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!

Posted in Family, mental-health, quarantine

Dealing with the Isolation

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a very busy week at work and working on my writing. I’m making progress on my new story and I’m enjoying the new characters, but it is in the beginning stages, so I have far to go. But enough about that, today I’d like to talk about dealing with isolation while we’re all under quarantine.

 

typewriter, keyboard, paper, letters, work, desk

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It’s hard. I haven’t seen my co-workers since January. I can skype with them, but it’s not the same as being able to read their emotions to see how they’re handling things. They’re the only ones who really understand about my job because they’re dealing with the same issues I am.

 

I also miss meeting my friends and my extended family for a quick bite or a movie. Last week was the first time I’ve seen one of my gal pals in forever. We finally got together for dinner and we talked the whole time. It was so good to see her. Even though we chat on social media, it’s not the same as getting together and being spontaneous. We shared all kinds of ideas and it was motivating. I wanted to follow through on some of those ideas as soon as I returned home.

 

Clinking with friends

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We were good. We both wore our masks until we sat down and the restaurant had us sit a couple of tables away from other guests, so it was safe. I wonder how long we’re going to have to keep this up.

Coronavirus - SARS - Free Medical Photos

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I’m still worried about school. My oldest wants to go, and who can blame him? He misses his friends. I’m still leaning toward online schooling. I just don’t want to take the chance with their health, but I can see the isolation is taking a toll on them as well.

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I am grateful that my family is healthy. From what I hear this virus goes dormant for a while and can come back with a vengeance. I know a few people who’ve caught the virus and they’ve been sick for months. I know the isolation is necessary, but I hope it ends soon.

 

On the plus side, I have been getting a lot of writing done, and that’s a good thing. It has also brought our family closer. We’ve had quite a few family nights and I feel fortunate that I have had this time with my kids, so it isn’t all bad.

Family taking selfie

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How about you? How are you dealing with the isolation? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Family, Health, quarantine

To Wear the Mask, that is the Question

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Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after spending a week at our cottage. I really needed to get out of Dodge because I’ve been stuck in the house and haven’t been able to visit friends. I do talk with them on the phone, but I miss seeing movies or getting together for lunch.

In Michigan our Governor has issued an executive order requiring everyone to wear masks in public places and at public gatherings. Many people are protesting this, and it upsets me.

I’ve heard from friends who have had this virus, and it is no joke. I worry about my kids getting it. At Torch Lake (where my In-Laws cottage is located) there is a sand bar where everyone gathers especially on the Fourth of July. Everyone parks their boats and swims. Some people bring grills and sell hamburgers and hotdogs. It’s a lot of fun. We’ve always avoided it on the Fourth because the crowd is huge, and people are drinking and that usually results in a few fights.

 

We avoided it again this year and we’re glad we did. One of the restaurants we love to go to had to close for a couple of days because someone tested positive for the virus and was a patron there without a mask. So, everyone who was there when that person was there must get tested for the virus. The restaurant closed to disinfect everything. I’m sure that was expensive.

 

I know it’s hard on these businesses that have had to close because of this virus, but I’ve heard from medical professionals that this is no joke, and it could have long lasting health effects if you get it. Don’t listen to the politicians. They’re far removed from this. Listen to the doctors and nurses who are dealing with it first hand. They don’t have an agenda, and they’re trying to keep everyone safe. I’m sure they would love to see their families again, too.

 

On social media, everyone is screaming that this directive is unconstitutional, and the Governor can’t force anyone to wear a mask, and this is probably true. But who cares? I certainly don’t, if it keeps my family and friends from getting sick, I’m all for it. So, wear the mask. Be considerate so other people can continue to be there for their families.

White chalkboard writing

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If you’re struggling with the wear a mask in public issue because it’s uncomfortable, just think about how uncomfortable a ventilator is, and when you think about it in that context, I’m sure you’ll make the right decision and where the mask.

 

Medical Mask - Coronavirus - Free Photos

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How about you? How do you feel about the mask issue? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

Posted in Family, Parenting, Public Service Announcements, raising kids

Predators in our Society

 

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. We’re in the dog days of summer and I love it. It’s finally that hot, muggy weather we all know and love. I’ve been running outside in the mornings because it’s cooler and I prefer running outside to running on a treadmill. I get time outside plus I’m exercising. Win. Win. I’ve also started a new WIP. I’m very excited about this one and it’s going smoothly right now. 😊

 

But enough about that. Today, I’d like to talk about a couple of documentaries I watched in the last couple of months. The first one was “Jeffery Epstein: Filthy Rich” and the other was “Athlete A.” The first one needs no explanation, but the second one was about Larry Nassar and his sexual abuse of gymnasts who came under his care.

 

In both documentaries, you see first-hand how sexual predators work. Whether the abuser is setting up the victim to be trafficked or he’s setting them up to be abused by himself the pattern is the same. They choose a vulnerable kid, ply them with gifts, and promises of a better life. When they’ve got them hooked that’s when the abuse starts.  In the case of Jeffery Epstein. He’d pick vulnerable girls and promise them money, travel, and training so they could have a better life then he’d get them out onto his island.

In the case of Larry Nassar, he would ply the girls with candy and gifts in the rough world of gymnastics, then under the guise of physical exams, he’d sexually abuse them. He was in a position of power and he abused it.

It took a lot of courage for these girls to speak up and report him. Can you imagine how the parents must feel? They believe they’re giving their daughter this amazing opportunity and they send her to this camp where she’s molested.

 

Athlete A Poster

This just goes to show you, you can’t trust anyone with your kid. Parents weren’t allowed out to the camp where the abuse took place by the good doctor. That’s a huge red flag. When kids are isolated away from their parents, they’re vulnerable.

We as parents must make sure our kids are safe. Remember, these predators don’t go after kids whose parents are involved in their lives. They go after vulnerable kids, and what better way to make a kid vulnerable than to separate them from their parents. Predators take jobs that give them easy access to victims. For example, camp counselors, day care workers, and even teachers. So, when a camp or an organization denies you access to your kids, it’s a huge red flag.

Larry Nassar

Also, when the organization doesn’t do anything about your accusation, it’s time to pull your child. In my opinion, in the case of the “good doctor,” he should have been suspended as soon as the accusation reached the president of the organization. The fact that Steve Penny took so long to act is another huge red flag. That doctor should have been suspended until a full investigation could take place.

Steve Penny must be held accountable for his part in continuing the abuse. It upsets me that he dragged his feet. How much effort does it take to replace the doctor?

 

Portrait of Steve Penny 2012

These documentaries are infuriating and eye-opening. The victims in these situations cease to be real people to the abusers They are pawns used to meet the abusers needs. Steve Penny is also an abuser because he enabled the doctor to have access to the girls after the abuse was reported. He needs to be held accountable, too.

How do you feel about the situation? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!