Posted in Parenting, Uncategorized

Technology: Friend or Foe?

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve had a busy week of writing and vacationing. There’s nothing like heading to the lake when you’re experiencing a heatwave. My kids invited a friend along and that made it a little more special because they’ve been friends since my oldest was in kindergarten.

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I was happy the weather cooperated because the kids were able to get out and swim. Physical activity is so important for our young people. I remember when I was growing up we were outside early in the morning and only came home for meals. We rode our bikes everywhere.

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Unfortunately, it’s not like that in today’s world. Kids can’t ride their bikes all over the place because the traffic in our streets is heavy and the streets aren’t as safe as they were twenty years ago. Kidnapping and human trafficking are real issues and it’s happening in every state not just those close to the borders.

So we as parents keep our kids close to home because it’s safer. We have to arrange play dates and take our kids to trampoline parks so they can get exercise and develop face to face social skills. The internet has allowed us to connect to people from all over the world, but it has made our relationships weaker on the home front.

 

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Because of technology, our children are moving less, reading less, and losing opportunities to develop valuable social skills.  Parents need to be cognizant of this. Exercise, Reading, and Face to Face Social Interaction are good for our brains and our bodies. We need to help our kids develop good habits that include all three of the above and they need to do it every day.

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I make sure my kids get out on the trampoline at least a couple times a day when we’re home. I also try and get them to read for half an hour a day, and I try and make sure they have opportunities for social interaction. Some days I do a better job than others. Luckily, we do have neighbor kids they play games with outside where they’re getting their vitamin D.  I haven’t taught them the game Kick the Can, yet. But I will. 😉

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How about you? What do you do to make sure your kids are developing healthy habits? Do you have any suggestions for me? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

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Posted in Public Service Announcements

A Cautionary Tale

 

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Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today on this rainy Saturday with a strange story. I received an email from someone yesterday, and they claimed  they’d hacked my account and had all my contacts. They also claimed they’d hacked into my computer and used my webcam to videotape me accessing porn sites and doing “dirty things.”

Photo credit: Scott Beale on VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-ND

They threatened to send these “videos” to all my contacts unless I sent them $3600.00 in Bitcoins. First of all, I know this is a total scam because I don’t access porn sites and I never have a webcam in my bedroom.

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I called my lawyer friend and asked, “Do people really fall for this?”

He laughed. “You’d be surprised.”

We mulled over how someone could’ve gotten my email address, and we figured out that they must’ve hacked a site where I applied for a job back when I was looking for one. I used a password that I could remember because I was applying to more than one company so I used that password more than once. One of those companies must’ve gotten hacked. In the email, they claimed to have my password, and they did have the one I used when I was looking for a job. I’ve never used that password for my personal email so I knew they didn’t have my contact list.

This is a cautionary tale my dear followers. Make sure you don’t overuse your email password. In fact, I’d only use it once and change your passwords often. It upsets me that people are doing this and getting away with it. These hackers are getting more and more aggressive because they know they’re hard to catch.

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A couple of years ago there was another scam going around where someone would call you on the phone claiming to be from the IRS. This one happened to me, too. When I answered the phone, the person on the other end said he was from the IRS and they had money they needed to send to me. They claimed to need my address, social security number, and bank account number. I told them if they were really from the IRS they’d have all of that information and hung up. They tried calling back a few times, but they were unsuccessful in getting the information they wanted.

These hackers must be successful or they would stop. So please protect your personal information. Make sure your passwords are confidential and change them often.

Photo credit: Cigac Semiárido on Visual Hunt / CC BY-SA

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post today. Have you had anything like this happen to you? How did you handle it? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Writing

Take your time

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a hot and busy week of writing and kids. I’m loving this summer weather. It’s hot and sticky which is perfect for this time of year.

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Today I’d like to talk about writing and the importance of taking your time with your projects. I tend to get a great idea and rush my story because I’m so excited about it. That excitement is okay because I get my rough draft down fast, however, by doing it this way, I end up missing little details that make my writing special.

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When I slow down and take my time, my writing is so much better. It may take me longer, but I’ll have a better chance of writing a story that will resonate with readers if I take my time, and I’ll have a better chance at finding the success I’ve been searching for as well.

I’m dating myself here, but remember that old slogan, “We will sell no wine before its time?” That’s the kind of attitude I need to apply to my writing. Why? Because with the self-publishing boom there are books released on to the market that aren’t ready.  They need editing or they lack structure and that means the reader is going to put it down.

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What this means is if you want to make it in the publishing world you have to write an amazing story. There are a lot of mediocre stories out there and if you want an agent, you have to make your story shine. You have to write a story that grabs their attention.

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For me, that means I have to slow down and ignore all the books that are getting published and trust my process. I don’t need to hurry and get my story out there. I need to trust that my characters will lead me in the right direction. I need to do this to take my writing to the next level. The level where I’ll get agents and publishers to pay attention to my writing. Oh, and my story has to be that good, too.

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When I say that, what I mean is it has to resonate with readers. It has to be a significant story, not one that’s predictable and boring. So take your time and develop your characters. Make them interesting and achingly human. Those are the kind of characters your readers will relate to and those are the kind of books that sell.

Then make your plot interesting and spine-tingling. Make it so the reader not only falls in love with your characters, but they’re cheering for them to reach their goals. Those are the books that sell.

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

Posted in Family, Personal

Dealing with Toxic People

 

Hello everyone, I hope you all had a Happy Fourth of July. I know I did. I enjoyed some sun and surf with my kids and extended family. Hanging out by the water was the only thing we could do and stay comfortable during the heat wave. Luckily, things have cooled down and the humidity is gone for a few days any way.

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I also took a few days off from my writing and I’m trying to get back into the swing of things. It’s always good to get back into it. It’s such a stress reliever for me and a sense of accomplishment when I get a scene right.

But enough about that, today I’d like to talk about dealing with toxic people. They rear their ugly heads in both our personal lives and our work lives, and it’s important deal with them in a way so their toxicity doesn’t affect our lives.

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How do you know when someone is toxic? By gauging how you feel when you’re with them. Do they drain your energy by their negativity? Do you feel steamrolled by them? Maybe they’re so critical you feel diminished by them. If you have any of these feelings on a consistent basis when you’re with a particular person, they are toxic.

So what can you do when you run into someone like this? What happens if they’re a family member or a coworker?

First of all you have to set boundaries and stick with them. These people will try to push past them because they don’t understand what they are. They may also try to manipulate you so that they get their way. They’ll try tactics like the silent treatment or giving you dirty looks and glaring at you. They’re trying to obtain the upper hand and control in the relationship.

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Another thing you can do is limit the time you have to be around them. If they’re in your family, you can select the gatherings that you attend and if you can avoid them that’s the best answer for everyone involved. The reason I say this is because if a toxic person has set their sights on you, their negativity affects everyone. Everyone in the family sees it. They may not do anything about it because they don’t want the toxic person’s spotlight on them, but they are all brought down by the negative behavior.

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One last thing to remember, a toxic person isn’t going to change without some sort of intervention. They need counseling and the only way they’re going to get that is if they admit to themselves they have a problem. Most toxic people aren’t going to admit they have one so don’t get sucked into their cycle of abuse.

So when you run into a toxic person and you can’t get away from them, then emotionally detach from them and observe their behavior, and look at it from a clinical point of view. Maybe you could use their particular toxicity for fodder in your writing.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. Have you run into a toxic person? How did you handle it? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!