Three Cool Things in H-Town

Tomorrow is the last day of April, but things are already starting to feel like summer. The days are longer, warmer, maybe even a little better, knowing that May is right around the corner.  But no matter how high the temperatures soar, here are three things that keep things cool in H-town:

1.  The Mommie Series–Houston

The summer edition of this excellent lecture series is tomorrow, and personally, I can’t wait.  The first time I went, I had won a ticket from a woman who is a force of nature, even though her passion is art.  The inimitable Sarah Gish, art car aficionado, marketing maven, and inspiration engineer, who is the go-to person for being in the know about cultural events and awesome activities for kids, (and kids of all ages), had told me I was the lucky winner of a ticket.  The evening was wonderful, having lectures on fashion, health, finance, and family.  Although it is called “The Mommie Series,” the event is really good for anyone with a pulse who wants to improve in any of these categories.  Yes, there are treats and fashion too, but the lectures are a great mix of the practical and the entertaining–a perfect cocktail for motivating yourself right into the next season, whether you are a “Mommie” or not.


The CEO and founder of The Mommie Series-Houston is the beautiful and gracious Misti Pace-Krahl, who puts together these series with style and always includes a worthy charity as part of the evening.  For instance, tomorrow she will support “Lemonade Day,” which is an organization that supports entrepreneurship for youth.  The last time I attended, I also met Nancy Bui, CFO of the amazing Green Plate Foods, which specializes in both the healthy and the delicious.  We were just chatting away, talking about our kids, and she mentioned she was with Green Plate Foods, one of the sponsors of The Mommie Series.  She was so modest, I had to pull it out of her that she was the CFO and had an MBA.  But coincidentally enough, she is also a graduate of Houston Baptist University, where she studied as an undergraduate, and where, COINCIDENTALLY ENOUGH, I also teach.  Since I blog for the School of Humanities at HBU, this was pretty much blogging gold to meet such a charming and successful HBU graduate, who was making raising three small children and running a company look astonishingly easy, although I know it is not.  She was making the Huskies look good, and it was a pleasure to meet her along with the others attending this series.

I can’t wait for tomorrow for the Summer Edition of this series, and if you can’t make it, don’t worry, Misti Pace-Krahl has it every quarter, and her speakers are always experts, but charming and accessible.  Houston’s own Deborah Duncan was the emcee last time, and the next edition looks like it has much to offer everyone, no matter if your favorite topics are fashion or finance. Continue reading

Pass the Peas


The Family Meal

Recently the pastor made a quick reference to the numerous studies on the strong correlation between family meals and children’s health (emotional, physical, mental and spiritual).

How long has that stuff been stacked up on your dining table?

Why did we stop eating together as a family?

  • Both mom and dad are working, sometimes working late.
  • Global business culture that does not keep 9-5 hours.
  • The introduction of internet and technical hardware meant that work stopped being so regulated by the traditional 9-5 boundaries.
  • Many, many more single mothers raising children. Single mothers who are working a lot to make ends meet.
  • An increasing number of parents from broken families trying to raise their own families. All those “taken-for-granted” practices may not have been passed on.
  • The explosion of after school “careers” for children and teens in sports, music and academics. These make evening time together almost impossible.
  • Changes in public education – something new is happening in the classroom. There is more to learn, more pressure to measure learning, more learning must be sent home to be done as “work.”
  • Mobile communication devices that allowed members of the family to stay “connected” while physically apart – allowing older children and teens to live more independent lives.
  • The invention of “food” that can be prepared easily and safely by children and a microwave.
  • Large cities with sprawling suburban enclaves filled with fast-food options.
  • One downside of the turbulent 60’s – no one taught their career bound daughters (or sons) how to cook  – that’s why there are so many cooking shows on TV!
  • The minivan

Continue reading

Who Needs a Family These Days?


I got you babe I got you babe
I got you to hold my hand
I got you to understand
I got you to walk with me
I got you to talk with me
I got you to kiss goodnight
I got you to hold me tight
I got you, I won’t let go
I got you to love me so

I Got You Babe, Sonny Bono, 1966

Thanksgiving is approaching. Family time is around the corner. The best of times, the worst of times. Better get ready.

I don’t want to alarm anyone (well, maybe I do) but things are really changing when it comes to family. Did you know that the way we define family has changed? In leading college Marriage and Family textbooks here’s how family is now defined:

“Any relatively stable group of people who are related to one another through blood, marriage or adoption, or who simply live together, and who provide one another with economic and emotional support.”  (Schwartz, M. and B.M. Scott. 2012. Marriages and Families. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.)

Wouldn’t college roommates fit that definition?

Continue reading

Home, Sweet Home


“How often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.”
― William Faulkner

My family tells me that I don’t travel well. For me the best part of any trip is coming home. I think I’ve gotten worse as I’ve aged. I used to be a happy camper. Something must have happened to me along the way.

Historically, America has valued the home and made great efforts to be sure that more of her citizens were homeowners. Owning a home has tremendous economic, political and social benefits for everyone (even those who don’t). The higher the rate of home ownership, the better it is for our society. Currently, home ownership in America is at an 18 year low. Our economic misfortunes are still defeating us, especially at home.

Home is a physical location where we hang our hat and rest our head. But it is more than that. It is a physical place that serves as ground zero for the formation of our most basic human relationships. It is the physical environment in which we construct the most intimate and essential experiences of our lives. Home is a refuge where we escape and find solace from the chaos and corruption that is outside.

Recently we had a water leak in our home. The damage caused us to have to undertake major repairs. Two things happened that reminded me how important home is and all the ways that I take it for granted. You’ve probably had similar experiences. Continue reading