* Thanks to Someone

liebster-award
Someone
, namely James O’Neil, has been nominated for the Liebster Award.  His blog features interesting memories of the past, all spiced with a wry sense of humor.  Originally from Chicago, he shares traditions, escapades, and his strong opinions.  As someone with equally strong opinions, I appreciate his writing and experiences.  I can tell that he enjoys good cooking, too.  James has nominated me for the Liebster Award, and although I have already gone through that process, being nominated is a terrific way to share blogs I enjoy reading.  It’s lovely to write a blog that someone enjoys!

Here are the Liebster rules:

If nominated for the award, and accept, write a blog post about the award in which you were nominated.  Thank the blogger who nominated you with a link back to his/her blog. THANK YOU, JAMES!  Display the award on your blog.  Answer 11 questions asked by the nominator.  Nominate 5-11 other bloggers.  Create 11 new questions for the nominee.  List these rules on your post so others know what is expected (TOMORROW!). 

Here are some of my favorite bloggers, excluding those who are “award free.”  Some of my faves are bloggers who’ve been there, done that.  And my nominees are free to graciously decline the award.

1. One of my favorite special ed blogs is Group by Group.  This blog features a team of specialists who create the coolest theme-based activities and generously share their books.  Want to know if they are successful?  Just look at the kids’ faces.

2.  Faraday’s Candle is a science-based blog written by two sisters, one in middle school and the other an elementary student.  They LOVE science and explore all kinds of interesting topics.  Want to know what those bumps on your tongue really do?  Check them out!

3.  A blogger who features others’ writing AND has hosts his own radio show is David Snape and Friends.  David shares his early struggles with autism, the isolation and academic difficulties, but has certainly found his way.  His blog is a treasure chest of jewels written by others (and sometimes by him).

4.  Staycation Atlanta is written by a sweet lady who shares her explorations of Atlanta, along with photos of THE most adorable dog.  Those eyes!  It’s amazing how much ground Jan covers in her blog.  And yummy food!

5.  Chrissie, of Vamp It Up Manchester, would be SO much fun to spend time with!  She’s a self-described “urban geek,” and her eclectic posts feature food, fashion, organization, and cool STUFF.  She’s is a clever and frugal shopper.  My inspiration.

I will post the questions tomorrow.  This post is already over 400 words.  Yikes!

 

* NightLight

earth- at nightThe earth looks beautiful from a satellite,  doesn’t it?  Zoom in and see the evil of slavery hiding in the shadows.  The UN estimates that up to 2 million women and children are victimized by traffickers each year.  In Thailand, NightLight is doing something about it.  According to NightLight’s website, “Thailand is a source, destination and transit country for trafficking in persons according to the 2014 report by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs. In fact, in this report, Thailand was downgraded to the lowest rank possible (Tier 3) in terms of their efforts to combat human trafficking. Fueled by a growing demand, countless women and children from around the world are victimized by gender inequality, poverty and cultural obligations. They are sold or pressured into prostitution and trafficked in and out of Bangkok to sustain an increasingly global network.”

The problem seems so insurmountable that it’s easy to shake your head and move on the next blog post.  PLEASE DON’T!  You CAN make a difference!

Join me as I support NightLight’s goal of selling 1000 earrings this Christmas season.  Every time you sponsor one or more gifts (and it doesn’t cost much!),  NightLight’s Bangkok Field Team will give a pair of earrings to one woman still working in the red-light district this holiday season. In addition to earrings, they will include other small trinkets and treats, and a card telling her she is beautiful and loved. NightLight’s goal is to hand out these Christmas messages of love to at least 1000 women still working in the bars, clubs, streets and trafficking areas of Bangkok this holiday season.  And guess what?  These earrings are made by women who have been rescued from this life of sexual servitude.  Watch this video to see how jewelry-making, plus life skills classes and more, have transformed lives.   A friend of mine has been working with this organization for years and is amazed at their success.

Will you join me in giving potentially life-changing gifts to women who are trapped in the sex trade? 

* MIA?

Yes, I am missing in action.  I was out of town, got sick with lots of drama, and then discovered that I couldn’t log in to my blog (how rude!).   Now I’m sick again!  I’ve been reading the Bess Crawford mystery series by Charles Todd, featuring a British nurse from World War I.  Hope tp be back in action soon.labrador-380800_640

* Happy Birthday, Teachezwell!

birthday-157999_640Happy birthday to my blog!  I started writing one year ago today!  It’s been a wonderful journey, mostly thanks to all the special bloggers in this unique internet ncihe.  My takeaways from the past year:

  • I am SO grateful that bloggers and others read my blog!  I have been MIA at times, like the past few difficult weeks, but my faithful friends continue to read.
  • enjoy reading and commenting on others’ blogs.  I follow a diverse group of folks and truly enjoy their insights, humor, candor, and kindness.  I look forward to catching up on all I’ve missed lately!
  • I thought I would write and read every day, but life happens.  I am always disappointed when I can’t do either.  Maybe I’ll get over that.  Maybe not.
  • I have written on more personal topics than I had anticipated.  I’ve enjoyed that, too!
  • I have learned not to write posts of 1,000 words and more.  I aim for 300, so I (hopefully) don’t exhaust my readers.
  • I have work to do in the organization of this site.  This blogging category, for instance, is jammed with too many topics.

I am thrilled to start my second year!  Thank you so much for reading!

* Full of sunshine!

Sunshine bloggerWow!  Jill, the sweet mom from Square Peg in a Round Hole has nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger Award!  I am so honored, since she is a true inspiration for parents and teachers.  I appreciate Jill’s honesty and humor as she navigates her way through life. Her son is getting a service dog soon (what a cutie he is!) and I look forward to following their latest venture.

If you’ve blogged for a while, you know that these nominations give everyone a chance to explore new blogs.  And there are questions for the nominees to answer, as well.  Before I get to the questions, here are my nominees for The Sunshine Blogger Award:

Simon C. Holland:  He’s just posted a hilarious list on why summer is a nightmare for parents.  He has many other laugh-out-loud posts, too.  I enjoy his candor and relationship with his kiddos.

David Snape and Friends: I love this blog.  Virtually anyone can be a guest writer and David’s posts are also intriguing.  He is even on the radio!  Quite a creative guy. Read about his goals and fascination with technology on a birthday post.

Smorgasbord- Variety Is the Spice of Life:  Sally is the gentle, talented author of this blog- and much more!  She has a number of published books, is a nutrition therapist, and has published and directed radio and internet TV . Her posts are always worth reading, like her current one on cursing penguins (only 12 seconds long- you can do it!) and other oddities.  You WILL laugh out loud.

Yellow Belly Mummy:  She’s a talented writer who is currently bemoaning her inability to lose weight, despite being “knackered” as she chases her kids around.  She shares her super tips on how to get more exercise by having fun with a hula hoop, among other ideas.  No matter what topic she covers, there’s always sunshine in her posts!

Two on a Rant:  Recently discovered by me (but already followed by thousands!), I have enjoyed the oddball, insightful, and poetic comments these two women share on their blog.  Not all their posts are rants.  This one is a sweet poem by obvious animal lovers.

OK, for the questions.

  1. What is the most daring thing you have done?  Gotten married.  After my wretched childhood, I had vowed never to replicate that disaster.  But wouldn’t you know it?  My dearest widower defied all my direst predictions.
  2. Name one item still on your bucket list.  Write a book.
  3. If you had a time machine, would you choose to live in the past or the future?  Oh, my, I would never go back.  And my future will be spent with Jesus forever, so I’m setting the time machine for about a minute after I die.  Whoopee!
  4. What is your favorite movie of all time?  This is hard because my dearest widower is a movie fanatic and will immediately remind me of one I forgot.  But, I guess I’d say “Avatar,” James Cameron’s blockbuster.  It has crappy theology, in my opinion, but who wouldn’t want to live on gorgeous Pandora, tower over 10 feet tall, have blue skin, and ride a direhorse ? Huh?
  5. What is one piece of advice you would give to your younger self?  “Don’t worry, you are going to survive- and thrive!”
  6. What is your spirit animal?  Um, that’s silly.
  7. What is a favorite quote of yours?  Yikes, I don’t have one. I could check on the internet for something profound, but actually, I need to eat dinner.

I am supposed to write 7 questions for the above nominees but I love the questions (except part of #5) that Jill answered (I know, it’s probably because her answers were terrific).  Here are the ones I copied from her blog:

  1. Do you keep a diary or journal?
  2. What is one of your guilty pleasures?
  3. Do you have any pets?
  4. Tell us about one thing that really gets your goat.
  5. Who would you invite to a celebrity dinner.  List 5, dead or alive.  (Honestly, I think that dead guests are a bit macabre….)
  6. Brain dump… What is on your mind right now?
  7. What is your most annoying bad habit?

I know that some bloggers HATE these nominations but please do check out the blogs I nominated.  They’ll bring a ray of sunshine into your day!

* Blog Of The Day: Meet Teachez Well!

Suzi81 Speaks was amazingly generous. She “edited” my blog and I see that my dear widower must have his own page. I’ve already heard from a sweet woman who was called “extremely lazy” as she battled with dyslexia. After failing her first attempt at college, she went back! And graduated! Books on tape made all the difference. Way to go, Floridaborne!

Suzie Speaks

imageMeet Katherine!

She’s the creator of Teachez Well Blog, a site dedicated to teaching children with learning difficulties and special needs, and with over forty years of experience, she’s more than qualified to provide assistance to anyone who has children that have certain needs!

She has a wonderful sense lf humour, and her About page (and indeed every email she has ever sent me) makes me smile when she discusses her husband, the blog widower…

I am a semi-retired special educator with 40+ years experience. Yes, that makes me pretty old and I was probably teaching long before many of you were born. I always wanted to be a teacher, probably because I had some amazing and loving teachers myself. I have taught kids with a wide variety of disabilities, primarily in the public school system at the elementary level. My specialties are reading and social skills. Have you…

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* Copyright laws

PixabayA wonderful blogger at Chapel Hill Snippets, Ruth Morgan, was kind enough to alert me to copyright laws related to images.  She has already gone through her posts to eliminate images which are not free to use.  I asked Ruth for advice after crying, “HELP!”   First, Ruth recommended Pixabay.com (see above), which provides over 330,000 images in 20 languages.  All these images may be copied, modified, and even used for commercial purposes without permission.  Images are organized by category and provided by photographers (I might try to donate a few).  You will also find images from Shutterstock, which generates funds for Pixabay,  which is completely FREE!   Second, when I asked Ruth how I could determine which images are not free of copyrights, she suggested TinEye Reverse Image Search.  You may drag and drop images, enter URLs, use a browser plug-in, or upload a file for TinEye to examine.   (I hope it’s OK to use the image below!)TinEyeI have only gone through three of my blog categories so far.  Yikes!  Right now, I’m taking two online classes concurrently, as well as teaching a LOT.  I hope my site remains invisible to the copyright police, whoever they might be, until I can finish slogging my way through images!  If you see something that is copyrighted, please let me know!  

* Is blogging rocket science?

Is blogging rocket science?  Sometimes it feels that way, but it’s actually an organizational challenge.  I changed a category name without realizing that all the entries under that previous name would go SPLAT across the page, untethered and unmanageable.  Since I have over 200 posts, adjusting the menu now takes so much time that Google Chrome is constantly begging to kill the pages.  I do empathize, since I want to kill the lengthy mess myself.

kill the pages

Then there’s the issue of replies.  My chalkboard theme buries replies below “see” level.  As the writer, I can easily read all comments, but there’s little chance of a dialog between readers.  I probably need to fiddle with widgets (listen closely for the screeching sounds).

Finally, I am unable to save this post.  When I click on the save button, I get this error message: oops

What method is allowed?  Maybe HAL (of Space Odyssey fame) is now handling my blog.  In which case, this IS rocket science and my life support is being compromised.  Now I can’t publish this post either.

If it does eventually appear, you’ll know that Space Odyssey has a revised, happier ending.  antares-orb-3-532595_640

* Well, duh.

SpamI never realized that bloggers get spam.  At first, I used to carefully glean every spam comment, and even clicked on their links.  How fantastic that SO many people commented on my blog!   I wasn’t even sure how they found my blog.  Surely these comments were not SPAM.  No one would take the time to send junk to a teacher’s blog, right?  After reading hundreds of comments about ladies’ shoes and weight loss programs, along with the ubiquitous “Dear web admin, you seem to be missing something,” I have almost stopped checking my spam box.  But then I found one insightful comment:

Yes! Finally someone writes about mastercard balance transfers.

How did they know about my use of credit cards?  If you’ve been following this blog, or even if you’re a first time reader, I hope you don’t follow my example.  My husband calls each school year “The Great Teachezwell Giveaway,” prompted by my never-ending purchases of teaching supplies.  Perhaps there’s a reason to keep checking that spam box after all.

* Reflections on two months

(That is a dreadful image to start an 8 second clip!  Yikes! The first one had closed eyes, so I am two-and-done.  Plus, I just got rid of some malware that had fastened onto this post.)

Today marks the two month anniversary of my blog! Whoopee!  Here’s what I have learned:

1.  Blogging is not for wimps!  I end up doing a lot of my posting late in the day when I sometimes want to flake out.  It also takes a lot of time to read and comment on blogs I follow; I’m finding that more difficult as I acquire more sites to read.   Fortunately, I am a speedy writer and reader, so writing a blog is a good fit.

2.  “Technology is great but cannot be trusted.”  (That’s a quote from a technology specialist at a school where I taught).   About three weeks ago, my computer became paralyzed and had to be replaced; it was four years old and had served me well.  I am now using a bigger, monster computer!  I have learned to save my drafts, because I’ve accidentally tapped some odd button that whips me away from my blog, eliminating the draft forever.  I was once on the last sentence!

3.  Bloggers are interesting and talented folks.  The art, poetry, stories, photography, and touching anecdotes are compelling and thought-provoking.  Bloggers invite you into their hearts and minds.

4.  Blogger are so kind!  I am amazed that virtual strangers will take the time to comment on posts and encourage others.  When I go to another site, I might be 20th in line to reply to someone’s questions.  I love that!

5.  I do need to keep track of my frequent statement, “More on that later.”  I still haven’t organized a system for remembering what I plan to write about next.  My posting tends to get rather ADHD, bouncing around from topic to topic.  I am also wondering if this theme is user-friendly for the number of posts I have made.  I love Nerd In The Brain‘s theme, which looks like an organized classroom.  This endless chalkboard may not be so endless.  I guess I could ask a theme wrangler.

6.  I love blogging!  Golly, when WordPress announced some job openings, I actually checked out the possibilities!  Sometimes I find myself composing a blog as I drive home.  My family jokes about how much I blog, although my husband remains SO supportive.  Thank you, sweetie!

Thank you, dear readers, for making this a special adventure!