Jesus and Segregated, Unequal Schools in Mississippi

Jesus and Segregated, Unequal Schools in Mississippi

I awoke this morning deflated, discouraged and disgusted. Why are things so hard in this state sometimes? How can all of these “Christians” continue to believe that God wants their kids to prosper and the other kids to suffer? I know Jesus too, and he said it was OUR DUTY AS CHRISTIANS to love the poor and serve the needy without judgement or condition. My God isn’t selfish, elite or manipulative. He doesn’t serve himself and those in his household only.

Luke 14:13 says “But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind.” The feast in Mississippi yesterday was education, and we just invited the privileged and the elite. We ignored those stuck in a cycle of generational poverty because I guess God doesn’t command us to fool with them in our state.

Mathew 9:36 says “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

70% of students in Mississippi are helpless. It isn’t their fault that they were given a bad start to life, that their mom/grandmaw/cousin/foster family don’t have the background to help them with their homework. Here is this great state, we have compassion for ourselves. That was proven last night.

Talk about picking and choosing – we should not abort these precious lives, but we definitely shouldn’t educate them either. Oh the irony!

Charter Schools – Tate Reeves and Friends Corrupt Solution to Education in Mississippi

Charter Schools – Tate Reeves and Friends Corrupt Solution to Education in Mississippi

For all of the education experts out there who think they know everything about education because they were once a student, pray tell who is going to work at your charter schools that will take the place of public education in Mississippi? We can barely get teachers in most districts, and you think that people are going to work with no insurance, even lower pay and things are going to get better? Do you know what a charter school is? Are you familiar with their failures?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2014/05/20/a-dozen-problems-with-charter-schools/
Do you know that they are currently failing in New Orleans?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2014/05/20/a-dozen-problems-with-charter-schools/
You close down public schools, you close down your town. Charter Schools are a way to continue the “Separate But Unequal” fake equality that has existed since the 60’s.

How a “hippy” church in Kansas changed my outlook on the world.

How a “hippy” church in Kansas changed my outlook on the world.

I have mostly always liked politics – or at least the competitive aspect. I remember having a mock election in the third grade, and I made a poster for George Bush. Someone made one for Michael Dukakis and my friend Katie made one for Jessie Jackson. I was competitive even in the 3rd grade, and I was passionate about my candidate winning the school mock election. My candidate didn’t win the mock election. Dukakis did, and I was furious. I don’t believe I knew anything about politics, but I knew that I didn’t like losing. (Bush won the actual election, so it wasn’t a total loss.)

As I stated in my first blog on being a democrat, I had a very traditional, First Baptist Church, conservative, southern start to life. I didn’t really follow politics in junior high/high school, and I didn’t identify with a party. I don’t think I really had an interest again in politics until I went to college. The summer of my junior year at Mississippi State, I interned in Washington D.C. for Senator Thad Cochran, Republican. Living a mile away from the Capitol of the United States was intoxicating. Socializing with other interns who were all leaders at their colleges back home was new and different and fun! I spent a lot of time getting to know all of the interns from Ole Miss. Most all of them were rich, connected and Republican. One person who I really liked talking to was this guy named Nic Lott. He was the first ever African American student body president at the University of Mississippi – the school where they didn’t let black people go until 1962 when JFK sent in 20,000 troops and people yelled hateful, awful things towards him. Lott and I discussed the confederate flag, the real one not the state flag, which they still had waved at football games then. We talked about several racial issues – he was really a cool guy and he wasn’t lazy or on welfare. This guy was smart, easy to talk to and he was a Republican. At that time, he was likely referred to by some black people in Mississippi as an “Uncle Tom”, a term that means he is subservient to white people, a term used during slavery. Outside of the South, people don’t understand why some black people don’t like black people who hang out with whites. Actually, in the majority of the world black people, white people, Asians – people don’t really care. We are not still in the 60’s, right? I will get to that later.

While I was interning, I was very judgmental of the President at that time – Bill Clinton. His inappropriate “relations” with Monica Lewinsky were fresh on everyone’s mind. How dare he break his marital vows and commit such heinous, sinful acts! Our leader was a sinner, and I didn’t like that. Back then, I didn’t realize that even the President falls short and makes mistakes. At the end of the day, Pres. Clinton was and is still an imperfect person like everyone else.

I campaigned for George W. Bush at Mississippi State my senior year. I liked him, and I still do today. He is a personable, funny guy with lots of interesting vocabulary words. I admire his ability to beat an addiction to alcohol and his commitment to his wife, Laura – a lady who I also admire and respect.

I was a firm supporter of McCain and Palin – and I am willing to admit that the support of Palin was not a choice I am proud of today. I was blinded by her being a woman in politics – an attractive, personable, folksy Alaskan. I liked her books, and I was impressed by her strength – raising a special needs child in addition to many other children, balancing a career while maintaining a marriage. I liked that she was a hunter and wasn’t afraid of a rifle. Guns have always intimidated me. Needless to say, the admiration of Sarah Palin ship has sailed. There are so many clips and things she has done that make the world laugh at the Republican party. People like her encourage people in the middle to vote Democrat – which isn’t a bad thing to me now.

I really never liked going to church growing up. The only thing that was fun was youth group. Going to the First Baptist Church they always talked about how God was calling you to do such and such. God must not have had my phone number. We always had to dress up really nice for church because God said we had to – we do what he says because if we don’t we are going to go to hell where it is always hot and on fire. My parents got a divorce when I was 6, and we moved to West Point. As a young person in West Point, I felt like the majority of people at our church were more worried about the Sunday morning show more than anything else. It felt ice cold, and people really didn’t do anything but dress up real nice on Sunday and then go eat lunch at the very expensive country club that only the rich people went to back then. It all seemed fake, but I was a kid and I just kept it to myself. At our church there were a handful of Democrats who were nice, but people called them eccentric. After marriage, I moved to the Mississippi Delta and began attending church there. Those years were the worst of my life. Church was even worse there than in West Point. The racism in the Delta is astounding. The black people hate the white people, and the white people pretend the black people just don’t exist as they drive their $80,000 suburbans to their million dollar homes after attending church. White people there hate them back – heck, white people in the Delta don’t even like the white people who grew up on the other side of the state because they are considered rednecks. You can’t understand it unless you have lived there. 

In 2006 my husband at the time and myself decided to move to Kansas. I had strong views against private school – especially in the Delta where, at that time, tuition at the K-12 private there was higher than going to Mississippi State. I wanted to live somewhere safe, and I wanted a place where my son could go to public school. I wanted to live where hope for the future existed.

Over the past decade, my views on the world have certainly changed a lot. I feel like I have become a more compassionate, less judgmental, flawed person. I used to want to get people back who had wronged me, and I was unable to forgive. Growing up, money was so important to me. I thought if I had a lot of it, I would be happy. All rich people are. Lord, I was naive.

One of my first tasks in Kansas was to find a church home. I picked what has become super popular in my generation – one of those big evangelical churches where you sing and have a praise band and feel God calling you. Again, God didn’t have my number. I asked our pastor his views on homosexuality, an issue that I do not believe is an abomination. He had a great reply! His best friend in college was one too! It is just the devil trying to get you on his side, and we just need to pray for sinning homosexuals. Ask God to call them back to the Bible. That really bothered me, but I didn’t know anyone at any of the other churches in town. My husband didn’t like church in general and had always felt scare tactics were used to get you to believe. One Sunday, our preacher said that “if you are not on fire for God, he doesn’t want you on his side. “Lukewarm Christians are not Christians.” What was worse, my husband was about done with going to church and that was it for him. I kept trying to go there, but I didn’t feel accepted because I wasn’t a fire and brimstone kind of person. I didn’t feel comfortable.

My views on church changed when I started attending The Church of the Brethren in McPherson, Kansas. I didn’t go there at first because I thought they were strange. People in town said they were a bunch of old democrat hippies who didn’t believe in war. It blew my mind that anyone white could be a Democrat, much less people over the age of 50 and definitely not anyone 70 and older. Some of my friends there would get real deep about not buying products from Monsanto, global warming and other environmental issues like the pipeline and fracking. Most everyone there was incredibly smart – with a Ph.D. or were ministers who attended Bethany Seminary in Chicago, a very expensive and respected among the Brethren community. How could so many compassionate, educated white people believe in God and also be Democrats?

What was even stranger to me was that all the other people in Kansas were really nice people. We read “The Help” in our book club once, and all the ladies at the book club were Conservative Evangelical Christians. However, they were not racist. When I would tell them about my life in Mississippi, how all the white people sent their kids to private schools, they didn’t get it. One time I even shared that one of my older family members made her caretaker use the restroom in her own bathroom because that is how it was supposed to be. I have relatives who are not 100% white. When they visit, they stay with a relative that is very old as in way over 70.  She makes them sleep in her RV outside because they are not really white.

The people in Kansas were not racist. However, they were Republican. The schools in McPherson, Kansas were phenomenal. The average ACT there is around 25. However, the budgets that they had for public education were less than what we had in Mississippi. It made no sense. I decided I would run for School Board there because I was amazed that their system worked, and our system in Mississippi did not.

I figured out what Mississippi had that Kansas didn’t – racism covered up by the fact that they were Christians. Separate, but Equal. Laws that were written with the hope of keeping schools segregated.

For the first time in my life, I am fed religiously because of my faith – a faith that I am proud of because we do things that are meaningful. The core values of the Brethren church are peace, simplicity and living your life like Jesus.

We did some things that religious people in the south would never do – like the feet washing ritual. Every year we have something called “Love Feast” modeled after The Last Supper in the Bible. This helped me to remember that in God’s eyes, all people need love and attention. You wash your neighbor’s feet, they wash yours. This serves as an emblem of God’s cleansing grace. Brethren believe in service – we don’t just do something every now and then so people can think we are good people. We have at least 20 missions we do in our community – one that I especially like is a program called “Circles” because it helps people break free from generational poverty. No one really did anything materialistic in this church. They liked you even if you were poor. These people were really smart, loved God, were generous both financially and through acts of service. I felt like I had finally found a church where I was “fed” religiously.

Around this time, I moved back to West Point to take a job working in our school district. I was now divorced, and I had a very hard choice to make. Leave my church and my child where he is getting an education in one of the best districts in the mid west, or bring him here where we are all pretty much still separated racially both in our schools and in our churches. He stayed in Kansas.

I knew how I felt about church in the south, but I needed to try and find a church home. I went to the Baptist church first because I knew they had programming for divorced women. I really tried to like it, but they wouldn’t even let women be deacons much less be open to homosexuality. I went back to my church that I went to growing up – the people there who greeted me were the people that I knew growing up who were adults. The people my age were cold. And, I knew that there was a family feud going on involving some very judgmental people spreading false information about my family. We just acted like everyone loved Jesus on Sunday. It felt uncomfortable, but I was near family. Then, I discovered family members at this church were talking about my decision to “leave my son in Kansas.” It was at that point I gave up on church in the south. I was going to go to the Episcopal Church, but I knew people were leaving it over homosexuality. I was done. I may still be, I will have to get back to you.

I decided since I wasn’t going to go to church, I would try and work for the Democratic party in the area and in the state. We used to have democrats here in this state who went to church. People don’t really just vote for people based on their color anymore. We were making progress when I left. Ronnie Musgrove was the governor – democrats were not the anti-Christ. I started to support an African American candidate in Columbus because he had a platform that made sense. The other guy had put two people on death row who were innocent and two others were in prison for decades because of errors he had made. I put a sign in my yard, and people started saying that he and Obama were in on it together. This guy was shady and he had ties to terrorism. Someone gave him a large sum of money, and people said that was tied to Obama and all the radicals. I knew all this was not true, but I couldn’t figure out a way to explain it. I also knew that money was a donation from someone who was a firm believer in the Innocence Project. Why is this guy a terrorist? Because he is black! No one in the south trusts black people because they fear terrorism. Why do they fear? Because they believe everything they hear from politicians.

Then, I figured it all made sense. Because Barak Obama is black and sounds like he is Muslim, people here think he is a terrorist which is so ridiculous because smart people know that stereotypes used to scare people. Black people are lazy. They are a menace to society. All those stereotypes – things that I thought we were moving ahead on were back and better than ever!

There was a lot of campaigning for upcoming elections in Mississippi and in every commercial they said that they were good Christian men with family values. People were actually praying in the commercials. They also had all these weird commercials talking about how Obama was a radical. He was what was wrong with this world. Big government equals we just take care of the lazy people. What happened to the good ole days when family mattered? Thanks to Obama, they have shut down Detroit. He is the reason this country is headed down the toilet. He is a socialist. He caused 9/11. School shootings are because of him and the Democrats. Liberals are the anti-Christ. Obama wants to take away our guns! Don’t believe the liberal media!

Obama has been a successful president. There are so many articles that discuss this online and on television.

Then, and this blows my mind, people started supporting Donald Trump! He is the 1%.

Liberals are not the ones against big government. The term liberal means removing barriers. They can’t stand big government.

Anyone with knowledge about politics would know this.The Koch Brothers and their bedfellows all believe in neoliberalism which means the 1% controls the rest of the world. They want everything to be private. They want to get rid of anything public.

So, why do all of these people in Mississippi get connected so fast? Haley Barbour was going to potentially be our next President? Are you kidding? They are getting connected because they are corrupt. Mississippi is the most corrupt state in the nation. Don’t believe me? Fortune magazine does. So, how do they get away with it? Political Action Committees disguised by religion and racism. But, all of those PACs say they are helping keep the bad people away! They are getting paid by the bad people. If you would look at history, it would all make sense.

What scares white people in the south? Black people and terrorism. What better way to get what we want done than to pay off their politicians and get them to blame big government on black people and republicans?

Republicans are really not the bad guys. Neither are democrats. They used to work together and care about the future of all citizens. They believed in the American Dream and wanted to support the middle class.

The Citizens United Supreme Court Decision took away the American Dream because it convinced voters that republicans believed in big government. People in the South don’t understand that big government is the reason the middle class exists. Let me repeat that.

People in the South don’t understand that big government is the reason the middle class exists.

Charter schools don’t serve the middle class. They serve the 1%. The only way to convince the middle class that big government is bad is to use race.

Empower Mississippi says they are Christian people who want to give citizens more choices and opportunity. Thus, Republicans trust them. What is their real mission? They want to promote charter schools and for profit education. They are funded by Americans for Prosperity which is funded by the Devos Family. Americans for Prosperity is a PAC disguised as the American Legislative Exchange Council. The ALEC is funded by the Koch Brothers who want to eliminate the middle class so that the 1% can run everything.

The problem with the south is that people really don’t know what socialism means. They think it means Communist Russia, hate and racism. Big government is liberal. Big government believes that we should not be controlled by the 1%. Being liberal doesn’t mean you hate people, it means you don’t want to be controlled by the government. People in the south fear democrats because they think that democrats want to give all their money away to the black people. Republicans in Mississippi knew that if they could get conservatives to believe that Democrats were racist, they had outsmarted everyone. White people are inherently good people, but conspiracy theories scare them. The word liberal to white people means lazy. They are afraid of things like the radical agenda, Obamacare and the Welfare state. Donald Trump appeals to white people because he is tired of the liberals giving everything away. The middle class still exists. These still are the good ole days. Republicans didn’t fear the liberals until 9/11.

Why then are we all scared that the world is coming to an end because of the liberals? We trust the government. We believe that they want us to all prosper. Mississippi remains #50 on all of the lists about education because we believe everything that comes out of the mouths of Republicans in Mississippi. Republicans are not the enemy. Corruption is. Republicans became the enemy when they realized that no one wins elections in Mississippi without money. Who has the money? The people that take bribes. How do we convince the people in the south that PACs are real? We get the Republicans to turn on each other.

Empower Mississippi PAC gave $360,000 to some republicans in DeSoto County because they were anti-charter and for public education. People don’t believe this is true because they believe everything that Republicans in Mississippi say due to religion. People in Mississippi used to be okay with Democrats – Ronnie Musgrove was one not that long ago. Phil Bryant tried to stop Tate Reeves from being corrupt by saying that SB2161 was not ethical. SB2161 was just Common Core re -branded. That was the end of the republicans telling the truth. Republicans realized that people in Mississippi would believe whatever came out of their mouths as long as they said they were doing it in the name of religion. SB2161 is a bill that gives the legislature control over whether or not we will continue to have public schools in Mississippi. All Initiative 42 does is hold the legislature accountable for the law that they themselves made. Tate Reeves has received more bribes from big government than any politician in the history of the state of Mississippi. Big government bought the Citizens United Supreme Court Decision which was funded by billionaires to make bribery legal.  Big government is Koch. Big government is the 1%. Big government is Tate Reeves. No one is able to prove it because money buys elections.

Mississippians are not racist. They are uninformed. They trust Republicans due to religion, but people can believe in God and be Democrats. I explained this earlier when I said I was a Democrat. People think that everything they see or hear in the news and on TV is the truth due to religion. Anytime someone says something about school shootings or the NRA, who gets mad? Republicans. Why? Because they believe it is their God given right to own guns. There are no guns in the Bible. When people bring up LGBT rights who gets upset? Republicans because God said homosexuality was an abomination. It is in the Bible. God never said that. When someone says that the confederate flag is racist who gets upset? Republicans

PACs started around 9/11 when the world decided that all Muslims were bad. This is when Republicans became God and Democrats became the enemy.

Informed, non-racist people know deep down that it is not possible for all muslims to be bad. However, when people like Tate Reeves who have been bought by big government says that the media is corrupt that scares Republicans from the South. Republicans are not racist. They are uninformed. If you want to scare white people, tell them Obama is a terrorist. So, that is what the media did. And, now Republicans in the south believe anything that Tate Reeves says even though conservatives know he is corrupt. Money buys politicians when you are able to convince them that socialism and big government are liberal ideas.

Bernie Sanders is a democratic socialist. He doesn’t take bribes from big government like Hillary Clinton. Democrats aren’t bad people. Republicans aren’t bad people. Corruption is morally wrong, but due to the Bible white people have gone back to the era of Jim Crow. All in the name of religion. Tate Reeves knows no one has time to fact check every single thing he says, so big government stays in charge even though the middle class is doing just fine!

It is all a tangled web. I get going and forget my point. My point is simple. If you believe everything on television, Facebook, newspapers, et. al., you are not doing yourself any favors. I don’t have time to research everything, and I got a lotta time. Please don’t jump on the bandwagon of whatever the topic of the day might be without doing research. I am not LGBT, but I know a lot of great people who are. I am not a racist, but I know a lot of people who are. There are people who are African American and racist towards white people. There are people who are white and racist towards African Americans. There are people who are racist towards Jews. There are people who are racist towards Asians. There is an exception to every rule! Do your research. Quit being offended by everything, and for the love of all things Holy, quit trying to be so polite! If you have a view, share it. Quit worrying about what others might say. If you want to see change, be a part of the solution – not the problem. If you want to know how I feel about something, ask. I am not scared to tell ya! Thank you. Please pray for me if you think I need it. Please delete me from Facebook if you don’t like my views! It will not hurt my feelings! I am a thick woman with thick skin! Okay, in all seriousness, I think what I am trying to say is don’t be afraid to say how you feel about basically anything whether it be religion or politics. And, check your facts. Read books. Continue learning. Welcome debate. Don’t jump on a bandwagon because you like to be difficult – jump on it because you are informed.

What No One Ever Told Me about the D -Word

What No One Ever Told Me about the D -Word

2008 voter data shows that “red” states (states that tend to vote Republican), have higher divorce rates than “blue” states (states that tend to vote Democrat).

Pretty interesting.

But, that is not what this post is about. Not even close. It has been almost 2 years since D-Day. And, I am not talking about the invasion of Normandy, France.

Dee Vorce.

Something no one likes to talk about much less go through.

Well, statistically, it is going to happen to approximately 40-50% of marriages. It happened to me. And, it isn’t contagious.

Unfortunately, some people feel otherwise. What do people expect from you when you get one? They expect anger, bitterness and mass disaster – basically the inability of one parent being able to get along with the other parent. They expect awful, terrible bitterness and craziness. They expect you to fall apart. And, they judge you. Boy do they judge.

As a married woman, I never felt my every action was watched and criticized. As a single, you just can’t be too careful around me.

I have cooties.

Divorce cooties.

And, if you hang around me long enough, you might be infected.

Now, does everyone believe they might contract divorce cooties? No. Some people are really nice, supportive and treat me the same as they did before D-Day. What has been most disturbing and surprising is that some people would rather me keep my distance.

And, I am still naive.

I am naive to think that people would love and not judge.

Some do. Some don’t.

And, it is the ones with the most problems in their own lives that enjoy judging me the most. My sole purpose is to make them feel better about themselves because Lord knows their lives aren’t nearly as bad as mine.

Well, it is possible to get a Dee Vorce and still maintain a positive relationship with your ex.

I speak to mine frequently through text, email, phone or Facebook. Every 2-3 weeks we have a nice long talk about whatever is going on in our lives, our son’s life and just things in general. When I have a problem or need advice, I still go to him. When something exciting happens, he will soon know about it.

And, we love our son. I think that our son is more loved, more nurtured and able to have so many more experiences because of our love for him and our ability to get along in a productive and positive way. He feels safe, and loved and nurtured because he knows that there is peace between myself and his dad. He knows we both love him and want what is best for him. And, I will even say that I feel confident that my ex’s significant other cares about my son and wants what is best for him.

But, that isn’t good enough for some people. Their preconceived notions of who should and should not be the primary residential parent prevents them from seeing that it is possible to raise a child in an non-traditional way and still play an active role as a parent.

And, after a while, you learn that you have to live your life the way you see fit – not in a way that pleases the judgemongers.

Because, truly, they will never be pleased and it is your life. And, truly, this isn’t the only season of my life that is going to be negative. I will make more mistakes, and more bad things are going to happen to me in the future. But, there will also be great days with amazing surprises and thrills. One thing I can guarantee – I will continue to fall short. Daily.

I am a work in progress with flaws. We all are.

My point in writing this post is this – do you know someone recently divorced or possibly going through one?

The best thing that you can do for that person is to love them, support them and not pass judgement.

They are going to make mistakes.

They are going to eat too much, drink too much, spend too much, call too much, cuss too much, complain too much and any other self-destructive thing one can do “too” much or maybe even “too little.”

Listen to them.

Love them.

What they are going through is very similar to the loss of a loved one – it hurts. And, it takes a long time to be able to move forward. And, you really have no idea what it is like unless it has happened to you.

Not a clue.

Are you going to be part of the problem for them or part of the solution?

“Instead of wiping away tears, wipe away the people that made you cry.” – Unknown

Summer To-Do List

Summer To-Do List

Okay, I guess I am writing about fun stuff right now instead of issues related to liberalism. I will get back on track later. But, right now my brain is focused on fun in the sun with my main man.

andyroo

We have a less than traditional domestic situation, but we have been able to make it work thus far. One of the blessings about our arrangement, is that I am off of work for the most part when he is out of school! My post today is about fun things to do in the Golden Triangle area that are also budget conscious choices. We have a lot planned, and I am still looking for find more things to do.

I have researched and rated my activities based on gas, ticket and food estimates as follows:

$: Zero to Ten Dollars

$$: Eleven to Thirty Dollars

$$$: Thirty to One Hundred Dollars

$$$$: One Hundred Dollars to Two Hundred Dollars

$$$$$: Two to Three Hundred Dollars

$$$$$$: Three Hundred and Up

On our list this summer are:

Summer Reading Program at Bryan Public Library – $

VBS – $

$2 Malco Movies in Tupelo or Columbus – $ (I have NO shame in smuggling in my own snacks and drinks. I have even gotten a route 44 sweet tea into the Columbus theatre under my coat. I learned this from my grandmother who popped our own popcorn before we went to the movies and put it in her purse!)

Camp Lake Stephens – $$$$$$ (Keep in mind that you are getting five full days of meals, activities, memories and learning about Jesus!)

Starkville Wet N Wild Beach – $$ (Web site says no coolers. I have a bag cooler that I would likely take with Gatorade and sandwiches. It looks like a purse.)

Geyser Falls – $$$$ (No outside food allowed. There is no way around this being an expensive outing.)

Memphis Zoo – $$$$ (This could be less if you take your own lunches and snacks. According to their website, this IS allowed!)

Bass Pro and Mud Island – $$$$ (Again, this could be less if you take your own lunch and snacks.)

Swimming, swimming and more swimming – $

Possible trip to the McWane Center in Birmingham – (not really sure because ticket prices were not listed on site)

Flea Market in Tupelo – $ and up depending on how much you buy – it only costs $1 to enter

Cousin play time, Nana play time, friend play time! – $

Beach! – $$$$$ This is our big purchase this summer. The only other time little roo has seen the ocean – it was literally closed due to oil spill. We will be eating mainly food from the grocery store to save $ and time waiting in the long lines for a table!

Going to the Birthplace of Elvis in Tupelo – $$$

Graceland – $$$$ (Graceland is not cheap! Who knew?)

Touring Waverly Mansion – $$ (We did this in elementary school, and I still remember it.)

Biking on the SKW Parkway – $ (I do have to get myself a bike, so I guess this could be $$$$, but it is a one time purchase.)

Painting at Persnickety Pottery (Summer Hours are M-F noon to 6) – $$

Children’s Museum in Memphis – $$$

Pink Palace Museum in Memphis – $$$

Alabama Splash Adventure $$$$

Six Flags Atlanta $$$$$ (No way around it – this is an expensive outing.)

Tour several departments and buildings at Mississippi State University – $

Sam Wilhite Transportation Museum – $

West Point Farmer’s Market (Thursdays 4-7 p.m.) – $

Various Arts Council Events and Activities – $-$$$

Alright, looking back over my list, there is no way we could afford to do it all! 😦 However, I like knowing all of my options before making decisions! I would like to add more choices in the free to $10 category. Too bad I can’t write a grant for summer fun with my son!! Do you have any ideas?

I know there are other activities and things to do in the area that I have not listed. Please share your favorite things to do in the summer in the Golden Triangle area! Are there any other camps or fun things that I am not aware of here? I am sure there are! Does your family have a favorite place to hike or take a picnic? What summer traditions do you have? What are some of the crafts that you like to make with your kids? I hope you will comment here or respond on Facebook!

My Summer Reading Plans

My Summer Reading Plans

books

I love to read. I love, love, love it. I have loved it ever since I started reading chapter books in elementary school. Sweet Valley Twins, Sweet Valley High, The Babysitter’s Club and anything Judy Blume were my most favorites. I even got yelled at by my fourth grade teacher for reading instead of listening to instruction. That was scary. The Liberal Southern Belle (TLSB) has been working a lot over the past six months and reading time has not really existed due to juggling two jobs. Thankfully, I am able to let go of one of my additional jobs to read and spend time with my son this summer. Boy, oh boy! This stack of books is ready to be devoured!!

I have a serious “thing” for true crime. Three of the books on my list are true crime books. Let’s start with “The Killing of Anna Nicole Smith” which is actually written by the presiding judge in her wrongful death case. He developed an infatuation with the deceased Anna Nicole Smith during trial like many men did over her brief life. Anna Nicole has always fascinated me – her curvy, voluptuous, blonde beauty went against the stick thin norms that Hollywood demands. Her humble upbringing. Her wild personality commanded attention, and I was and am still a big fan. Especially, after she made a comeback right there at the end of her short life. The E True Hollywood Story about her paired with the lifetime movie about her untimely death only made me want to know more about her. Thus, I found this book – and I actually found it at the world’s largest family owned bookstore in Portland, Oregon – a place called Powell’s Books. Me being in that store is like a crackhead being in a crack house with unlimited rocks! 6 floors full of new and gently used books. Anyway, I am ready to sink my teeth into this one.

Yours For Eternity” is likely the fifth or sixth book involving the West Memphis Three that I will have read. There are also several documentaries and movies on this case. It has captivated me from day one as it happened only 2.5 hours from me in West Memphis, Arkansas. Without getting into the details, this book is the true love story that began while Damien Echols was on death row. It details his romance with Lorri Davis behind bars. I have already started on this one, something I do a lot with books. I am looking forward to finishing it.

My last true crime book for the summer, I am sure I will add more, is by one of my favorite true crime authors, Diane Fanning. I am friends with her on Facebook, and she is a down to earth lady who will actually write you back if you want to ask her questions. I am a huge fan of someone who writes anything, much less someone that writes true crime. She was as obsessed with the Casey Anthony trial as I was, and she details it in her book “Mommy’s Little Girl: Casey Anthony and her Daughter’s Tragic Fate” which was a riveting account of all things Casey Anthony. I have chosen her new book “Under Cover of the Night: A True Story of Sex, Greed and Murder.” It has what I enjoy best in a book: adultery, bad finances and shattered dreams.

I have selected two books by the author Katherine Center called “The Lost Husband” and “Happiness for Beginners.” I discovered Katherine after reading a review of one of her books in People Magazine. I have found several authors that I like this way. Her book “The Lost Husband” really took off and put her on the map, and I haven’t had time to read it. Her newest book, “Happiness for Beginners” is about a divorced woman who goes on a really long hike in the dessert. I felt like I might be inspired to walk on the SKW walking track since I am also divorced – if she can walk across the dessert or mountains or what have you, I can at least put in a mile on the walking track?

Not That Kind of Girl” by Lena Dunham is another book that I have started reading. I love her show “Girls” on HBO. I like that Lena is creative and that she is a bit overweight. We have at least two things in common.

Data, A Love Story – How I Cracked the Online Dating Code to Meet My Match” is another book that I have already begun reading. I am big about starting books and going back to them later. This book is non-fiction written by a single, successful business woman who has a series of bad dates from online dating. I have not had a series of bad dates from online dating – I have had a plethora. I consider myself smart, and I appreciate the logic she uses to finally meet her future husband. Right now, I am putting online dating on the back burner. My son is coming, and I don’t have time for the non-sense that is online dating. It is truly a time thief. I have had so many dates where staying home in my recliner with my Sophie Girl (beagle) cuddled up next to me would have been such a better choice. I would like to read about what she did and how it worked for her. I may employ her strategy if I get lonely again this fall. Right now, my Little A (son) will be getting my full attention. He is more fun than dealing with the discards available to a divorced woman in her mid thirties. The current dating pool could be an entire book in and of itself. I can teach anyone what not to do.

The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins is another book that I have started reading. It is a hot, hot bestseller and was listed as Amazon’s Book of the Month for January. I don’t read every bestseller as I prefer to find hidden gems on my own, but I do read at least two or three a year. This was one of the ones that I picked for summer reading because the main character is an alcoholic divorced woman whose ex-spouse has remarried and had a child with someone else. This one resonates for obvious reasons. Also, there is a crime element as the main character witnesses something from her train commute that becomes part of the main plot of the story. This one should be a page turner.

My last two books are by authors local to the small town where I live. The first one is by Annie Oeth called “Because I Said So: Life in the Mom Zone.” I devoured Oeth’s “For Love or Money: A Guide to Bungee Jumping Through Life.” I loved her second book “For Love…” because it talks about living on a budget and online dating – two things that are topics I need a little help on still! Another reason that Annie Oeth is such an intriguing author is because I used to babysit her two oldest boys. Also, she is a journalist and a writer. She started out just like me working for the Daily Times Leader right out of college, and she went all the way to features editor for The Clarion Ledger in Jackson – in addition to writing two books and raising four children.  I guess I read these out of order. I read her second book first. I am looking forward to the first book – she said it had a lot of West Point in it. My final selection is a book “Colleen” written by Diane Barrett Powell of West Point. Growing up, her husband was our family doctor and her son was close to me in age. Diane did a marvelous book talk at our local library on her book and where she got the inspiration to write it. “Colleen” is of special interest to me because it details the life of a young girl who loses her husband in World War II. The same thing happened to my grandmother, and I would like to read this to better understand her heartache. Plus, I just really admire people who write and publish books in this area!

If you will notice, I slipped a copy of People Magazine on top of the pile. Pop culture or celebrity news is my comfort food. I enjoy reading about and seeing photos of celebrities. I know this is nothing to be proud of, but it is mindless entertainment, and I love it.

What are you reading this summer?