Monday, July 15, 2013


Years ago, while trying to educate myself on the scariest topic ever known--daughters-- I read a book by Mary Pipher:  Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls.
Pipher discusses the phenomenon which occurs when young girls transition from football throwing, spitting in the wind, carefree girls to awkward, insecure, less confident adolescents. One day you have a girl who doesn't care what boys think, then suddenly you have a girl that only cares what boys think. Pipher lays out the evidence & discusses solutions.

One solution is to empower girls.
It's not easy and yes, it does take a village as the task can't be achieved solely by one parent, teacher, clergy or friend. It takes a combination of many positives to sustain proper influences for girls.

There is usually no lack of activities for me and this past school year I took on a duty which I never anticipated. I organized & coached my daughter's high school lacrosse team, incorporating my very limited athletic AND attention skills. My daughter had played lacrosse (LAX) with boys since she was in 3rd grade & wanted to play high school girls lacrosse but her school did not have a team. My optimistic brain told me that if I get the ball rolling, someone will come around to be the coach. Suffice it to say that my "optimistic brain" does not exist much anymore. 
After inquiring with girls & parents who had little or no previous experience with lax, I found myself organizing--and then coaching 25 girls for their school team.

The experience became one of the top 5 positives in my life. It was awkward to begin shaping, forming & teaching these girls a sport of which I had limited knowledge, but we grew together and with the assistance of my daughter, a college lax veteran & another mom, we guided them with proper techniques. I was very blessed to encourage & lead these girls to learn a sport which was completely foreign to them and empower them to learn something new that was outside of their comfort zones. You have no idea how intimidating it is to run with a stick in your hand, anticipating a catch or trying to throw from a basket that drops the ball to the ground at the slightest twist, while trying to run as fast as you can around 8 girls who are charging at you. I witnessed girls who went from being terrified to being empowered.

It is my hope that the experience for the young ladies was as positive and moving for them as it was for me. They are beautiful inside & out and their futures have no ceiling. 
And how blessed I am that I was able to share this experience.

"Nugget of the Week"A peer lacrosse coach shared this video with me & even though it's an advertisement, it has a great message on how to view girls.....

John's Blurb with Jude Southerland Kessler

I’ve been pounding the pavement in sweltering Louisiana temperatures! And despite the fact that “I’m meelllllting, melting!” while I run,  lovely Kelly Clarkson keeps right on wailing into my earphones, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!” So I sweat and push on for another couple miles and mull that concept over.

Each day for the last week or so, that’s been the scenario. My mp3, it seems, just loves that song!  Or perhaps I’ve noticed the lyrics more since the summer run DOES actually seem to be killing me! So the mantra of “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” has really been on my mind.

And what I’ve decided is: it’s just not true.
Tragedy doesn’t always make you stronger. And to tell someone that it does strengthen them  makes them feel a flop – a failure – when tragedy breaks down instead of building up. Sometimes tragedy leaves a gash, a scar that never heals. That’s the truth.

John Lennon was a prime example of that. John’s mother was killed by a drunk driver 55 years ago this very night. So, Julia has been on my mind all day. She was on John’s mind all day, every day. He just couldn’t adjust to her loss…ever. It haunted him for the rest of his life.

In a letter to his best friend, Stu Sutcliffe, John wrote, “I have a sadness that goes too deep for tears, a sadness that leaves me a spectator of my own stupidity.” The pain that John endured 55 years ago on this evening and on all of the evenings that followed (nights thick with loneliness and abandonment) didn’t make John stronger. The pain gutted him…and left John sardonic, cynical, and guarded.  The blithe prediction that “pain will increase stamina” was never true for John. The pain buckled him and kept him gasping for air, forever.

BUT…that place of desperation isn’t without benefits to the waiting/watching world. The greatest writers, artists, poets, and musicians have all discovered this, and in their “crippled inside” attempt to survive, they gave the world works of great beauty.

In pain, Syliva Plath wrote The Bell Jar and her poem, “Tulips.” In tragedy, Keats, Byron, and Shelley wrote the definitive poems of the Romantic Movement. In tortured sadness, Edgar Allen Poe penned his short stories and his lovely “Annabel Lee.” And in anguish, Jackson Pollack produced his greatest works of art.

John Lennon wrote the soundtrack of our lives from an emotional fetal position. Never once after losing his mother, Julia, was John lighthearted again. And the result was “Hide Your Love Away,” “Help,” “If I Fell,” “I’ll Cry Instead,” “I’m a Loser,” “Nowhere Man,” and so, so many more breathtaking compositions…the songs of our lives.

If some tragedy has knocked the wind out of you, and you don’t feel as if you’ll ever be that giddy girl or glib guy again, okay. Really. Okay. You don’t have to “return to normal” or “use the pain to grow.” Just be you. Just be.

Your pain isn’t wrong. And it isn’t weak. It just is.

And it can become a springboard for something lovelier than a life lived without it. It can become a moonflower – an eloquently beautiful plant that grows and blooms only in the dark of night.

We don’t all “grow stronger, last longer” from the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” (to quote two bards). But we don’t become less because of it either. We become us…singing, painting, cooking, sculpting, dancing, writing, reaching out in the night…and expressing our pain in a way the world will never forget.

“What doesn’t kill you makes YOU.”  That much I know.

 --Jude Southerland Kessler

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Ask the Intern with Claire Edwards

What do you think about Christian music?   -  Eve (Evansville, IN)

It makes no difference whether you are interested in religion or in your high school sweetheart; it is still effective to use musical expression as a vehicle to share those feelings with others. However it bothers me that Christian music is separated into its own genre. All the other basic genres (basic meaning that they are large enough that they are usually clearly labeled sections in a record store) are categorized by musical aspects such as pacing, the use of certain instruments, and vocals. Christian music on the other hand, is separated because of its lyrical content. You can’t walk into a store and a find an entire section for albums about sports or pets so why can you easily find sections dedicated to Christianity?  Christian music can vary from singer-songwriter style to hip-hop to hard rock, so there is no reason it should all be lumped together into one category. So, in my opinion, Christian music is fine as an outlet for individuals’ opinions and creativity but should not be separated into its own genre suggesting that is more important or more prominent than music focusing on other subject matter.  


Lanea Stagg
Recipe Records Cookbooks

Upcoming Gigs:

July 25 - "Women in Rock" event at Studio 4905 in Henderson, KY
August 9-11 - Fest for Beatles Fans in Chicago - I'll be giving programs & signing books!

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