Tuesday, May 22, 2018


Our Shaming Culture
 Could shaming and bullying be the reason why suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people between the ages of 15 and 24?  For Every suicide, there are 25 others who have thought about committing suicide.
I recall at time in the sixties when women’s liberation was at its peak.  A popular TV commercial for Enjoli Perfume was advertised as the 8 hour perfume for a 24 hour woman. The lyrics   began, “I am woman, and I can make the bacon, bring it home and fry it up in a pan, and never, never let you forget you’re s a man.” Like me, everyone soon believed women could do it all, and that those who didn’t work, were less than, taking on the label,”Just a homemaker.”
 Recently I came across a Ted Talk,   Monica Lewinsky - The Price of Shame .  As a woman I was touched by Monica’s 1998 story. Monica’s was the first story to ever hit the internet and mushroom into a global incident in less than a heartbeat. Her humiliating and now global   story became almost lethal for Monica. 

At the vulnerable age of 22, as a woman whose only mistake was she fell in love with the wrong man, was now a product of the internet and a new international market was born – Cultural Shaming.

Cultural shaming now touches every part of the universe, from a personal level of a bully in the school hall, all the way our top political leaders telling us how we should feel about any particular aspect of humanity.  
At a talk show in LA, Michelle Obama   spoke to a full audience of women, eagerly waiting to hear her message.  The former first lady proceeded to voice her concern for “Us,” as women.

She addressed the excited crowd who readily hung on every word of her artfully prepared monologue. Michelle had their full attention and   admiration as she informed them they were misguided and have no confidence or self-esteem because otherwise, they would have voted for Hillary Clinton for President.

  The audience applauded with fervor. Did they accept Michelle’s message that if only they had voted the Hilary ticket their lives would be better, and they would be confident, full of self-esteem and know the way? 

Suicide is a serious problem with our young people and focusing only on the bully in the school halls is not the answer. The problem is global and will be difficult to contain because it is a valuable and profitable market. 
What is the answer?  The answer is never, ever demeaning someone or some group.  

Empathy and Positivity is  always the cure. The problem  today is there is  no profit in these commodities.

My answer? Only associate with those who believe in you, those who will root for you even when you are drowning in the mire of your own mistakes.  Expect no less from those around you. Michelle Obama may have served as first lady, but brazen doubt and criticism is not the path to change. 

Be sure to check out Sportster's upcoming blog, The Cat's Perspective On Reading, Writing And Life . Sportster philosophizes on  the issue as only he can. 
Mark May 29th  on your calendar so you won't miss  his upcoming blog titled, Making mistakes makes us greater. 

Thank you for listening.

Coming Soon

 The Grieving Gift, my most recent book, portrays a young girl’s experience of becoming pregnant In the Bible belt of the Midwest during the early 60’s at the age of 16, when American values labeled you damaged goods and religion stamped you as a sinner. The character, Janice,  suffered the bullying  and shaming  attitude of society  and religion, yet  manages to withstand  as a single parent in  a world she doesn’t understand, because she had not been raised to know that her pregnancy was  a moral sin  and legally wrong. Perhaps she survived only because the internet did not exist. Her shame was limited to the public and religious community of the small town where she lived.

Oh, and don’t forget!! Readers’ reviews  keep writers motivated.


Other books by Judy Howard: JUDY’S AMAZON  AUTHOR  PAGE

Sportster's Blog: The Cat's Perspective Of Reading, Writing And Life

Click on the link below to find out more about Judy's books.

Safe travels!

Friday, May 4, 2018

Stand Back Up

Sometimes life kicks your butt. Right? 

Aaah, yes! Everyone’s been there before. Laid out on the floor. Sometimes you’re afraid and you just don’t feel that tough.
But you stand back up, right??!!

Six months ago I decided to have hip replacement surgery because I was nearly laid out on the floor, for real. In the beginning, I was going to beat Mr. Arthritis. You can believe during the last four years, I gave him a good fight. But the Old Codger kept upping his game and I finally caved. Sometimes you have to lose the battle to win the war.
Six months, the waiting time for surgery, became like six months in cat time…. a long time. So what does one do when the world stops, drops you off and then proceeds to pass you by?
I went crazy.

What? Six months? No drive thru window for hip replacements?  Am I supposed to live like a gimp, unable to do anything for what already has been forever? My blood pressure spiked. Surgery was pushed even further into the future –– my now depressing, lousy far-away future. I am not happy.

My only choice –– Acceptance.

 Until I get a handle on the patience, which acceptance requires, a crowd begins to form inside my head. Already used to sharing my bed with Arthritis Guy at night, I calm him down by overdosing him with Ibuprofen.
But now Downer Depression Guy has entered the scene and invited his dad, Father Time.  They both remind me that I am now, officially old.  Soon this will be my future for real, they say. I  saw them laughing. And then Intimidator Thug   shoves his way into my overcrowded brain, warning me to be careful or else things will get worse. My mind begins to feel like a jail cell on Saturday night.
Life’s solutions are rarely easy to acquire. There’s no app. No “Easy Lives -R-Us” stores. Sure, there are pills and pot, but they are not quite the fix I was looking for. So what can I do?

I  Stand back up, kick ass, and break out.

I packed up the motorhome. With no choice but to travel with my four uninvited occupants, I drive to Arizona making stops in Yuma, then   Quartzite and on to Phoenix. The vastness of the dessert, the blue-sky weather and the open roads are like happy pills and pot rolled into one big fat joint. I’m as gone as gone can be, feeling free and wild.
Downer Depression Guy, his dad and  Terminator Thug, abandon their cause somewhere on Interstate 10 between Quartzite and Phoenix. They had heard stories about the unwanted who mysteriously disappear in the desert.  Arthritis Guy was stoned on Ibuprofen. He was not going to bail so easily.
After spending a  soul –warming  month  in the Arizona sun  with good friends and family, my spirits rose to new heights and my blood pressure dropped to reasonable levels. I  traveled back  to California to finish out my time in Hemet at  the plush, Golden Palms Village RV Resort  with old and new RV friends before I  turn myself in into the  Saw-Bone Surgery Center in Redlands. 
All of this time I never stopped writing. Writing is my salvation. I wrote from dawn to dusk.  Now looking back it seemed those endless days of writing while I waited,  became like living in the Magic Kingdom. It was as if Tinkerbell’s sparkling wand swept through the air and  the time served and ....poof!  My two year project, The Grieving Gift,  emerged.

Do your work –– not just your work and no more ––
 But   a little more for lavishing sake ––
 That little more, which is worth all the rest.
And if you suffer –– as you must ––
And if you doubt –– as you must ––
Do your work –– Put your heart into it and the sky will clear.
Then out of your very doubt and suffering, will be found ––
The Supreme Joy of Life.

Author unknown.

Meet my crazy, but capable Rehab team!!!
By the time you are reading this, the war will be done, Mr. Arthritis will have succumbed to the saw blade,  and I will be taking my first painless steps to a new freedom and happiness. 


On a death watch, you get to know things about a person you wish you didn’t. It is like a roller coaster ride. And like most rides, it brings us back to the place we began, reminding us of who we were and who we have become.
 Janice’s older sister, Margaret, wanted to believe the LA doctors at Cedars Sinai Medical Center held a magical deck of cards. After eight years they dealt their final card. The Hospice card. No miracles for Margaret. But Janice reassures her big sister she will be there holding her hand until the end.
 Unable to deal with the reality of their mother’s death, Margaret’s sons root themselves deep into denial and blame. Dealing with her nephews’ harsh criticism causes Janice to   doubt   who she is, forcing her to re-examine bittersweet events of her past.
 The twists and turns, ups and downs of this emotional ride transports Janice back through the repercussions of her teen pregnancy and into the present estrangement from her daughter whom she has not heard from for the last sixteen years.  Is her dear Charlotte dead or alive?
Coming to terms with the grief of losing her sweet Maggie and dealing with the fear of a future living alone is too much to imagine.
When Maggie’s soul goes to rest in LA heaven, how will Janice face the emptiness? Will there be such a thing as a Grieving Gift?