Monday, August 14, 2017

Friday, August 4, 2017

Let's get to work

As I came on here to wish you all a restful Sabbath, I felt the nudge to share this video under the title, "Let's get to work."  Isn't that a bit of a paradox?
I've been watching this video and am encouraged like never before!  If you are a servant of the Most High God, CHEER UP!!!! 
Shabbat Shalom, my loves,

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

My pet peeve

I had English teachers, while I grew up in the South Dakota Public School system, who truly cared about how we wrote!  All of those boring lessons are a BIG blessing in my life now!! 
Of course, it just about drives me crazy to see poor writing.  "I seen him do it."  "He don't do it right!" "Everybody done a good job."  "He sure ain't a good writer."  "Are children write good don't they?"  NO, THEY DON'T!!
This is something that has troubled me for decades!  Grammar errors on business billboards especially bug me.  There are endless examples of this from unbelievable deals to eating the cook.
So I get discouraged with how seldom people even notice the decay of the English language all around us. I even get a little lazy, now that I do texting, but it nags at me that I know better than that.
I keep wishing that there was something I could do to help people with their writing skills.  I am a teacher, after all, but who could teach the whole country? 
This morning, as I watched my favorite news show on Facebook, I was appalled at the total disregard for grammar in the written comments of the other viewers.  There were so many writing mistakes that my stomach started churning. 
 "THERE MUST BE SOMETHING THAT I CAN DO ABOUT THIS," I thought.  So I went to Goggle and typed in something about how to repair terrible writing.  This article came up and, seeing as it is well-written, I decided to share it with you all.  At the very least, I was comforted in knowing that MANY others suffer right along with me as we wonder "What ever happened to grammar lessons?"
Mr. Bernoff  has written a book on how to write better for greater business success!  In this article, he shares some information about how poor writing has financial ramifications! I had never considered this aspect of the problem.  Now I can see that our poor writing epidemic is an even BIGGER disaster than I had realized!
I like Mr. Bernoff's simple suggestions for how to improve our writing skills. I share them with the hopes that I have caused no offense where it was not needed.  However, if you find that the shoe fits, I hope that you will calmly take a few hints from this article and improve your writing skills.  The world will thank you for it and you may just find yourself moving forward in the business world!
Hats off to English teachers who still teach writing!

PS.  I'm thinking of buying his book, "Writing Without Bullshit: Boost Your Career by Saying What You Mean" if for no other reason than to raise eyebrows when people see it on my book shelf.  On the other hand, I just may learn some things which will help my business grow.  HMMMMM
Bad Writing Costs Businesses Billions
It’s not just a chore to wade through the badly written memos, emails, and other lousy business communication—this inefficiency costs us insane amounts of money.
There is a fundamental inefficiency at the heart of American business. It is right in front of all of our faces, and yet we fail to recognize it.
It’s the fuzzy, terrible writing we slog through every day at work. And it’s costing American businesses nearly $400 billion every year.
Think about it. You start your day wading through first-draft emails from colleagues who fail to come to the point. You consume reports that don’t make clear what’s happening or what your management should do about it.
The websites, marketing materials, and press releases from your suppliers are filled with jargon and meaningless superlatives. This problem is as common as rust, and just as welcome; in my survey of businesspeople who write at work, 81 percent agreed with the statement: “Poorly written material wastes a lot of my time.”
Poor writing creates a drag on everything you do. It functions like a tax, sapping your profits, and I can quantify it. American workers spend 22 percent of their work time reading; higher compensated workers read more.
According to my analysis, America is spending 6 percent of total wages on time wasted attempting to get meaning out of poorly written material. Every company, every manager, every professional pays this tax, which consumes $396 billion of our national income. That’s more than half of what we pay for Medicare—but the poor writing tax pays for nothing but waste.
We’re so immersed in this stuff that we hardly notice it any more. I’m talking about job descriptions like this one, from a health care company:
“The Area Vice President, Enterprise Customers will develop and manage a sustainable strategic relationship that transforms the current commercial model by creating joint value that results in the ongoing reduction of costs, continuous process improvement, growth and profitability for both partners with the ability to export key learnings.”
How much time did the HR department and the job candidates waste trying to figure that out?
How about the lede from ++ Samsung’s recent statement ++ [] about its smartphones?
“Samsung is committed to producing the highest quality products and we take every incident report from our valued customers very seriously. In response to recently reported cases of the new Galaxy Note7, we conducted a thorough investigation and found a battery cell issue.”
Battery cell issue? The phones are catching on fire—but you’d never know it from the company’s statement, which mentions only “incidents.” Say what you mean.
Of all the serious problems in the American workplace, this one is the most solvable. And we can solve it one company, one culture, one worker at a time.
The first step is to adopt what I call “The Iron Imperative” in everything you write: treat the reader’s time as more valuable than your own.
To embrace it means that every time you send an email or write a document, you must take a moment to structure it for maximum readability and meaning. We are lazy; we’d rather save our own time than someone else’s. But writers who adopt The Iron Imperative stand out in the workplace for clarity and efficiency, and are more likely to get ahead. Workplace cultures that adopt it will reduce their poor writing tax.
Josh Bernoff has been a professional writer for more than 30 years, including two decades as a well-known technology analyst. He is the coauthor of three books on business strategy, and his new book from HarperBusiness is Writing Without Bullshit: Boost Your Career by Saying What You Mean.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Getting nervous

You may laugh at my being nervous about becoming a grandmother but I AM nervous.  First of all, I've never been a grandmother before.  Secondly, I am becoming a grandmother TWICE in one week from two different children. 

 How will I juggle it all? 

How will I know if I am welcome to stay or if I should go home?  Or maybe I should go to the other new parent's house? 

Will I be strong enough to deal with any new demands on my time? 

What if I don't like the name they have chosen for their child?  What if I like one name better than I like the other name?
What if I strongly disagree with something that one set of parents chooses to do with their child?  Can I keep my mouth shut?  Is that the best thing to do or are they desperately needing to hear my opinion?  After all I have raised 3 children to adulthood and I dare say they've all turned out well!
As usual, I went to see if  Mr. & Mrs. Google have any advice for me.  What a sigh of relief to find this article just waiting for me to discover. If any of you has any advice for me, I would love to hear it too.  I am open to all intelligent, Godly advice there is.
Asking for prayers for our family this month.  It's going to be an adventure--that's for sure.
Here's to all of you wonderful Grandparent's out there!


7 Unbreakable Laws of Grandparenting

Our columnist shares the family rules that can keep you out of trouble.

By Barbara Graham
On the one hand, it was so simple. There was a new baby, Isabelle Eva, and there was nothing to do except love her. That was the one hand. The other hand, belonging to her parents, held all the cards. I soon learned that I could love my granddaughter fiercely, but I had no say — in anything. She was mine, but not mine. Although this is perfectly natural and should not have shocked me, it did. (Okay, I admit that on occasion the word bossy has been used to describe my behavior. Still.) For many parents used to being in charge, deferring to the rules and wishes of our adult children and their partners is humbling. I ended up editing a book on the subject  to help me get a handle on my new role. Here are a few guidelines that — so far — have kept me out of hot water.

1. Seal your lips. Even if you’re an expert who has written 13 bestsellers on parenthood, your adult sons and daughters will assume you know nothing about childrearing. Your advice and opinions will not be welcome, unless directly solicited. (Even then, it’s iffy as to whether the new parents really want to hear your answer.) Tread lightly. As Anne Roiphe laments in Eye of My Heart, "Ah, my poor tongue is sore from being bitten."

2. You may love thy grandchild as thine own — but never forget that he or she is not thine own. I was confused about this in the beginning. I was at the hospital when Isabelle was born and I thought we were all one big happy family. Not. I had to win over her parents. They loved me — I knew that — but did they trust me? In the early days I felt as if I were auditioning for the part of grandparent. Did I hold Isabelle properly? Didn’t I know that you never put a newborn down on her stomach? It took me a few blunders to secure their trust — which must be renewed every so often, like a driver’s license.
3. Abide by the rules of the new parents. The dos and don'ts of childrearing change with every generation. If I had listened to my mother, I would have held my son only while feeding him (every four hours) — and not one second longer, lest he turn into a “mama’s boy." These days, with the crush of childrearing information online, most new parents are up to speed — and beyond — but we grandparents most definitely are not. Baby slings? The Mutsy Slider Stroller? Who knows what these things are, or how to operate them?

4. Accept your role. If you’re the mother of the new father, you may not have the same access to your grandchild as the maternal grandmother, at least in the beginning. In most families, new mothers are the primary caretakers of babies and they tend to lean on their mothers for support. This is not a problem — unless you think it is. Your grandchild will love you too. Anyhow, all grandparents — whether on the maternal or paternal side — are at risk of being shut out if they fail to observe any of these commandments. Try to think of yourself as a relief pitcher in a baseball game: You're on the bench until your adult children call you up — and then you must do as they say if you want to stay in the game. (We've already covered this, but I think it's key.)
5. Don’t be surprised if old issues get triggered when your child has a child. For many people, feelings of competition with their grandchild's other grandparents provoke traumatic flashbacks to junior high school. This is especially true now, given the proliferation of divorce and stepfamilies. Not only that, some grandparents are able to lavish the kids with expensive gifts, while others live much closer to the children than their counterparts. Still, a little goodwill goes a long way. The heart is a generous muscle capable of loving many people at once, and most of us are able to get past the initial rush of jealousy to find our special place in the new order. (Yes, of course we still secretly hope that our grandchildren will love us more than those other people. We are, after all, human.)
6. Get a life. Sometimes I’ve become overly embroiled in my concern for my son and his family; at other times my desire to be an integral part of their lives has taken precedence over things I needed to do to maintain my own sense of well-being — and I’ve paid the price. Hence, my mantra: “I have my life, they have theirs.” We are close and connected, yet separate. Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries.

7. Let go of all expectations. When Isabelle Eva was born she was living around the corner from us, but when she was two months old her parents moved her overseas. Not only was I heartbroken, my expectations about my involvement in her life were turned upside down. Yet, once I was able to let go of my agenda — which took some doing — I found that I still felt deeply connected to Isabelle and vice-versa. Now my husband and I visit her as often as we can and, in between visits, we Skype and talk on the phone. There are bound to be unpredictable plot twists in every family narrative, but, unless you are raising your grandchildren, your adult children are writing their own story. (See No. 4: Relief pitcher, on the bench.) Who knew that grandparenthood would offer so many new opportunities for personal growth?
Ultimately, the good news about becoming a grandparent, and not being in charge anymore, is that nothing is your fault, either. As Roxana Robinson writes in Eye of My Heart, "It's like being told you no longer have to eat vegetables, only dessert — and really only the icing."
Barbara Graham, a columnist, is the editor of the anthology, Eye of My Heart: 27 Writers Reveal the Hidden Pleasures and Perils of Being a Grandmother (Harper), which tells "the whole crazy, complicated truth about being a grandmother in today's world."

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Tea anyone?

It was my turn to host our monthly tea party yesterday and it was a delight even though my cream puffs collapsed.  I did learn, from one of my guests, that you need to leave them in the oven longer than one would think so that they get nice and firm.  Then take them out of the oven and fill with cream and other delightful things.

What was wonderful about yesterday's tea party is that, even though the cream puffs didn't look like I had imagined they would, my guests were just as delighted being together as if the cream puffs had turned out perfectly.  We laughed and piled our cream and raspberry jam and chocolate pieces high and indulged--not only in the food but in the friendship!
At one time in my life, I would have hated myself the whole time because I failed to provide a perfect event for those who came for it.  Now, I got off my high horse, laughed with the others and had the time of my life.  Here are my guests.  Do they look happy they took time for tea? 
I'm hoping that I inspired at least 1 person to have a tea party.  If so, you may find the article below helpful.  I do want to assure you, though, that there are NO tea police.  In fact, most of my guests didn't have tea at all.  ;)
Here's to friendship--new and old.  Can you guess who my newest friend is in this photo? 

PS.  I'm so glad that I don't freak out over every little thing anymore.  Otherwise, I'd not even post these comments as I cannot figure out why I cannot get the font uniform in size.
Image may contain: 5 people, people smiling, people standing and indoor

How to Host a Tea Party

Ideas for a Tea Party
Tea is to a tea party what beer is to guys' night in the man cave. Tea isn't the only requirement, though. A good tea party is about creating an old timey, gracious ambience, and that requires attention to detail. You don't have to live in a palace, serve lots of expensive food or hire a wait staff to do the honors. A tea party can be a late morning to late afternoon affair. It can be held indoors or outdoors, and it can include from as few as two people to more than a hundred.
You should also observe some practical rules:
  • Send invitations -- A written invitation will set the perfect tone for a tea party. Remember, a tea party usually conjures visions of rose bouquets, lace, bone china, delightfully decadent sweets and cunningly crafted sandwiches. You may not be including all of those things in your party, but putting together an invitation that plays to those ideas will get people in the mood. Your invitation should also include the date, time, location and planned duration of the party. Request an RSVP, and send the invitations well in advance, too. Six weeks ahead isn't too soon.
  • Consider a theme -- Beyond feeling nostalgic for the good old days, there are lots of reasons to host a tea party. It could be part of a larger wedding celebration. It could also be for a graduation, birthday party or retirement celebration. It isn't too hard to integrate a theme like retirement (think leisure activities like gardening or travel) or graduation into a tea party in the table decorations, invitations and food. You can also stick to classics like a spring fling with lots of flowers. If extravagance is more your thing, think along the lines of Alice in Wonderland/Queen of Hearts, a derby party or a Japanese tea garden. Picking a theme, even if it's just a color scheme, it will be easier to come up with good, specific ideas. Knowing that you'll be using a bouquet of light yellow roses as a centerpiece will make it easier to decide on things like the cake frosting and table cloth design.
  • Establish a dress code -- Tea parties can run the gamut from dauntingly formal to hole-in-your-running-shoe casual. Mention the dress code in your invitations. You don't need to go overboard, but you can, say, recommend dresses for the ladies (oh, and maybe hats!), and dress slacks for the men. If you want things comfortably casual, let folks know that, too.
  • Savory, sweet or both -- Tea party refreshments can be playful and understated with cookies and petit fours. They can also include more robust appetizer trays that add finger sandwiches and other two-bite specialties. You can also host a tea party that includes a complete buffet service. You should keep in mind that "tea" doesn't mean "luncheon," so your invitations should spell out what guests can expect. As important as the food will be, it's the presentation that will win the day at a tea party. Keep the serving sizes on the small side, and pay particular attention to the way food is plated. Stacking cold cuts on a platter may be good form for an office party, but you should include some creative flourish with tea party fare. Roll those cold cuts and include some greenery and nicely displayed fruits and cheeses. Tasty is good, but pretty and tasty is even better.
  • Include entertainment -- Sipping tea to classical music may seem refined, but it gets boring fast. Make sure your tea party is a success by incorporating some entertainment into the afternoon. You can play games, include a craft presentation or even host a jewelry or fashion show. There's lots of potential for innovation here. If you know your friends' particular likes, you'll be able to come up with some great options.
  • Don't forget the tea -- Yes, tea parties include tea, and even if you aren't a fan of the brown stuff, there are some variations that are sure to work for your party. You can go with serving classic teas like Darjeeling, oolong, Earl Grey and English breakfast, or opt for iced tea or sun tea. Iced, fruity teas work particularly well for a spring or summer tea party. You can try something new like chai tea, too. It's a blend of cinnamon, allspice and other spices served with milk. It's a bit like Christmas in a cup. If there will be tea purists present, make sure to brew loose rather than bagged tea, use boiling water (not just hot -- unless it's green tea), and steep the tea precisely. Otherwise, the tea police may cite you for beverage abuse.