Posted in community, current-events, Family, friendship, Health, mental-health, Parenting, Teen

In Real Life Connection vs. Engagement

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a week of work, writing, and running. It’s treadmill season at the Orchard household and I did something to my back the other day when I was running. It hasn’t gotten any better, and I fear I’m going to have to go to the doctor and get it checked out. It has been four days and it hasn’t gotten back to normal. Ugh.

But enough about that. Today, I’d like to talk about staying connected. With social media we can connect any time for any reason, but is it a true connection? I don’t think so, there’s nothing like taking the time to sit down with family and friends and spending good quality time with them.

The social media platforms, be it Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, main intent is to keep you engaged. Behind the scenes, they analyze your likes and comments to learn what your interests are so they can plant more of those interests in your feeds. This keeps you on their site longer, and it appears like you’re connecting with friends and family, but in reality, it’s more about keeping you engaged than connecting with people.

Don’t get me wrong I love social media because it allows me to stay in touch with friends in other states and countries, but it doesn’t take the place of a true connection with your family and friends right here.

Just the other day, I had brunch with some friends and then we spent the afternoon painting together. It was an In Real Life Connection. One in which, I’m learning how to paint, and I must say Bob Ross is right, there are no mistakes just happy little accidents. 😉 But I digress, the point I’m trying to make is we need in person connection now more than ever. If we lose the ability to read social cues and body language, we’re going to set the human race back to the caveman era.

Evidence suggests there is a correlation between the rise in suicide rates and the rise of social media. We have more access to more information than we’ve ever had. That means we have access to chat rooms and forums that are pro-suicide. Our kids have access to these forums. So, if you’re dealing with a child with some mental health issues and they find their way to one of these forums, it could be trouble.

Cyber-bullying has led to suicides as well, especially among the younger crowd. Social media has become an avenue for that also. So, it’s more important than ever to make sure you have a connection with your loved ones. We can never truly know what’s going on in someone’s mind unless we watch for the signs.

But that’s not where I want to go with this. I digress again. Sorry. What I want to say is that maybe Social Media is the symptom, and the real disease is lack of connection or disconnection.

I believe that if it’s not the sole cause, it’s a big part of it. So, keep the communication open with your family and friends. Stay connected. Make sure your kids learn how to make an emotional connection with their friends, so they won’t feel isolated.

So how do we stay connected with so many distractions?

  1. Engage in a common interest like hiking or biking or robotics
  2. Have family night where you play a card game or board game
  3. Watch a movie together once a week
  4. Take a family vacation

These are just a few ideas. There are many ways to make connections with your family. How do you connect with yours? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Personal, Writing

My One Little Word

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve been busy with work and writing this week. I’ve started another WIP and I’m enjoying this one too. It’s the first month of the new year and I’m looking forward for 2022. The air crackles with excitement because I feel some changes are coming. I’m thinking they’ll be some good changes. My fingers are crossed, and time will tell.

But enough about that. Today, I want to talk about my one little word. At the beginning of the new year, I choose a word that resonates with me. Last year, I chose Persevere. I wanted to persevere in my writing journey, and I’ve done that I’ve finished two of my stories this last year and I’ve started a third this month.

So, my word for this year is “Resilience.”

Resilience is the capacity to recover from difficulties quickly.

Over the past couple of years, everyone’s had to become more resilient because of the pandemic. With the threat of potential illness, the shortage of workers, and shortages in the grocery store, we’ve all had to make adjustments in our lives. Some of us have had to start working from home and dealing with technological issues that we otherwise wouldn’t have had to deal with.

Learning to make these adjustments, builds resilience. Right now, we need to strengthen our resilience muscle more than ever. Especially in a competitive publishing market where things are changing also, but they’re changing in a good way. Because of Covid, readership has increased by 21%. That’s huge, and what’s nice about that is the biggest portion of that readership is the target market for my latest story. So, things are looking up. 😊

These are the reasons I chose resilience as my word for 2022. I feel if I strengthen my resilience, I’ll get to the finish line. But how do we strengthen our resilience? How do we toughen up?

Recently, I went through kind of a bootcamp on strengthening resilience for work and I’m applying the concepts in other areas of my life. This is what I’ve learned.

  1.  Face your fears. Feel the fear and do it any way.
  2. Use Positive Affirmations
  3. Change your negative self-talk to positive self-talk
  4. Don’t beat yourself up when something doesn’t go as planned. Learn from it.
  5. Change the script. When something bad happens don’t relive it over and over. Change the script so you learn from the experience.

These five steps will help you build resilience. I know easier said than done, but it will be worth it. Trust me. How about you? Do you have a Word for 2022? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Personal

RIP Betty White

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. This is my first post of the new year and I’m excited about 2022. I’m hoping for some exciting things to happen this year. 2021 was not the best year. One of my most beloved actresses died.

Yes, Betty White passed away on December 31, 2021. I don’t usually get attached to celebrities because I know I will most likely never meet them, but I grew up with Betty White on The Mary Tyler Moore show. That’s when I was first introduced to her. I loved that show, and when I go back, and watch clips it’s still funny. She had her act together and I loved her humor. I continued to admire her as I grew. She always had a snappy comeback and nothing seemed to get her down.

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In her later years, she also starred on The Golden Girls. I didn’t watch that show as diligently as the first one, but her humor and comedic timing did not fail her there either. I loved watching her give speeches. Her one liners were hilarious and she had a way of delivering them without losing her composure. She was one of the best.

I admire her for her audacity to be herself especially in an industry that only values youth. She was still a hot commodity at ninety-nine. What other actress can say that about themselves? Very few, that’s for sure. She is one of the greats and many people mourn the loss of her.

She was not only a great comedian/actress. She inspired people. She inspires me. Watching her succeed makes me realize that we all have that potential. We just need to stick to it and get it done. There will always be obstacles. I imagine Betty White ran into obstacles during her life, but they certainly didn’t hold her back.

I saw a meme on Facebook that stated: “In a world of Karens be a Betty.”  Doesn’t that just say it all?

So, here’s to Betty White. I raise my glass to you. Thank you for your humor and thank you for inspiring me. You were a class act and you will long be remembered.

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