I think back to my high school days and all the wasted courses I was required to take as requisites for graduation. Among them include Algebra I & II and the dreaded Geometry. This is not to bash these courses or the people who enjoy and actually benefit from them. But in a recent conversation with my 20-something daughters who have recently graduated college they were totally convinced that Calculus and Trig were wasted precious hours as they are subjects they will never utilize in life. Having a few years on them, I knew they were telling the truth; and I knew too, that something needs to be done to revamp the education system to make it more "fruitful" for learners' real-life needs. The drop-out rate would decline dramatically if students were granted a diploma just for showing up and doing the work. I am grateful that I did not grow up in a time when passing some over-the-top state-mandated exam was a requisite for graduating high school. I've often studied the mannerisms of some politicians and quietly wondered if they could have passed the tests they were so supportive of students taking. But this is not really about the past. This is about the now. The education system needs to be overhauled; and, the billions of dollars spent on programs that strategize how a learner can pass a state test or how to keep students from dropping out, could be better expended on allotting the children of America's tax-payers with knowledge that will benefit them for life. I can't help but observe the number of Latinos who do excellent work when it comes to construction, and other labor-intensive jobs. On a little background research of their education system I learned that the majority of their education is targeted around teaching students skills they can use for life and actually make a living at. If you ever find yourself driving through a new community under construction, you will most likely see that a vast majority of the builders are Hispanic. And I ask myself, 'How long will it take for America to wake up and demand that their children learn something functional?' Schools need to be formulated according to the needs of its learners. From grades 9-12 students should begin taking courses geared strategically towards their career path of interest. Somewhere along the way, someone decided that allowing learners to follow a "track" or path of interest suitable for their life was not a good thing. Someone decided that all the children in America should be dumped in one big pot, like crabs. Someone decided that it wasn't okay to allow students to test out in an area they were specialized in. If I were to build a home from scratch, I would eventually need people ranging from architects to bankers for the financing, to someone to put the last coat of paint over the plastered walls. Children should be allowed to learn based on their interests. Just like millions of recent college grads who are forced to keep working at Walmart because their degree in film production is worth little more than a trip to the movies, it is time for parents to start hounding people in Congress to make CHANGE that MATTERS. I have two children. despite the many I call mine. Neither were math fanatics; but, because of the crab pot, they took dizzying amount of math that I KNOW they will most likely never use. Instead of all the math and science our children need to be exiting public school buildings knowing how to play (not play at) a musical instrument. Our children should be able to do something more with their hands than what some are sadly doing. People stick with things that matter and can be seen as making a difference in their life. To end, a child who starts in K and attends school through 12 DESERVES a diploma. It's no secret that a four-year degree isn't even worth a whole lot these days. Secondly, every child who attends school should be required to know enough nutrition to pass a test on how many grams of fat is in each product they put in their mouths AND the difference between good fats and bad fats. Students should be tested on their target of study in 12th grade. A person interested in the medical field should have an exit exam that proves they are prepared for college entry; just as the person interested in being a mason; should be able to lay brick. If our new Secretary of Education is serious about change it might be good to start by changing what's required. If kids were put in settings where they were learning what they were wired to learn, I'm certain that we would have far fewer drop outs and much more time to spend teaching them what's important: Reading, Respect, and enough 'rithmetic to be able to balance a checkbook and know the downs of credit cards and student loans. Education is my second passion. It saddens me to see how many mis-educated students are walking the streets. It's not the teachers. It's not the students. It's "America's" insistence that they look like another continent of people. We are not them. We are Americans. And as I recall, we were a lot better when we weren't using other countries as our measuring stick. It's time for American parents to reclaim the education system. What makes Calculus so important if all I want to do is bake cakes for a living? Just like you can take any lame-brained course in big-business colleges, our children should be given, at no extra-cost, an opportunity for a well-rounded education. So, let's see if I can nutshell this: Take the time to teach them what they NEED to know; bless them to learn the mastery of a musical instrument or other craft; allow them to learn a speciality in what they have an interest; and by all means put 60 seconds of morning and afternoon prayers over the P.A. speakers of every school in America; or even "This Little Light of Mine". Christians are in the majority and it's time we allow God back in the classroom. We took Him out decades ago and His Word that nothing good can happen where He is not is proving true. I know that America is a melting pot; but, somewhere along the way, she became timid about shining forth the Torch that has sustained her these 200+ years.

The Devil IS Real Whether You Believe It or Not

Recently Nightline had four people debate whether satan is real or not. Two supported the belief that he is real; and two were against. I was saddened to see that one of the debaters who spoke against his being real is a practicing Bishop of the Christian faith. The debate can be contained swiftly by most Christians in that if God said it, It's Truth, and that's that! But to break it down a little bit further, with hopefully a clearer clarification of why a Christian should believe satan is real begins when he is cast from heaven as a fallen angel, because he touted that he would ascend into heaven and be like the most High God (Isaiah 14:12-14). God clearly states that He is a jealous God and that we can worship no other god beside Him. And yet every day, because we are sinners, whether saved by grace or unsaved, we have this enemy in spirit form seeking to steal, kill and destroy our very souls ( John 10:10) in an attempt to keep us from enjoying our heavenly reward which he, in his arrogance, has forfeited. But to not belabor the point, any one who questions his existence needs only to Google a Biblical Concordance and read up on the numerous times satan has reared his presence from Genesis, as the serpent, to Matthew tempting Jesus, all the way to Revelation where he eventually gets to live in his eternal lake of fire. It does little to discuss this in detail because the bottom line is this: Either one believes that the Word of God is infallibly, Holy-Ghost breathed pure Truth or It's not. Some choose to say that It's metaphorical. But any one who's lived any length of time, with a clear tune to good and evil knows that whatever one chooses to call him, satan is real. And only a fool would deny his existence. Simply put; why would God spend so much time warning us of him if he did not exist? People caught up in sinful behavior are being controlled by him. People who have survived the torture of cocaine addiction or any other demonic possession can attest to you that the control he has over his followers is real. But the joy comes in Holy-Ghost deliverance by choosing to follow Jesus and genuinely repenting of sinful behavior by saying an emphatic NO to anything that is anti the Word of God. The beauty of being tested and even used by satan is the testimony that one has after being released from his bondage. No, this writing is not to sell you on whether satan is real or not; because that would be like convincing you that God's Word is Truth. And that brings us back to square one. If he weren't real; and if he really didn't exist, then Jesus wouldn't have recorded that he was tempted by him. I'm ashamed that a believer would profess anything differently. But it's said that many will fall away from the Truth and begin to preach falsities for "itching" ears to hear. For them, and for all who fail to know and accept the Truth, we can only pray while our prayers are still being heard. One last word: If he weren't real, then why do some people choose to worship him and deny God; not to mention His Son, and my Saviour, Jesus Christ?


Most Often There's Very Little Dignity in Dying

Of late, talk of giving the terminally ill the right to choose their date with death has been in the news again. Considering that everday, somewhere in the world a woman schedules an appointment to induce labor, one might think penciling in the when and how one chooses to die might be humane. I sincerely believe in Divine Timing. And as with birth, so with death, I do not believe one should determine the entry or exit date and hour. I believe that to the last second of life's breath, one's life has purpose; if not for themselves, for those beings a part of their existence. I realize that when looking at Death's door the pain that often accompanies the parting of this life to the next can be excruciating to the degree that rushing the inevitable can be tempting. Unfortunately, just as with suicide, I don't think you can show up early and expect to alter God's Divine timeclock. So a doctor says you have only six months to live; and, you take into your own hands when your end is. It's your last effort to take life into your own hands and experience a final empowerment over what has brought you to this point. I've known excruciating pain. And I know how peaceful relief from that pain can be. And I do believe that death, as the Word of God promises, is a relief from that pain. But I still have that nagging question of what happens when we take the reins of Life into our own hands, with little or no regard for the plans our Creator has for our final days. I think that being given a general timeframe of when you're leaving this planet, in the fleshly form, is a gift of the oddest kind in that you're given an opportunity to tie up loose ends, heal rifts, make peace with those who may be waiting on the other side to greet you. As is my rule; I may comment; but, I do not judge people and the decisions they make. My mother once told me to not judge her until I'd walked a mile in her shoes. And now that I am a mother of grown children I most clearly know what she meant. There comes a time in most mother-daughter relationships that they become BFF's of the keenest sense. It usually comes after the daughter has married and had children of her own that the wisdom of a mother becomes priceless. Over a decade ago my mother crossed over to the other side. The doctors initially gave her a brief time to live. In a sense they were accurate; in that 40 more years would have been brevity of life to me; but, after 18 months she lapsed into a coma, and on into eternity. After all this time I don't think I will ever completely have peace about her last few days being spent in a hospice instead of the home she so painstakingly made for our family. But, I'm amiss, as I don't think one should look back with any dread or regret for things they really have little control over. Again, one cannot say what they'll do when that final hour is imminent. It's perhaps one of the most personal decisions one can make. But if God is the true Determiner of Life's journey I hope in my last moments I have the strength of the Holy- Ghost kind to wait on His final call; and not be so presumptious as to show up at Death's door realizing that His date of my homegoing was far beyond the doctor's prediction. Sarah didn't think she'd conceive in her old age, but she did. Cures happen every day. Somehow the "Death With Dignity Act" is letting go of our most precious hope: Faith that God Can and if He desires, will lift us up and onward from our sick bed. And if He chooses to take us heavenward then I think the greatest peace, and clearest conscience comes with letting Him decide that final hour of how and when.


Cracking Open A Coconut 101

Sometimes life has to be about more than the obvious. Recently while visiting my favorite market for fresh fruit and vegetables I decided to try something different. I did my research before going into the store and watched a couple of You Tubers demonstrate how to crack open a coconut. Amused and interested I shook my head at the thought of all the decades that have passed and I've never made this attempt. I thought of how wonderful this project could have been as a teachable moment as a family. As I walked to the pile of coconuts before me, I picked up one and shook it, holding it closely to my ear. I learned that it's important to hear water inside. I pretended as though I knew what I was doing as I grabbed another and added it to my basket. I felt very encouraged as I heard at least 10 ounces of water rattling inside this odd-looking object. Strangely, I was reminded of the movie "Castaway" with Tom Hanks. Even though his "best friend" on the island was a ball, for some reason the coconut reminded me of that object. I guess it was the three little "eyes" in what is presumably the top of the fruit. Well, several days passed and I had placed the coconuts in a place that I wouldn't forget they were there; but, at the same time wouldn't pressure me into embarking on the project til I had a clean slate for the day. Well, today happened to be that day. I grabbed one of the coconuts and the few notes I'd taken on just how to get to the meat of this issue. I started by taking a nail and hammer and poking a hole in the most tender of the three holes. Soon I had a clear liquid flowing from the inside. I was even tempted to let this be a "You Tube" moment. I had to admit elation was what I felt as a major sense of accomplishment had occured. Even though my daughter is no longer a child, I still used this as a teachable moment for her. I explained that no person should be allowed to leave high school without a clear knowledge of how to do something as basic as this. She, as I, had no real clue how to crack open this object; except for the instructions. I ex- plained to her that there are three holes on the top of the coconut. Two of them are very hard and one is relatively soft. That was the one that would be the target of the nail and hammer to extract the juices. Next came putting this fruit into the oven at 450 for 15 minutes. Out of the oven, I set it on the counter and proceeded to step 2 which was to whack it with the back of a big knife all the way around the circumference; per the instructions. And whack I did. And whack. And whack. And whack. I thought how handy a husband can be as my whacking produced no immediate results. I thought of how insecure I was to go out and body slam a coconut on the concrete. So, I endured the noise of attempting to get inside the coconut, with no apparent success. I put it aside and left my feeling of "unsuccess" right there with it; and headed for the mall. The whole intent of buying this coconut, aside from enjoying the juice and meat was to have the feeling of accomplishing something new. On my return I sat and did a little more research on how to conquer this coconut; and, realized I probably should have let it stay in the oven for about 30 minutes, as I learned the shell will naturally crack. In between going to the kitchen and doing things required of the day, I'd pick up the coconut and give it a few whacks, putting it back til the next go round. I learned that instead of hitting it at the equator, I should whack it around the three holes. That seemed to work as this earthquake-type crack begin to ride down the side and around the coconut. Nothing like progress. I then grabbed a butter knife and began pulling the shell from the flesh and imagined having to do a hundred of these for a living. I smiled as I realized the ripped arms I'd have if that were my gig. But, thankfully it's not. And even more thankful was the sweet taste of unshredded coconut. I promptly put it in the freezer, primarily to add to smoothies; and cleaned up the light mess the juice and brown husk-like hairs left behind. Mission accomplished. No longer will I wonder if I can, or even how to crack open a coconut. Thank God for the internet. And thankful too for the Holy Ghost perseverance to not give up and quit! Do I look forward to cracking open the second coconut? The labor of getting to the fruit; not so much. But the joy of what's inside, I suppose. Was it worth it? Yes, very much so. There's nothing like learning something new coming with the fringe benefit of a healthy treat. Will I buy fresh coconuts again? Most definitely.


There's The THUG; & There's The Person Who Gets Their Kicks Hanging With Them

I'm rarely moved by people who hang with THUGs, and reap the consequences of this chosen behavior. I define a THUG as a Tankhead Hurting Us Gals (or Guys.) One must not presume that all THUGs are of the male gender. There are just as many female THUGs. This by no means is meant to berate these individuals. In fact, they are to be respected for the fact that in most instances they will outright acknowledge that they are who they are, and have no hope or desire to be changed by the persons whose interest they peak. But most people, females in particular, choose to ignore these words of truth and allow themselves to become a part of the THUG life. For some reason young women are drawn more to men who have an 'I will protect you' persona; like a bodyguard to protect them from the blows of life. There's a definite irony in this attraction. Usually these same "bodyguards" will turn on them like a pitbull so often turns on its master; most often with very little, or no warning. My personal observation is that people who find themselves attracted to a THUG suffer serious issues with insecurity. They feel severely inferior about who they are and how they are perceived. Thus they look for the most "cool" or "hip" gangsta in the room. Oddly this person usually lacks any real characteristics of who they are; whether in dress, conversation, financial stability, etc. It's almost like they're in need of someone to represent their alter ego; while at the same time, allowing themselves to be a silent party to a dual villain-hero relationship. Most often a THUG is very honest about his (or her) ability to snap if provoked. But in all the laughter and light-heartedness of the moment these words are usually glossed over as things that happened in the past, having no direct correlation to this new attraction. A THUG is capable of being emotionally, verbally, and physically abusive with little conscience or regard for the persons they harm. They do allow for their "sensitive side" to rise up long enough to apologize for their "unintentional" behavior. The victim-prey is usually such a bag of damaged goods that they feast on this soothing attention of promising never to harm them again. Anyone whose ever known people who have an affinity to dating THUGs, will attest that in most cases one of the parties involved is extremely beautiful; usually both physically and in spirit. And oddly enough it's the most attractive person who is drawn to the THUG, than the THUG to the attractive person. It's like a THUG knows his limitations and doesn't draw unlikely persons into his space. He probably never ceases to be amazed at what gems his lure attracts. Sometimes a couple looks odd when they're together. But they're probably very much alike; because a woman who is attracted to a THUG is subconsciously seeking a high, that being a part of this rebellious lifestyle offers. And so when you see a quiet and polite woman attracted to, and entangled with a guy whose reputation precedes him, don't even bother to look twice. Just realize that something in her childhood has brought her to this place that seems normal. In final, women who stay in abusive relationships, and go back to abusive relationships, are simply mimicking something familiar to them. It's usually an abusive father-figure that makes the THUG life seem normal; and, keeps them from seeing the devastation their wreaking on their own life. The media should never portray the woman as the victim when a THUG abuses her and she chooses to stay. It all comes down to one observation: It takes one to know one. Surprisingly to many, there are some women who not only love a good brawl; but, have won their share. And just because they looked like they got whipped; for them it's all a part of being in the ring. They usually aren't shy about loading on the tattoos, dripping in 5th Avenue attire from Chanel to Vuitton. They party hard. They love hard. And sadly, too often in the quietness of the battle, they die hard. They desparately need an education on the mind and how it works; and, why as adults we attract the very things in our childhood we were afraid of. But as far as changing goes; no one can bring about that desire; except a Power within that they must tap into. It will mean denying that part of themselves that gets its security from outside forces; and instead, seek to love and respect who they genuinely are inside. But, if genuinely on the inside they are a THUG, there really is no reason to counsel them; because simply put, they are who they are. From our deepest depths we ultimately attract who we are, or desire to be within.


Domestic Abuse: The Ultimate Betrayal

Somewhere tonight thousands of women are fleeing, with layers of clothes on their backs and children locked close to their sides, to an undisclosed "safe house" in hopes of getting away from someone they love and who swears love them. They know the alternative is ultimately death; if not physically, emotionally; and, their hopes of changing this abuser have perished and their options exhausted. Many of these women will be coerced by family or the abuser to return back to the hell hole, with all the appearances of a home made in heaven. It is the hope of all people functioning from a place of sanity that they won't do it. But the reality is that far too many do go back. Some go back because they want to believe that this horror will never happen again. Some go back because they really have no where else to go. And some don't have a real reason, they just go back. The bottom line on domestic violence is that it is no different than the addict who is strung out on crack, alcohol, sex, gambling, or whatever the demon of obsession is. The healthy part of this person knows they're in a dead-end situation; but the "junkie" wants to satisfy the fleshly need for filling that void that scratches that itch. I'm thankful that I speak from a third-person perspective; but know that but for the grace of God any one of the above mentioned addicts could be me, or you, if today you're "clean." I do believe that just as sex-offenders have to be tracked, I think the same should be for abusers. Perhaps they could be forced to wear odd-colored bracelets identifying them a mile off. Somehow I'm convinced that this really wouldn't matter. There are far too many women (and men) who believe they can change a person's in-bred behavior. They're naive to believe that they have a special love that will make this person behave always and only in a loving way. Sadly enough, I'm convinced that most abusers would rather be in control of their emotions. But, the demon that lives within them, like the demon that lives within the alcoholic, and other addicts, will raise up from the depths if not properly trained on how to "tame" this behavior. Scripture says, a leopard doesn't change its spots. The same is true for an abuser. He may camouflage his true colors behind a smile; but, we all know that a smile is just a frown turned upside down. Sick people usually attract each other, often without trying. It's said that the very thing you try to run away from is the very thing you run smack dab into. I think that's because we attract the familiar. Most people who find themselves in bad situations can attest that their behavior was learned, whether subtly or overtly. For all of the abused who are laying in wait for the right time to escape, my prayers are with you that once you're blessed to get to safety, you don't cave to the belief that things could ever be right in this scenario. If only for your children having a fair shot at breaking this vicious cycle, starting over is the only option. I think step one is forgiving your abuser and yourself and anyone else you might blame for this situation. Step two is never forgetting. Like 9-11-2001, you must never forget what you've been through. Pretend that you're like Lot's wife, Sarah. To look back means to turn into a stone pillar. That's what abuse does to you. It makes you rock hard to emotion and pain. It's time to heal. It's time to do the hard work of learning the true meaning of love. It's true. Love really doesn't hurt. Love compliments your life, not tears it down. Real love is the greatest reflection of Jesus. And He never harmfully put His hands on anyone. Once you realize that your body is God's Holy Temple, you will not stand idly by and let the enemy try to destroy it. Because it's then that you allow this abuser to become an idol in your life. And God hates idolaters. Once released from a bad situation, Scripture warns to go back is to experience the situation seven times worse. Read 1Corinthians 13. Love is patient, not short-tempered. Love is kind, not mean. Love is not rude. Love protects, not injures. It's said that love never fails. But you must remember that Love is really God. Man is not love. He's merely a vessel. And sometimes that vessel is so damaged that it is just a shell with no healthy light shining within. Be blessed. Be strong. Listen to sane people who tell you the truth about what healthy love is like. Don't do the "easy thing." Do the best thing. Only you know what that is. And always remember God is Love. God created woman for man for the purpose of helping him meet the needs required on the journey of life. No where in Scripture will you read that He made woman to be a punching bag, either verbally, emotionally, or physically. In fact Ephesians 5 tells him to love his wife as Christ loved the Church. Learn from this experience that hands are made for hugging and not hitting.


Feeding 200 People with $5K

I chuckled recently as I heard Oprah say that one couldn't possibly feed 200 people with only $5K. My eyes grew large as I thought to myself; "You can't?" And of course the creative mind I have went to making several menus that would feed this crowd. I thought of a big gumbo, filled with chicken, Andouille sausage, and shrimp, served over perfectly boiled rice, with jalapeno cornbread on the side. Another menu would require several cases of farm-raised chickens smoked on the grill to perfection; the kind that is so delicious it tastes just like ham. And of course, along side that would be Southern potato salad with fresh greens and homemade rolls. Another menu would mimick that one except the chicken would be deep fried. I'd have several of my "daughters" who love to bake make several lemon cakes, pound cakes, yellow cakes, etc... to finish off the meal. Oh yes, I'm sure I'm not the only person who could easily feed a flock this size with that amount of money. If anyone does meet this budget, maybe they'll be so polite as to invite her to the wedding. I'm sure it would be worth your while; and equally certain that she just might surprise you by showing up. At best, I think it makes a good light-hearted topic for one of her shows. Well, it's late and I'm getting really hungry, so, on behalf of many who heard her say that and had my reaction, I'll end this by saying, "Oh, yes you can."


New Orleans Says Goodbye to the National Guard

The National Guard is pulling out of New Orleans. To be honest I forgot they were there. I thought after all the people displaced by Katrina had been relocated, there job was done. Whenever a documentary aired, they were seldom in the picture. I wonder if their leaving will be a threat to civil stability. Somehow I doubt it. I am saddened each time I see the "ugly" side of New Orleans being overshadowed by the revelry of the main attractions centered around the French Quarters. I know the plan is to bring the city back to what it was before the catastrophic storm. But, in reality that can't be until the devastation of the hub where the majority of citizens lived is resolved. I wonder sometimes what life is like for those who have relocated. I wonder if life for them is far better or if they feel like an alien in a foreign land. I think of the dwelling places they were forced to leave behind; not because of eviction notices; but because no one in power had swift and sound decisions for what to do after the task of painting X's on the mildewed remains of the homes was completed. I think of the "nameless" bodies floating in the water after the storm. I'm reminded of how treacherous the heat is after a hurricane. And I wonder what President Obama's decision to pull the troops out really means. Am I supposed to now forget that 2005 happened and "move on" like our military is being forced to do? Am I to pretend that the soldiers pulling out of New Orleans is a sign that things are back to normal and business is as usual? I know there are times when the word "normal" simply has to be redefined. I know that for those who have relocated, normal is what life requires of them on any given day. But I can't forget the abandoned homes. I can't forget the people who, against all odds, and far from pristine conditions, stayed behind to make what was left of their homes, livable again. I'm reminded of the homes that simply should have been burned down because that would have been the simplest palette for restructuring something unsalvageable. I think about the billions that was promised the city. And I wonder if they got it; and, who exactly are the "they?" I think about the days before the storm, and the thousands of people left behind to fin for themselves (pun intended). In essence they were left behind to die; but, miraculously lived. I wonder what it was like to float to the rafters of a home and on to the rooftop, with only the light of pitch-black darkness. And it all becomes too difficult to imagine. And I'm reminded that somehow in all the after-math of this controlled chaos, the mayor was re-elected to work another day. And so today the news that the National Guard is pulling up stakes leaves me filled with questions that no one seems to have answers to. I really do believe the solution to the problem of abandoned homes is to have a controlled burn , street by street, of homes that are uninhabitable. I think crews should be at-the-ready to haul any remaining debris to landfills across America. I think for each home destroyed, $80K should be spent to rebuild a new one in its place. I know there's a risk of another storm coming through and blowing them down again. But that's no more risky than giving money to big banks, for CEOs to take mistresses on extravagant "working" vacations. New Orleans will reinvent itself over time. By God's grace all big cities do. But there are a lot of unanswered questions. In fact, enough to fill a book. All the documentaries that I've watched seem to show a city stuck in time, making slow strides to make up for lost time. I was glad to see the resilience of the people as they celebrated Fat Tuesday. And still I had to wonder what percentage of those faces were missing because they were too far from "home" to join in the celebration. We have a new President with a very full plate. I wonder if he has concrete plans for making it possible for the original New Orleaneans to return home. In the years to come it will be interesting to see how history writes the "ending" to the Katrina saga. Today I perceive it as a lot of displaced people holding, like air, the promises of a city restored. It is good that celebrities use "face" value to keep a focused light on this once very real; and yet, tourist-rich American attraction. I end with this lingering memory. For weeks, Katrina evacuees called a big domed-building in Houston home. Clothes, food, and a safe place to sleep were their haven. And then football 's opening season was literally hours away. And with the season's coming in, the evacuees and all their "distractions" had to go out. And just like that; in the middle of the night, chartered buses took them to the poorest edges of the city and gave them "new" housing. And like a blight that could ruin something white they were removed far from. When Hurricane Ike caused damage to the Reliant Energy building in 2008, preventing the season-opening game from being played there, my thoughts rewound to 2005 when the "welcome mat" was pulled up, and just like that, "guests" had to find a new place to ponder their next plan of action. But somehow, amidst all the wondering and recalling what was, ultimately all that really matters, futuristically speaking, is what shall be.