Beyond Words

Words, Wit and Wisdom for Today's Style and Decision Makers

Be The Church October 25, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 10:18 pm

Church New England


In a recent email I received, the blog spoke about the difference between “going” to church and “being” the church. Today I witnessed firsthand what this means. If you are a Facebook friend of mine, you might already know what I’m talking about. My post today reads:


“Sometimes you go to church and get more than you ever expected. Today during mass me and my fellow Hospitality Ministers are told a homeless man is in the Bride’s Room asking for a ride to the bus station. After debating calling Uber for him, two of the male ministers offer to drive him there. We pitch in, buy him a bus ticket, get him donuts from our coffee and donuts ministry, and give him cash for the trip. Then as I’m driving away I see a bunch of school busses arriving and dropping off middle and high schoolers returning from a weekend retreat. I feel so grateful and blessed but all I did was witness, witness the virtues literally come alive before my eyes.”


Yep, I will say those two Hospitality Ministers know what it means to “be” the church. They know it and they stepped up and became it. So are all the chaperones and ministers who accompanied the teens on retreat.




It’s not uncommon to hear someone say “I don’t have to go to a church to be close to God or to pray.” That’s true, but more than likely when you go to church regularly your faith grows and so does your longing to be the church. It reminds of the sports coaching technique of “be the ball” and it’s kinds like being a member of a team and who wants to sit on the bench? This is good for the church and it’s good for you.


Studies show spiritual people and those who attend church are less likely to smoke, abuse alcohol, and be stressed. Sadly, a recent Family Circle poll showed nearly 40 percent of respondents “hardly ever” take time for spirituality with their family. America, we have a problem.


I’m well aware that not everyone who attends church lives a perfect life, I certainly don’t and I’m certainly a sinner, but like anything that keeps you in check, going to church has a way of also keeping you grounded and reminding you that you are accountable for your actions or even inactions. The homeless man today was what most of us would consider a “charity case,” but aren’t we all? Aren’t we all in need of the virtue of Charity, which is basically love?


Interestingly enough, the Biblical Greek word for grace is “charis,” from which we get the word charity. Grace is charity and it is through grace that God helps us. How many times have you said, “There but for the grace of God go I?”


“Courage is the ladder on which all the other virtues mount.”

Clare Booth Luce


In my Facebook post I wrote that I witnessed the virtues come alive. What are the virtues I wrote of? Virtues are basically good habits that enable someone to perform an action with ease. The virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love are famously contained in 1 Corinthians 13 and are considered God-given. The other virtues: Wisdom, Justice, Courage, and Temperance are acquired on our own and are developed through practice. You might say God gives us the first three and then watches as we put them to use through the other four. I saw virtually all of them today at mass. For that, I am grateful to have gone to church.




We are all busy and live crazy busy lives and I’m the first to admit no one loves to sleep in more than me. At the same time, churches can sometimes be intimidating if you haven’t been to one in a while, but give going to church a shot. Think about it, pray about it, and be about it. I think you’ll be glad you did.


The Mystery of Hillary October 24, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 4:18 pm

“Nearly all men can stand adversity,

but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”  

Abraham Lincoln


The Benghazi committee hearings have come to a close and what does Hillary Clinton have to say for herself? She thanked committee members for “contributing” to her campaign by way of an influx of donations following the hearings. As always, it’s forever about her. Not the four Americans who died (although she did state she has weathered more sleepless nights than anyone…again, all about her) and not about how it happened or why it happened. I’m confused. I’m baffled.


Here’s the deal: I’m a Baby Boomer Hispanic college-educated female who thinks for herself and has raised a strong and successful daughter. I’m deeply religious and a proud conservative Republican even though I grew up very middle-class and in a predominantly Democrat hometown so yes, I’ll take your “you are biased” comments up front. I’m also slightly obsessed with current events and have been for literally as long as I can remember. It’s one of the reasons I studied Journalism in college.


So, get to the point Carla. The point of this blog is that I’m puzzled and disappointed. I just don’t get why anyone, especially a woman, would support Hillary Clinton for anything much less President of the United States of America. But, my purpose here is not to sway you against Mrs. Clinton, but rather to ask those of you who do support her, a simple and honest “why?”


It truly perplexes me that any woman who calls herself a feminist, a Democrat, or anything in between can stand by a woman who has “stood by her man” through public betrayal after public scandal, even though she so famously claimed she wasn’t and wouldn’t. Have we become so desperate for a woman president that we’ll vote for whatever female runs regardless of her lack of true accomplishment and substantiated trust? Is she really the best the Democrats have to offer?


I’m pleading with you, my sensible, logical, and smart friends who I respect and admire, what is it? How is it that you so blindly and vehemently support Hillary Clinton?


Is it because she has so many accomplishments that you can name?

Is it because she is a publicly humiliated yet loyal wife?

Maybe it’s because in your heart you consider her honest and trustworthy.

Perhaps it’s only because she’s a Democrat and she’s a woman.

Do you just feel she’s “earned” the “title?”

Her successes you cannot deny, but at what cost?

It could be that maybe you’re still just crazy about her husband and long for days gone by.

I can see how you admire her smarts but what about her standards?

Okay, how about it’s because she’s full of new ideas and represents a fresh start for a country on the brink of discord?

I get it, she’s intelligent and accomplished but so is Carly Fiorina and you hate her. Go figure.


One thing’s for sure, Hillary Rodham Clinton is polarizing and I doubt she will bring our nation together. Keep in mind she was defeated by a previously unknown former community organizer. What has she done since then that makes her more worthy today than she was eight years ago?


Let’s look back.



Hillary Rodham Clinton burst onto the national political scene in the 1980s when her husband Bill ran for and was elected president. She was an accomplished yet somewhat controversial lawyer who undoubtedly saw the fast-lane to power through her husband. It seemed like what he had she wanted and she would do anything for and put up with anything to get. The scandals are lengthy and historic, and without going into any gory details, which I’ll let you do if you doubt me or don’t remember them, and these are just a few:

Using the IRS and FBI to target political opponents

Stalking and harassing the legions of women who claimed harassment from her husband

Helping herself to taxpayer-funded White House items

Vince Foster






And now Emailgate and Benghazi. Let’s look at these two more closely since they are front and center today.


“Character is doing the right thing when no one is watching.”

J.C. Watts




I Want My Own Server and I Want It Now

When HRC became Barack Obama’s secretary of state in 2009 she went through the trouble and expense of acquiring a private email server, something none of her predecessors had ever done. As anyone who’s had simple internet set up knows, much less an entire server, this is no easy task. To do so for the United States’ secretary of state means even more security and precaution. The fact that she claims to have done so for the convenience of using one hand-held device is not only ludicrous but downright insulting.


Then there’s the little detail that a State Department employee was paid by her family to maintain the private server, an employee who has since invoked his constitutional right against self-incrimination if called to testify.


It goes without saying that the United States State Department had a perfectly good and secure server, but Clinton chose to send, receive, and store emails on a private server during her 2009-2013 term. This begs the question, why? And, it’s estimated that more than 65,000 emails were deleted, thousands of which have since been determined to contain classified information, including material regarding the production and dissemination of U.S. intelligence.


And you want to be our president.


Equally amazing is that the IT company that maintained Clinton’s private email account was run out of a loft apartment in Denver and the company’s servers were kept in a closet. Emails for the secretary of state of the United States of America and our national security were stored in a closet. In Denver.  Unbelievable, and anyone who doesn’t find it even a tad dubious is either lying to themselves or brainwashed beyond reasoning. Had Condoleezza Rice or James Baker done even half of this, they would have been run out of Washington faster than you can say “vast right wing conspiracy” and they certainly wouldn’t be running for president.



Hillary Clinton testifies

Four Americans

Then there is the 2012 attack on the American compound in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens. Clinton was secretary of state during the attacks and her leadership and honesty have been the subject of Congressional hearings. In the months leading up to the attacks, Stevens repeatedly requested additional security, to no avail, resulting in him being the first U.S. Ambassador killed in the line of duty since 1979. That’s 33 years people.


After the bombings, Clinton and her staff as well as the Obama administration all publicly laid blame for the attacks on an anti-Islamic video even though it was later revealed that she had privately communicated with both her daughter and the Egyptian prime minister that it was what she labeled a “planned attack” by an “al Qaeda-like group.” She’s also on record as saying “at this point what does it matter?” Shameful.


This is all nothing new. In a 2008 speech, then-Senator Hillary Clinton recalled a trip she made to Tuzla, Bosnia as First Lady, saying, “I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base.”


But, news footage of her visit revealed her “sniper fire” claim wasn’t just exaggerated, it was completely false.


NBC news anchor Brian Williams was fired for making a similar claim. A news anchor.



It’s no coincidence that “Clinton” has become synonymous with scandal. Many would claim that all politicians lie and cheat, but something about the president of the United States conducting sexual affairs in the Oval Office just makes my skin crawl. The fact that his sexual escapades lead to a subsequent impeachment by the U.S. House of Representatives on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice is no laughing matter. He used a cigar; a cigar! And his loving and ambitious wife stood by him and tarnished the character of multiple women who laid similar claims against him. That doesn’t sound like someone I want having my back or fighting a “war on women” and it certainly doesn’t sound like a feminist.  Again, ask yourself: what if this had been George and Laura Bush? She would have been laughed off the page and sent packing to Crawford with all the other so-called rednecks.


It seems Hillary Rodham Clinton’s “war on women” consists of covering up and accepting her husband’s multiple affairs and accepting Clinton Foundation donations from countries that have abysmal women’s rights records. Are these facts alone not troublesome to women voters?


Pyschologists often say the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Kinda scares me.


Sometimes people just become so accustomed to stretching the truth they don’t even realize they’re doing it. When you repeatedly get away with doing so, it’s almost like people start to believe you and you feel you’re above the truth and above the law. Apologies are rare and think about it, when have we ever heard Hillary Clinton apologize for anything?


Again, is she really the best we women can offer our country? Shouldn’t we be demanding someone more trustworthy and respectable and a little less flippant and secretive? Just what are her accomplishments anyway? Yes, she’s held the title of senator and secretary of state, but name just five incredible and admirable things she did as either. She ran for senator in a state she wasn’t from and she seems to running from the truth every time I turn around.


Still, millions support and adore her. My mom met her years ago at an event in Santa Fe and said she was nice as can be. Cool. I’ve heard Taylor Swift is nice too but I don’t want her running our country.


In my opinion, Hillary Clinton seems anything but nice or friendly. In fact she comes off as downright angry and out to get people. I’m not sure I want that in the White House. There is already enough anger out there. We don’t need someone full of resentment and an “I’ll show you” attitude commanding our military and trying to make this country work again.


So friends, do we punch the gender lever just because Hillary Clinton is female or do we dig deep and demand someone who will turn this country around and who we have no doubts about? Do we truly believe our country is in such great shape that we want more of the same? I for one am done with a Clinton and Bush campaign and am instead opting for someone new. I will always love and respect both Presidents George Bush and George W. Bush, but I am also a thinking woman who refuses to stay the course and choose a candidate based solely on a name and my loyalty. I prefer a president who is going to offer us a new direction and renewed hope.  If anyone can convince me otherwise, I’m listening. Do tell.




Fashionably Fall October 21, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 10:11 pm

Fall, my favorite season of the year, is upon us and any day now I’m hoping to be able to start wearing some autumn attire. I love everything about fall: the colors, the weather, Thanksgiving, and the clothing. Aaah, the clothing.


Karl Lagerfeld quote


Several trends were spotted on the fall runways, many of which were not to my liking (wide leg pants, tucking in everything, and skinny scarves to name just a few), but many I did like. Best of all, a lot of them are actually wearable, which is always something I look for in anything trendy or new that I’m thinking of buying.


If you are thinking of purchasing clothing you’ve seen everywhere of late, remember my two golden rules: 1. Don’t go overboard on any certain trend and don’t invest too much money in one. Keep in mind trends come and go…and go quickly!  2. If something was previously trendy and you wore it, you’re probably too old to wear it the second time around.  Example in my case: wide leg pants!


Here is a quick peek at some of the Fall 2015 Fashion Trends I do like:





I’m a casual kind of girl. Yes, I love getting dolled up for a special event, but day-to-day I’m much happier in casual clothing and footwear. I’m all Austin and very little Dallas, hence my love of this take on casual yet fashionable that, if done right, can tastefully go from the office to the gym to the happy hour. Women love it and it’s not going anywhere so feel free to stock up on your Altheta, Lulu, and any other chic après-sport lifestyle wear. Just be sure to leave the grey sweats at home.





Anyone who knows me knows I’m mad about plaid. Madras. Buffalo check. Window pane. Mel Gibson’s kilt in Braveheart. You name the plaid; I love it so I’m loving this fall trend! The prep-school pattern doesn’t need to be stuffy though. Pair it with something edgy and you’re good to go. Best of all, you need not spend a ton of money on it…Target is as mad about plaid this fall as I am!




Cape - Ann Taylor Cape - Ted Baker Cape - Vivian Westwood

Ann Taylor                         Ted Baker             Vivienne Westwood

These outwear alternatives to a classic coat were all over the runways and I’m all over them. They are both stylish and dramatic and are the perfect winter cover for Texas’ mild winters. Pair them with a fun mini, take cover, and be your own superhero!



Car Wash Skirts


How fun are these?! More refined than fringe and more sensational than a plain wrap, these whimsical numbers are best teamed with simple blouses. Show off those legs and swing away!



Long Blazers

Long Blazers InStyle

      InStyle magazine

I’m not a big fan of blazers in general, but perhaps that’s because they really don’t fit my lifestyle. So, when I saw this trend I thought, “Okay, I can go for it.” Longer than a traditional men’s cut, these jackets add a bit of polish to your look as well as warmth.




“Accessorize Me”


Color Block Bags

Furla Dolcevita longchamp Le Pliage Hertiage Tricolor Prada  Saffiano Valentina Garavani single handle bag

             Furla                               Longchamp                    Prada                    Valentino

Probably not something you want to carry if you’re sporting hot plaid, these bags are still to die for. A little mod, a tad retro, and a whole lot of style!




Amal in gloves elle_fall15trends_gloves

My bridesmaids wore them in our wedding and Amal Clooney brought them back at the 2015 Golden Globes, and all I can say is “it’s about time!” Audrey would be so proud and I’m so happy they’re back!



Block Kitten Heels


Call me old-fashioned or call me just old, but I love me a stylish kitten heel. Thankfully I can be a bit trendy this fall with the hot new crop of block-style kittens. Sky high and stiletto have met their style match in this fall’s trendiest heel. Can I get an amen?




Fall 2015 Trends I’m Not Loving But Not Hating




Some of this I like, some not so much. I’m not big on looking head-to-toe western, but a tasteful bootie or bag with fringe make me smile. Pair with something dressy and think more Rodeo Drive than rodeo.


Bows and Tie-Necks

Bows - Cinefog elle_fall15trends_skinnyscarves

I had one on my wedding dress and I loved Princess Di’s obsession with them. Now they’re back on everything from blouses to wrap dresses. Keep everything else traditional though so you don’t scream “Alexis Carrington.”


“Tips Not Trends”

Give Them The Boot

Boots and hemlines


Boots are everywhere this fall and winter. They are fun, sensible, stylish, and often comfortable so what’s not to love? What’s not to love is when a certain boot is mismatched with clothing.  In a nutshell, booties or ankle boots look best with maxis or anything that falls right around the ankle. Midi or moto-boots look great with slit skirts and those that tickle the mid-calves, while over-the-knee boots are a mini’s best friend as long as they are flat unless you are a super model.


Here are some other tips from “Good Housekeeping” magazine. (Perhaps not the “Vogue” of fashion, but I thought this visual was both helpful and accurate.)





Coat Check

I love winter coats but sadly I really don’t get the chance to wear them much so I try not to invest too much money on them. As with boots and almost anything fashion-related, there are rules to live by when choosing what coat to wear.  If you’re wearing a pantsuit, choose a maxi coat and if you’re wearing a dress, opt for a chic cinch-waisted wrap coat if possible.  Knee-length skirts look best with short swing or what I like to call “car” coats, and if you’re brave (and young!) enough to wear a mini skirt, keep it classy with a traditional double-breasted long coat.


So there you have it, my humble take on fall 2015 fashion. Shop wisely, have fun, and keep it classy!


Ten Simple Rules October 19, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 12:06 am

Ten Commandments

There’s been a lot of talk in the news lately about a privately funded granite monument of the Ten Commandments being ordered removed from the grounds of the Oklahoma state capitol. I guess some people find the 10 rules offensive, but why? My guess is because they are God’s Ten Commandments. Were they some government’s or court’s “laws on how to live,” I bet people would be way more supportive of them.


Think about it. What can anyone possibly have a problem with guidelines declaring you to respect your parents, not kill, not cheat on your spouse, not steal, not be envious, and not gossip? Well, surprise, those pretty much sum up much of those ten rules God handed down to Moses, rules that both Christians and Jews believe.


As a refresher, here are the Ten Commandments:

  1. I am the Lord your God.
  2. Thou shall bring no false idols before me.
  3. Do not take the name of the Lord in vain.
  4. Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.
  5. Honor thy father and thy mother.
  6. Thou shall not kill.
  7. Thou shall not commit adultery.
  8. Thou shall not steal.
  9. Thou shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  10. Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s wife or anything that belongs to your neighbor.


Pretty basic, right?


Okay, I get the whole “God thing” about the first four to a degree if you are not a believer, but after that, what’s the big deal?


It’s easy to see that the first four deal with our relationship to God and how to worship Him, and the rest are about our relationships with other people. “Well I certainly don’t kill or steal” you might say to yourself, but have you ever left someone feeling lifeless just by what you said? Do you bring life to the people you meet or do you leave them feeling empty and unworthy, thereby killing their spirit?


At the same time, “I’ve never cheated on my wife” may come out of your mouth but keep in mind that cheating can be more than sex. Much of society today is sadly indifferent about sex and we live by a “as long as I’m not hurting anyone it’s okay” mantra, but perhaps this is where the “bear false witness” and “steal” enter the conversation. Do you “steal” time away from your husband or wife pursuing your own personal interests? Do you “steal” someone’s reputation through lies or gossip? You may not covet your neighbor’s wife per se, but are you envious of those infamous Joneses? Makes you think doesn’t it?


It baffles me that people find these rules offensive and inappropriate for public display. Let us not forget that our country was founded on Christian principles by Christian men and women and that Christians are still the majority in our country…at least for now. Still, we are somehow being pushed to the back of the room and all liberties and rights are being afforded to everyone but Christians. And don’t start with the whole “church and state” thing because it doesn’t fly. The separation of church and state was created to keep the state out of the church, not vice versa.


I find it amazing that other countries such as Ghana, whose first line of its national anthem is “God bless our homeland Ghana” and Nigeria, whose anthem includes “O God of creation, direct our noble cause,” have no issue with those lyrics and yet “God Bless America” and “In God We Trust” suddenly bother so many Americans. Go figure. Go pray.


Another thing that baffles me is how and why atheists or agnostics are so troubled by the mere mention of God and by things like those Oklahoma Ten Commandments. Even the devil believed in God. Besides, if you don’t believe in something, how can it offend you? Wouldn’t that be like me being offended by public displays of unicorns? Wait, there I go, bearing false witness against my neighbor.


God approve