Monthly Archives: October 2011

Embarrassment Exposed!

The following post is one that I found this week at http://trevoressmith.com/

I enjoyed it so much, I thought you all might like to read it, as well! He was kind enough to allow me to repost his insightful words on my own blog.

 

Nobody likes to experience embarrassment. Yet, it seems to be part of the reality for most of us.

Embarrassment impacts some people more than others. Some individuals with self-esteem challenges actually curtail interaction with others so as to avoid experiencing embarrassment.

One common error with respect to embarrassment is the notion that someone can embarrass you. We say to our children, “Don’t embarrass me in public!”

The reality is that embarrassment takes place when what is revealed is not in keeping with the image we try to or want to present.

The child’s unruly behavior causes us to choose to be embarrassed because we would like to portray the image of a parent who is able to properly discipline our children. If that were to be true then the episode would not be occurring or would it?

If we accept the reality that our kid behaves in this socially unacceptable way in private and in public then we are faced with another reality. If further, we accept that we are at our wits end working to correct this behavioral issue, then we are better served by seeking help than by being embarrassed. Being embarrassed reflects a sense of “Oh, no! I have been found out.” It produces a sense of shame.

There is a subtle difference between accepting the need for corrective action and being embarrassed – feeling ashamed.

For example, one parent will use the temper tantrum display to reinforce their commitment to getting help if necessary to correct the behavioral challenge.

The parent who chooses the route of embarrassment, either puts on a sheepish grin and beats a hasty retreat or enters into a stern attempt at discipline that is more designed to save face than to achieve any sustainable behavior modification in the child.

When our reality is not what we want others to know, we feel embarrassed. If we are comfortable with “what is” then we feel no discomfort when it is exposed. This relates to our financial situation being shown to be less stable than we would like others to know. Or, our actions being out of step with the value system that we claim to live by.

For example, the professing Christian who is caught in a blatant lie often chooses to be embarrassed. A more useful response would be to recognize the failing and to pray for guidance in avoiding future occurrences.

The so-called “expert” whose competence is found wanting can choose to be embarrassed or can view the incident as a wake-up call to go and get the requisite training.

The next time you feel embarrassed, spend a moment in reflection to identify what reality has been exposed that is not in sync with the image that you would like to portray. Make a commitment to correct the situation.

Creative Writing and Crying

Ian has trouble with creative writing. He’s very creative in what he builds, with Legos and other materials, but he has trouble pulling something from nothing. Yesterday, his language book instructed us to make a postcard. We were to draw a picture on the front of an index card based on the setting of a book he has read. He’s currently reading Magic Tree House #8: Midnight on the Moon. So he drew a picture of the moon, no problem. Then we turned it over to write a message. That’s when the trouble began. “But I can’t think of anything!” I gave him several examples of what is usually written on postcards, but still nothing. Finally, he started crying, so I tried to make it easy on him. I said, “Start with, ‘The moon is…’” Nothing. So I said (thinking the answer would be obvious), “Choose either ‘boring’ or ‘fun.’” Still nothing, accompanied with more desperate crying. “Ian, just pick one! ‘Boring’ or ‘fun.’ Which one do you want?” Finally, I had to resort to, “Choose one by the time I count to three, or you’re in trouble.” I hated doing that. I have never used counting when disciplining, but I just couldn’t figure out how to progress from the stalemate we found ourselves in. I don’t think he was trying to disobey me, or I would have just spanked him. I think something actually got stuck in his brain. Once we got started, he was fine (he stopped crying), but I had to help him a lot.

That’s why I’m so impressed with his current activity. He’s working on a brochure to Pluto. He’s had so many ideas, from a floating train to a scenic lookout for floating rocks in the atmosphere. (He’s convinced Pluto has rings.) He even created trees that grow from genetically modified seeds. He said you have to add metal to the seeds, and the trees grow with metal throughout. Then people can walk upside down and sideways with magnetic shoes. Creative? Yes! He’s even thought of bad guys and adventures for his planet. I can’t wait until he finishes his brochure. I’ll have to upload pics so you all can see it!

To give you an idea of why I think it was easier for him: We started drawing the front of the brochure at home, but we ran out of time, and had to leave the house. Going down the highway, schoolbooks out of sight and out of mind, he had his coolest ideas. When I praised him for being so creative, he said, “I can do it, but I just need time to think about it.” Maybe I should give him five or ten minutes of thinking time when we begin a new creative writing project? But if I time it, I wonder if he will think of himself as being under pressure and just shut down again. Maybe we should go for a walk and discuss ideas? But sometimes it’s really cold outside, especially this time of year. Any suggestions? He’s seven. I really don’t want to make him miserable; I want school to be fun for him! At the same time, I don’t want to cater to him everytime he breaks down. I just really don’t think it’s a discipline problem, but maybe I’m wrong?

Internet for Children?

Just what is our responsibility when it comes to teaching our kids how to be safe on the internet? If we use the internet in our homes, or even when we visit the local library, we can expect our children to use it when they move out. How much will they know about internet safety, ethics, and discernment (when it comes to figuring out which sources are trustworthy)? If we wait until they are adults and allow them to figure it out for themselves (as many of us did), it will be much easier for them to stray or make mistakes. Should we just teach them diligently about God and make sure they know right from wrong, and leave the rest to them? Or should we take deliberate steps to prepare our children for independence in cyberspace? I have a few ideas of my own, but I would like to collect some of yours!

Author interview with Amanda L. Davis

I recently had the opportunity to interview Amanda L. Davis, author of Precisely Terminated. After getting to know a little about her and about her book, I must say this: I can’t wait to read it!

While visiting your FB page, I was delighted to find that you have such an active lifestyle outside of writing: spinning, sewing, planting, running, etc. What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not writing?

My favorite thing to do outside writing? That’s a pretty tough question. I equally enjoy spinning and sewing. I always say I’m not very good with ‘favorites’ questions. My tastes change from day to day. Some days I might like sewing better, and then another day I might prefer spinning.  Besides those two, I also really enjoy spending time with my family—playing board games or going on walks.

As a homeschooler myself, I’m interested in that aspect of your life. Could you describe a typical homeschool day in your family? How did your homeschool routine change after you decided to focus on writing?

Our family’s typical homeschooling days are probably not much like other people’s. My mother is teaching only my younger two sisters now, because my four older siblings and I have all graduated from high school.  Usually, though, we get up and go for a run before having family devotions. After devotions are done, my sisters start school. My mother works with my fourteen-year-old sister, Hannah, and my seventeen-year-old sister works on her own. Two days a week my cousins come over for co-op lessons (my mother teaches some classes and my aunt teaches others).  Often times I help with the meals for these days. I must say I don’t get much writing done on the co-op days!

Have your experiences with Precisely Terminated changed you as a person?

My experiences with Precisely Terminated have really changed how outgoing I am. I’ve been forced, you could say, to be more energetic, talkative, and lively. When I’m at home I’m a very quiet person and would rather watch and listen than be the person speaking. I have to be the opposite when I’m talking about my books, or no one would listen to me or be interested! I’ve gained confidence in my speaking abilities as well, especially on this current promotion tour my dad and I have been on. In the past month I have spoken to 50 different groups, telling them about my writing journey and overcoming dyslexia.  So yes, I think my experiences with Precisely Terminated have changed me as a person and definitely for the better.

Your synopsis for Precisely Terminated doesn’t give any hints as to the Christian concepts presented in the book. Can you clue us in?

Some of the Christian concepts in Precisely Terminated are self-sacrifice, freeing those who are enslaved, and persevering through severe trials.

What does Job 12:21 mean to you?

Job 12:21 reminds me that God will not let ruling oppressors remain in their positions forever, and He will take care of the weak who are being oppressed. It’s not just verse 21 that needs to be looked at, but 13-25, where Job speaks of the greatness of God. Twenty-one was just a small selection of that, an encouragement to those trodden on by people who seem so much more powerful and undefeatable. It shows that God is in control of everything.

Why do you think this story needs to be told? What message does it bring to your readers?

I think this story needs to be told because of its message, which tells of perseverance and giving of oneself for others. It also provides a wholesome, entertaining story to help combat against all those not-so-great novels out there.

How does Monica perceive God?

Unfortunately, Monica hasn’t had a chance to know God yet in Precisely Terminated. She was taught about Him in her childhood, but she was orphaned at an early age and since then has had no teaching. She knows there is a God, but not much else. But don’t worry; she’ll learn more as time goes on! She just needs a teacher.

If you and Monica became pen pals, how would you introduce yourselves to each other?

This question could be answered in a few different ways. In this scenario are we author and character or should I consider myself not as her author and just as if she were to exist? Either way I think it would be very difficult to do, because Monica has trouble trusting people due to her oppressed life. I don’t think she would answer a letter if I sent her one, poor thing.  I would probably introduce myself by saying I’m an author and writer about worlds like her own. She might wonder why I would choose to write about such things and why it seemed like nonfiction!

What were the difficulties involved with creating a realistic society set 800 years in the future?

Although I am familiar with the differences in people’s personalities and societal conflicts among classes, I wondered if things would be similar in the future. Unfortunately, my time machine isn’t working right now, so I wasn’t able to go see for myself, but I assumed humans would continue being humans and based my future society on that thought.

Do you see the Cantral Chronicles as the first step in the beginning of a lifelong career, or do you have other professional ambitions?

Yes, I do see the Cantral Chronicles as the first step of a lifelong career, but I do have other ambitions as well. I would really like to be a costume stitcher. I’ve been sewing for sixteen years now and really enjoy it. A costume stitcher is someone who sews the costumes but doesn’t design them. I would like to do this because I love sewing and creating garments, but I don’t like coming up with the original ideas (otherwise I would be interested in being a designer).

Tell us three things that we don’t know about Amanda L Davis.

My middle name is Lin.

I broke my femur in 2007 and needed 4 surgeries and 3 ½ years to fully recover.

I have severe dyslexia and didn’t begin to learn to read until nine years old. I didn’t write well until fifteen.

Is there anything else you’d like to leave with us today?

I’d like for you to know that Precisely Terminated is the first in a trilogy, and I’ve already written the first draft of the sequel, Noble Imposter, so I’m very excited for that book as well.

Thanks, Amanda, for taking time to answer these questions for us!

Versatile Blogger Award

Thursday started out terribly. I found something that I only knew how to interpret one way. I worked my mind into a muddle as an idea infected my soul and ate away at me. I was well nigh depressed, and that’s a word that’s barely made its way into my vocabulary. Very out of character for me.

However, there was one small ray of light that morning. In the midst of my self-inflicted tribulation (I later found out I had jumped to the wrong conclusion), I received an email from a new acquaintance. Kay, a fellow blogger, sent me the Versatile Blogger award. We had just recently found each other, so receiving an award from her took me by surprise (actually, receiving an award at all surprised me).

You should check out her lovely homeschool blog. I first came across it on October 5th. She had asked a difficult question that many of us may avoid thinking about as much as possible. What is going to happen to your children if you die? Jesse and I have thought about this, a lot, but have not been able to reach any definite answers. Then, just Wednesday, she referred her readers to a wonderful site that allows you to print free handwriting pages. Since we are trying to scale down our spending this year, I have been investigating all of the free learning sites that I come across, and this one was a huge success with Ian. I have been trying to get him to write smaller letters for a while now, and the site that Kay recommended allows you to select the letter size for your custom handwriting sheets. Amazing! Thanks, Kay, for the award and for the tip!

Here is how the award works:

Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them: check

Tell your readers 7 things about yourself.

Give this award to 15 recently discovered bloggers.

Contact those bloggers and let them in on the news.

So here goes. Seven things:

I always wanted to marry a preacher. That didn’t happen, as many of you know, but God has his own ways of making us blissfully happy. I appreciate Jesse so very much, and I couldn’t ask for a more understanding, forgiving, redemptive husband. He is truly a picture of Christ in my life.

I am an aspiring writer. I don’t know if it comes through in my ramblings, but someday I’d like to write for a living. Books, not just magazine articles. Stories from my own head, not just how-to manuals. Yes, I’m one of those people.

I was a music major in college. And yes, I’m still paying on my student loans for a pretty much worthless degree. I do teach homeschool choir, so at least I am using what I learned in conducting. I could have taken a few more classes and gotten certified to teach in the public schools, but I didn’t want to stick around that long. Once Ian is completely independent, I may go back and pick those classes up, but I would rather get my MFA in creative writing.

If I had a million dollars, I’d buy a farm. Then I would hire people to teach me how to run it. I would love to be self-sufficient one of these days. Preferably out of choice, and not because a weakening economy demands it. One of my grandmothers was so poor, she never even knew the Great Depression hit because her family was already living on as little as possible. I wanna be like that.

I can’t do automatic things if I stop to think about them. I don’t even know which toothbrush is mine unless I grab it without thinking. Most of the time I get by alright because I do tons of things automatically, but when I’m really tired, upset, or generally confused, I’m pretty helpless. I tend to ask Jesse a lot of stupid questions.

I am a homeschool mom of one. Two if you count my niece, but I feel like I must stand out like a sore thumb in our current homeschool culture. I can’t honestly tell you that there’s not enough time in my day, because there is. If I don’t get everything done by the time my husband comes home, it is generally because I slept in or otherwise wasted my time.

I share a home with my two best friends. My husband, Jesse, and my son, Ian, are so cool and fun to be around, that sometimes I feel like I’m hanging out in a college dorm with my two best buds. We’re all of us inquisitive, easily entertained, and just plain silly!

My fifteen favorite recently discovered bloggers:

Okay, well, after searching through the blogs I follow, I have nowhere near that many blogs that I can list here. So I will just list
those that have made the largest impact on my life:

Ever On Word

Home’s Cool!

Elisa Michelle

suehealy

Lola’s Blog

When God Whispers Your Name

When God Whispers Your Name, by Max Lucado, is a collection of inspirational pick-me-ups for the believer. Mr. Lucado points us in the right direction when we encounter times of depression, fear, or doubt in our lives. Does God really love me? Does He remember who I am? Does He care about my future? Does He have a plan for me? All these questions, and more, can be answered by one simple statement. God knows your very name.

I found this book to be a supremely quick read. It was encouraging for me, and I have never doubted God’s involvement in my life. I can only imagine what a blessing it would be for those who have feelings of loneliness from time to time. The book was slightly disjointed, but not distractingly so. I had never read a book by Mr. Lucado, so that aspect sort of took me by surprise. It seemed an anthology of ramblings on a loosely-defined topic, but it was quite enjoyable nonetheless. It was somewhat of an emotional rollercoaster, as Mr. Lucado is a very good author who can evoke any emotion from the reader. He is downright hilarious when he wants to be, but at the same time, he knows how to touch your soul. My husband’s review (and he merely observed me reading it): You’ll laugh, you’ll cry…you’ll laugh, you’ll cry.

If you want to find out more, check out the product page for this book. Or you can preview it here.

Note: In exchange for an honest review, the publisher provided a complimentary copy of this book through BookSneeze®.

Creative Writing with Newspapers

I love creative writing prompts. For the last ten years or so, I have been trying to hone my writing skills in preparation for “becoming a writer.” I already write plenty of nonfiction, but I’m very intersted in writing Christian fiction someday, as well. I love reading books about writing, but the only way a person can really improve their craft is by just doing it. The usual way that I have practiced is through creative writing prompts. They’re great fun, they really get your mind rolling, and they just may spark an idea that will grow into something bigger. Today’s prompt is mainly for writers who already have a story simmering in the back of their mind, or maybe they are in the middle of a work in progress (WIP). I hope you enjoy it; here it is!

News happens to everybody. Sometimes expected, sometimes not, sometimes ironic, sometimes tragic. Pick up today’s newspaper and read the headlines. Think of a way to make one of them affect the protagonist of your WIP. It might just open up new possibilities for a faltering story.