Two Crazy Weeks

     We just finished two crazy weeks! My oldest child moved back home after being away at college,. My youngest had end of grade testing. My middle child had a trip to the ER, with a bout of pneumonia, one week and her high school graduation the next.

     Even though it has been hectic around here, I am thankful. Thankful my firstborn is returning home for the summer (I’m sure there’ll be an adjustment period for us all!) She did well her first year away from home. We're thankful she has grown even closer to her Lord while at college.

     We’re also happy our son did well as a homeschooled first-grader. His reading skills have improved over the year, even if his eagerness to read hasn’t. Hopefully, he did well on his EOG’s but if not, we’re thankful he was not stressed about them. We're glad we are in a position to use standardized tests the way they were intended to be used.

     We’re definitely thankful our middle child’s health is improving and was well enough to enjoy her graduation. While she doesn’t have a clear direction in her life, we're grateful she's earnestly seeking God’s guidance for her future vocation, mate, etc. We know what God has started He will bring to completion.

     I have to keep my “crazy” days in perspective. I have so many friends who are struggling with life-threatening illnesses, a spouse's death, a job loss, or rebellious teens.  Stress is stress no matter how you look at it, but it’s good to remember things could always be worse. Life can change in an instant. Cherish what you have while you have it. Slow down and savor life. Be thankful, even in the midst of the chaos.



Blogs, Widgets and Twitters...Oh My!


Social networking—two words engraved in the minds of writers. Publishers want to know how many people are interested in what you have to say. The future of your (publishable) writing depends on it. For the tech-savvy people it’s a breeze. For the rest of us it’s a colossal tornado threatening to propel us into a permanent black hole. Apparently, I needed to prepare for the emergent storm of technology.   

     My first perception of blogging was a vision of logs blocking a waterway. Taking time to blog would slow down my “more serious” writing. Deeming it unnecessary, I resisted it until I attended a writers’ workshop and learned its’ value.
     A blog is a venue to share your thoughts, your writing and resources to assist others. If well written, a blog will reach more people and in less time than it takes to publish and sell a book.  While only blogging once or twice a week, I decided this was a road worth taking. 
     The first time I heard about widgets I thought the term applied to a group of imaginary people like the “oom-pahs” in the Land of Oz. Even my thesaurus states a widget is a “thingamajig” or “doohickey.” 
     I didn’t think publishers were interested in the thingamajig that rattles in my van or the doohickey I use to pull weeds out of the flowerbed, so I went in search of a computer widget.
     Surprisingly, the term has been around for over 25 years. Where was I? Oh yes, I was a newlywed. I wasn’t thinking about widgets.
     A widget is a window gadget. It serves as a virtual button to click on (with a mouse or pointer) which then takes you to a linked website. I have found widgets to be nice visuals. I use them on my blog to link my readers to things I think they will enjoy or find helpful.
     After writing a blog post and including photos and widgets then it is a good idea to let others know how to find your post. You can provide a link to it on a facebook page or you may want to tweet about it.
     I highly recommend a wonderful e-book, “Social Marketing for Writers: How to Blog, Tweet and Peep Your Way onto America’s Best Seller List” by Edie Melson. Her simple step-by-step directions are so clear anyone can learn to blog and tweet.
     It took awhile for Twitter to spark my interest but, once I got the hang of it, I liked it. 

     Twitter can be used like a commercial or billboard. You send very short messages (140 characters or less). Writers can advertise their blog posts, their recently published works, etc. You can also retweet someone else's tweet and point people to helpful information in another arena. Melson suggests your tweets need to promote others more often than chirping about yourself. I like that. 

     Some people have an aversion to the ever-changing technology. We have no interest in the latest gizmos and what-cha-ma-call-its. You’ll never see us in a computer store. Often we close our eyes to it all saying, “There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.”
     Dear friend, sometimes we must face our fears. With a little education and determination, we can equip ourselves to safely ride that whirlwind. Perhaps we’ll utilize its power to thrust our writing to greater heights.