Let’s Rock For Character!

“Be respectful .. be loving ..  be happy.”

What’s your passion?  Do you have one?

For me, it’s writing.  This is my passion.  Spreading inspiration, creating imagery with words, taking your head to another place, even if for a little while … THAT’S my passion, with four kids, a husband, 6 chickens, 2 bunnies, a dog and a cat … That’s about as passionate as I get, these days … wink wink!!

Recently, I sat with Rocco Costanza, who is a 24-year-old ROCK STAR … well, at least locally, he is, but I promise you, please remember his name, because his talents are certainly going to pay off … maybe sooner than expected.  Rocco walked into my house, very confident with his dark Ray Ban Aviators on, his very cool, very stylish ripped jeans, hat on backwards, guitar in hand … ready to sit down and chit-chat.  I couldn’t help but to wonder … Was I that confident at 24?!


Immediately, I admired him.  Was it the confidence I admired?  Yes, but that’s not all.  He was polite, respectful, talked to my youngest child as if he knew her forever … a rock star, but better!!


In an earlier blog, I mentioned The Anti-Bully Squad, which was started by a friend of mine and my husband, Tom Peterson, along side Brandon McManus, from the Denver Broncos.  Well, Tommy also started another campaign back in 2000, along with an old buddy of his, Kyle Poyer, (small world) who is also from the area, but now resides in Anderson, IN.  Together, they have formed something called Rock For Character, and I’m on a mission, to be their voice, so they are heard!!

This campaign is AHHHMAZING! I’m a lover of writing first, but music is a very, very close second place!  For me, it’s my get-a-way from LIFE.  If I’m in a bad mood, I’m cranking up the tunes, because I know, that at some point while listening, my mood will change.  It’s magical.  Why is it magical?  WHO CARES WHY?! It just is, and that’s all that should matter, because I know that I’m not the only person this happens to.

Me:       “What was your favorite elective in elementary school?”
Rocco:  “It was music, and gym.”

For me, it was music.  I love to sing.  I’m a freaking rock star every day in my shower.  It’s an AMAZING show, too bad my family are the only ones to have the privilege of listening to SUCH awesomeness! wink wink!

Me:       “Why is it important to keep music in schools?”
Rocco:  “If music wasn’t in school when I was younger, I wouldn’t have had the desire to sing, and make music.”

He also went on to say that it was his MUSIC TEACHER, who taught him how to play the piano … in school … for free.  Did you hear me?! FOR FREE!! Yet, another, rather PHENOMENAL reason, to  PLEASE keep music in the schools!

What does this organization do?

They go into the schools. All schools. Elementary through college, and any event you can think of in between. They deliver a VERY clear message, by using music, and singing, to get the attention of the students, and staff.  Everyone loves music, or at the very least, they can appreciate good music.  Rock For Character, takes a young artist, guitarist, drummer, etc., and they start off by singing an inspirational song, more than likely a cover of a popular song, they already know … so this automatically engages the students.  When that song is done, the artist reaches out to the students, and speaks to them in a language they understand. I watched a video of this program.  I was instantly inspired.  They go on to sing another song, maybe a little riff on the guitar. They inspire some more, by speaking their language.  I was so inspired personally, that I have offered to help in ANY way I can, to “relay” this message, the best that I can.  So, I’m starting with this blog …

I’m sad to learn that it’s hard to get this program into OUR NJ Schools … I’m actually not sad, I’m freaking mad! Rock For Character (RFC), has no problem booking schools in PA, OH, CT, parts of NY State, and IN.  I’m not understanding what the problem is in OUR NJ Schools?!  To me, this is a no brainer!!!  RFC, has a motto, Keep your character in tune, one string at a time.  They also incorporate this six letter acronym (like a guitar has six strings) into their message, P.A.R.T.T.Y., however, not in the way you may think!

P=Passion, A=Attitude, R=Respect, T=Trust, T=Thoughtfulness,  Y=You

Rocco said, “It starts with you, and ends with you.”  It starts with your passion, your want and desire to do whatever you want, be whoever you want. They speak about attitude, respect, trust, all things that are very self explanatory.  Here’s where they tie in the Anti-Bully Squad, through THOUGHTFULNESS.  It makes sense, right?  Again, I’m echoing my sentiments in my previous blog, but bullying is getting out of hand, and it seems these children are getting younger and younger, and parents are fighting with schools for help with their depressed kid, and NO ONE IS DOING ANYTHING!!! WTF?!

PLEASE!! Let this organization into our schools!  It could save a life.  Not only has it been proven that this type of campaign can help to stop bullying, it can also help reach a kid who is thinking about dropping out, smoking tobacco, alcohol and drug abuse, teen pregnancy, violence, and other destructive behaviors or decisions.

Me:       “Rocco, what message is it that you, personally, want to convey to the younger audience?”
Rocco:   “Be respectful .. be loving ..  be happy.”

Hmmm .. Sounds a little familiar to me.  Again, echoing the sentiments of my previous blog, be anything, but MEAN!

You can all have the pleasure of seeing Rocco perform, this FRIDAY, JUNE 23rd, at a fundraising event, that a FIFTEEN YEAR OLD freshman, has put together for a classmate, whose family lost their house to a fire last month.  It’s being held at Horseshoe Lake, in Roxbury.  You can find more info here.  Please make sure to also stop by the Rock for Character website to check them out, along with the Anti-Bully Squad.

Everyone here is just trying to do the right thing, and spread the message.  Thank you to Tommy Peterson, and Rocco Costanza for swinging by, and having this conversation with me! I appreciate everything you guys are doing!

Me:       “Rocco, how important is it to be an honest, thoughtful person?”
Rocco:  “HONESTY is huge … from the fans, from the critics … It’s great to be honest, you don’t have to be mean.”







Dear 18 year old, ME!

These are the moments, that make us who we are!

As a person who likes to write, I carry my knowledge of “life” a little differently.  I keep certain things on the back burner for “just the right moment” to  give a life lesson.  Child #2, who is almost 16 (and female), says it best when I have some advice to offer.

She says, “Does everything have to be a life lesson, Mooooommmmm?!!?” Ohhhh how I wish you could hear me imitate her, I’ve pretty much nailed it.

My response, “Why yes, yes it does, because I wish I had someone like ME around, to offer this same advice to me, when I was your age! Now be quiet, and listen!!”

HA! So, since we all know kids hardly ever listen, I’ve decided to write this letter to the person who listens to me the most, HEARS exactly what it is that I’m actually saying, and loves me to the moon and back … yup, you guessed it … MYSELF!!

Dear 18-year-old, ME,

Soon you’ll be graduating high school, the best years of your life … or were they?  I know you hear it all the time from your mom, or grand parents, how “these are the best years of your life”, but are they?  Do you know what is in store for the next 60+ years?  High School is a mere minute, in this thing called life, and I know it’s hard to see past next week, but  you have no idea what life will entail exactly, but I do know these things…

STUDY, study hard, because graduating high school, is WAY more important than that party in the woods…

Remember to thank those that taught you, no matter what you think, they never gave up on you….

When you fall, jump back up, because as you get older, you can’t jump quite as quick,  both literally and metaphorically…

Those kids that talk shit behind your back, HA! Have no worries about them, Karma most certainly will give them a smack…

Don’t worry about the clothes you wear, people aren’t going to remember if you had clothes from the Thrift Store or The Mall…

You don’t have to drink or do drugs to fit in and be popular, be yourself, and those who matter will love you for you … and trust me, it is very clear, if you open your eyes, who will still be there in 20 years, and who will be gone…

There are more important things in life than your unruly, curly, frizzy hair (ha! who am I kidding, I’m still pissed off about this one, and some things will never change … yet another lesson in life)

That boy who broke your heart, it’s okay, there will be plenty more fish in the sea, and guess what, YOU WILL SURVIVE.  You will also get married at a young age, and when he breaks your heart, you will think your life is over.  Just know it’s okay, there is a reason, and that reason will make you happy and content for the rest of your life…

That boss who cut your hours?  Don’t get mad at him, he needed to give the hours to Susie Noname, because she’s a single mom of two kids, under the age of 3.  She needs the money way more than you.  Be gracious, be kind, because one day, that WILL be you, and you will be okay.

Your “best” friend just ditched you for other friends, it’s okay … They weren’t your friend to begin with … Your true friends won’t hurt you, ever, not intentionally, of course.  Remember, we are all human, and it is okay to make mistakes, it’s never okay to be mean.

You got ditched at the shore, because guys can suck?! It’s okay, the blessing that “saved” you that weekend?  She is still in your life at 41, and she’s the one you call your bestest … guess what? She didn’t even go to your school!

That sense of humor that got you kicked out of class??  Don’t ever lose it!!  Having a sense of humor will get you through the darkest of times.

Don’t be afraid to speak up for what you believe in!  You have every right to have your own thoughts and opinions.  Stop trying to please every single person in your life, and worry about making yourself happy!! It’s your life, live it to the fullest.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Those honors students are Honors, for a reason … They are smart, they can help.  Just ask. It’s better to get help, than to fail, but if you still fail, it’s okay, you did your best, and gave it your all.  Not everyone understands ADHD, but as you get older, you learn how to deal. It will be okay.

That girl who called you fat? She has issues of her own … let it be.  Don’t name call back, just try to be a friend, because you DON’T  know what goes on at home.

The rest of your life is waiting for you, you’ll be amazed to know that the best is yet to come.  Even though life has its ups and downs, twists and turns, the rest of your life is better than this. So don’t fret when Sally Soandso talks shit, or Joe Blow breaks your heart … These are the moments, that make us who we are!!

Love you always,

Your 41-year-old Self


I wasn’t looking ..
for someone like you;
I wasn’t looking ..
for anyone at all.
You came into my life ..
out of the blue;
And did something I thought ..
no one could do.
Like a vortex tornado ..
you shattered my wall;
A wall raised by me ..
for protection from all.
You are so different ..
I sense your loyalty;
Don’t ever give up ..
for it’s called, Serendipity!


Not My Kid.

“It won’t happen to my kid!”


A little girl died. Twelve years young. I don’t know her. I don’t even know her family, yet my heart is crushed, overwhelmed with sadness for her. It is all I have been thinking about, since I learned of it last night.  Maybe because I’m a mom, maybe because I have a step-son that just turned 12, maybe because I’m freaking human?!

She didn’t die because she was sick. She didn’t die because of an accident. She was bullied, and she chose to die.  I can’t bear the thought of, “What if that was my kid?”. Hell … What if that was YOUR kid?

“It won’t happen to my kid!” … “Bully?! My kid?! NEVER!” … “I know my child, and he/she is fine.”

ARE THEY?! Do you KNOW if your child is okay? Better yet, do you know if your child is the bully? Have you checked through your child’s phone, tablet, etc., to SEE what they are getting in to? Do you regularly have conversations with your children about how THEIR day was? Do you have conversations about the “kid” that doesn’t have any friends?

“We’ve set our parental controls, they can’t get to that “stuff”.” … REALLY?! … They can’t?! Did you remember to set the parental controls at every single one of their friends’ homes, too?!

I remember when my, now almost 16 year old, daughter acquired her very first Instagram account. I was like a fly on shit checking in after her, setting controls, CONTROLLING who she followed, and who was allowed to follow her back. PHEW!! That’s a lot of work!! That’s a whole other job, within itself. These days, parents don’t have time to check, recheck, check again … Oh, and add on a sibling or two, or Lord help you … more, yes I fall into this category, as well, lol, who also have phones, tablets, etc., it’s exhausting to try and keep up. I also remember the ridicule I received from family members/friends regarding my daughter’s account, and how many followers she had, etc.

As the years have passed, I see family and friends  children now on Instagram, at a younger age, than my daughter was. Which, I can go on for hours about that topic, however, my point is this:  it’s easy to point fingers, when you haven’t “been there and done that”. Well, I’m here to tell you that I’ve been there AND done that! You can monitor everything you like, but it all comes down to one thing… Yup, you guessed it … PARENTING!!  Now, I am NOT saying to never check their stuff, but the sneak attack is always the best approach, and Ohhhh SOOO much better <insert evil laugh>.  If they suspect it’s coming, they will hide and/or delete all the shit they don’t want you to see.  TRUST ME!

“Your child has a phone? Aren’t they in 2nd or 3rd grade? … Ohhhhh, you’re going to CLOSELY monitor them. Cool. Now THAT makes sense.”

NO IT DOESN’T!! Children don’t have filters. They say what they want, when they want. Until a young person has the ability to THINK about what they are going to say, they shouldn’t have any type of time, on any type of social ANYTHING! The end!  You cannot erase words that are typed and sent. Plain and simple.

Let’s not forget the kids without phones, tablets, etc.. I know these days it’s all about “keeping up with the Jones”, I get it. However, there are little people in Pre-School, Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades.  These little people, hopefully, don’t have access to freely be on any type of device without the proper supervision.  It’s during these years that parents and teachers are going above and beyond to raise Bully Awareness.  It stops at a certain grade level for whatever reason.  Maybe they feel the first 6 years or so of Bully Awareness, in public school,  is enough?  Well it’s not.

As the mother of two high school age children, one middle school, and one elementary, I’m here to tell you that it stops.  I feel fortunate to live where I live.  Our school systems really do go above and beyond to raise awareness for Bullying, along with our community.

As a matter of fact, I remember when a good friend of our family, Tommy Peterson, started this “little” Organization, along with the kicker from the Denver Broncos, Brandon McManus, 2016 Super Bowl Champ (Not to throw any names around or anything) called The Anti-Bully Squad. Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s not so little.


The Anti-Bully Squad (aka: ABS) has over 40,000 SQUAD MEMBERS from the United States, plus FOUR other countries! They give assemblies in NJ, PA, NY, CO & UT.  Lee Rouson, a 2-time Super Bowl Champ with the NY Giants, wink wink, is their Vice President. They team up with the NY Jets, Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, The NJ Devils, and the Sussex County Minor’s, for Bully Awareness.  They are ahhhhh-mazing, and I’m proud to call Tommy, my friend.  For more information on ABS, please check them out on their website, at: antibullysquad.org .  They are always there, ready for new Squad Members!! It will truly benefit you to check them out!!

In closing, I’d like to leave you all with this ..

Kindness: noun. The quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.

The word KIND, always comes to mind, in these situations. BE KIND! It’s not that hard. It’s so stinking simple. Our children emulate us. They follow OUR footsteps, from the moment they are aware. When YOU are kind, THEY are kind. Communicate … Always talk to your kids.  Be involved. Be Gentle. Be Aware. Be Considerate. Be Friendly. Be Generous. Be Tender. Be Gracious. Be anything … but MEAN.  Please, just be kind.



This is the man, I hunger to be mine.

I awake each morning,
With no one to hold.
For a day in New York City,
Has captured my soul.
Like fireworks that go off,
In the dark night time sky,
In an instant I knew,
I desired this guy.
A quick passing time,
Was all that we had,
I miss him, I want him,
It’s making me sad.
Astounding to me, impressive to him,
What hours of conversation had done.
For two unattached hearts,
Suddenly fluttering, as one. Continue reading “Wow.”

My First Blog Post

I got excited today.

I got excited today.  For the first time in a long time I feel pure EXCITEMENT … I feel meaning, purpose … like this is where I’ve needed to be for a long time, and finally got the courage to try and make my dreams, a reality. For what, you ask? JuSteph.4.All. Get it? JuSteph (like Justice) 4 All! Or a play on words with the infamous Sean Hayes, as Jack on Will & Grace, when he would say “Just Jack”!!

The “name” for my blog page came to me rather quickly, once I sat and thought about it for longer than 5 seconds. Yup, I googled. I researched. Clickity click (=me typing) … ways to name a blog … Clickity click … ways to name an effective blog, clickity click … ways to name a catchy blog … clickity clack … ways I’ll go cray cray trying to name my first ever, want it to be PERFECT blog … clickity click clackity clook … ways to tell my family their lives are about to forever change, because I’m going to write about THEM, probably on the regs … clickity click … ways to kiss a toady frog, lol now THAT one was just for CLICKS and giggles … clickity click … 😉

In all seriousness, I don’t know what I’m going to write about, well, I have an idea, obviously, but it’s just about life, basically. I, personally, don’t specialize in one thing, but I have a lot of experience in almost everything … That being said, Hi, my name is Stephanie, I am currently 41, and I’m about to enter “The Blog Zone” .. muahhh hahaha! … dum dum dummmmm!!!

My love for writing started at a very young age.  I have always had a vivid imagination, and would sometimes use it to get out of trouble … whoops!  Regardless, I have a hard time conveying my thoughts and feelings on the fly … which is why I love to write … These are my words … My thoughts … My feelings.  No one can tell me that I am wrong, and I can always go back, re-read, edit, post.  No one can “boss” my words around, and I’m here to tell you that writing for my own pleasure, has been a dream of mine forever.  Potentially making a career out of  what I love to do, is my ultimate goal.  Be constructive of my writing … I’m learning as I go.  I can take criticism …  constructively. 😉   I have no time, and no need for negative nellies … You can all kiss my arse … with that being said … I will swear and I will cuss, but it will never be in a negatively, mean manner … I have a mouth like a trucker, and in my own American opinion, the more you swear, the more honest you are!!  If you don’t have patience for a potty mouth … Move the fuck on … and I say that in the most loving way possible.   I mean no harm … I am who I am … JuSteph4All has just been born … ENJOY!