Posted in hiking, Personal

A Beautiful Day for a Hike

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week with work and writing. I’m making progress on my story, and I like what I’ve got so far.  I’ve been busy with my kids, too. I’ve got a senior this year, so we’ve been busy getting senior pictures taken and trying to choose them. Such a tough choice when you’ve got a handsome kid! 😉

But enough about that. Today I went on a hike instead of writing this blog post. I just wanted to get outside and enjoy the fall air. I hiked for a good two hours, and I had a great time. There’s nothing like getting out in the woods and strolling through the fallen leaves. And the smell. I love the smell of fall. The scent of decaying leaves mixed with soil. There’s nothing like it in the world.

The woods were beautiful. I’m kicking myself that I didn’t get out earlier this month and get some pictures of the woods in all their glory. The ones I did get were amazing though. There’s just so much beauty in the world. You know?

Photographer Lisa Orchard

Photographer Lisa Orchard

Photographer Lisa Orchard

So, instead of writing a post for today. I decided to share my hike with you. I hope you’re able to get out and enjoy the fall colors before winter sets in. Are you a hiker? What’s your favorite place to hike? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Personal, Writing

The Season of Hibernation is Upon Us

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week of work and writing. It grew too cold to run outside this week, so I have to bite the bullet and either join a gym or get an exercise bike. I’m leaning toward the gym. I want to keep running. I can’t run on the treadmill any longer, I’m afraid of messing up my back again.

But enough about that. Today, I’d like to talk about hibernation. That’s right. The season’s changing and the weather Gods are predicting snow in the upper peninsula this Tuesday. I am not ready for winter. It doesn’t feel like we’ve even had a fall.

I can tell the season has started to change. I’m more tired than I usually am. I think this is probably due to the fact there is less sunlight available right now. I’m also craving carbs. Ugh. This is the hardest to fight. I haven’t met a carb I didn’t like. I believe this is all part of my body saying it’s time to slow down and hibernate. It wants me to eat more carbs to fatten me up for my long winter’s sleep.

That’s how I know we humans were also supposed to hibernate. Why else would I be feeling this way and having those horrible carb cravings after months of eating low carb?

We’re supposed to hibernate during the winter so our bodies can renew, and our brains can rejuvenate. I bet our metabolism slows down in the winter. I don’t have any evidence of this, but it just stands to reason that it would. That’s why we gain weight during the snowy season.

So, if you find yourself slowing down this winter. It’s okay. Give yourself permission to do it. It’s the natural course of things.

 Below is a list of some of the things I’m going to do this winter while I hibernate:

  1. Write: I plan on finishing the novel I’m working on now and pulling apart the one I finished and putting it back together, so it’s a stronger story.
  • Exercise: I plan on keeping up on my exercise routine, so I can keep that winter weight off.
  • Read: I plan on reading a lot this winter to keep away the winter blues and hone my craft.
  • Bingewatch Netflix:  This one I do during the winter when it’s too cold to go outside and I’m to tired to write, but I’m not ready for bed.
  • Maintain my low-carb regime: This will help me combat that winter weight that always seems to creep on.

How about you? What do you plan to do during your season of hibernation? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!  Thanks for stopping by and reading my post.

Posted in Parenting, Serial Killers

My Thoughts on Monster: The Jeffery Dahmer Story

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. The season change is upon us. I’m not ready to give up summer, but fall is here in all its glory. The leaves are changing, and the air is cooler. Time to hunker down in front of the fire and get my writing on. I write more in the winter than I do in the summer. Something about being in front of the fire with my laptop seems to keep the words flowing. I’ve got a few stories I’m working on and I’m excited about where they’re going. I don’t usually work on more than one at a time, but I had this amazing idea for another story while in the midst of the second one, so I had to put the first one on the back burner. I will come back to it.

But enough about that. Today, I want to talk about Jeffery Dahmer. I know. I know. Gruesome topic, but I watched the documentary “Monster” on Netflix, and I have to say it was intriguing. He didn’t have a good home life. His mother took a variety of drugs while she was pregnant with him, and it appears she may have suffered from post-partum depression after the birth of her second son David.

He also had a tumultuous home life. His parents fought often, and his father was absent. He was always working, and his mother wasn’t emotionally capable to take care of Jeffery and his younger brother. In my honest opinion, he was alone since birth.

This lack of parental love and guidance may not have created Jeffery’s problems, but they certainly didn’t help. I wonder if he had grown up in a loving environment, would he have been a totally different person. So, it begs the question, what’s more important nature or nurture. Is being a serial killer something we’re born with, or is it a learned behavior from an abusive or neglectful environment?

In the documentary, they discussed giving Jeffery’s brain to science, and his father was opposed to the idea. He felt nothing could be gained and he wanted to honor his son’s request to be cremated. All of him. His father, Lionel’s, argument was that they had dissected John Wayne Gacy’s brain and didn’t find any abnormalities. It was normal. He felt Jeffery’s would be normal too.

So, that tells me nurture plays a far bigger role in developing healthy kids than nature. This is good to know. We can stop this type of person from developing if we create loving and safe environments for our kids.

I sense a theme here. I’ve written posts about school shootings, mass shootings, and now serial killers, and the underlying theme in all of this is disconnection. This is just another example illustrating how important the parent-child bond is. The stronger the bond, the healthier the child. We can do better. We can raise our kids with intention. Thanks for stopping by and reading my post today. What do you think? Are there ways we can do better as a society in raising our kids? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Health, mental-health, Writing

Maintaining Balance

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week of writing, work, and kids. My new WIP is going strong and I’m looking forward to the finished product. 😊

But enough about that. Today, I want to talk about keeping the balance in your life. It’s hard when you’re juggling family, work, friends, maintaining your health, and writing. I find when I’m in the zone (writing) I have a tendency to not eat as healthy as I normally would, and I have no problem skipping a run or workout to move my story forward.

But this response to my writing isn’t good for my health. I can’t skip too many runs, or I’ll start gaining weight, and we all know it’s easier to eat junk food instead of taking the time to prepare a healthy meal, and that leads to weight gain, too. When I catch myself falling into this routine, I have to force myself to take the time to run and prepare healthy meals.

Running, Maintaining Balance, Exercise, Lisa Orchard
https://allthefreestock.com/

I used to struggle with this, but I’ve been able to maintain my routine by establishing writing goals. I set a goal for one thousand words a day. So, when I reach one thousand words then I know it’s time to go for my run or start dinner. 😊

It satisfies the urge I have to write without being destructive to my health. I have time to exercise and prepare healthy meals. I must say this type of routine has been working wonders for me. I’ve been able to lose weight and keep it off. I’m excited about that. The exercise is a great mood booster and helps with my creativity as well.

So, that’s how I maintain my balance, by setting realistic goals with my writing and exercise routines. How about you? How do you maintain your balance? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.

Posted in Health, mental-health, Personal

The Power of a Hug

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. This week has been a busy one of work, writing, and family. I’ve been inspired by another idea, so I’ve started a new WIP. This idea demands to be written more than the other one, so I’ve put the other one on the back burner. I have to go where the Muse takes me.

Photo credit: MacBeales on VisualHunt

I am sad to see summer’s on its way out. We had to turn the heat on a couple of mornings this week. Sniff. But that’s okay, hubby’s getting ready for winter by cutting wood for us, so we can have our toasty fires on those cold winter nights.

But enough about that. Today, I’d like to talk about the power of hugs. I grew up without technology, and when I was growing up, I spent all my time outside during the summer months. We rode our bikes, went swimming, and played frisbee outdoors. This was important for our health, to get out into the fresh air and sunlight. We had a lot of face-to-face interactions.

Photo credit: PeterThoeny on VisualHunt.com

Now, my kids’ generation still get outside, but technology has changed the way they communicate. They can interact with each other via the computer, or their phones as opposed to face-to-face communication. This is good and bad. They can connect any time, but it’s not the kind of connection we need as humans.

I strongly believe we need physical touch. We need hugs and kisses to avoid depression and anxiety.  It sounds so simple, but it’s true.  In fact, studies have found that hugging, touching, or sitting close to a loved one releases Oxytocin, Serotonin, and Dopamine into our bloodstreams. These are all the “feel good” hormones.

Photo credit: Zanshin Art on VisualHunt

It has been scientifically proven that physical touch relieves depression and reduces stress. What happens to kids who don’t know how to ask for hugs or physical touch? Who have grown up with technology as their only form of social interaction? We’re seeing some of the results right now. We see it in increased mass shootings, Higher rates of suicide, and depression.

Photo credit: Elva Keaton on VisualHunt

Can hugs really lower the occurrences of these events? That’s a great question and my instincts say yes. We just have to increase the number of hugs we give out a day. I’d love to do some sort of study on this, but that would upset the drug companies, wouldn’t it? They’re busy creating drugs for depression and anxiety and making billions on the fact that we’re not getting enough hugs.

Photo credit: _casterclass on VisualHunt.com

We need to get back to basics. We need to model for our kids physical touch is important. That it’s okay to give and receive hugs. We don’t want to raise a generation of unhappy adults, right?

Do you feel physical touch is important for the Technology Generation? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in mental-health, Personal

The Need for Distractions

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve had a busy week of work, writing, and kids. The kids are back in school. It’s the end of summer and that makes me sad. I wasn’t ready for it to end and I’m hoping we can eek out a few more hot days before winter hits and I go into hibernation mode.

But enough about that. Today I’d like to talk about the importance of distractions. I know, right? Distractions, how can they be important, but they are. Let me explain.

We as humans need to make sense about what is happening to us. We need to find a rational reason behind an experience. We want to find the lesson. What is this experience teaching me? So, we mull it over, trying to find the why. Right? I know we’ve all been there. But sometimes the answer eludes us.

The why will never be found. Either it’s because the person who we need to find the answer from isn’t available or refuses to communicate with us. That happens. That flash of understanding, that epiphany never happens.

This is the time we need to pull out our bag of distractions. To get our mind out of the groove of trying to find the answer. Otherwise, you can sink into a depression. I’ve seen this happen with myself as well as some of my friends.

So, what are good ways to avoid sinking into the pit of overthinking?

I like to escape reality and read a book. There’s nothing like sinking into a good story to forget about life for a while. When I start overthinking about a problem, and I recognize I’m doing that, I pull out a good book and forget about life for a while. It works wonders. This takes away the power of what I’m overthinking about, and when I’m done reading, the issue I’ve been thinking about is much smaller and more manageable.

Another way I distract myself when I start overthinking, is to exercise. I go for a run and that seems to jolt me out of the overthinking groove, and again when I’m done the issue doesn’t seem so big.

I also distract myself by writing. Working on my story, is the best way to get my mind out of that familiar groove of trying to understand the problem. and solve it. Some problems just can’t be solved no matter how hard we try.

So, there you have it. Distractions are important in our lives. They serve a purpose. How do you get your mind out of the groove of finding the why in a situation? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in 911, Personal

Never Forget

Todd: Hello… Operator…listen to me…I can’t speak very loud. – This is an emergency. I’m a passenger on a United flight to San Francisco.. We have a situation here….Our plane has been hijacked…..can you understand me?

Lisa: (exhaling a deep breath to herself) I understand… Can the hijackers see you talking on the phone?

Todd: No

Lisa: Can you tell me how many hijackers are on the plane?

Todd: There are three that we know of.

Lisa: Can you see any weapons? What kind of weapons do they have?

Todd: Yes…. they don’t have guns….they have knives – they took over the plane with knives.

Lisa: Do you mean…like steak knives?

Todd: No, these are razor knives…like box cutters.

Lisa: Can you tell what country these people are from?

Todd: No…..I don’t know. They sound like they’re from the mid-east.

Lisa: Have they said what they want?

Todd: Someone announced from the cockpit that there was a bomb on board. He said he was the captain and to stay in our seats and stay quiet.

He said that they were meeting these men’s demands and returning to the airport… It was very broken English, and… I’m telling you…it sounded fake!

Lisa: Ok sir, please give me your name.

Todd: My name is Todd Beamer.

Lisa: Ok Todd….my name is Lisa…Do you know your flight number? If you can’t remember, it’s on your ticket.

Todd: It’s United Flight 93.

Lisa: Now Todd, can you try to tell me exactly what happened?

Todd: Two of the hijackers were sitting in first class near the cockpit. A third one was sitting near the back of the coach section. The two up. front got into the cockpit somehow; there was shouting. The third hijacker said he had a bomb. It looks like a bomb. He’s got it tied to his waist with a red belt of some kind.

Lisa: So is the door to the cockpit open?

Todd: No, the hijackers shut it behind them.

Lisa: Has anyone been injured?

Todd: Yes, ..they…they killed one passenger sitting in first class. There’s been lots of shouting. We don’t know if the pilots are dead or alive. A flight attendant told me that the pilot and copilot had been forced from the cockpit and may have been wounded.

Lisa: Where is the 3rd hijacker now Todd?

Todd: He’s near the back of the plane. They forced most of the passengers into first class. There are fourteen of us here in the back. Five are flight attendants. He hasn’t noticed that I slipped into this pantry to get the phone. The guy with the bomb ordered us to sit on the floor in the rear of the plane……….oh Jesus.. Help!

Lisa: Todd….are you ok? Tell me what’s happening!

Todd: Hello…..We’re going down….I think we’re going to crash……Wait – wait a minute. No, we’re leveling off….we’re ok. I think we may be turning around…..That’s it – we changed directions. Do you hear me….we’re flying east again.

Lisa: Ok Todd…. What’s going on with the other passengers?

Todd: Everyone is… really scared. A few passengers with cell phones have made calls to relatives. A guy, Jeremy, was talking to his wife just before the hijacking started. She told him that hijackers had crashed two planes into the World Trade Center……Lisa is that true??

Lisa: Todd…..I have to tell you the truth…..it’s very bad. The World Trade Center is gone. Both of the towers have been destroyed.

Todd: Oh God —help us!

Lisa: A third plane was taken over by terrorists. It crashed into the Pentagon in Washington DC. Our country is under attack….and I’m afraid that your plane may be part of their plan.

Todd: Oh dear God. Dear God…….Lisa, will you do something for me?

Lisa: I’ll try….if I can….Yes.

Todd: I want you to call my wife and my kids for me and tell them what’s happened. Promise me you’ll call..

Lisa: I promise – I’ll call.

Todd: Our home number is 201 353-1073…….You have the same name as my wife…Lisa….We’ve been married for 10 years. She’s pregnant with our 3rd child. Tell her that I love her…….(choking up)..I’ll always love her..(clearing throat) We have two boys.. David, he’s 3 and Andrew, he’s 1…..Tell them……(choking) tell them that their daddy loves them and that he is so proud of them. (clearing throat again) Our baby is due January 12th…..I saw an ultra sound…..it was great….we still don’t know if it’s a girl or a boy………Lisa?

Lisa: (barely able to speak) I’ll tell them, I promise Todd.

Todd: I’m going back to the group—if I can get back I will…

Lisa: Todd, leave this line open…are you still there?……

Lisa: (dials the phone..) Hello, FBI, my name is Lisa Jefferson, I’m a telephone supervisor for GTE. I need to report a terrorist hijacking of a United Airlines Flight 93….Yes I’ll hold.

Goodwin: Hello, this is Agent Goodwin.. I understand you have a hijacking situation?

Lisa: Yes sir, I’ve been talking with a passenger, a Todd Beamer, on Flight 93 who managed to get to an air phone unnoticed.

Goodwin: Where did this flight originate, and what was its destination?

Lisa: The flight left Newark New Jersey at 8 A.M. departing for San Francisco. The hijackers took over the plane shortly after takeoff, and several minutes later the plane changed course – it is now flying east.

Goodwin: Ms. Jefferson…I need to talk to someone aboard that plane. Can you get me thru to the planes phone?

Lisa: I still have that line open sir, I can patch you through on a conference call…hold a mo…..

Todd: Hello Lisa, Lisa are you there?

Lisa: Yes, I’m here. Todd, I made a call to the FBI, Agent Goodwin is on the line and will be talking to you as well.

Todd: The others all know that this isn’t your normal hijacking. Jeremy called his wife again on his cell phone. She told him more about the World Trade Center and all.

Goodwin: Hello Todd. This is Agent Goodwin with the FBI. We have been monitoring your flight. Your plane is on a course for Washington, DC. These terrorists sent two planes into the World Trade Center and one plane into the Pentagon. Our best guess is that they plan to fly your plane into either the White House or the United States Capital Building.

Todd: I understand…hold on……I’ll…….I’ll be back..

Lisa: Mr. Goodwin, how much time do they have before they get to Washington?

Goodwin: Not long ma’am. They changed course over Cleveland; they’re approaching Pittsburgh now. Washington may be twenty minutes away.

Todd: (breathing a little heavier) The plane seems to be changing directions just a little. It’s getting pretty rough up here. The plane is flying real erratic….We’re not going to make it out of here. Listen to me….I want you to hear this….I have talked with the others….we have decided we would not be pawns in these hijackers suicidal plot.

Lisa: Todd, what are you going to do?

Todd: We’ve hatched a plan. Four of us are going to rush the hijacker with the bomb. After we take him out, we’ll break into the cockpit. A stewardess is getting some boiling water to throw on the hijackers at the controls. We’ll get them….and we’ll take them out. Lisa, …..will you do one last thing for me?

Lisa: Yes…What is it?

Todd: Would you pray with me?

They pray: Our father which art in Heaven

Hallowed be thy name,

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,

And forgive us our trespasses

As we forgive our trespassers,

And lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory

Forever…..Amen

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…

He makes me to lie down in green pastures

He leads me beside the still waters

He restores my soul

He leads me in paths of righteousness

for His name’s sake

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death

I will fear no evil, for thou art with me…..

Todd: (softer) God help me…Jesus help me….(clears throat and louder)

Are you guys ready?……..

Let’s Roll……………………

Never forget.❤️

Posted in community, education, Parenting, Personal

Let’s be more like Finland

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a week of work and writing. I’ve started a new project and I’m happy to report it’s going well. The kids are back in school and we’re settling down to a routine. Summer went to fast for me, and I’m already missing it.

But enough about that, today I’d like to talk about our school system. For children, play is how they learn. They learn how to manipulate their environment through play. As they grow, their play changes. They go to school and start learning to read and write.

Our educational system needs to incorporate play more into the curriculum. Do away with homework and have more recess for the younger kids and maybe some recess for the older ones as well. Finland ranks the highest in education and their system is radically different than ours.

In Finland, kids start school at the age of seven. They start later in the morning between nine and nine forty-five, and homework is frowned upon. We need to mimic their educational system. I’ve also heard that they’re a people who place a high priority on family and community. Are there mass shootings in Finland? Not like in the US. In fact, seventy-three percent of the one hundred and thirty-nine mass shootings in developed companies are attributed to the United States. Not that the educational system is to blame but revamping it couldn’t hurt.

Finland also provides educational options past the traditional college degree. There’s less stress and more emphasis on caring. Spread throughout the day are fifteen and twenty minute intervals where the students can get up and decompress. It seems to be working for them.

We could learn a lot from Finland, and it should be our country’s goal to educate all members of society in a way that’s beneficial for the members. Why aren’t the powers that be looking at this and making changes?

The reason is because our educational system has become a politician’s tool. A way to secure votes from parents. Promises are made but rarely kept. I’m not sure how to go about making the changes we need to make. Any ideas? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

For more information on Finland’s educational system, click on the link below:

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/09/10-reasons-why-finlands-education-system-is-the-best-in-the-world

Posted in Personal, recipes

Labor Day Weekend Dessert

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week of work and dealing with my oldest. He had his wisdom teeth pulled this week and he’s recovering, so not a lot of writing done, but I have the long weekend to indulge in that.

But enough about that, today I’d like to share one of my favorite desserts. My kids love it, too, and it’s a great one for a Labor Day get together.  The recipe is below:

Lorna Doone Dessert 

1 package Lorna Doone cookies crushed

Add melted butter to cookies (this is the crust so add as much butter as you prefer; about ¼ to ½ of a stick)

1 7 oz Chocolate chips

2T Sugar

2-1/2 T water

4 egg yolks

1 teas. Vanilla

4 egg whites

Crush Lorna Doone cookies and add melted butter for the crust. Put crust in 10” baking dish and bake at 350 degrees until crust starts to brown. Combine chocolate chips, sugar, and water in double boiler until blended. Remove from fire and add egg yolks, beat after each one. Add vanilla. Chill for a short time maybe 10 to 15 minutes or until the pan is cool to the touch on the bottom.

Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into chocolate mixture. Spread over cooled cookie crust and top with whipped cream.

**I usually double this and put it in a 9×13 dish.