Category: Observations about Life


That's nuts! Photo Credit: Doree Weller

That’s nuts!
Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Dear Other Writers,

It seems like everyone who has anything to say these days says it in a public forum, whether that’s blogging or Facebook, or Twitter or self-publishing a book.

Through blog challenges, I’ve had an opportunity to read other people’s work, and it’s been a mixed experience.  Some of these blogs are hidden jewels that I wouldn’t have found if I weren’t doing blog challenges.  They’re well written, interesting, and I keep going back for more.

Other blogs have a ton of basic issues, jumping back and forth between present and past tense, poor grammar, and poor punctuation.  It’s to the writers of these blogs that I’m addressing myself.

Even if you don’t think I’m talking about you, I might be.  I’ve been there.  Early on, when I made the transition from writing for myself to trying to get things published, I thought it was going to be easy because I was “naturally” a writer.  Words just seemed to flow from my brain to paper, and I thought that every word I wrote was golden.

Um, no.

I wasn’t sure why I wasn’t getting published, so I decided to find an online critique website, and I started using Reviewfuse (which I think is now defunct as it won’t load).  I don’t remember what the first criticism I received was, but I do remember that it hurt.  It stung.  It was obviously wrong.

I almost decided not to bother with it anymore, and then my better judgement overcame my ego, and said, “You’re here, so why don’t you try taking their feedback?  You can keep an unchanged copy of your story in Word.”

Thank goodness my Better Judgement speaks to me sometimes.  After edits, that was the first story I ever got paid for.  It was only $50, but that’s a huge amount to someone who would have written that story anyway, for free.  And that also cemented it.  Listen to feedback = get paid.  Discard feedback = stuff sits unpublished on my computer.

I tell you this, because even if you think your writing is wonderful, it might not be.  I’m not going to make unsolicited comments on your writing style when visiting your blog because it seems rude.  It seems like visiting your house and mentioning the crumbs on the counter.  I’m just not going to do it.  But please, have someone other than your friends read your blog and give you feedback on your writing.  I’d be happy to do it if you ask.  Join a writers group through Meetup or online (I personally like Scribophile currently).  Ask a retired English teacher or another blogger.  Read articles about writing from Writer’s Digest or Query Shark.  Read Stephen King’s book, On Writing.

If you just want a place to put your thoughts, keep a journal or make your blog private.  I’m a huge advocate of just writing whatever you want in your journal, without worrying about grammar or punctuation or spelling.  But if you’re going to publish your work, even in a blog forum, please take it seriously.  Writing is a form of art, and it pains me to see you writing that way in a public setting.  If you, who calls yourself writer, don’t have a basic grasp of English language rules, then what hope do we have for everyone else?

Shall I just give up and understand that evry1 is guna rite lik dis?  (That hurt to type.  Forgive me.)

Fellow writers (and readers too), what do you think?  Am I being too dramatic, or do you agree that this is a problem?

Roatan, Honduras Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Roatan, Honduras
Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Last week, as I’m sure everyone knows, the Supreme Court legalized marriage equality.  I saw a lot of celebration on my news feed. There was also an article shared about a pastor who stated that he would set himself on fire if gay marriage was legalized, and many of the comments I saw were things like, “Has he done it yet?” “Fire! Fire!” and so on.

I feel bad for that pastor.  How much hatred does he have to have inside him for him to threaten to light himself on fire because of something that has nothing to do with him?  How much must he hate himself to make those statements? We’re a culture that’s easily angered.  We’re intolerant of his hatred and intolerance, and our knee-jerk reaction to such stupid statements (because yes, I think it’s stupid to light yourself on fire because other people now have more rights than they did a month ago) is to bring gasoline to his fire, to jump on the hatred bandwagon.

I’m not hitching a ride.

I get why it feels good to respond to his hatred and anger in kind, but it doesn’t do any of us any good.  From the time I was little, my parents told me “Two wrongs don’t make a right,” and no matter how much we pretty it up, that’s what the sentiment boils down to.  Righteous anger might feel good, but that doesn’t make it right.

If I tried to talk to that pastor and met his hatred with more hatred, I pretty much guarantee he wouldn’t hear anything I had to say. If, however, I met his hatred with compassion, perhaps he would hear me.  Maybe not.  Maybe he would hear some part of what I had to say.  I can’t make others listen, but I’ve found that if I treat people with respect, it almost always has better results than treating them with disrespect.

There are a lot of people I don’t agree with.  There are opinions that offend me.  But if people respond to intolerance and offense with hatred, it just perpetuates more hatred.

It might be difficult, but I encourage you to remember that when someone is awful, your hatred won’t make them better, nicer, or more tolerant.  After all, nothing you can say will be worse than what they live with.  People who spread hatred have to live with themselves.  Treat them with kindness, because they’ve already sentenced themselves to life in a prison of hate.

Hello, and welcome to Feel Good Friday, where I focus on the positive things around us.

On the Apache Trail, Arizona Photo Credit: Doree Weller

On the Apache Trail, Arizona
Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Blind cat and her human go on adventures.  This is a sweet story.

Preschool in Seattle visits a nursing home.  The kids perk up the elderly residents, and it’s good for the kids too.  I think this is wonderful, and I hope more places start doing this.

Police officer sings to a toddler to calm her after she’s involved in a car accident that killed the rest of her family.

Child opens a lemonade stand to pay for an iPad.  When a cop sees what she’s doing, he helps her reach her goal.

Dad and daughter do 39 Acts of Kindness for their birthdays.  What a nice way to celebrate.

Have a fabulous weekend!  And remember, be kinder than you need to, and focus on the good whenever you can.

Hello!  It’s Motivational Monday.  Here’s today’s quote.

Roosevelt Lake, Arizona Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Roosevelt Lake, Arizona
Photo Credit: Doree Weller

“We are at our very best, and we are happiest, when we are fully engaged in work we enjoy on the journey toward the goal we’ve established for ourselves. It gives meaning to our time off and comfort to our sleep.”
-Earl Nightingale

I’m definitely happiest when I’m busy, but not busywork-busy, actual goal-directed, productive busy.  So as you start your week, when things seem tough, remind yourself of what goals you’re working toward.

Life Lessons

“Never blame anyone in your Life. Good people give you Happiness. Bad people give you Experience. Worst people give you a Lesson & Best people give you memories.”  -Author Unknown

Another original Zentangle by Doree Weller.  I'm so artsy!

Another original Zentangle by Doree Weller. I’m so artsy!

Everything and everyone in life is there to teach you something.  Next time something bad happens, instead of being angry, upset, or resentful, step back, look at the situation, and ask yourself, “What am I supposed to learn from this?”

Often, our knee jerk reaction is to say something like, “I’m supposed to learn that people are backstabbers” or “I’ve learned that men (or women) aren’t trustworthy,” but the problem with these lessons, is that’s like saying that all fruit is gross because you ate that sour orange once, or because that one apple you ate had a worm.

When you’re trying to learn a life lesson, remember to take away only what will help you, and leave the rest.  Sure, some people aren’t trustworthy.  So if that’s the case, maybe the lesson is to listen to your gut next time.  Or to listen to that friend who warned you she didn’t like Mr. Liar-Liar.

Everything’s a lesson, so as you go forth on this Monday, look at every negative experience as a lesson.  Sometimes it makes those tough experiences more palatable.

Go forth and get ready for a wonderful week!

Happy Friday, everyone!

Austin, TX Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Austin, TX
Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Colorado artist ordered by police to stop stacking rocks under an obscure city ordinance.  When he protested online, the city attorney called him personally to let him know that he had told police to not give out tickets for rock stacking.  This is why power doesn’t reside with any one person.  :)  A happy ending.

Plus sized lady shares her yoga practice on the Internet, showing that yoga is for everyone, not just a particular body type.

When fifth-graders saw a special needs boy being bullied, they helped him, and from then on, befriended him and have protected him from bullies.  There’s an article and a video; it’s a really sweet story showing the absolute best in people.

Baltimore schools have removed paperwork requirements in schools with high poverty rates, so now every child can get free breakfast and lunch.  Children should not have to go hungry; I just hope more schools jump on board with this.

IKEA pledges a billion dollars to help with climate change.  IKEA has always been about using sustainable materials and less waste, so this is just another thing they’re doing to help.  Corporations can sound good, but IKEA puts their money toward positive change.

I usually post stuff like this on Wellness Wednesdays, but I’m a little off this week.  I hope to get back on schedule next week.

IMG_3545First off, I want to say that I’m pro human rights.  Therefore, I support Caitlyn Jenner and her right to be whoever she feels that she is.  It’s none of my business if it’s a choice or a biological imperative; I’ve never seen why that matters to those of us on the outside.  Undoubtedly it matters to people who are trans, but I don’t see why anyone should have to explain any of that to me.

That being said, the media coverage on Ms. Jenner, calling her a hero, got me thinking.  There have been a lot of posts from people showing military personnel, saying that the folks in uniform are heroes.  I have a lot of respect for our military personnel, and it sort of bugged me to compare Caitlyn Jenner to people in the military.  But then I realized a few things:

1.  It’s not a competition.  The people saying that Caitlyn Jenner is a hero weren’t saying she was more of a hero than our military personnel.  They were just saying that she was a hero, and a hero can be a lot of different things.  Many people in our military are undoubtedly heroes.  In my mind, the fact that we can have a hero like Ms. Jenner makes our military personnel even more heroic.  It’s because of them that we can have a hero like her.

2.  We need heroes like Caitlyn Jenner.  People who are trans aren’t widely accepted yet, and Caitlyn Jenner will be a hero for some people, perhaps making it easier for some people to be who they are.  Gay people and trans people are still bullied and sometimes assaulted for being who they are.  Caitlyn Jenner de-legitimizes that reaction.

3.  We need to stop tearing others down.  In this social media world, it’s so easy to have an opinion on everything, and those opinions are often negative.  There’s a lot to be said for “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything.”  Celebrities are people too, with feelings.  Maybe they won’t ever see your opinion of them, but does that make it okay to say nasty things? Practice being kinder to others, and you’ll feel kinder toward yourself.

4.  And last, it’s okay to have a respectful dissenting opinion.  If you think being trans is wrong for any reason, I respect your opinion, as long as it’s brought up in a respectful way.  Just being down on Ms. Jenner and saying disparaging things makes me just overlook your opinion.  You can disagree with everything I said, you can believe she’s not a hero.  As long as you disagree in a respectful manner, I’m on board with your right to that opinion.  That being said, it doesn’t bring anything to the table to cloud the issue, to post pictures of military men with missing limbs, talking about how Ms. Jenner is not a hero.  There’s no comparison between the two.  How do you know that her coming out didn’t save someone’s life?  How do you know that someone who was contemplating suicide didn’t get help because she came out?  How do you know that someone who may have otherwise completed a hate crime didn’t pause because Bruce Jenner, Olympic Gold Medalist, came out as a woman?  You don’t.  Neither do I.

It’s just something to think about, that’s all.

“Hero” is a very personal label.  If she’s not your hero, that’s fine.  But she could be somebody’s hero, and I respect that.

Last but not least, I wanted to share this link.  One of the people who mocked Caitlyn Jenner got a lesson in irony.

Living Gently

Happy Monday!  Here’s your thought to start the week:

140217-5

Live gently today, love much, and if you’re holding on to something so tightly that your knuckles turn white, maybe it’s time to let it go.

Hey everyone, it’s Friday.  But you probably didn’t need me to tell  you that.  ;)

Ladybird Johnson Wildlife Center, Austin TX Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Ladybird Johnson Wildlife Center, Austin TX
Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Restaurant owner posts sign in the window offering people in need a free meal or beverage.

K-9 cop in Mississippi saves his officer’s life after the human officer was attacked.  The officer was able to push a remote to release the K-9 cop from the vehicle.

A woman’s labrador led a police officer to her after she fell unconscious.  The officer was then able to get the woman emergency medical treatment.

Seniors cancel class trip to give money to their principal to pay for her cancer treatment.

New York cop tickets a turnstile jumper on the subway, then helps him find a job.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

There’s so much good stuff going on in the US this week that I had trouble finding only 5 articles!  I ended up with six today, but I could have gone on and on.  Enjoy!

22 year old graduates valedictorian from college after dropping out of high school.  After Michael Moubarek had an accident that could have killed him, he decided to make some changes, went back and finished high school, and now intends to be a doctor.  Great article, and it just goes to show that no matter what, life can change anytime.  Never give up!

5-year-old invites homeless man for a meal at the Waffle House after learning what “homeless” meant.

Police in Farmington, NH have started stopping people to praise and reward them for following laws.  Police said they feel like it’s helping them to get to know the community, and also nice to be able to have positive interactions with people.  They reported that they thought of the program after seeing a man go out of his way to use the crosswalk after heavy snow.

Teens take service dogs to prom.  Neither of them planned to go to prom, but then they met because of their service dogs, and decided to go together.  Cutest double date ever!  This is a video.

Update.  Last week, I posted about a veteran who has prostate cancer and was released from the hospital to a home with no food.  He called 911, and since then, he’s continued to receive food donations and is now getting Meals on Wheels.  It’s nice to see how much people care.

America’s oldest park ranger advocates for people of color, and she hopes, opens options to little girls.

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