Little Linda

I remember the day our new neighbors moved in, they had a daughter several years younger than me and her name was Linda, just like mine. I was happy to have a new playmate and so my sisters and I decided to call her Little Linda, in order to eliminate any confusion when we called out names. What we soon learned was that Little Linda had a big mouth and what she said made us all blush. Not only did she swear, but when she didn’t get her way, she would storm off muttering how much she hated us. After one such incident I was so upset I ran home to complain to my mother who was mixing a batch of my favorite sugar cookies.  Without missing a beat of her wooden spoon, she told me that people only acted that way when they were hurt and didn’t know any better, and that the next time she said she hated me all I had to do was tell her that I loved her. I looked at my mother in disbelief. For a child that sounded crazy, don’t respond in kind and add love to the problem, a bit philosophical for a seven-year-old. Mom winked at me in a way that said “trust me, I know what I’m doing.” And so I went back outside armed with new ammunition. I didn’t have to wait long to try out my new strategy. Little Linda was still on the block. I asked her if she wanted to play. She yelled at me “I hate you.” Without hesitation I said, “Well, I love you Little Linda, we all love you.” As the words reached her ears I saw the magic happen – her entire body melted, the fight within her dissolved and a small tear emerged at the corner of her eye. Mom was right; she was just hurt and lonely. I stepped forward and said, “Come on, Mom is baking sugar cookies and she should be taking them out of the oven right now! Mom gave her a big hug and made her feel special and I was not jealous for a moment because I knew that she was trying to make my new friend feel welcomed and loved. My mother, in her casual way, had given me a magic wand to carry throughout my life: don’t take an attack personally, there is pain behind it. Little Linda ceased to be a problem, I had refused to accept her negativity so had to accept my love. My mother had taught me how to detach from the moment and offer a bit of kindness — I do believe that is what creates miracles. Whenever I need one, I bake myself a batch of sugar cookies and eating just one makes me feel loved.


            Sugar Cookies


1 Cup unsalted butter1 Cup granulated white sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 egg

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 cups all purpose flour


Preheat oven to 350° F.

In the bowl of your mixer cream butter and sugar until smooth, at

least 3 minutes. Beat in extracts and egg. In a separate bowl combine

baking powder and salt with flour and add a little at a time to the wet

ingredients. The dough will be very stiff. If it becomes too stiff for your mixer turn out the dough onto a countertop surface. Wet your hands and finish off kneading the dough by hand. DO NOT CHILL THE DOUGH. Divide into workable batches, roll out onto a floured surface and cut. You want these cookies to be on the thicker side (closer to 1/4 inch rather than 1/8).Bake at 350 for 6-8 minutes. Let cool on the cookie sheet until firm enough to transfer to a cooling rack.

Bake for 6 minutes to test. They should be soft. Leave them on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to cool completely. If you reach 7-8 minutes and the edges turn brown your cookie will be crisper.




The Hero In You

Heroism has a face of courage and is often associated with a monumental deed that saves lives. However, heroism lives within all us because it comes from the most basic of human values — a sense of justice and compassion for ourselves and others.

James Shaw Jr. was with friends after a fraternity party in Nashville, Tennessee. They entered the Waffle House at 3:20 am. At 3:25 a shooter entered and opened fire. Grazed by a bullet and watching others die before his eyes, he didn’t take a victim attitude. “. . .  I distinctively remember thinking that he is going to have to work for this kill.” When the shooter stopped to reload, he rushed him. “I grabbed the gun and kept it down. He had one hand on it. I pulled it away and threw it over the bar.” When it was over there were four dead and four wounded. Just hours after the shooting he set up a GoFundMe for the victims of the shooting and raised $165.000 in a few days. The Waffle House followed his lead and when they reopened pledged 100% of the sales for the next month to the victims. James Shaw Jr. had the courage and the heart of a hero.

Heroes are born when injustice becomes too great for a courageous soul to stay silent. Rosa Parks was a seamstress and a simple woman, but she could no longer be silent when she was asked to give up her seat on a segregated bus to a white person. Her refusal got her arrested and convicted. The day of her trial a civil rights protest was formed and the segregated buses were boycotted. She became a symbol of the Civil rights movement. “People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired,” she wrote in her autobiography, “but that isn’t true. I was not tired physically… No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”

In 2012 Malala Yousafzai, a young girl from Pakistan, was shot in the head as she sat in a school bus. It was her punishment for keeping a diary about her life under Taliban rule and broadcasting it on the BBC.  Close to death she had to fight to live and when she recovered she didn’t skip a beat. She used her notoriety to embrace the cause of a girls right to be educated in school and she won the Nobel Peace Prize.

No one knows how they will handle a dangerous moment until they find themselves in one. A hero is born out of a simple need for justice. It’s like the perfect storm. Suddenly the necessity to act or speak is stronger than safety or reason. If luck is on your side you will survive and your act of courage will change your life and those who experience it with you.