Christmas miracles: the enemy appendix, the almost nativity and the miracle snow - Grand Rapids Holidays |

Probably everyone has a holiday horror story--the time Jimmy threw up on the Christmas tree or the time Mordechai knocked Rachel out cold with a flying dreidel or the when the cat caught fire playing with the Kwanzaa candles. But the holidays are about miracles, too--filled Christmas stockings for hungry children, oil lamps that stay burning, celebration amid oppression. No matter how Scroogy we may claim to be, we each carry a holiday miracle in us. Here's mine  Christmas miracles: the enemy appendix, the almost nativity and the miracle snow 

Kim Kardashian racist nude photo says time for a holiday from Kardashiana - Grand Rapids Holidays |

The tabloid-mongering Kardashians will do anything for attention, especially Kim. Duh. Tell us something we don't know, right? Well, Kim's taken it too far. She posed nude for a Paper Magazine photo shoot,, which included recreating a famous image with champagne flowing into a glass poised on her big butt, says Inquisitor. Stay classy, Kim. But the larger problem was the racial overtone. Kim Kardashian racist nude photo says time for a holiday from Kardashiana


National Bologna Day, skip the baloney and celebrate Bologna Italy!

 Happy National Bologna Day, October 24! You didn't know there was a day to honor lunchmeat? Holiday Insights says there's little in the way of data on origins. And Bolognese people might take exception that the thing we think of is pink cold cuts. The meat is so-named for Bologna, Italy an ancient Etruscan city turned medieval university town. Locals enjoy a rich culture, history and lifestyle in which local bologna sausage plays only a minor role. Viator lists Bologna tour sites.National Bologna Day, skip the baloney and celebrate Bologna Italy!

How to Write Annotated References for College Research Papers

 Annotated references are similar to what we older folks used to call, "footnotes" or "endnotes" used in college-level research papers. But they differ in format. ARs aren't just a simple bibliography, either. They're citations from sources you actually quote in your paper. Citing annotated references differs from end note citations, also. Here's How to Write Annotated References for College Research Papers

Mystery Story Starters and Writing Prompts for Halloween and Horror Flash Fiction

"It was a dark and stormy night...' Remember Snoopy's famous one-line opener? It prefaced the Dog Wonder's ever-elusive great mystery story. Perhaps you know how Snoopy feels, perched atop his doghouse, typewriter silent. You've got the bones of a mystery story rattling in your brain like a skeleton in a too-crowded closet.  But where to start. How about here, with these Mystery Story Starters and Writing Prompts for Halloween Flash Fiction

Big Lake Anthology Poem: Sunday at the grampa-grama house

(memories, in verse, from my inner 5-year-old about life at the Grama-Grampa House on the Big Lake (Lake Michigan). Part of my Big Lake Anthology)

Sunday at the grampa-grama house
was boring because Grama and grampa were dutch reformed

they had a dominie instead of a minister
like i had at church

the Dominie, they said,
said they couldn't do anything on Sunday

Grama couldn't cook on Sunday
which was nice for grama

she made Grampa and me
a sandwich for dinner

we couldn't watch tv
which was sad for me

because the only tv i had
was at the grama-grampa house

i wondered why the Dominie
let us watch tv all week but not on sunday

mommy and daddy didn't have a dominie
but they never watched tv

we couldn't watch grampas home movies
on sunday either

on nights that were not sunday
he set up the super 8 movie projector

and showed old movies of us
on the side of the refrigerator

while we ate ice cream
it was fun even if there was no sound

the dog pierre always knew
when we were having ice cream
he came home from wherever he was
just in time to have a scoop for himself

i liked ice cream but wished
grama and grampa picked better flavors

spumoni and peppermint stick and butter pecan
are not as good as chocolate marshmallow

the dominie said we could play aggravation
on the porch on summer nights after my bath

and have a fire in the fireplace
downstairs in winter

which were probably better than tv
and just as good as home movies

or walks to the beach
and much better than going to church

Make Money Writing Online by Developing Author Voice and Marketing Flexibility

 I've earned sustainable income writing online for nearly a decade. That's sustainable as in bill-paying and financially solvent. I maintain several meta-writing (writing about how to write) blogs. A discussion arose in a professional group on trends in voice (writing style). It got me pondering anew, what it takes to be successful online.  How to Make Money Writing Online by Developing Voice and Flexibility

Teaching Adult Literacy Writing, Reading Personalized Books

I've been privileged as an educator to have taught many people, young and old, to read. Teaching adults to read is delicate; you can't use children's books and there aren't many adult interest books written at emergent reader level. They're aren't developmentally disabled. They just lack literacy. Finding appropriate curriculum is challenging. So I had students write personalized memoir-style books, about themselves, and read those. Using everyday vocabulary, natural, familiar expressions boosts fluency and comprehension immeasurably. Throw in some phonics practice and word families and you can't miss. How do you write personalized stories? Easy. Here's how. Teaching Reading for Adults: Personalized Books

Anger Managment and Rage Therapy Through Journal Writing

We all feel angry from time to time. It's normal and some anger is actually healthy. For some people, anger is chronic. For others, it's situational. Hi I'm Mar and I'm a rageaholic. And I've found that writing in a journal heals chronic anger. It provides therapy, release, detachment, a coping mechanism Journaling helps me manage anger issues. Too frustrated to write? Feel like you just have to punch something (or someone?) I understand. I felt that way at first, too. But after I discovered how mor more therapeutic writing is than punching things, it got easier to use writing as an anger management technique. Anger Managment and Rage Therapy Through Writing

Printable Reading Response Journal Template for Readers Workshop, Writers Workshop- Yahoo Voices -

Can we agree that schools rely too heavily on worksheets? That handouts are boring and kids don't learn much doing them? To teach reading and writing, why not have students make Reading Response Journals? Students complete activities and interact with content, rather than just parroting back answers. Use reading response journals as part of Writer's Workshop or Reader's Workshop activities. Literature, Reading and Writing Response Journal Lesson Plan

How to Write a Graduation Speech and Speak in Public with Poise

The good news is, you've been asked to give a speech. That's the bad news too. 'Cause public speaking scares you silly. Well, fear not. Regardless of occasion or audience, we'll make a confident orator of you yet. Here are tips to de-stress speech-making. Click the link for tips on how to write graduation speeches and this one for giving them confidently.How to Overcome Fear of Public Speaking

No Flowers for Mama (Tragi-Comic Mother's Day Verse)

A child's perspective on Mother's Day flower gifts, personal property laws and sustainable alternatives. In verse. A poor imitative tribute to Shel Silverstein. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  No Flowers for Mama

Writing for the Web 101 Work Your Keywords, SEO, Tags

A discussion on Bubblews (a platform I write for) sparked this post. It was posited that comments created linkbacks to our profiles and posts. This draws search traffic as links are channels, so to speak. They act like magnets attracting search indexing. Here's a tutorial to cash in on SEO, making links of keywords. But just remember, too much of a good thing is too much. Sprinkle keywords in the post. Season lightly. Keyword stuffed posts look contrived and spammy. I made that mistake accidentally with a few old articles. We were taught then to use more. Now received wisdom is, one per paragraph or every 100 words.   Writing for the Web 101 Keywords, SEO, Unique Tags, Oh My!

Blogging Tips, Take While Google Blogger is Giving

For the past few days, I have doing my blog PMs (preventative maintenance), spring cleaning my 55 niche blogs (an Amazonian task--I'd say Herculean, but being a gal, I want to show solidarity with the ladies.) I've been writing online since 2005 and blogs are my milch cows. But when internet or computer is slow, I can't get much done. So my advice is to do it while it works and do something else when it doesn't. I'm off to read a book and enjoy a glass of wine! Salud!   Blogging Tips, Take While Google Blogger is Giving

Poem Party, Writer Workshop Activities for April National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month in the U.S. Why not celebrate creative writing, by throwing a "poem party." Or host a writer workshop. Teachers and homeschoolers, help kids access their inner bard. I've included writing prompts, poem frames, templates and other inspirational activities. This can be done in any grade from preschool to college. Or do this with a group of adults.  Poem Party, Writer Workshops for April National Poetry Month

Flouting Rules Is Not a Writing Style Choice. It's Just Lazy Writing.

I’ve written online for nine years, published print pieces, taught writing, mentored fledgling writers, penned writing tutorials and maintained writing blogs. I think a lot about writing! It's how I make my living. And today I want to address a concern about writing style: what it is and what it is not. There’s a misconception that spelling and grammar are make-it-up-as-you-go. Would-be writers have told me (in response to suggestions on writing) “I’m not a rule follower. That cramps my style. I just write how I feel.” Great. But Flouting Rules Is Not a Writing Style (read more)

Writing for the Web 101 News Burnout Depression

 I've made a living writing online. Many kindly congratulate, others express envy. Don't. Writing for major news sources, isn't all it's cracked up to be. You write about the best, but mostly the worst of humanity. We reporters are called "vultures." Sometimes I feel like it, picking over sad wrecks of lives for an angle. If you would freelance, you have to develop thick skin and a strong stomach.  Writing for the Web 101 News Depression

Writing Humorous Narrative: Animals Don't Like My Son, Except Armadillos

Do you need to write a funny vignette or narrative type 2? Here's an example I wrote. "Our oldest son has a bad track record with animals. He was gored by a Vietnamese potbelly pig at a petting zoo when he (son, not pig) was three. Fortunately his tusks had been trimmed (pig's not son's)." Read on.   Son Does Not Get on With Animals, Except Armadillos

Are You a Work at Home Online Writer? Get a Good Router

A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse? Forget that. Just give me a router that doesn't foul up every six seconds. Are you an online writer WAHM like me? Then you know it's 1 percent inspiration and 99 frustration when your computer fubars. I've spent more hours than I care to count dealing with this internet router nightmare. First, the router keeps booting my daughter's devices off. So I reset all the internet options. Then I switch search providers.  Forget the Horse, My Kingdom for No Router Problems

Lost What You Were Writing? Try These Tips

You wrote the perfecto post, added images, proofread, alles in ordnung. Then, that wretched "captcha incorrect" or gateway error steals your work. Or you hit a wrong button and text disappears into the internet abyss. Cue sounds of wailing and gnashing of teeth.

That's happened to me, when some foolhardy soul, who likes internet more than life, sneaks on my computer (verboten), and accidentally clicks out. I've done great bodily harm for less provocation. But the good news is that on Bubblews, unlike other sites, it may be retrievable. Here are damage control techniques.   Captcha, Gateway Errors Lost Your Post? Try These Tips (yes, that's me in the photo).

Voice--Writing in Your Natural, Personal Style

I've been doing the Freelance Dance for almost nine years. I just found out today that a site I've been written for since 2006 is changing dramatically again. I'll adapt. I can chameleon when I have to. But one thing I will never do is change me. I won't compromise my ideals or my style. Neither should you. When you write, use your own natural genuine voice.   Quit Writing Textbook Copy, Let Your Voice Sing Out

Bubblews is Different Than Other Writing Sites, Very Different

Anyone remember those Tropicana Twister commercials? People try to describe the flavor blends "mother nature never intended, but should have." A kid says "it's from aliens, I seen 'em!" A giggly pair of women snicker "It's different. Very different." Best commercials ever. But to my point.   Bubblews is Different...Very Different 

Is Your Internet Driving You Stark Raving Mad?

 I have a very good (expensive!) U-Verse internet connection. Yet for the last few days, my internet has been intermittently freezing, stopping and going out altogether. Weather is very cold and blustery and snowy. But temps are actually about 20 degrees higher and winds have died way down and it's acting up worse than every. Does weather affect it? Is Your Internet Driving Your Stark Ravers? Mine Is!

They Put a Black Rose on My Door When She Died

Empowered, inspired and touched by my friends who've shared about losing children, I'm sharing my motheraches. We lost our 5th and 6th children, both girls, to separate in utero trauma. Both little ladies were ironically the same gestational age when they passed away. But their causes of death were different. And we never found out what exactly happened with either. Here's more on that and a poem I wrote for Mary Therese.They Put a Black Rose on My Door

Bubblews Success Means Getting Past ATM Mentality

 Arvind, CEO of Bubblews (a cool online writing venue) made a great allusion in his "Invite Your Friends" Day post. He said successful bubblers used Bubblews as a social networking blog and not an ATM. I've been chewing on the automatic teller machine metaphor and why it's so apt. And why, to make Bubblews "pay" we have to work it as it was designed to operate--heavy on the "we" and light on the "me." See, some of us have been writing online for years. And we are not used to reading, sharing, commenting and liking on each other's work. We are used to writing in our own bubble. But the customer should be given what he wants. And interaction is what Bubblews wants. Bear that in mind if you write online. Learn what works and follow it. Bubblews Success Means Getting Past ATM

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Freelance writer, Top 100 Yahoo! Voices, Yahoo! News, Shine, Michigan, Detroit), blogger, teacher, mom of 4, happily married 25 years. Graduated GVSU 1986, psychology/general education and special education. continuing ed up to present. Certified MI teacher. Writing Michigan history mystery, children's Gothic fantasy. Areas of expertise: education, relationships, mental health, nutrition, history, world cultures. Passions: faith, Catholic church, sustainable living, interfaith initiatives, living simply that others might simply live. Working on MA in EI education. 

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