A friend in need…


“Anytime you suffer a setback or disappointment, put your head down and plow ahead.” – Les Brown

This past Monday was a day of disappointing news.

I won’t say it was a day of bad news. But on a day that the sky was dark and  cloudy, when the wind was cold and biting; when the strain of winter’s dreariness begins to take a toll on one’s soul, it was a day ripe with hopes of  good news to brighten the gloom felt both inside and out.

That just didn’t happen.

In the early afternoon, I received a text from my youngest daughter. She didn’t make the cut for an advanced choir for which she auditioned. She studied. She practiced. She prayed. We prayed. Her name didn’t make the list, and she was crushed. I was crushed for her as well.

“Can you come get me?”

Normally I would say “no,” but I knew she needed the comfort of her mom’s embrace and a private moment to console herself. So I called and excused her from class and went to retrieve her from the school. My temptation to stop and buy for her the biggest chocolate bar I could find gave way to the mom in me trying to reinforce good habits, and I didn’t want to send the wrong message of burying disappointments in food. A good cry, a big hug and some carefully, prayerfully considered words of comfort would be given, along with the space needed to examine the disappointment and to make a plan to move ahead.

She had the biggest, saddest look in her soft, beautiful brown eyes. A look of maturity with the hurt of a toddler. It killed me to look at her. I, too, began to cry.

“You have a beautiful voice, and it is truly a gift from God,” I told her. “Don’t let this disappointment get you down. He has great plans for you, and as hard as this is, trust that He will bring you through this and place you where He needs you to be.”

We chatted a bit more, cried a bit more, and then I left her alone, though I didn’t want to leave her side. A few moments to lick her wounds and cry into her pillow would be good therapy, and I continued on with the tasks of my day, tackling the to-do list as I checked on her throughout the rest of the afternoon.

Not too long afterwards, the dogs began barking at someone who was knocking at the door. On the other side were two of my daughter’s friends, bearing bags of snacks: her favorite chips, her favorite candy and a pizza-making kit. They brought all of her favorites, plus the love and compassion of friends who knew she needed them. My eyes began to well up at the love these young ladies showed their heart-broken friend.

I heard sniffles and giggles as they prepared the pizza, and squeals of laughter as the therapy worked – much better than a chocolate bar from mom. For a few hours, my daughter’s friends kept their pal company, had her laughing, and cast a ray of sunshine on a gloomy day.

During the time the girls were visiting, I received my own share of very disappointing news; where I was praying for outcomes that were completely different and unexpected from the ones I received. It was now my turn to cry, and to reach out to one of my friends for solace and comfort. It was also my turn take the words of wisdom I gave to my daughter, and apply them to my own circumstances. That, truly, was not easy, as I asked God “Why? Can’t I catch a break?”

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV).

I believe God places friends in our lives to prop us up when we have a hard time believing that the disappointments we encounter can be used for the greater good in our lives – or for others.

We may never know why we are dealing with the disappointments that we have been given, but with faith and the love and support of our friends, we will survive – and grow stronger from the setbacks we encounter along our paths.

How have you helped your child/children through a major disappointment? Share in the comment section below.

© 2013 – Lynne Cobb

Sex, Super Bowl and Sundaes


“Everyone in society should be a role model, not only for their own self-respect, but for respect from others.” – Barry Bonds

Like so many other Americans, I spent last night watching the Super Bowl. My teen-aged daughter had a couple of her gal pals over, and we feasted on pizza, chips and make-your-own sundaes.

I admit that I don’t know a whole lot about football, and the game itself doesn’t interest me much. As a writer with a background in journalism, advertising and public relations, I watch the Super Bowl for the commercials.

This year, I was pretty disappointed.

My daughter and her pals use the word “awkward” for most any situation. So when the Calvin Klein, scantily clad male-model underwear commercial aired, in a room with impressionable young ladies, let’s say I felt, um, awkward.

Dismissing the commercial as inappropriate, I reminded the girls that, like female models, this guy didn’t represent real guys. And most men don’t do interpretive dance in their skivvies (I think!). I mean, they may slide across the floor like Tom Cruise in “Risky Business,” but not like in this commercial. And Tom did have a shirt on, too, didn’t he?

Of course, these types of commercials are prevalent. Airbrushed men and women grace our big-screen TVs and magazine pages, and make us average Joes look like the Stay-Puf Marshmallow Man. I think I am dating myself.

When Beyoncé took to center stage for the half-time show, let’s say at that point “awkward” was an understatement. I thought that I should run and stand in front of the TV, blocking the girls’ view, not caring about being labeled the old-fashioned, non-cool mom. But I didn’t. Instead, I took the opportunity as a teaching moment; to say that the attire these gals were wearing for the entire world to see was, in my opinion, entirely inappropriate. And because of what they wore, they sold themselves short. Basically, their talent came in second to their costumes, and that is sad.

Oh, I am a fuddy-dud. But please, hear me out.

Sex sells. That has been proven over and over again. But in our culture, we are selling ourselves out. We are getting to the point that we are being de-sensitized. Does that matter? In a word, yes! Well, why?

Just as with violence, we keep pushing sexual images on everyone. Young, impressionable kids are told by our attitudes that “sex is bad; sex is dirty,” and then they see images on TV and in magazines showing big boobs, tight butts, trim bellies and more. They are so used to seeing these images, that there is a need to show more and more skin to make  messages and shows more effective and enticing. And shocking.

Sadly, the more skin they see, the less they find it shocking. Our young ladies are basically encouraged to dress provocatively to get attention, because that is the message they are sent. So, any talents or skills they have are second in line to how much skin they bare. And it is spilling over to the guy’s side now, too.

When we, as a culture, de-sensitize sex, at what point do those lines blur into increased incidents of sexual harassment, assault, rape and other crimes?

I remember back when I was about 18 or 19 years-old, and I was heading out the door to meet my friends. I had on a brand-new, tight-fitting skirt, with a very long slit. It showed plenty of thigh.

My dad stopped me at the door.

“You’re not wearing that out of this house,” he hollered.

“What?” I responded, shocked and stunned. I mean, come on, Dad, I’m a legal adult!

“That sends the wrong message,” he yelled.

“What are you talking about?” I yelled back.

“That slit will be sewn up. You are not walking out the door in that thing. End of discussion.”

And he walked away.

Stunned, I went back into my room, changed, and muttered about getting my own place and wearing what I wanted. A few days later, when cooler heads prevailed, my mom sewed the slit to an approved length.

I am really sorry I never thanked my dad for that valuable lesson. Though he didn’t use these exact words, by his actions, he was showing his concern; that he wanted me to respect myself enough to not sell myself short. If some young man wanted me, then he should want me for who I was; the whole package – not just the thighs.

I bet if I post a racy photo on my blog today, it will generate a whole lot more hits than by just posting my words. But that’s okay. I am not going to cheapen myself. No Dad, I am glad I listened. I wish you were here for me to say thanks. Whatever I do in the world will be done to God’s glory, via the talent He’s given me, not by selling myself short.

So there it is – my a-ha moment. After all these years, it hit me last night while giggling with the gals and eating ice cream smothered in chocolate, caramel and whipping cream: If a product or a person needs to be sexualized in order to sell, then you know what? It isn’t worth my money or time.

An a-ha moment I plan to share with my kids. And their friends.

What do you think? Am I old-fashioned or onto something here? Let me know in the comments section.

© 2013 – Lynne Cobb