"Keep scribbling! Something will happen." Frank McCourt

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Sunday Reflection: Shaded, Watched Over, Forevermore

As school begins this week in our district, it will be exhausting. I will need to remember that I am not alone, that it is not by my own strength that I put one foot in front of the other, but God’s strength.

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;

indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;

the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.” Psalm 12 1:8 (NIV)

As I meet the new school year, I will pray as I always do for our students and staff, asking that the Lord will watch over our "coming and going". As I meet the challenges of my job, I am not alone. I will choose to believe that “my help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth”. Shaded by his mighty hands, watched over forevermore.



Monday, August 08, 2016

Online Relationships and Real Life

I have to admit, sometimes I feel more comfortable as a loner. When I meet with “people” I enjoy them, but I don’t exactly jump into anything voluntarily. AND I tend to be of a suspicious nature, listening to my gut feelings where people are concerned. So, I don’t understand when adults buy into online relationships over common sense and participate in self-destructive activities.

Recently, I read an article for teenagers Are Online Friends Real Friends? Kids hang out online as much as they do in person, sometimes more so, depending on parent input. It’s disturbing when young people are influenced by an online “friend” who wants to meet them and/or help them run away. The article said that 20 percent of teens “have met an online friend in person”. Scary. And convincing kids (and some parents) that the online presence, on the other end of their virtual connection, could be an adult—a predator wanting to do harm is sometimes impossible. (Think: my job.)

But it’s not just kids. Dr. Phil televises shows about this problem, where men and women think they are sending money to their new fiancΓ© of whom they’ve never met and sometimes never spoken to over the phone (only internet connection).

It’s difficult to watch the shenanigans humans participate in, sometimes.

So, it's no wonder, I’ve been watching YouTube’s Nomad Living channels where people live off the grid, in something mobile: vans, RV’s, tents, cars. Some of these people are anti-government, but honestly who can blame them. I can even understand “some” of their protests. One thing I’ve notice that they all have in common is their connection to their devices (i.e., phones, laptops) and the internet and must have a way to charge them.

Living a gypsy lifestyle is kind of alluring, but I think I’m too girly to actually live it in real life. Seems like a lot of work to me. And the campers would probably ignore me or ask me to leave when I pulled into their camp with a Class A RV. No composting potty for me. No outdoor makeshift shower either. Microwave? Uh huh!

With all of that said, this post does not reflect on my blogger buddies, who are my OFFs (online friends forever) and perfect in every way. I would meet you anywhere, anytime and give you any amount of money (if I actually had any money) that you requested.
What do you think about online relationships? Are we going too far?

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

IWSG: Collecting dust or not?

It’s IWSG time, where writers across the world gather to share their writing experience and/or insecurities. (See below for more info on the Insecure Writer's Support Group.) The IWSG million dollar questions this month are: What was your very first piece of writing as an aspiring writer? Where is it now? Collecting dust or has it been published? 

In real life, I’m a cleaner not a dust collector, mostly. In fact, I’ve been known to pick up a drinking glass that someone was using and place it in the dishwasher, only because it "seemed" to be abandoned. This type of activity rarely bodes well with others. However, cleaning does have its benefits. I’ll explain more on that later. 

My first stab at writing was in the sixth grade when I wrote this play about teenagers.

The story was a romance, in accordance to my eleven-year-old viewpoint on love, circa the 1960’s. I also ignored privacy rights and personal boundaries and named the characters after my friends. Additionally, I wrote plays based on childhood stories (e.g., The Three Bears), while my classmates acted them out on stage for our small school's student body. I directed the plays. 

I also received a kiss on my cheek, off stage, from one of the actors, a random boy, and I liked it. This confession has NOTHING to do with this post. It's only a memory flareup to share. 

Recently, my cleaning uncovered some of my first short stories, written thirty years ago on an old manual typewriter. When I read them, I laughed, but still they adhered to my heart like static cling. I also cleaned out my attic and found the typewriter that I wrote some of those shorts on.

Only two children’s stories of mine have been published and that was in the mid-1980s. 

I sold the magazine five pieces, but only two were published before they stopped publishing the read-a-loud section. 

A couple of years ago, I self-published my A-Z compilation of short stories, but other than that everything else is collecting virtual dust. 

Therefore, I am a writer of many stories and one unfinished book that are collecting dust.

The IWSG was created by Alex Cavanaugh and assisted by awesome helpers. The Insecure Writer's Support Group website supports writers with writers and helpful information. Check out the sign up list here.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Sunday Reflection: Answering

It's nothing I'm proud of, but grumpy people are my specialty. In fact, during my time working at the school district, I often felt like the “grumpy parent” whisperer. It could be my round face or my baby blues, but I think it’s something else. I think it’s the way I (most of the time) speak to others.

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1
This past year, I had to communicate with a parent of whom others had warned me of, saying this parent was always angry and cursed when agitated. So when someone said, good luck talking to  that parent, I listened. I’m no dummy.
“The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.” Proverbs 15:2
My life experience with people helped me go into the interaction knowing there might be conflict.  After I talked to he/she, I asked the colleague who called me to say the parent was in her office, “How’s he/she doing?”

She chuckled. “Good! Unusually nice and calm.”

“I had no problems when I spoke to him/her on the phone last evening," I said.
She asked me to join them in a conference on how to help the student. When I entered the office, the energy was indeed calm. The parent was also polite, compliant and peaceful. The visit was productive.
The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.” Proverbs 15: 4
I learned a long time ago that respect for another and a gentle tone in my voice, seeded with kind words goes a long way. It doesn't mean I have to be a pushover either. 
“The lips of the wise spread knowledge, but the hearts of fools are not upright.” Proverbs 15:7
I’m not calling myself wise, but this is how I choose to roll with people: respect, kind words and a gentle tone in my voice. It works. You too can be the grumpy person whisperer because there are plenty. 

 Read Proverbs 15 at Gateway.com

Monday, July 11, 2016

When Emojis run amuck.

What if, just what if, you clicked on the wrong emoji on FB and used it to comment? May I share with you a couple of awkward moments in the FB world? 

I’m positive I use emojis (and emoticons) way too much, so I may have gasped the other day when a FB friend posted a sad life situation and one of HER FB friends chose a laughing face emoticon/emoji along with words that seemed inappropriate.

The FB commenter said pretty quickly that the emoji and words belonged elsewhere, but didn’t remove it. I assumed this person didn’t know how-to remove it. Then the FB commenter posted a more fitting comment. 

I shook my head knowing this must have felt a bit awkward. 😧 I secretly, behind my computer screen, wondered how anyone could do that. 

You just never know. Right? πŸ˜ƒ

Fast forward a week, please. I read a status from a colleague asking for prayers. She didn’t say why, just that she really needed prayers. There was also a post about one of our principals moving into her new position as an assistant superintendent. Because I had already face to face congratulated her, I used a happy happy face πŸ˜€ (only), in the comment section. 

I left FB and bake a birthday cake.  πŸŽ‚

Hours later, I revisited FB and my colleague’s post pops up, where many people had agreed to pray. I’m a prayer warrior, ask me to pray, and I'll pray for you. It occurred to me that I had not joined the group in commenting that I would pray. πŸ™

Then. I. saw. it. 

Sitting alone amongst the serious comments, "hope you're okay", "will pray" was my happy happy face that I thought I'd used on the other post. I still don’t know how that happened, but it did. Immediately, I removed the in your face happy and replaced it with praying or prayed.  No other explanation. 

Wow.   😁 😳 

And Happy Monday to you!!!

(See this article discussing the difference between emoticons and emojis here.