Health Care Directive

Recently, in my Health Communications class, we were given the assignment to create our own health care directive. I had no idea what this was, so I certainly had never given it any thought before it was brought up in my Health Comm course. Despite the fact that the assignment was a bit morbid, it was a very beneficial experience to have as it really encouraged me to thoughtfully put together what I would want should my life take a turn for the worst.

So Many Details 

When I first began to think about the assignment, I only thought about a couple of things. I thought about being on life support and organ donation. I did not realize how much more a health care directive entailed. Yes, life support and organ donation are critical factors, but they are only two in a number of many. For instance I had to designate two individuals to advocate on my behalf should I not be capable of doing so myself, I had to state what I would want done to my body should I pass away. The most challenging and powerful parts of this assignment were when it asked me to state the reasons my life is meaningful and worth living and at what point would it no longer be worth it, and when it asked about my family and loved ones and how they should bring me comfort at that time. Instantly I thought what about THEIR comfort. At this point I was pretty choked up, but that was the intent of the assignment, to sincerely make us think deeply about the weight of a situation where a health care directive would come into play.

Very Important 

As I stated previously, I had never given any thought to creating a health care directive before this assignment. However, after I completed it, I wanted everyone in my family to create one, too. Having a health care directive is so important. Not only does it set a plan in place should a tragic event occur, it also encourages you to ponder some heavy questions that are very necessary to consider. I provided a link below that answers some questions about what all a health care directive entails, and it also has a link at the end for you to create your own. Even if you do not sign and notarize it (which I did not because I still want to do some further research), it is still beneficial to explore this topic for both yourself and the loved ones in your life.

Making Every Day Earth Day



This Saturday is Earth Day. A day where people learn about what we can do to help reduce waste and protect the planet. There are recycling events, tree planting ceremonies, and outdoor gatherings that help us celebrate our great planet. As an environmentalist, this “holiday” is one of my favorites. It’s a day where I see people making an extra effort to toss a can in the recycling bin instead of the trash, and  make a personal vow to “do a better job” at being a conscious consumer.

But after the day is over, how many will revert back to their old ways, grabbing a to-go coffee in a disposable cup on the way to work, then grabbing a bottled water from the fridge before using a disposable plastic fork to eat their lunch from a Styrofoam container.

I’m not here to judge people who do these things, because I used to do them too.  And even now I will occasionally hit up Starbucks for a latte, feeling guilty because even though the lid and cardboard wrap around the cup can be recycled, the cup itself will end up in the trash. Same with the container that holds those oh-so-delicious fries from Smashburger (I’m addicted to their fries and black bean burger). It might not seem like a big deal, but all of that trash adds up. We don’t always realize the impact of our actions because we often don’t see the direct effects, but it’s important to understand that the damage we’re causing is irreversible.

The T-shirt Says it All

pauldouglas_1492299804_Tom Hanks Planet B

Image source: Facebook

“There is no planet B.” Seriously, people. Living on Mars or some other planet is a great sci-fi inspired dream, but it isn’t a realistic alternative. This simple phrase on a t-shirt sum up an important message that we need to pay attention to—especially since we have an Administration that has publicly denied climate change and appears to be against regulation aimed at protecting animals and the environment.

It’s frustrating, but perhaps what’s more bothersome is the number of people in this country who place convenience over protecting our planet. According to a report by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. produced 258 million tons of trash in 2014; only about 34.6 percent of that amount was recycled or composted.  And on top of that, rainforests are being leveled at an alarming rate as a result of urbanization and agricultural practices (look up palm oil, it’s in everything). Climate change is another issue; according to a release by NASA, 2016 was the warmest year on record around the world. Sure, warm weather is nice, but it has a major impact on the planet’s ecosystems—and not in a good way.

So what do we do? The problem seems overwhelming and you might think that one person can’t make a difference, but that belief couldn’t be any further from the truth.

We’re All Guilty, and Nobody’s Perfect

A few years ago, I had a home filled with unnecessary items and would toss stuff into the trash without giving it a second thought. I was a fan of convenient, single-use items like Keurig K-cups and those little plastic floss/toothpick combos. I mean, I’m a busy person and being able to make a cup of coffee in 30 seconds was a draw. That, and those flavor options were hard to resist. But then something changed.

I started to be more aware of how much I was buying and throwing away. I’ve been a die-hard recycler for several years—I used to give to coworkers a gentle reminder if they tossed something into the trash instead of the recycling— but a little over a year ago I added composting to my routine. I eat a lot of fruits and veggies, so between recycling and composting I’m producing less than half the trash I used to.

I’m also more conscious about how much electricity I use, I try to drive less, and I buy organic produce whenever possible. And you’ll usually see me toting around my reusable coffee mug and water bottle. But again, I’m not perfect.

I drive an SUV because, well, it’s paid off and a new car isn’t in the cards right now (plus I like driving a Jeep). And sometimes I buy unnecessary items or go for the pre-packaged meal because I don’t feel like cooking. Or maybe I take a shower that’s longer than necessary because it’s -30 outside and the hot water feels good. But I do what I can, making an effort to do a little more each day to be a better friend to our lovely planet Earth.

We Can Do Better for Our Planet

You don’t have to go full force minimalist or only eat items grown in your organic, backyard garden to make a difference. There are plenty of things we can do every day to eliminate waste and reduce our carbon footprint.

First and foremost, we need to reduce the amount of stuff going into landfills. You can learn everything you ever wanted to know about recycling and composting in your community by visiting your county’s website. Here are handy links for Hennepin County and Ramsey County. Also check out this article and video from USA Today about what not to do when you recycle.

More tips….

  • Buy organic whenever possible. Pesticides contaminate our soil and water, and they’re killing bees, which are vital pollinators.
  • Make coffee in a French press, eliminating the use of K-cups. It only takes about 5 minutes to brew a flavorful cup of coffee, and you won’t be producing unnecessary waste, especially if you compost the coffee grounds.
  • Buy items in bulk, especially beans and grains. You’ll save money and eliminate unnecessary plastic packaging. Stores like Whole Foods have paper bags to use at the bins, or you can check out these reusable mesh bags on Amazon, which also double as produce bags.
  • Like to stay hydrated? Carry a reusable water bottle with you instead of buying bottled water.
  • Ditch the chemicals by making your own cleaning products. I promise, it’s not that difficult. A mixture of water, white vinegar and essential oils can be used to clean your entire home. And swap out paper towels for washable, reusable cloths.
  • Laundry soap might smell great, but it’s also full of chemicals. Check out eco-friendly, cruelty-free options like Seventh Generation, Biokleen or Eco Nuts soap nuts. You can add a few drops of essential oil to the water for a gentle (and natural) scent boost. Here’s my laundry arsenal (with a photo bomb from my two dogs).


See, it’s really not that complicated. With a bit of extra effort, we can make our world a cleaner, safer place for everyone.

The Royal One: His Purple Legacy or Controversy?

gzmilco8mlgmmyg6kksiDo you believe in magic?  That’ s how Prince Rogers Nelson commanded the stage. The first time I saw him perform at the legendary Village Gate nightclub in NYC.   One cold  February night in 1978.  It  was my birthday and my dad called me with my annual birthday surprise.   A good friend told him to check out this young “Cat” from Minneapolis. ”

                                  ”  He is just 18 years old and ” He’s the real deal.”  

        The Real Deal – What’s the Deal?

My original plan this week was to enjoy the musical tribute’s  to the Purple One as we approach the one year anniversary of his joining James Brown , Luther Vandross and David Bowie in the heavenly choir.   But what does the public receive  from mainstream media?  Controversy surrounding the aspects of his death, search warrants and analysts discussing prescription drug addiction.   Prince Rogers Nelson maintained an image of style, creativity, professionalism and  privacy in his life.  Why not in his death?  Then I read this article.

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The search warrants released Monday in connection to Prince’s death say that when investigators searched Paisley Park last year they found opioids hidden in over-the-counter medication bottles.

The initial search turned up more than 100 opioid pills stashed in various locations around Paisley Park. The search warrants do not reveal any findings of fentanyl, the powerful opioid that medical officials say killed Prince last April.

The newly-released search warrants list a Bayer Aspirin bottle with 64 and-a-half pills with the label Watson 853. There was also an Aleve bottle with 20 and-a-half pills with the same imprint.   STOP you lost me.   We’re counting pills now?

       Is this really news?

Ok, I ended the article halfway through completion.  Why? Because in my opinion the remaining chapters were just fillers and old news.  Should you find this piecemeal journalism interesting you can connect to the WCCO website. Esme Murphy from WCCO had an opportunity to use the passing of Prince’s anniversary on Friday to inform, enlighten and celebrate.  This light weight sound bite did nothing but taint his reputation and keep the speculation surrounding his death in the forefront.   Authenticity and integrity were the first words that come into play here.

   There are alternative sources.

“Do your homework.”  was a term I heard daily during my 20 years working at ABC News.  Journalist’s have a professional responsibility to present facts not speculation.  Whatever happened on that sad day  we lost Prince;  deserves an article worthy of more than a few soundbites and Associated Press one liners.  I do understand that reporters do not necessarily have the final say  on story content.  But there’s more than one way to update the story, peek the interest of the public and remain factual in your content.

One point of importance, I encourage both the media and the public to be selective, protective and objective when it comes to your sources of information.  Remember your memories are the most intrinsic aspect of your life experience and knowledge.  Not a soundbite from a reporter with only 250 words, flimsy facts and limited authority.  I’ll choose to remember Prince Rogers Nelson on my own terms. Just like first time I met him.  Strutting his white ruffled shirt, skin tight pants, big hair and a guitar at his side.   Giving us James Brown, Wilson Pickett and Stanley Clark all rolled into one small but powerful package.  You are missed.

 2013 Billboard Music Awards - Show



Why I Hate Apple

Image result for apple sucks

Ah, Apple. The company that is so near and dear to each one of us. Loved and hated by many, used by most. Almost anywhere you go, you’ll see someone with an Apple iPhone or a Mac computer. Although there are many complaints, it seems the public can’t get enough of this cult-like company. I don’t understand why this is, given all the impractical issues Apple provides for us. Apple takes everything logical and user-friendly, and throws it out the window. Yet somehow we continue to follow along like zombies, dumping our money into these devices and refusing to turn our backs from this company. I, myself still use an iPhone and reject the iOS update it continues to shove down my throat multiple times every day. Somehow, for some reason, I continue to fight. Apple has its upsides, but they only continue to dwindle. Although it has sometimes been a love/hate relationship, I do and will always continue to hate apple, and here is why.

Always Changing, Never Improving

Apple has had no shortage of updates and innovations over the years. In fact, with all the companies and services I’ve ever used and paid for, Apple has had by far the most updates, new releases, and changes. Normally, this could be considered a good thing. Change and innovation can be a very good thing. But in Apple’s case, this is far from the truth. Apple has turned “updates” into change just for the sake of change. It seems that every single year now, we get a new iPhone and a new operating system, and with each one we lose more functionality and gain more frustrations. I thought it was a joke when I heard that the iPhone 7 was going to be released without a headphone jack. Although each new iOS comes with one or two useful features that can be appreciated, the benefits are far outweighed by the frustrations.

In order to release a new iPhone every year or two, Apple has to keep changing something, right? Rather than taking time to build and add useful improvements, Apple continues to make stupid changes like increasing phone sizes, updating the interface and making it less user-friendly, and changing or removing certain functionalities within the phone. My dad still uses iTunes and buys music that he plays off his phone, but the music player has become so dumbed down and useless that he has lost the options he used to have for shuffling and tracking his playlists. As Apple moves forward into the unknown future, they leave behind many who didn’t ask for the change, but are forced to comply with it.

What I’ve realized is that Apple makes changes so they can sell new stuff, not so they can help improve the experience of their customers. I’d love to talk to somebody who thought removing the headphone jack was a good idea, and see what reasons they have other than to sell a new phone and new compatible earbuds. It’s unfortunate, but it’s obvious: Apple is focused primarily on finding new ways to make money, and doesn’t seem to think much about the consumers and what these changes might do to them. An article on The Guardian explains it like this, “Bill Gates uses his fortune to cure malaria, Apple uses its fortune to … make bigger fortunes.”

Apple designs a “new” iPhone almost yearly, and charges $700 for it even though it’s nearly identical to the previous model. Constant revamping of iTunes leaves us struggling to find basic functionalities, and we don’t seem to be bothered by the stockpile of old, useless Apple products we have laying around. With Apple’s constant progression through new operating systems, there is hardly room for old devices to be used anymore. I have an iPod that is only a couple of generations old, and it can hardly run any apps anymore because the operating system is so far out of date. Apple forces us to keep up with the times by continuing to buy their new products and update to their new operating systems.

Yet, somehow, in spite of everything, we keep buying these things. Why is this? Apple is a monstrous empire that sits atop the industry, and few are willing to challenge them. We, like slaves, continue to fall in line with their demands and continue to empty our wallets for them. When will it end? Will it always be this way? Apple rules the technology world, and until we stand up and do something about it, that is not going to change.

Christian Pulisic: Is this finally the face of US Soccer?

Christian Pulisic SI BIO


Christian Pulisic age 18 US national team player, Borussia Dortmund club team (German Bundesliga)

I have been a soccer fan since I can remember. I started playing organized soccer at the age of five and my dream was to play at any professional level at some point in my life. With that dream came the envy of watching the United States soccer teams and the talented and lucky individuals who got to put on the colors for their country. These games for me were what I always dreamed of playing in.

I have come to terms that I am not going to be a soccer star, believe me I understand that ship has sailed. Soccer is still a huge passion for me though. I have run podcasts in the past talking about the United States team and their performances through qualifiers up to the world cup.

For those of you who are unfamiliar United States Soccer it is on the rise, even more so in the past decade. Although numbers only seem to substantially spike at the start of each world cup every four years, there is still a steady number added to television ratings after the world cup ends. Soccer is more accessible in the United States now then ever before. We currently televise more English Premier League games then England does itself. The Seattle Sounders a team from the professional soccer league here in America (MLS) would be a top tier team in the Premier league if you were to look at their attendance numbers. Needless to say the sport continues to grow.

The thing that is growing the most over the past few years is the youth system. The thing that is essential to supplying talent to our professional leagues and national team. In the past the only time you would see a lot of players from the United States be successful is if they chose to live in Europe to try and make a career over there. The problem with that is, with a lack of experience and lack of competition in the United States often times players would be overmatched, and sit on the bench behind players who are more accustomed to the talent level. The growth of the youth academy is exciting and it is providing us with the next generation of players who will be integral to the United States Soccer program for years to come. Players like Jordan Morris, Bobby Wood, and Julian Green are all names that will be a part of US soccer players vocabulary for the next decade. The thing that has been missing for a long time is that player that is the face of the sport. For years it was Landon Donovan, but even Landon was not considered one of the best players in the world.

The Face of US Soccer

Many people will remember growing up and hearing the name Freddy Adu. Adu was expected to be the next thing in sports. His talent was undeniable and he was suppose to be the fuel that stoked the fire of soccer in the United States. Adu signed at the age of 14, and played professionally in the United States for a few years. His dazzling skills at the young age saw money running to buy cleats, and shinguards and try to emulate the youngster. Fast forward thirteen years and Freddy Adu is out of soccer.


Freddy Adu be introduced by commissioner Don Garber at the age of 14

The story of Freddy Adu

US soccer has been afraid to proclaim another face of the sport sense, as they felt partially responsible for putting so much pressure on such a young kid. Enter Christian Pulisic. Many of us who followed the sport had heard rumblings that there was a kid with American Citizenship climbing the ranks of one of Germany’s top club teams Borussia Dortmund. This has been something we have heard before, that there is an overseas talent that has potential. This one was different however. Borussia Dortmund is known for their youth system and their development of young players. When reports were coming out of the club that Pulisic is one of the best youth players they have ever produced, heads started to turn.

Pulisic was called into United States national team duty for the first time on March 29th, 2016 where he came on as a substitute against Guatemala. It was a short cameo and just a taste of the youngsters ability. It was in May when he became the youngest goalscorer in US national team history when people started to notice his ability in the States. Fast forward to now, Pulisic has been a mainstay in the national team’s first team. Not only that he has been the best player on the field in his last three games.

Heaping all of this praise on an eighteen year old may seem pointless as there is so much career left in front of them that it could go too many different ways to count. The stars are definitely aligning for US soccer at the right time though. Adding this focal point into a cast of several other talented youngsters, the talent pool for the United States has more potential than it has ever had.

The Verdict

Is Christian Pulisic going to be the face of United States soccer. I am going to be bold and say yes he is. Watching this kid there is something different about him. He has the poise and composure to be able to play on a field in front of 80,000 people in Germany and fighting off people a decade older than him gunning for his job on a regular basis. He has not ran from any challenge that has come his way, and his talent is undeniable.

He is currently being pursued by several different clubs in Europe, hoping to buy him from Dortmund to try and bring his talent to their team. Pulisic has been insistent that Germany is the place for him and that he won’t be moving. For what Dortmund has done for him thus far I hope he does stay. For the sake of the United States national team I hope he keeps the path he has been going down thus far. If he stays on this path there are bright times ahead for United States Soccer.

Renewable Energy, the future is now

(Johnston, 2016) This is a proposed theory of how the United States can get to 100% renewable energy in the next 33 years. Renewable Energy Proposal


With the results of the last election in the rear view mirror the thing that is most alarming to me is the environmental agenda of the Trump administration. I should rephrase, the lack of an environmental agenda of the Trump administration. Trump’s plan includes a massive reduction in the EPA’s budget (31%) and getting rid of several of Obama’s environmental initiatives. “First, let’s be clear: The proposed cuts are not really about saving money for the federal government.  EPA’s budget accounts for roughly 0.2 percent of the total federal budget, virtually the lowest funding level for any major federal agency.  And this is not new. Each Republican Congress has slashed EPA’s budget in recent years, so the agency’s current budget of roughly $8 billion is less than half of what it was in the 1970s, adjusted for inflation, and the lowest it has been since the mid-1980s.  Thus, the agency is already functioning at a bare bones level, especially with respect to compliance and enforcement.  So the White House proposal to cut EPA’s budget by another one-third is about undermining the agency’s mission, not about deficits or debt” (Driscoll, 2017). This shows a consistent rhetoric on the republican side to maintain any avenues that provide dollars and cents for their campaign contributors even if it means it is hurting the general public.

President Trump’s environmental plan

Trumps administration aside, the biggest step that we need to make collectively is getting rid of our dependence on fossil fuels. Easier said then done. The full circle of donations to politicians, and politicians continuing our dependence on them through lack of policies and laws is something that needs to be broken. The benefits of alternative energy are better not just for the environment but better for the human race as well.

Alternative Energy the types

“Renewable energy—wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric, and biomass—provides substantial benefits for our climate, our health, and our economy” (UCSUSA, 2013). Each of these energy sources provide new innovative ways to provide energy for our day to day lives. As some may not be practical in some areas of the country others may be. Mixing and matching to provide power through different avenues is the way to get away from our necessity of using fossil fuels.

About Alternative Energy


The chart above indicates how each type of energy resource contributes to the overall effects of global warming through greenhouse gas emission. It shows how non-renewable energy sources can damage the environment that they are being used in. It is not an unrealistic goal to get off of the dependence of fossil fuels in the near future. “In addition, a ground-breaking study by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory explored the feasibility and environmental impacts associated with generating 80 percent of the country’s electricity from renewable sources by 2050 and found that global warming emissions from electricity production could be reduced by approximately 81 percent” (UCSUSA, 2013).

Why Else is Renewable Energy Important?

On top of helping preserve the climate, renewable energy serves many other benefits as well. It improves the well being of communities, as clean air is proven to cut down the risk of health ailments “Climate change has significant implications for our health. Rising temperatures will likely lead to increased air pollution, a longer and more intense allergy season, the spread of insect-borne diseases, more frequent and dangerous heat waves, and heavier rainstorms and flooding. All of these changes pose serious, and costly, risks to public health” (UCSUSA, 2013). It creates more jobs, as adding infrastructure for the renewable energy has to be run and maintained by certain individuals.

Why Should You Care?

There has been a perpetuated pattern that is starting to get on my nerves and I hope you the reader feel the same way. The consistent culture of politics effecting the health and well-being of the public is at the bare minimum where the line needs to be drawn. By not caring about the environment you are not only harming the planet for our future children, the results could be seen much sooner than expected and the damages could be seen by you personally. Natural disasters will increase with the temperature increases, health in busy metropolises will grow worse with each gas filled car driving down the highway. By voting in politicians that are more concerned about their reelection than the planet that we live on, this mistreatment of the planet is going to continue. The clock is ticking and we are getting closer and closer to it hitting midnight.

Critical thinking even more critical than ever!

Wikipedia describes a conspiracy theory as ” an explanation of an event or situation that invokes a conspiracy without warrant, generally one involving an illegal or harmful act carried out by government or other powerful actors. Conspiracy theories often produce hypotheses that contradict the prevailing understanding of history or simple facts. The term is a derogatory one.”

The reason I think this definition is so important because it what isn’t the definition is the use of critical thinking skills in order to differentiate whether or not something is factual or false information.  In todays society especially the political climate, we are inundated with a multitude of information ranging from merely strong opinions, scientific facts, to false information sent by governments to get us to believe something false.  Sometimes the purpose is for exploitation of resources or in order to make an opinion more popular and regarded even thought it is false.

Conspiracy theory believers bug me

I don’t know why they really get under my skin but the fact that people knowingly spread false information or are ignorant of the facts and speak out of turn drives me nuts.  I know we all know a person like this, somebody at work, a relative or acquaintance that continues to spread false information.  Examples I can think of are the 9/11 theory, denial of the Holocaust, Anti-vaxxers, JFK assassination, Elvis lives and even those that believe the walk on the moon is a hoax (  These preposterous ideas may come from  a good place.  I mean that genuinely.  I think some try to find out why some bad things happen and try to make sense out of it, or deny it all together.  However, that doesn’t excuse their behavior.  It has now become our job as information gathers seekers and online readers to find out the truth.  Why, because we must have critical thinking to really go after find out facts to dispel them if they are not true.  We were discussing in class the topic of big data and it’s implications.  This was not a conspiracy  but an view that has factual data to back up.  When there are many falsehoods flying around, if somebody accuses a real idea, that is backed up in fact, we must be able to confront people with that information.

What would have happened if nobody questioned the use of DDT or Agent Orange.  There are REAL instances where bad shit is going on but nobody wants to say it’s bad for fear they are going to be “conspiracy theorists”.  Critical evaluation of information is imperative for us to fact check and find out what is real and what is fake.

All is not lost

Thank goodness there are websites, tools and methodology to help us decipher fact from fiction.  Unfortunately people have become lazy in the use of our own brains and depended only on the World Wide Web to spell it out.  After all if it’s on the internet it has to be true right! Sometimes it easy to look stuff on Snopes, a website that outlines some crappy information we are getting out there.  Unfortunately these websites are often under attack because the outlying opinions become very boisterous and accuse them of lying, so then we are back to the he said she said thing again.  The New York Times wrote an article on this very topic.

It really all boils down to you as smart individuals.  I have hope for us all, we have each other to rely on.  We also have good and real journalists that are moral and may tell the truth from time to time.  So next time when somebody tells you that the Holocaust is fake tell them to go jump in a lake.  But next time when asked if there has been drone strikes that killed civilians, or chemical weapons attacks on civilians there are multiple sources that can help you out.




Are vaccines really that important?

I have always been up on my vaccines so I had never really given much though to the subject. I am protected, so what do I have to worry about? I have a small child and while we are working on his vaccines over the course of his first year of life, I fear what could happen if he came into contact with a disease that he does not have full protection from yet. Recently in Minnesota we have seen an outbreak of measles among small children. It is understood that in some cultures vaccines can be against religions or beliefs. It is also understood that in some cases, due to medical conditions, people are not able to get vaccines. No matter the reason it can still be scary to think about. Are we on the verge of a massive outbreak that could spiral out of control at any time?

MPR recently posted an article that outlines the current measles outbreak in Minnesota. While what is discussed in this article only is for a small handful of children, the amount of children who don’t receive vaccines is much higher. If these children were to come into contact with the infected parties, we could be looking at many sick children.

My Grandmother contracted polio when she was 16 years old. As a result of the illness, she is now a paraplegic. I can’t imagine the devastation if we had an outbreak of any of these diseases today that could be prevented with a simple shot. speaks about the eradication of diseases. While we can’t force all people to be on board with vaccines and while I respect different viewpoints on the necessity of vaccines, what a great accomplishment to have all of these diseases eradicated from todays world.

Can ‘Nashville’ Survive Without Rayna James?

Nashville has been one of my favorite shows for the past couple years and 4 seasons that it has been on. Just to give a little bit of background on the show for those who don’t know what it is about, it follows two famous country artists lives. One is Rayna James (played by Connie Britton), a mother of two with a complicated love life and the other is Juliette Barns (played by Hayden Panettiere), a young new comer that strives to be as famous as Rayna James and would do anything it takes to further her career. There are also smaller characters that the show has developed over time including Rayna’s family (daughters Maddie and Daphne and husband Deacon) and on and off again love interests Scarlett and Gunnar. Between seasons four and five, the show had a network change. Previously, it was on ABC but was cancelled. After the fans of the show rallied and demanded that it be picked back up, the rights were bought by CMT and the first half of season 5 as aired on that network.


The Death of Rayna James:

Recently, Connie Britton’s character Rayna James was killed off the show. Connie Britton wasn’t overly clear about her reason for leaving but said that it had to do mostly with the fact that she wanted to challenge herself creatively and open herself up to new opportunities. There seems to be a pattern of her doing this with other shows including American Horror Story and Friday Night Lights. Connie Britton said that she has full confidence that the show will continue to be successful without her but the fans aren’t as convinced, especially after fighting so hard to keep it going after season 4.

In the article above, author Jennifer Lind-Westbrook poses the question on every fans mind after one of the two main characters has left the show – can Nashville survive without Rayna James?

In the article she gives her opinions on what she thinks the show writers, directors, and producers should focus on going forward in order maintain the success of the show. She outlines four specific things:

  1. Move on from Rayna’s death quickly and put more focus on her immediate family characters in the show
  2. Have more music in the show
  3. Bring back Juliette’s old personality (recently her characters moral compass has been more on track since a near death experience)
  4. Start going more in depth in other character’s stories such as Scarlett’s and Gunnar’s romance

Although I do agree with some things she said I think that most of these things will just hurt the show. Rayna’s character was the guiding moral compass of the show and she provided support and advice to every character in show at some point or another. I think the recent change to Juliette’s personality was strategically done by the show creators in anticipation of Rayna’s departure and having her go back to her old ways would only hurt the show. They were trying to make Juliette’s previously not so nice character into someone that modeled the characteristics of Rayna. I think they need to bring some new characters in, preferably some bigger hollywood names, to maintain interest in the show instead of focus even more on the current cast. I think what would really keep viewers interested is if one of the new cast mates started going after Juliette’s career in the way she went after Rayna’s in the first couple season’s of the show. This would bring the show full circle and further develop the main character. However, only time will tell what will happen with Nashville on CMT.

green eggs

Story time can be family time.  It’s a great opportunity for you and your children to have fun, learn and discover new ideas.  But most of all it’s the gift that keeps on giving.  Creating healthy minds, active imaginations and open minded attitudes.  Do you remember your first trip to the library?  What was your favorite childhood book?

My Story

My Mom and Dad enjoyed reading and music.  My mom encouraged us to learn a new word every day.  She would say ” There’s plenty of room in your brain for another word. Words are brain food .”   My Uncle Allen was a librarian at the New York Law School and we would do the New York Times crossword puzzle everyday and work on the Sunday  puzzle throughout the week.  Our  Sunday visits to Grandma’s house included food, fun, laughs and words.

I’ve always enjoyed reading.  It gave me a sense of independence and private time.  Just me and my stories.  My parents created “story hour”.  Each child chose a book. Weekly we would sit together and read our favorite stories to one another.  My sister Evelyn  created voices based on how she imagined the characters personalities.  The characters came alive.  My visits to the library reinforced my creativity and prepared me for all the stages of my education and motherhood.   The foundation was laid and the tradition continues.  My son Mtume Gant never leaves home without something to read.  He’s an actor, filmmaker, playwright, musician, poet and teacher.


  • “Did you know there are health related benefits to reading to your children?”

brain development , builds language , literacy and social skills

According to the journal published by the American Academy of Pediatrics: Literacy promotion: An Essential Component of Primary Care Pediatric Practice (AAP) recommends that pediatric providers promote early literacy beginning in infancy through five years. “Parents listen and children learn.”

Unfortunately, annually 1 in 3 American children begin kindergarten without the adequate language skills they need to read,  says Pamela C High, MD, FAAP Past Chairperson on Early Childhood, Adoption, and Dependent Care

“Reading proficiency by third grade is the most significant predictor of high school graduation and career success. ” AAP News  (Lori O’Keefe) June 2014          

Parents , I challenge you to take the lead and read to and with your children and grandchildren.  It’s the best food you can ever give a child.  Brain food!!!!!  Visit the library.  It’s free and it’s fun.