Sunday, December 27, 2009

Secrets, Health Care, Christmas, and More

While recovering from breast cancer surgery, I've found something I never had pre-surgery – TIME. Lots and lots of time. Of course, most of that time I'm resting or sleeping, but that part of my brain that refuses to allow me to sleep pesters me just long enough to write some blogs and articles. I present them to you here.

I also found a great link to help writers promote their blogs and I will post that here as well. I love sharing what I find and even though the blog I'll be referencing was written a long time ago and some of the links won't work, the help this writer offers is tremendous.

In light of all the discussion concerning health care, and considering I am in the midst of the debate, because I am a prime example of somebody who hasn't had health insurance, I felt able to discuss the issue from a unique perspective.

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I was able to get the help I needed because of programs that existed to help me. Others were not as fortunate and I thought of them when I wrote Health Care Reform from the Perspective of a Dead Woman. What if I had no help? Would I have told anybody? Would I have allowed myself to succumb to the disease? I answer those questions in that article.

To lighten up the mood on Associated Content, I wrote Spending Time TOGETHER at Christmas. I describe how my family discovered a way to avoid separation – revolving Christmas dinners – during the holidays.

Then I pulled up an item I had been wanting to write for a long time. Ever since
The Secret came out, I wanted to learn as much about the subject as possible. What I discovered was surprising – The Secret is more than just one secret, and it's not only about the Law of Attraction. You can read about it in the article, The Secret and The Secret – More Than One.

The newest article I wrote for AC has to do with a problem I've had for most (maybe even all) of my life, Recognizing People. If you suffer from the same problem, you might want to take a lighthearted look at a family frailty.

One of my favorite subjects is psychic phenomena and for Xomba, I wrote Psychic Kids – Crystal Children and Indigo Children. If your children or grandchildren are psychic, you might want to read about these psychic kids and start watching the program, Psychic Kids: Children of the Paranormal.

And now for the blogs:

Never Trust a Two Year Old to be Discreet – should be obvious, but it's not. Find out why.

Feminine Products in a Bachelor Pad – oh, come on, isn't the title cute?

If you want to learn about Why I Don't Date, read this blog. Maybe you have run into the same problems.

Before I leave, as promised, I would like to refer writers to 52 of the Best Ways to Promote your Blog and your Business. How could you not like 52 tips?

And finally, I ask the question, What Happened to Thank You? Thanking people seems to be a lost art. Let's find it again.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Once Upon A Time

Well, you know how the story goes, right? It starts out with, "Once upon a time," and it takes you into a magical world filled with wonder – and chaos. Then, after fighting monsters and gaining the respect of the people for whom you fought the monsters, you live life happily ever after.

I am in the monster stage, battling breast cancer and trying to stay abreast of my writing. (Did you like the play on words?)

It has been a while since I've posted anything on this blog, so I'd like to update you on some of my writings in case you would like to click on anything you find interesting.

Articles first:

On Associated Content I posted Diagnoses: Breast Cancer – Part II, which journals my recovery process from the beast in breast cancer.

I also posted on AC Pedophilia in the Workplace, which offers lots of resources to help parents whose children, knowingly or unknowingly, work for pedophiles.

On Xomba, I explore the question – Ouija Boards vs. Angel Boards – Are They Just Games? Read it and see if you agree with my perspective. (As an aside, if you would like to write for Xomba, read my previous post to find out how to write for them.)

Blogs next:

On Help For Single Parents I offer 14 Top Coupon Sites to Help with Holiday Shopping.

On My Heart Blogs to You I write about How You Can Prevent Car Accidents with the Bubble Rubber Bumper Buggy. (Be honest – you're wondering what that is.)

And, on MHBTY, I tell you about a little episode with The McDonald's Police. (Didn't know they had one, did you?)

In my Wordpess blog you can read about How My Most Embarrassing Moment Won Me a Prize. You can also read about Those Sabotaging Sisters. And you can read about How the iPhone Helps Me Write Even After I Go To Bed.

Well, I must say, this makes me look like I've actually accomplished some things despite my bout with cancer.

And so I must end this blog writing, "happily ever after."

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Writing Through Cancer

Balancing writing with everything else going on in my life right now is quite a challenge. I hate to use the symbol of a juggler, but that is exactly how I'm feeling. With so many doctor visits and with everything that accompanies breast cancer treatment, my writing life has slowed so much I can barely find the time to sit down at my computer.

But here I am, lying in bed, writing to you on my laptop getting ready to share with you what I have been doing lately.

I resurrected two poems I wrote in the 1970s, but I'm waiting until after surgery (which, if the MRI came out well, will occur this Tuesday) to post them. When I do, I will link them in a future blog.

I am also scouring my blogs to find appropriate ones to place as Xomblurbs on Xomba. If the language sounds a little bizarre, let me explain: Xomblurbs are little "blurbs" that link your blogs or articles from their original sites to Xomba. Xombytes, on the other hand, are articles you write specifically for Xomba.

Before I go any further – if, after you read this blog, you want to write for Xomba or you want to post your articles and blogs there, go to my profile page on Xomba and sign up. Please use my referral number – 777d7f91. You won't be sorry. You can draw more traffic to your previously written articles and blogs by posting them on Xomba. It's a win-win-win (win for Xomba, win for the site you write for, and win for you).

Another benefit (I think I mentioned this in a previous blog) is that they share ad revenue with their writers, so if somebody clicks on an adsense ad on a page where your Xombyte or Xomblurb appears, you get 50% of the revenue from the ad!

So that's what I've been doing, looking through all of my old blogs and posting ones that I think other people might want to read. The process is time consuming but also rewarding when I see the number of readers increase in all three areas of my writing (blogs, Associated Content, and Xomba).

Through a friend at Associated Content I have discovered another site that I will explore after my surgery. It, like Xomba, offers writers a place to post their blogs and articles and encourages them to bookmark articles written by others. I'll check it out after surgery and let you know if I think it's worth pursuing.

So far I'm very happy with Xomba and Associated Content. The reason I like Associated Content is because I am not committed to writing a certain number of articles there. With my health as it is right now, I'm grateful that I don't have to apologize for being unable to meet deadlines. The only deadline I have to meet is for Xomba, but only in its paranormal category. As one of two featured authors in that category, I had to commit to one article every two weeks.

After I'm in remission (yes, I fully expect that to happen within the year), I will try writing for other sites that expect a contractual agreement. For now, I'm happy with blogging and article writing.

Don't forget to visit Xomba. Click their Help Section and you'll easily maneuver your way around the site. After you sign up (don't forget to use my referral number 777d7f91), let me know which name you've chosen for yourself and I'll invite you to be one of my friends. I'm known as BlogWriter there.

More to come...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

UPDATE on Newest Posts

If you read my previous post, you already know I have breast cancer. It has slowed me down considerably, but I have been able to post some articles and blogs. If you have time to read them or comment on them, I would love to hear from you. I list them below:

I've had many prophetic dreams in my lifetime and I list some of them in this article. If you have had some dreams that have foretold your own future, I invite you to share yours with me.

Two women decide to help out at a homeless shelter and are surprised by the way it turns out.

At this time of year, many people rely on nasal sprays to help them through colds and flu. Not many people know, however, that they can become addicted to nasal sprays. This article serves as a warning and offers some advice for getting rid of a nasal spray addiction.

I started writing for Xomba a couple of months ago and wondered how the whole idea started. So I decided to interview Nick Veneris. He agreed to the interview. Nick came up with an idea to help writers promote their previously written articles and Xomba allows them to post new articles. Xomba also offers amazing contests where writers can win hundreds of dollars. This winning combination invited me and I haven't looked back. I invite you to read the interview.

We all know somebody who is living through emotional torment at the hands of a spouse. We may even be the spouse. This article offers advice to men and women who are suffering at the hands of an abuser.

Years ago nobody paid much attention to Attention Deficit Disorder, and when they did, they paid attention to children who suffered from it. When ADD became more well known, some adults started paying attention (well, except maybe for those with ADD), and learned that maybe the malady belonged not only to children, but to adults as well. This blog discusses one adult's possible ADD problem. (I just realized that the blog I just referred you to is old, but since I already wrote it, and since I obviously wasn't paying attention, I'm leaving it in :)

Well, as they say at the end of every Bugs Bunny cartoon, That's All Folks! More will come in the days ahead. Thank you for reading.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

My Bravest Blog Yet



I started losing my hair a couple of days ago, the result of an aggressive form of treatment for an aggressive form of breast cancer.

As a result of that significant amount of hair loss, I decided to shave the rest. Hair cascading down my back and legs felt like a bunch of wet chinchillas racing for the drain. Scary feeling, even though I knew what it was. I had to shave, because I didn't want that experience anymore every time I showered.

As far as this blog is concerned, I'll be honest – I hesitate posting it – partially because I feel embarrassed by the way I look. But I am only one of an enormous number of women who are experiencing the same problem, and I thought – why should I hide in shame?

Through it all, I try to write, but my writing has slowed significantly. I used to say that my 11-hour a day daycare was the reason I couldn't devote much time to writing. But now I have another reason – the chemo completely drains me and makes me feel as if I'm carrying a thousand pounds uphill through quicksand.

I lie in bed and rest. A lot. I can do almost nothing else. I try to drink lots of fluids too.

I'm probably losing weight, because eating is no longer enjoyable. My tongue feels as if it has sores covering the surface (it doesn't), and my lips feel as if they are on fire – always.

Added to that problem is a respiratory infection I developed, something that usually accompanies me every October with the high mold count and my asthmatic allergy to mold. But, because my resistance is low due to the chemo, cancer took advantage of my weakness and quickly turned what could have been just a cold into a full-blown infection. My breathing is now labored and I have difficulty carrying on a conversation. I am taking medication to fight the respiratory infection and hope to be rid of it by early next week.

And so, with some trepidation, I am showing you just how the chemo has affected my looks. I saw no point in putting makeup on myself in the bald photo. Nor did I see any reason for getting out of bed. Even a trip to the shower exhausts me. I do practically everything from my bed now, at least for the first week after chemo, and my last infusion was delivered on Tuesday.

For comparison, I've included a photo of the me that I was (the day just prior to my first chemo treatment) next to the me that I am (three and a half weeks later). What a difference, huh?

My fight has just begun. I am a worthy opponent to this cancerous invader. What was a 4 cm. wide tumor before my first treatment was not even detectable by my oncologist just before my last treatment. The tumor had shrunk that much!

Today, on Halloween, I received a shipment of hats and scarves from one of my dearest friends, Denise (thank you, Denise). I have a wig on hand and a wig on order. I can now change my looks every day, and as soon as I feel up to going anywhere, I will put on some makeup, walk out of my house with my head held high, and nobody who sees me will know that I have cancer.

At least until the hat or wig blows off. Midwestern winds are fierce! My second oldest daughter, Lindsey, told me the story of a woman (wife of her boss) whose sister had cancer and made the mistake of crossing a bridge when the wind picked up her wig and blew it into the Chicago River. I used to work just across the bridge on North Michigan Avenue (Michigan and Wacker) and I can attest to the wildly windy conditions. I will not be making any trips there any time soon.

One positive – I may look younger with my new wigs (I decided to get them without any white or silver at all). I haven't been without white hair in ten years!

So while you congratulate me on winning this fight, as I continue to write and hope that people will read what I write, I invite you to read some of the things I have been able to post (see below), and I wholeheartedly accept every prayer you send my way.

For more about my breast cancer journey, read Diagnosis: Breast Cancer – Part I.

(I wonder if, after I post this blog, I'll see hair replacement ads accompanying it.)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Writing Tips from a WINNING Entry!

I entered a writing contest and WON!

My 21 BEST Writing tips are culled from the many mistakes and blunders I've made over the years. Like any writer, I am constantly looking for ways to improve myself, and I include lessons I've learned along the way.

Much of the information I gathered and shared in this article came from my many writer friends who cared enough to impart their wisdom to me and from instructors who chiseled a writer from the blob of creativity that awaited form.

From the first amazing choice I made of returning to college to finally being able to congratulate myself for finishing projects amidst the chronic, incessant, and unrelenting interruptions that define my life, I now consider myself to be an accomplished writer. I invite you to click any of the links in this blog so I can share with you my discoveries.

Writers are a helpful bunch of people, by the way and, with that thought in mind, I would like to share one more thing with you. If, after reading the article, you think you would like to write for Xomba, please use my referral number: 777d7f91. I'm known as BlogWriter there and the article, My 21 BEST Writing Tips, won $250 in their most recent writing contest. They are a very generous site and I enjoy writing for them.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Diagnosis: Breast Cancer – Part I

One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. I am one in eight. Today I experienced my first round of chemo.

I wrote an article about everything leading up to today and posted it on Associated Content. If you are one in eight, or if you have a friend or relative who is affected by breast cancer, I invite you to read about my experience with the diagnosis by clicking Diagnosis: Breast Cancer – Part I.

Forgive me for this post being so short. I am feeling a little tired today.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Life Interrupted – with Breast Cancer

As a writer who has more ideas for writing than time to write about all of them, I am usually in the midst of writing several articles at the same time.

Right now, for instance, I'm putting together a new interview for my paranormal post at xomba.com (I recently had an engaging interview with Neil Tobin, Necromancer, of Supernatural Chicago, which, if you haven't read already, is located HERE), and I am putting together two surveys while writing a very personal article on how it feels to discover a diagnosis of breast cancer.

My writing career will be put on hold temporarily as I deal with the physical limitations brought on by the surgery. I'm not worried about it. I'm actually more concerned with my finances, but I was concerned about money before the diagnosis, so nothing has changed there.

I am also aware that I am one in eight women who are diagnosed with breast cancer. I have an amazing support system, lots of really great friends, all of whom I love with every ounce of love I have in me. And though you would think with that statement that I had no love left for my family, you would be wrong.

I think the more people you love, the more love you have to give. As more and more people enter your circle of love, a circle that begins at birth with your parents, your grandparents, your siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins, eventually the circle widens to include children and grandchildren and the people your friends and family love.

Once word got out that I had breast cancer, I heard from loved ones that their friends and family members were praying for me. And that's all in a period of less than a week.

I have found great resources beyond friends and family to help me through the process of getting a mastectomy. Carle Clinic has an amazing staff at their Mills Breast Cancer Institute. And places like Laugh at Cancer offer so much support I will never want for anything.

So while I go through this surgery (date yet to be determined, but it will be within the next couple of weeks), I will write as much as I can until my life is interrupted again with the surgery and the aftermath of the surgery.

Guess I'd better start writing...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Deadline Extended

Deadline for the survey is extended through this weekend. See the post Need Your Help For Research below.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

NOT TOO LATE TO PARTICIPATE

See post below to participate in two surveys – one is about life and death – the other is about cheating. Time is running out, but it's not too late!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Need Your Help For Research

Conducting Research On 2 New Articles

Please help me with the stats on these 2 new articles. You can remain anonymous. All I ask is that you answer all questions. Serious replies only, please. They can be brief.

CHEATING
1. You discover your best friend's spouse is cheating on him or her. Do you tell your friend? If yes, why? If no, why?
2. Your best friend discovers your spouse is cheating on you. Would you want to know?

ILLNESS
1. You discover you have a grave illness. Do you tell your friends and family? If yes, why? If no, why?
2. A family member or treasured friend discovers he/she has a grave illness. Would you want to know?

Please answer the above questions and leave the following information:

Your sex
Your age range (under 25, 25-40, 40 and up)

Feel free to forward this to your friends and family members as well. The more research I conduct, the better the results. Just ask them to keep the subject line as Need Your Help for Research. Send responses to:

writer721@yahoo.com

I will be gathering responses through September 15, 2009.

Thanks!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

How To Decorate Your House With Duct Tape And Other Articles You’ll Never Write

Today I am going to introduce you to a fellow Associated Content (AC) writer who helped me start my morning today laughing. I like to spend some time reading other blogs and articles, so I try to get some reading in before my daycare opens.

Well, this morning I found this little gem: The Most Bizarre Articles I (Thankfully) Never Published by Anne Baxter. Like Anne, I too, have volumes of ideas stuffed into folders or entered into a computer document entitled, “ideas for future articles” so when I came across this article, I couldn’t help but read it.

Maybe you have your own file of articles and blogs you can’t wait to write. I highly suggest, before you push the publish button, that you read this article first.

Monday, August 17, 2009

More Help For Writers!


I love great finds, and this new blog I found is definitely one I will be reading – often. The author helps writers locate online writing opportunities and discusses writing sites that PAY.

Her newest blog concerns writing for Associated Content. As an AC writer myself, I find her information invaluable. I am nowhere near the level of making the kind of money she talks about in the blog, but if you've been following this blog, you already know my daycare days are sometimes as long as 11 hours. My days leave me little (and sometimes no) time to write (which explains why I'm sitting at my computer at 1:30 in the morning writing this blog. I'll have to "wake up" in another 5 hours to prepare for my day).

But before I head back to bed, I would like to leave you with a link to this new blog: Online Writing Places. You'll get to meet other writers and learn about income-producing writing sites. Click on the link and check it out!

And for some shameless promotion, please also read my new article – 47 Ways To Build Your Child's (And Your) Self Esteem: A Self-Esteem Pilot Program for Parents and Teachers.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Dream Come True ??? Work At Home as a Writer ???

Here's my dream: to make a living as a writer (meaning I would dearly LOVE to be paid to do what I dearly LOVE to do).

So imagine my response when I came across this article 10 Best (and Real) Work-at-Home Jobs that listed as part of those 10 jobs a WRITER/EDITOR position! Oh, how I have longed for a legitimate work from home – or work at home – writing gig. And how I have longed to write articles or blogs AND get paid for writing them (and by paid I mean more than $.0015 for every person who reads my articles – that's what I make on Associated Content – if you're not good at math, it translates to this: I make $1.50 for every 1,000 people who click my articles – if you're feeling particularly sorry for me right now, please click HERE and contribute to my "trying to stay alive" fund {thank you in advance}).

Anyway, when I read that article I was, in a word, flabbergasted (I love that word) and promptly fell to the floor.

I had such great expectations that FINALLY, I had found a job I could actually do! FINALLY, I had located a job that would PAY ME to blog or to write or to edit or to do anything related to writing!

I wondered, could it be true that after all these years, a genuine work at home job existed that could provide me with some financial security? I dragged myself up from the floor and returned to my computer. With expectations running so high, I could barely use the mouse, I somehow managed to click the link.

Guess what. The link didn't work.

Why didn't it work? I could say it was because I was attempting to connect with the web site, but I am trying to remain positive here. After all, I'm sure it had nothing to do with me. Even though I've never seen this message before (although now I've seen it at least a hundred times), I'm sure that everybody else is having the same problem too: "Safari can't open the page...because the server unexpectedly dropped the connection. This sometimes occurs when the server is busy. Wait for a few minutes, and then try again."

Wait a minute? I've been waiting a minute for my whole life! YOU wait a minute – is Safari the problem? Has Safari lost its muscle? What does it mean, it can't open the page? Safari dropped the ball on this one and I have to pay for it?

Or, and this is a big OR, was the web site so overloaded with people trying to access it that it was ill-prepared for the number of people wanting the same thing I did – financial freedom and the opportunity to work at home by WRITING?

I have become morose. Before I read that article, I had hoped that somebody might actually pay me to be his or her own personal blogger. I now realize that I will be competing with zillions of people who overloaded the server dreaming the same dream I have been dreaming – of working from home as a writer.

(Slumped shoulders) if you are one of those writers who wants to compete with me and you can actually get through to this web site, Home With The Kids, please don't gloat. I would post a screen shot, but – as I said – I can't even get it to open.

Disregard what I said – if you can get through, please let me know. I'm dying to know what's on the other side.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Ghost Stories


Today I finally published my article,

Spirits of Ghosts - True Ghost Stories.


I won't talk more about the article here, because you can read it by clicking on the link. What I would like to talk about in this blog is the photo I created to attach to the article.

I wanted to create a ghostly image of a person, so I took advantage of Photoshop's amazing array of filters as I played around with the photo. I couldn't choose just anybody, of course, because to choose a child or a grandchild, or even a parent or sibling would be just asking for trouble. After all, I wanted to make the photo look ghostly. And to attach a word like "dead" to any living soul seemed a little risky.

So imagine my surprise (love these kinds of surprises) when the image suddenly took on a ghostly appearance all by itself. I am not a whiz at Photoshop. I use it as a kind of playground. And this time, I had so much fun with it, I decided to utilize it more in the future.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Writer of More than just Blogs

I LOVE writing blogs. I love the fact that in less than a day, I can post my musings. Why does it take me so long to write something so short? Because of multitudinous interruptions that include children and the incessant ramblings that crowd my brain. This blog for instance, so far, has included four interruptions already. I will include the rest of the interruptions with an asterisk.

Today * I will focus on my "in-the-works" writings as I write around all of the interruptions (it may take me all day to write them * down):

1) I am currently in the process of writing two true ghost stories but again * OK- that was a long interruption and I lost my train of thought. I don't know what else I wanted to say about the stories, except that they are both true.

2) I am * also working on a screenplay. Originally it was about two women, long-time friends, going on vacation * in a Thelma & Louise type adventure, but without both of them dying at the end. But now, having already written half of the T & L type adventure, it has turned into something a little different, so I'm combining that idea with another idea and trying to find * little pieces of time to devote to everything. *

Story of my life in one word: interrupted. *

3) I almost forgot: I'm * also writing my blogs when I can put some time into them.

Not bad – got this done in less than 2 hours. * And now to post it!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

This Writer Helps YOU Make Money From Your Writing

I just showcased a blog on one of my other blogs, Your Blog Connection. If you are a freelance writer, a freelance home writer, or even just a freelancer who wants to make money from writing, I highly recommend reading this blog (link is provided above).

The writer of the blog I showcase offers so much information, along with "tried and true" examples of her efforts to make money from writing, that (as I write in that blog) reading her blogs is "like taking a class and not having to pay for it!"

So if you want to read more about the writer who wants to help you make money from your writing, read about the Freelance Home Writer at Your Blog Connection.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Finally!


It took me so long to write this article: Children in Distress – Depressed and Anxious and it was very painful to write. The children in this article are real kids with real problems. And they are so young, mostly either 3 or 4 years old.

To think that children at that age have to deal with problems (see list in labels below) that even adults would have difficulty working through saddens me to my core.

I watched these children. I took care of them. I wish I had known how to handle their problems correctly, but I am not a psychiatrist or even a psychologist and I am left with not knowing how they are now, if they ever got the help they needed, and how many more of them are suffering with psychological disorders and not getting any help.

The only thing I could do for them was to provide a safe environment for them and only for a very short time.

Other than real help offered at the end of the article, the bright spot of this article is the photo I am attaching to this blog. He is my grandson, Nolan. The photo was taken in February 2008.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Spacky.com & Family Zip

OK, I know I only just started using Spacky, and only recently have I begun posting on Family Zip, but I have decided that I LOVE both of them. Because I write for Associated Content, I can see every day how many people read each article.

Ever since I started using Family Zip, my numbers have increased at a much faster rate than they did before I started using Family Zip. Of course not all articles would be suitable – they must provide tips for families on a variety of subjects – but other than that, it's a great promotional source for writers.

The one article I wrote using Spacky, Have a Talent You Want Others to Know About? has already generated more views in one day than any article I have ever written.

I just posted a new article, Dealing with Bill Collectors - What to Do when Bills Get Out of Control using the Spacky system of generating key words, and I'll know tomorrow how well the system worked on that article.

According to all of the valuable information I've been reading about how to promote your work and get readers, generating the right keywords assures the most success. Spacky allows me to choose words associated with my article, find out how many people are running searches on words that relate to my article, and then seamlessly weave those words into the fabric of my article.

Finding other words that closely relate to the topic and blending them into my article "effortlessly" is another challenge. What that means is that I have to write smoothly and not force the words on the page. But I love a challenge, and I think it's going to pay off.

If you drop into this blog, try Family Zip (look to your left for link) AND Spacky (link for Spacky.com is provided in previous post). Give them both a try and see if your numbers increase. Let me know!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Help for Writers Who Need Readers


Ask any writer what he or she wants most and you're likely to get this answer: readers. Finding them, however, unless they are relatives or friends, is tricky.

Writers want search engines to locate their articles and blogs, but in order to appear somewhere near the beginning of the page, they need to optimize their content. And that is where SEO comes into play. Search Engine Optimization requires web site builders to build sites that attract attention with keywords that are likely to rank high in search engines.

Figuring out which keywords searchers use to find a particular item is a problem writers encounter, but if writers respond with the right keywords, their web sites will rank closer to the top of the list, and they will have succeeded in optimizing their sites.

According to wikipedia.org, "Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the volume or quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via "natural" ("organic" or "algorithmic") search results. Typically, the earlier a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine."

Look at it this way – say you want to open a carnival, but you set it up in some remote region that hardly anybody knows about. If nobody sees your carnival, if nobody hears about your carnival, nobody is going to attend your carnival (what if nobody had heard about Woodstock).

If, on the other hand, you OPTIMIZE your carnival by carefully planning it, advertising it, and offering an amazing array of rides unlike anything anybody has ever seen, you will get flooded with visitors.

When you set up your web site or blog, you are setting up a carnival. When you place words in your site that people want to read about, you stand a chance that somebody will visit your carnival (site). Search engines look for every relevant site associated with those keywords, but with SEO, people will find you more rapidly.

Several SEO software programs exist to enable you to locate the perfect keywords, and many of them are very costly, but thanks to Donald Pennington, who introduced me to this site, here is a free one (a link to his articles appears when you click on his name):

Spacky.com is FREE. Just type in your search word, and you'll see the search results for every word related to your search item. Browse the list to see which terms are most effective (for Google, Overture/Yahoo, or Microsoft Network), and you can use those terms when labeling, tagging, and writing your article or blog.

Now go build your Woodstock!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Feeling accomplished!


Next Tuesday marks my first anniversary with Associated Content. I just published my 63rd article with them. Add to that the number of blogs I've posted since January of this year, and I am up to 188 posts! 

That may not sound like a lot to a seasoned professional who writes several articles a day and who has no other job, but when I consider that I provide daycare sometimes as much as 11 hours a day, I feel I've accomplished quite a lot.

My latest article, How to Make Cleaning House Fun, was written after I thought about my cleaning methods and how silly they might sound to others who meticulously scrub floors on their hands and knees and vacuum the entire house with one sweep. Yes, my methods are a little unorthodox, but they get the job done.

So, today, though I usually torment myself for not finishing articles at a pace I believe I should be striving to achieve, I pat myself on the back for a job well done. After all, why create all of these blogs and then punch myself for not finding 60 hours in a 24 hour day? The only person pushing me is me. 

Why am I writing this blog when I am supposed to be taking a break?

I can't stop myself from writing. Maybe it's an addiction.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Held Captive By My Own Brain


Once again I am awake at one o'clock in the morning. All I really wanted to do this evening was watch a movie I hadn't seen – and that my daughter and son-in-law lent me – and blog.

What actually happened was that the movie, which was supposed to last 2 hours and 22 minutes (The Changeling with Angelina Jolie and John Malkovich – GREAT movie and the fact that it's a true story makes it all the better) took more than 3 and a half hours for me to watch.

Not that I minded the interruptions - they were phone calls from one of my daughters and my mom, but it pushed things back an hour and I decided, because it was getting so late and I still wanted to read, that I didn't have time to blog after all.

HA!

By 11 PM I decided to go to sleep. My brain had other ideas. Like a screaming child in the next room, it refused to cooperate as it whined incessantly – I don't wanna go to bed – I wanna stay up all night – I know you have two new kids coming tomorrow – I don't care – I want you to think, and I want you to write down everything I'm saying.

As if what I am now writing is the most important news flash on the planet. Helloooooo...

(My brain just slapped me.)

I plead with my brain to pleeeeease give me just a few hours of sleep, but it refuses and drags me to the computer instead, smirking to itself because it won.

I look out through the bars of my imprisonment and ask my brain, as I look over the words I've just written, are you satisfied now? Will this blog allow me to go to sleep for the night? 

And do you know what it says to me? "Not until you apologize."

What? Seriously? Are you kidding me?

So, like the baby that wakes up screaming to play, I coddle my brain, rock it for a while, appease it, then gently say, "Fine. I'm sorry. Can I go to sleep now?"

Yes, it tells me, but only after you've eaten one of those York Peppermint Patties I'm craving.

I think I'll try to rock myself to sleep now AFTER I finish my York Peppermint Pattie.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

How To Promote Your Blogs



Whether we blog for fun or for profit, making money from blogging makes sense. Some people claim to make thousands of dollars a month from blogging, and while they are probably telling the truth, some of that money comes from selling their products. And by products, I mean programs that help you promote your blogs.

What's interesting is that these people spend inordinate amounts of time creating extremely long pages of texts and offering hundreds of videos that teach new bloggers how to profit from blogging. 

I'd like to share some of their amazing FREE information with you. (Believe me, for people like me – with hardly any income – getting free help is very welcome.)

One person who writes lengthy pages of texts and offers numerous videos is Marcus Campbell (photo on the right – not the basketball player). His Simple Sites Big Profits web site offers multitudes of videos and lots of help for those of us trying to understand the ins and outs of the blogging world. Most of what he offers is free. 

He and Brad Callen, who promotes Keyword Elite, give away so much free information, you can't help but like them, and you can't help but pick up on some of their tech talk, even if you're a newbie. I still have about thirty unwatched videos waiting in my saved file for when I find the time to watch them, and watch them I will – I've learned so much already!

As part of my own marketing research, I signed up for twitter and decided to latch on to anybody who knew anything about marketing, writing, and blogging. As a result, I am now inundated with "tweets" – I click through them to find out how I can improve my own promotion efforts with even more information than I've received so far from Marcus Campbell, but, except for Ralph Wilson, mentioned below, I find that Mr. Campbell has been my number one "go to" guy for marketing info.

Even though I'm still considered a new blogger (started in January 2009), getting people to find and read my blogs has been an upward struggle, but research has led me to more remarkable finds. So far, I can tell you this: Google AdSense is a great first step in bringing money into your blog and SocialMarker.com and buzz.yahoo are great places to start promoting your blogs. If you have family oriented content, don't forget Family Zip.

Through my research I have found viral marketing expert, Ralph Wilson (photo on the left), who allows you to copy his article, The Six Simple Principles of Viral Marketing, but I decided to provide a link instead so that you can visit his web site. Wilson's definition of Viral Marketing is this: "Viral marketing describes any strategy that encourages individuals to pass on a marketing message to others, creating the potential for exponential growth in the message's exposure and influence."

Marcus Campbell is a perfect example of viral marketing in action. You have probably already seen his face many times. 

Since I can't afford to purchase any of Campbell's or Wilson's products, I thought I would at least "give back" to them by promoting them on my blogs. The more I learn the more I will share, so happy blogging! Now let's get blogging and watch the money flow from our fingertips!
 

Monday, June 1, 2009

Blog & Article Update – June 1, 2009

As you know, if you follow my blogs, I provide day care several hours each day.  I have also been researching and writing three articles and several blogs separate from the ones mentioned below. 

Because I am working on numerous projects at the same time, I can't get to everything, so I ignored this blog. I am ashamed of myself – I started this blog, and I should continue to write this blog. Right?

However, in defense of myself, I've been really really busy, so this blog will reference a couple of my other blogs and an article (that's my lame excuse for providing synopses and titles instead of writing an actual blog).

1) My Heart Blogs To You – My "fashionable" weekend at the Institute of Art in Chicago where my daughter and I attended an Open House is required reading for fashion-conscious individuals (I am not one of them, as you will read).

2) Help For Single Parents – After receiving kudos from many people for my article, How Touch Affects Your Children (see below), Maggie Macauley, of Whole Hearted Parenting, decided to link my article to her web site later this month. Her web site is an amazing resource for single and married parents.

3) How Touch Affects Your Children (subtitled, "The Devastating Effects of Child Abuse and Neglect") – The message of this well-researched article should be delivered to EVERY parent who loves his or her child.  

Blog to you later!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

People Always Ask Me...


...how I consistently come up with so many ideas. And I tell them I can't help it – they're all around me – they just happen to me – every day.

Today, for example, as my daughter was getting ready to put her kids in my car so that we could all drive up north for a fun day with my doctor, the moment I opened my car door, I got chased around my yard by a wasp. Who could have guessed a family of wasps was camping out in the door frame of my car and that I had enraged them by attempting to move their home.

Bees, hornets, wasps – stingers frighten me. They would frighten you too if you were told at the age of 13 that you were allergic to bees, and that three stings would kill you. Especially if the doctor didn't explain if he meant all at once or over a lifetime. And what about hornets and wasps? It was enough to drive a perfectly rational person into a state of insanity. And if you ever saw me (or my mother or my sisters) anywhere in the vicinity of a bee, you would understand. Or not. You would probably have any one of us committed.

But getting back to the wasp...after I noticed the nest, we all decided to ride in my daughter's car. I kept wondering what might have happened if we hadn't noticed the wasp nest, and about how ironic it would have been to have died from an allergic reaction to a wasp sting while on my way to see my allergist.

I could think of nothing else the whole day and waited until nightfall to drown the nest in bug spray. I read the directions on the can carefully, and with legs wobbly, snuck quietly to the car hoping the wasps wouldn't hear the jackhammer in my chest as I neared their new home. 

I opened the door and prayed they were all sleeping. At first I couldn't find the nest. It was too dark. I envisioned them smelling my fear and attacking me all at once as I aimed the can at the hive, afraid I might be holding it backwards. There I would have been, a swollen mass of bumps, dead in my own driveway. I sprayed and sprayed and sprayed and sprayed until I was standing in a puddle of bug spray.

I looked again at the directions. It said to wait 24 hours before removing the hive, but it didn't say how to remove it, or where to put it. 

I see no way out of this. I'm just going to have to get rid of my car.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Making up for lost time.


Well, here it is – 2:30 in the morning and I'm making up for lost time. Everything that happened this week was unexpected, from children in my daycare arriving too early each day, to children leaving too late, to interruption after interruption, to daily changes in plans.

Now that I can finally breathe, I find myself sleeping fitfully, where I was nearly comatose for about three hours, then woke with a start and finally just gave up trying to sleep, which is why I'm sitting here at 2:31 in the morning writing a blog.

Despite the interruptions, this week has been very productive, too. I've been writing an article about a woman entrepreneur who has designed a computer program that will make life a lot easier for people who enjoy cooking and baking.

What? How does that even connect, you're wondering? I can't tell you yet – and I'm sorry if I sound evasive – I promise that in the next couple of weeks, not only will I share the article with you, I will also introduce you to this innovative woman. 

"Fill a need and you'll succeed," should be this creative person's motto, because she certainly has succeeded in filling a need.

More on her later. Now it is time for me to return to my bed and hopefully find the same peace you see here with two of my grandchildren, Kaden and Zac, in this blurry photo.

Sweet dreams!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Old Letter Resurrected

Though I already blogged on here today (see post below), I couldn't help but add this little ditty (I've always liked that term, though I think it applies more to songs, but, oh well). 

Like most writers trying to break into the writing arena, I have been pushing myself beyond my perceived limits. Sometimes I forget how long I've been trying. CLICK HERE to find out just how long I've been working on honing my skills (and actually it goes waaay back to when I was a child shortly after the dinosaurs died off). 

DISTRACTIONS!


Excuse #1 for not posting to this blog in a few days:
I've been writing my other blogs and promoting my newest article:
Excuse #2
I've been taking care of children
Excuse #3
I've been researching an article I'm writing
Excuse #4
I've been sick with another COPD attack

Remedy #1 Here is my new post
Remedy #2 Tomorrow is Saturday
Remedy #3 I still have lots of research to conduct
Remedy #4 Prayers, meds, and as much rest as possible.

And now about the research. I am writing about a topic that has interested me for decades – touch deprivation. Not much has been written on the subject, though some heartbreaking research was conducted on rhesus monkeys years ago. 

Right now, this article is going in a hundred different directions. Trying to corral all of the thoughts and research into one cohesive article is a challenge as I wrangle words from various sources and combine them with thoughts from my head. This subject touches me deeply (pun intended) on so many levels, it's hard to write objectively.

But I forge ahead.

Write on!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Study and Learn!


As my income performs like a magician in a vanishing act, I find myself grasping at anything and everything I can find that might improve my financial standing in the Universe. From trying to teach myself html (I haven't looked at the book since before my family came to visit and they're already gone), to trying to understand the concept of blog promotion, I have been spending every available minute focused on writing and blogging – well, when I'm not providing daycare.

In my spare time, I stand on a corner in cyberspace announcing my presence to the cosmos, and so far – with this blog anyway – only 6 people have heard my whine for recognition. 

So I thought, hmm, maybe I'm not the only blogger who isn't getting noticed. Why not offer a blog that allows other bloggers to get recognition? I  would link that blog to their blog, and I would showcase their blog with a blog about their blog. Is it possible to say the word "blog" too many times in a sentence?

Not one to allow a good idea to whither away, I came up with Your Blog Connection. And I'm ready to go to work. So if you know of anybody who would like to see their blog showcased, let me know. You might even want to choose your own.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

For your MOM (or friends who are moms)

SHARE THIS LINK with your mom or friends who are moms. Guaranteed they will love it.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

My Prize and My Addiction


One Christmas, my sister Cindy handed out a bunch of tiny wrapped presents and told all of us NOT to open them until everybody had one of those lightweight gifts in our hands. I'll tell you what it was in a couple of seconds.

But first I want to relate what I got in the mail yesterday. I received my prize from winning The Writer's Digest first ever Script Notes Writing Contest. (For details – or if you are reading this blog for the first time, click HERE.) And when I opened my PRIZE, my first thought was not, – oh, look, my book – it was, Oh, Wow! Bubble Wrap!

Yes, that was what was inside those tiny gift-wrapped presents my sister handed out. It remains one of the most enjoyable memories in my life. Babies, teenagers, parents, and grandparents alike broke open those gifts and popped away as we laughed with joy over our new toy.

So what is it about bubble wrap that I love so much? Is it the empathy I feel for the air trapped inside the plastic? Is it the pleasure of pinching the bubble and hearing the pouf of air? Is it the popping sound of several bubbles exploding all at once that I so enjoy?

Whatever  the reason, I would like to take this opportunity to thank people who will probably never read this blog: Chad Gervich for coming up with the contest idea, Writer's Digest for giving Chad Gervich the platform upon which he could present his contest, Larry Brody for agreeing to send me his book, Television Writing from the Inside Out, and Alfred Fielding and Marc Chavannes, the inventors of Bubble Wrap for their ingenious idea. 

Now to read the book so I can figure out how to bring my concept for the sitcom to the television screen. Or maybe I'll make it a movie...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Why Do I Keep Finding Myself in a Twilight Zone Episode?


After my Writer's Digest win, I decided to join tvwriter.com. So I filled out all of the necessary information, got my user name and password and entered data into my profile.

As I worked on my profile, I saw the font getting larger and larger and larger until the fourth word completely consumed the third word, the third word completely consumed the second word, the second word completely consumed the first word, and I couldn't see the rest of the 200 words I'd written. I panicked. 

I spent the next half hour trying to fix the html code (after all, I am nearly a tenth of the way through my html dummies book – I could figure this out, right?). A half hour later, it was readable, but the spacing wasn't right. I decided, since it was now way past my bed time, that I would live with it.

Before I went to sleep, however, I decided that I owed it to myself to at least check around the site and see who else might be on there. That's when time warped. Every single person on the site signed up for it two to three years ago. The day they signed up was apparently also the last day they ever signed on.

Would this be my last day on Earth?

Or – did I sign up for a club where I was its only member? So I did what any tired writer would do – I went to bed – and prayed for my life.

The next morning, still alive, I looked for TVWriter.com and and found a site that did NOT look at all like the site I signed up with the previous night. Time warps are so confusing. Somehow I signed up for an affiliate site that sits in cyberspace, alone – except for maybe in the Twilight Zone.

(photo above borrowed from imdb.com)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Coming Up With Ideas and Losing Them


Coming up with ideas has always been easy for me. Remembering to write them down, however, used to be a problem. Everywhere I looked I saw opportunities for writing – an unusual phrase, a quirky look, headlines that took my breath away, a comedic twist on a serious issue, or a serious spin on a comical event. Everything became fodder for articles, blogs, books, screenplays, and more.

But, as is sometimes a problem for me, I get in the way of myself. Having been classified as a scatterbrain by more than one person, my amazing ideas would get scribbled into corners of envelopes that sometimes mistakenly got thrown away. If the only thing available to write on was the torn edge of a magazine, I used it. 

And a child ate it. 

Newspaper white space, coupons, and yes, even the beloved Post-It were items I used to scribble ideas. (I LOVE Post-Its – I usually decorate my computer with them – ideas, ideas, everywhere.) 

But a fierce wind would blow them away, and I would lose them.

Over the years, I learned to invest in tiny spiral notebooks where I recorded my thoughts and insights. I even placed my Post-Its in them. Eventually I amassed a trunk full of ideas.

My friend Kenny, the wizard of ideas, mastered the art of idea keeping long before I bought my trunk. He carries a huge notebook filled with ideas and drawings. Every time he hears something funny or odd, every time he witnesses an awesome sight, and every time he thinks of something profound or unusual, he records the ideas in his notebook. So organized! (He {along with his wife} would probably laugh if he heard me say that about him.) 

Because he shared his idea-keeping skills with me, I became more organized with my ideas. And now (long overdue) I would like to thank Kenny for helping me organize my ideas. So, my treasured friend, thank you!

If you google Kenny Haas, you will note that he was the script writer for the Disney's Aladdin Look and Find book. Very creative. Until Kenny told me, I never realized that Look and Find books required writers.

The photo above shows Kenny entertaining children with his stories.

Friday, April 24, 2009

REMINDER!

This weekend, beginning tonight at 6 PM is
NATIONAL DREAM WEEKEND
which coincides with the
GLOBAL LUCID DREAMING EXPERIMENT
Phone numbers, email addresses, and 
more information is listed HERE.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

One Creative Lady


Hand made artistic items have always impressed me. Whether they appear in the form of art, writing, music, or design, the people who spend time focusing on their talent inspire me.

Fortunately for me, etsy.com is filled with creative inspirational people – the entire web site is dedicated to artisans who create everything from booties for babies to sketches of homes to exquisite jewelry. etsy.com is tailor-made for the person who loves unique items.

As you search through items on etsy, every once in a while you find a creative talent whose artistry synchronizes with current events. Marcia Hellmuth, Penciled By Marcia, is one of those people.

When the housing market crashed into the basement, many people lost their homes – homes they treasured. Marcia’s artwork offers these people a way to hang on to the memory of their home. Her artistic renditions of the family dwelling give people who have lost their homes a heartwarming gift they can mat, frame, and hang in their new home or apartment. They may have lost the home they loved, but they can hang its memory in their living rooms.

Some people love their homes but have to move for financial reasons or job changes. A hand sketched drawing of their favorite home makes a lovely addition to the artwork in their new home.

You don’t have to lose your home to hang a drawing of it. Maybe you still own your home and love it enough to have a sketch of it hanging in your parlor or foyer.

Do you have a son or daughter who has moved away from home? A drawing of home will remind them of you.

While Marcia’s main request is for drawings of homes, she also gets requests for sketches of boats, farms, or even a favorite pair of boots.

Looking for a parting gift for a retired co-worker? Why not give your co-worker a drawing of the building where he or she spent every working day?

Or how about a drawing of your favorite vintage automobile or an antique table given to you by your grandmother?

All you have to do is take a clear picture (make sure the sun is at your back or that you have plenty of lighting – shadows in the photo will appear in the drawing) of your home or item, and send it to Marcia at mm.hellmuth@gmail.com.

The drawings usually measure 8”x10” or a little larger, and she charges between $75 and $100. Penciled By Marcia accepts Visa, Master Card, Discover or Paypal.

The sketch above is one of Marcia’s.

Friday, April 17, 2009

RECOGNITION


The one thing writers want, other than the satisfaction of engaging in the process of writing, is recognition. I tend to whine about my invisibility in my wordpress blog, but today, the whining has stopped, because of this one thing that made all my hours of writing and researching worthwhile. 

Click on the link above to read about my win.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Back from Vacation


(photo: left to right Wes {my daughter-in-law's nephew}, Zac {my grandson}, Kaden {my grandson}, Taylor {my granddaughter}, Ayla {my great granddaughter}) 

Wow! What a trip. Literally – don't you just hate when people use that word? – but check out My Heart Blogs to You to find out how. I also posted pictures of my son and his wife, some of my grandchildren, and my great granddaughter (if you're interested).

Getting away from the repetition of my 11-hour a day daycare was amazingly refreshing. I feel GREAT! 

I've been blogging all day (well, in between taking care of little ones). With so much to do and so little time to do it, I find myself racing to the computer with thoughts I just HAVE to jot down. I'm also writing a children's book based on a story I tell the kids once in a while. It's the only one they ask me to repeat. I'd give you a sneak peak, but it's a jumble of words right now and it would look insanely ridiculous.

I've also been posting on my web site, so I've been really really busy, as always.

What has given me this extra energy, I think, is that for the first time in 28 years, I slept for six hours straight last night. It was Ahhhhhhsome.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Posting New Web Site


11-hours a day providing child care gives me precious few moments of "down" time. Those are the only times I can write, research, and read. These past several days especially have been HORRENDOUS with a capital H. Today's quiet time is the first time since last week that I have found one pleasurable moment of peace. 

In addition to writing my blogs and articles, however, I am also setting up a web site for incest survivors. With no background whatsoever in building a web site, I am constantly barraging the help desk with requests for HELP (another capital H).

So my time is scattered like the leaves on my lawn, left over from last fall when they fell through storms of torrential rains, waiting to be shredded in the newness of Spring. Oh, so poetic.

As far as the way the web site looks, forgive me for its appearance. I have been trying and trying and trying and trying and failing miserably to make it look the way I want it to look. I'm hoping eventually to work out the kinks, but in the meantime, if you know any incest survivors, I invite you to invite them to the site.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Tasers for Teachers!


Inspiration for these blogs comes from a variety of places. Yesterday, as I was mourning the empty space in my soul where the career I'm still waiting to call mine is supposed to reside, my friend Denise called. Just so you know, every time I type her name, it first comes out as Dense – not that I consider her dense. Denise is just funny.

Denise is also my former Beatles buddy. We attended a Beatles concert in August, 1965, where we jumped around like a couple of hysterical teenagers, and John Lennon waved at us. Yes, we are that old. And yes, Denise, I still say, he waved at US, because WE waved differently from everybody else and HE NOTICED US! There!

Yesterday, when I divulged my depressive thoughts to Denise, we talked about all of our depressing circumstances. Denise is an instructor at a college in southern Illinois. She's afraid she'll get fired, because the president doesn't like her ideas.

At their last meeting, where they discussed ways to manage their rude and unmanageable classes, and the president of the college asked for suggestions, Denise offered her own remedy for keeping her classes in line – tasers for teachers. 

Her president was not impressed. I, however, couldn't stop laughing after hearing her suggestion. I imagined all these prim and proper educators expecting miraculous remedies for unmanageable classes, and Denise suggested tasers. How could they not laugh?

OK, I guess I'll have to agree with Denise and file that in the "things not to say" drawer, even though I'm sure John Lennon would have written a song about it.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

POSTING OTHER BLOGS

I'll be posting blog connections here that I've made from my Associated Content article. One is already posted. The article is located here: BLOGGERS - Let's Share Blogs!

Also, view connections I've already made by looking at bloggers I follow. I hope to make even more great connections!

1,001 Ways to Avoid Writing: #15 Tackle spring cleaning.

1,001 Ways to Avoid Writing: #15 Tackle spring cleaning.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Writing Takes a Back Seat


My goal has always been to make my living as a writer. More than writing though, I wanted to be a mom. When my kids grew up, I reasoned, THEN I could write. And if it didn't happen when they grew up, if I needed to perform some other tasks that took me away from writing for a majority of the day (because money wasn't coming from my writing), I could always look forward to retirement. 

I never really looked so far into the future, though, that I considered I would also be blessed with grandchildren and great grandchildren – so many people – so much love. 

My days are divided into segments where my day job (daycare) takes sometimes as much as 11 hours a day and writing occurs only when and if possible. I had hoped I would be an established writer by now.

But when family and friends call, email, or visit, goals I set for writing get put on the back burner. The back burner is ready to topple over.

At one time, I felt like the Jimmy Stewart character in my favorite movie, It's a Wonderful Life. For so long, finances were so bad, I had to claim bankruptcy. My expenses were more than double my income. I sometimes felt as if I should throw myself off a bridge just to see if an angel would think me worthy of rescue. 

But the frustrations of writing with so many interruptions were, I discovered over the years, offset by the love I received from every member of my family and from the great friends I have.

Even though everything took me away from my writing, I found snippets of time to write little things that could be added to other little things that eventually grew to bigger things. I found online communities that supported my articles and my blogs. 

I found angels everywhere – family members who actually took the time to read my blogs and my articles, friends who took the time to comment. And new acquaintances who told me I was doing a great job. 

Family and friends will always come first and I look forward to whatever interruptions I get from them. I rely on the phone and email to connect me to loved ones and I live for photos like the one above, when my daughter-in-law, who lives with my son (a U.S. Marine) and their three children, sends me little treasures every once in a while that mean so much to me. My grandson Kaden wrote a "G" for Grandma, reminding me of the importance of family connections, and he gave me a reason to write this blog.

Aside: while I was writing this blog, I asked Audrey (my granddaughter) to give me just a few minutes to write – four and a half hours later, my blog is finished!

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