Is a Temper Tantrum a Form of Prayer?



I think the only thing more controversial thing to talk about than politics is religion.

This post is not about politics.

Then again, it’s not really about religion, either. It’s about faith.

I have had a few more than my share of challenging glass not so full moments recently.

I miss my mother-in-law a whole lot. She may have been over the top but she had a heart of gold and loved me without reserve. She left us a few months ago and left a huge gap.

I miss my son a whole lot. Soon after his grandmother passed away he moved to New York City for a fabulous job at a Big Four accounting firm. It warms my heart that he misses me, too but doesn’t change the mist in my eyes when I think about it.

I miss my administrative associate a whole lot. My long time assistant transferred out of my department for a full time position somewhere else on campus. She was amazing and allowed me to do my work without worrying about hers. You don’t realize how much that means to you until it’s gone. She was replaced temporarily with another woman with a huge amount of institutional knowledge but was redeployed last month. So, now I’m doing one and a half jobs…woohoo!!

I know I’m not alone. A lot of my friends and family are going through similar things…aging parents, grown children and work place turmoil. But knowing you are not alone is sometimes not enough.

Yesterday was a turning point for me. It started with a bang and didn’t let up until I finally fell asleep (with the help of an allergy med and a PM).

At one point in the day, after several different negative experiences I banged my hand on the desk so hard I needed ice to sooth the damage. Several colleagues suggested that throwing things is a better outlet…perhaps so but I think the mom in me overturned that idea because I would have had to clean up the mess, adding to the indignity.

So, after getting the ice and writing two separate emails (which I am proud to report I deleted after reading them) I decided to take a walk to the chapel on campus.

My glass may have been half full but the holes in the bottom prevented me from seeing it. I’m not sure what I expected to find there. I honestly don’t. But I knew I needed to do something at least tangible to me that would break the fall.

As I approached the beautiful building I saw several people walking out. Oh dear God, I just wanted to be alone…

As fate would have it, I was alone when I entered. I walked up to the front pew and sat down. Never once while I was in that acoustically perfect church did I say a pray, at least not the prayers we chant mindlessly during Mass. No Hail Mary, no Lord’s Prayer…nothing but my own words, said through tears.

At one point I panicked because I thought someone was in there. I’ve sung in this church many times and it has perfect architectural amplification. A microphone is totally unnecessary. My own pleas where audible throughout.

Oh God, what if someone hears me?

Oh God, what if He does not?

Both of those thoughts gave me pause. I sat still and stopped crying. I dried my face on my coat sleeves.

I sat still waiting for something. Anything. My breathing restored to a reasonable calm.

Oh God, what if someone hears me? I’m in church. So what. People pray there, right? Isn’t a temper tantrum a form of prayer? Think about that one for a second. Replace any words during any tantrum with please help me and there you have it…a prayer.

Oh God, what if He does not? Really? How could I believe that for any second. He will hear me. Will I be open to His answer?

Then it happened. I didn’t want to believe it for a moment but the sound was undeniable. When it happened again I had to acknowledge it.

It was a text message from my husband. “Just let it roll off your back.”

Now I’m not suggesting to you my husband is God…no, not at all. But isn’t that message well timed if not divine?

“Just let it roll off your back.”

Ok, I responded. I put the phone back into my pocket, bought myself a coffee and donut (chocolate glazed) and walked back to my office. I only took a few bites of the donut and threw it away. I didn’t need it anymore.

I figured out what to do on my walk. I shared my thoughts with the people who needed to hear them, brushed myself off and went home.

Today the actual situation here is unchanged but I am completely ready to deal with it.

All because of my prayer through tantrum.

You will never know how honored I am you just read this. Have a blessed (and yummy) day.


9 Things That Motivate Employees More Than Money

This is a really well written article about management which is timely and relevant.

Business & Money

The ability to motivate employees is one of the greatest skills an entrepreneur can possess. Two years ago, I realized I didn’t have this skill. So I hired a CEO who did.

Josh had 12 years in the corporate world, which included running a major department at Comcast. I knew he was seasoned, but I was still skeptical at first. We were going through some tough growing pains, and I thought that a lack of cash would make it extremely difficult to improve the company morale.

I was wrong.

With his help and the help of the great team leaders he put in place, Josh not only rebuilt the culture, but also created a passionate, hard-working team that is as committed to growing and improving the company as I am.

Here are nine things I learned from him:

  1. Be generous with praise. Everyone wants it and it’s one of the easiest…

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Do you need a cocktail? OK, you’re hired!


Welcome aboard!

I have held a bunch of jobs over the years but only got one in the conventional way (want ads, resume, interview). Even that job (my 22 year job at Canisius College) has had unconventional twists. Here are the jobs I can remember:

Tying grapevines (Age 12-13ish) soon you will see the irony – my girlfriend’s father owned the farm

Receptionist, title clerk, bookkeeper – my father’s car dealership

College Bookstore accounting clerk – first job I ever got while drinking alcohol

Yachting Supply Store accounting clerk – second job I got while drinking alcohol

Music Teacher – third job I got while drinking alcohol and the position I was least qualified to hold (job saved my life, though…blog to follow sometime…)

College Administrator – this job most fully matched my skill set and my education (perhaps it is no coincidence I have held it for over 22 years!). While alcohol was not part of me getting the job it certainly has helped while holding the job! Kidding! Sort of…

Athletic Business Consultant – no alcohol…during a coffee break during a meeting

And now: (and I don’t think of this as a job since I have a 50 hour + one which keeps me pretty busy)

Food & Wine Columnist! And, guess what?

Alcohol WILL be involved! I am going to get to write about the bounty “Below the Falls” and share my experiences, recipes and years of culinary experimentation.

Stay tuned…

Life is good!


Twitter: MidMajorMom

Twitter: JudeCaserta

The Value of “Ca$h Money”

I’m no t sure where the age line is except to say I am well over the line where cash means something to me.  I’m not just saying that money means something to me but actual paper currency has a distinct value to me.

I say this because I have lately been struck by certain demographic group’s inability to handle cash. 

Here are a few examples:

We are at a school play and I make a cash purchase.  I hand you $10 for $7.38 of items.  (Why you didn’t consider sales tax when you set prices I’ll never know.)  You stop and use a calculator to determine the change rather than count up to $10: 2 pennies to $7.40, a dime to $7.50, 2 quarters to $8 and 2 dollar bills to round it up to $10.  And, I got my change first (see my next rant).  Seriously, a calculator to make change for a ten – you’re kidding me, right?

I pull up in my rolling dining room to a fast food coffee place.  My order comes to $2.53 and I hand you $5.  You hand me my coffee and snack then two dollar bills with $.47 in change on top.  Whose idea was it that putting change on top of currency?  GIVE ME MY CHANGE FIRST!!!!!  They all do it because that is how the cash register presents the information to the cashier.  It’s only partially their fault because they have never been taught how to handle money.  On the rare occasion I am handed my change first at my favorite coffee place it is usually by a person who is at least 35 years old.

I receive cash deposits from co-workers every day.  I can open and count an envelope without looking at the depositor and know if the person is over 35.  Currency is in order, all facing the top and occasionally the heads even in the same direction.  Under 35?  There is no apparent order to the stack.  Some bills are folded and they are often out of order.  $50’s and $5’s mess them up because they count by $100 rather in order from the highest to the lowest.  For example, an envelope with $658 may cash grouped in $100’s with no regard to order with bills folded and in every direction.  They must not have any idea how a cash drawer works…no clue!

For years we have talked about how credit cards, debit accounts and online banking are making cash obsolete.  Our children use cash so much less than we do.  Swipe cards are their cash.  Think about it…they use cards for meals in the dining facility, swipe their card to get gas, tap it to buy snacks, use it to get copies in the library and even scan it to buy subway fare.


  • I’m not sure I will ever see a completely cashless society but I have no doubt it is coming.  How sad that even piggy banks will be virtual some day.

    Life is good!


    Twitter: MidMajorMom

    Twitter: JudeCaserta

    Doc Starr is a Hall of Fame Athletic Director!


    I know of no one better to highlight the evolution of college athletics more than Dan Starr, PhD.  Doc, as most of us called him, was sort of an accidental athletics director.  He is a history professor and ended up AD at Canisius College for nearly 26 years, during the time when conferences were forming and the split between Bowl Game schools and the rest of Division I.

    As the story goes, the college paid $600 in repairs to future NBA thug Larry Fogle’s car…so the AD gets fired and they ask squeaky clean Dan to come in and take care of things.  His first order of business was cleaning up the mess with the NCAA.  Timing, as they say, is everything and during this major infraction era conferences were born.  That train passed our probation station but Doc made the best of it.

    He got us into a conference that fits not only the philosophical mission of our institution but is also financially aligned with it.  He elevated women’s sports to varsity and can even boast the first NCAA Woman of the Year, Mary Beth Riley.  But that is his press pack…I know SO much more…

    I know that if you wanted a good laugh, watch him clean his office.  When I say clean, I really mean look through the many piles of papers and books stacked up on every surface.  When he announced his retirement he started to organize and pack…I think it took him two years and I think at the end he just put the rest of the stuff in boxes and brought it to his new office on the other side of campus where the history professors are located.

    …and to this day I still get a random newspaper clip or book in my work mail, sometimes with a note of a funny memory and other times with no note at all.  Other of my colleagues get the same thing…Doc must be cleaning again!  I have kept most of them because he is so observant and his timing impeccable.

    I have so many travel memories of Doc…the time he and I were at Disney having port wine with Father Cooke (president of the college at the time) and Father Dugan (longtime chaplain of the athletic department) in their hotel room with the door propped open for propriety…traveling to the NCAA Men’s Basketball 1st round in 1996…driving back from Albany the night we won the MAAC in a mother of a snow storm when we stopped at every rest stop for coffee and to clean the windshield.

    The best one was at the end of his AD career when our softball team made another trip to the NCAA tournament, this time in Los Angeles at UCLA.  I was senior women’s administrator at the time and it was clear the new AD, whose name will never be mentioned in any of my writings, was not going to keep me in that role.  Dan got to the airport before I did and arranged for us to travel first class (particularly helpful for a trip across the country in less than 48 hours).  After our game on Thursday we went to the JP Getty Museum then on to Marina Del Rey for some great Mexican food and cocktails.  Anyone who knows Doc knows that a good cocktail is always a good idea!  I’ll never forget the toast.  “You know Jude, it’s been a great run.  I’ve had a lot of fun.  Thanks for whatever you did and for putting up with me all these years.”

    Cheers to you, Doc, forever enshrined in the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame!

    Life is good!


    Twitter: MidMajorMom

    Twitter: JudeCaserta

    Athletics and Institutional Support

    I think about 14 NCAA schools athletic programs had excess of revenues over expenditures last year.  In the world of profit accounting, their athletic department made a profit. So, let’s see…if about 1,000 schools belong to the NCAA and 14 schools made a profit then…98.6% of schools had to rely on at least some institutional support last year to survive.

    Without ever studying the numbers (but relying on my 20 years in college athletics experience) I will venture a guess that most schools provide at least 90% plus of the funds an athletic department needs to function.  Those of us with small arenas (arena is a funny haha word – more like gymnasiums) have a limited ticket revenue stream.  And then there is that silly thing called winning which contributes to the equation.  Let’s face it, those of us who have to budget need to assume the team will have a losing season without much walk-up game-day business.  When there is success then the “extra” revenue can be used for “extra” things rather than for the business of running the department.

    Have you noticed that no expense is going down?  Funny thing!  While we experience flat line budgets things like transportation, equipment and the biggest money sucker of all, officials, are going up like a skier on a tow rope.  I call officiating an unfunded mandate.  While it’s tempting not to pay them…well…you know…

    Here is another thing about institutional support.  The ability (and willingness) to fundraise can change the amount and percentage of institutional support.  This was something I worked hard to educate folks about during our current self-study.  For our example our fictional school has a general student ratio of 45% men and 55% women.  Let’s say the Men’s Table Tennis team has a coach who is a prolific fundraiser.  He is a world champion and has an international following.  He receives donations which he uses for team travel and recruiting and the players are decked out in the newest clothing and have state of the art equipment.  The Women’s Table Tennis team has the exact budget as the men at the beginning of the year, $250,000.  The men spend $300,000 and women spend $275,000 but the men’s deficit is covered by their booster money.  In spending dollars the men outspent their female counterparts by $25,000 bringing the balance to 52% male and 48% female. OH NO!  But wait, there’s more!  In reality the actual institutional support is $250,000 for the men and $275,000 for the women now showing the actual balance at 48% male and 52% female.  Ahhh…much better…

    Here is another question: should the men’s program be limited to how much they can spend even though they work hard to raise it?  Is that really what we mean when we say “gender equity?”

    As we embark on a complete organizational review at our school, part of the new initiative begun by our new president, I have to remind the committee that if they are looking at athletics as a profit making venture they are going to have to move to one of those rare 14 schools that flipped their program last year.

    Life is good!


    Twitter: MidMajorMom

    Twitter: JudeCaserta

    College Committees-Be Careful What You Wish For

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    So here you are, on that coveted committee in your beloved institution of higher learning.  Congratulations!  Or is it a good thing?  Maybe not so much!

    You have to time decisions with a calendar, not a clock in higher education.  We have committees for just about everything.  There is probably a committee to study whether there are too many committees on campus.  In any organization, culture shift is a slow process but higher ed brings it to a whole new level.  I graduated from college 30 years ago and there are still several committees on campus studying the same issues we studied in the 1970’s.  Seriously, I am not making that up.  When I was in school, core curriculum was a hot topic and as it turns out, they have been studying it with great fervor for nearly this entire new millennium. 

    Committee work is a curious process on a college campus.  We are “highly educated” and tend to look at 72 sides of each issue.  We make sub-committees of our committees and then spend weeks coming up with convenient times to meet.  The sub-committees need to report to the committees and tend to exhaust the angles. Nowhere in the world is form over substance more revered than on a college campus. 

    So, the next time you want to be on a committee, keep your hand down…even if it is only to order pizza!

    Life is good!

    Jude Russo Caserta

    Twitter: JudeCaserta

    Linkedin: Jude Russo Caserta