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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Spaghetti...No...Squash...No...Spaghetti Squash...YES!

I’m not the most adventurous cook. I was raised in the South (North Carolina, to be exact) and I enjoy the Southern cuisine I grew up with: fried chicken, collards, home-made biscuits, mashed potatoes, etc. (I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!) In fact, I’d never even heard of spaghetti squash back then. I mean, in my daddy’s garden, the only kind of squash he grew was yellow squash. It was delicious, whether momma stewed it with onions or fried it. Yum!

The first time I had spaghetti squash was in a restaurant, Ruby Tuesdays.  I’d heard of it. I’d seen it. It intrigued me, the way it looked like pasta but wasn’t. I was curious. And it was good.

Fast forward a few years. I figured it was time to try my hand at cooking a spaghetti squash, especially since we no longer have a Ruby Tuesdays in town. First, I went to the grocery store and picked up two, just in case I butchered the first one. Next, I Googled ‘How to Cook a Spaghetti Squash.’ Not taking any chances!

If you’re interested, here’s what I did. It’s easy, simple, and even if you’ve never cooked one before, trust me, you can do it.

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Microwave the spaghetti squash on HIGH for 5 minutes. (Trust me, you need to do this. It softens it up enough for you to cut it in two. Otherwise, just try sticking a knife in it...it's nearly impossible for me to slice! Not to mention I got the knife stuck.) 
  3. Cut the spaghetti squash lengthwise in two pieces. Scrape out the 'guts' and seeds. (It reminds me of the inside of a pumpkin, which should be no surprise since a squash is sort of a cousin to a pumpkin anyway as they are in the Cucurbita family.) 
  4. Place both halves, cut side down, on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray (preferably olive oil).
  5. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and scrape out the 'spaghetti.'
  7. In a frying pan, melt 3 Tbsp. of butter. Add spaghetti squash. Cook for 5 minutes on medium heat, turning occasionally. 
  8. Add garlic powder, salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese to taste. (Be generous!)

I was so surprised at how much one spaghetti squash made! And it was so delicious! The family loved it! Just be sure to be generous with your seasonings. (I know, I said that once and I'm saying it again; it's that important.) I’m convinced that spaghetti squash takes on whatever flavor you give it so mix and match and find whatever works for you. I know folks who actually eat it like spaghetti with pasta sauce.

The best part is, unlike eating ‘real’ pasta, you don’t have a full, bloated feeling after. And a cup only has 31 calories as opposed to 221 calories for a cup of spaghetti noodles.  (That’s while it's naked, not including what you add to it so keep that in mind.)

For this less-than-adventurous cook, this was definitely a WIN!

Try it. And feel free to let me know how it works out for you and any variations you try.

Jean Bailey Robor is that “No Buts About It” expert who simply wants you to lead happier and more successful lives. Getting past what’s holding you back and changing your mindset can put you on that path to better living. Click here to book Jean for your next event!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

America’s Executive Orders? Don’t Take Their Word for It

For years, I had no idea that we the people could actually see the documents signed by the U.S. President. I thought we were pretty much at the mercy of the information we were being fed via news outlets, social media, Google® searches and Saturday Night Live.

I was wrong.

So, just in case you’ve ever wondered if you’re getting accurate information, I’m sharing this for your benefit. Now you can truly KNOW what’s going on, without the spin.

I’m not saying perusing the Federal Regulations is the most interesting reading. (Unless you’re nerdy, like me.) And unlike a newscast, it won’t be sensational. You’ll get just what it is. No frills.

What you might not know: The Federal Register is the daily journal of the United States government. The very first issue was published on Saturday, March 14, 1936. (Not online, of course.) It was signed the day before by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Presidential documents are printed first in the Federal Register with Rules, then Proposed Rules, and Notices following, respectively. This order of items made Executive Order 7316 the first article to appear on the page. However, it was not the first article submitted. (Can you find out what Executive Order 7316 is? Hint: The relevant location is South Carolina.)

Oh, and the cool thing is….you can do a Public InspectionDocument search and see documents before they are actually published in the Federal Register. (Yep, you heard it here.)

But don’t take my word for it. Now you have a choice. To get your information straight from the source or to continue wondering if what you’re being told (i.e. fed) is true.

Check it out and see for yourself. https://www.federalregister.gov/

And guess what? You can follow the Federal Register on Twitter: @FedRegister. (Or, you can follow me: @JeanBaileyRobor)

You’re welcome.

United We Stand,

Jean Bailey Robor is that "No Buts About It" expert who simply wants you to lead happier and more successful lives. Getting past what's holding you back and changing your mindset can put you on that path to better living. Click here to book Jean for your next event!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Obamacare and What You Should Do

It’s not often I use the word ‘should’ in the headline of an article. In fact, this may be the first time I’ve ever used it. In light of the conversations I’ve heard concerning The Patient Protection and Affordable CareAct (PPACA), otherwise known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare, I felt compelled to use that word. Rather than talk, we should take action. The action you take, of course, will depend on your view.

The ACA has been a hot topic of conversation both in and outside political discussions. It’s a law that reforms both the healthcare and health insurance industry that was signed on March 23, 2010 by President BarackObama. Its aim was to increase the quality, accessibility and affordability of private and public health insurance. There are both pros and cons to the deal, because, let’s face it, nothing is (or ever will be) perfect. What I feel are pros are 1) Folks who have pre-existing conditions cannot be turned down for insurance coverage; 2) Parents can keep their young adult children on their insurance. According to President Donald Trump, even if the ACA is appealed and replaced, these provisions will be intact. I’m glad to hear that. It was good to be able to keep my children on my insurance through the years they turned 26.

Now, admittedly (check out obamacarefacts.com), each of the provisions of the law have varying degrees of success. That’s to be expected.

So, you’re probably wondering what should you do. Or at the very least, what I think you should do.
With the change in administration, January 20, 2017, the possible repeal and replacement of the ACA became very real. But it was no surprise. Throughout his campaign Donald Trump noted a need for better healthcare for all Americans and promised to make that happen. According to Speaker Paul Ryan, repeal and replace would mean risk pools as a smarter way to help people with preexisting conditions to directly subsidize their care so the burden does not lie on the rest of the population. 

Also, health care savings accounts could help people with problems they are having with upfront or deductible spending. If you currently have health insurance through your workplace, you may be familiar with health care spending accounts that allow the employee to designate a certain amount of tax-free money to go into the account each payday. Other changes would include allowing insurance plans to compete over state lines; a competitive marketplace would give people better choices.

While some are excited about the possible coming changes, some are satisfied with the ACA as it is now.

However you feel about it, now is your time to act.

Here’s how: Since November 2016, Paul Ryan’s office has been conducting a phone poll concerning the Affordable Care Act. If you haven’t participated in the poll but would like to, simply call (202) 225-0600 and follow the prompts to weigh in on the issue. Near the end of the call there’s an option to leave a voicemail. (When I called on 1/22/17, the voicemail was full.) It takes about 2 minutes.

Now you know what you should do.

Make your voice heard.

United We Stand,

Jean Bailey Robor is that "No Buts About It" expert who simply wants you to lead happier and more successful lives. Getting past what's holding you back and changing your mindset can put you on that path to better living. Click here to book Jean for your next event!

Why the American Political Transfer of Power ROCKS

I first became interested in politics in 1980, if you can call it an interest. Maybe an ‘awareness’ is the better word. I was a teenager and not particularly concerned about current events; I was more concerned about where my boyfriend and I would go on our next date. (Just bein’ real, y’all.) But 1980 was a tough year to ignore. Much like 2016, the outcome of the election resulted in a drastic change in power, not to mention the highest number of electoral votes won by a non-incumbent U.S. Presidential candidate ever.

On January 20, 1981, in Washington D.C., the transfer of power went something like this. Chief Justice Warren Burger administered the oath to Ronald Reagan who placed his hand on a family Bible, a gift from his mother, which was opened to II Chronicles 7:14: If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. During the inaugural lunch, Reagan had the privilege of announcing the release of 52 American hostages from Iran after 444 days of captivity. Celebrations erupted across the nation, including folks tying yellow ribbons to show support for the returning hostages. In that moment, it didn’t matter if you’d been pro-Reagan or not; America came together to celebrate the answer to a prayer, the return of our own.

Last month, the small West African country of Gambia, held an election. The President had held his position for 23 years. (Can you imagine that?) It was a shock to him when a former security guard and real estate agent won the election. President Jammeh refused to step down. The country was on the brink of political crisis. The political transfer of power began shaping up to include military action as West African troops amassed at Gambia’s borders. According to the U.N., 45,000 people has fled the country since the December 1st election, due to the turmoil. Weeks after the election, on the night of January 20, 2016, the day of the American Presidency’s transfer of power, Jammeh stepped down and Adama Barrow was inaugurated in nearby Senegal. Jammeh was offered asylum from Nigeria and Morocco. He chose to go into exile in Equatorial Guinea.

As I read of this, I realized, despite the protests in our country, even now, the leaders of our great nation transfer power in an orderly fashion, thereby ensuring our democracy works. And that, in itself, should make every American proud, no matter what side of the political fence you’re on.

This year, Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton noted the significance of the peaceful transfer of power and said, “We owe [Trump] an open mind and a chance to lead.” She and former President Bill Clinton attended the inaugural luncheon where President Trump acknowledged them and led a standing ovation in their honor, noting, “I have a lot of respect for those two people.”

Earlier that day, on January 20, 2017, as a light rain fell intermittently in Washington D.C., the power of the Presidency of the United States of America had peacefully transferred from Barack Obama to Donald Trump. Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. administered the oath to Trump who placed his hand on a Bible his mother had given him in 1955 and the Lincoln Bible used at Abraham Lincoln’s inauguration in 1861. (Barack Obama is the only other president to have used the Lincoln Bible in an inauguration.) And in each of those Bibles, like Reagan’s in 1980, in the 7th chapter and 14th verse of II Chronicles is this same powerful promise: If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

There was no nation that offered asylum to our outgoing leader; there was no need.

There was no inaugural ceremony in a nearby country for the safety of our incoming leader; there was no need.

The democratic political system we have works. The peaceful transfer of power between our leaders ROCKS! Mainly because of men and women like the Obamas, the Clintons, the Trumps that serve the country and its citizens and pass the torch to the next administration in honor of our Constitution.

From the comfort of my home, as I watched some of the inaugural festivities, many years past 1980, I wasn’t too (but maybe a little) concerned about my next ‘date.’ (Honey, if you’re reading this, I hear the beach is fine this time of year!) I did admire the poise and grace of the past and present FLOTUS. And, somehow, I found myself hankering for a Ralph Lauren dress. (That powder blue would go great with my red hair.)

Shopping, anyone?

Rock on, America!

United We Stand,


Jean Bailey Robor is that "No Buts About It" expert who simply wants you to lead happier and more successful lives. Getting past what's holding you back and changing your mindset can put you on that path to better living. Click here to book Jean for your next event!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Something Very Real is Happening

I had to do it. I just couldn't believe it had taken me this long. There was no resistance. I'd just let life and laziness get in the way. That's the honest answer. So, finally, on what was to be the last night, I showed up at the Burlington Revival, an old-fashioned tent meeting in North Carolina that I was sure would take me back to my roots, days past of more than 30 years, when I'd worshiped God underneath a humble tent filled with like-minded worshipers.

I expected it to be a nostalgic experience. It was so much more!

If you haven't heard of the Burlington Revival, whether you are a believer or not, the story is fascinating. It was never meant to happen.

A local church planned a week-long revival, as some churches do, and invited an out-of-town evangelist as God's man of the hour.  Unbeknownst to them, it would be the beginning of something farther reaching than their church walls. And, unbeknownst to the surrounding community, members of this church had been praying for God to bring revival beyond their local congregation and into the community, for 10 to 15 years. Wait....what? God saw fit to answer their prayers in 2016. It began on Mother's Day, continued week after week until the church couldn't hold all the folks showing up, and moved to the big tent.

Now, maybe it's a coincidence (but I think not) that 2016 has brought an increase in violent crime in the area, and it appears to be gang-related. In fact, as the tent revival continues (yes, it's been extended), vigils have been and are being held in various locations, concerned citizens who are passionate to stop the violence.

Despite all the hurt and pain throughout our community, God is here. No doubt about it. Not just under the tent, but He is here in our hearts, making Himself more real than some of us have ever seen in our lifetimes.

So, last night, underneath the tent, not only did God show up, I did too.

As folks gathered the atmosphere was filled with expectancy. Even though I'd heard the crowds had filled the tent, even spilling over outside to the tune of 5,000+ people, I was amazed by the sight.

As one entity, we stood, clapped and sang. I felt a freedom to worship and it seemed no one held back. We experienced God, together. Then C.T. Townsend, the evangelist, took the stage. I was amazed by his passion coupled by humbleness as he gave God the glory for the great work He is doing in our community.

A thought came to me. We (our collective community) have a heart problem. Not just those of us who were sitting beneath the tent desiring for a closer walk with God, but also those who have been caught up in the violence, both the victims and the perpetrators. It's a heart problem.

Warning: I'm stepping up on my soapbox. Feel free to come along for the ride.

We, as a society, have 'preached' tolerance so loud and so long, we've gotten away from a lifestyle that promotes peace: Christianity. And, in the name of tolerance, we've become intolerant of those who call themselves Christians. We accept other religions as beautiful and shun this one. Even those of us who are Christians have been indoctrinated by this 'tolerance dogma' so much so that we feel apologetic (albeit ashamed?) of our faith and are resistant to freely worship the God we claim to love and serve. This, too, is a heart problem. (If you're a Christian, remember, Jesus said, "Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels." -Mark 8:38)

If our hearts were truly set toward God, if we desired and actively sought after what was best for ourselves, our families, our society, each other, if we put our own selfish desires aside, what a huge and wonderful difference it would make. (Hey, I'm talking to me as much as to whomever reads this.)

And it begins with one. With me. Join me? 

Last night I watched as over 30 people, young and old, male and female, a couple sets of twins, my friend's daughter, gather at the altar, making life-changing decisions. This is what our community needs, a change of hearts. (Thanks to the folks of that local congregation, New Hope Baptist Church, Pastor Randy Hobbs and other folks that prayed.)

In today's world, we aren't always open to change, to what is different from our norm. Some may look at what's happening beneath the tent, the type of worship, and think, "Yeah, I'm a Christian, but that's just not my thing." And that's okay. Worship comes in many forms. Worship in the way God has given you to worship, whether it's quieter, louder, more contemporary, just worship and adore Him. And know, that whether it's 'your thing' or not, a good work is being done and it's time for Christians to celebrate together, in spirit and in truth, for the good of our community and all mankind. After all, we won't be in separate corners in Heaven so let's allow the love of God within our hearts today to bring us together, for God's purpose, here on Earth.

Stepping down off the soapbox now. Thanks for coming along for the ride. 

And now, the rest of the story...
As the service under the tent concluded, those who had rode shuttles were urged to leave first as a storm was coming which was indicative of the thunder beginning to roar. My friend, her daughter and I exited the tent and made a beeline for an empty van. Just as we filled it up, we learned that that vehicle was not one of the shuttles. Oops! (Apologies to whomever owns that van.) By the time we exited there was a long line of folks waiting for shuttles. Now we were at the back of the line. And now, as the lightning, thunder and wind picked up, the skies began to pour. I told my friend's daughter, "Not only did you get saved tonight, now you're getting baptized!" Seeing a group of people running toward a small tent for shelter, we followed suit. Huddled beneath the tent, drenched to the bone, I noticed it was held up with metal rods and the lightning was raging. I didn't speak it but I thought, "Well, if God sees fit, He could take us all home in one fell swoop." (I did ease a bit further from the metal pole beside me.) As the next round of shuttles came down the road, my friend's daughter (a teenager) took off running. We ran too. Now, somehow, before I took off, I was under the delusion I could keep up with a teenager. Obviously, the rain had seeped into my brain and distorted my thinking. Still, we managed to get there and, thankfully, took our seats. Hallelujah! I reckon God decided to spare us for another day. And I'm perfectly okay with that.

Much love, no apologies,

Jean Bailey Robor, author of She Has a Big 'But'! Get Past Your Excuses & Realize Your Dreams, is available for conferences, keynotes and workshops. View her profile and book her on SpeakerMatch.com or contact her via email to set up a time to talk.


Saturday, June 4, 2016

What is it about “FREE” and the Chick-fil-a App?

He said, “If it’s free, it’s for me!” quite frequently. So much so, that, even though Johnny’s been gone almost 15 years, I still remember that (“tagline,” if you will) when I think of him. And it makes me smile.

What is it about the word “free” that draws us or repels us? Think of this: 1. You receive an email from an unknown source with the capitalized “FREE” in the subject matter. If you’re like me, you immediately consider it a scam, junk, someone trying to entice us so they can sell us later on down the road. 2. You see a new app from your favorite restaurant. If you download it, you’ll get a free chicken sandwich. Again, if you’re like me, you download that sucker. Free food! Woohoo!

Chances are, if we own a device to download the app, we can afford to buy the chicken sandwich. So what’s the big deal?

People do business with those they like, know and trust. An errant email from an unknown source breaks all those rules. I don’t know them or their business; therefore, there’s no relationship to base on like and trust. If I get a similar email from a known source, especially someone I have a personal connection with, I tend to trust it. Oh, this speaker coach is providing free resources. Cool. I know they also have products for sale and there will probably be a mention of them at the end of the article, video, podcast or e-book, but I’m cool with that. I know they aren’t going to share my email or scam me. That’s where the like and trust comes in.

Three days after Chik-fil-a introduced their One App, over a million people had downloaded it. A million! In three days! (Yeah, that makes me one in a million.) Obviously, there is a lot of “like, know and trust” going on. Their brand is known for reaching out to families, with their cow-costumed employees, Daddy-Daughter Date Nights, and how employees treat each customer with respect. They make it easy to like, know and trust their business.

So, here I am, Chik-fil-a app at the ready to “cash in” my free chicken sandwich. And yes, those receipts stuffed in my purse? Free sausage biscuits from Biscuitville from taking their survey. (I like, know and trust them, too!) Johnny would have loved it.

Maybe I eat too much fast food, y’all.

But that’s a story for another day…

Rock on,
Jean Bailey Robor
That “No Buts About It” Expert

Jean Bailey Robor is an award-winning speaker and author of “She Has a Big ‘But’! Get Past Your Excuses & Realize Your Dreams.” Book her for your next event through www.SpeakerMatch.com or email Jean@JeanBaileyRobor.com

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

That Darn Straw!

You know the one. The one that broke the camel’s back. If you’re unfamiliar with the proverb “the straw that broke the camel’s back,” it simply refers to a situation where challenging things are happening, your stress levels are rising, and the last thing that pushes you over the top is the “straw.”  The straw doesn’t have to be the most stressful thing; it can actually be the least stressful. It’s simply that last thing. Just like that camel carrying a heavy weight of straw until finally, it’s just too much. And over the edge you go!

That happened to me last night. Fortunately, I caught the edge and, while not gingerly (unless you’re referring to the redhead in me), at least little by little and with great effort, I pulled myself (with some help) back up over the edge and into the world of sanity once more.

Have you ever felt like that? Like if just one more thing happens…..and then it does.

For me, the proverbial straw started with a warning. There was a raging thunderstorm outside, lots of lightning, flash-flooding rains. In the midst of it, I heard a crash. It was so loud it even startled my nearly-deaf dog, Maxie. I saw her head turn toward the spare room. At first I suspected a tree limb, then realized there were no trees on the front side of the house. In mere seconds it dawned on me that the sound had come from inside the house. I opened the door to the spare room and there it was….the straw. It was disguised as pieces of wet ceiling and rain water gracing the floor, the dresser, the book case with their unwanted presence.

And, deep inside, the stress inside me began to multiply.

And over the edge I went.

Now, you have to know that this, in and of itself, would, more than likely, not have pushed me over. But, you know how it is, stress builds upon stress which builds upon stress until finally…..

As I struggled with a solution, not just to that but all the other stress factors, I experienced yet another sleepless night which culminated in a headache and possibly even a few tears. Then I woke to the realization that, oh yes, this was the day that began with a much-needed (and often postponed) dentist appointment. Oh the joy. (Can ya feel it?)

Now you need to know, I like my dentist. In fact, I’ve been going to the same dental office all my life (that’s not an exaggeration; I literally mean “all my life”). It’s just that I’m not so fond of what happens when I get there. Fortunately today, after all was said and done, even x-rays, I walked away with a clean bill of health and a gentle urging to floss more.

But that’s not all that happened. Somehow, when I made the appointment several months ago, there must have been some Divine intervention on picking just this day, the day after the edge. And there were a number of factors involved. Here’s what happened:

  • The night the straw broke my back, it was late. There was literally no one to vent to, commiserate with or otherwise share the joyous news. So, of course, I began by asking God, “Can’t you just do a miracle and fix that mess in there?” Obviously, while He is in the miracle-making business, this wasn’t something He chose to spend his time on. (After a few minutes, I got over that.) However, He did lead me to a passage of Scripture as I lay there and opened the Bible app on my phone. Romans 8:18. That verse was made for times like this! (Read it here.)

  • The next morning, I texted a couple of friends, just asking for prayer. Their responses confirmed that there are good faith-filled people in this world that will pray for you at the drop of a hat, without even knowing your struggle, if you just ask.

  • At the dentist, I was informed it was time to, once again, fill out a medical history document. As I handed it back in, the receptionist looked up, “That was quick!” I glanced down to see I’d checked ‘no’ after all but one medical condition. And then it hit me, pushing me right back up over the edge from which I’d fallen.  And it left me wondering how I could, in the midst of some challenging circumstances, have missed one of God’s greatest blessings. He’s given me, at least for now, pretty good health, a real blessing when I have so much, and so many, to care for.

Then, as I drove away to the office, I began to thank Him for the blessings, not just for my health, but for the means to make a living and the family and friends it takes to make a life. Wow! Somehow the challenges I was facing paled in comparison. (Hey, I have a couple more grandkids on the way!) And somehow, making the call to the insurance company and getting the ball rolling on that front, took some of the stress off, knowing a fix was coming.

The sentiments of my ‘prayer partners’ reminded me of the power in asking and receiving what we ask for. One response was “I always pray for you.” The other “You are always in my thoughts and, now, in my prayers as well.” Then there was the suggestion to, being the music lover that I am, sing my favorite hymn. I tuned my car radio to KLOVE; that’s where my most favorite music resides. Wouldn’t you know it, the song playing was “Flawless” by MercyMe: “No matter the bumps, no matter the bruises, no matter the scars, still the truth is the cross has made you flawless.” Not long after that was “You’re an Overcomer” by Mandisa encouraging me to “stay in the fight til the final round.” (If you haven’t heard it, check it out. The words will pump you up!) I found myself singing along. I didn’t even mind the looks I was getting on the highway. Some days you just can’t worry about what other people think.
courtesy of photos-for-you.com

Then I thought about that straw. I knew when I walked into the house, pieces of ceiling would be hanging down threatening to fall. I knew I’d have to dump out the water I’d caught in the big green container I hastily threw on top of of the dresser last night. And I knew that, no matter what, even when I’m pushed over the edge, I don’t have to stay there. I can come back to this side of sanity, even when dealing with the stress that threatens it. Best of all, I knew that someone, like you, would be reading this, and maybe be encouraged by it, as you’re facing your proverbial straw today.

And, that, my friends, makes everything worth it.

Keep on keeping on,