Monthly Archives: November 2010

Girlfriends Compete Over Wedding Days

I had a caller on the air recently who flabbergasted me, and that doesn’t happen often.  After being on the air more than 30 years, I’ve heard lots and lots that has touched me or stunned me.  This one was a “stunner.”

The young woman caller told me that she has a friend she’s had since childhood.  They’ve gone through school together and they’ve been very competitive over the years.  Hmmm.

Well, my caller told me she was engaged and planning a wedding, and her friend is also engaged and planning a wedding….and the friend’s wedding is happening sooner than hers.

“SHE STOLE MY THUNDER,” my caller said.

What?  The triviality with which this young woman saw “friendship” and “marital vows” was astounding.  I gasped and said that her friend’s wedding – nor any other event in the world – could steal any thunder, as it was not about thunder.  It was about lifelong vows in front of God, family and community to love, honor, and cherish ’til death do you part.

She hung up on me.

I don’t blame her.  I was hoping she was ferociously ashamed of using a man who loved her with vows of love, loyalty and fidelity as a “win” over a girlfriend.  Yeesh!

My heart goes out to this guy, who will probably have to get her pregnant before her friend and get the new car and house before her friend does.  He won’t be measured by his character and warmth — he’ll be measured by how much and how fast he gets her to trump her “friend.”

I was praying he or someone from his family heard this call and warned him off this marriage. 

If you know him….please give him my condolences.

How To Be Happy

People seem very confused about happiness.  Most folks believe that having all they want is the way to be happy.  I don’t think so.

When I was on the radio evenings in Los Angeles over two decades ago, I reached a “24 share.”  That meant one out of four people listening to Los Angeles radio was tuned into me.  I got a substantial bonus.  We took that money and paid off all financial obligations and had some left over.

I had always wanted a tennis bracelet – that’s a bracelet made of tiny or huge diamonds.  I had enough money for a bracelet with tiny diamonds, but a tennis bracelet nonetheless.  My husband told me to treat myself, and I did.  I felt a swell of joy every time I looked at that bracelet.

I did not feel joy because I had a diamond bracelet on my wrist.  I thought that would be the case, but it wasn’t.  I felt joy because I had “busted my buns,” worked very hard, and built something special.  So, the happiness in looking at the bracelet was not because of the metal and carbon; it was because it symbolized the hard work doing what I loved to do.

It is the experiencing and working that brings happiness.

Years later, I became more successful, and “upgraded” the tennis bracelet.  I liked the new bauble, but it never brought me anywhere near the thrill of that first one.
What comes easily does not have the emotional significance of hard work, sacrifice, and risk.

Once, when my son was small, and we were visiting Las Vegas, he wanted to put money in those machines at each dining room table and place a bet in the hopes of winning lots of money.  I wouldn’t let him do it.  I told him that money wouldn’t mean as much as money hard earned.  He (at seven years of age) didn’t quite “get” that.  It seemed to him as a child that “found”  booty is booty nonetheless.  He’s now finishing up his military service and has learned up front and personal about hard work, sacrifice and risk, and he’s enjoyed every moment he’s earned.

So, don’t wish for “clearinghouse” checks or for winning the lottery.  Wish for the opportunity to do something meaningful, something you love, something with hard work, sacrifice and risk.  Believe me, you’ll be happier.

Middle School Boy Deemed “Intolerant”

I am very big on the concept of tolerance.  I tell folks every day on my radio program to “tolerate” the eccentricities of others as they tolerate yours.  However, I fear that in the private and public sectors, tolerance is being spelled “C-O-W-A-R-D-I-C-E.”

There isn’t a day that goes by you don’t hear from someone that making a generalization about world terrorism and Islam is a display of intolerance, in spite of the fact that Islamic world terrorism is a fact.  You are brow-beaten down from facing reality because, when you do, an organization like CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) comes after you with a vengeance.  People in the media have lost their jobs over stating reality, because it was deemed “intolerant.”

When you don’t want a monument to Islam to be built in the sight of the fall of the World Trade Center, well, you are intolerant and racist.

Our own President avoids connecting the words Islam and terrorism.

We have a woman journalist in America who is in permanent hiding because of an international fatwah (hit list) against her for suggesting that people participate in a “draw Mohammed day.”  I don’t see the world’s moderate Muslims tracking down the perpetrators of this fatwah or offering her protection.

Recently, we had a middle school boy in Sacramento, California ride to school with an American flag on his bike in order to recognize Veteran’s Day.  The school district forbade him to do that lest it show “intolerance.”  Truth was some Hispanic students threatened to harm this little boy. 


It turns out the principal was afraid of the violent Hispanic children and, instead of protecting this little boy, cowardly backed down and forbade the showing of the flag of the United States of America.  The principal commented the Hispanic students would want to fly the Mexican flag and this would turn into violence. The school district reversed the decision when this became a national story.

Moreover, politicians have become disgustingly un-American with their commentaries on the heartlessness and bigotry of those who support legal immigration.  Some politicians and pundits act like having national boundaries and sovereignty is a crime against humanity.  Some politicians and pundits have the gall to call people who support legal immigration “bigots,” “hate-filled,” or “racists.”  This is utterly horrendous, and is an example of one party attempting to get power in America by catering to those who disdain our laws and sovereignty simply to gain power, power, power.

America used to stand for something, and was such a symbol France gave us the Statue of Liberty as a gift!

We are having our tolerance used against us by forces that would destroy us.

Quote of the Week

The longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater is their power to harm us.
               – Voltaire
                  French enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher

Working from Home Worked for This Family

We all hear and do too much complaining about our circumstances and how we MUST compromise our values and the well-being of our families in order to survive. 

Truthfully?  That’s rarely true, if at all.  But it requires a commitment to a goal and a commitment to family that will not be compromised.  That means another way HAS to be found.

I’ve recently gotten “hot and heavy” into polymer clay work.  I love it.  There are so many techniques and possibilities that I am seriously enthralled.  I like the look of cameos – those raised pictures on a stone surface.  I’ve been looking around for cute little molds that would be easy to use with minimal or non-existent failure rate.

I found a website,, and purchased a bunch of molds with faces, flowers, bugs, and more.  I placed my order and got an email from the owner, parts of which I’ve excerpted below.  This is a mom-and-pop business – my favorite kind of business:

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you so much for your order.  Our little mold business started in 1981 because I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom.  I just had to write to tell you how tickled I am that you have ordered our products.  How they came about is right up your alley.

In 1981, we were transferred to Oklahoma.  In our previous home, I had been a stay-at-home mom…raising our kids and loving it.

My mother had to work from the time I was 3, as our father and mother had divorced.  Times were extremely tough….Mom struggled to keep us fed and warm, but her parents and an aunt helped to raise my sister and myself.  As you can tell, so many of the stories I hear on your radio show…ring true to me….From the time I became a mom, I was determined to stay home with my kids and I did. 

When we moved to Oklahoma, it was a tough time for the economy.  Houses were expensive, loans had double digit interest, and my husband had to take a cut in pay to keep his job.  We did all we could to allow me to stay home.

In a miniature club meeting [that year], I found polymer clay and fell in love with it.  Turns out, I could sculpt!  Who knew?

A few months later, I signed up for a small, local craft show, to try to sell my hand-crafted miniatures to earn enough for new winter coats.  To my surprise, I made $700!  You could have knocked me over with a feather.  The kids had warm coats and we paid some bills.  It seemed that I was in business.

For the next seven years, I stayed at home with my kids while making miniatures, sculpting doll house dolls, and [creating] a signature line of tiny teddy bears called PenniBears.  I taught polymer clay classes in my home, at conventions (the kids went with us), local stores, and eventually had a few dealers who sold my miniatures and PenniBears all over the country.  Soon our kids were back in Christian school and I had a decent car.

[Then] my skill as a miniaturist came to the attention of [a design firm], and I was offered a position of designer/sculptor with their company.  Since my husband worked nights and I would be working days, there would always be someone home with the kids when they came home from school for the next two years, when they would be grown and gone.  For the next 15 years, I was a master sculptor designing giftware…home décor, and animal figurines for home and garden.  Eventually, the company was sold and moved out of Oklahoma, so I started a design studio in my home.

After retiring, we decided to market our line of rubber molds.  I sculpt, design the project, write the tutorials, measure the clay and make the pictures.  Hubby Joe makes the molds, creates and maintains the website and ships the orders.  We are having a great time, staying busy and enjoying life.

And it all started with me trying to find a way to stay home with my children.  Ain’t life grand?

Penni Jo Couch

When Someone Disappoints You

People have, do, and will disappoint you.

Simple fact of life.

Ask yourself two questions:  did they intend to do damage, and what are you going to do with the disappointment?

Let’s look at the first question.  People are deeply involved in their own lives.  That doesn’t mean they don’t care about you or others, but they are first motivated to deal with their own situations and personal emotions.  The more mature, considerate, and less self-centered will also shift gears back and forth to consider the consequences of their actions or inactions.

Personality styles, however, are consistent.  Those who shun confrontation because they don’t want shrapnel of any kind aimed at them will probably never stand up for you, watch your back, defend you or come to your aid during that particular moment of need.  That’s who they are.  They might gossip to you later about it, tell you “tsk, tsk, tsk” this happened to you, or just ignore it completely like it never happened.

These people will disappoint you often only if you maintain the irrational hope that they will change some day and be there for you in a big way.  As I’ve said many times, most hope is simply postponed disappointment.

So your disappointments mostly do not come from ill intent.  They generally come from individuals whose number you now have, and this is when we get to the second question:  what do you do with your disappointment?

Personally, I have told several people over the years I was disappointed I couldn’t count on them to stand up for me when I thought it counted.  Some of these folks loved me dearly but just didn’t have it in them to become a target or focus of that kind of attention.  Some people simply are weak and frightened, although they’re basically decent.  I put these people in a more distant circle of love and affection, but they are still there at all, because I know they care.  They’re just supremely limited.  Others who have disappointed me have been relegated to the back of my mind, and I am just polite to them.  Still others – well, they become invisible, especially if I have put myself out for them when it mattered for and to them.

The people willing to put themselves in the line of fire for your friendship or your principles are the people to embrace the closest in spite of any other quirks that might annoy you at times.  People who will watch your back and/or stand in front to shield you are special people.

Special people should not be taken lightly.  They should be cherished and rewarded with your affection and respect.  It is not typical in the animal kingdom for critters necessarily to put themselves in harm’s way to protect another.  It takes a special form of human being with moral choice to do that.  Those are our everyday heroes.