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!

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Posted in Family, Parenting

Do you have Grit?

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve had a busy week with work and kid events. I love my kid events. I love seeing how my kids have grown and changed from one year to the next. Sigh. They’re growing up so fast. I’m hoping I’m instilling in them resilience so they can navigate this tough, uncompromising world.

 

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I’ve been hearing rumblings that one of the factors needed for kids to be successful in life is grit.

 

What is Grit?

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To some it’s a small loose particle of stone or sand and that is one of its definitions, but it’s not the one I’m talking about. The grit I’m talking about is:

 

A distinct combination of passion, resilience, determination, and focus that allows a person to maintain the discipline and optimism to persevere in their goals even in the face of discomfort, rejection, and a lack of visible progress for years, or even decades.

 

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How do we develop grit in our children? That’s a good question and in my opinion, grit is like a muscle. It needs exercise to become stronger.

We develop grit in our kids by supporting what they’re passionate about and encouraging them through the learning process. I remember when my youngest was three and he was working with Transformers. It was difficult for him to change the transformer from a robot to a car and then back to a robot. I remember how upset he’d get when he was struggling to learn the process and I’d tell him to take a break. He refused. Even though he was crying, he wouldn’t stop until he mastered that Transformer. That’s grit.

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  He found something he wanted to achieve and he worked at it until he accomplished his goal, overcoming failure time and again. The next thing he wanted to do was learn how to read and he was reading before he started kindergarten. I had to read stories with him over and over again, until he felt he had accomplished his goal. That’s important, too. The fact that he chose when he felt he was successful.

 I believe part of developing grit is finding a passion. Something to strive for that gives us purpose. For me, it’s writing. I strive to constantly improve and make my stories better. I love writing, bringing characters to life and creating a story. Part of that process is weeding out what isn’t working. Sometimes we have to fail to be better.

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Having grit means that you’re aware failure is part of the process. This is important because if we don’t accept this concept then when we fail we may just give up.

It’s important for my kids to see me fail and struggle with my writing. Why? So they understand that failing is not something to be feared. It’s important to success because we learn more from our failures than we do our successes.  

If we develop the attitude we’re always learning then failure isn’t so scary. If parents hide their failures from their children, which many do, they’ll never learn that it’s okay to fail.

When you have grit, your will to succeed is stronger than your fear of failure. So lets encourage our kids to keep pursuing their dreams. They’ll get there when they’re supposed to and not one moment before. 

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. What do you think our kids will need to be successful? What’s your definition of grit? 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

 

 

Posted in Family, Love

Show me the Love

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. My prayers have been answered and I have a snow day today! So I’m going to be writing, editing, making bean soup and running. Ugh on the running part, but it’s a necessary chore if I want to stay healthy. Right? 🙂

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Anyway, today I’d like to talk about how people show love. This post was inspired by my friend Christine and her blog post, “What love looks like when you are Sick.” Here’s the link: https://imsickandsoareyou.com/2018/02/09/what-love-looks-like-when-youre-sick/

 

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It’s a touching post and it got me thinking about the ways people in our lives show their love, and the fact that there are so many different kinds of love in the world. I don’t know about you, but I think it is truly amazing that the kind of love we need appears just when we need it. Have you ever noticed that?

There’s the love of a mother for her sons. The love of a father for his daughters. The love of a husband for his wife and vice versa. The love of a brother for his sister and of a sister for her brother.  The love of one cancer survivor to another.

That camaraderie you can only have by going through something together or through a similar situation. I love the woman who helped me deal with my chemo. She was there as a calming voice in the swirling vortex of my anxiety when my fingers and toes began to go numb from the medication I was given. She understood my fear. The fear that my fingers would stay numb and I wouldn’t be able to type any more. That’s love folks. Love of a survivor holding the hand of someone who wants to survive.

 

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There’s also the love of my sons for me. They were bright lights in my dark world at that time.  I remember my oldest calming my fears when my anxiety had ramped up and I didn’t want to do chemo any more. I’d lost my hair and twenty pounds. He put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Mom. You only have two months left.”

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He was so calm and reasonable and that’s when I knew I could do it.  I never thought I’d be turning to my son for emotional support like that. It was an incredible moment.

Now that I’m better, we don’t talk about those days. Instead my kids show me love by stealing my blanket and still asking for bedtime stories even though they’re in the tween and teen years. Those moments are precious to me because I know they’ll soon be grown and off to conquer the world. I’ll hold onto those memories and they’ll sustain me when I miss them.

They say that people who live for experiences are happier than people who live for things and I believe that’s true. I wouldn’t trade my memories for all the money in the world.

What are your thoughts? How do the people in your life show you their love? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.

Posted in Family, Writing

Finding Balance in 2018

 

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’ve gone through the edits on my latest MS. It’s coming together and I’m excited about this story! I’m going to go through it one more time before I start the query process so wish me luck!

 

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I don’t know about you, but lately I’ve been struggling with finding balance. I’m devoting as much time as I can to my writing, but it’s hard when you only have so many hours in the day and so many goals. For example, I’m trying to be the best mom I can be, the best writer I can be, and live my best life. Sometimes my goals compete with each other, and I have to choose.

I always put my kids first, but when I do that, I have to put my writing aside for later, but when I do that I ultimately skip my exercising for the day, and let’s face it, that’s not good for my health. Then I have to deal with the guilt of not taking care of myself.

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So to avoid that, and the frustration I feel if I don’t spend time each day writing, I’ve worked out a schedule where I focus on one goal at a time and I give myself permission to focus on that one goal. This is important, giving yourself permission because it alleviates all those negative emotions like guilt and frustration.

 

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I’ve also whittled my goals down to three. This is a big step because sometimes the reason we can’t find balance is because we’ve overloaded ourselves. So I’ve simplified them and shrunk them down to three broad ones.

I want to be the best mom I can be and that means being present and taking care of my kids’ emotional and physical needs. However, to be the best mom I can be, there are times when I have to take care of me, too. So I’m going to make sure I take time to exercise and eat healthy and every once in a while take a little time to just be instead of do.

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I also want to be the best writer I can be so I’ve got to take time to do this. I’ve got to hone my craft and write incredible stories. 🙂 I’m doing this by working with critique partners and mentors. I want my writing to move to the next level and the only way to do that is to improve.

 

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I also want to live my best life. To do that I have to take care of my relationships with my hubby and my kids and my extended family and friends.

This is how I’m going into 2018. I’m simplifying and focuses with a laser instead of a flashlight. How about you? How are you approaching the New Year and what do you see on the horizon? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!