Sunday, March 1, 2015

Sum - Es - Est - Sumus - Estis - Sunt.

On this day, many, many years ago, I was born. This morning, my daughter Annie asked, “What does it feel like to be half-way finished with your life?” She thought she was funny, but her words took me back in time. I thought about when my mother was the age I am now, I was five years old, and well on the way to becoming a writer. Her intertwined lessons of love and instruction have stuck to me like the velcro on my son’s shoes.

We didn’t have computers or cell phones, MP3 players or microwaves. Momma taught me how to cook food that didn’t come from a box, look people in the eye and talk, tie real shoe laces and conjugate Latin verbs before I could even conjugate their English versions. Fluent in many languages, and a former decoder for the FBI, my mother stressed language for all of my years, and the importance of Latin as the root of all modern languages. It has been a goal of mine to pass on a love for reading and writing to my children and others. My father is credited also with my love of writing and history, as he wrote books as an historian, and as a lecturer, there was no one as engaging or as funny. He also taught me how to shoot a .45 caliber Smith and Wesson without falling backwards, and how to keep a straight face when finding the humor in social situations. I think these last two lessons have made me feel the most comfortable in life.

When my husband, a teacher at Annie’s high school, asked me to come and talk for Career Day,  I thought I had my chance to pass on my love for all things written and ironic. Annie overheard her Daddy and cried out, “Oh My God! NO! MOM! You can’t come!” 

It took Chris a week to convince her that I would not talk about being a medium. The students at her small Catholic middle school were relentlessly cruel after she appeared with me on an episode of the Bio Channel’s My Ghost Story. While the administration was supportive of her, mean girls raised the bar on verbal bullying, and she is happy to be back in public school with her friends again. As a result, I do understand her position, although in my defense, she is in a syndicated tv segment, two best selling books, and my blog and Facebook pages. I don’t think Career Day is going to be her demise.

But trying to be a supportive mom, I went through my list of occupations as if I could choose one  from my closet like a colorful sweater… 
  • Mom (Boring, busy, and rewarding––multi-colored striped sweater with food stains) 
  • Magazine Editor/Banking Industry (zzzz––gray sweater with holes), and 
  • Writer (Conservative––Blue sweater, high neckline). 

Then I got an email from the PTA welcoming the New York Times Bestselling author. Oh No! Red Sweater––Low neckline! I was embarrassed. Were they really talking about me? After all, I wake up after most people have had their morning coffee, I work with a dog in my lap, and don’t own a pair of Manolo Blahniks. Could I pull this off?

On Friday, I was welcomed by students at Richard Montgomery High School. I had eight periods of honors/IB/AP Literature, English, and Theater to entertain. In period one I talked about how writers are needed for everything. I passed out Dove chocolates as proof, but none of these had the empowering statement within the wrapper, as they usually do. Possibly, I thought,  a foreshadowing of my day. The teacher began to talk about her masters degree in Puritanical Literature. It wasn’t even 8 a.m. yet, my coffee was cold, and I had lost them.

After that period, another class came in, along with another teacher. I talk about how being a writer is about observing and persuading, entertaining and seeing the humor in life. Shedding light on that which is dark. Learning to write in different genres, and accepting criticism and then discarding it. Yada, Yada, Yada.

These kids are smart and I loved them for asking questions. They were beginning to awaken. They asked my favorite authors, and I encouraged them to read more Welty, Faulkner, Hemingway, and the classics. Life is always the same, I tell them, but culture changes and influences people. Those cultural boundaries in history tell you a lot about human nature. I decided to remain exclusive with my true love of Dave Barry, Diana Gabaldon, and Audrey Niffeneggar, for fear that they may never read a school book again.

At this point, I’m not sure if anyone cares what I’m saying or is just being polite, when a hand is raised in the third row from the back. A girl who looks a lot more put-together than I was in the 9th grade, is smiling at me and waving her hand impatiently. I start to say, “Sure, you can go to the bathroom,” when she blurts out, “So, what’s it like to see ghosts?” The class went silent.

I was caught speechless. I looked at the teacher who says, “Oh yes, we went to your website and read about you.” Still processing this, I hear “How did you become a medium?” from the other side of the room.

Oh Crap. Annie is going to be M-A-D! 

Then I started to think like a teenager. Maybe I can get away with this without being caught by my daughter. Maybe I won’t get punished if she never finds out! 

Since there are over 2,200 students in the school, I decide to take a risk and answer their questions, and tell my ghost stories. After all, authors spend most of their time lecturing when not writing (or playing with their dogs). 

From then on, my most commonly repeated phrase between ghostly stories was, “See if you learn how to write, then you can be a writer no matter what your occupation.” But these cloaked disclaimers were as inaudible as ghosts themselves. These inquisitive young minds were thinking about what to ask next. 

By the time I saw Annie, I was bracing for the storm. She gave me a big hug and said “You talked about being a medium!”  Chris blurted out, “They already knew and it wasn’t her fault!” Annie laughs and tells me that it was cool. 

And I remembered what it was like to be young again. But I’m glad I’m half way.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

I Am Not Hating the Groundhog So Much Today.

Today is my day to write, and I have not written about anything other than the Dodd-Frank Act, or Bankruptcy, or TILA-RESPA in a really long time. All the stars are aligned. I feel better; I got a big coffee at McDonalds; and, it is 33 degrees, which means I can leave the doggie door open without stuffing a sheet in the crack. Everything is going my way.

I get comfortable in my recliner and Pete twirls 3 times in my lap before snuggling in. We are set. Then it happened—that noise from the roof. I wish Chris had not thrown tarps on the roof, they just blow around and clank in the wind. As I look up, I swear I’m seeing a ghost descending directly down from the skylight. No, it’s just a spider web. Before I can follow that thought process to understand how a spiderweb could be dislodged inside, and it still be Chris’ fault, a bird comes swooping down from the skylight and around the room.

Having had Steve, the Jack Russell Terror, I knew immediately to  close all doors, even if not in the vicinity of the bird. I was prepared! I had experience! I was going to get a sheet and catch me a bird.

It all sounded so easy in my head. But that damn critter read my mind. I forgot to close the door to Annie’s room! Pete and I turn, and in perfectly-timed step, we toggle the bottom two stairs. He passes me around the turn, but thanks to Annie’s hidden pile of dirty clothes, I move into the lead. I leapt the last 3 stairs and close the door to Annie’s room, just as Pete tries to wedge his way through. I realize now that I forgot to fix the knob when Annie locked herself in her room 10 years ago. Or maybe it is Chris’ fault. 

I start piling up everything I can find, against the door.  The bird sees me and takes flight. From window to window it transverses the room, then runs along the floor—just like the Road Runner—under the bed and back to the first window again. Over and over and over. It does not want to fly into the sheet, and he tells me so. Hearing this, Wile Coyote manages to break into the room as Road Runner flees back under the bed. Wile Coyote is barking, sheets are flying, pillows are airborne, and in the midst of all this, the bed has somehow broken and resembles a Gymboree slide. Could this be karma for saying those women on the Bachelor wouldn’t make it a day on Prince Farming’s dusty acres?

In the midst of all of this, Chris texts me to say he would be home late. Since I texted him “no worries”, and also disclosed that I was in the heat of battle, with a brown thrasher, he decides this would be the perfect time to call and offer me strategic advice. And wanting to answer, “Hi Honey, WTF?!”, I just pressed “answer” and paused. He gets right to the point: 

Now friends, as you can imagine, there were too many replies in my mind to settle on a winner. So, Chris takes this pause to mean he has saved the day, and he can further inform me: 
“Put Pete OUTSIDE the room and CLOSE THE DOOR”. 

Really, Sherlock? This is your best advice? was my first thought. Thank you, You saved the day. was my second. But since both sounded too cynical at this point,  I just said, “Prepare Annie for the worst, and you have a bed to fix when you get home. I have a radio show tonight. I gotta go.”

However, while juggling Chris and Pete, the bird had flown out the window. I think.

I can relate to this short segment from Modern Family.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Bill Murray is my Mentor.

I come home from the morning school run today, and precious Pete is sitting in the window waiting for me, as he has been for the past hour. I would like to think it is because he loves me, but really, it is so I can let him outside to bark at the groundhog as soon as I get home. Really. He told me so.

I let Pete out, then go to my computer to start writing. What seems like a long time passes. Where is Pete? Why has he not jumped through the doggie door into my lap, shivering with cold kisses?

I go to the window to look. No Pete. So, I put on my glasses, and I see a little brown stick moving just above the ground at the fence line in the far back.'s a tail!

So I wrap up (again) and make a beeline to the fence. The little guy is all the way underground, with only his tail sticking out of a brand new groundhog hole–––under the fence. A LARGE hole from where I hear rustling.

I pull him out by his tail, and he grins at me like the Cheshire cat, ironically. So I decide to patch the hole until Chris can come and do some major dirt hauling. As I proceed to stuff the hole with sticks, Pete thinks this is a game, and he fights over each one, and of course, he wins. So, I try to kick some leaves on the hole, but who am I kidding? It is starting to snow so I give up.

I step back to look at my mediocre feat, and I find myself knee-deep in another, yes another, ground hog hole.

I have now realized that damn groundhog is smarter than me.

He will NOT see his shadow on my watch!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Gone With the Wind

I think I am the only psychic who continually has to evacuate from family beach vacations because of a hurricane, no matter the state, or the date. This is my third, and I already know that property rental companies are not polite when you tell them a hurricane is going to hit. When I called our beach house rental company in Cape Hatteras this morning, Mary refused to tell me where to drop off the key. Her reason was that I was "an alarmist" and The Weather Channel "just tries to scare people". I told her an evacuation was about to be called, and it was just a matter of time, and at some point this summer I had to leave, so why not just tell me what I want to know?

After repeating her criticism possibly 10 more times, once again, I had enough. I wanted to say, "Well, last night my angel told me to get out by noon, and believe me, you want to do what my angel says," but I decided against that approach for Mary. Realizing that she was indeed not named after the Blessed Virgin, but maybe after the illegitimate self-appointed Queen of England, I said, and I won't quote, but the gist was that I had worked for The Weather Channel (TWC) and I had the inside scoop. Technically this was not a lie because God does know better than even The Weather Channel, and Angel assured me she (it) was on His staff. Then I explained to Mary why a hurricane on the North Carolina coast is called only a day in advance. Businesses in the state can lose over 600 million dollars a day, and if the hurricane does not hit and TWC is wrong, they don't want to hurt the commerce. 

Once I found out that I simply had to put the house key in a dropbox, I realized (1) she was insane not to tell me this right away, and (2) I may likely find myself beheaded if I go much further into their building.

But I did anyway. When I entered, a lady, who was way too friendly for a Wednesday morning, grinned as if I were Brad Paisley. "Hiiiii, how can I help you today?" she gushed. Well, I want to drop off my key and tell you that we didn't steal the television you claim to have in the house. It wasn't there when we arrived. I almost told her the "high speed" was missing from the internet too, when she interrupted, "YOU'RE LEAVING so soon?" Uh, yeah, and if you don't get a frickin' clue soon, that hurricane is going to carry off your body to wherever your mind is. No, I didn't say that. I just said, "Have a nice day!" and she replied, "You too! Come back soon!" 

So, we escaped. After an eventful ride with a jack russell terrier turning around in circles on my bladder for 8 hours (for the second time in 3 days), we just walked in the door of our home. I had to pray immediately, "Thank you God for telling us to leave early, and thank you my sweet Angel. But I also had to add, by the way, just wondering, uhhh, why did you not tell me when I booked the house and paid for it? My answer came quickly and loudly, "YOU DIDN'T ASK". Mea Culpa. 

I had no time to reflect on this when my husband came barreling in with his iPad, "Hey listen to this! A CAT 2 is going to hit Cape Hatteras!" And grinning, I felt the urge to yell, "Score! Take that Mary!" And then I realized how horrible that was and how the hurricane has ruined family vacations, businesses, and will hurt property. But in my defense, I have no doubt The Weather Channel was saying, "Woo Hoo! First hurricane on July 3! We'll meet our revenue goals yet!"

Oh, and Mary, we took your advice to just move our car to higher ground. Maryland! Perhaps you should do the same.

UPDATE!!! 7/3 1:38 PM:
So, I'm exhausted from yesterday, and I am asleep at the ungodly late time of 53 minutes past seven, when I receive a phone call from the very same happy lady that checked me out of Hatteras Island yesterday morning, whom we shall refer to as "Zoloft".

Zoloft: Well, Good Morning! Is this Ms. Crosby?

Me: Yes this is Laine (I notice from the caller ID that I am talking with a person in North Carolina, and I would recognize that voice anywhere). 

Zoloft: Well, how are you today?

Me: Get the Hell out of Dodge, Lady! There's a hurricane coming. You know, the one I was an "alarmist" to mention?!! No, I didn't say that. I said, "Umm, fine??"

Zoloft: Well, I don't know if you know this, but there is a mandatory evacuation on the island because there is a hurricane coming. I just pause as I'm thinking, this has to be a joke. Someone really has a great impression of Zoloft and her cheery Southern drawl.

Zoloft: Ma'am, did you know that?

Me: (Chuckling at this point) Yes, I did.

Zoloft: Well, we were just wondering when you were going to leave?

Me: Well, since the evacuation was prior to 5 am, if I were there, I would be stuck, as all roads are now closed and no one can leave the island. 

Zoloft: Well, the evacuation IS mandatory. When are you leaving?

Me: Yes, that is why we left yesterday, because we saw on The Weather Channel that a hurricane was barreling down on us. I came and gave you my keys and had you check my account and make sure the time and date of our departure was noted. Because, I have travel insurance in the case of a hurricane and I wanted everything in order.

Zoloft: So you're in North Carolina?

Me: No I'm home. In fact, I'm worried about y'all. Please be safe. 

Zoloft: Oh, thanks! We will be. We just have to drive around now to all the properties to make sure the lights are off and the deck chairs are inside.

Me: Well, you don't have to check ours because we put the chairs inside and secured the trash can under the house and turned off the lights.

Zoloft (enthusiastically): OH, THANK YOU SO MUCH! 

Me: Well, yeah, I mean we had some notice from The Weather Channel. We knew a hurricane was coming. (Geez, did THEIR television go missing too?)

Zoloft: So, y'all are in North Carolina?

Me: We live in Maryland, and we left yesterday morning after we talked, and we drove straight home, so now we are in Maryland. I really am worried for you... I mean you all. You have a lot to do, so I had better let you get off the phone. I know you have a lot of vacationers you have to call. I'll be praying for you... all.

Zoloft: Oh, I'm confused.  


Zoloft: The person on the phone before you was in North Carolina trying to evacuate.

Me: Well, I'm pretty sure that's the case for everyone who didn't leave at noon yesterday to miss the traffic, like we did.  Since, after all, we KNEW there was a hurricane coming.

You know, I have several different apps on my phone and tablets that just beep and alert me when there is severe weather. They are free and easy to download.

Zoloft: Well, have a good trip. 

Me: Yeah, thanks. You too!

(My prayers go out to all those who were affected by Hurricane Arthur, and I am thankful there were no casualties other than property and businesses).

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lent, Lucifer, and Evolution

For many, lent is solely the past participle of lend, but for those with dirty foreheads today, it marks the Christian season of preparation before Easter. Today is the first day of Lent, or Ash Wednesday, and it is marked by services of penitence.  Lent lasts forty days before Easter (excluding Sundays), and is a time when many Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. The purpose is to set aside time for reflection on Jesus Christ––his suffering and his sacrifice, his life, death, burial and resurrection. After all, he fasted and prayed forty days in the wilderness, it should be easy for us to give up something and empathize with Him, right?

Last year I gave up chocolate and was successful. This year I decided to give up refined sugar. I knew it meant I would also face the devil, but I was determined. I lasted until lunch.

Then my perspective shifted. My friend Doug wrote me that he was going to give up ingratitude, because he was pretty sure that gratitude was the key to peace. I have a hunch he’s on to something.

My husband tells our children that to lead a happy life, they must be content with what they already have. Chris has always practiced what he preached, but I'm not always so good about it. I always have more I want to accomplish, and I think about those experiences as "haves" rather than money and what it brings.

I do believe one of the major keys to happiness is gratitude, because in Lent we give up something we enjoy, and we realize how grateful we are for all that we do have. I also believe what my mother taught me about always doing for others. If we get out of our own head and do for others––whether we volunteer to help the less fortunate, or do small acts of kindness––we become less self absorbed and more grateful for what we have.

So, I am going to challenge myself and you may join me if you wish (no matter what your religion), to pay it forward during the next forty days, and hopefully habits will form. Whether we mail a card to a loved one, deliver a box of Girl Scout cookies to a shut-in, shovel a neighbor's drive, or just post a message to a Facebook friend we have not seen in a while, that small act can cause ripples in some places and a chain reaction in others. How cool would that be! Then, journal about what we appreciate, and thank God. I believe that is the meaning of evolution.

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Remember Your Legacy too!

When the spirit of Jannette told her story to me as I relayed in Investigative Medium - the Awakening,  I became her mouthpiece to bring her back from the antebellum South––to preserve her history. I wish we all knew more about those who made us what we are today. Last week, my ninety-five-year-old cousin passed, and I was asked to speak at her funeral. A million thoughts  crossed my mind, but not one of them contained information about our complete ancestry, or any stories she would have liked told.  I wish I had asked more. Done more.

While reflecting on my prospective eulogy, I received a phone call (okay really a Facebook message then a phone call) from my old friend, David Ivy, from my hometown of Atlanta. David has been a well known sportscaster and an award-winning producer for over twenty-five years, and I’ve always enjoyed his insight. We discussed my upcoming release, Real Daughters, and I explained how important it is that the history of the daughters of Confederate soldiers be recorded. Because David often regaled stories like his great grandmother’s account of  burning of Atlanta,  I knew he felt my lust for history too.

David suggested I video my interviews so my audience can sense in more ways than reading.  He’s right, but for many reasons I hesitate, because I lack professional equipment, editing capabilities, and production experience. But David had the perfect solution.

He told me about his production company’s recent venture, Your Legacy Videos (  His team makes professional  documentary videos to preserve life stories, memories, events, visions and achievements for generations to come.  They develop masterful high definition factual stories, and will visit your home or office for taping.  If only I had done this with my parents!

His work excited me so much that I wanted to share it with you. I know you will enjoy visiting his web site and seeing some of the family history he has recorded at   In addition, Your Legacy Video makes a unique and meaningful gift for your loved ones, whether you record your story for your children, or whether you give your parents or grandparents the gift of their own documentary.

Imagine a world where you come to know more about your great, great grandparents than the black and white egg shaped picture of two frowning old people. What if you saw them laugh, heard their stories in their own voice, and saw yourself in their eyes? How would you feel?



Visit  for more information and to see some of the videos already completed! Or, you can call 1.800.632.7267.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Memories of a Southern Christmas

The other day while doing research, I found this letter to Robert E. Lee by three little Southern girls, and his response. I was so touched by their exchange, that I wanted to share the story with you. I thought it would be appropriate to include this Christmas, as this year marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. It was first printed in 1867 as part of Mrs. Louise Clack's Christmas Gift To Her Little Southern Friends, and all proceeds were given to Orphans of the South.
Enjoy, Laine

Dear General Lee:

We think you are the goodest man that ever lived, and our auntie says you will go right straight to heaven when you die; so we want to ask you a question, for we want to know the truth about it, and we know that you always speak the truth.

Please tell us whether Santa Claus loves the little rebel children, for we think he don't; because he did not come to see us for four Christmas Eves. Auntie thinks you would not let him cross the lines, and we don't know how to find out unless we write and ask you. We all love you dearly, and we want to send you something; but we have not any thing nice enough; we lost all our toys in the war. Birdie wants to send you one of our white kittens--the one with black ears; but Auntie thinks maybe you don't like kittens. We say little prayers for you every night, dear General Lee, and ask God to make you ever so happy. Please let us know about Santa Claus as soon as you can; we want to know for something very, very, very particular; but we can't tell even you why until Christmas time, so please to excuse us.

Your little friends,
Lutie, Birdie, and Minnie

My dear little friends:

I was very glad to receive your kind letter, and to know by it that I have the good wishes and prayers of three innocent little girls, named Lutie, Birdie, and Minnie.

I am very glad that you wrote about Santa Claus for I am able to tell you all about him. I can assure you he is one of the best friends that the little Southern girls have. You will understand this when I explain to you the reason of his not coming to see you for four years.

The first Christmas Eve of the war I was walking up and down in the camp ground, when I thought I heard a singular noise above my head; and on looking to find out from whence it came, I saw the queerest, funniest-looking little old fellow riding along in a sleigh through the air. On closer inspection, he proved to be Santa Claus.

“Halt! Halt!” I said; but at this the funny fellow laughed, and did not seem inclined to obey, so again I cried,“Halt!”. And he drove down to my side with a sleigh full of toys. I was very sorry for him when I saw the disappointed expression of his face when I told him he could go no further South; and when he exclaimed, “Oh, what will my little Southern children do!” I felt more sorry, for I love little children to be happy, and especially at Christmas. But of one thing I was certain--I knew my little friends would prefer me to do my duty, rather than have all the toys in the world; so I said: “Santa Claus, take every one of the toys you have back as far as Baltimore, sell them, and with the money you get buy medicines, bandages, ointments, and delicacies for our sick and wounded men; do it and do it quickly--it will be all right with the children.”
Then Santa Claus sprang into his sleigh, and putting his hand to his hat in true military style, said: “I obey orders, General,” and away he went. Long before morning he came sweeping down into camp again, with not only every thing I had ordered, but with many other things that our poor soldiers needed. And every Christmas he took the toy money and did the same thing; and the soldiers and I blessed him, for he clothed and fed many a poor soul who otherwise would have been cold and hungry. Now, do you not consider him a good friend. I hold him in high respect, and trust you will always do the same.
I should be pleased to hear from you again, my dear little girls, and I want you ever to consider me, 

Your true friend,
General Robert E. Lee