Posted in Family, Personal

The Importance of Family Traditions

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week of writing, working, and throwing a bridal shower for my niece to be.

It was a hectic week to say the least and I didn’t get much writing done, but that’s okay. It was nice to see members of my family that I haven’t seen in a long time, and it was nice to welcome my niece to be into the family.

But enough about that. Today I’d like to talk about the importance of family traditions. I was able to take a few moments, in between making sure everything ran smoothly and making sure everyone’s glass was full, where I was able to sit down with my cousins and talk about the changes between our generation and the current one.

When my cousins and I were growing up, we played outside as much as we possibly could. I remember going over to my grandparents and as soon as all of us cousins arrived, we’d go over to the empty field across the street and play kickball. I loved going over to my grandparents so I could play with my cousins. I didn’t know it then, but we were making memories and learning how to negotiate and get along with other people. Our parents took photos of us during those kickball games to put into photo albums, so we’d be able to look back and reminisce.

I remember holidays together where we’d all sit around the table and eat turkey and stuffing. It didn’t matter if it was Thanksgiving or Christmas, we always had turkey. Both my parents came from big families, six siblings on both sides, so there were aunts and uncles galore.

I remember lots of love and laughter.

It’s important to keep those family traditions going. We’re going to lose something if we don’t. I see it in my own family. Now, that my aunts and uncles are getting older, it’s harder for them to host the big family holidays. I know as soon as my mom gives up hosting Christmas, I’ll take care of it, but it’ll be with my siblings and their families. I’m going to miss the extended family celebrations we’ve had in the past where all my aunts and uncles get together. I’m trying to figure out a way we can still do it. It has become too much work for my mom to host them.

Family traditions are so important. It gives us something to look forward to in the daily grind of life. It’s a way to stay connected. To tell family stories and learn about our ancestors. I’ve learned things I never knew about my grandparents and their parents just sitting around the table chatting.

With so many people staying connected via social media, I predict some of these big family get-togethers are going by the wayside. I hope not. We will lose something in the process.

I don’t want our family history to be lost to Face book posts. It’s such a great way to connect when you actually get together in person and chat face to face. I think about all the family stories that’ll be lost if we don’t get together. Maybe it’s time I wrote a story about our family and put our history on paper.  

That’s one way to keep our history alive. How about you, what family traditions do you have that you don’t want to lose? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Just saw this on Face book and thought it was appropriate for this blog post! LOL! My sick sense of humor rearing its ugly head!

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 Documentaries, Entertainment, Family, friendship, social media

Technology’s Effect on our World

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve been busy working and writing this week and I’m making progress on my WIP. I’m seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.

But enough about that. Today, I’d like to talk about technology and it’s impact on our society. I had a class reunion this weekend and I got to see friends I haven’t seen in a long time. It was nice to catch up and walk down memory lane with them. Some of them, I’ve been able to connect with on social media and chat via messenger with them. It’s a great way to reestablish old connections.

With social media it’s easy to stay connected and catch up via chats, but there’s nothing like face-to-face interaction. I worry about our future generations where most communication will take place via the computer. I’m worried because I feel they won’t have the ability to read facial cues when talking with their peers because they won’t have enough practice with real life communication.

I’m also worried because I feel our young people don’t get enough physical activity. I see my kids and their friends spending so much time in front of a computer that they’re not getting enough exercise. Childhood obesity is on the rise and I feel the main reasons are the added sugars in our processed foods and the fact they’re not physically active.

So, even though technology has given us the ability to make connections over many thousands of miles, it has had a negative effect on our health, and it has also made our in real life connections more fragile because social media’s main goal is to keep us engaged.

They don’t want us to leave their site. So, they place items in our feeds to keep us there. Different articles on things we’ve liked. For example, if I like a random picture of an elephant, I’ll find more elephant pictures and articles showing up in my feed. There’s a documentary on this phenomenon called “The Social Dilemma.” If you haven’t seen it, you need to watch it. It’s on Netflix and it explains this whole process.

How about you? Do you feel technology has had a negative impact on our physical and mental health? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Family, Personal

Are you Following your Passion?

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a week of work and unfortunately, I didn’t get a lot of writing done. I went back into the editing cave to do some work after getting some feedback from a beta reader. So, I’m making some more changes to my story. Cross your fingers for me.

But enough about that. Today, I’d like to talk about doing something that feeds your soul. As my boys grow and develop, I’m always trying to tell them to follow your passion, find something that makes you feel alive and do it. It’s hard for our kids to find this right now because it is the age of computers, social media, and video games. None of these things help kids find their calling, unless they’re doing a google search, but that even leaves them wanting more.

Since video games and social media are interested in engagement, they do anything they can to entice our young people to stay engaged. This leaves little time for pursuing other interests. That’s the way social media gurus and game manufacturers want it. Did you know that Facebook is starting to take over virtual reality? For more information about this click here: https://lisaorchard.wordpress.com/2020/11/14/dont-look-now-but-social-media-is-taking-control-of-virtual-reality/

This means kids are spending less time finding something that feeds their souls. This trend is dangerous. I feel that this might be one of the reasons teen suicide and depression are on the rise. Social media cannot replace the true connection of finding your life purpose. It takes a long time to find out what your life purpose is, you have to go through many things to grow and change before you truly connect with what sets your soul on fire.

The pandemic makes it harder, too. Because we’ve shut everything down, my youngest isn’t playing tennis and he’s lost interest in school. His grades are still good, but he’s not as interested as he used to be. The only thing he can do at this time is play video games and shoot baskets. These are challenging times to say the least.

We need to get our young people creating things. Starting from scratch and making something. Be it a story, or pottery, or even creating a video game. That’s how we learn when we build something from scratch. That’s how kids find their passions.  

It doesn’t have to be a way to make money. Their passion will sustain them when they get bored with their job or during times of stress. It will help them build their resilience, so when life knocks them down, they’ll be able to pick themselves back up.

So, what’s your passion and how did you find it? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in current-events, environment, Family, Parenting, Personal, Politics, raising kids, Teen

Don’t Look Now, But Social Media is Taking Control of Virtual Reality

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a stressful week of dealing with kid issues, a pandemic, work, and writing. Because I had a lot on my plate, I didn’t get a lot of writing done, but that’s okay. I needed to take a little break and refuel.

But enough about that, today I want to talk about a trend I see happening. First, I need to give you a little background, though.  Hubby and I were shopping for a virtual reality headset for the boys for Christmas. We found one we really liked because it wouldn’t be obsolete in two years. Anyway, we were all set to buy it when we discovered that in order to activate it, my son would have to open his own Facebook account.

We dug in our heels and didn’t buy it. We don’t want our kids having social media accounts right now. Especially after watching the show “Social Dilemma.” I remember after watching that show, I made the remark to my hubby that soon this is going to be seeping into the kids’ video games, and not two months later we run into the above scenario.

This is dangerous. The reason being that it’s giving social media platforms way too much control. They are changing human behavior by creating personalized click bait for each member. Their goal is to increase engagement, so your child will spend his free time on their site. Now that they’re invading video games, they’re going after the younger crowd. They’re looking to expand their customer base and more importantly they’re going to gather the same information about your child that they’re gathering about you.

social media, likes, engagement

I don’t know how we can stop this. Facebook bought the company that created the virtual headset my hubby wanted to get for our son, so they can require this. No one is stopping them. So, what happens when your child spends more time with their computer than they do with people? Loss of social graces, loss of the ability to communicate face to face, and the loss of empathy.

All these skills are needed to navigate today’s world. What happens if you as a parent do their do diligence and try to teach these skills to your children? They’ll be the only ones with these skills and get lost in a sea of dealing with socially inept humans. It’s a sad state of affairs. I’m not sure what we can do to stop this from happening.

Do we have the government regulate social media? Who trusts the government these days? What are your thoughts? Do you have any ideas? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Family, Health, mental-health

Keep Fighting the Good Fight

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a week of being busy at work and working hard on my WIPs. But enough about that, today I’d like to talk about the importance of exercise in your self-care regime.

The reason I’m writing this post is to remind myself to exercise. It’s getting colder outside and I’m at that point where I have to transition from running outside to running on a treadmill. I don’t like running on a treadmill and I do it grudgingly because it’s important for my health. So, as you probably have already surmised it’s very easy for me to skip my run during this time.

But I shouldn’t do that because exercise is so important for our bodies and our brains. It increases blood flow which helps in the absorption of oxygen and strengthens all our muscles including our hearts.

It also helps with depression and anxiety. I must remind myself of this during the winter months when it’s easier to slip into that seasonal funk. So, I’m making a concerted effort to continue my exercise routine, but this year I’m going to try something new. I’m thinking about adding another dimension to my exercise routine. I’m going to try Pilates. I’ve heard of it and I’m going to check out a new gym that just opened near my house. I’m not stopping the running, but I think it’s time to build up strength in my core, so I don’t have back issues later in life.

Our bodies need a solid foundation just like our writing does. Did you know running is good for your bones? It is. In fact, running can reverse osteoporosis, so can walking. Any weight bearing exercise is good for your bones.

I feel exercise helps me with my writing as well. All that extra blood and oxygen going to my brain gives my creativity a boost. Since being a writer is my passion, anything that boosts my creativity is good for me.

So, why do I find it hard to exercise when it’s so good for me? Because it’s hard work. I get hot and sweaty and I have to clean up. All of that takes time and right now time is precious to me. I want to spend it with my family. I want to spend it writing. I don’t want to spend it slogging away on a treadmill even if it’s good for me. So, there you have the dilemma I face when I must choose between exercise and writing or exercise and my kids.

It doesn’t sound like a tough choice, but it is. Because exercise is so important, and I must remind myself that I will have MORE time with my kids and MORE time for my writing IF I exercise. I’m extending my life because I’m putting time in now to take care of myself.

This post is a reminder for me, but it’s also a reminder for you to keep up the good fight against disease and illness and continue your exercise regime. What is your exercise routine during the cold winter months? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Family, Health, mental-health

Beauty Pageants, who needs them?

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week at work, but I did something fun this week that kind of broke up my routine. I made a clock for my office, and I must say, I enjoyed it immensely. It’s pictured below and I must give a shout out to my friend, Paulette Carr. She taught the clock-making class and I wouldn’t have been able to make such an amazing clock without her tutelage. So, if you’re ever in Michigan you need to stop by Brave Art Studio and check out her work. It is amazing.

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My Clock

The Brave Art Studio and Gallery

1873 Lincoln Rd Allegan, MI 49010

But enough about that, today I’d like to talk about a meme I saw on Facebook and it got me thinking because it’s so true. There’s been a lot of controversy over the new film “Cuties” on Netflix. The reason everyone’s in an uproar is because of the blatant sexualization of these young girls.

Cuties Poster

I’m glad everyone is upset about this. It’s about time we took a look at the messages we send to young girls. Instead of focusing on their beauty, let’s focus on their abilities. Let’s teach them to become a master in whatever their heart desires. So, the meme below makes total sense.

Image may contain: 4 people, text that says 'NateTalksToYou @NateTalksToYou With the controversy surrounding the #Cuties film ately maybe we can start talking about how disgusting child beauty pageants are.'

Let’s do away with all beauty pageants. Not just the ones for small girls, but the ones for grown women, too. We should all be so busy chasing our dreams that we don’t have time to stand on a pedestal and be judged for our exterior beauty. We have goals to accomplish and skills to master. Let’s teach our girls that we have better things to do with our time than to try and become an idealized version of ourselves.

Let’s send the message that they’re valuable no matter what their physical appearance may be. Instead of promoting beauty, we should be promoting health. Teaching our girls to take care of their body and staying healthy as opposed to reaching some idealistic version of themselves set by society.

What do you think? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Family, Parenting, Personal

Connection is the name of the Game

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back after a busy week at work, but I did take Friday off to hang with my kids even though they’re too cool to hang with their mom right now. They’re teenagers after all. 😉

Children go to school

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I’m worried about how this pandemic is affecting them. Especially since they haven’t been able to get together with their friends like they used to. So, I’ve made a concerted effort to get them away from their computers. I appreciate the fact they still listen to me. When I tell them to go outside and get some fresh air, they usually do it. They grumble at first, but they usually go.

I’ve talked to them about finding other interests besides their games, but my youngest pointed out that there’s nothing else to do, and unfortunately, he’s right.

So, tonight he was shooting baskets and I went out and challenged him to a game of horse, but he didn’t want to do that. He wanted to play one on one. Now, I haven’t played basketball in years and it shows. My youngest ran circles around me.

Four People Playing Basketball

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But the thing is, we had fun. We were laughing and giving each other grief. It was good to connect with him on a different level than parent and child. He didn’t trash-talk me too bad. He’s kind and has a good heart. I hope the world doesn’t hurt him. He’s a good kid.

Well, our laughter drew out my oldest and the three of us ended up playing horse together. They ganged up on me, of course, I knew that would happen. But it was nice to see their camaraderie. My youngest ended up winning the game, and he did gloat a little bit, but what I liked was how he was careful of his older brother’s feelings. He said, “It just goes to show that we’re both better than Mom.”

Baseball glove

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He didn’t rub it in to his brother that he beat him, too. That made me feel so good because when my hubby and I are long gone, all they’ll have is each other, and one of my goals with my kids is that they have a good relationship. I know life is hard and things aren’t always going to be easy, but I hope they know they can count on each other when things get tough. That’s what family is all about.

Children sitting together with parents and laughing

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It’s so important to connect with your kids. I believe by participating in something they’re interested in you strengthen your bond. One good thing about this pandemic is that it has brought us all a little closer. We appreciate each other more and I think my boys feel the same way.

Has the pandemic brought you closer to the ones you love? How has it strengthened your relationships? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

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 Family, quarantine, Writing

Have you got the Pandemic Blues?

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Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a week of vacation. I needed the break. It was a great week of sun, boat rides, and swimming. There’s something about being by the water that seems to calm my restless soul.

When we go up north, it’s easy to forget about the pandemic and the restrictions and the illness. We’re in our own little world of boating, swimming, watching sunsets, and just enjoying our down time. I think everyone needs to do this. Get out of the house and go somewhere and just have some fun.

Wave

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When you work from home, you tend to never leave. You don’t need to unless it’s   to go to the store or run a few errands. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut during these times.

To keep my spirits up, I’m exercising more. That means I’m running. I’m not fast. I won’t be winning any competitions, but it helps me keep a positive attitude and it’s good for my body. Did you know running is good for your bones? If you’re worried about osteoporosis take up running. I just had a bone density scan and my doctor says he can tell I’ve been exercising. 🙂

 

Blonde Woman Running Over The Pedestrian Crossing

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I’m also writing more, which helps me focus on something other than this pandemic and all the information flying around about it. I’ve finished one story and I’ve got another one going and it’s going well. I’m liking this new one almost as much as the one I just finished. The one I just finished has a lot of my heart and soul in the story. I’m very excited about it.

 

typewriter, keyboard, paper, letters, work, desk

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I’ve also started collecting recipes to make some new and exciting meals. We’ve gotten into kind of a food rut lately, and we’ve been eating out more. Which isn’t the best for our health. Cooking with your family is a great way to spend some quality time together and cook up some new healthy meals.

 

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So, the point I’m trying to make is, use this pandemic to work on some projects you haven’t had time to start. You’ll feel productive and it’ll help get your mind off your circumstances. Make it work for you.

How are you spending your time during quarantine? Have you started any new projects? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!