The Funny Thing About the News

Over the weekend, you may have seen something about the Native American veteran and the kids from the Catholic school. While most mainstream news organizations reported the same exact news story, the more fringe “news” sites on either end of the spectrum reported vastly different “news”. Then the people who follow those news sites yelled at those who posted articles from the more mainstream sites about how they should apologize for spreading false information. For the record, if you use the website “Twitchy.com” as your news source, I will take you as seriously as I would if someone posted something from Occupy Democrats as their “source”. Those are both propaganda sites with an agenda, lacking any journalistic integrity. Not that the mainstream media has much of that anymore anyways.

The thing about all of these organizations is that they took small clips of the event, using whichever clips best suited their needs. Even editing the video to make it better fit whatever agenda they wanted to spread. The truth about what happened? Only the people there know it and they won’t say either way. Because in many of those cases, each side probably had something to be embarrassed by. Again, this is a topic I’ve discussed far too many times on this blog: the media lies.

After seeing several videos posted about this event, it looks like it was something even more simple than what anyone talks about. Two groups seemed to be yelling slurs back and forth to each other, being generally obnoxious, and the group of Native Americans came in to stop the fighting. Something seemingly so simple turns into “racist kids yell at Native Americans” or “Liberal gets in face of teens who don’t know any better”. Again, just my interpretation of what I saw on the videos. Yes, those kids were yelling slurs at people who were yelling slurs at them. Yes, they should have known better to not engage if the other group started it. Yes, they are teenagers and teenagers do dumb things sometimes. This “story” shouldn’t have lasted more than a day of people arguing about it. Honestly, there are far more important things we should be arguing right now. Like fighting for honest, pure, and unbiased media coverage of everything.

Do I think Trump is treated unfairly by the media? There have been some things that made me go, “really, that’s the issue you want to take with the man?” There are a lot of things that man brings on himself. Like tweeting before thinking, then having people quote his tweets, then saying he didn’t say that while the tweet is still up. The right media holds him up on a pedestal while the left vilifies him. I don’t like the man or his policies or anything he stands for, but lets get him on the lies and idiocy not stupid nitpicking things. Then there’s the left equivalent of AOC. She’s a grandstander who loves the media attention. Does she deserve everyone calling her an idiot all the time? Depends on if she says something insane. But she also doesn’t get a fair shot. The right mock her every chance they get and the left have made her their new rising star. There are plenty of things that she says that you can nab her for. But a video of her dancing or that fake meme about her talking about how you have no right to own guns is distracting from the issues.

Reading the stories and feeding into the agenda without educating yourself completely on the topic is exactly why the media gets away with this. Knowledge is power and right now the media is waving this around as if they think we are all idiots. And we are if we hang on their every word as if it’s a complete fact rather than a partial one that furthers their agendas, then we are part of the problem.

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The Internet Lies

You see the funny memes, witty comments on things that they want to pass off as facts. Rather than taking these funny memes as what they are, people tend to take them as facts. The big one going around right now is about lettuce killing more than illegal immigrants. If you took it as a funny meme just like I did, you laughed and ignored it. But then… there are the people who share this as a fact. Then their friends share it thinking it is facts. Both “sides of the aisle” are guilty of doing this. (Remember the toilet challenge that didn’t exist?) The sad truth is that the internet lies and people still believe it.

It’s our fault for not educating ourselves. We get upset when people point out that the meme is a lie. We ask for facts, then dispute the facts because it didn’t come from a news source that you recognize as news, aka whichever one you believe is biased towards the other side’s agenda. I agree that there is a major bias in the mainstream media. That will never be addressed because news organizations like CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News are businesses. They do what it takes to get ratings, regardless of their job as journalists. The ones on those channels that do the unthinkable, you know reporting the news, get called names or are ignored because people may not like what they are saying. They get dismissed as “the other side”, and their facts are dismissed as bias.

To help with this, I figured I’d let you in on a little secret: memes are devices of humor, not fact. If you think there may be truth to the meme, do yourself a favor and research it. If it’s fact, then you can pass it off as such. If not, don’t get surprised when people call you out on it. I’ve done it to my friends on social media. And they haven’t unfriended me yet for it. The world is complicated and divisive enough as is. We don’t need to add to it by resharing lies. This brainwashes the masses and it isn’t a good look. We should be focused on what we can do to improve the future.

So remember: the internet lies. Trust no one and educate yourself because no one else will. Don’t be a lemming that follows blindly. Be your own, kind and intelligent individual.

Those Pesky Mid-30s

Is 35 even a milestone? I guess since it puts you closer to the dreaded 40s, maybe. But at least I can take comfort in the fact that some of my older brothers are closer to 50 than they are 40. It pays to be the baby. I don’t think I dreaded that number any more than any other year. But I have heat this year on my birthday and I haven’t been vomited on yet, so we’ve already improved since last year.

Everyone seems to reflect on their life on their birthday. It’s normal. Did I accomplish what I wanted to? Am I closer to my goals than I was last year? These are those nagging questions that just need to be answered on your birthday, especially as you get older. We want to make sure that we leave some sort of legacy behind us. What will people say when we’re gone? I’m sharing these answers with you.

Did I accomplish what I wanted to last year? I finally published my first children’s book, which is something that I’m very proud of. I even finally figured out how to make a physical copy of the book. (Shameless plug: Check out “Dear Child” on Amazon. See the sidebar for links to my Amazon Author Page.) That was a feat, considering I’m one of the least tech savvy people I know. I didn’t complete NaNoWriMo, which helped lead me on a dark, downward spiral that lasted a few months. I finally got out of that funk and hopefully I won’t go back down there anytime soon.

Am I closer to my goals than I was last year? I think so. I think that I’ve started to grow a presence online. I created more plans to help further boost my site. I can’t wait to get started on some of these new projects and finish some that I’ve already begun. It takes time and patience to breakthrough, I’m just hoping it’s going to be my time soon. I don’t want to make celebrity author money (though that would be sweet), I just want to be able to better provide for my family. Even if I make $20,000 a year doing what I love, I’ll consider that a success.

What will people say about me when I’m gone? That’s a loaded question, but I’ll give it a try. I’m sure a lot of them will say I was a terrible human being, and that made them either love me or hate me for it. I accept that. I’ll have some of those closest to me mention about how I was always there for them when they needed someone. They’ll remember my dark sense of humor. My kids will remember me singing and dancing around the house. They’ll remember that no matter what, they were loved and supported. I don’t care if I don’t have a greater legacy; I care that the people I care about know that I cared about them.

That is my birthday blog. I hope that you enjoyed reading this and I hope you guys have a great day!

C’Mon 2019

Happy New Year!

The new year always brings in a hope for a better year than the last. Professionally speaking, 2018 was a decent year for me. My blog is getting more attention, so thank you to the readers who have joined us this year! I released my first children’s book, which has been well-received by the ones who have checked it out. (Shameless plug inc…: Check out my “Where to Buy My Writing” section on the sidebar to get a physical or eBook copy of “Dear Child” and find my other books.) I may have failed at NaNoWriMo this year in the sense of the actual challenge, but I did get 25,000 words for some solid bones for my next novel. I started a stream, which consider the times is starting out pretty decently.

Personally speaking, 2019 has been a bit of a rough one. Things going wrong like car issues, dental bills, and expensive home repairs did put a sour twist on my year, especially since those came right around Christmas time. Those are the breaks with adulthood though. You win some, you lose a lot. But my family is alive and happily together, so I really can’t complain. I lucked out with my immediate, extended, and “married” family, especially with a husband like mine. Who understands I don’t need fancy things for my birthday, but knows I love sweet, thoughtful gestures like having one of my favorite Food Network personalities (Justin Warner) tape a Cameo wishing me a “Happy Birthday”. Unfortunately for him, now he’ll also have to get me the cookbook I’ve been begging for. Fortunately, my husband is also a huge fan and seemed just as excited over the whole thing. My birthday is in 2 weeks, but my husband can’t keep a secret about presents to save his life.

I don’t make resolutions for the new year. I never keep them, that is if I even remember them. But I will discuss what I hope for this year, at least on a professional level. I hope that my blog continues it’s upward momentum. I hope to hear more from my readers. I will finish my new novel, even if that means waiting for NaNoWriMo again to bang out another 50,000 words. I have a few ideas for more children’s books that I will be working on, which I’m more excited about than I thought I would be. But that’s not all on my agenda. I am considering options like adding a podcast and/or a comic strip to my site. Both of those would be really fun to do, but we’ll see if it’s feasible. If I can start making the same amount from my own work as I do my freelancing ghostwriting gigs, I’ll have significantly more time to dedicate to these other projects. I will be continuing my stream starting tomorrow, with the amazing new updated look the husband designed for me a few weeks ago.

We’ll play this all by ear, but I look forward to seeing you guys on this journey with me. As usual, I will announce any new projects here or on my social media pages. You can follow those also on the sidebar there. My Instagram is a little bare, but I promise I’m trying to social media better. I wish all of you an amazing new year and thank you for making last year so great for me.


When Raising Adults

There comes a time, a very sad time, when your babies are no longer babies. You spend so much time raising your children and then they don’t need you anymore. But remember…. they do. It’s just instead of raising children, you need to start raising adults. Parenting is about the long game; the war, if you will. That’s the important thing to know about parenting. Getting through the day is about picking your battles. Winning the war is about standing strong on those battles that matter most. Bribing your kid with a smoked sausage firecracker treat to wear pajamas to school on Pajama Day is fine. Bribing your kid on the regular sends a message. Again, it’s picking your battles.

Earlier this year I wrote about raising teenagers. About how this is the time to let them sink or swim, hoping that you taught them enough to help them stay afloat. How you move more into an advisor role rather than an authoritative role. You can’t fix their problems for them anymore; you just hope that they have learned enough to figure it out or trust you enough to help guide them to the answers. That’s what you are doing when you are raising adults. When your child hits high school, they need to have the skills to “adult”. Trying to cram everything in with just 4 years to go is nuts, but a gradual lesson as they age into this milestone will make a huge difference.

For instance, when my oldest was tall enough to use the washing machine, probably around 12, he was expected to do his own laundry. I taught him how to do it, supervised him for a while, then I just trusted that he could do it. This is a life skill that he is going to need. I let him help cook in the kitchen growing up, teaching him recipes along the way. Now, he can do a decent enough job cooking some meals on his own though he’s never cooked supper for us (but I’m confident that he could pull it off). These are ways to raise an adult. I don’t want to raise him in a way where he expects his partner to take care of him. What if he never has a partner, loving the bachelor life? I’ll be damned if I’m doing laundry for my 30 year old child.

I started to “raise an adult” when they are a little younger. I was focused on how to make them into self-sufficient adults. I wanted to raise them with a solid work ethic but with compassion. It’s about the long game. Whether we like to admit it or not, everything we do as parents has an impact on the type of adult your child will become. It’s an insane amount of responsibility with an insane amount of pressure. This leads us to always second guess what we are doing. Guess what? We’re going to screw something up. Our kids are going to grow up just as flawed as we are. It’s about accepting those flaws and hoping that they learned enough from you to use their strengths.

Even in high school, our kids need us even if they don’t want to admit it. You can be firm about expectations for behavior or grades, but you have to be compassionate about the social issues that they are going to be struggling with. There’s peer pressure, bullying, and all sorts of things that will have a huge impact on your children for the rest of their lives. I can remember every bad bullying event that happened to me growing up, and it’s haunting sometimes. We have to make ourselves available to our teenagers, listening without judgement. They may not “need” you anymore, but they want you to still have their back. They still need to know that you love them. They need your support and guidance. They are not-so little adults right now and in 4 years, they will be entering college or the workforce and you need to do enough to prepare them for that.

How Have You Been Shamed Today?

I’m glad people are rising up against shame. Though, to be honest a lot of people that I see complaining about things like “mom shaming” tend to do a lot of that on their own as well. That’s completely besides the point, I think. Maybe not. I think I just shamed anti-shamers for shaming. I have too much of a headache already, but I promise you this isn’t a post about being disgusted with the concept of being shamed. I’m here to share with you about how I’ve been shamed today (generalizations, I just mean lately) in hopes that you will share your “shame”. We can bond over our shame and feel better knowing that you have a friend that feels the same way. Even if I’m just some random blogger.

It’s all about the weight.

Alright, admittedly I’ve been having a bit of a struggle with my weight since I lost a ton of it before moving. I could go on about stress, how medicines screw with your body, but apparently those are all excuses that I’m using. I shouldn’t work out though, because that’s bad for someone as fat as I am. All I need to do is more housework and I’m going to be super skinny again. My first question is: am I being shamed about my weight or my house here? Honestly, it’s probably both. Do I have unhealthy habits? Absolutely. Do I need to be reminded of that every day? Probably not. I know, I used to be so beautiful and skinny. I don’t need to be told that I’m neither anymore.

Listening to the advice of professionals is bad for you.

For a long time, I did get a lot of negativity by taking my son to get tested as requested by the specialists that I shouldn’t have had. He’ll talk eventually, he doesn’t need speech therapy, a developmental specialist, and to go to preschool on an IEP. They are just making things up to get more money and you just let them. So and so had this problem and they are perfectly fine now without all of this nonsense. Oh you’re allowing him to get screened by an occupational therapist? He’s fine, there’s no need for this. Oh he has anxiety? Why is that? What did you do that screwed him up? He is who he is and I’m going to do what I can to help him out. He needs a support system, not judgement. I need a support system, not judgement.

Can’t you just suck it up? (TMI INC.)

Females are conditioned not to talk about issues that they have with their reproductive system. Now with celebrities and movements like “SpeakEndo”, people are starting to talk more about their issues. My entire life I had issues with bad cramping and an obscene amount of bleeding which was made worse by the fact that it would come whenever it wanted. I could go months without one, probably why as a teen I didn’t even realize I was pregnant until late in the game. I was told I couldn’t even get pregnant so why put me on pills to prevent it or help my problem. Things got better before they got worse. I missed days at college because I just couldn’t make it out of bed. I had headaches that would blind me. Dizziness, vomiting, extreme pain. I’d find a pill that would stop it, until it didn’t, causing me to try so many different types of medicines that I did end up starting to gain weight from hormone switches and all that fun stuff. Finally, it would get so bad that I was practically bedridden for the entire 10 days that I would have this issue. I needed 3 heating pads, couldn’t hold any food down, and I was completely useless. Finally, something worked and here we are. But throughout the process and now, I keep hearing, “just take Advil and suck it up”. Do you know how many different types of medicines I’ve tried to stop the pain? I’ve had contractions that were less painful. My clothes and furniture always get ruined. People don’t understand, and shame me for not being tougher.

How can you live like this? This is a jungle.

Imagine a day, where you can spend the entire day cleaning. Your house is spotless. The toys are picked up. You have no dirty dishes. Your home is the epitome of clean. And then your kids and husband gets home, leaving trails of disaster behind them. And somehow, somehow, it always ends up looking so much worse than it did before you spend 3 hours scrubbing every aspect of the home. It’s always then, that someone shows up or you have to take a picture of something adorable that you want to share with the internet. Never share with the internet; it’s a terrible, horrible place.

Aren’t you too old to dress like that?

I’ve very capable of dolling up when I need to. However, I’m a jeans and t-shirt type of girl. I like my Chucks. I never want to not wear my Chucks. I want to be 100, wearing bright blue freaking Chucks and it’s going to be amazing. Yes, I do wear video game t-shirts and hoodies. I love D.Va and I will wear my hoodie despite the fact it has a slime stain on it, some chocolate stained on it, and it’s ripped. You can buy me a new one or a few of them to replace them if it bothers you that much. But I do have a soft spot for a cool and functional handbag. So I’m okay with that.

What do you mean that you make your kid do chores/discipline them?

I’m a believer in disciplining my children in a manner that will work for them. For my kids, time outs are typically the best approach when they reach of age to understand what they did. I ask them as they sit down what they did wrong. Usually they nail it, sometimes they need me to calmly explain what they did and offer solutions of how they could have handled it better. Sometimes I yell. Again, I’m only human. You would not believe the amount of hate that suggesting time outs gets me. I say “no” to my kids, picking which battles I want and what I’m willing to say “yes” to. Children need boundaries but they need a loose enough leash to learn. Yes, my children do have chores. My youngest feeds the dogs and cleans his room. My oldest is expected to do his own laundry, take care of the trash and recycling, take care of his cat, and tidy up our (very small) living room. Granted, my oldest hardly ever does tidy up the living room and it’s a fight to get him to change the litter box. But I have reasonable expectations for behavior and I’m willing to bend a little on the chores when they meet those expectations. Most of all, I want my boys to be respectful of others and show kindness. And I want them to make sure that they get their homework done.

So how have you been shamed today?

One Person’s Small Victory

When I had my first son, my big accomplishment would be making it to work without a gummy snack or some other food smeared on my clothes unknowingly. That was a small victory that many moms cherished. The moment that you can go to the bathroom or take a shower without an audience is a victory. I don’t think I truly appreciated these small victories as much as I should have.

Yesterday was my youngest son’s Christmas concert. This could have gone a few different ways. 1) He could have had a meltdown before going on stage, causing me to sit on the sidelines with him while the other classes performed their songs; 2) He could have had a meltdown while on stage (or standing in front of the stage), halting the entire concert and making a scene; 3) He would stand there, staring off into space, while doing something else that would draw attention to him; 4) He would be the perfect child, singing and dancing with his peers. I love my son, but holding out for option 4 was not a reasonable option. It would be great if that happened and I got fantastic pictures of my otherwise normally musical son performing. But I knew that wasn’t going to happen. I was okay with that.

The battle was a weekend long one. “I don’t want to go to school.” “I don’t want to sing.” “I don’t want to dance.” I considered bribing him into option 4. I’m not above bribery. I know I’m going to get the people that will tell me how awful of a mother I am for that. Listen, I’m just trying to make it through the day with what little sanity I still have.

I wasn’t going to make him sing or dance. I wasn’t going to make him dress up for the event. Part of parenting is knowing your kids; knowing which battles are really worth it. Fighting with him over going to sleep? Worth it. Fighting over a Christmas concert or dressing up for it? Not high on my priorities. I’m just trying to get through the day with as little tears as possible, from both sides of this table. Some kids were dressed in gorgeous dresses or looked way too adorable in full suits. Mine wore a long-sleeve shirt with a pocket and jeans. That was fancy enough. He wasn’t the only one dressed in normal clothing. He wasn’t even the only one who wanted nothing to do with the singing. He didn’t dance. But boy did that kid have a killer bow game going on. He knocked his bow (okay.. “bows”…) out of the park. Did I see him trying to do The Floss while up there? Oh, he definitely started. He looked out of place. He stood out. But he did his best. And I could not be more proud of him.

When you have a kid who seems a little too different from everyone else, it’s easy to feel self-conscious. It’s easy to ask yourself what you did wrong. I didn’t do anything wrong. I may be judged by the fact that I proudly recorded my son even as he stood and did nothing. Why? Because he was there. He showed up. He didn’t have a meltdown or freak out. He showed up and got up their bravely, happy that he saw his mommy in the crowd to support him. That’s my job. My job isn’t to change him. He’s not broken. He’s flawed, just like the rest of us. But he’s not broken. He doesn’t need to be fixed. I’m here to guide him, to support him every step of the way until he becomes an age where I have to sit back and hope that I did everything that I could. And I know that I am doing everything I can to build a solid foundation for him, because a solid foundation is what will hold him up for the rest of his life.