Posted in community, Family

Check on Your Loved Ones

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve been busy with work this week and with my writing. I’ve reached 30,000 words in my latest WIP and I must tell you, I’ve been coming up with some new ideas while I’m writing. I can’t write fast enough. LOL.

It’s a good thing, but it creates a little anxiety because I feel like I’m not writing fast enough. But enough about that. Today, I’d like to talk about keeping in touch with your single friends during this pandemic. It’s important to check up on them. They depend on their social lives to connect with people and with this isolation they could go days, weeks, or months without seeing someone other than people at the grocery store.

 

Young Woman Enjoying Freedom in the Summer Evening

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Check up on your elderly relatives and neighbors, too. Especially the ones who are stuck in a nursing home. We can’t go visit them right now, but we can send cards. We can make phone calls. It’s important to reach out to our loved ones. We need the connection right now and so do they.

grandma, elderly woman, age

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Not only do we need to check up on our single friends, elderly neighbors, and relatives, but we need to check up on our kids. That’s right, the ones that live under our roofs with us. I’ve noticed that my youngest has grown a little reclusive because he hasn’t been able to see any of his classmates. We’re starting online schooling today and they’re using google meets to have a virtual classroom. I hope that means they’ll be able to interact with their classmates. Kids are attached to their computers for everything now, school, social contact, and gaming. They are dependent on their machines.

 

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We can’t take them to the trampoline park or to the community pool, they’re closed because of this virus. So, the only thing we can do is forced family fun and that always goes over like a lead balloon.  Especially when it’s mom’s idea. 😉

But we do it because they need to get a break and get away from the house. They need more physical activity, so we go on family walks and hikes through the woods. Forest bathing is good for you, you know!  They do play basketball or football with the neighbor kids when they’re around. I’ve also made it a rule that they have to get outside for an hour a day when the weather cooperates, and they do a pretty good job of following this rule. They still listen to their mom, right now, anyway.

 

trees, forest, woods, nature

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So, check on your friends, relatives, and kids. Make sure the isolation isn’t getting to them and try to get out of the house. It’s so good to get away, even if it’s only for a few days.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. What are you doing to keep in touch with your loved ones? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in community, current-events, quarantine

What Kind of World are We leaving for our Kids?

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a long week of working and writing.  Earlier today, I happened upon a Facebook post. It was one of my friends and she is a mom of young kids. She was complaining about the sticky doorknobs and the mess kids generally leave behind and was asking parents of older kids if they really missed the sticky mess.

facebook, meeting, social

 

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I’d like to answer that question and the answer is yes. I miss all of it. Sure, cleaning up after the kids wasn’t fun, but I kept it in perspective and didn’t beat myself up if my house didn’t look perfect. After all, I had kids, and I wanted them to grow up being comfortable, exploring their world. So, if it was a little messy, I was okay with that.

 

Toys on a carpet

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I miss when my boys were little guys and they would snuggle with me before falling asleep. I miss that baby smell and their giggles and their adventurous spirits. So, yeah, I miss it.

Free stock photo of baby, couch, Facetime

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However, I love each stage they go through, and I love seeing them grow and learn. For example, when my youngest started reading before he started school. I loved that and I was so proud. I loved how he started doing Par-Core and mastered that. I loved when my oldest would come to me for help with his homework and when he started taking Karate lessons. I loved each stage.

karate, kids, explication

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They amaze me with how much they’ve grown and learned. I love their personalities. My oldest for his quick wit, kindness, and honesty. My youngest for his drive, passion, and focus. I love the fact they get along and can compromise with each other. They both have amazing problem-solving skills.

But I also worry. I worry about how cruel this world can be. I hope I’ve helped them develop enough skills so they can survive it. Not only survive it, but to thrive in it. I know that’s what every parent wants, but right now our world is not a happy place.

 

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I wonder what the new school year will bring. I wonder how my kids will be learning and if it will be a good experience for them. I worry about their social skills. They haven’t been using them as much lately because they’ve been communicating with friends online.

Public bus in Granada | Nicaragua

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I also wonder about what kind of world we’ll be leaving behind for them. What’s going to happen with all the chaos going on right now? Will it change anything? I sincerely hope so, but I don’t know. I worry about the problems they’ll be inheriting and how they’ll affect them.

I hope when we’re finished with all this craziness, the world will be a better place. Our kids deserve it.

 

 

Posted in community, Documentaries, Family, Parenting, raising kids

You Can Make a Difference

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve had a busy week at work, plus I’m dealing with back to school stuff with the kiddos so I’m feeling a little ragged this evening. This summer certainly went by fast. I didn’t get everything accomplished that I wanted to, but that’s okay. I had a lot of fun with my kiddos, and we made lots of memories. Making memories is an important goal, too. 🙂

Photo credit: Wade Roush on Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

I hope your summer went well and you were able to recharge your batteries. Many memorable things happened this season, and one of them was the grand jury report detailing the sexual abuse of over a thousand victims by three hundred priests in Pennsylvania.

The stories are starting to come out. There was the movie “Spotlight” that told the tale of the priests in Boston who abused children and got away with it. Then there was the documentary “The Keepers.”  This story started out as an investigation of the death of one of the Nuns who taught at  Baltimore’s Archbishop Keough  High School. Sister Cathy was murdered and the crime remains unsolved to this day.

Image result for the keepers

Two of her former students (Gemma Hoskins and Abbie Schaub) decided to investigate the murder, and they uncovered horrible abuse of students by the priests running the school. The school they attended. These women believe she was murdered because she found out about the abuse and threatened to take the information to the authorities.

They still don’t know who committed the crime, and it may never be solved because many of the people who know the truth have died. However, all is not lost.  Gemma and Abbie have started a movement across the country. More and more victims are finding the courage to speak out and the horrendous abuse is being exposed. It has also come to light that the Catholic Church moved these guilty priests to different parishes where they continued their victimization. The church did nothing to protect these innocent children.

Image result for the keepers

It’s upsetting to think about especially since very few of the perpetrators of this abuse have gone to prison. That’s the part that upsets me. These abusers destroy lives and then get away with it because the statute of limitations has run out. That’s a total crock.

When is this country going to understand that we need to be protecting our children above everything else?

Photo on Visual Hunt

I mean the church is supposed to be our moral compass and look what they are? A bunch of pedophiles who use their religion to hunt for prey. And what’s worse? Their superiors covered it up and allowed the perpetrators to go on abusing. This makes me sick.

However, there is a bright light in all of this. Times are changing and the support the victims are receiving from all over the world is amazing. The two women who’re investigating Sister Cathy’s death have formed a Facebook group where survivors and supporters can come together. There are literally thousands of members in this group. People from all over the world can discuss theories, share information, and support each other. It’s nothing short of phenomenal.

Photo credit: Matthew Fang on Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

And there’s a snowball effect happening. More and more victims are coming forward and more and more priests are being outed. I know the progress is slow and may not be enough for some people, but some progress is better than none. The efforts of these two women are bringing about reform so this type of victimization will never happen again. It could even topple the Catholic Church. And that wouldn’t be a bad thing. They’ve abused their power. They don’t deserve to have it any longer.

Photo credit: Nebojsa Mladjenovic on VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-ND

So at the end of the day, when you’re feeling small and insignificant and you just don’t think what you do makes a difference, think of these two women and how their efforts have snowballed into something great. Then raise you’re weary head, take a deep breath, and strive forward. Carry on sweet warrior. The battle is long and hard, but it is worth the fight.

Photo on VisualHunt.com

 

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. Share your thoughts, I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

Posted in community, Public Service Announcements

Gone Too Soon

 

This week I’d like to dedicate this post to Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. It makes me sad to think these bright, creative people had such scary demons they felt the only recourse they had was to end their lives.

 

Photo credit: annainaustin on Visualhunt / CC BY

Photo credit: AIGA New York Chapter on Visual Hunt / CC BY

Depression is such a scary thing to deal with because your brain tells you lies. It tells you you’re not good enough. Your family will be better off without you. You’re a burden. And it never stops telling you these horrible things. I imagine Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain were dealing with these demons for a very long time and the battle wore them out.

I wish we could pull together and fight this disease. Please, if you’re feeling down talk to a professional before it’s too late. Someone who can help you with these intense feelings and help you back to a healthier way of thinking.

If someone isn’t available please call the suicide hotline 1-800-273-8255 and let them help you.

And if you don’t suffer from this disease but you see someone struggling with it, please reach out and lend them a hand. Sometimes all they need a little guidance back to the light.

RIP Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. You will be missed.

Posted in community, environment

We’re all made of Stardust

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I want to talk about the fact that we’re all made from stardust. Isn’t that amazing? We all have the elements of iron, calcium, and magnesium in our bodies. We are literally the by-product of exploding stars.

 

Photo credit: NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center on VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND

 

That totally blows my mind.

That being said, we all are vastly unique at the same time. Just like snowflakes we all have our own makeup. Each one of us, even a set of twins, is different. I find this intriguing and it begs the question. If we’re all made up of the same elements how can we be so different?

Photo on Visualhunt

It’s our DNA. The unique way it’s arranged makes us different, and that’s true, but I’m wondering how many different combinations there can be. Well, I did a little digging and the best answer I could find without going into a lot of scientific mumbo-jumbo is that there are seven billion people on the planet so there are four hundred and twenty billion different combinations. Wow.

Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that even though we’re all made up of the same elements we’re all vastly different. Each one of us. But we’re also the same. It’s mind-bending when you thing about it. What I’m trying to say is we’re connected. And that connection is what I’d like to focus on.

Photo on Visualhunt

Historically, we humans have been afraid of other humans who are different. People who have different skin color, different genders, different sexual orientations, and different ideologies. We need to stop ourselves for a second and instead of coming from a place of fear, we need to come from a place of love. That’s right. Love for our fellow man. We don’t all have to agree, but we do have to respect our differences while at the same time remember our similarities out number our differences. That is the only way we will be able to survive on this planet. You have to remember we continue to reproduce, but our planet does not and it doesn’t grow larger either.

 

Photo on Visual hunt

In order for our species to survive, we’ve got to take care of ourselves and our planet. We don’t have time for anything else. In a crisis, I’ve seen people come together and forget their differences and work together until the crisis is over. Why can’t we do that all the time? Why does there have to be a major disaster before we’ll work together? I think we should work on that. Don’t you?

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

 

Posted in community, Family

Creating Stronger Communities

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week at work and writing. Always with the writing! LOL! But I do love it. I can’t seem to stop.

Photo on Visualhunt.com

But enough about that. Today, I’d like to talk about creating stronger communities. It saddens me when I hear about school shootings or mass shootings in movie theaters or public places because these events are symptoms of a societal problem.

Photo on Visual Hunt

That problem is disconnection. When someone feels isolated and disconnected from society they exhibit symptoms of this by being violent to people who are close to them. That’s the first sign there’s a problem. We need to stop turning a blind eye to domestic violence. As with so many things, it all traces back to the home.

Photo on Visualhunt

Now we can blame poor parenting, throw our hands up in outrage, and point fingers. We can do that, but that doesn’t solve the problem, does it? And let’s be fair, none of us can say we’re perfect parents. We strive to be the best we can be, but there are days when we fall short. And in parenting, the most important job we have, there are no do-overs. You can’t go back and erase your mistakes.

So what can we do?

We can create communities where we all come together for the sake of the kids. I believe schools do an incredible job of offering extra-curricular activities be it sports or theater or clubs. However, what about the kids who don’t make the team? I think we need to create community centers within our cities where kids can go and play a pick-up game of basketball, or use a computer, or just hang out after school. A safe place to go with adult supervision until parents get home from work.

 

Photo credit: RobW_ on Visualhunt.comCC BY-NC-ND

I know some community centers exist, but we need more and they need to be affordable. It costs money to run these centers and that’s where I run into a snag because I don’t know where to get the funding. How about you, do you have any ideas? I’d love to hear from you so leave a comment and let me know you’re thoughts.

Posted in community, Family, Politics, Public Service Announcements

Giving Guns to our Teachers?

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a hectic week of revising. I’ve got two manuscripts that I’m trying to polish. The first one is polished and ready to query, and the second one is rough and needs polishing. It’s a never ending task that’s for sure.

 

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Anyway, I was going to write a post about a couple of books I’d recommend but then I saw the above graphic and decided to write about this latest response to the tragic mass shooting in Florida instead.

It would be a horrible mistake to give our teachers guns. First of all, there are very few teachers that I know of who’ve had combat training. This is a big deal when you’re tasked with shooting at another human being.  Aside from that glaring problem, are we going to give our teachers assault weapons?

Photo credit: t i g on Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-SA

Because let’s be honest, we can’t expect a teacher to go after a kid carrying an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle with a teeny tiny hand gun.

Photo on Visualhunt.com

As a parent, I’m horrified by this idea. We’re just adding more guns to an already volatile situation. What does that mean, more deaths and one of those deaths could be your kid.

I’m sorry but that’s the ugly truth.

The only answer to this situation is to keep assault weapons out of the hands of civilians. No civilian needs an assault weapon. They are guns designed for combat. They are not meant to be used for hunting or target shooting.

Let’s take a look at Japan. They’ve only had thirteen mass shootings since 1922.

Photo credit: Leo Reynolds on Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-SA

 

According to the Mass Shooting Tracker we (US) had TWENTY ONE mass shootings in 2017 alone. Unbelievable.  (On a side note it’s incredibly sad that we even have a Mass Shooting Tracker.)

 

What is Japan doing that we’re not. Stricter Gun Laws and that’s it.

Here’s a list of some of the laws:

  • You have to attend an all-day class
  • Take a written exam and pass a shooting-range test with a mark of at least 95%.
  • There are also mental health and drugs tests.
  • Your criminal record is checked and police look for links to extremist groups. Then they check your relatives too – and even your work colleagues.

For a more complete list click here: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-38365729

Arming our teachers is not the answer. They’ve got enough on their plates from dealing with behavioral issues in the classroom to coping with all the testing they have to do. If we want a public school system, we have to protect our teachers and our children while they’re in school.

We also need to bring our communities closer together. Isolation is a huge indicator for a mass shooter. If our communities were able to eradicate isolation, mass shootings will decline and maybe even disappear altogether.

Photo on VisualHunt.com

I know this is a hot topic and there’s always more than one solution. I’d love to read your thoughts. Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in community, Family, Parenting, raising kids, Teen

Can we prevent Mass Shootings?

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m saddened by the events in the news this week. I’m talking about the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. How did a nineteen year old get a semi-automatic weapon?  Why are we selling these weapons to children? Yes, in my eyes a nineteen year old is still a child.

Photo credit: FraVal Imaging on Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-SA

We have to do something about this because our children, our best Natural Resource, won’t survive if they don’t stop killing each other. That means our species won’t survive. I know, you think I’m taking this to an extreme, but maybe we have to, to wake everyone up.

The question I have to ask is why? Why is this happening? Why does a young person become so despondent that the only answer for him is to go to school and shoot his classmates? And why are warning signs ignored?

To answer this question, I did a little research and found that most mass shooters are profoundly alienated from society and there are warning signs.  Mass shooters don’t become mass shooters overnight. They usually assault, abuse, or threaten people close to them. Domestic violence is something all shooters seem to have in common. But how do we as a society predict which abusers will become mass shooters and which ones won’t?

Photo credit: dualdflipflop on Visualhunt / CC BY

Here’s an interesting article on what mass shooters have in common. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2017/09/14/what-do-most-mass-shooters-have-in-common-hint-it-isnt-politics-video-games-or-religion/?utm_term=.6c89f9ef1859

That is a good question and one we don’t have an answer for. So what is the answer? I’m not usually in favor of more regulation, but in this instance until we can find ways to predict who will become a shooter and who won’t, I feel more regulation is the way to go.

First of all, let’s stop these young kids from buying weapons.  No child or adult outside the military needs a semi-automatic weapon. They shouldn’t even be available for the public to purchase.

Photo credit: Christiaan Triebert on VisualHunt / CC BY-NC

We also need to go to the extreme where people who have a history of domestic violence are banned from buying weapons. These people don’t have to have convictions, just a history of it because we all know domestic violence rarely gets reported, and convictions are hard to get.

I know what you’re thinking, but it’s in the constitution, we have the right to bear arms.  You’re right it is in there, but our forefathers didn’t have assault weapons to deal with back when it was written.  I’m not saying all guns, but even the most staunch NRA supporter must see that the general public does not need semi-automatic weapons to defend themselves.

Photo credit: roberthuffstutter on Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC

The next thing we need to do is make our communities stronger, so these people who’ve been alienated from society won’t fall through the cracks. How do we do that? We do it by creating community centers where teens and adults can come together to be socially interactive.

Photo credit: lyman erskine on Visualhunt.com / CC BY

I would love to open up a community center in my town, especially for teens because the teen years are tough. I love the fact our schools have team sports and band and orchestra, but the problem with these programs is there’s a limit to how many kids can be in the program. What about the ones who don’t make it?

That’s where my community center would come into play. If money were no obstacle, I’d have a center where kids could come after school and play pick-up games of basketball or football. They’d be socially active and learn the skills of team play and how to compete fairly.

It’d be a place where they could hang out and do homework instead of going home alone and playing video games. I feel these community centers would alleviate the social isolation that many teens feel especially if they don’t make the team.  Team sports are wonderful, but like I said before, only so many kids make it.

Photo credit: Timm Suess on Visual Hunt / CC BY-SA

I’d have a counselor on staff so kids could talk to him for free and learn healthy coping mechanisms. Let’s face it, some kids aren’t getting the love and attention they need at home so what a great way to try and help those who don’t get the support they need.  I know this won’t solve all the problems, but it is a step in the right direction.

We as a society need to take care of our children. They are our most valuable Natural Resource so let’s do a better job of protecting them.

Bringing back community centers is one solution, but I’m sure there are others. What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment!