My Stomach Sank Just A Little

June 29, 2015

Originally posted on Pamela Kay Noble Brown:

Update:  On Friday, June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex unions are now to be recognized as legal marriages in all 50 states. This original blog below expressed my thoughts three years ago when it was up to individual states to decide the legality of it all. It even more so reflects my feelings now that it has become the law of the land, and I feel compelled to post it again. Thank you.

“My stomach sank just a little”. These were the words spoken by a pastor Wednesday evening after President Barack Obama infamously became the first sitting American President to support same-sex marriage. I have to admit that these words also come very close to describing the tightening feeling knotted in my own gut the moment I heard the President’s interview. I’ll tell you why.

Every since I first heard of Barack Obama, I…

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No matter how hot it is, you’ll never catch me without my _______________

June 17, 2015

Whew, the heat. Ahem. Let me try to start over to see if I can chat with you dear readers this afternoon without my keyboard melting beneath my very hands. Chances are if you reside in the southeastern part of the United States, you are in the midst of a heatwave. In South Carolina we have spent the last four or five days with the temperatures climbing up to 100 degrees during the afternoons. Most people are waiting until nightfall to go run their errands, but last night it was still 97 degrees as late as 9:30 p.m., so what’s a body to do? The funny thing is that there are some things we just will not sacrifice to keep ourselves cool.

Photo Credit:  brookelicious.deviantart.com

Photo Credit: brookelicious.deviantart.com

Case in point, everyone knows that heat plus humid equals hair that is a mess. Even as I walk around with a cup in hand to catch the sweat as it drips off of my face, you will not see me without a hairhat. What’s a hairhat? Well I’m glad you asked. It is my fond term for wigs, weaves or any other thing that doesn’t grow out of your scalp, but does serve to make you feel well put together when you leave the house. They’re hot and miserable, but look oh so cute. 

Photo Credit:  laremihandmade.blogspot.com

Photo Credit: laremihandmade.blogspot.com

Another thing we will not sacrifice is some sort of a sleeve once our upper arms have reached a certain level of elasticity or, shall we say, lack thereof. Sundresses abound and it is hard in this season of the year to find something with a little material. No one would dream of wearing long sleeves in this heat. Why that would be practically suicidal. And that’s why I and other women are forever grateful to the sainted person who invented the shrug. These marvels usually extend to just above the waist and offer coverage to the arms without being too hot. For the summer you can find them in flimsy gauzy materials that let the breeze in, while at the same time making your shoulder/upper arm area look great.

What is that one thing you won’t go outside without, no matter how hot it is?

Cheers to a fabulously hot spring and summer.  Do stay safe and I would be remiss if I didn’t remind us all to check on our elderly friends and family to make sure they have air conditioners or fans.

What does basketball have to do with second chances?

June 11, 2015
Why people are fascinated by LeBron James. (Photo Credit:  www.flickr.com)

Why people are fascinated by LeBron James. (Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com)

I know it ain’t over until the fat lady sings. She’s probably just warming up, but LeBron James has got to be feeling pretty good right about now. The NBA Finals aren’t over, but the Cleveland Cavaliers are holding it out over the Golden State Warriors, 2-1 in the series. All three games have been won by less than ten points, indicative of the thrilling nail-biting competitions these games have been.

 
Since my all-time favorite player is Magic Johnson and he hasn’t played in a while, it has been a long time since I regularly followed professional basketball. But there’s just something quite compelling about James. Whether foolhardy, cocky or simply drained from playing on a losing team, James left the Cavaliers in 2010. He left blazes behind, but it wasn’t a blaze of glory. People were actually burning photos of him and his jerseys all over town due to the abrupt and seemingly cold-hearted way he left.

 
He surfed on over to Miami amidst dreams of a “super team” comprised of James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. Like many of the best laid plans this mighty threesome didn’t quite live up to all of the hype. Then James came back to Cleveland. Many fans still held a grudge over the fact that he’d left them in the first place. But the majority was just glad to have him back no matter how it happened. And then they started winning, and suddenly they are in the playoffs.

 
If the truth be told, I think the appeal of James’ journey goes far beyond sports. It reminds us all of that secret (or maybe not so secret) stupid decision we once made that we would give half of what we own to be granted a do over for, because we know it would have changed the trajectory of our lives. For many of us it may not seem like it’s possible to take a mulligan. However, when we see James getting his second chance with the Cavaliers, we can’t help but cheer to the top of our lungs because one day it just might be us getting that second chance in life. I thank you.

Don’t get married until you read this; it could change your life

June 9, 2015
This is the easy part. Your life growing together in Christ is where the work really begins. (Photo Credit:  en.wikipedia.org)

This is the easy part. Your life growing together in Christ is where the work really begins. (Photo Credit: en.wikipedia.org)

Hi friends. Catch your breath and pull up a chair. Believe me when I tell you I just read one of the best articles on marriage I have ever read. I told my friend that first shared it on Facebook, that I feel it should be required reading for everyone before they walk down the aisle. A lot of it should be common sense, but I guess it’s just so easy to get caught up in the blissful feelings of love and forget about mundane things like common sense. So I am sharing the entire article with the disclaimer that full credit for the authorship and ownership (and all rights included therein)  of this article that appeared on boundless.org belongs to author Felicia Alvarez. And now without further ado, I bring to you this game changer in the litanies on marriage.

Your Future Marriage is Bigger Than You

When you first meet Ryan and Cyndi Livingston, you are immediately drawn in by their smiles and genuineness. They truly care about everyone. At church picnics, while everyone else is comfortably sitting with their group of friends, they spot the not-so-popular or new people who are by themselves and go chat with them. They are a young couple with three beautiful little girls, but you can tell that while they love each other and their children deeply, their main passion is Jesus. Their passion for Christ overflows into a sincere love for others.

I had the privilege of interacting with them multiple times each week at church functions, and every time I was blown away by how they served the Lord together. One evening in particular, as I watched this couple pray together with an elderly lady from our church, it dawned on me: This is how marriage should be.

Marriage should be about serving the Lord — about reaching people with the Gospel and impacting the world for Christ.

Yet we forget that simple truth so easily. We think life and relationships are about us and our happiness. But in reality, our future marriage is part of a bigger picture. Not only does it affect us as individuals, it affects our children, our family, our church, our community, our world, and it even affects eternity.

Start With the Right Outlook

I had always known that marriage was about Christ and His kingdom, but I had lost sight of it in my search for a spouse. I had forgotten that I wasn’t just looking for a roommate, a financial partner, a lover, or a father for my future children; I was looking for someone with whom I could build a godly legacy.

It saddened me that I had failed to apply this concept. In the past, I would date someone who was cute, had a good job, and went to church on Sunday — but his influence didn’t make me more like Jesus. Even though I knew he was pulling me away from Christ, I was so desperate for a boyfriend I would stay in the relationship.

Sound familiar?

Unfortunately, I’ve met many Christian girls who have also done this. Let’s face it: The pickings are slim, so we are happy to accept anyone who goes to church (even if it’s just once a month) and treats us semi-decently. It’s so easy to excuse the truth — that he isn’t the person God intended for you — because we want companionship, we want marriage. But a poor marriage could actually hinder you from doing all God has for you to do.

The Bible doesn’t say, “It is God’s will that you should be married.” Instead, 1 Thessalonians 4:3 says, “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified.” Therefore, God’s will for all His children, whether married or unmarried, is sanctification.

Your future spouse will be the primary influence of your spiritual life, so choose carefully. We must remember that marriage will not only affect our children and community spiritually, but it will also significantly impact our own spiritual growth for better or for worse.

How to Find a Legacy Man, and Does He Even Exist?

At this point, you’re probably thinking that the odds of finding a godly legacy man are as likely as finding a leprechaun. Let me assure you: Godly men do exist. However, sometimes we don’t see them because we’re not focused on the right things.

Timothy Keller in his book The Meaning of Marriage shares some wisdom from his wife, Kathy:

Most people, when they are looking for a spouse, are looking for a finished statue when they should be looking for a wonderful block of marble. Not so that you can create the kind of person you want, but rather because you see what kind of person Jesus is making…. When looking for a marriage partner, each must be able to look inside the other and see what God is doing and be excited about being part of the process of liberating the emerging ‘new you.’

Bottom line: Don’t look for perfection, but do look for evidence of godly growth.

I’ve listed below some questions that, when answered humbly and honestly, may help guide you as you seek who the Lord has for you.

1. Does he love Christ the most?

If he loves Christ the most, you can be sure that love will extend into how he treats you and others around him. You will see godly fruit of “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” in his everyday life (Galatians 5:22-23).

Fruit is the evidence of God working in a person’s life. If a man is growing in Christ, you can rest assured that he will lead with love, and you can confidently trust him with your life and future.

2. Does he encourage you to become more like Jesus?

In Sacred Marriage, author Gary Thomas writes, “We must not enter marriage predominately to be fulfilled, emotionally satisfied, or romantically charged, but rather to become more like Jesus Christ.”

Our goal should be to be with someone who spurs us on in our Christian walk and whom we can likewise encourage. This encouragement comes from his living out his faith by talking to you about what the Lord is doing in his life and praying and studying God’s Word with you.

3. Does he love you as Christ loved the church?

Ephesians 5:25 says, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” If he loves you as Christ loves the church, he will love you sacrificially and strive to put you first in his life before hobbies, friends and work.

4. Can you serve the Lord with him?

Our purpose in marriage is to multiply the kingdom of God, and that doesn’t just mean by having lots of kids. It also means by reaching the world for Christ. If you and your boyfriend are currently serving the Lord together, that is exactly how it should be.

My Story

I did not ignore these questions when I first met my husband, Tim. I took a different approach than I had in previous relationships by centering the relationship on the Lord rather than my own needs or wants. I asked myself, “Does this relationship have the potential for godly growth?” and “Based off what I know about this man, could I see myself serving the Lord with him for years to come?” The answer was “yes,” so we continued to seek the Lord together as a couple.

In previous relationships, guys had told me all the right things, but they never lived out their words. I then realized that it’s not so much about hearing the right answers as it is seeing the right answers.

The reason I trusted Tim to be my husband was because I had not just heard, but experienced each one of the answers. I had witnessed his leadership and servant heart on a daily basis. Tim led me to the Lord and made me a better, godlier person. Because I had seen the fruit of godly leadership, I had a peace that I had never before experienced in a relationship. The Lord affirmed in my heart that Tim was the one with whom I would build, by the grace of God, a Christ-centered legacy.

Summing It Up

A godly legacy is not built on shared hobbies, but on a shared pursuit of Christ. Marriage is bigger than us — it’s about more than satisfying our wants and needs.

From experience, I know it’s easy to get caught up in a consumer or holier-than-thou mentality when looking for a legacy, so be careful. Remember, you are not just looking out for your best interest, but also for his. You should want him to find someone with whom he can also serve the Lord. In fact, if it’s a wrong relationship, acting in his best interest might mean breaking up with him in a loving and gracious way.

You will never find perfection, but with the Lord’s guidance, you can find someone with whom to build a godly legacy. So date with that heavenly mind, and know that your marriage today will influence the generations of tomorrow.

Hats off to Ma and Pa West; family values winning out

June 4, 2015
So far, so good. The Wests seem to be winning. (Photo Credit: www.flickr.com)

So far, so good. The Wests seem to be winning. (Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com)

It seems that several sources, including the NY Daily News, are reporting that Kanye West and Kim Kardashian are expecting another baby. Unconfirmed rumor has it that the couple may even be expecting twins. And honestly, if it is true, most of us have to admit to a bit of surprise at this growing family.

 
They always seemed like an unlikely pair even when they were just dating. He just seemed so hyper and manic, given to outbursts at the most inappropriate times. And she appeared to be a groupie whose fame was predicated on homemade videos of the impolite kind. But lo and behold, they met and fell in love, and by all accounts seem to be loving and wonderful parents to their baby girl named after compass points. Well her daddy’s last name is West, so an argument could be made for giving her the first name North.

 
So though I may have been a little skeptical at the beginning, I must say I am really starting to enjoy watching this family expand. And I’ll tell you why, although I’m sure it won’t be popular in this age of everything goes. The fact is I love that Kim is having all these kids with her…wait for it…husband. What a novel concept right?

 
I actually stopped watching “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” because it seemed like almost every nine months we were force fed a pregnant Kourtney happily counting up reasons not to get married, but, instead, to keep procreating. Not the best message to be sending out to the impressionable young ladies watching the show. But now with the Wests doing their own thing, I think they might have a viable chance at a spinoff. I would definitely watch. Life is so funny, huh? What with the Daddy Jenner news, who would have thought Kanye and Kim would be some of the more traditional members of the family? You just never know.

Bruce Jenner has in essence exposed the medical profession; it can be done

June 2, 2015
Has to be one of the fittest grandpa's in recent memory (Photo Credit es.wikipedia.org_

Has to be one of the fittest grandpa’s in recent memory. Wait till you see how well he cleans up. (Photo Credit es.wikipedia.org)

Was Bruce Jenner right or wrong to introduce himself publicly as a woman when he’s got a wife (ex, soon-to-be ex, oh I don’t know, it’s all so confusing) and children? After all, he presented himself to the world as a father and husband, so does this mean the whole family image was a facade? Well those are interesting questions and I’m sure they will be tackled around endless dinner tables. So we will leave that trip down Alice’s wonderland for another dinner party.

My thoughts, well actually my rant today, is on the subject of Bruce’s hair, or his hairline to be more precise. I can’t believe the apparent disparity in the availability of treatments for the haves and the have nots. Take a quick look around the office, grocery store, church or wherever you happen to be the next time you have access to view a sizable gathering of female heads. I submit to you that almost half of the women in any group (ages 30-65) will have the beginning of thinning around the edges, or maybe a touch of thinning right at the crown of the head. I confess I suffer from edges so thin that it’s been over a year since I’ve been able to comfortably pull back my hair in a carefree bouncy ponytail. Suffice it to say that bangs have become one of my closest and most constant companions.

Granted, articles abound offering theories on why this trend seems to be occurring. Some say the hormones in the foods we eat are unhealthy and that hair volume and vibrancy is an indicator of our overall health. I’ve also read that the stress we put on our hair in the name of good grooming (perms, curly kits, dyes, extreme heat and braids) can have long-term detrimental effects. All of these things may be true, and if so, it’s likely that the blame for the condition of each of our heads of crowning glory lies squarely on our own shoulders, literally. Whatever the reason, there is clearly a problem as evidenced by the late night reign of hair rescue infomercials like those for the Bosley Hair Club.

My point is that if a man, that’s a right a man, can have a hairline as thick and face-framing as Jenner’s on the Vanity Fair cover, there is no reason the common woman shouldn’t be able to get the same thing. We should not have to sweat under hot wigs in 100-degree weather. We should not have to avoid standing near light bulbs for fear the reflection might show a peek of our scalp. The hair extension industry should not be poaching nearly a billion dollars annually of our hard-earned money, simply because we feel we have no other choice.

Whatever hormones Jenner was given to facilitate his transformation obviously had a positive effect on his hair and edges. Doctors around the country should immediately start making this a part of thinning hair treatment, and insurance companies should not give them any flack. In their silly little bottom line books, the big insurance giants may initially balk at covering these costs by calling them cosmetic, rather than medical concerns. However, when you’re happy chemicals are released in your body and brain that have an overall uplifting effect on the body, and can foster good health.

I believe it would increase our self-confidence, and sense of freedom to let our hair literally blow in the wind. If the technology exists, and unless that hairline was drawn on it clearly does, then let’s use it to the advantage of all women. Hair thinning around the edges, doctors say live with it, it’s a part of aging. Yet Jenner has great edges at 65. Hairs sprouting on the chin, doctors say live with it and use tweezers. Yet Jenner’s chin is as smooth as a baby’s bottom. Well I say enough is enough. Obviously something can be done. Why should transgenders have all the best doctors, and why can’t our doctors in Middle America take lessons from them for the benefit of all society? One for all and all for one. Let’s do it!!!

Student Loans: They’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse, even though you probably should

May 28, 2015
Student loan debt can end up having a death grip on many of our young graduates. (Photo Credit:  www.flickr.com)

Student loan debt can end up having a death grip on many of our young graduates. (Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com)

Student Loans. These two words can strike fear into the hearts of everyone from the newly graduated entry-level employee to the CEO who has been with the company for 25 years. Why is this? Because chances are they both are making payments. Sounds farfetched? Well it is not. The student loan gang has resources that make mob organization collections seem like Avon ladies ringing doorbells to pick up their money. No matter how many years have gone by, no matter how many times you’ve moved, changed your name or entered an FBI witness protection program for an unrelated matter, the Student Loan Mafia (SLM) will find you. They won’t break your leg, but the incessant calls can make you feel like banging your head against a wall.

Let me backtrack and say that student loans have seemed like a Godsend to many, including myself, who might not otherwise have had the opportunity to pursue a post graduate degree. For that I am eternally grateful. But if I had known then what I know now, I would have never taken out one of those loans. I would have worked, saved up some money and then taken one class at a time, paying cash, until I obtained my degree.

However, for many of us, the lure of that money paying for classes gave us the opportunity to fully focus on our studies and exams without having to concern ourselves with grueling work schedules. And truth be told, after the loan check came and the classes were paid for, there was usually a little something left over to get a few groceries to eat and gasoline for the car. Okay, looking back it was a pretty sweet life.

Then came the big crock at graduation. The Secretary of State of Georgia at the time gave a riveting speech that had us believing the job world would welcome us with open arms because we’d furthered our education. She said, “You will find that your degree will almost immediately command $10,000 more onto your salary.” Strange that I can remember her quote so vividly after 11 years, but there are two reasons for that. One, we believed her and it had us graduates cheering wildly and bursting with hope. And two, it’s vivid because of the betrayal I felt when it never happened, at least not for me, at least not yet. I can’t help it because like the saying goes, hope springs eternal, doesn’t it?

Back to my original point of this post which is the stress the SLM puts on people. There should be some kind of clause written in the student loan contract that allows the loan to be forgiven if you come out owing $100,000 and most starting salaries are around $26,000. That’s just way too much of a disparity to be reasonable. The poor graduate ends up skipping the rent every other month in order to pay the loan. It becomes a vicious cycle as the next month it is the car payment that is passed over in lieu of paying the SLM. The collectors, who probably owe loans themselves, are desperately cutthroat in their attempts to solicit payments. Now to be fair, they do give you six months after graduation before the first payment is due, but sometimes it takes long than that to secure the kind of salary that can handle those payments.

These things being said, the SLM does have a right to be paid. Anyone raised with any sense of right and wrong knows that if you borrow some money, the correct thing to do is pay back what you owe at the agreed upon interest rates. So it’s just something that I and other SLM debtors will have to deal with until we make our last payment.

P.S. Congratulations to all of the graduates this year. Keep all of your options open and before you put ink to paper to take out a student loan, please consider the military, Peace Corps and other ways to finance your education. There are also professions like teaching, firefighting and others that will pay off your student loans if you work for them. The possibilities are endless. Your accomplishment in obtaining your degree is to be admired and, despite my rant, is something that you should always be proud of. Enjoy your day and bask in the celebration.

Is a snowman better than no man?

May 26, 2015
Set the standards for the love you want, and then relax and revel in it.  (Photo credit: kolibanat.deviantart.com-)

Set the standards for the love you want, and then relax and revel in it. (Photo credit: kolibanat.deviantart.com-)

There was a very interesting conversation this morning on the Tom Joyner Morning Show. They were discussing relationships. The guest was an author who’d written a book about the interaction between men and women. She said that she’d like to start a movement wherein women would not take any crap. My grandmother and mother often used the phrase that some women seemed to think “a snowman is better than no man”. That means that a man whose professed love, loyalty, commitment and honesty were as fleeting as the ice in a snowman melting on a hot day, had just as much of a chance of finding a good woman as a true blue man did. And this is because some women would rather take any kind of treatment than to be single.

She wants women to set higher standards for the kind of treatment we receive from men, right down to the smallest details. I’d never really thought about texting in a negative way because it is so much a part of our society. But this author said that texting to ask for a first date is an absolute no-no. She said that a woman who allows this is setting the stage for herself to be associated with just another of a man’s gadgets or playthings. She said it is up to the woman to require that she be treated well, properly courted and formally asked for a date via an actual telephone call.

Another thing she strongly discourages is women setting up residence in the world of wonder. In this scenario, the man, whether consciously or subconsciously, keeps the woman in a slightly off balanced state of mind with his inconsistent behavior. She said if a man is more than 10 or 15 minutes late (especially for the first 2-3 dates) and has not called to apologize and let you know that he is on the way, you should let it go. Better yet, if he stands you up without calling at any stage in the game, let it go.

I agree, because we are not detectives, well not many of us, and we should not have to be “wondering” all the time. Wondering if he is coming, wondering if he’s in a car accident unconscious and can’t call us, wondering is his phone acting up again, wondering why we didn’t immediately ask for a family member’s number so we will always have a way to reach him.

Yes, although wonder can be an awe-filled state of joy; too much wonder in a relationship can lead to a constant state of question-filled doubt. So when it comes to love maybe we can all just agree to leave Wonder to the business of making bread, and leave the romance to Cupid.

 

 

Will the real bikers please stand up: mayhem and memorials

May 19, 2015
Bikers have hearts too. (Photo Credit:  home.fotocommunity.de)

Bikers have hearts too. (Photo Credit: home.fotocommunity.de)

It was very disheartening to hear about the nine motorcyclists that were killed in a violent exchange of gunfire this past Sunday. In the past two decades the connotation of a biker gang has changed. Bikers became infamous in Hollywood movies that portrayed them as rough-around-the-edges drifters, who rarely put roots down in a town long enough to fall in love. In addition to the wall of isolation surrounding their hearts, they were almost always shown to have an affinity for abiding on the wrong side of the law. They’d thunder into town, break a few hearts, deal a few drugs, and ride out in a cloud of dust. Even in modern times, they always seemed to find a town with at least one dirt road that was perfect for kicking up of cloud of dust.

The 1969 film “Easy Rider” provided one of the most intimate glimpses into the day-to-day events and mentality of bikers that audiences had ever seen. It showed less of them as flat stereotypes, but rather men of many sides like everyone else. Despite what just happened this weekend, or maybe to give a balanced perspective, I wanted to share that I recently saw a new (for me) and more tender side of bikers. A co-worker’s father had passed away and I attended the homegoing services to show my respect. As I turned into the chapel parking lot, I saw row upon row of motorcycles everywhere and became a little nervous. After clicking the button to make sure all four of my doors were locked, I slowed down just enough to make sure the numbers on the building matched the address of the funeral home I was seeking. I parked and walked slowly towards the chapel, clutching my purse tightly.

I was impressed and surprised at the beauty of seeing both male and female bikers lining both sides of the sidewalk from the street to the top of the stairwell entering the chapel. Many of them were called up later to make remarks after the eulogy. What emerged was the picture of a man remembered for his love of God, family and bikes. One man broke down in tears as he remembered himself and the deceased (only 79 at the time) embarking on a cross-country ride. As more of them told stories, I was educated as I learned about the many charities that bikers participate in and the untold causes they raise money for such as researching cures and granting scholarships. I gained a newfound respect for them that will last long after the memories of the  tender way they lifted their comrade’s casket and ushered him out of the chapel.

So as this Waco story continues to unfold and investigators sift through evidence, let us remember we should try our darndest not to paint any group with one big brush. The people who started this shoot-’em-up brawl were just a few bad pages out of a fascinating book of adventurers.

 

 

“American Idol”: cancelled, but never forgotten

May 12, 2015

Audition of season one winner Kelly Clarkson

The hit television show “American Idol” is coming to a close after 15 seasons, according to an article in Variety magazine. Surprisingly many people via social media outlets are expressing thoughts that the show is past its prime, and should be put out to pasture. The producers want to see the show end on a “celebratory note” rather than be kicked out of the ring, holding onto the ropes with bloody fingers.

I will be a little sad to see it go. I think the show is a phenomenon! It has definitely fired up the dreams and hopes of many young hopefuls. Kids lined up for regional auditions and drove, or had their parents drive them, sometimes 12 hours or more for a chance to grab the elusive brass ring. I remember watching from the edge of my seat as a few contestants over the years admitted that they had called in sick, or even quit their jobs.

I would almost hold my breath rooting for them to make it. The courage and determination to risk it all on an audition lasting a few moments? The common sense (after all bills have to be paid) in me did many a battle with the part of me that admired the daring that they’d shown.  You only live once and it was exhilarating to see these teens and adults experiencing life to the fullest.

The article lists some of the “American Idol” alumni whose stardom shot into the stratosphere. Kelly Clarkson was the very first winner in 2002. She is still going strong, having won two Grammys in 2014:  Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Pop Solo Performance.  And she’s not the only one continuing to make great music. And it’s all the more endearing to see their success because we feel like we were on this ride with them from the beginning of the first nervous sweaty moments, to their evolutions to full out rock stars. Remember these gems?

  • Chris Daughtry
  • Ruben Studdard
  • Fantasia Barrino
  • Carrie Underwood
  • Jennifer Hudson

I’ve enjoyed all of the judges, but my favorite group was the first panel which consisted of Simon Cowell (the judge you loved to hate), Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul. Their original chemistry was great. Even their little spats made you chuckle. But in the end they usually got it right, and picked the best talent to progress to the next round. There are whispers that the finale might feature visits from some of the past judges and performers from the show. That’s going to be a night to remember and, God willing, I plan to be right there watching. Make sure you’re logged into Facebook and Twitter if you watch it so we can chat amongst ourselves as we snack on popcorn and watch the end of a golden era.  :)


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