Giving Twitter Another Chance

I’m going to try again.

About a year ago, maybe longer, I had a Twitter account, but I shut it down, because it got so snarky.

On social media, I’m all about finding my happy place, and Twitter, at that point, was definitely NOT my happy place.

Pinterest? Happy.

Instagram? Happy.

WordPress? Mostly happy, you just have to know how to use it and avoid the trolls.

But I couldn’t seem to navigate the Twitter World without running into snark. Every where I turned, and it didn’t seem to matter who I followed. So, I closed my account. It was just too much.

But now that I am an officially published author, I figured I’d dip my toe in the Twitter pond one more time and see what comes of it.

Through Instagram and WordPress, I’ve managed to find a fairly docile community. It seems we’re all trying to connect on in a positive manner, and I can get into that.

If you have an account that you’d like to share, please feel free to do so in the comments below. I’d be happy to find some friendly people to follow. Just click on the Twitter icon to follow me.

Here’s to holding my breath. Any advice for a Twitter newbie?

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When your children want to know the gory details…

(Original Post July 2015)

 

So I found myself caught between a rock and a hard place (sorry for the cliché) the other night.

My daughter wanted to know if I was a rebel when I was younger.

Maybe it was the deer in the headlights expression that gave it away, but she knew immediately that I was not always the straight-laced, button-down, Christian woman that I am today.

Don’t get me wrong, I was always the one who everyone’s parents trusted, including my own. And for good reason.  For the most part, I stayed out of trouble, rarely broke the rules (I was usually too scared) or at least was smart enough not to get caught. But my daughter wanted the dirt, the gory details.

At first I told her that if she could guess something that I had done, that I would fess up. She couldn’t really come up with anything, to my relief, but she was relentless.

So what’s a parent to do? Make up something? No, that’s not my style. I’m too honest for that. I mean, really…honesty has always been my enemy.

This was a dilemma. If I told her a rebellious story she may use it against me further down the line. You know, throw my words back at me…”But YOU did it!” That would be bad. Or she could go the other way…”Just because YOU never did it doesn’t mean that I can’t do it!”

There really was no way to get out of the messy situation. It was a teachable moment…for both of us. So I thought of something forgivable, and told her a brief story from my rebellious youth. It was entertaining and not something she could really duplicate, so I was safe there. No one in the story got hurt. I told her how I learned a lesson and why it wasn’t a good idea to begin with.

Discernment…that’s what I learned. I learned that it isn’t so bad to tell my kids the gory details of my past mistakes, as long as I keep them in my past, and as long as my kids can learn a lesson from them. I think I’ll be ready for the next time one of them asks about my history, and I’ll keep the gore to a minimum. I’d like to keep my straight-laced, button-down reputation intact.

I’m just glad I got to live my teenage years BEFORE the internet.

Do you tell your kids about your gory details?

Where Did the Time Go?!

Christmas is only 5 DAYS AWAY! How did that happen?!

Since about October, I feel like I’ve been going non-stop!

To begin with, this (picture at left) prompted a full replacement of our roof. Thank goodness for insurance coverage! Between rain and wind delays, and contractors treating me like a “girl,” I thought it would never get done. But, praise God! The new roof is holding!

Next was NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I spent a good part of my free time (between roofing phone calls) trying to finish 50,000 words in the month of November. I didn’t quite make it (I think I’m somewhere around 38,000), but I did get a good jump on my next novel…women’s fiction with a side of clean romance. It should be out some time in February if all goes as planned.

I also started a side project which I’m having a blast doing. In a past post, I talked about how I wish I would have asked more questions of my Dad before he passed away. It’s a big regret in my life. Also, my dad died from complications with Alzheimer’s, so he didn’t remember a lot. There’s a good chance that either me or my two brothers have that gene, and I want my kids to know the grandparents and great grandparents they never really had a chance to hang out with. So, I started writing down the stories of my childhood with family dinners, and holiday celebrations with extended family. Even the smallest funny stories that have stuck with me over the years suddenly seem important.

I started asking my Mom (she’s 80) about life before kids and life when she was young. I also reached out to my Dad’s brother (who didn’t get Alzheimer’s) after I realized that he had ALL the old pictures of my Dad’s side of the family. He’s been sending me documents and pictures that I’ve never seen before. My brothers have also been a big help. And the Family History Project Told through Stories has taken on a life of its own.

Add to that teenager issues, work issues…you know how it is…LIFE…and suddenly Christmas is next week! Whew! No wonder I’m so exhausted lately! LOL

Needless to say, this family project has really put life into perspective for me. Suddenly, the news doesn’t really make me mad anymore. Except for weather and local happenings, I rarely watch it. I now steer clear of controversy when I can because, well, it’s just not that important anymore.

I hope my followers can forgive me that I haven’t been blogging as much. I’m still writing. I’m still struggling with being a parent and a wife. And I’m still finding my way to church now and then, even if it means watching the live stream from home in my pajamas with a cup of coffee and my husband by my side.

I hope you all enjoy the holidays! Remember what Christmas is all about. Enjoy the craziness of family, and don’t forget the joy that comes from giving.

I hope you’re getting through the holidays without too many hiccups along the way. And don’t forget to talk to your relatives, especially the older generations, and really listen. Those stories are your history.

God bless and Merry Christmas!

When You Don’t Fit in the Box

Have you ever felt different than everyone else? Guess what? Everyone has felt that way at some point in their lives.

I’ve talked before about the area where we’re living. It’s super competitive. Which is good when you’re talking about having good schools. Our schools don’t just want our kids to strive for excellence. Sometimes it feels like they demand it…even if you don’t fit into the Excellence Box as defined by their terms.

Our school districts encourage…nah, that’s not the right word…they PUSH for excellence in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education. And there’s nothing wrong with that, in fact it’s quite admirable.

Except for one thing: NOT EVERYONE FITS IN THE “STEM” BOX.

I have at least one child that fits that description.

She would rather get a root canal than sit through a math class. Okay, that might be an exaggeration. But she hates math with a passion. She’s a “creative” down to the depths of her soul. She can tolerate science because it’s kind of fun and creative in its own way. And technology, so long as she’s using her computer to create some elaborate artwork, then, yeah…she’s in. But engineering and mathematics…forget it.

Almost every day I get an email from the school district about some new opportunity for a STEM camp or Advanced Placement Exam or Advantaged Student Experience (whatever that is). But rarely does something come across my email for “Regular Kids.” You know, the ones who fall through the cracks because they don’t fit in with the AP kids and don’t fit in with the Athletes. They don’t fit in “the Box.”

We used to send our kids to school to prepare them for life…ALL parts of life. To teach them to be well-rounded, to expose them to culture and history (and some reading and writing), and to teach them how to work together in a controlled environment. Oh, and to have some fun along the way. Now it seems, we’re sending them to school to prepare them for “a Job.” But that’s what College is for. There’s plenty of time for that.

I can’t tell you how many high school kids are depressed or experiencing crazy amounts of anxiety. Oh, and I get emails about classes to help your teen manage those emotions too.

Look, I’m not saying that striving to be the best you can be is a bad thing. I’m just saying that maybe we’ve become a little too one-sided. Maybe we need to lighten up a little bit. Maybe we need to not panic so much when our kindergartner gets held back a year because they aren’t ready to move forward just yet. That’s okay. Everyone is different.

I’m also not knocking the kids that are excelling in STEM. More power too you! Good job! I sometimes wish I had those skills, or even that interest. But I’ll tell you that the adults that have their Master’s Degree and the ones that barely made it out of high school both buy their groceries from the same store. Their basic needs are the same.

I’m just saying that there are a lot of different paths to get to the same goal…being a healthy, fulfilled, responsible, contributing member of society.

Maybe we should consider that ONE BOX does not fit ALL.

Because at the end of the day, all we want is for our kids to be happy and our educators not to be exhausted.

And if your kid is one of those that doesn’t fit into the Box, relax. They just haven’t found the right Box yet.

I’m raising Average Kids and I couldn’t be more proud.

I Really Hate to Cook

I don’t use the word “hate” lightly, but when it comes to making dinner on a nightly basis, it’s the perfect word to use.

Unless we’re talking about baking a box of Duncan Hines brownies or a batch of chocolate chip cookies made from a tub of Tollhouse Cookie Dough, then I don’t want to make it.

All the meal planning websites and menu organizing tips won’t inspire me to actually put food to pan and cook the fool thing. Even the best meal kits services won’t help me find the motivation it takes to prepare a healthy meal for my family night after night. Now if it showed up at my door, ALREADY COOKED, then THAT would be a service I could get used to. But not a service I can afford.

And yet, somehow, I feel like I am all alone on this.

I want to WANT TO cook, if you know what I mean. I WANT to feel the desire to provide for my family. It isn’t that I’m a bad cook necessarily. My food is edible. No one has ever complained of food poisoning from eating one of my meals. I can follow a basic recipe. I can even time things so the side dishes finish at the same time as the main dish. So, it isn’t that I’m a terrible cook, or that I don’t know what I’m doing.

I just DON’T WANT TO. I know…I’m whining here. But I really can’t get past it.

When I met my husband, my mother-in-law bragged to me that all three of her boys knew how to cook, clean, iron, and even sew on a button. In fact, on our second date, my husband made me a beautiful pot roast dinner from scratch.

If I was a smart woman, right then and there, I should have pretended that I couldn’t even boil water. Then we wouldn’t be in the mess we are now, because then he would be the one cooking dinner. He’s better at it than I am. It’s a fact. (Messier, but better). But he is the main bread winner and works full time, so it isn’t fair that I ask him to cook as well. He has enough responsibility. I can’t ask him to cook when he gets home from a long day at work.

It’s become a running joke with his co-workers when I text him at 5:45 asking to pick up dinner (usually fast food). They hassle him to no end.

When I go to the grocery store, I buy for the whole week, including leftovers. But by Wednesday evening (if not before) I’ve lost all motivation to prepare any of it.

I don’t know what is wrong with me!

I’m not depressed, I’m not stressed out (unusually), I’m not even particularly lazy, except when it comes to cooking every day.

If anyone has any suggestions on how to get motivated to cook dinner, I’d love to hear it. Or if anyone would like to commiserate, I’d love to hear that too.

Thanks for listening.

TechNO-Christmas

I’m sorry son, I can’t afford your Christmas List.

We’ve been sold a bill of goods that technology is the way to go…not if you’re on a budget.

My 12-year-old son’s Christmas list is an array of Steam Gift Cards and Amazon Gift Cards. Woohoo! What a boring Christmas!

Since he is a gamer, he’s all about the technology right now. There’s no changing his mind, unless I just simply pull the plug. But since the kid’s school district LOANED them all their own personal computers for the year, he will find a way to game no matter what.

So, I put out a plea to my friends who also have boys in the same age group and we’re all in the same club.

But I wasn’t really Gobsmacked until I googled “Gifts for Middle School Boys” and up popped a list from heavy.com called “The Best Cool Gifts for Boys: the Ultimate List 2018.” If you want a good laugh, google it. No offense heavy.com, but your budget for a middle school boy is WAY out of touch, in my opinion.

Of course, there are a few items thrown in for budget-conscious moms like me like the “Kingdom Come: Superman Graphic Novel” for $12.19 or the “1ByOne Bluetooth Sport Wireless Earbuds” listed for $38.99. But the list got downright hilarious as I scrolled past the “ASUS ROG Zephyrus GX501VS Gaming Notebook” listed at $2299.00!

There are some varied other selections to choose from: An Ergonomic Gaming chair for a mere $349.99, or a Logitech Gaming Mouse for a conservative $126.99, or the budget-conscious AKAI Professional Mini Keyboard and Pad Controller falling just under $100.00 at $99.00.

Whatever happened to the days of Stretch Armstrong or video games like Aztec or Oregon Trail for the Commodore 64? Somehow, we could afford those things.

Ahhh, but I digress. Those days of old (yes, I know I sound like my mother) I remember well.

So, until I win the lottery (which I would actually have to play to win, right?) or Publishers Clearing House comes to my door (again, I have to play the game), I guess my kids will never know the joy of the gift of a $2299.00 computer until they earn the money themselves.

Until that day, they’ll be forced to unwrap presents of worth and not extravagance.

I’m sorry technology, but your price is too high for my family.

Happy Christmas shopping to you all! And if you have any ideas for affordable Christmas presents that don’t require taking out a loan, I’d love to hear them. By the way, you can still get Stretch Armstrong if you’re interested. Amazon has almost EVERYTHING! LOL