Posted in Family, Parenting, Personal

How are You Spending Your Life?

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after taking some time away from the internet. Sometimes you just need to unplug, right? I’ve been busy with my work, my writing, and my family, just like you, I’m sure.

Today, I’d like to chat about choosing how we spend our lives. We only get so many years on this earth, and since I’m drawing closer to my twilight years, it has become more important than ever  that I spend my life in the way that makes me happy.

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The first thing that needs to be done is that you need to set priorities, and these are different for each individual. I’m sure everyone’s going to say, “I want to be happy” and it’s true, we all do. However, we need to go deeper than that. What makes us happy? What makes our hearts sing and fills us with peace?

You could spend your life chasing after a dream, accomplishing your goals and receiving accolades from an adoring public.

You could spend it creating a warm and loving family.

You could spend it searching for knowledge and inner peace.

You could spend it helping others and being of service to your fellow man.

There are millions of ways to spend your life. You get to choose, and it’s a daunting task for sure.

So, when I decided to make sure I was making the most of my time on earth, the first thing I decided was that I wanted a family, but I also wanted to be home with my kids. I didn’t want to send them off to daycare, but this also meant that I’d have to put my career on hold. This is the hard part. Sometimes when we choose priorities, we have to make sacrifices, and sometimes those sacrifices can be hard, but in the end, I feel like I did the right thing for me.

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While I was home, I rediscovered my love for writing. My passion grew as my writing improved. It seemed like the better I got the more I wanted to do it. I’m sure you’ve been in that situation before as well, when you discovered your passion.

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So, when I look at how many hours I have in the day and where I want to spend my time. I don’t have to spend a lot of time thinking about the answer because I already know. It makes choosing how I spend my day so much easier because I know what the extraneous garbage is that takes up so much of my time and I know to just let that go. It’s amazing how setting priorities or goals unclutters your mind and your life.

Do I have regrets? No. Does that mean I am a perfect parent? No. It does mean I tried my best. I’m sure there are days I could’ve handled things better, but I’m sure every parent feels that way. Plus, I rediscovered my truest passion and I’m working on improving my craft, and that’s when I seem to be the happiest. Everything else is just extra stuff that used to take up my time. Now every minute counts and that’s how I want to spend my life. How about you? Have you thought about it? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

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Posted in Family, friendship, Health, Parenting, Teen

Let’s pull Together and Do This!

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a long week of work and writing. I finally nailed a scene I’ve been struggling with and it feels so good! 😊

But enough about that. I came across this meme on Facebook and it inspired me to write this post, so I thought I’d share it with all of you. It’s mainly for us women, but guys can help with this too, so keep reading.

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For years, women have been trained to search for their physical flaws and try to fix them. We’re bombarded by ads for makeup, clothes, and physical fitness equipment that shows us how to improve our appearance. This has made many corporations and plastic surgeons rich while tearing down women’s self-esteem. The message we’re receiving is, the only way you’ll feel good about yourself is if you use this product, buy these clothes, and get this type of plastic surgery.

It’s up to us women to pull together and say:

 

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We’re a powerful force when we come together. A force to be reckoned with. So, let’s do it. Let’s pull together and create an environment of support against this onslaught that tears us down.

Instead of focusing on our faults, let’s focus on our health. Let’s exercise because it’s good for us, not to look better. We’ll look better because we’re healthy and we’ll feel better because we’re healthy.

 

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Let’s focus on our diet, not to lose weight and try to be model-thin, but because we want to take care of our health. We’ll feel better if we eat healthier. The outside will take care of itself if we focus on the inside.

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This same concept can be applied to our mental health. Let’s change our negative self-talk to positive. Let’s forgive ourselves for our imperfections because let’s face it, everyone has them. Let’s practice giving some of the love we give to everyone else to ourselves. Let’s teach our daughters that it’s okay to think of ourselves. To take care of ourselves. To set boundaries. We’ve come a long way, but we’ve got a long way to go, too.

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Let’s make our health and happiness a priority. If we take responsibility for our own happiness and chase goals that we want to achieve, our relationships will be better. Our relationships won’t be the only source of happiness for us and it’ll take the pressure off our spouses. They’ll be able to work on themselves and pursue their own happiness.  Once we do that, we’ll find we’re happier and our relationships will be better. It’s like the ripple effect of tossing a stone in the water and watching the ripples float farther and farther away until they pass through the whole lake. We can do this. Who’s with me? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

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. 🙂

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

 

 

 

Posted in Family, Parenting, raising kids, social media, Teen

Social Media and its Effect on Conflict Resolution

 

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week of writing, shuttling my boys to places, and painting. Yes, that’s right. My friends and I got together and had a painting party. It was fun, and I highly recommend it.

 

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Today I’d like to talk about social media and its effect on our ability to resolve conflict. I was thinking about that this morning as I wiped the sleep from my eyes because I’m worried about what the future holds for my kids.

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In my opinion, social media is detrimental to teaching our littles the skill of resolving conflict, of compromising to get along. Why? Because they don’t have to come to a resolution, they just have to turn off the computer. However, they still have to deal with those negative emotions that negative comments and confrontational interactions stir up.

Being able to resolve conflict is an important skill for the working world. What are our littles going to do when they have an upset customer? You just can’t turn off the computer then.

Social Media allows people to turn off their filters and say whatever they want under the guise of just “expressing an opinion.” Then when things get too heated they’ll block someone or logout. So what happens when you’re dealing with someone in real life and things start escalating?

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We need to teach our littles to “agree to disagree” with respect. We can still respect someone who has a different opinion than ours. We as parents need to be the role models for this behavior.  Unfortunately, not all parents do this.

Another reason we need to teach and model appropriate behavior is because of the negative emotions that are stirred up when things escalate out of control. On social, media name calling and bullying cannot be tolerated. The effects of this type of behavior are resounding and have far-reaching consequences after the computer is turned off. Our nationwide suicide rate has increase 25% since 1999.

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Doesn’t that scare anyone? It should. When did social media make its first appearance? 1997. Then blogging became popular in 1999. In the early 2000’s My Space was born and following that, in 2005 YouTube arrived on the scene. Right on YouTube’s heels, Facebook and Twitter.

I hope I’m not the only one seeing a correlation here.

We need to make sure our kids learn how to negotiate and compromise for when they can’t turn off the computer. These skills are vital for them to make their way in the world long after we’re gone, wouldn’t you agree?

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We also need to teach them coping behaviors so they can deal with cyber bullies effectively. They need to learn how not to internalize negative messages and how to deal with the feelings they inspire. We need our “in real life” friends now more than ever, don’t you think?

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. It ended up being much more serious than what I intended, but sometimes that happens, you know?

Leave a comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts on my thoughts. 🙂

 

 

 

Posted in Parenting, Uncategorized

Technology: Friend or Foe?

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve had a busy week of writing and vacationing. There’s nothing like heading to the lake when you’re experiencing a heatwave. My kids invited a friend along and that made it a little more special because they’ve been friends since my oldest was in kindergarten.

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I was happy the weather cooperated because the kids were able to get out and swim. Physical activity is so important for our young people. I remember when I was growing up we were outside early in the morning and only came home for meals. We rode our bikes everywhere.

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Unfortunately, it’s not like that in today’s world. Kids can’t ride their bikes all over the place because the traffic in our streets is heavy and the streets aren’t as safe as they were twenty years ago. Kidnapping and human trafficking are real issues and it’s happening in every state not just those close to the borders.

So we as parents keep our kids close to home because it’s safer. We have to arrange play dates and take our kids to trampoline parks so they can get exercise and develop face to face social skills. The internet has allowed us to connect to people from all over the world, but it has made our relationships weaker on the home front.

 

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Because of technology, our children are moving less, reading less, and losing opportunities to develop valuable social skills.  Parents need to be cognizant of this. Exercise, Reading, and Face to Face Social Interaction are good for our brains and our bodies. We need to help our kids develop good habits that include all three of the above and they need to do it every day.

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I make sure my kids get out on the trampoline at least a couple times a day when we’re home. I also try and get them to read for half an hour a day, and I try and make sure they have opportunities for social interaction. Some days I do a better job than others. Luckily, we do have neighbor kids they play games with outside where they’re getting their vitamin D.  I haven’t taught them the game Kick the Can, yet. But I will. 😉

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How about you? What do you do to make sure your kids are developing healthy habits? Do you have any suggestions for me? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

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 Parenting, raising kids, Teen, Writing

Protecting Our Kids

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back after a busy week of revisions and editing. My revisions for my first MS have been sent off to my beta readers, and I’ve started editing my rough draft of my second one.  I’m crossing my fingers. The characters in these books have made me work hard and I’m proud of the results. Let’s hope the Beta readers like them.

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But enough about that. Last week I wrote a post about finding your passion because I’d done an author visit at one of the schools in the area. I received some emails from some of the students who enjoyed my presentation and I thought I’d share one of them with you.

 

Hi Lisa,

Thank you for coming to our school and talking to us 6th graders about your awesome books! I got the second book from the Super Spies series, and I am so excited to read it! Thank you for answering all of our questions. We learned a lot about being an author and how to write good stories!

Thanks Again!

 

When I get feedback like this, it makes all the hard work and sacrifices worth it. I love inspiring kids to step out of their comfort zones and pursue their dreams. After my presentation last week, some of the kids gathered around me and told me about the stories they were writing. Their enthusiasm was overwhelming and sparked my resolve to keep going with my writing.  It’s funny all it takes is spending some time with kids, and it urges me to keep pushing forward.

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Our kids are our most valuable resource. We need to protect them. It seems like our world is getting more and more dangerous and our kids are the ones suffering because of it. We have human traffickers, mass shootings, and child abuse.

 

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How do we protect our kids?

 

To protect our kids from human traffickers and child abuse we parents must be involved in our children’s lives. Most predators target kids who come from low income homes, whose parents are busy trying to make ends meet. They also target kids with low self-esteem. Kids who don’t have a role model to look up to. So in a nutshell, we have to do a better job at parenting.

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As for Mass shootings, better parenting is only half of the answer. We also need to have stronger communities. For those families whose circumstances aren’t ideal, the community should pull together and support them. Make sure the children don’t fall through the cracks and become victims of bullying and other stressors that affect teens. Once we’ve got those support systems in place, then we can move forward from there.

My next question for everyone is this. How do we go from an idealistic kid like the one above to a kid who’ll take a gun into a school and shoot up his classmates? If we can answer that question, we’ll be moving in the right direction.

Let me know your thoughts. Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!