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!

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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.

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

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

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

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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 raising kids, Women

More Support and Less Criticism for 2018

 

 

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Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy holiday season, and I’m looking forward to 2018. I’m hoping this is my best year yet, and I hope it’s your best year as well.

For my first post of the year, I’d like to talk about the negative messages women receive throughout their lives. It feels like every decision we make, society has something negative to say about it. I believe the image below is an accurate depiction of what women go through as they follow their own path.

 

No automatic alt text available.

 

So, one of my goals for 2018 is to be more supportive of other women even when their path is different from mine. I don’t want to join in with all the negative voices and be part of the crowd. I want to be the one positive voice that’s yelling out, “You go girl!”

If we received more positive messages just think what we could accomplish. If we didn’t have to spend so much time and energy defending our position or our choices just think how far we could go.

Hmm…makes you stop and think, doesn’t it?

Do you think we can turn this trend around?

I do. More and more women are aware of the negative messages society has cast in our direction. My question is where does this all stem from? How did it get started?

This is something that’s been going on for generations. You can see evidence of it throughout history.  We’re changing it, slowly, but surely.

We need to band together. The hardest part of all of this is for women to see that we’re part of the problem. We need to stop judging each other so harshly and start supporting each other even if we don’t agree. Everyone’s path is different and we’re all entitled to our own path. We need to remember that when we get into that critical, judgey mode. A lot of women do this. I’ve seen it, but we can change this and send more positive vibes out into the atmosphere.

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This is important because we need to be role models for future generations. We want them to have it better than us, don’t you agree? We didn’t go through all the crap we’ve been through for our kids to experience the same thing.

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The world needs compassion right now. With more compassion and less competition we can do amazing things. What are some of the things you can do to be more supportive of women around you? I’m always looking for ideas!

So there you have it. One of my New Year’s goals is to have more compassion and support the women around me. How about you? Let’s create a ripple effect and see what happens. I’d love to see amazing things in 2018, wouldn’t you? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

 

Other Articles you might be interested in:

Let’s End the Mom Wars

The War on Perfection

 

Posted in Family, Future, Parenting, raising kids

What does our Future Hold?

 

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Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’ve been working hard on my current WIP. I’ve restarted it twice. I know. Crazy. But what can you do when you come up with a better beginning, right? Anyway, I have about 24,000 words into it and I feel good about them. They’re solid.

Anyway enough about that. Today I’m talking about the future for our kids. I just read an article that paints a dismal picture. Click the link to read: You Will Lose your Job to Robots

According to the article, the majority of the jobs we do will eventually be taken over by robots. This will result in mass unemployment for many people. The article focused on truck drivers and how we’ll soon have automatic pilots for our vehicles like many planes do.

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I’ve also heard jobs like Insurance agents and travel agents will be a thing of the past as well. Even doctors are going to be feeling the heat. Has anyone seen the movie, Big Hero Six? We’re going to have robots handling our health care. Robots will be asking, “On a scale of one to ten, how do you rate your pain?” Then administering medication for us.

 

So this leads me to the question. How do I guide my children to a career that will support them and their families when they get older?

Are we destined for a future like the movie Walle?

Where all the humans are overweight and all they do is eat and ride around on motorized chairs? I sure hope not.

 

I’ve heard  Intellectual Capitalism will be where the jobs are. Check out this post: Intellectual Capitalism

Writers, artists, and creators will be in demand, but the first article tells a different story. That author feels that Artificial Intelligence will become better and better surpassing its human counterparts as fast as 2045.

Yikes! That sounds scary to me. Technology has grown by leaps and bounds. It changes so fast we can’t keep up. What does the future hold for the next generation? How can we prepare our kids for the future?

Should I be steering them toward a career in Artificial Intelligence Mechanics? After all, someone’s got to keep those robots running.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. How do you feel about the future? Optimistic? Or do you feel as if we’re putting ourselves out of business fast? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Family, Parenting, raising kids, Teen

The Time I met A Sociopath

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week. I’ve changed the beginning of my latest WIP and now I suspect I’m going to have to rewrite the story.  Oy!  But it’ll be worth it in the long run because the story will be better, grittier. That’s my hope anyway.

But enough about that. Today I’d like to talk about a new friend who has entered the group my son hangs out with. He’s a smart little guy who we’ll call Damien (not his real name). Right from the beginning hubby and I thought there was something off about Damien. He’d call and ask my son if he could come over and spend the night. My oldest would ask us and we’d say, “Sure. Why not. Have his parents drop him off after four.”

My oldest would inevitably return and say, “His parents prefer that you pick him up.”

Well. We thought maybe there was something going on in the family where they weren’t able to drop him off, so the first time we obliged and picked him up.  However, this started to become a pattern, and we noticed other things too. Damien could tell real whoppers. I’ve never heard a kid lie with such ease. Hubby and I started discussing how something wasn’t quite right about this kid.

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We were perplexed, but we didn’t want to tell our oldest about our misgivings until we had more evidence than just a weird vibe.  A few weeks later, I happened to chat with one of the parents of another friend. We’ll call him Mitchell. Mitchell’s dad had seven hundred dollars’ worth of X-box games charged to his credit card. It wasn’t done all at once, but at times when Mitchell was with him (Mitchell’s parents are divorced), and he believes Damien must have somehow gotten his credit card number because Mitchel would ask before he’d charge anything to his dad’s card. Mitchell’s dad also went on to say that Mitchell had thirty five dollars in his piggy bank and the money had mysteriously disappeared.  Later that day,  Damien pulls a wad of bills out of his pocket states, “I want to buy Mitch a game.”

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Damien flaunted his cash in front of Mitch’s dad. Now, the dad’s totally suspicious but he has no proof so he doesn’t say anything to the kid. After I heard this story, alarm bells went off in my head. I shared this info with my boss who shook his head and said, “That’s sociopathic tendencies right there.”

Click here to see what Sociopathic tendencies are: Sociopathic Tendencies

I totally freaked because my mind immediately goes to serial killer.

 

Photo credit: aftab. via Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC

 

When I got home from work that night I shared this info with my hubby and after doing a little research, we sat down with our oldest and explained why we wanted him to distance himself from Damien. I listed the characteristics of the sociopathic personality and my son listened and he agreed with quite a few of them, especially the one about lying.

My son has distanced himself from Damien, he’s still in the group of boys he eats lunch with, but that’s the only interaction they have together. He doesn’t come over to spend the night anymore. Phew! Crisis averted!

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I can see this kid when he’s older getting caught doing something illegal. Maybe he goes to a store and steals something. I can see him blaming it on his companion without feeling any guilt.  Sociopaths have no moral compass and that’s bad news for anyone who ends up being friends with them.

It’s fodder for a story, because as you know real life is stranger than fiction, but it’s also another example of why parents need to be involved in their kids’ lives. If we hadn’t been, this situation could’ve escalated into something irreversible.

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Sociopaths are among us. Most of them haven’t suffered child abuse or been neglected so there’s no way to tell who they are until you get to know them. Your child doesn’t have the life experience to understand the consequences of hanging out with someone like this, and the sociopath is manipulative. He can easily gain control in the relationship.

I’m still shocked I’ve seen one in action at such a young age. Sorry. I’m not a psychologist, but I totally feel this kid is one. To what degree, I can’t say, but I know he’s heading down the wrong road. Luckily,  my son won’t be travelling with him.

How about you? How do you handle it when one of your kids brings home someone who’s headed down the wrong road? Does your child listen or does he defend the kid? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

 

Posted in Parenting, Personal, raising kids

Ten things you can do to Ease the Pain of your Children’s Growing Independence

 

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. This has been an incredibly busy week. The kids’ last day of school was Friday. My youngest has graduated fifth grade and he’s on his way to middle school. I’m proud of both my boys. They’re getting good grades, they have awesome friends, and they’re both well adjusted.

They’re just growing up too fast. Sob.

Today I thought I’d talk about what to do when you’re kids start to become independent. When they don’t need your hugs and kisses or your undivided attention like they used to. It can be a little disconcerting at first. You might be like me and try to cling to those sweet, innocent years and refuse to believe they’ve grown up, but they’ll start to squirm under this parental love and even start to fight against it. (Gasp!)

To avoid becoming one of those clingy moms and ease the pain of my boys’ abandonment…I mean their growing independence, I’ve put together a list to help snuff out that agony for us moms.

 

  1. First and foremost, I’ve increased my writing time. My writing has improved and I have some amazing stories coming down the pike.

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  1. I read. Now that both boys are out of diapers and don’t need as much supervision, I’ve been able to increase my reading time. This has been an awesome stress reliever for me and something I enjoy immensely.

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  1. Start binge-watching movies and TV series. There are some awesome shows available now and it’s kind of fun when I need some down time to relax in front of the TV. You can always add drinking wine to this one. Just an FYI. 😉 I do this more in the winter than summer. It’s one of those seasonal things.

 

  1. I’ve increased my running time. This has had such a positive effect on me. Any type of exercise is good for you and it’s especially important for writers to exercise because writing is such a sedentary thing to do. I find exercise has helped my attitude and increased my energy. I get more writing done! That’s always a good thing!

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  1. I’ve started painting. I get together with my friends and we have a painting party. It’s a great way to relax. You can also add wine to this activity as well. Just sayin’ 😉

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  1. Before I had kids, I used to do Yoga. It’s such a tremendous way to increase your flexibility and it’s good for that mind-body connection. I plan on starting this up again.

 

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  1. Get together with friends and play cards. Again, before kids, I used to do this about once a month. It was always a great way to get away from the pressures of life and be social. You can also add wine to this activity, too. 😉

 

  1. I’ve increased my hiking time. There’s nothing like getting out in nature. It’s so relaxing and good for you, too.

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  1. I haven’t done this one yet, but my plan for the summer is to spend more time in the kitchen and find some new meals for my family and I to enjoy. I don’t know about you but sometimes we get stuck in a food rut and we need to expand our meal repertoire.

 

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  1. I also plan on working in our yard. My plan is to plant some Hosta plants. They’re such hearty plants and they don’t need a lot of maintenance. Digging in the dirt is always a fun activity.

 

So there you have it ten things you can do to ease the heartache of your kids’ growing independence. It’s a good thing. Good for them and you. 🙂

 

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. What do you do when your kids don’t need your undivided attention anymore? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

Posted in raising kids, reviews

My Thoughts on “The Keepers”

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’m talking about a difficult subject. I binge-watched the new Netflix series “The Keepers” recently, and it’s the story of a couple of women who’ve been investigating the murder of one of the nuns at the local Catholic school. This happened in Baltimore back in 1969.

 

Why we need more women like Gemma and Abbie from The Keepers

 

The murder occurred forty seven years ago and the case remains unsolved. The series follows the two women and their investigation and what they uncover.

The investigators uncover sexual abuse at the hands of Father Maskell. There is one student who claims Sister Cathy was murdered to prevent her from talking about this abuse. This student confided in Sister Cathy and told her about the abuse, naming the priest.

The real story behind Netflix's new true crime series 'The Keepers'

 

The theory is that the nun was murdered to cover up the horrific acts of Father Maskell. The investigators continued to dig and they found more victims. The first victim is still experiencing repressed memories coming back. There is one person she can’t put a face to and that’s Brother Bob. I think once she remembers who he is, all the puzzle pieces will fall into place.

It’s a heartbreaking story to watch, but you can’t tear yourself away. It reminded me of the movie, “Spotlight,” because the pattern is the same.  In both stories, as soon as complaints of abuse were raised the accused priest was relocated to another parish. However, “The Keepers” is more horrific because you’re seeing the actual victims speak, they’re not actors.

The investigators found other victims who corroborated the story. Father Maskell has since passed away and the case of the murder of Sister Cathy remains unsolved.

The question I have after watching both “The Keepers” and “Spotlight” is why isn’t the church held accountable for the acts of their priests?

 

I feel they should be. They not only covered up the abuse, they didn’t stop it. All they did was move these priests from one parish to the next allowing them access to girls so they could perpetuate the abuse.

I do know some of the victims in the “Spotlight” movie accepted a settlement from the church, but in the case of the victims of Father Maskell the case was thrown out of the system because the statute of limitations for abuse had passed.

This type of abuse is such a violation, not only of the adult-child relationship, but of the priest-student relationship. These priests are supposed to be the moral compass of our society. We’re supposed to be able to trust them. After watching “The Keepers” and listening to the stories from these victims, I realize how manipulative this priest was and it makes me angry. Angry that the church allowed this man and all the other priests who were abusing children to continue practicing. They should’ve been arrested and held accountable.

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This was a difficult post to write. I urge you to watch the documentary, it’ll open your eyes to the dark side of organized religion. Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. How do you feel about these priests? Do you think the statute of limitations should be lifted if women come forward with repressed memories? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!