Category Archives: Uncategorized

Emotional, Impulsive, and Wired


We’ve all seen the numerous blog posts on annoying Facebook statuses. Some of them are quite clever and make us shout, “RIGHT ON!” or “Wait..I do that. What’s wrong with that?! SMH” Whether we do them or not, we all know someone who does and have an opinion about it.

What is it about the over-shares, cryptic cries for help, or passive aggressive posts that really bugs us? It seems attention-getting or often like public revenge. Things that should be shared with a select few (and even better, in person), are broadcast to hundreds through social media. Basically, it seems immature, and despite privacy settings, there are many people who believe that what we put out there will stay for anyone to find.

This, my friends, is why teenagers and social media are a very bad combination.

Teenagers by their very nature are immature, emotionally charged beings. They live in world between worlds where they are leaving childish games behind while figuring out what it means to be an adult, while at the same time hormones and brain chemistry make logical thought nearly impossible. Whose idea was it to give them a public outlet to air these feelings?

It used to be that if you had a problem with someone you passed a nasty note in class, or had your friends shun them in the hall. If you were annoyed with a member of the opposite sex, they received exaggerated eye rolls or daggers during class, they endured gossip between you and your friends, and maybe they even got a prank or angry phone call later that evening (but you had to be civil long enough to ask Mr. Miller if Brad was available). I suppose there were those who stooped to egging or TP-ing. All actions that are here one minute and gone the next.

With cell phones and social media, a conflict between two people can be texted to hundreds in seconds, or a nasty meme posted to Instagram to be seen and liked by half your high school. Harassment issues have skyrocketed. Boys and girls alike sharing private pictures through massive group texts for the purpose of humiliation. Or a conversation that would have been confined to school hours, or the house phone can continue indefinitely through texting. I’ve had to take phones away from my kids because the person on the other end sent text after text and wouldn’t stop even when asked to. My daughter turned her phone off and when she turned it back on an hour later had 70 new texts from the same person.

I recently read this article on the dangers of teen girls and Instagram. It pointed out how their self-esteem becomes wrapped up in pictures they post and how many likes they receive. It becomes a popularity contest of sorts, with its own currency. The article states: “As they become preteens, research shows that girls’ confidence takes a nosedive. Instagram, then, is a new way for girls to chase the feeling of being liked that eludes so many of them. Instagram becomes a popularity meter and teens learn to manipulate the levers of success.”

The intricate ways teens use these apps for validation astound me. The article didn’t mention the most obvious one: en emoji chart where each emoticon means something like: pretty, fun, spirited, talented, etc. You post the chart on your page and then your friends pick which ones describe you and post it in the comments. I suppose this is harmless enough. I remember the papers we passed around at youth events with your own name at the top. Each person wrote something nice about you, folded it over, and passed it to the next person. The difference? When the paper returned to you, it was for your eyes only. And everyone in the circle participated.

With Instagram, girls are determining their self worth based on the number of positive responses…and all responses are public for everyone to see and judge.

Unfortunately this post does not come with answers. I’m still working through this dilemma. I have three teenagers and all of them use cellphones, and various forms of social media. I monitor their pages, ask to see their texts sporadically, and we have hard talks about what should and should not be posted. But I can’t monitor their emotions. I can’t develop a spreadsheet comparing “Time on Social Media and Effect on Self Esteem and Personal Happiness.”

My sad suspicion would be that it doesn’t come out in their favor.


Posted by on November 14, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Cats are Neurotic

My husband would say a headline like this should be published in the scientific journal titled, “Duh”.

As you may know from a previous post, we recently acquired a new cat. This cat is doomed to be forever compared to her predecessor – kind of like saying, “why can’t you be more like your brother.” Their personalities couldn’t be more different.

Aloof and confident, Horatio ruled his territory with only a bored glance, but wasn’t afraid to let you know when he needed you. Cleopatra keeps an alert eye on her surroundings at all times. She runs and hides with the slightest hint of movement in her direction and yet she seems to consider me her safe place.

When everyone else has left the house she creeps out of her hiding spot and sneakily peeks at me from behind various vantage points. Then she follows me if I’m moving around the house, until I turn around – at which point she freezes and either looks panicked, or becomes really interested in nonchalantly sniffing something nearby. If I’m sitting reading or typing, she slowly walks over, sniffs the couch, tests its structural integrity with her claws and then climbs up, situating herself in such a way that I can’t possibly move or get anything done.

If I do manage to move or re-situate her, she jumps up, looks at me like all of a sudden this kind, safe, stationary person, became a super scary, unpredictable moving person, and runs away to hide.

Then we start the game all over again.

She’s also a black cat, so the stalking me around the house thing can be a little creepy. Not that I am superstitious…

But in the evenings when all is quiet and my husband and I are relaxing with a book or television, and she climbs up to cuddle in the blanket – this black ball of fur purring in my lap, I realize why pets are such a treat for the soul.

(I also feel a bit like an evil villain as I stroke her fur and hatch my master plan)


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Posted by on November 13, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Branding…or how to fit myself on a business card


I attended a business networking event today. Not because I have a business to market, but to hear a friend speak.

The networking part of the seminar encouraged business card trading, and when we entered, we placed business cards in a fishbowl for prize drawings. Only one problem with this – I have no business card.

How does one narrow an identity down to 3.5 by 2inches. What do you include or leave out? I have many jobs or identities. The only one I get paid for is teaching. Does that make teaching my business and therefore should go on my business card? (I don’t see many teachers exchanging business cards.)

But many facets of my life or identity are not professional like: mom, pastor’s wife, writer, singer, and so on. These are just as much a part of who I am.

So the question really boils down to branding. What is it about myself that I am trying to market?

To keep it strictly professional, I could say Teacher/Writer. But then I feel the need to qualify…English Teacher? Writing Teacher? Blog Writer? Aspiring Writer? Despairing Writer? (Just kidding on the last one)

(Incidentally my husband often accuses me of overthinking things)

Attending the seminar today made me realize that I needed branding. And if I was serious about being a writer, I needed to claim it and not qualify. I am a literature teacher. I also teach writing which means I study and practice the craft with my students, and write on a regular basis outside the classroom, therefore I am a writer.

Maybe I can fit everything else in fine print around the border, just to be completely honest about who I am.

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Posted by on November 11, 2014 in Uncategorized


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NaBloPoMo – Just as hard as I thought it would be

So, I’ve missed a day…and published some posts I’m not proud of. This challenge may not be for me.

The purpose of my blog is not random daily content, or a web diary, but more a place for vignettes, book reviews, and musings on life. If I have stories to share or a piece I want to write, I’ll post it. Trying to come up with something to post everyday means you guys don’t get my best.

However, this challenge does have its positives. I’m thinking about writing…and practicing writing everyday. Even yesterday I started two different posts, though they never made it to publish. The discipline of this challenge is beneficial and forces me to think about my blog going forward. Whether I want to have some focus or plan or just continue to post as inspiration strikes.

I just picked up Amy Poehler’s book, YES PLEASEHere’s what she has to say about writing:

Everyone lies about writing. They lie about how easy it is or how hard it was.

They perpetuate a romantic idea that writing is some beautiful experience that 

takes place in an architectural room filled with leather novels and chai tea. They

talk about their “morning ritual” and how they “dress for writing” and the cabin 

in Big Sur where they go to “be alone” —blah blah blah. No one tells the truth 

about writing a book. Authors pretend their stories were always shiny and perfect

and just waiting to be written. The truth is, writing is this: hard and boring and 

occasionally great but usually not. Even I have lied about writing. I have told people

that writing this book has been like brushing away dirt from a fossil. What a load of sh**.

It has been like hacking away at a freezer with a screwdriver. 

I couldn’t agree more.

and I love her.

I’m pretty sure we are twins separated at birth…we’re the same age and both blonde, so it must be true.


Posted by on November 10, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Daylight Saving Time…Is it Evil?

I’m sure most of you have seen this clip by now, but if not, I’ve posted it here for your viewing pleasure.

It baffles me that I can travel to the opposite coast with a three hour time difference and feel adjusted in a few days, but when we fall backward or spring forward I’m messed up for weeks.

Growing up in Indiana, we did not change our clocks, but my grandparents in Gary did. Because Gary was a Chicago suburb they needed to be on Chicago time, therefore that corner of Indiana participated in Daylight Saving Time while the rest of Indiana did not. This meant that half of the year we were on the same time as my grandparents and half the year we were not.

One summer I worked as a camp counselor in Michigan. Michigan participated in Daylight Saving Time. The churches that ran and promoted the camp were located in Elkhart, Indiana. All of our campers came from Indiana, therefore it made perfect sense to somebody that the camp should run on Indiana time. This meant that every time the counselors left camp Redbud we were entering a different timezone…(insert theme from The Twilight Zone here)

Nearly all US States observe DST. Indiana adopted it in 2005. Arizona and Hawaii are the only two hold-outs. At one time much of the world adopted DST. Now it seems to be most prevalent in the Northern Hemisphere.

Lately there has been increasing backlash against the practice that began when we were a much more agrarian society. People question if we still need Daylight Saving Time. But what would happen if we stopped changing our clocks? Does anyone even know? What would happen to our late summer evenings? And our extra hour on Halloween weekend?

I think we need another movie trailer….THE TIME DAYLIGHT SAVING ENDED FOREVER

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Posted by on November 8, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Five Questions to ask yourself before Clicking that Link on Social Media


1. Is this click bait?  Click bait can manifest itself in a number of ways.

Does the headline promise information such as “5 foods you should never eat again” only to lead you to a 30 minute sales pitch that only sort of answers the question but promises amazing results if you just purchase the program? This is click bait (This is only hypothetical…not an actual site that I may or may not have clicked on)

Does the headline read “You’ll never believe what this girl did…..” underneath a suggestive picture? This is click bait (This may also be spam or a virus. More on that later)

Is the headline just vague enough or spectacular enough that you are not sure what the article is about? This is click bait

2. Do I have time for this? 

I have a little rule of thumb. It’s not very scientific, but goes something like this: If I click on the link and it takes more than about 2.5 seconds to load, I’m done. If the video is longer than five minutes, or the article longer than a few pages, I may lose interest. Which leads me to the next question..

3. Am I really interested? 

Is this article/picture/blog/youtube video worth the time and mental energy I’m about to put into it? Once you start clicking, the internet sucks you into a black hole of lost time and opportunity you will never. get. back. (Hypothetically of course…not speaking from experience.)

4. Is this spam or possibly a virus?

Some of the more outrageous examples of click bait can be spam or malware. Next thing you know all of your friends are getting strange emails from you and social media is claiming you “liked” some horrible video you’ve never seen before. Be a good friend and let the poor victim know they’ve been hacked rather than being shocked at their online choices.

5. Do I want everyone to know that I liked, read, or visited this site?

You may think you are acting under complete privacy and autonomy, but as soon as you click that link, targeted advertisements and emails show up. Also through some mysterious internet algorithm (or possibly just the privacy settings) your friends can all see what you liked or read.

There you go, readers. Five questions to ask before you click. Happy and safe surfing!


Posted by on November 7, 2014 in Uncategorized


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NaBloPoMo Daily prompt: Do I consider myself a “professional” blogger?

My day is busy and my inspiration wanes, so the Daily Prompt it is.

This seems like a no-brainer. Do I receive compensation for my blogging or even my writing for that matter? No. Therefore, I am not a professional blogger. Professional typically means having achieved paid status for your work.

However, I do see another definition in Webster’s where it just indicates mastery or skill:

3.a thoroughly professional performanceexpertaccomplishedskillfulmasterly,masterfulfinepolishedskilledproficientcompetentableexperienced,practicedtrainedseasonedbusinesslikedeftinformal acecracktop-notch.ANTONYMS amateurish.

Using this definition of professional, I would have to say….No…still, no. Not a professional.

I have one page, very few widgets, not quite sure how the categories work, and sometimes my pictures don’t even show up right. I see other blogs with fancy banners, and side boxes, and multiple pages organized by topic. I aspire to these things, but am not there yet.

The purpose of my blog is to write and practice writing. If anyone reads it, or I eventually get paid for it, that is just bonus.


Posted by on November 6, 2014 in Uncategorized


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“Now is the winter of our discontent”

This quote consumed me today. Once we change our clocks back the darkness comes early…and the clouds and rain only make it darker. I easily fall into darkness of the mind, discontentment, and imagining sunny vacations free of responsibility…and rain, definitely free of rain.

So, this quote came to mind today and I thought how aptly it applied to me…until I looked it up.

Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this son of York;
And all the clouds that low’r’d upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.

Richard The Third Act 1, scene 1, 1–4

I have typically quoted or heard quoted just the first line. Usually used in a negative context. But Shakespeare through Richard is saying that what once was bad has been “made glorious” by this son of York. Richard’s brother has been made King and things are looking up for them. In a sense, “sunny skies are here again…”

Now whenever I think of this quote, my mind will jump to “made glorious summer” and I’ll put on a happy face. 🙂

Chalk this up to: you learn something new everyday.


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Posted by on November 5, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Life happens

I tend to keep this blog light, literary, and more writing focused. I have shied away from being too personal, and posting sporadically has made that possible. However, when writing a post everyday, real life tends to creep in.

Today was going to be about voting. Life happened.


I woke up to a phone call and voicemail at 6am. Phone calls outside the polite timeframe are always cause for alarm. The call was to inform me that my jr. higher’s bus was on a two hour delay due to safety concerns. My first response was to look out the window for frost and ice. Nothing. Of course, anything weather related would have been disclosed. The next step is to log onto social media to see if anyone else knows anything.

Within an hour we all learned that an online threat was made against the school. Law enforcement was brought in, the threat investigated thoroughly, and the perpetrator taken into custody. Law enforcement and administrators deemed the school “safe” and school resumed on a two-hour delay schedule.

To get really personal, we live thirty minutes from the most recent school shooting. Four years ago, my whole family huddled under bleachers watching the swat team move in and listening to gunfire while a gunman ran loose in our town and headed toward the football stadium.

I do not feel “safe”. I do not feel that my kids are “safe”.

I believe they are as safe as law enforcement and our wonderful school district can make them, but ultimately none of us knows the day or the hour. Ultimately tragedies are deemed tragedies because they are sudden and unpredictable. There will be no end to tragedy on this earth. There are no laws we can vote into place that will keep a madman from opening fire on innocent people.

I sent my daughter to school today. I didn’t want to at first, but living in fear empowers evil people.

There is only one way to live in this world: not in fear, but in faith…and with hope. Hope in the one who breathed this world into existence. Hope in the one who saw that it was good. Hope in the one who redeemed me for His own. Hope in the one who loves me as His child, and loves my children even more than I do. He is in control. He is my peace. He is my hope.

John 16:33 “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”



Posted by on November 4, 2014 in Uncategorized


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The Princess and the Piercing Pinpoint of Light

We’ve all heard the story of the Princess and the Pea, right? A wayfaring stranger shows up at a castle in the middle of the night and claims to be a lost princess. The queen, convinced that the stranger is out to snare her handsome son, comes up with a plan to prove she truly is a princess. She must sleep on twenty mattresses with a pea placed under the bottom mattress. If the pea disrupts her sleep, then we know she is a true princess. Well, as the story goes, she slept horribly, married the prince and lived happily ever after sleeping on a Beautyrest* with no peas.

As most of you, I found the story ridiculous and thought long and hard about it as a girl. First of all, how could anyone feel a pea under twenty mattresses? Would I? Secondly, how in the world did they stack all those mattresses and how did she climb on top? And finally, most importantly, why wouldn’t she run screaming for the door when the wackos show her where she is to sleep, and her precariously stacked bed requires a ladder to get in and out of?


Well, I’m here to tell you: it’s all true! And apparently, I am a Princess. Now, I’m not talking about stacked mattresses and peas here, but about the smallest thing disrupting my sleep – The evil blue eye on the cable box.

I sleep with an eye mask, and yet the blue light pierces through the dark and creeps under the mask waking me up multiple times per night. I know this is the case because when the armoire doors are closed, shutting away the evil beast with one blue eye, I sleep soundly. When the doors are open, I sleep fitfully. I’m pretty sure my husband thinks I’m crazy. Don’t underestimate the sensitivity of a true princess.

I am not alone in this. Many experts agree that light, particularly blue light from electronics, is extremely disruptive to our sleep. Take this study from Harvard for example. The study primarily focus on screens and lightbulbs, (clearly they are unaware of the evil eye in my armoire) but I’ve seen studies claiming that even the signal an electronic devise receives can disrupt sleep. Therefore, having any sort of web or cable device in your room continually causes sleep deprivation. This is especially important in thinking about our children and their sleep habits. Teenagers are especially prone to depression and anxiety when not sleeping well.

Now that my Princess status has been verified, there are things I can do to insure proper beauty sleep. First and foremost, I will close the armoire doors without fail; I will try to avoid staring at my cellphone screen too close to bedtime; and I will remove our wireless router from the bedroom.

My Prince bringing me tea and fluffing my pillows wouldn’t hurt either. 😉

*This post was not sponsored by Beautyrest


Posted by on November 3, 2014 in Uncategorized


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