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Not done yet, I guess

I thought writing about my classmate dying and how she bullied me yesterday would help. I think it did, but I’m not done yet. 

I feel so guilty today about comments I made yesterday to friends. Ellen hasn’t impacted me in nearly 50 years so why can’t I let it go? 

I remember going home from school and telling my mom what was happening. Her response? She taught me that “sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” Boy, was she wrong. It is much easier to recover from sticks and stones and almost impossible to recover from hurtful words. I also remember that I quit telling my mom what was happening. I just turned it all inward, assuming that it was me and no one else. 

I hope we are teaching our children differently today. Bullying is real and always has been. It shouldn’t be swept under the rug. It also isn’t the person being bullied’s (or taunted or whatever) fault. 

Kindness, my friends. We need more kindness. 

Bullying

I haven’t blogged in ages. Guess I haven’t had much to say. But something happened today and I really need to talk about it. I actually posted something on facebook and realized it would sound insensitive and cruel so I deleted it. 

Here’s what happened:

I got a text from a high school classmate that one of the girls in my elementary school had died. Her name was Ellen. Not sure what happened but I understand she has had some heart issues and collapsed in a parking lot. When she got to the hospital, she was brain dead. The family turned off the machines yesterday. 

Just hearing her name brought forth a rush of childhood memories. None of them pleasant. Ellen was a bully. She teased me mercilessly, tormented me and even punched me. She was the biggest girl in 5th grade and I was the littlest. I was also fairly new to the town and school. I remember when I started wearing a training bra (not sure what I was training for though). She was constantly snapping the back and making fun of me. I went home from school crying on a regular basis. Back then you would say she was picking on me. Today, she would be labeled a bully. 

I will never forget the time she took my clothes and hid them in gym class. Seriously, I was in the shower and my clothes were gone. What does a tiny little 10 year old girl do (one who already feels insecure and shy) when she has no clothes to put on. She stands in the shower room and bawls her heart out until a teacher comes to find her. 

I never hated Ellen. I was afraid of her and did everything I could to hide from her. A friend of mine told me today that Ellen and her friends beat her up in high school over some boy. She was not a nice person back then. I hear she has changed but all I know of Ellen is that she was a bully. 

I heard the news of her passing today and I can’t quit crying. It is sad that she died so young. I’m sure it will be hard on her family. But it brought a rush of bad feelings to me. I cried because of the way the memories made me feel. I cried because I remembered being felt to feel like I was nobody. I cried because I remembered what it was like to be scared. I cried because I can’t feel bad that someone died because they were so hateful to me. 

Bullying has long lasting effects. Even the fairly mild bullying I experienced. I’m sorry for the loss of someone so young. But I’m more sorry for all the things this brought to mind today. 

Big Project Showing Progress

Ever have one of those projects that sounds so cool and you think won’t really take long? Yeah, me too.

Back in November, I hatched this idea. You can read about my first blog about it here. Then life got in the way. Finally after several months, I revived the project. And have finally been able to get a dozen YouTube clips posted of Blossom reading. You can see the clips here. But when you go, please be sure and look around the rest of the site a bit.

I have more books to read, but since I’m using a volunteer to video them, I have to wait until that works out again. But I am always still looking for more children’s authors. Picture books are one of my biggest weaknesses but unfortunately the publishing houses are impossible to work with. Besides, independent authors are the best anyway! So, if you, or someone you know, are a children’s picture book author, please consider being a part of this project.

The plan is to post a new book reading once a month (I would be happy to do once every two weeks if I have enough books). I need your help. And a special thank you to the authors who I am already working with – Bette A. Stevens, Judi Light, Russ Towne, Dr. Stephanie Cox, Dana Lehman, G. Gilman Wheeler.

Look at these pictures of their book covers – they are wonderful! You should buy them all.

IMG_2945 IMG_2946 IMG_2947 IMG_2948 IMG_2949 IMG_2950

I’m baaaaccckkkkk!

Yep, one of my resolutions (I hate making those, don’t you?) is to restart blogging here on a daily basis again. I have missed all of you – and yet, I keep getting followers. I miss blogging but once I quit doing it every day, I got out of the habit and it was always something I was going to do later. Later never came.

But now, I’m back!

So, here are my New Year’s resolutions

  1. Blog daily on my Thanksgiving blog
  2. Blog at least three days a week on my poetry by pamela blog
  3. Seriously think about my health – I’ve already cut nearly all diet soda out of my life and started drinking lots of water. Now I need to be more mindful of what I’m eating and lose some weight. The stress of this past year has not been kind to my waistline.
  4. Write more. I need to devote a set amount of time each week to writing. I have poems in my head that are waiting to be put onto paper (or a computer screen). And I have a book that is ready to be put together. I have to make this a priority.
  5. Read more. I have missed reading lately and it makes me cranky.

I really have had quite the year in 2014. You can read the complete (hopefully not terribly boring) recap over on my poetry blog. What? You don’t follow me there? You should – just click here and it will take you straight over there. You can read about my year too if you fancy a long read.

Okay, I’ve bared my soul to you on what I’m planning to do this year. How about you? Do you make resolutions? Care to share what they are? Let’s make 2015 an amazing year – together!

Calling all Children’s Authors

I have a project in mind for our Early Childhood Initiative we are involved with at work. But I need your help.

I want to do YouTube videos of me reading books for young children. But the copyright laws are funny things and don’t permit me to do that unless they are public domain or I seek out and get permission from each author. The purpose of this project is to add the videos to our website (which is still under construction, but will be childrenreadytolearn.com). We are interested in promoting reading and reading with your own children. But sometimes parents need a little help. Plus, we have a reading mascot (Blossom the Book Butterfly) whose costume I would be wearing in the video.

By allowing me permission to use your book to read to children through video, your book would be promoted with a link – and if it is available in a paper book, I would also be purchasing your book. The videos would also be promoted on our local United Way Facebook page, through twitter, plus my own Facebook page and both my professional and personal twitter pages. Plus you will be able to promote it through your own blog, Facebook, twitter, etc.

I would love to promote indie authors as we encourage reading for our youngest children everywhere.

If you are interested in partnering with me on this venture, please send me an email at pamela984 at yahoo (dot) com.

Line Drawing of Blossom the Book Butterfly

Line Drawing of Blossom the Book Butterfly

Life is Scary

Please read and share. Reblogs are welcome to spread the word on this very important subject.

October is a scary month. There is Halloween of course. But it is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Domestic violence is a frightening thing. It seems to permeate our society. We think it is only happening to other people. Other as in “poor, other races or cultures, or lower ‘class’ people. Certainly not our middle class friends or family.

WRONG!

Domestic violence does not discriminate.

I was a young bride from a well known solid middle class white church going family. Then the unthinkable happened. My husband shoved me. I hit my head and it bled as head wounds bleed. What had I done? I thought it had to have been my fault. I would be a better wife. He apologized and said he would never do that again. He told me how much he loved me. I believed him.

Until it happened again. At his parents house out of state. He took my daughter after he hit me and I said I would leave him. I was distraught. I would have done anything he said to get her back. I went to his family. In case you’ve ever questioned it, blood ALWAYS wins. I thought his sister and I were best friends. They all thought I was lying and I evidently did something to provoke him. Somehow it was my fault. His dad even said “you kids work this out”.

We did. Kinda. For a short time. Until it happened again.

I gathered up my daughters things and did the only thing I knew to do. I went to see my dad. It was the hardest thing I had ever done. I was admitting to failure. I was asking my dad for money to file for divorce. I refused to live like that. You see, I was strong enough to say no more. I was one of the lucky ones. I got away. It wasn’t easy.

My daughter was a victim of date abuse. As a DV victim myself I should have recognized the signs. I missed them all. She left him and he was out of her life without tragic outcomes.

I don’t know the exact statistics but I think it is something like 1 in 4 women will experience abuse. Power and control don’t always mean beating to a bloody pulp (although many times it escalates to that).

Last night I was reminded that it can happen anywhere. Andrea called me sobbing. A mother’s first response is that something is horribly wrong. Her first words were “I’m okay mom. And Soren’s okay”. Still I knew it was something horrible.

I was visiting my dad so I stepped from the room because I didn’t know what was wrong but wanted to filter it before he worried.

She told me a story of hearing her neighbors screaming and yelling at each other a lot. She said she generally couldn’t hear what they were yelling but knew if she thought he was hitting her or threatening, she would call the police. She never called because she didn’t feel it was warranted.

Then she told me she had been out of town for a couple of days and returned home after picking Soren up from school. Her neighborhood was crawling with cops. They wanted to talk to her about her neighbors. She only talked to them outside so Soren didn’t overhear. They said it was an ongoing investigation and couldn’t tell her what was going on. She called the landlord to get more information.

The man in the apartment downstairs allegedly (he’s in custody but I suppose there’s a chance he didn’t do it) beat his two year old to death. The couple’s three month old was taken into protective custody with CPS. Andrea says the mother is missing.

Part of me is glad she wasn’t home to witness this. Part of me knows she would have called police and may have saved this child’s life. I just know she is feeling guilty for not calling it in before. I told her not to feel guilty. She would have intervened if she had felt the need.

I’m glad my family is safe. But feel horrible for this family. Children should never have to worry about being safe with their parents. I hope the mom is found and is safe and I hope she wasn’t involved.

Domestic Violence is everybody’s business. It impacts us all.

http://m.helpguide.org/articles/abuse/domestic-violence

Please read and share. Reblogs are welcome to spread the word on this very important subject.

Off Topic

This may be a bit off topic. But I’ve been wondering about some things as I read blogs. I try to always visit the “About” page of new blogs. And really people, if you don’t have an about page, you need one. How else will we learn about you – not just about what you’ve written.

Anyway, I am feeling woefully inadequate these days. I think I’m a pretty interesting individual – but then I read some of these “about” pages and see that other people are doing so many things. Sure, I could put in my page that I am a musician (vocals and keys), but I only dabble in it these days. I could say that I enjoy interior design, but it’s only my own home. I could say that fashion is important to me, but, again, it is really only for my own enjoyment. I could say that I am a crocheter/cross stitcher, but I really don’t do that much anymore. I do write poetry, but still have trouble saying I’m a writer/author. I’m not a pet owner, my daughter is grown, I only have one job and I spend my spare time reading.

I’m truly not a boring person though. I have a lot of friends, I enjoy football (okay, maybe enjoy isn’t a strong enough word), I love concerts/plays/lectures, I spend time with my elderly father as I can and visit with my daughter and grandson (but they don’t live close enough to see often), I love summer and being outdoors (even if it is just sitting with a book). And speaking of books, they transport me to different worlds with different people. I am very content. I love to laugh as much (or more) as the next person. So why am I feeling inadequate? I guess I don’t really have an answer for that. Maybe I just don’t talk about myself enough (or I don’t lie on my resume).

But maybe it is time to spruce up my “about” page. I’ve done several author interviews lately and I always feel a little uncomfortable talking about myself and what I do. Trust me, I’m not boring and I don’t just sit around and do nothing all the time. I have a full life with more interests than time. So, what do I put in my “about” page? Leave it as it is or build up my personal resume?

Oh, and by the way, if YOU don’t have an “about” page, why not?

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