I opened my WordPress tab this morning, like I do most days.  Colorful photos caught my eye, along with headings for blogs written by friends I have come to know through their artistic creations.

Most days I go straight to my writing tasks, but today I paused to admire the handiwork … and I started scrolling.

I found poetry blogs, and how-to blogs, and inspirational blogs. I found blogs about the Theology of Carrots ( “We hide our best underground”), Carl Jung’s view of the human psyche (“Very often do we see our own faults in others”), and Peaceful Shit (“Just when I thought things were getting good; Good shit never lasts long.”).

This last one made me chuckle, mostly because the author speaks the truth; “good shit never lasts long.”

But if we didn’t have bad shit, we wouldn’t appreciate the good shit. And, as everyone knows, shit happens. And the world goes round and round …..

And I’m scrolling ….

“Validation is for Parking.” This is an interesting insight.

“Frankly, the validity others provide for us has nothing to do with us. It has all to do with how THEY see themselves and their world.”

I agree with the author. We all have our realities, our own perceptions, about life and the world, which we created based on who we are, what we believe, and our experiences up to this point. No one seems the world in exactly the same way.

The author goes on to say that we need to validate ourselves instead of looking for others to do it for us.

“… we need to learn how to embrace ourselves, learn how to live our lives without asking for another’s permission or acceptance. It is our life. Our journey. ”

And I’m scrolling ….

I see my Blog #2, In My Father’s Footsteps, Chapters 31 and 32, with the familiar family photos I use to decorate my father’s stories. I impulsively click on Chapter 32, though the words are firmly planted in my mind. My motives are purely honorable; research, I tell myself. And Validation.

“My dad was my hero. I’m sure most little girls see their fathers that way. And though my relationship with my dad hasn’t always been the best, he was there when I needed him most, and for that, I am very grateful.”

A few years ago, I found a box filled with typed pages, memories about his life, which he transformed into fun and entertaining stories about his childhood, his time in the Navy, being the oldest boy in a Catholic family, and what he thought about life in general.

I changed it up a bit in Chapter 31, letting my mother take the reins to tell the story of how she and my dad met.  (Despite everything that was against them, they managed to hang on to each other for nearly 50  years.)

They were married Oct. 24, 1959. They caused quite a scandal back then. They had both been married before and divorce wasn’t as accepted as it is today. (And besides, my father was Catholic; definitely a no-no for that denomination). Mom had three kids from her previous marriage. Dad had two, but only Tim came to live with them. And after they were married, they had five more.

If that wasn’t enough, they survived a horrific experience when Dad nearly died in a car accident in 1967. And once the older kids became teenagers, they had to deal with drugs, unplanned pregnancies, and the draft (It was the ’60s, after all).

A few years later, they had to go through it all again with the second batch of kids. By this time, they were either too tired to care, or figured that life was too short to get too stressed about it and learned to relax a little.

“’Story of our lives…’ she tells me.  And she is not wrong.”

And I’m scrolling ….








Challenge #11-Oops

How could I miss # 11? It’s the one where I write about what’s on my mind.  It’s 11 o’clock at night. After working 13 hours, the only thing that’s on my mind is sleep. But there is something else…writing challenge11

Have you ever heard of Flipboard? It’s pretty cool. You get to make your own magazine. Well, actually, it’s a collection of articles about subjects you want to read about. You get to choose various topics and the computer finds them for you and puts them all in one place.

I heard about it when I attended a workshop to learn all about Hootsuite, which is kind of like a dashboard for your social media. It’s great for people who use a variety of social media platforms for their organizations.

As I was looking through my flipboard, I came across the extraterrestrial folder and came upon this video of an “alien.”  Another shows a different alien scaling a building.

Is it real, or not? It reminds me of something the Enquirer might try to convince is rea.  I suppose anything is possible, but we should be careful not to believe everything we see on the internet. I guess I’m going to have to have more proof, like seeing them outside my door.

I have other, more legitimate articles on my flipboard, which I can post to my business’ social media pages and get ideas for blogs. It’s amazing the things I’ve learned so far, like the scientist who found out he was a psychopath (and it changed his life forever.)


As if I don’t do enough already…

I have come to the conclusion that I am the happiest when I’m being productive. Since I was a little girl, I have found it hard to sit still. My mind goes a million miles a minute with new things I want to do.

And it’s not necessarily a bad thing.

I like the fact that I am experiencing new things. I love the feeling I get when I know that I am creating something. I think I get a bit uncomfortable when I can’t be doing that.

In any case, it’s time to do something new and different. Well, kind of anyway. I’m going to start a new blog, one that spotlights people who have made a difference in someone else’s life. I began writing these stories last year and had to let them sit until I figured out what I wanted to do with them. Now I know. This is what I want to do.

In the meantime, the newspaper is going well; slow but sure. Every issue I put out has me amazed that I was able to pull it off, but when it comes out, I always see ways I can improve it.

This new blog will just be a part of what I do every week.  Besides, it will also give me a chance to be even more creative.

Hiawatha Advocate

Better luck next time

So I did it. I finally broke my New Year’s resolution. Well, I actually broke it a couple of times before; sort of.

My blogging resolution lasted a month, which was longer than my other resolutions.

I made the resolution that I would write a blog everyday and post at least one a week on Facebook. I wrote everyday, though sometimes it didn’t get posted until late and it showed up on WordPress with the next day’s date. But I was satisfied knowing that I wrote every day, just like I said I would.

However, I wasn’t able to write yesterday and I realized that I won’t be able to commit any longer. I still planning on writing when I can, but the pressure is just too much to write everyday.

I only have 26 days before I send the first issue of my newspaper to print. I’ll be lucky if I get all the articles written that I need to before then.

So, another resolution bites the dust, but I don’t really need a reason to write. It was just a fun challenge for myself. Now I know I can do it. For a month, anyway.

Maybe next time I’ll try for two.

A writer writes-Week 22

I am celebrating a few things today. My daughter’s twins are doing well and are at home after being born a week ago. I am in Week 21 of my quest to start a newspaper. And I am writing my 100th blog.

Me, holding the twins, Gianna and Natalie

I have been contemplating what I would write for this special blog, a feat that seemed unimaginable when I began writing my blog in July 2010. My advisor suggested that if I wanted to become a good journalist, I should start a blog. “Practice writing; it doesn’t matter what, just write,” he told me.

He also said that blogging and online writing was the direction that journalism was going in and that all journalists need to blog.

Well, I have never done anything just because everyone else is doing it. In fact, I was always one who was a bit reluctant to follow the crowd. But if starting a blog would help me become a better writer, I was willing to try.

I searched back through my 99 blogs and found the first one I ever wrote. “Note to Self” was written on July 26, 2010. I had written this as a personal story but decided to use it as my first blog. I had  read a book about celebrities who wrote stories about what they would tell their younger selves if they could. I was inspired by the thought of it and decided to write one of my own.

I found out a lot about myself that I wasn’t aware of.

“…should I tell her that happiness could not be found in another person? Or that she needed to look inside herself to find the answers she was looking for?

Or maybe I would tell her that college really was that important.  Should I also tell her that if she decides to skip school and go straight to starting a family it won’t turn out the way she expected?  That fairytales don’t really exist?  Maybe I would mention that life gets really hard for a while and there are times she may want to throw in the towel, but she shouldn’t give up; she would come through it with a better understanding of how precious life is.

But  maybe I won’t tell her those things after all.  Maybe I’ll write a letter that tells her how proud I am of her for never giving up.  How sorry I am that she had to go through so much pain and heartache, but life does get better.  I will tell her that I am glad she never lost sight of her dreams, even though they seemed out of reach.  I will tell her that she has made me who I am today; a strong, independent and courageous woman.”

As I write my 100th blog, I realize how important writing is for a writer.  It was hard getting into the habit of writing a blog at first, but now I look forward to writing it.  Sometimes I only have time to write one blog a week, but I generally try for two. I make up for it by writing articles for the Mount Mercy Times or for my own website, the Hiawatha Advocate.

The Hiawatha Advocate

A colleague of mine asked for advice because she had writer’s block. “It’s so frustrating because I don’t know how to start it,” she said.

I told her, “Just start at the beginning.”

There are times when I, too, stare at the computer screen, hoping that something will pop into my head. I wrack my brain trying to figure out where to start but I’m at a loss. But as soon as I begin typing, anything, the story just seems to come. My journalistic instincts take over and I soon find myself writing the story with no problem.  I know there are some things I still  need to work on, but I know this is what I was born to do.

Week 21 has me thinking about how much writing has become a part of my life, and by practicing everyday, I have definitely become a better writer.

My advisor was right. If you want to become a good journalist, you have to practice writing. And I have….a lot.