.  Those kids never fight back or can’t fight back.  They are constantly beaten, and they give up.  Some end up on drugs or commit suicide.  This is sad, because bullying is preventable and solvable.

As adults, we must openly discuss bullying and encourage kids to speak to a trusted adult if they are being bullied or see others being bullied. Like grandpa, we can offer comfort and support, as well as give helpful advice. We can help them solve the problem themselves, and we can step it when it spirals beyond the scope of their control.

In the Focus on the Family article “Back to School with Purpose,” the authors cite research telling us that children really do look to parents and caregivers for advice and help on tough decisions. The article offers concrete advice on how to start conversations with our children.  With regard to the specific topic of bullying some questions to ask are:

  • What does “bullying” mean to you?
  • Describe what kids who bully are like. Why do you think people bully?
  • Who are the adults you trust most when it comes to things like bullying?
  • Have you ever felt scared to go to school, outside, or to an event, because you were afraid of bullying? What ways have you tried to change it?
  • What do you think parents can do to help stop bullying?
  • Have you or your friends left other kids out on purpose? Do you think that was bullying? Why or why not?
  • What do you usually do when you see bullying going on?
  • Do you ever see kids at your school being bullied by other kids? How does it make you feel?
  • Have you ever tried to help someone who is being bullied? What happened? What would you do if it happens again?

Kids do need to stand up to bullies, and sometimes that may mean fighting them, but that should not be the first line of defense against a bully. Often the bullying will stop when a person stands up for themselves, but it’s not a guarantee the bullying will end. It ultimately stops when an adult gets involved and helps the young person deal with and manage the conflict in acceptable ways.

Research shows that “When adults respond quickly and consistently to bullying behavior, they send the message that it is not acceptable… this stops bullying behavior over time.” (E. 2015)

So let me tell you how my story ended. The scene in Jackie’s Way, where she was in Renaldo’s kitchen (not his name in real life) was real. That actually happened to me and it terrified me because that was the moment that I realized if something didn’t change one of us was going to be hurt really badly or wind up dead.

I made the conscious decision to try to figure out another way to deal with this conflict. I wish I could say I had a grandpa to ask. I didn’t.  I did however have faith.  I was raised to believe that there was a God who cared about our problems and who would step in and help if we asked. I can’t say it was a deep moment like I went to church and fell on my knees and saw a vision or something super spiritual like that.  No it was really a simple moment when I just whispered, “I need help.  Something has to change.”

The change began in me.

  1. The first thing I did was resolve to not put myself in a situation in harm’s way on his turf. I would no longer go to his house to play with his sisters. They would come to my house, or we’d play on neutral territory.
  2. I would no longer allow myself to be goaded into fights with him.
  3. I would ignore his taunts and not let them get to me internally.
  4. I would only defend myself if it became absolutely necessary.
  5. I would tell my broom wielding mom what was going on.

Result-bullying stopped.

Want to know what the most ironic thing was? This same bully later came to my defense in high school when someone said something out of line to me. How about that! Today that former bully is a preacher who teaches love, respect, and care for others.

As a parent, the most important thing you can do for your child when talking about bullying is to let them know they are not alone.

Bullying can be an incredibly isolating experience, and many victims feel that they are alone–that something about them, specifically, has brought this on. Explain to your child that bullying is something that can happen to anyone: boys, girls, preschoolers, high schoolers, kids’ at large schools and kids at small schools. This means there is a large group of people impacted by bullying, and if we all work together, we can certainly make a difference. (M. Deziel. 2013)



Back to School With Purpose. (2015, July 10). Retrieved August 02, 2017, from http://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/schooling/bullying/how-to-deal-with-bullying.aspx

Bullying. (n.d.). Retrieved August 02, 2017, from http://www.parents.com/kids/problems/bullying/


Deziel, M. (2013, October 07). How To Talk To Your Child About Bullying. Retrieved August 02, 2017, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/07/how-to-talk-to-your-child_0_n_3984511.html


  1. (2017). How to Talk About Bullying. Retrieved from https://www.stopbullying.gov/prevention/talking-about-it/index.html


Leadership Lessons I Learned from Peanuts-Charlie Brown

charlie brownIn my final installment of Leadership Lessons I learned from Peanuts I thought it only fitting that I end with Charlie Brown since of all the Peanuts characters he is without a doubt the real leader in the Peanuts universe despite his plethora of self doubts and self deprecating remarks.

I like the way Wikipedia describes Charlie Brown as “the central protagonist of the long-running comic strip     Peanuts … who is a “lovable loser…one of the great American archetypes and a popular and widely recognized cartoon character. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_Brown).  The site’s writer further states that “Charlie Brown is characterized as a person who frequently suffers, and as a result is usually nervous and lacks self-confidence. He shows both pessimistic and optimistic attitudes: on some days, he is reluctant to go out because his day might just be spoiled, but on others, he hopes for the best and tries as much as he can to accomplish things.”

The character’s creator, Charles M. Schulz, has said of the character that “[He] must be the one who suffers because he is a caricature of the average person. Most of us are much more acquainted with losing than winning.” Despite this, Charlie Brown does not always suffer, as he has experienced some happy moments and victories through the years, and he has sometimes uncharacteristically shown self-assertiveness despite his frequent nervousness. (Wikipedia 2017)

Yes, I did quote a lot from Wikipedia.  The reason being is that they did  such a great job describing Charlie Brown so, let’s keep it real, why rack my brain trying to figure out how to say it better. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_Brown)

I will only add that it is these very characteristics that actually make him a leader.  Perhaps one of the greatest leaders of all time.

John Maxwell, an experts on leadership describes the roles of the positional leader and the permissional leader.  The positional leader is appointed and his or her power only lies within the appointment. People follow them because they have to not because they want to.  Whereas a permission leader is one others willingly follow because they trust that person. (https://powermindscommunity.wordpress.com/2013/04/24/the-4-levels-of-leadership-john-c-maxwell/)


Virtually everyone on the Peanuts universe is a leader in their own right, and Charlie Brown leads all of them.

Think about it, despite how much the neighborhood kids might rag on Charlie Brown, every spring (dog included) they willingly follow him out to that baseball field.  They know they are going to lose, but they go anyway!  Go figure.  Charlie Brown may lose, but he is certainly not a loser.

Charlie Brown teaches us all the importance of seeking help when we need it and that he price of therapy is never too high-although I do question his choice of doctors.

charlie brown doctor

Nevertheless it cannot be argued that he is willing to see his faults and overcome them.  He looks out for his little sister, he protects those who are smaller, he fights for the underdog, and he is a hardworking, responsible kid.  He’s like the perfect boy you’d want your daughter to date.  If that little red haired girl knows what’s good for her she’d be getting her dibs in right now.


What I like about him is that he NEVER gives up right? Not on baseball, not on kicking that football, not on kite flying, and definitely not on winning the love of that little red haired girl. he openly acknowledges his low grade depression (and I use the word loosely because what Charlie Brown calls depression is really the stuff that gets all of us down from day to day isn’t it?) but he does not let it stop him from living.

He might go to sleep worried, but he wakes up ready to face another day! That’s what’s up Charlie Brown.  You taught me, and millions just like me the importance of tenacity. In the end he does kick the football (albeit only once), wins a baseball game, and actually gets the little red haired girl! You go Charlie Brown! You keep us all believing in ourselves.

Charlie-Brown with red haired girl

I Dreamed of Being White

by Lena Arnold

Last night I had a dream.

i have a dreamIt was nothing like Martin Luther King’s Dream.  Mine was more rooted in today’s current reality.  See because last night I dreamed I was white.  In this dream my family and I drove to the park via a rural township and we weren’t almost run off the road because the person driving in the truck with the giant tires and confederate flag noticed brown arms in the window.

In my dream I walked through life never being called a nigger.  My children were never called spic, wetback, or sand nigger because people couldn’t figure out their nationality so they just called them whatever they thought they were.

We were never told to “Go back to Africa, or Puerto Rico” or debated against when we tried to say “We’ve never been to Africa and we aren’t from Puerto Rico, but even if we were, why should it matter since your ancestors came here from someplace else and Puerto Rico is a US Colony.”  But in my dream I never had to argue against stupidity.

In my dream I never had to explain to my Darwinist believing friends that Darwinism by its very nature of being an “ism” is divisive and more importantly it is a pillar of racism because it supports the erroneous notion that man evolves to a higher order of man and at the top of this evolutionist food chain is the white male.  In my dream I was okay with that because I was now the one living at the top of this chain and as such I never had to:

  1. Fear being lost in a rural area and not breathing a sigh of relief until I saw at least one living face who looked like mine…
  2. Worry that in the blink of an eye my world could be turned upside down by one person saying, “I just saw a black guy with a gun…”
  3. Live with the constant uneasiness of sending my sons off to college wondering if they will make it back home alive…
  4. Struggle with the automatic anxiety that kicks in whenever a police car is behind me, wondering if I will be pulled over, and if I am, will this be the time…
  5. Panic and run when a police officer says “Stop” because the fight or flight mechanism has been encoded into my DNA from slavery, the Jim Crow era, and institutional racism…
  6. Be apprehensive about taking the medicine my white physician has just prescribed because of the routine practice of experimenting on my ancestors both recent and long ago…
  7. Watch the news BOLO bulletins and say, “please don’t be black, please don’t be black.”
  8. Wonder why the KKK is not labeled a terrorist organization and allowed to exist on American soil.

This dream was so liberating because in it I never had to check a box asking my race or ethnicity and when I did I could check white and I always got called in for the interview and even if I didn’t get the job I never had to wonder if it was because I was black.  My family could go on vacation and not be stared at like Zoo animals, with people thinking in their heads “An intact black family! OMG They do exist!”

In my dream OJ was guilty! Emphatically and automatically! G-U-I-L-T-Y!

This was not Martin’s dream and in it I did not care if little white boys and girls could play with little black boys and girls could play together. The mountaintop was all mine and I did not have to care whether or not other people made it up there with me.  I could say and believe that in America anyone could make it if they just “pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps,” and I didn’t have to care whether or not they even actually had boots.

I had the luxury of saying things like,

“Most people are not racist and I’m tired of hearing about it!”

“All lives matter!”

“What are these people angry about? That cop was afraid for his life even if the guy was running away, his back turned, and he had no weapon.”

“Well, black people kill more of each other than cops do.”

“I’m not racist.  I didn’t own a slave.  Why are you looking at me like it’s my fault?”

“My (one) black friend agrees with me and they said…”

silentOh to be able to ignore institutionalized racism and all its myriad complexities! (Contented Sigh!)

In my dream I could go anywhere and breathe free.  Walk where I wanted without fear of reprisal.  I could dream big! No matter how mediocre or evil I was I could be PRESIDENT!

Then I woke up!

Then I cried!

Then I rejoiced!

I rejoiced because God reminded me that I am not an accident.   My family and I are fearfully and wonderfully made in His image despite what some small minds think.  I was reminded that I am a member of a CHOSEN GENERATION, A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD, and A HOLY NATION.

God reminded me that evil does not escape His eye and He will punish evil and reward righteousness.  In the end, the only question that really remains is whether or not the non-oppressed parties will remain silent, or will they stand up for righteousness and fulfill Martin’s dream, for despite my dream, his really is the one ordained by God.






Leadership Lessons I Learned from Peanuts: Peppermint Patty

PEPPERMINT PATTY AND MARCIE-If there are two people in the world who have taught us the meaning of true sisterhood it is these two quirky girls.  I have heard many adulpeppermint patty and marciets today try to use their relationship to teach LGBTQ tolerance. While I don’t presume to speak for Charles Schultz, I am not sure that was his intent.  Rather I think in all his characters he was simply showing us a fundamental truth that the world is full of strange, quirky people-and these very quirks are things that makes life interesting.  I think his intent was to help us understand that we should not put people in boxes and decide for them who they are.  See, ‘cause on the surface Peppermint Patty was a tomboy, and Marcie was not “super feminine” in the classic sense but they both loved them some Charlie Brown didn’t they?

They weren’t ashamed of that and they often openly competed against each other for his unreturned affections that he appeared to be completely oblivious to. Despite this unrequited love, there was a confidence found in these two, that wasn’t found in any of the other girls in Peanuts.  I like the fact that Peppermint Patty was constantly worried about her looks (haven’t we all been there at one time or another?), while Marcie balanced Patty’s neurosis by never worrying about hers.  My favorite strip is when they were talking under a tree one day and Peppermint Patty asked Marcie if she thinks they will be pretty in the future.  (Forgive me if I am messing up the strip-it’s been a long time since I read it.) Marcie in a nutshell replies that in the future Patty is pretty and she is a supermodel.  That’s what I’m talking about Marcie! That is some straight up confidence right there.

My favorite thing about these two is that no matter what they stuck together.  They embodied the true spirit of the Best Friend FOREVER.  They said what was on their minds, they openly and honestly communicated with each other, they looked out for each other, and they accepted one another unconditionally-both leaders in their own right, yet faithfully following the other’s lead. Every Peppermint Patty needs a Marcie and every Marcie should have a Peppermint Patty-how much better life would be.



If you have a good BFF I encourage you to share this post with them and thank them for being a friend and accepting you with all your faults, frailties, and quirks.

Photo Credits: https://www.pinterest.com/jenner44/peppermint-patty/

Read more Lessons on Leadership I learned from Peanuts.

Happy Star Wars Day!

wallup.netToday is Star Wars Day.

Yes, by the very fact that I am writing this post I confirm I am a Star Wars Geek.

I own that.  I’m cool with it.

Initially I thought I was the only one, but over the years it has been confirmed-I am not alone.

I will never forget the first time I saw the movie.  Mind you, at 11 years old, I’d been to movies before, but this was different. This was magical! Majestic! Grand!

It was the first film to make me feel like I was there. I still get goosebumps thinking about those words scrolling up the screen into the black void, then seeing that starship creeping across the sky like it was right above me. It wasn’t 3D but it felt like it!

So in honor of Star Wars Day I want to acknowledge some of the coolest things I loved about Star Wars.

star wars

Awesome Intro’s-in bringing back the 21rst Century intro just before John Williams musical intro was BRILLIANT and totally set the stage for what was coming next.

A Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far, Far, Away-Move over tired fairy tale story introductions, you are played out.  When those words came on the screen George Lucas effectively dropped the mic when it came to setting the stage for the story to come.

Giant Words Scrolling Up  A Screen-Seriously, who would have ever thought that could be so exciting.  It’s a good thing most kids had 3rd grade reading skills back then, or you would have been messed up.  Sure words scrolling on a screen had been done before-BUT NOT LIKE THAT.

2nd mic drop in less than a minute.


landoLando Calrissian-As if the original cast of characters wasn’t enough, they had to go and cast one of the coolest black men to ever grace the screen and effectively make him the black version of Han Solo!  Do you understand how amazing that moment was for every black female on the planet?  I promise you, if I was the only black Star Wars fan before the Empire Strikes Back movie (and trust me I wasn’t) I knew I was no longer alone.  This was confirmed when my cousin and I went to see the movie THREE TIMES IN A ROW! FYI, I have since seen it several more times alone, with my BFF, hubby, kids, dog…You get the picture. It is rumored that Donald Glover is to play him in a standalone film. If so-WHAT!  Who the heck decided that? Certainly, no one asked me, my cousin, my BFF, or any other black woman on the planet.  Donald, you are a good actor and I like you, but no offense, you are no Billy Dee Williams.

A Bad Ass Space Princess in the form of Leia Organa.  Disney didn’t want to make a princess doll of you because you didn’t fit their image.  BOO Disney! Forget those other wimpy, whiny damsels in distress with their dainty skin and perfect hair. Give me that blaster shooting, smart mouthed, bad hair day having, tough cookie, who wasn’t afraid to get dirty and still get her man princess any day.  That’s a princess I can identify with.

Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Darth Vader-Get an A+ for having three of the eight coolest names in movie Dom-EVER!  If there were an academy award for coolest names in a movie these would definitely be nominated for best names possibly only losing to Indiana Jones, James Bond, Hannibal Lector, Lex Luthor, or Keyser Söze. Hmm, I just noticed four of my top eight are bad guys.  Bad guys have some cool names.

Characters, Plot, Visual Imagery, and Family Friendly-Star Wars has it all! I like the fact that the franchise has stayed true to being a movie the whole family can enjoy.  It is great to know that to this day I can take my kids to any Star Wars movie and don’t have to yell-CLOSE YOUR EYES QUICKLY.  Just wish I could say the same about those annoying previews.

A Hairy Walking Giant Dog-who can fly a spaceship, fight, shoot, and have people understand his grunts and gestures.  Hey, I’d be happy if my dog would just stay when I say stay!

Okay, I am going to stop right now because I could write all day about what makes Star Wars and all the subsequent movies AWESOME, but I will give other fan-atics a chance.  I’m sure they are all blogging their favorite memories as well.

So here’s to you George Lucas! Thank you for not giving up on your dream of bringing Star Wars to the big screen.  You brought excitement to the screen in a way no one had ever done before and I, along with millions of others appreciate that.  Thank you 21rst Century Fox.  Because of Star Wars we will forgive you for also owning Fox News. Thank you to the cast and crew of Star Wars, even to those of you who thought it was going to be a stupid, trite piece of celluloid because in spite of your feelings, you performed splendidly, a testament to your never ending professionalism.

Finally, thank you to all the fans-who keep the spirit of Star Wars alive allowing new generations to enjoy the A Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far, Far, Away.

Leadership Lessons I Learned from Princess Leia and Tanka Challenge

Non-Profit Salaries: Who Determines The Value of an Employee?

I have worked in non-profit since graduating from college.  It wasn’t so bad when I was in my 20’s. I had no kids, no mortgage, no car payment and was still living at home.  Working for peanuts then wasn’t that big of a deal.  I convinced myself that it was for a greater good and so the low pay was a trade-off for the good feeling I got from “giving back.”

That changed when I got screwed. I was promised a raise for all my hard work if a specific grant was received because of the extra work implementing it would entail.  When the funds were awarded I got the extra duties, but not the promised pay increase.  Since the additional monies were written into the grant I did not think it would be a problem, when six months into working on the project I inquired about the raise.  To my shock not only I was told there wasn’t money for a raise but that I was being greedy for even asking about it.  When I reminded my boss that the additional money for the raise was written into the grant I received the following response. “You shouldn’t be in non-profit if you are trying to make money. No one should expect to get rich working for a non-profit.”

RICH! I wasn’t trying to get rich!  I just wanted the organization to honor its word.  No I wasn’t expecting silver and gold, but is it too much to ask to be able to make a decent living.  My expenses were growing as well as my job duties.  Why was I being made to feel guilty about asking for the decent and fair wage I was promised?

FAST FORWARD 20+ years and a vast amount of experience later and I am still hearing the same stupid statements.  They usually come out of the mouths of Executive Directors (incidentally the highest paid members of the non-profit staff,) or board members who can’t imagine a non-profit staff member earning as much as they do.

Who the (expletive in my head not typed ’cause I don’t want to offend any one-feel free to add your own though) made up this stupid rule?

When asked about their greatest staff retention challenges, the top two issues cited were “inability to pay competitively” (27 percent) and “inability to promote” (20 percent). Unfortunately, the use of the word “inability” only reinforces the impression that this is how the sector must operate. Organizations do have a choice in whether they prioritize staffing and retention, and ignoring these issues is already costing nonprofits money and impact.-ALLISON GAUSS 2016

Low salaries made sense in the early days when non-profits were founded by small religious groups who worked as the staff, or wives of wealthy tycoons.  As these organizations grew they had to hire staff to tend to the day to day affairs.  These days many non-profits are as large as big corporations and take in as much money.  They require more and more educated staff in order to operate, yet organizations still insist on dealing with human resources as if it is 1903.

Gauss also states that “The sector cannot attract and retain the talent it needs to solve huge social problems without investing in nonprofit salaries.” She references major league baseball teams who are willing to pay their standout talent millions of dollars in order to retain the best of the best.  They understand that the investment they make will reap them even greater rewards.

“BUT LENA-WE CAN’T PAY MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO ONE EMPLOYEE.” I hear an Executive Director screaming.

Nor am I suggesting you should, but I am saying that by not investing in non-profit talent burnout is created, many of the best and brightest leave the non-profit world, or forego it altogether. As a result, you are losing out on major talent that can actually help your organization grow. It’s so bad that many adults are warning young people to avoid non-profit work altogether.


Maybe. Maybe not.  Most likely not.  Your donors work for a living.  They understand far more than they are given credit for.  CEO’s who run companies understand the importance of recruiting and retaining talent and the importance a good employee can bring to a bottom line.


Yes, you do.  1) You make people’s lives better. 2) You are selling yourself.  You are the product.  If the product is good people will buy it. But only if you have the right people in place to sell it.  Why are you not willing to pay the price to get the right “sales”people on your team?

I’m not the only one who thinks this.  More and more people are starting to rethink this whole “non profit employees should not worry about salary thing…”  That’s some straight up shiggity BS!  Don’t believe me.  Check out all the links below.

I love how Vu Le (“voo lay”) puts it down about this subject.  Vu Le is a writer, speaker, and Executive Director of Rainier Valley Corps, a nonprofit in Seattle with the mission of developing and supporting leaders of color. In his article for the blog Non-Profit With Balls, he states “…society has the wacky and damaging notion that nonprofit staff should martyr ourselves. It’s perfectly OK for celebrities, athletes, and CEOs of companies producing soft drinks or gory video games or yoga pants to be paid millions, but God forbid anyone pay a nonprofit professional 100K to help end homelessness or cancer or whatever…Our field loses too many talented staff because we are mired in this mentality of scrappiness

RIGHT! Well said Vu Le.

JONATHAN TIMM’s in his article for the Atlantic acknowledges the challenges that non-profits face with regard to funding their organizations, while at the same time confronting the notion that these challenges are an excuse to low ball employees in the area of wages.  In his article Timm’s cites  Stuart Mitchell, the CEO of a human-services nonprofit called PathStone, who wrote that “paying a livable wage is the right thing to do not only for our deeply committed employees, but also for the participants that rely on our services.”  He ends his article with this statement from the representatives of 150 social-justice organizations who, signed a letter in support of former President Obama’s overtime rules writing, “It is time to revisit the idea that working for the public good should somehow mean requiring the lowest-paid among us to support these efforts by working long hours, many of which are unpaid.

I have way more to say on this subject, but not enough time.  I will say that the smart non-profits.  The ones that really want to be competitive in the 21st century will be the ones that are willing to challenge this notion that their employees should not be paid a competitive wage in line with public and private sector wages. Non-profit employees work as hard, and in many cases harder than their for-profit counterparts.They deserve to be adequately compensated for their work.  They fight for good causes everyday.  It’s time someone fought for them.


Low Nonprofit Salaries Are Costing You Money. (n.d.). Retrieved March 04, 2017, from https://www.classy.org/blog/low-nonprofit-salaries-costing-you-money/

Transgender Boys Wins Texas State Title: the Right and Wrong of It

“Mack Beggs identifies as a boy, but his birth certificate says he’s a girl. In Texas’ University Interscholastic League, that means that the high school wrestler can only compete against girls, even though he takes testosterone as part of his transition.”-Chuck Schilken, Contact Reporter, Los Angeles Times

The article further states that Mack won the state title with a 56-0 record for the year.  Some of the wins by forfeit because some competitors refused to wrestle against her; not because she identifies as a boy, but because she takes testosterone supplements which they feel give her an unfair advantage because as the physician quoted in the article stated the treatments “are in the same family and have the effect of increasing muscle mass and strength gains.” (Mines 2017)

In light of MMA fighter Fallon Fox routinely crushing her opponents before revealing a sex change operation, and giving one of her opponents a concussion and a broken eye socket; their fears may not be unfounded.

Here is where the league/district got it wrong.

In an effort to be fair to one student, they were unfair to the rest of the students. The article states that Mack’s use of testosterone were “well below the allowed level,” according to the Washington Post. Did the other students competing against Mack know there was an “allowable level” and were they given the opportunity to take that “allowable level” if they so desired?  Is the district opening themselves up to reverse discrimination lawsuits as a result?

According to the article the reason Mack did not compete against the boys was because the rules expressly state that one must compete according to the gender listed on their birth certificate.

Here is where the district league got it right.

To eliminate all the confusion over gender issues they keep things simple.  If your birth certificate says boy.  Then you compete with the boys.  If it says girl, then you compete as a girl.  I don’t know much about how that all works once the change is complete, but I believe once a complete sex change has taken place, meaning all subsequent operations have been performed, then the person undergoing the procedure can legally have their name and gender changed.  If you want to certify this, I suggest you consult with an attorney or conduct further research on your own.

School officials have it tough today.  The rules were simple 50, 30, even 20 years ago. Not so today. Therefore we should have some compassion for the people who have to sort through all this stuff and make decisions on complex issues.  Sometimes the best way to do that is to keep it simple.

Here’s where the parents got it wrong

I wonder about the wisdom of allowing any young person under the age of 21 making  major, life altering decisions at critical junctures of human development such as adolescence. I don’t know the personal details of this family, but I hope that counseling and mental health services are being taken advantage of to ensure that this is the best option for this young person.  There is and will always be debate on whether or not LBGT’s are born that way or made as a result of some life altering occurrence, but no one can argue that the decision to become transgendered in preparation for a complete sex change is not something to be taken lightly, and I’m not comfortable with allowing a young person under the age of 18 to begin this process. We have laws designed to prevent young people from underage drinking that were set up to protect them from becoming alcoholics.  Why do we not do the same for life altering procedures?

Here is where the parents got it right

Parenting is a tough job.  Sure books on parenting abound, but there is no book to teach you how to raise YOUR child.  I may not agree with how these parents are handling this situation, but I applaud them for trying to be supportive of something they may find frightening and difficult to understand.  These are uncharted waters for them as well so it may be they have no clue what to do or how to handle it.  I know what I think I would do, but then, it’s not my child. Obviously these parents love their child unconditionally and in a world that won’t, isn’t that one of the most fundamental jobs of parents?

Here’s where the crowd got it wrong

You don’t boo young people. Unless the person is exhibiting crass behavior, acting a complete fool, or being totally disrespectful, adults should not be booing young people who have achieved a well earned victory.  We may not like how Mack won, but by all accounts this young person attempted to follow the rules set by the adults.  Now that the adults see the outcome, they should set about working together to make the future fair for everyone. Some are attempting to do that with a lawsuit that states she should either be able to compete against the boys or “prevent him from taking part the girls’ postseason competition…“I don’t know if that is the proper solution.  By forcing her to compete against the boys I wonder what Pandora’s box will be opened as a result.  We have already witnessed the potential for carnage of allowing a former male to compete against females in the MMA. Neither do I think a person who works hard should be denied their right to compete.  Might a better option be to prohibit the use of the testosterone during the sports season?

As a person of color, I have experienced first hand the inequities of sports.  Our sports teams were routinely cheated against by unfair, corrupt, and racist officials and we were hurt and angered by the injustice.  Our coaches taught us to work harder and pushed us further because they knew the only way we could beat that unjust system was to be better.  As a result, our teams won back to back state titles in basketball and football; and were consistently  ranked amongst the top in our league.

For those female competitors this unfair competition sucks!  I get that. I’ve lived it. I encourage you to work harder.  Find your advantage and overcome this obstacle.  To Mack, growing up is tough.  There isn’t  person on the planet who hasn’t struggled in some way with finding their personal identity.  I pray that God will guide you to His place of peace.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but here’s what I know.

God desires to walk with us during our struggles.  If we allow God to be the center of our universe, He will guide us through every problem we face. Whether it is gender identity, or unfair competition we should seek the face of the one who made us and ask Him to help us, to guide us and our decisions, and help us to make sense of a world that sometimes seems to make no sense.