Posted in Parenting, Personal

In-Person Connections Part II

Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week at work and noodling a new idea for a new story. I haven’t started it yet, but it’s brewing, and I’ll be starting it soon. Hubby and I got away for the weekend and we took the boat out on the water. It was good for the soul to get away.

Now that I’m working from home, I need to get out of the house more often. It’s not just kids who’re becoming dependent on their computers for social interaction adults are too.

I just watched a documentary this week about Hunter Moore and his revenge porn website Is Anyone Up. He worked with another individual (Charles Evens) and they hacked into people’s email accounts and stole photos. Many of these photos were naked pictures. So, the first lesson to learn here is don’t store naked photos of yourself in your email account.

He would then load them up on his website for the world to see, and he could get away with this because he claimed someone else submitted them to his website.  This was true for all intents and purposes because the friend he was working with submitted them under a different name and email account after stealing them from the email addresses he’d hacked.

This created a lot of turmoil for the people who were hacked. It ruined lives. Finally, one angry mother went after him after her daughter’s photos were loaded up on the website. It took a few years, but he was finally sent to prison.

But what about the young girls who’re so needy for approval and attention who load up those pictures themselves? One girl on the documentary wanted this guy’s approval so badly she would do anything to get it. She lost her children because of the things he got her to do. He even loaded pictures of her kids up on the website and that’s what got her in trouble.

If this young girl had had a good support system, she would’ve never gotten into this situation. Our kids need a support system, so when they run into someone who’s unhealthy, they won’t fall under their spell. There are no boundaries on the internet. With in-person contact, people are less likely to cross those social boundaries, and the more healthy in-person contact our kids get, they’ll be able to recognize unhealthy behaviors on the internet, and steer clear of those people.

There are ways to provide that support for our kids. Make sure there’s an open line of communication between you and your children. As they get older, they’re less likely to come to you before going to their peers. Get to know their friends and provide them opportunities to get together with them.

Our house happens to be the one the kids tend to gravitate toward, and we have an open-door policy. I’ve told the boys if they’re ever in a sticky situation, they can call us day or night. We don’t want them driving if they’re intoxicated. So far, this hasn’t been an issue and it’s great. I’m proud of my kids. They’re smart and they listen to their mother…most of the time. 😉

How about you, do you have any ideas on how to keep in-person social connection alive? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Health, mental-health, Personal, Writing

Exercise: An excellent way to combat Writer’s Block

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week at work. I’m still noodling an idea for another story and sending queries. I’m also running to stay in shape, and I got to tell you there’s nothing like that runner’s high. When I run in the morning before work, I have a better mental attitude throughout the day.

Exercise is important for everyone. It keeps you in shape and lowers the risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer. It’s especially important for writers because writing is such a sedentary activity. When I’m in the midst of creating a story, I could write all day. I have to force myself to take a break and exercise. I make sure and do it though because it also helps my writing. I’ve solved many plot holes while I’m running, and exercise keeps my creative juices flowing.

To keep me from getting bored, I also engage in Yoga and Hiking. Both provide not only physical benefits, but emotional ones as well. Yoga is a great way to focus on yourself. It brings me clarity when I’m dealing with complicated issues. I’m allowed to focus on my needs and find solutions to difficult dynamics. Sometimes we run into issues with family members, and we have to be creative to solve problems that arise.

Hiking is another terrific way to exercise. It’s also a great stress reliever, too. I’ve also found that when I’m writing, if I take time out for a hike through the woods or the beach, I solve plot holes and come up with creative stories. Noodling ideas in the woods is an excellent way to improve a great story.

So, if your stuck in a story and not sure how to move it forward. Step away from your work and go for a run or a hike. I guarantee you’ll either solve your problem while you’re exercising, or you’ll feel better about your story, and you’ll come back to it with a fresh attitude and solve it that way.

How about you? How do you deal with your writing when you’re stuck? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Parenting, social media

Making Connections

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week of work and running. I didn’t get much writing done this week because I’ve increased the frequency of my runs. I love summer and I’m trying to spend as much time as possible outside. I also have a new idea percolating, and once I get it put together in my head, I’ll be starting a new project.

But enough about that. Today, I’d like to talk about making connections. Last night I went to a movie with a friend, and it was so nice to see her. I hadn’t seen her in a couple of months, and we needed to catch up.

It’s important that we have in person get togethers. Especially now, with the invention of social media where we don’t physically meet anymore. We still need to have social skills. Humans are social animals. We need that interaction to feel connected. We need hugs and physical contact.

Technology is amazing. I love that I can google anything. The internet has made researching for my writing so much easier, but it can’t replace physical touch. I worry about the younger generation’s dependence on their devices. I hear scary stories of them hooking up just for sex and that scares me. Where is the emotional connection that we need for love?

I try to get my kids to socialize in other ways besides social media, and I’ve been successful in getting them to make connections with their friends, but it doesn’t feel the same as when I was younger. The overuse of social media has been linked to depression and anxiety. Experts haven’t proven there’s a link between social media and teen suicide, but along with the rise of social media, there has also been a rise in teen suicide after decades of a decline. This is worrisome. We need to monitor our kids to make sure they’re not becoming dependent on their games or social media, but it’s hard to monitor during the summer months when parents have full time jobs. On the plus side, connecting via the internet is safer in some ways with mass shootings and school shootings on the rise. Plus, with the online connection at least I know where my kids are.  

So, there are positives and negatives to social media use. What are your thoughts? Are you worried our kids will lose the ability to make emotional connections? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Personal, Reading

What I’ve Been Reading

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve been on vacation this week, so I’ve been having fun with my hubby and writing. I had an epiphany with one of my stories. I changed the beginning, and my beta reader says it’s better. I also put the finishing touches on another story. So, I’ve gotten a lot accomplished in the writing arena this week.

I’ve also been having fun with my family, but I do have teenagers and they don’t think it’s cool to hang out with Mom and Dad so much anymore. Sob. They’re growing up. They’re great kids though and I’m very proud of them. But enough about that. Don’t get me started on my kids because I’ll talk about them all day long.

Today, I want to talk about something more fun than my last couple of posts. I’ve been more on the serious side in those posts, so I thought I’d talk about something lighter. I thought I’d talk about what I’ve been reading.  I loved Anthony Doerr’s “All the Light We Cannot See,” so when his newest story came out “Cloud Cuckoo Land,” I was excited and picked it up right away.

The cover and blurb are below:

On the New York Times bestseller list for over 20 weeks * A New York Times Notable Book * A Barack Obama Favorite * A National Book Award Finalist * Named a Best Book of the Year by Fresh AirTimeEntertainment Weekly, Associated Press, and many more

“If you’re looking for a superb novel, look no further.” —The Washington Post

From the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of All the Light We Cannot See, comes the instant New York Times bestseller that is a “wildly inventive, a humane and uplifting book for adults that’s infused with the magic of childhood reading experiences” (The New York Times Book Review).

Among the most celebrated and beloved novels of recent times, Cloud Cuckoo Land is a triumph of imagination and compassion, a soaring story about children on the cusp of adulthood in worlds in peril, who find resilience, hope, and a book.

In the 15th century, an orphan named Anna lives inside the formidable walls of Constantinople. She learns to read, and in this ancient city, famous for its libraries, she finds what might be the last copy of a centuries-old book, the story of Aethon, who longs to be turned into a bird so that he can fly to a utopian paradise in the sky. Outside the walls is Omeir, a village boy, conscripted with his beloved oxen into the army that will lay siege to the city. His path and Anna’s will cross.

In the present day, in a library in Idaho, octogenarian Zeno rehearses children in a play adaptation of Aethon’s story, preserved against all odds through centuries. Tucked among the library shelves is a bomb, planted by a troubled, idealistic teenager, Seymour. This is another siege.

And in a not-so-distant future, on the interstellar ship Argos, Konstance is alone in a vault, copying on scraps of sacking the story of Aethon, told to her by her father.

Anna, Omeir, Seymour, Zeno, and Konstance are dreamers and outsiders whose lives are gloriously intertwined. Doerr’s dazzling imagination transports us to worlds so dramatic and immersive that we forget, for a time, our own.

My Thoughts:

First, I liked his first book much better. This one took me a while to get into and connect with the characters, but once I did, I enjoyed the story. This is more of a dystopian kind of story and the survival of a book through the ages. It was interesting, but not my usual kind of read. I was hoping for another story like “All the Light You Cannot See,” but I was disappointed. I didn’t connect with the characters as much as I did in the Anthony Doerr’s first story and I feel that’s the reason for my lukewarm reception. So, there you have it my thoughts on “Cloud Cuckoo Land.” How about you? Have you been doing any reading this summer? Leave a recommendation! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in mass shootings

Another Mass Shooting? What’s going on in Our Country?

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a week of work and writing. The fourth of July came and went, and we had another mass shooting. For the life of me, I don’t understand the motivation behind these shootings.

What could the shooter possibly gain from killing people who are enjoying a parade. Did you know there was a two-year-old boy wandering the streets because his parents had been killed by the shooter? A good Samaritan helped him eventually and got him to the proper authorities, but this is heartbreaking. His little socks were soaked in blood.

Something needs to be done. I hate to suggest more government intervention especially since there’s so much corruption, but I look at Canada, and they have the same issues we do, but they have strict gun-control laws, and they don’t have the mass shooting problems we do. It’s time to follow in their footsteps. I don’t want another child growing up parentless.

More gun control will help, but it’s not enough. We need to find the motivation behind these shootings. What is the killer seeking by doing this? Is it attention? Is it to alleviate their own pain? One of the things these shootings all have in common is that the shooter in every single one is male.

What else do they have in common? I did a little research, and this article gives a detailed rundown on the profile of mass shooters. It breaks them down into five categories. https://www.vice.com/en/article/a35mya/nearly-all-mass-shooters-since-1966-have-had-four-things-in-common

This article suggests there are some commonalities between the different types. School shooters both at the K-12 level and university level are or have been students of that institution. They are suicidal and have a history of trauma or violence in their past.

Workplace shooters usually have a grievance against the company and work there. Place of worship shooters are motivated by hate against that particular religion. Then we have the mass shooters at a commercial location. These shooters have a history of violence and criminal records.

Wouldn’t a history of violence be a huge red flag? We need stronger gun controls until we are willing to deal with the underlying issues that are creating these mass shooters.

We need better mental health support for everyone, but especially for men. We need better family support because many of these shooters have experienced childhood trauma.

I believe it all boils down to the family unit. I would bet my bottom dollar that workplace shooters, place of worship shooters, and mass shooters at a public location all had childhood trauma in their pasts.

We as parents need to take better care of our kids so they don’t grow up to be mass shooters. So more restrictive laws on guns, better mental health care, and better support for parents, so they can be better parents will create an environment where we can all live our lives without fear.

I know this won’t happen overnight, but we do need to make some changes and fast. How about you? Do you have any ideas? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Personal, recipes

Happy Fourth of July Weekend!

Photo credit: bayasaa on Visualhunt

Happy Fourth of July Weekend everyone. For today’s post I’ve got a recipe for fruit salad that’s perfect for a backyard barbecue or any occasion. This is one of my favorite fruit salad recipes. I believe it’s because of the sauce. This salad gets better the longer you let it soak in its juices. I prefer 3 to 4 hours in the refrigerator before I serve it. Enjoy!

Photo credit: lisaclarke on VisualHunt.com

Ingredients:

2/3 cup fresh orange juice

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

½ teaspoon grated orange zest

½ teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups cubed pineapple

2 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced

3 kiwi fruit, peeled and sliced

3 bananas sliced

2 oranges, peeled and sectioned

1 cup seedless grapes

2 cups blueberries

Directions:

Bring orange juice, lemon juice, brown sugar, orange zest, and lemon zest to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until slightly thickened about five minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Set aside to cool.

Layer the fruit in a large, clear glass bowl in this order: pineapple, strawberries, kiwi fruit, bananas, oranges, grapes, and blueberries. Pour the cooled sauce over the fruit. Cover and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours before serving.

Posted in Personal, Political

Roe Vs. Wade

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a week of work and writing. I’ve started a new story while my second one sits on the back burner and percolates. We’ll see where this new one goes. This has been an eventful week to say the least. Roe vs. Wade has been overturned. It’s now up to the state you live in whether a woman can have an abortion or not.

I don’t usually write political posts. I try to stay away from them because there’s enough of that on the internet as it is. But this one is a little different. Understandably, women are upset. They’re upset because they feel a choice has been taken away from them.

But this is more than a choice and we need to look at the bigger picture. Now, I don’t believe abortion should be used as a birth control method, but there are many gray areas surrounding this issue, and this isn’t a one size fits all kind of thing. I can’t know what’s best for someone else, and an unexpected pregnancy can be a scary thing.

So, if we’re going to take away the right for a woman to choose whether or not she wants to have a child, then in my opinion, we need to give her other options. That’s right. We can’t just stop there. One option that comes to mind is improving the morning after pill’s effectiveness. Right now it’s 75-89% effective. If we raise the effectiveness of this pill maybe abortions would be unnecessary.

But we can’t stop there. There’s more to do. We need to take better care of these babies once they’re born. We need to dramatically improve our programs for single mothers and find ways to provide them with healthcare. We need to make sure deadbeat dads are paying their way. We need to make sure the foster care system benefits the child. That their emotional and physical needs are met. If we’re going to take the right to have an abortion away, we need to provide better support for that single mother and her child.

That also includes providing her with a job so she can take care of that child and that includes parenting classes and providing both mother and child with emotional support.

You see there’s so much more to this issue than a choice. If we’re taking that choice away, we need to make sure we’re willing to do the hard work to raise these children, so they can have happy and healthy lives. That’s what Pro-life means to me, otherwise, it’s just pro-birth.

What are your thoughts on this issue? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.

Posted in Health, Personal

Earthing: It’s good for you

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. It has been a busy week of working, writing, and running. I’m starting to feel like my old self again. Running always clears my mind of cobwebs.

Summer is finally here. I plan on hiking as much as I can this season. I find it healing. Whether I’m hiking on the beach or through the woods, it calms my inner angst and I work out plot issues when I do this. Something about being out in nature clears the static in my head.

Connecting with nature is something we humans have forgotten we need. Did you know walking barefoot on the earth is good for you? It’s called Earthing. Walking barefoot allows you to connect with the earth and allows us to absorb electrons that provide a variety of benefits.

One of those benefits is that it reduces inflammation. Inflammation is a key factor in many of our life-threatening diseases like cancer and heart disease. Wouldn’t it be something if all we needed to do is walk barefoot for an hour as a prevention to these diseases?

There are many natural ways to heal our body. Ways we’ve forgotten as humans because we believe taking a pill is the best way to solve our problems. It’s quick and easy. Whereas earthing is a little time consuming. I mean it’s important to do it as long as you can, at least an hour. Sometimes we don’t have an hour to devote to this. I know. I’ve been there. We’re trying to parent, work, and for me I write as often as I can. Time is of the essence.

But there’s a meme going around that hit me like a punch in the gut. It states: If you don’t make time for your wellness. You’ll be making time for your illness. I’ve never read a truer statement.

My point is you need to make your health a priority. Spending an hour walking barefoot through the woods (watch out for poison ivy) or even your yard is a great way to reduce inflammation and stress. Two key ingredients to life threatening diseases.

Here’s a quick list of the benefits of Earthing:

          Reduces inflammation: The extra neutrons from the earth help neutralize free radicals in our bodies. This reduces inflammation which is a common factor in diseases like cancer and heart disease.

          Reduces cortisol levels: Cortisol is the stress hormone created by our bodies when we’re under stress, and who’s life isn’t stressful right now? Increased levels of cortisol are responsible for accumulation of belly fat which is a factor in diabetes.

          Improves Sleep: We need to sleep. It’s our body’s way of repairing itself. Because of stress in our lives sometimes and our dependence on technology our sleep cycles get interrupted. Grounding or Earthing can help in keeping us on track with our sleep cycles by syncing our electrical system for us.

          Increased Energy: With better sleep you’ll have more energy. With all the things we want to accomplish more energy is a plus.

Now I’m not a doctor, but those benefits certainly sound good to me. I think it’s worth an hour of my time to do some Earthing especially if it helps me prevent those life-threatening diseases.

To learn more about Earthing, check out this article here. https://1md.org/article/earthing-grounding

How about you? How do you feel about Earthing? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!