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An Advocate for Decency


Hopefully, you’ve had a great Labor Day weekend if you’re here in the United States! It seems apropos to talk about the value of hard work and the necessity of maintaining work ethics by talking about the obvious attempt to shame a man for actually working hard to earn a living for his family and himself. Apparently, some news outlets (which I will not name here, but they are posted within this article) actually ran an article that showed Geoffrey Owens, an actor who – practically a lifetime ago – was a minor recurring character on The Cosby Show. Apparently, he currently works as a cashier at a Trader Joe’s grocery store. The intention of the article was not to inform, but to publicly shame and humiliate a man who is simply making an honest living. 

I have a HUGE problem with this. My blog topics may be somewhat sporadic, but my ultimate goal is to focus on the basic necessities for nurturing the human spirit – happiness, love, and light. It’s a shame that I have to add DECENCY to this list of basics. What in the world would posses a person to take a photo of someone hard at work – and then distribute it to news media outlets? What kind of “news” outlet picks this story up, and gives such a negative spin to what is ultimately a wonderful example for young men and women EVERYWHERE?

There is NO shame in working to make an honest living. Period.

Actor Geoffrey Owens

NEVER Be Ashamed of the Work You Do

Fortunately, once the story had gained enough traction, many actors and other celebrities were quick to jump on Twitter to defend Mr. Owens. They shared stories of their own struggles to make ends meet, and the fact that Geoffrey Owens is a working actor with a day job. Because of this – and only because of this outpouring of support and candidness from his peers, did the media’s negative narrative finally make a positive spin on this “story”.

For those of us who are in the Creative or Performing Arts, a vast majority of us understand exactly what it means to have (or need) a day job: It means that you are true to yourself and your craft by working in that field as much as you can afford, and you also work a “day job”, something that your heart is less committed to than your craft, in order to pay the bills.

The fact that the abhorrent person who took this man’s picture without his consent disturbs me to no end. I don’t wish to include my picture on social media because I believe in the right to privacy. My students and clients are not specifically invited to this little corner of my world. Will this always be the case? Of course not. As I devote more time to this job, circumstances will change to a point where a face needs to appear with a name. Until that point, however, I hope to have a choice as to what picture defines who “I” am. This man was robbed of his right to privacy, his right to anonymously do the honorable thing of pushing pride aside and working a non-glamourous job for a steady paycheck. Shame on that person who tried to dishonor a fellow human being.

How Glamorous is Your Life?

Seriously, I am so livid about this. This kind of “above/below your station” mentality is exactly the reason why I am so committed to the Arts. It’s also the reason why I earned my Ph.D. in an unrelated field. I love to cross paths and connect dots. It takes credibility in this world to convince others of what may seem obvious to you, and that was the path I was led to take. The only way that we can remind each other of the beauty and simplicity of EVERY DAY LIFE is if we are taught to see ourselves in the every day lives of others, regardless of race, gender, culture, self-identification, or creed. If only we can retain those lessons!

What glamorous life are you truly living? Doing our best to lead one of Grace and kindness is so much more appealing.

Sending Love, Light, and a sense of Decency to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest for more.

Sending Love to Those Involved in the #ThaiCaveRescue

Exercise Compassion Every Day

While I love to concentrate on all things love and romance on this blog, the most important aspect of all is LIFE. Here, I love to Explore Life and Love, One Word at a Time. At the beginning and end of every day, I express my gratitude for life, love, family, and all those good and wonderful things in between.

When we focus only on the things we like and enjoy, or merely on topics and points of view that comfortably fit inside our comfort zones, we grow more hedonistic and become less empathetic. It’s far too easy to miss important things that are happening around the world that have so much meaning to human existence. One perfect example of this is the still developing story of the #ThaiCaveRescue where on June 23rd, 12 boys and their coach who were trapped deep in a craggy cave after monsoon flooding blocked their escape. Rescuers were only first able to discover where they were ten days later. The first miracle is that fact that they are all still alive!  

Thai Cave Rescue

I’ve mentioned that I’ve been closely following the #ThaiCaveRescue on Twitter, but I hadn’t devoted a post to this phenomenal ordeal and test of strength, endurance, and faith. I’ve been actively keeping these boys, their amazing assistant coach, the brave selfless rescuers, and all of their families in my prayers, and I have been thinking of them constantly. I’m a firm believer that the power of prayer and positive thinking, regardless of your belief system (or lack thereof), can make amazing things happen. Call me crunchy, but I’m an unashamed PhD who’s totally into faith, family, love, life, romance, and spreading positive vibes around the world. Oh yeah, and science, lol. :-*

Thailand Cave Search

At the time of this post, all 13 people have been rescued and are safe in a local hospital! Rescue efforts were beyond taxing and grueling, and one Thai Navy SEAL has lost his life in the extremely dangerous rescue attempt. The boys and their coach were 2.5 miles deep inside the cave.

It is my prayer that all of the boys, their coach, and all other rescuers will be safely reunited with their families as soon as possible. I’m so excited to see what wonderful stories will develop for each of these kids.

If you haven’t had a chance to learn more about this, please take the time to do so. This is an example of a modern miracle with the amazing feats of the rescuers. May they all be recognized and showered with accolades for doing what so many heroes and heroines from around the world humbly describe as merely doing their job. Thank you.

I don’t know about you, but following this very human story has certainly made me reflect on what things are TRULY important to me in this life!

“We are each of us angels with only one wing, and we can only fly by embracing one another.” – Luciano de Crescenzo

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest for more.

Separating Families is NOT a Political Issue

Finding the right words for this post is going to be difficult this time, I think. Mainly because I’m absolutely baffled by any person’s ability to turn a violation of humanity into something political.

For this reason, I want to stress that the issue of children being physically separated from their families and taken away is, without a doubt, traumatic. It’s a no-brainer that babies and small children forcibly removed from their parents (or anyone for that matter) under duress is going to leave emotional scarring that will never disappear. There isn’t any way to describe this act eloquently; well, perhaps there is, but there is absolutely nothing eloquent about this situation.

My question isn’t “How could this happen?!”, as anyone could provide myriad answers to this, from any spectrum of political viewpoint. Rather, my husband and I have been spending our time trying to figure out, “How can we help?”

Spewing out blame and finger pointing has never helped anyone, and so I will not use this platform to do so. It’s our good and comfortable right to blame politicians on either side of the isle, and/or the desperate parents who obviously traded one hell in exchange for another. For me, this issue is no longer a matter of politics; it’s become a cry for humanitarian aid.

How will the separated children be accurately reunited with their families?  This policy didn’t begin overnight, and it will take quite a bit of time and tax payers’ money to reunite children with their actual families. Children have been sent to places all over the country, not just the holding facilities in Texas. Very young children will not necessarily be able to express who their family members are, and the question is how can anyone be 100% certain that the children will be properly reunited with their biological families? The only thing that I can think of is DNA testing, at further cost to the government. Also, conflicting reports say that many of the people the children were separated from were not necessarily documented as being the parents/persons responsible for the child. If this is true, that means that bringing the families back together will be even more of a mess than I can even possibly fathom.


The current Executive Order that was issued on June 20, 2018, is not going to be the end of this highly contested practice. Contrary to many counter arguments, the policy of separating children from families in this manner actually only began in April of this year. My only hope this that we as a people, regardless of political affiliation (or lack thereof) will personally hold ourselves accountable for maintaining humane practices in even the most highly controversial issues. This includes paying very close attention to Section E of said Executive Order, which if successful in court, would allow detainees to be held indefinitely; eerily similar to a shameful chapter in American History, namely internment camps (although 2/3 of those interned were actually American citizens).

This brings me back to my original question:

How can we help?

Firstly, we must remember that these are CHILDREN who are suffering. They have nothing to do with political parties, and they are not to blame for being in the position that they are in.

Secondly, do whatever you can to help children in need. If your heart goes out to the suffering that many children are enduring, but for whatever reason you feel as though you can’t be moved to help in this particular cause, please direct your compassion to needy children anywhere you feel moved to do so. I’m not trying to tell you what to do or to feel, but I certainly implore you to feel compassion, and do what your open heart knows is right.  In my opinion, we should help wherever we can, whenever we can.

Thirdly, money is always helpful, but there are other ways to show that you care. Some people are making light quilts for children to lay down on, making or donating clothes, putting together small care packages, and are requesting toy donations. Please don’t put these gestures down; they’re attempts to offer comfort to little people trapped in a terrifying situation. This website shares more ways to make a difference, as well as the following information:

While money is best, if you want to donate essential items like diapers, wipes, shampoo, and soap directly to immigrant children, Baby2Baby and Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) set up a baby registry at Target.

Sending light and love to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. 

Trigger Alert

“I learned so much watching Anthony Bourdain. Not just about food, but about culture and life. He was an incredible talent who changed so many people’s lives. It is worth repeating just like after the death of Kate Spade earlier this week ….now with CNN’s Anthony Bourdain… If you need help PLEASE: Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Asking for help is a strength not a weakness.” – Nicole F, Friend from University.

This is a post that I’d rather not write, but I would be remiss not to. This week, two prominent and respected creative celebrities took their own lives by brutally hanging themselves.

I’m not going to mince words here. The fact that anyone feels so much pain that they are willing to tragically end their own lives and shred the lives of their families, friends, and their communities into fragments, shows that NEITHER MONEY NOR FAME CAN BUY HAPPINESS. It can’t buy peace, contentment, love, or peace of mind.

Kate Spade, and today, Anthony Bourdain, were both people considered to be “at the top of their game”. They had wealth, notoriety, fame, access, family, fans, followers, etc. But they also apparently had so much pain and sadness within them, that nothing on this earth could bring them the solace that they clearly so desperately needed.

As you already likely know if you’ve read my blog a time or two, I am a woman of faith, and in so many ways, it saddens me deeply to learn of “successful” people who have so much to be grateful for, and yet, the burdens that they have were so heavy that they found no more reason to hope, to want, to believe, to continue. What heartache and sorrow they must have been suffering!

I’ve posted about the phrase “Thoughts and Prayers”, so I won’t go there today. But I will say that I believe in you. No, I don’t know you, but I know that you have a purpose. I also know that you have a choice in everything that you do in life. These are hard times for everyone. We’re all searching for something, asking for more purpose and meaning, and we want to feel relevant.

Sometimes, though, if we walk away from the selfies, the likes, the # of clicks or followers that will never be enough, and we just focus on ONE person… could we make a difference? Could we encourage that one person to say, “Alright, just one more day of this bull”, and then one more day, and then one more until that person recognizes how beautiful and important they are?

WRITE TO ME. Even if you send a comment to me, or post on any social media outlet where you can find me, if you’re serious and want to connect, I’m here. I know that I don’t blog enough to generate tons of traffic, but if my post somehow reaches you when you’re looking for someone to say “I genuinely care and want you to remain on this earth with the rest of us”, then look no further. I’m serious. One of the best quotes of my younger years was from D.C. Talk when they sang:

“Love is a verb.”

PLEASE: Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Asking for help is a strength, not a weakness.

Photo sources from

Second Guessing Second Chances

Remember when you were small and at one point in your very young life, you knew exactly what you were going to “be”? Well, I remember the day when it happened to me. I was seven years old and quite convinced that I would become a teacher. But are we limited to having just one?

It’s a confusing, humbling experience when you discover your calling. You may stumble upon it, you might have to fight for it, or you just might know what it is years in advance and just expect to fall into it eventually, like I did. One way or another, it just happens.

It’s a much more fragmented, painful process when you realize that a dream, an ideal that you once birthed and have cultivated for years, is dying. What was once vibrant, something that fed your soul while you simultaneously gave your all to anyone willing to accept, is now a shell. It’s hollow and devoid of meaning – not because you’ve stopped giving your all, but because realize that you’re surrounded by takers – black holes that passively drain you of your shimmer, consuming the sacred inner glow that lights up your spirit and inspires you to guide others.

What do you do? How does one cope during this slow painful death? My goal is to let go, let God, and move on.

“Thoughts and Prayers”

There’s a time and a place to feel confident about how you express yourself, and then there’s a time to embrace doubt. I think that my time to doubt how I should be expressing myself on pressing subjects is today. It’s not a matter of finding the right words; even the most bumbling celebrities or politicians are able to maneuver their ways through uncomfortable conversations (whether or not they do it successfully is subjective). Today, though, I just question the real power of our words, and the POSITIVE impact that they can make on us collectively. So, full disclosure: this a VENT, a RANT, and has elements of bossy preachiness. But writing this is more of a cathartic process, and I’ve followed my own advice to the best of my ability. Hopefully, I’ll be able to concentrate on happier subjects next week, but I need to get this off of my chest.

As much as we seek and crave escapism (and obviously, as an author, I am a proponent of this), far too many people are leaning heavily on the intricate fabricated lives and worlds of superheroes, lavish ladies, or impeccably handsome billionaire singles to whisk them away from reality. Our real-world problems are getting larger and more brutal – thanks to both nature and humans. Instead of focusing efforts on and bringing attention to the acute needs of real people on Planet Earth (i.e. clean water, food, and medical supplies for victims in Mexico and Puerto Rico and continued support for families in Florida and Texas), many of us are being persuaded to buy the latest generations of iPhones for around $1,000 or more – when our current phone is perfectly fine; or we spend our free time binge-watching whatever, thereby becoming even more disassociated with what’s happening in our world. When is enough enough?

It annoys me to feel the need to clarify that this isn’t a “political post”. This is a post about humanity. If you haven’t got money to spare to help anyone in need (not limited to the above-mentioned; I know that the “world” extends beyond North America and Central America), then please take the time to truly send out some positive vibes to humanity. I know that it’s become a “thing” to mock or even feel offended by those who say that they’re sending “thoughts and prayers” to people who are hurting (like to everyone tragically affected in Las Vegas). To a certain extent, I can certainly understand why. For many, it has become a cliché. For others though, it may not be.

Even if the words seem futile and trite, let those people who believe in their worth hold onto some sibilance of hope and faith. If thoughts and prayers mean nothing to you, then that’s your thing. Be a person of action and dig deep into your pockets and give cash, and/or roll up your sleeves and get to work helping in whatever way you can. For those who are thinking and praying, when you’re finished, get up off of your knees, tithe the best way you can, and help your neighbors world-wide. Regardless of your beliefs or opinions, reach out to others in the real world in a positive way. Offer a smile, or simply say hello to someone passing your way. These are two small ways to reconnect with real people who may feel just as lonely and scared as you might be feeling. Positive communication is the key. If you’ve read this far, then thank you, and much love.

Rant over.

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