Fantabulous Friday: “It’s sweet.”

March Madness continues, and as the Lady Gamecocks advance to the "Sweet 16," one of the team's players gives us a lesson  in inspiration and motivation.

March Madness continues, and as the Lady Gamecocks advance to the “Sweet 16,” one of the team’s players gives us
a lesson
in inspiration and motivation.


Sometimes the best advice you can get is the motivation that you give yourself.

When our Lady Gamecocks played against Oregon State University, sophomore guard Tiffany Mitchell talked to herself throughout the second half. No one needed to motivate this determined player. She was talking her way through to a win.

In an article in The State newspaper, Tiffany said, ” … you can see me talking to myself.” Her positive thoughts ranged from “Stay in it Tiff” to “Concentrate. Focus.”

It’s that concentration and determination that have helped propel the 19-year-old from Charlotte, N.C., to the national spotlight. She is one of four finalists for the Dawn Staley Award, which will be presented by The Phoenix Club of Philadelphia in April. She was named the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, only the second sophomore in the SEC’s history to earn the Player of the Year honors.

We are sending kudos to Tiffany for her focus and concentration, which should be an inspiration for all of us. I am telling my Editorial Assistant, Mom Karen, to write these words in big letters so that she can finish Book 5 in the “Shandon’s Ivy League” Mystery Series before the end of the summer.

We can all take a page out of Tiffany’s book! She is an inspiration to us all.

The Lady Gamecocks will play the University of North Carolina on Sunday.

“It’s very sweet,” Mitchell said about advancing to play another game in the NCAA basketball championship.

Sweet, indeed, to be in the “Sweet 16.”

Yet, we know that the “sweet” part of the team’s success didn’t come without a great deal of “sweat.” And no one gets to the “Sweet 16” without a great team effort by all players and coaches.

Congratulations to all of the young women and men who have advanced to the NCAA championship games.

And, Go Gamecocks!

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Thoughtful Thursday: A Good Life Is …


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Thoughtful Thursday: In the End …


My Editorial Assistant, Mom Karen, said this is a message that she must take to heart. I know that she loves much, but she should work on gentle living and gracefully letting go.

Fortunately, she has me, Lady Louise, and my Cousin Dixie to inspire her. When she’s failing to live up to this, we’ll just put our paws down and push her in a better direction. Two human feet in high heels are no match for eight paws firmly planted on the ground.

In the meantime, we take our naps to ensure that we can keep her focused on that “gentle” and “graceful” path at all times! And, if any of you catch her behaving badly, remind her that we’re watching!

We already feel the love!

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Terrific Tuesday: “Sting Like a Bee”


It was on this day 50 years ago that a 22-year-old Kentucky native, named Cassius Clay, stunned the odds makers and boxing enthusiasts by knocking out Sonny Liston, the world heavyweight boxing champion.

Liston was a huge favorite to win, but the ever-confident Clay predicted a win for himself, boasting that he would “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” and knock out Liston in the eighth round.

It didn’t take that long for the young boxer to claim victory. Liston fell in the seventh round. The world had a new heavyweight boxing champion.

Clay joined the Nation of Islam shortly after the win and changed his name to Muhammad Ali. His refusal to join the U.S. Army and fight in the Vietnam War in 1967 was controversial and led to U.S. boxing authorities removing his title of world champion. Although Ali, considered a conscientious objector, was sentenced to five years in prison and given a $10,000 fine, he appealed the case and remained out on bail. The decision was reversed in 1971 by the U.S. Supreme Court. Nevertheless, Ali’s beliefs cost him years of prime boxing time and money.

Seldom at a loss for words, Ali was a colorful sports champion. “When you are as great as I am, it is hard to be humble.”

Yet, he also gave sound advice: “Silence is golden when you can’t think of a good answer.”

Among his inspirational quotes is “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’ ”

Ali did just that. He became one of the world’s most recognized sports figures and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush.


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Wordy Wednesday: Remembering 9/11

© Liz Van Steenburgh | Dreamstime Stock Photos

© Liz Van Steenburgh | Dreamstime Stock Photos

The calendar doesn’t lie. It’s been 12 years since nearly 3,000 people were killed when terrorists crashed four planes into the two World Trade Center towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and a Pennsylvania field.

Wives lost husbands. Husbands lost wives. Children lost parents. Parents lost adult children. Countless people lost brothers, sisters, relatives, friends, co-workers and neighbors. numerous first responders and a Catholic priest.

A bomb-sniffing dog named Sirius, a four-year-old Labrador retriever, died in the attack. But among the heartfelt stories on that tragic day are those of Salty and Roselle, two guide dogs who were with their owners in the World Trade Center. Both female Labrador retrievers, Salty and Roselle successfully guided their owners out of the burning towers before they collapsed.

Peter Jennings, the late news anchor of ABC’s World News Tonight, said this about that tragic day in the life of the United States: “9/11 was a reminder that the bonds of family can be severed in an instant. They are essential, crucial, valuable, fragile.”

Essential. Crucial. Valuable. Fragile.

These are words well worth remembering when we think about the relationships we have with those we love.


A dog run honors the life of Sirius, who was killed

in the World Trade Center attacks.

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Terrific Tuesday: One Book …


As world leaders debate “should we” or “shouldn’t we” take action against Syria, it is a Pakastani teenager, Malala Yousafzai, who is offering a weapon against terrorism and hatred.

Her weapon of choice? A book.

Malala became an international heroine last year when she was shot in the head by the Taliban for advocating education for girls.

Last week she delivered the opening address for the opening of a new library in Birmingham, England, which is regarded as the largest in Europe. Malala stood in front of the 10-story building, which houses more than 1 million books, and said that “books are the only weapon that can defeat terrorism.”

Malala was sent to the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Birmingham for specialized surgery and recuperation after her injuries. She and her family now live in the city.

She told the audience, “I will empower myself with knowledge.”

Malala also asked that people not forget the world’s 57 million children who are not in school and “the children of Pakistan, India and Afghanistan who are suffering from terrorism, poverty, child labor and child trafficking. Let us help them to read books and go to school.”

Her powerful talk included inspirational words that have touched the hearts of people everywhere: “And let us not forget that even one book, one pen, one child and one teacher can change the world.”

And, we should add: One courageous teenager!

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