If kids aren’t supposed to take candy from strangers… can someone please explain Halloween?

halloween-candyDon’t take candy from strangers! Do parents still tell that to children? Do parents still teach their children about the dangers of drugs laced in candy or razor blades in chocolate? I remember those talks vividly. I remember mom saying, don’t ever eat an unwrapped piece of candy. Always have her check the candy first. That scare, over-night, removed the candied apples and popcorn balls from the Halloween bags. Heck even raisins were questionable since they weren’t wrapped in cellophane.

How sad is it that we live in a society where we can’t trust our neighbors, where strangers are dangers and children are never safe.

This Halloween, be safe, of course, but have fun. Let a child be a child for a little bit tonight and if you must go through their candy, as my mom did, and some of the chocolate just happened to be removed, admit it is the fee for taking them trick or Treating and the sweet-tooth in you begging to be fed.

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Don’t do crossword puzzles in pen

BJW

The other day a friend  posted something on her timeline. She recalled a conversation she had once had with her father. She remembered the media making a big deal over a man who used a pen to complete crossword puzzles while her father always used pencil. She asked him about that and this is what he said:

crossword-puzzle-and-pen-300x200

“What kind of a person would I be
if I thought I was so perfect
that I could never make a mistake,
or think my answers are the only answers.
We all need to go back and fix our mistakes if we can.”

That is very true, and something we all should take to heart. We are human. We make mistakes. We may have the best intentions. Plan to always do the right thing. Give the best advice and write down the answer that fits, but sometimes 14 across that starts with P is about being

P-R-E-C-I-S-E

rather than

P-E-R-F-E-C-T

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I have never started a poem yet whose end I knew.

poetryI have never started a poem yet whose end I knew. Writing a poem is discovering.  -Robert Frost

 

I saw this phrase the other day and immediately said,

how true!

I get an idea for a poem, or a message I’d like for it to portray, but it writes itself through the rhyming words I choose.

Many times, I will write a stanza, and look for a rhyming word for the next stanza, can’t find one, go to the thesaurus, find a similar word to end the first stanza with, then go look for a rhyme for it for the second stanza and repeat those steps, sometimes rewriting the entire first stanza until it works out.

I go through that for each stanza of the paragraph until I get to the end of the thought and usually, the last few words that end the poem, end up being the title of the poem because those are the most important words of the message I am trying to portray.

Poetry is like playing a word game that when it is done, tells a story. Unlike crossword puzzles that fill in the spots, word searches that find all the words and scrabble that uses the pieces provided, a poem has an unlimited number of pieces, a word bank a million miles long, and a blank slate that you can do anything with!

I love writing poems. I love the fun bouncy rhythm.

I love how it all works out in the end and I love sharing those poems with anyone who will read them.

Poems are fun!

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What makes a successful author?

The other day I met another children’s book author whose publisher suggested she talk with other successful children’s book authors to get an idea of what to do. She told me this because she wanted to talk to me.   I don’t know if she came to that decision after she saw my booth, or the way I communicated with others, or the number of books I had… either way, she decided that I was successful. Color me surprised.

Now granted I have 9 children’s books but how does that determine success?  Should I have stopped writing and publishing when the first book sold 350 instead of a million? I felt a second book would help propagate sales, all of the first sales and many new ones to buy both. Which worked. So I made a third book, now I was working on a series. That third book was more popular than the second, so I wrote a fourth because everyone kept asking when the next one was coming out. I’ve kept the series growing, watching the sales grow with each book, but I am still not at a million.

So if I have 8 books but not a million sales, the big publishing houses would consider me an utter failure. But I don’t feel like a failure. I don’t talk like a failure. I don’t go to a show every weekend promoting my series as a failure. I go because I want to succeed. I sell like a successful person because to be successful you have to feel successful. You grow, you smile, you push harder, you work longer and you keep at it, because if I didn’t, I would be a failure.

 

PS: I will be at the Texas Book Festival in Austin this Saturday. I am an award-winning author and will be at the Texas Association of Author’s table. Then, that evening I’ll be attending the celebration of authors dinner.  Maybe I am a success and didn’t even know it. :-)

Success

Categories: Author, Children's Books | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

Do the Right Thing – Do it All the Time

The other day, driving down my street, I stopped at the stop sign and caught sight of a black bag sitting on the corner.  I knew that the school bus picked up there so I figured it was a lunch kit. I went to investigate, and found it was a $1000+ Nikon camera.  I knew who ever lost this would be beside themselves, but I had to get to a meeting. I grabbed it, so it wouldn’t get permanently lost, and decided as I drove I would create a FOUND sign to put on the mailboxes in hopes of finding the proper owner. That evening, after two meetings and choir practice I finally get back to my office and open the bag properly to investigate it. That’s when I was relieved to see their name printed on the inside in marker (they MUST have children) it’s so a mommy thing to do.  Thankful I had a name, I called my neighbor (who seems to know everyone) and lo and behold, she had a phone number for them.

She was so relieved.

“Who does that?” She asks after receiving my message.  “It must have fallen off my motorcycle.”

It made me proud to do the right thing. How many people would be able to do that? Honestly? This was a nice camera. 42x zoom, all the bells and whistles, cables, SD cards… I could have kept it, many people would have. I could have sold it on ebay… but I wouldn’t be able to live with myself. I can’t imagine loosing something like that. It would be like me loosing my laptop – my livelihood! My books, my graphics, my websites… I’d be so sick to my stomach. I couldn’t afford to replace it and I would PRAY that someone would return it, if it were ever found. But I’ve been robbed (two home break-ins – in Houston). I’ve had things stolen from me at shows. My husband has had tools stolen right off his truck. I definitely have the stigma of not wanting to trust people… but if everyone did the right thing, all the time, our world would be a much better place.

I wanted to share a song with you. Maybe if you get this catchy tune stuck in your head it will help – it helps me – all the time!

Ages & Ages – Divisionary (Do the Right Thing) Lyrics

Do the right thing, do the right thing
do it all the time, do it all the time
make yourself right, never mind them
don’t you know you’re not the only one suffering

I see you up again wandering so diligent
crossing your t’s as though it weren’t irrelevant
they say formality, this is what they really meant:
they can be the walk and we can be the pavement

Do the right thing, do the right thing
do it all the time, do it all the time
make yourself right, never mind them
don’t you know you’re not the only one suffering

So what you’re up against all the disingenuous
They wave you along and say there’s always room for us
But we know better than that to take’em serious.
Still don’t let’em make you bitter in the process

And when the light is up, this is how oughta be
We’ll make it alright, they’ll come around eventually
They say it’s nothing but, that ain’t the reality
They may take us on but they can never take us easy

Cuz they ain’t moving, they’re just moving around
So if you love yourself, you better get out, get out now

Play it again – you know you want to! :-)

 

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Website Frustration & the Good ol’ Days

The other day I received an email from my grandfather, basically venting, regarding the frustration he experienced while attempting to order a couple of bath mats online. I read through his email and started to chuckle, because we all have been there.

  • Links that don’t work
  • Not compatible with Internet Explorer
  • Flash that isn’t operating
  • Too much content the site can’t load
  • Scripting malfunctions
  • So many ads you can’t figure out what is real or scam

I received a pair of shoes that weren’t what I wanted because the ‘add to cart’ was on the right, below an advertisement and above two ‘others have bought these’ notices with their own cart buttons. By the time I finished reading the description of the shoes on the left and looked to the right to see add to cart, I was way past the button for the item I just read about and instead ordered what others have bought.

Then, the other day, I ordered a Halloween costume, added to cart, went to check out, typed my information, pressed submit but apparently missed the last step because four hours later I got a reminder email asking if I wanted to complete my order. Good thing they sent the reminder or I’d be waiting until Halloween for a costume that would never get here.

But grandpa’s problem was worse than that!

Not only was the cart called a bag – let’s really confuse the shopper, but when he clicked add to bag, nothing happened. Click it again, nothing.  Suspecting there is an issue – my 90 year old grandfather drives to the closest store to discover they are sold out, but he can order them online. By then, I personally would have had a customer service rep pull it up online for me, but grandpa went back home to retry it. A week later, waiting for them to fix their issues, and indeed they were going through a website redesign, he discovered at the top left corner in very small font, amongst tons of ads, sales ploys and deals, an obscure edit bag label. Lo and behold, 7 sets of bath mats had been added to it with no notification whatsoever. There was no checkout button, no view cart button, nothing until weeks later and a complete website redesign.

Another time, a website called it ‘Review Order’ which was also obscured at the top right corner amongst ads. Why not keep it simple. Stop renaming things to be different. Help the shopper by always calling it a cart and checkout system. Plus, when the older generation has their screen zoomed in for visibility of those microscopic fonts companies use, the order is hidden off the page where it has to be scrolled right to access and most of the time doesn’t even cross their mind to do that.

All of this made grandpa reflect on the good ol’ days.

Below is an excerpt of what he wrote:

“Most websites make it easy to go to Checkout and provide redundant ways to get there, but some do not take into account that a crucial button/window is not visible from the site of the selection. There should be a positive acknowledgment of action in the visible area near the point of selection as well as an indication of the next step. This problem may illustrate a general deterioration of service/convenience over the years. I fondly remember grandpa Doyle at the grocery store calling out items one by one, with the clerk racing to some part of the store, fetching the item from below the counter, or from a high shelf by ladder, bringing it back, and placing it on the counter in front of Grandpa. He much preferred that service to the cheaper prices at a nearby supermarket.”

Oh the good ol’ days…

 

thCAOU5Y0D

My grandfather is a genius – and I’m not exaggerating. For him to have these types of problems making a simple purchase at a mega-large chain-store website is ridiculous. I design websites for a living and would refuse to put my name on a website that’s ecommerce shopping cart was so hard to understand my customers couldn’t buy anything.

Personally, in my youth, if a website makes it hard for me to give them my money, I’ll take my business elsewhere. But when you spend so much time, shopping, narrowing your search, finding the exact item and color and size you want and it says in stock and you click add to (whatever you want to call it) and you can’t figure out how to check out – I agree with grandpa – it is a serious deterioration of service and convenience and it is due time we rethink the way we do things.

 

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You never know what’s in store – GRWC

What an interesting day!

It started out before sunrise Saturday. I was drinking my first cup of coffee when the windows illuminated a brilliant pinkish red color – Uh oh, I thought. Red skies in the morning, sailors warning. My mother’s voice echoed in my head. This was a bad omen. Is this going to be a bad day?

As we were hooking up the trailer to the car the wind began blowing and with it came some gnarly looking dark grey storm clouds along with the spitting of the beginning of the rains. Uh oh, is it going to rain today?

I was driving down 281 when the rains began; pouring down as hard as they could, windshield wipers on high, visibility somewhat limited. Fortunately, the road was a straight-away and I was able to see something blocking the road 2-tenths of a mile in my lane. I signal, wait for the passing car on the right, because who wants to be stuck behind a rainbow colored trailer, then merge right. It was a down sign in a construction area. Good thing I saw it with plenty of time to react.

Boy, I thought as I continued driving, this sure seems like a sign. Is this a message from God telling me to go back home? But I continued driving all the while worrying, wondering, fretting.

That’s when it all changed!

I drive up to the convention center. The unload area was covered. I didn’t have to unload in the pouring rain! There were volunteers there to help me. They wheeled my tubs to my table – INSIDE – I didn’t know I was going to be inside! What a wonderful surprise on a rainy day!

Then within ten minutes of setting up, I sold an entire set of books to one lady! It was a wonderful day! There was scrumptious pulled pork sandwiches for lunch, free drink tickets, volunteers with carts of coffee and later tea for the exhibitors, free. Then later, volunteers to watch your booth while you went to the bathroom (from drinking so much tea). persistence

Maybe God put all of those deterrents and obstacles and grey clouds in front of me test me; to make sure I REALLY wanted this! Maybe I showed Him that I AM willing to do what it takes to see this project through. To better myself. To promote my educational books. To follow my dreams.

The fact of the matter is; you never know what you are in store for – until you venture out and try it. It just goes to show, persistence does pay off and red skies in the morning might actually be a good thing.

Categories: Author, Enlightenment, Inspiration | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Stop Waiting for Life to Begin

It occurred to me the other day, that we are all waiting for something.

When we are younger we are waiting for the next day. We’re waiting for school to end, waiting for the week to end, we’re waiting for the year to end. Then we wait for the summer to end, wait until junior high, wait until high school. Then after that, just wait until we finish college, wait till we get that big job, wait until we find a husband, wait until our life starts.

All that time we’ve been waiting our life is already going on. We always wait for something to happen when in reality we need to stop waiting and start living. Our life is already going on and we need to live each day to the fullest. Because just wait until the day you don’t wake up…

Wait-for-Perfect-Moment-Life-Health-Insurance-Quotes-for-Kids

Categories: Enlightenment | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Follow Me – Who am I?

follow-me-twitter

Every social media site has their ‘thing’.

Facebook is like, Twitter is tweet, LinkedIn is link, Pintrest is Pin, and a blog has follow. It wasn’t until Sunday at church that it occurred to me how conceited that is. Who am I to ask you to follow me?

Jesus said, “Come, Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men…” Matthew 4:19

follow me

Jesus promised everlasting life, THAT is TOTALLY worth following, but I can’t give you that. I have a blog. I write what’s on my mind; inspirational messages, crazy thoughts, spiritual beliefs, feelings, opinions, updates on current writing projects and just whatever I think you all would enjoy in hopes of sharing who I am with the world. And for this, I ask you to follow me.

CP54000133

Who am I to ask you to follow me?

I am a writer.
I am a woman.
I am a graphic designer.
I am a Christian.
I am a website designer.
I am a wife.
I am an educator.
I am a hard-worker.
I am a singer.
I am crazy, cooky me.

I am who God made. I am created in his own image (Genesis 1:27) and I am here to help share God’s word. I can’t guarantee it will always be God’s message (I am human afterall) but if you feel that maybe God might one day send you a message through me, then I ask you to follow me and I will do my best, at all times, to show you God’s messages in everything I do… with a little bit of self promotion thrown in for good measure.  :-)

Categories: Author, Inspiration | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Purple Carrots – They DO exist!

Call me crazy… the other day at a tradeshow it was winding down to the end. There weren’t as many shoppers, and we were waiting for the set time to start packing up. I usually take this time to sit down and drink a V8 Fusion fruit drink, to give me a little extra pep during that whole tear-down, load-up process.

So I was sitting down, drinking, and decided to read the ingredients. Yes, I was that bored. Fruit juices, carrots, purple carrots, apples… whoa! What did that say? Purple carrots? I looked again. Yes, I read that right. One of the ingredients was purple carrots. I can’t believe V8 allowed a typo! So I did a search for purple carrots just to confirm my suspicions that they made a mistake and lo and behold I found information regarding purple carrots!

Nope – those aren’t turnips.

56f8d6efb2caa3afcb4e82996d3c5a0epurple-carrots-1-550x367

img_0181Purple carrots are real in fact what you are about to learn is some of the coolest stuff I’ve come across in a while.

  • ALL carrots used to be purple!!
  • The Dutch cultivated them to become orange – what were they thinking?
  • Some carrots are red, yellow, white and pink! (How cool is that???) Pink and purple carrots, I think my childhood dream of colors that should be mixed together has just come true!
  • Not only does it have vitamin A and beta carotene…
  • The purple color comes from anthocyanin pigments (an antioxidant compound)

It’s a Super Food!!

Purple_Carrots_Copyright_2011_Carrot_Juice

Studies have found that these blue and purple pigments can improve memory, enhance vision, protect against heart attacks, act as anti-inflammatories and even help control weight.

WHY CAN WE NOT FIND THESE IN THE GROCERY STORE?!?!?

Purple-carrotsWhat else don’t we know about?

Purple potatoes, purple bell peppers, purple string beans, purple tomatoes, purple corn, purple snow peas and purple cauliflower…

cauliflower_purple_cape

YES THOSE TOO EXIST!!!

Imagine if your mom would have said, eat your purple vegetables? No mushy green, squishy orange or boring white – purple is the color of candy, Barney and flowers.

Then lets go a crazy step further – it is actually possible to turn your skin a shade of orange by massively over consuming orange carrots – I can’t imagine a boy on the planet that wouldn’t want to eat his purple carrots to see if he turns purple!

All of that – at the end of a tradeshow… I love my life!

Categories: Author, Education | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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