Blogging 101, Love Your Theme

Today’s Assignment

“Try out at least three other themes — even if you’re happy with the one you first chose.  Try one you’re drawn to, and one you would never use.”

If I have multiple things to choose from; I have to look, re-look and look several more times before making a decision.  I took more time than necessary viewing the different theme options to complete this assignment.

After trying three, I concluded that I was happier with the current theme.  I wrote about this for the Day 1 Assignment, “Say Your Name.”

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My question??????   HOW DO I GET THE OLD THEME BACK?

Confession, I plead guilty to being computer and blogosphere challenged.

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Blogging 101: Your Dream Reader

Today’s Assignment

“Publish a post for your dream reader, and include a new-to-you element in it.”

Dear President Obama:

I cast my first vote in 1960 at the age of 18; and, thereafter, I continued to vote in every Presidential election.  Because people suffered and died fighting for our rights to vote, I felt it was my obligation to cast my vote.  But, I never saw any value in voting during the mid-term elections.

Instantly, when you, the Junior Senator from Illinois, announced your candidacy, I became a political junkie.  Though I donated, volunteered, and voted; truthfully, I didn’t think you could win the Presidency.  

You won.  And I continued to support you by donating, volunteering and voting in the 2010, 2012, and 2014 elections.  Voting for the first time in mid-term elections because I saw the value in supporting your administration and policies.

A Black man in the White House, led me to believe we were moving toward overcoming the racial divide in this country.  But, the divide appears wider and even goes beyond race.   And, I was sad.

I was saddened that you are disrespected, hated, and demonized by so many.

I was saddened that members of Congress met on the evening of your first inauguration and vowed to make you a one-term President.

I was saddened that there are people who fail to see the value in providing affordable health care to the uninsured and underinsured.

I was saddened by those who think it’s okay to deny and/or suppress our right to vote.

I was saddened with proposals to privatize and/or voucherize Medicare.

I was saddened by our failure to deal with gun control.

I was saddened by the inability to deal with the Illegal Immigration issues.

But, I was uplifted after reading your November 7 letter:

“Yvonne, the hardest thing in politics is changing the status quo.  The easiest thing is to get cynical.  The Republicans had a good night on Tuesday, Yvonne — but believe me when I tell you that our results are better because you stepped up, talked to your family and friends, and cast your ballot. I want you to remember we’re making progress.  There are workers who have jobs today who didn’t have them before.  There are millions of families who have health insurance today who didn’t have it before.  There are kids going to college today who didn’t have the opportunity to go to college before. So don’t get cynical, Yvonne.  Cynicism didn’t put a man on the moon.  Cynicism has never won a war, or cured a disease, or built a business, or fed a young mind.  Cynicism is a choice.  And hope will always be a better choice.I have hope for the next few years, and I have hope we’re going to accomplish together.”

Mr. President, I appreciate your taking the time to connect with me; and, I am grateful that my cynicism didn’t keep you out of the White House.  Thank you of this uplifting letter.

SeasonedSistah2

To My Readers:  Now, I realize this letter went out to millions, but I feel less cynical and more hopeful after reading it.  

Freedom Friday – November 7, 2014

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The outcome of the 2014 mid-term election is disappointing.  But, acceptance and awareness tells me not to dwell on the past.

So, today, I choose to live in the present moment with a smile.

My youngest granddaughter, Cupcake, always brings happiness and joy into my space.  Regrettably, she lives two thousand miles away. However, when I pull up her photos on my computer screen:

I Smile.

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I, Even, Laugh Out Loud

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Photography 101, Day 2: Street Scene

Today’s Assignment

“Capture an establishing shot of a street scene in your neighborhood — or someplace new.

On this assignment date, Hubby and I were delayed at O’Hare Airport in Chicago for more than ten hours waiting for a connecting flight to Orlando.

This photo was “someplace new” for me.  While, I enjoyed talking with Hubby, people watching and shooting photos on my iPhone, I was happy to end my stay at this overwhelmingly large and beautiful airport.

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O’Hare Field Airport, Chicago. Illinois 11/04/2014

Handbook for Life

While purging files last week, trying to declutter my office space; I, came across the Handbook for Life (author unknown).  A breast cancer support group friend sent it to me several years ago.

Rather than filing this document again and sending it back into hiding for another two years, remaining unseen until the next filing purge, I chose to share the 39 tips in this post.

After the last tip, I give an honest assessment of where My Life is in relation to the four categories presented in the handbook:  (1) Health, (2) Personality, (3) Society, and (4) Life.

Handbook for Life

Health

  1. Drink plenty of water.
  2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.
  3. Eat more food that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.
  4. Live with the 3 E’s — Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy.
  5. Make time to pray.
  6. Play more games.
  7. Read more books than you did last year.
  8. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day — Meditate.
  9. Sleep for at least 7 hours.
  10. Take a 10-30 minute walk daily.  And while you walk, smile.

Personality

  1. Don’t compare your life to others.  You have no idea what their journey is all about.
  2. Don’t have negative thoughts or things you cannot control.  Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
  3. Don’t overdo it.  Keep your limits.
  4. Don’t take yourself so seriously.  No one else does.
  5. Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip.
  6. Dream more while you are awake.
  7. Envy is a waste of time.  You already have all you need.
  8. Forget issues of the past. Don’t remind your partner of his/her mistakes of the past.  That will ruin your present happiness.
  9. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.  Don’t hate others.
  10. Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present.
  11. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
  12. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn.  PROBLEMS ARE SIMPLY PART OF THE CURRICULUM THAT APPEAR AND FADE AWAY LIKE ALGEBRA CLASS BUT THE LESSONS YOU LEARN WILL LAST A LIFETIME.
  13. Smile and laugh more.
  14. You don’t have to win every argument.  Agree to disagree.

Society

  1. Call your family often.
  2. Each day give something good to others.
  3. Forgive everyone of everything.
  4. Spend time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of 6.
  5. Try to make a least three people smile each day.
  6. What other people think of you is none of your business.
  7. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick  Your friends will.  Stay in touch.

Life

  1. Do the right thing!
  2. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
  3. God heals everything.
  4. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
  5. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, and show up.
  6. The best is yet to come.
  7. When you awake in the morning, Thank God for it.
  8. Your Inner Most is always happy.  So be happy.

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My Life in Relation to the 39 Healthy Living Tips

Of the 10 tips related to Health, I gave a positive response to 8 out of 10.

I didn’t fare as well with Personality, of the 14 tips, 9 still are a part of my life.  In this area, I continue as a work-in-progress.  But, less than five years ago, I lived with the negative thoughts and behaviors cited in all the 14 tips.

Of the 7 Society tips, I have overcome 5 and 2 still remain.

Only 1 negative remains of the 8 Life tips, I live peacefully with the remaining 7 positive thoughts.

Finally,

  • responding to the statements in the Handbook for Life;
  • acknowledging the negatives in my life; and,
  • establishing a plan to reduce and/or eliminate my negative behaviors

brings me closer to living life to its fullest with a healthy mind, body and spirit.

 

 

 

Freedom Friday – October 24, 2014

Blogging friend, Iman, last week launched Freedom Friday writing, “It’s Freedom Friday, so I reserve the sole right to say what I have to say … .”

I decided to participate.  After all, I needed a day to freely express, WHATEVER!!, and why not on Freedom Fridays.

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So here goes….

Oops I Missed the Sign-up for Blogging 201

It’s Freedom Friday and, according to one definition, freedom means:

“I have the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.”

Though Blogging 201 was closed when I attempted to sign up, I choose to exercise my right on Freedom Friday to complete the first assignment, which was to:

“Consider what you want to accomplish with your blog.  Write down three concrete goals you want to achieve.”

This assignment, hopefully, will lead to an improved blog before I begin my third year of blogging in January 2015.

Why I Blog

Almost two years ago, I initially decided to create this blog for:

  • Self-Education to access information shared by other bloggers who were living with either breast cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, or fibromyalgia.
  • Self-Management to distract and re-direct my attention from negative thoughts, emotional stress, and physical pain.

Blogging also helped, as a fill-in, for the lost of family and friends when we retired and relocated to Orlando in 2010.

Though, I have friends now and enjoy spending time with them, I still blog to:

  • Interact with diverse people;
  • Tour different places around the world; and,
  • Learn new things above and beyond my wildest expectations.

Because either my IPad, MacBook or Blog are always within reach; I have the ability, when I want, to:

  • Express Thoughts
  • Rant Opinions
  • Expand Awareness
  • View Events
  • Explore New Cultures
  • Visit Different Places
  • Meet New People
  • Network with Bloggers
  • Share Memories

All of the above satisfies my needs as a blogger.  And, I have no interest in gaining notoriety, becoming a leader in the field, or self-publishing a book.

My Ultimate Blog

I decided to take a critical look at my blog layout in preparation for completing this assignment.  I concluded that my blog needs a makeover to improve both the look and flow.  I hope to acquire new ideas and techniques, when I participate, in the Blogging 101 Class beginning November 3.

In addition to revamping this blog, I want to add photos to my posts.  So, I registered for the Photography 101 Class which, also, starts on November 3.

I am not concerned about the number of followers, but would like to keep the current ones.  I now see them as my blogosphere friends.

I plan to continue publishing three times per week.

Four Specific Goals

  1. Publish three times each week during November, December, and January.
  2. Spend 2-3 hours each week visiting my followers’ blogs, reading their posts, and commenting on their work, from now until April 1st.
  3. Establish a new weekly feature on my blog by December 31st and publish each week through June 30th.
  4. Create an editorial calendar for the next three months by November 1st.

Finally, I am grateful to:

  • Iman for inviting me to take part in Freedom Friday.
  • Blogging 201 for this assignment, even though, I crashed the course.

 

Past Memories: College Days

Introduction

Hubby and I enrolled in the University of Wisconsin-Madison as freshmen in the Fall Semester of 1969.

I was 27-years-old, Hubby was 28, and we had three children 9, 8 and 2.

I was a high school graduate.  He earned a GED, while serving in the military, after dropping out of high school in the 10th grade.

Both of us were on a mission to improve the quality of our family’s life; and, we believed earning a college degree would lead us toward fulfilling this mission.

Memories Disclosed

While I have many positive memories of my student days at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, for some reason, I chose to disclose memories that have remained hidden for many years.

They were hidden in my mind because I lacked the confidence to even self-acknowledge, much less open up to others, about how the things I am sharing today made me feel.

In the late 1960s, we stood out in our new roles as freshman college students.  And, sadly, I felt uncomfortable.  My classes were filled with students in their late teens and early twenties.

I felt “less than” and “different than” these college students.  They were young and single with recent educational experiences.  While I was older, married, with three kids; and, I hadn’t been in a classroom for more than nine years.

Another “less than” and “different than” experience, which was personally embarrassing, happened when Hubby and I attended a freshman event on campus; and, the reporter covering the event walked over to Hubby and sarcastically asked, “Aren’t you a little old for this.”   

Hubby, responded, sarcastically saying, “You’re never to old to follow your dream.”

Today, if asked the same question, rather than being embarrassed, I would say, We are here to provide our three children with a better life. “

Another “less than” college memory was when, during my first semester, I had to drop out of both Spanish 101 and French 101 within the first several weeks.  Even though I tried, it was impossible, to keep up with students who had just finished taking high school classes in these languages.

But, I needed the required foreign language credits to graduate.  Thinking I could manage a class where my foreign language skills (none) were comparable to the other students, I decided to try an African language.  Classes were offered in the University’s African Studies Department; and, I was able to satisfy my foreign language requirements by taking classes in Swahili, Xhosa and Hausa.

Several of the faculty members, in the department, impressed with my academic performance encouraged me to apply to the school’s PH.D program.

I thought my life had opened up to a wide-range of career possibilities.  But, the optimism didn’t last long when friends and family members cited a number of reasons why this wasn’t a realistic choice.  So, I walked away feeling “less than.”

Thankfully, I have reached a point in life where I am no longer controlled, embarrassed or intimidated when confronted with “less than” or “different than” comments made by others.

After two life-threatening illnesses, breast cancer and epiglottitis which occurred in 2008 and 2010 respectively, I went on a self-awareness, self-empowerment and self-love journey.

The longer I stay on this path , the easier it is to “let go” and discard the unnecessary baggage of “not good enough,” “unworthy,” and  “unlovable” which  controlled my life from early childhood.

Closing

Despite my struggles, we fulfilled our educational dreams:

  • Hubby earned his Bachelors and Masters of Science Degrees;
  • I earned a Bachelors of Science Degree
  • Our eldest daughter, who was 9-years-old when Hubby and I enrolled as freshmen, earned her Medical Degree;
  • Our youngster daughter earned her Bachelor’s in Business Administration and Law Degree; and
  • Our youngest grandson enrolled as a freshman, Fall of 2014.

In this season of life, I live with the awareness that my “today is better than yesterday.

 

Gratitude Sunday – October 19, 2014

Grateful for Photos:  College Memories

Several week ago, my friend, The Librarian, sent photos of several of my most remembered buildings and places at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I spent my days, 1969-73, as student.

Today, I am grateful to The Librarian for sharing these photos, not only for the past memories, but for opening up my space to write, “Past Memories:  College Days;”, which, I will post on Monday, October 20.

Each of these photos bring back different memories.

The Red Gym. Every semester, I waited hour-after-hour standing in long lines with thousands of other students to register for my new semester classes.

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Bascom Hall.  This is the buildings where I took a number of my classes.  I remember, many times, walking from the Red Gym up the hill to Bascom Hall only to learn the class I registered for was no longer available.  This required trekking back down to the Red Gym to find another.  Then, backup to Bascom Hall to confirm the class.   The walk up to Bascom Hall, which was located on top of the highest hills on campus, was a workout.  Today, I am Thankful for the daily uphill walks to Bascom Hall, which caused me to give up smoking.  I couldn’t handle both.

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Old University Hospital.  Fortunately, we were young and healthy, so routine family physical exams were the only times that I had to enter this building.   There is a new hospital on campus now; and this building now houses the UW Medical School.  But, even though I didn’t know it had the time, the building will always hold a special memory for me.  Our eldest daughter, a 9-year-old when we enrolled as freshmen students, attended classes in this building and graduated with her medical degree in 1985.

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The Ratskellar.  This is where the students gathered to socialize and grab a meal.  We spent our rare Family Date Nights there.  Hubby and I with a tap beer and the kids enjoying the best ice cream I have ever tasted.  Oh, and I can’t forget the free bowls of popcorn which continuously popped throughout the evening.  There were other times, after an evening class or hours spent studying at the Library, Hubby and I would end the night with tap beer and popcorn.  I just recalled that the first time that I drank beer from the tap was at the Ratskeller.

 

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Eagle Heights.  This was the married student housing on campus.  We lived there for four years.  The housing was restricted to graduate students and their families.  How we ended up there.  Hubby, being unaware of this restriction, applied for housing.  He used our student advisor’s name as a reference, which unbeknownst to us, also was the name of the Chair of the Business School.  We later learned that Graduate Business School students received preferential treatment.  Why, I am not certain.  The good news is that when they finally discovered their mistake, we were never asked to move.  Looking back, I can see how the mistake was made.  We didn’t, meet the freshman student profile — 18-year-old and single.  Instead our family met the profile of a graduate student — late twenties with three children.

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Again, so grateful to The Librarian for taking the time to shoot these photos and share them with me.

Finally, Expressing gratitude is healthy for my mind, body, and spirit.