April Means Family Fun and Warmer Weather
April 4, 2016 Leave a comment
It is April and warmer weather has arrived in many parts of the country, or at least in the Southern states. Here in Texas the landscape is exploding with the prettiest bursts of green, but I know it isn’t that way for everyone just yet. I listened to my pals Phil Paleologos, Kasey Silvia and Dan McCready on the radio this morning, and they just got more snow across Massachusetts last night, but it was a light dusting, not the thick blankets of snow we got when we were living there at this time last year. But still, the spring flowers are coming, and although the weather is still a bit indecisive, I’m sure we’ll all be complaining about the heat before long.
This month three things I’m quite passionate about are also recognized. First, it is child abuse prevention month. This is a very serious topic, and I know that a lot of people don’t really like to think about it and those who do sometimes think it just relates to sexual abuse. While that is definitely a problem, abuse also affects children emotionally, or through neglect, and sadly it sometimes results in violence. One of the reasons this happens is because of stress in a family. Maybe a parent loses a job, or the car breaks down, or maybe the child has a bad day during the morning carpool. On occasion, it happens as the result of a sudden loss of temper and surprises both the parent and the child when it occurs, but whatever the reason, child abuse is never a solution. One way families can protect themselves against this drama is to make a point of sharing quality time with one another. Family meals are a great opportunity to do so, to talk openly with your kids. It’s a great bonding experience, and something everyone can do. Check out this great tip sheet from Child Welfare that offers helpful suggestions everyone can apply. I’ve also found that this free brochure titled Your Family Can Be Happy is filled with great advice that covers everything from managing money to facing tragedies. In the meantime, try my recipe for chicken spaghetti to bring your family around the table. Good eats and good humor always seem to unlock the door to great communication in the family.
This is also distracted driving awareness month. Six years ago, during my last year at college at the University of Cincinnati, I started the Turn UC Red campaign because I wanted to save lives that are lost senselessly each year because people were texting or talking on the phone while driving. At the time, many states didn’t have laws against this, but thankfully that’s changed. Still, it is a huge problem. How many times have you been driving down the road only to look at the car next to you and see someone texting, putting on makeup, yelling at their kids, and sometimes even reading a book or newspaper? I see this all the time and I’m constantly terrified! Please, please, please… if this describes what you do each morning, STOP!!! In 2014 alone, there were 3,179 people killed and 431,000 folks injured as the result of an accident that involved distracted driving, according to distraction.gov. Don’t be a casualty! These accidents are entirely preventable. Just be smart and focus on the road.
Okay, I’m stepping off my soapbox now. The third thing we’re celebrating is jazz appreciation month. This is a fun one, and there are tons of jazz events being planned all over the country. In my neck of the woods, I’m going to Jazz on the Square with my friends and family, a free event held in downtown Carrollton. But check out your local events calendar, and I bet there’s an event being thrown wherever you are. Even if there is no show in your area, it’s a great time to listen to greats like Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, Stan Getz, and others. Not sure who to listen to? Check out Jazz Classics on Spotify, Pandora, or JazzRadio.com. You’re sure to find old favorites and even discover some new talent you’re bound to love.
Aside from checking out music this month, I’ve joined Big Brothers Big Sisters again and was recently told that I should meet my new little soon. So I’m very excited about that! It’s been several years since my last match, and I’m eager to hang out with a new kiddo.
And speaking of kiddos, I’m also going to head back to my hometown later in the month to see my youngest niece, Esperanza, perform in her first high school play, Harvey. She’s been hard at work rehearsing, and I’m excited to cheer her on. I know she’s going to do great! She’s a natural when it comes to being in front of people. Where does she get that from?
And in between all of that, I’m still writing away, working on a story I know you’re going to love. So I’d better get back to it! In the meantime, check out one of these great reads I’ve recently reviewed: Heather Graham’s The Hidden, a story that is both spooky and mysterious; Danielle Steel’s Blue, which tackles difficult subjects like homelessness and child abuse in the church; and screenwriter turned novelist Scott Frank’s debut novel, Shaker, about a hit man, Los Angeles gangs, and the female cop doing her best to catch them.
Have a wonderful April and I’ll talk to you all again soon!