It’s nearly Christmas and like a lot of us, I am thinking about my wishlist.
I was talking to my Book Club about the new Kindle and whether it was a good decision to buy or not. At only £89, it’s mighty tempting. One of our friends was raving about hers but I wasn’t convinced. This might be surprising to some. I am a tech-savvy person. I enjoy gadgets. But, when it comes to books, I am reluctant to move to electronic versions.
Here are my reasons:
- I am constantly connected to electronic devices, whether its my desktop or iPhone. I am probably looking at one form of a screen or another for the majority of my waking time. When I read a book, I want it to be different. Books are my down-time, my escape. Continuing to read on a screen just seems like a continuation of my working day rather than a leisure activity.
- I love the feel of a paper book. I like holding it in my hand. I like the feel of turning the pages and using a favourite bookmark. I like seeing the cover artwork whenever I look at my books.
- I just don’t think an electronic device… ANY electronic device (sorry Apple, you know I love you) can compare to the experience of reading a traditional paper book.
- Not all books are available on Kindle.
Here are the buts:
- Electronic devices are a greener option. Are they? Yes, they save trees, but what about:
- the materials used to make the device
- the electricity
- the manpower
- the working conditions
- the money and resources it takes to ship the products
(You know, the ‘Carbon Footprint’?) Has anyone done a comparison of Carbon Footprint of a traditional book vs an electronic reader? I don’t know, but I’d like to.
- You can search and download a new book any time on an electronic device, including borrowing from an online library. (To get a new paper book, you have to physically go to a bookstore, library, or buy one online and wait for it to be delivered.)
- The Kindle holds 1400 books. I have several hundred books, but to have 1400 paper books available to me, I would need to buy a new house!
- Kindle books cost less than traditional paper books.
- Kindle books can be read on any electronic device I own.
So, on paper, it looks like the Kindle wins hands down…That being the case, why am I still reluctant? Why am I finding it so hard to ‘move on with the times’? Maybe it’s because I’m a writer and abandoning paper books seems like turning my back on my roots. Maybe it’s because I don’t want to see paper books become extinct. Like so many art forms, bookmaking seems to be a dying breed. I don’t want that. I feel like Meg Ryan in ‘You’ve Got Mail’- the owner of a small independent bookstore (which I happen to absolutely love over big, commercial chains) fighting against the wheels of ‘progress’. My children have at least 100 books between them and they love them. I want them to continue that love and respect for physical books. I want them to know that not everything in life is electronic. I guess I’m just a purist in this respect.
I don’t know whether or not Father Christmas will be leaving a shiny, new Kindle under our Christmas tree…check back to see how the story ends.
In the mean time, leave me a comment. Have you made the switch to electronic readers? Are you against them? Help me decide what to do!
It’s official…the cold, damp, GREY winter is upon us here in England. I struggle with this time of year. I get down, lethargic, depressed… When you feel like that, feeling motivated and upbeat seems nearly impossible. I have found a great way to break through the wall of doldrums, particularly if I need to get some writing done. A while ago, I found out about the fantastic idea of a REVERSE BUCKET LIST.
It’s simple to make one…all you do is:
- Think about the things you’ve accomplished and interesting, noteworthy things you’ve experienced.
- Write them down.
So instead of focusing on what you still want to do (a bucket list), you focus on what you’ve already done. I found that sometimes traditional bucket lists can become a negative experience because you’re focused on what you don’t (or can’t) have. A Reverse Bucket List turns this around.
When I wrote my 50 Fab Things, I looked back on my whole life, but you can also use this technique on a yearly, monthly or even weekly basis. Most of us are familiar with making To-Do lists to stay productive and keep on top of what we need to do. I have found that sometimes, my To-Do list can get overwhelming, which at its worst, leads to completely withdrawing and doing nothing at all. Which then leads to guilt, which then leads to more overwhelming feelings….and….well, you get the picture. This happened to me today…rainy, cold Monday. Hard to get motivated. So I thought I’d try a Reverse Bucket List for the last week. Here’s what I put on it:
- Went trick or treating with the kids.
- Attended Rainbows as part of Girl Guides Leadership Training
- Went to Coffee Club and got a new book for Book Club
- Joined and started NaBloPoMo
- Managed to post on the blog every day
- Published a newsletter to my BritMums Big Sis Mentoring Group
- Commandeered the family into an organising/cleaning session (see Do You Pay Your Kids for Chores?)
- Had Bonfire Night festivities
As you can see, it’s a fairly short list, but it was enough to get me focused back on the positive and find some motivation again. This is actually the first time I’ve used this method for a weekly list, but I think I will be doing it much more often. It really worked to help me out of my funk.
How about you? Have you ever made a Reverse Bucket List? Have you used it to motivate yourself? Leave me a comment below and let me know!
The kids were getting restless today, as were Chris and me. The house was a mess and no one wanted to pitch in and get it done. I saw the day slipping away and in a slightly desperate moment, I blurted out to my younger two, ‘OK kids, if you wipe down the (leather) sofa, I’ll give you 50p each.’ They looked at me for about a split second and couldn’t run fast enough to ask Daddy for the special leather cleaning wipes. He looked at me with a look of ‘really?’ (also for about a split second) before handing them over and watching them get to work. I decided I had to be fair and offered my oldest daughter the opportunity to tear herself away from the TV and earn £1 for cleaning her bathroom. She (thankfully) jumped at the chance. I proceeded to make her a list of what to do and in what order and she went up to get started. I supervised the younger two while Chris went up to help the oldest. The next half hour was bliss. Everyone was working together, there was no squabbling, or whinging or nagging. Every task got done, and in fact, my oldest, along with my husband, proceeded to do our bathroom and vacuum upstairs too. (She got £1.50 for her efforts.)
This whole thing happened spontaneously, but Chris and I had discussed allowance and using money as part of a reward system before. At the beginning, I was totally against it. I reasoned that the kids got the things they wanted between birthday and Christmas gifts and random treats throughout the year. I didn’t think they should get paid to do things that need to be done in the course of running a household. Everyone needs to do their part to contribute as a part of the family. I do still believe that, but over time, I have also seen a need to teach children about money management and about having an entrepreneurial spirit. I never received an allowance growing up and I wish I had. I would like to teach my kids the value of money. How to save for something with your own hard-earned money. What is feels like to part with the cash. How to prioritise purchases. These are invaluable life lessons and I believe they are just as important as teaching your child to swim or how to wash and dress themselves. If they don’t learn how to handle money well right from the start, it will be much harder when they get older.
So what we have ended up with is a new star chart system. If they get a certain number of stars, they receive a set amount of money. If they don’t, they don’t get any money. This is the current set-up, but when I had originally considered linking money with their behaviour system, I had made it like a banking system. Each star (task or behaviour) was worth a certain amount of money. There was a maximum that could be earned, but if a star was not achieved, then the money also was not earned. I am still undecided about which way I prefer, but I’ll try what we’re doing right now for a few weeks and then compare the earlier idea. ( I still think the banking idea teaches them even more about how money works.)
I know that allowance and using money in a reward system is a hot issue. In fact, I got flamed on Twitter by a random person for ‘paying my kids off’. But I still stand by what we’re doing. It might not be right for everyone, but it’s right for us right now. Do you give your kids an allowance? Is it tied to behaviour or chores? How do you feel about it? Please leave me a comment. I always love learning from all of you, and maybe you will show me something I haven’t considered yet.
Looking forward to hearing from you!
Today is Bonfire Night in England, also known as Guy Fawkes Night. For those who don’t know, it’s the celebration of the thwarting of a plan to blow up Parliament back in the 1600’s. To celebrate, people usually light bonfires and attend fireworks displays (these are mostly done on a large scale for the public to attend, rather than private bonfires at home, but fireworks are legal and most people do a small display at home).
Our kids are 4, 5 1/2 and 7 1/2 years old, and so far, we have decided not to stand out in the cold (and frequently rainy) weather with kids this age at the public displays but usually have a small celebration at home with our own fireworks and sparklers. It has worked for our family until now, but I think starting next year we’ll be braving the weather and attending a public event. As with most holidays, certain foods are associated with the celebration. We seem to have started a trend of having hot dogs and chips or jacket potatoes. Toffee apples are a traditional treat on Bonfire Night and we have modified that and have pieces of apple that we dip in a caramel sauce. Much easier to eat but with the same flavours.
What we didn’t realise is how quickly kids pick up on things and take them as fact. When Chris and I were making our shopping list, little voices piped up with ‘we’re having hot dogs tonight,’ and ‘Daddy, don’t forget the apples and cara-mil’. I had to smile listening to them and realising how quickly traditions are made and how much they mean to children. Sure, hot dogs are probably the worst food on the planet nutritionally, but once a year, I think I can give in and throw caution to the wind. (Having hot dogs is throwing caution to the wind…can you believe how exciting my life is?) LOL… For the sake of making memories that my kids will look back on nostalgically one day, I’ll enjoy my hot dog and I’ll stand out in the cold to watch fireworks. (This is something to get used to for me…my own memories of fireworks are in the hot July summers of the East coast in America.)
How about you? How do you celebrate Bonfire Night? Do you have any special foods or family traditions? Leave me a comment. I’d love to hear from you.
So it’s only Day 4 of NaBloPoMo and I have really struggled with what to write about today. The lovely people at NaBloPoMo post a Prompt on their site every day and I was hoping to use them only if I had to. I don’t really know why, maybe I want to feel that ALL of my writing is my own, right down to the topics. But try as I might, I just couldn’t find that inspiration today. So, the prompt is:
Do You Use a Pen or Computer When You Write?
My answer is: both.
If I’m truthful, it’s mostly the computer. Writing straight onto the computer saves time and it’s easy to edit as I go along. However, I LOVE writing on paper. I frequently do my brainstorming and outlines on paper. There is something deeply satisfying about taking the time to write with a pen. I love the sound of rustling pages and I find the physical act of writing with a pen to be therapeutic, almost artistic. This appeals to my creative, artsy side. Sitting at a desk and writing with a pen and paper just as so many great writers have done before you seems so romantic. In fact, I did an office makeover on a shoestring budget after being inspired by a photo of an old typewriter on a desk.
I find that my creativity often flows better when I write on paper. I am sure there is some biological/psychological reason for this. Maybe I’ll look into that and get back to you in a future post. Unfortunately, like so many of you out there, I simply don’t have the time to duplicate my writing. I would love to be able to craft my posts on paper then transcribe them onto the computer, but that would take twice as long, and frankly, sometimes it’s hard enough to find the time to write at all, let alone doing it twice. I guess when it comes down to it, practicality wins over romance. Sad, but true…
I think what I might try to do is a weekly ‘traditional writing’ session, where I can just let my creativity flow with a pen…on paper… I wonder what sort of impact that would have on my writing. I’ll definitely try this out and get back to you. If any of you would like to join me in the ‘Great Writing Experiment’ and see if it makes a difference in your blogging, I’d love to hear from you. It will be fun to see what happens.
So how about you….do you use a pen or computer when you write? Leave me a comment and let me know!
Following on from yesterday’s post Cherish Your Girl-Friends, for today’s NaBloPoMo post I want to talk to you about meeting regularly with your ‘support-network’. This can be anything from your best friend, to a Mastermind Group, to a Coffee/Book Club.
When we lived in our previous house, our oldest daughter was first starting school. One thing I really liked was that the mums from each class had a particular morning of the week that they would meet at Starbucks and have a coffee morning after they dropped off their kids. I was just coming out of a bout with post-natal depression and this was exactly what I needed to soothe my soul and feel human again. It was one of the things that I missed the most when we moved to where we live now. So, eventually, I decided that I was going to stop wallowing about it and started inviting people to my house for coffee/tea. I tried to make this a regular weekly thing, but it didn’t quite take off the first year I did it. I struggled at one point thinking maybe people didn’t like me (obviously irrational thinking), but I knew that it was just a matter of people’s schedules conflicting and various activities going on.
Last year, things really started to gel. What has evolved is a group of just 3 of us. We have become close friends, and I would probably say that these two ladies are my ‘best’ friends now. We have met nearly every week since last year (except over the summer holidays). Our kids don’t even go to the same schools anymore, but we still make it a point to get together. We rotate meeting at each of our homes and we have all commented at various times how much our meetings mean to each of us and how we really miss it if we don’t meet. We talk about everything from the kids, to our work, to our favourite books and movies, and have even started a monthly book club as a result of our discussions. We can talk openly and honestly about things we’re struggling with and know that we won’t be judged. We celebrate each other’s triumphs and spur each other on to keep working towards our goals and dreams. It is much more than just a social visit. We have become a family.
I have a funny story to tell you, related to this. My kids know that I go to ‘Coffee Club’ every week. At the beginning of the school year when they were doing ‘get-to-know-you’ exercises in their new classes, my oldest daughter’s class had to write about what their parents do. Apparently, she wrote “my Mum runs a Coffee Club”. We had a good chuckle over this, and I proceeded to explain to her what I actually do. She now very proudly tells everyone that her mum is a writer. (She’s most excited about the reviews we have recently been doing.) I love that she and my other daughters are influenced positively by my example. I have even heard them saying to each other that they want to be writers when they grow up Visit Your URL. I wouldn’t complain ?
So, how about you? Do you have a group of friends who you meet with regularly for support and fellowship? If you don’t, I strongly urge you to find at least one or two friends and start getting together. Just start, whether it’s weekly or fortnightly or even monthly. There’s no better moment than this one. It has changed my life, I know it can for you too.
Are most of your friends men or women? Do you tend to have more of one than the other? Today for my NaBloPoMo post, I want to talk to you about the importance of having girl-friends.
Until later in my life, I had almost exclusively male friends. I don’t know if this was because I only have one brother and was used to guys, or if guys were easier to deal with. Less vindictive, easier to read, uncomplicated. *Shrugging*. I was never one of the popular girls. I was short and wore glasses and had braces. I was quiet and liked reading books and did what my parents told me to. You know….a geek…
For pretty much my whole life, I have had one or two close girl friends. Right from first grade I can remember who my best (girl) friends have been…(and thanks to Facebook, I am back in touch with my first best friend and it’s like we’re still 6 yrs old. Some friendships really never die.) The pattern never really changed through elementary, middle and high school. I had my one or two close girl friends and Â a whole bunch of guy friends. In fact I was *that* girl…you know…everyone’s sister? Yeah…sigh… In one sense it was great…I got to hear all their woes, usually relating to the girls they liked who didn’t like them back. I was happy to be the person they felt comfortable with. (Obviously we won’t talk about any of the crushes I had on any of them and how my poor little heart died a little bit each time they poured their hearts out to me.) THAT is a post for another day… In fact, sometimes, I actually felt GOOD that I was the one they chose to talk about the important stuff with over the pretty girls. At least I got chosen for something, right?
Things started changing in college. Specifically when I joined a sorority. I know this is a contentious subject for many people. I know the reputation and the stereotypes about sororities. But my experience is one that is shared by thousands of women out there. Yes, there were parties, yes sometimes they were crazy… but not any crazier than any other non-Greek college parties. The really important things that I got out of sorority life were the focus on philanthropy and giving to your community, cultivating leadership qualities, striving for excellence and the most important of all- the value of a network of girl-friends. This has lasted long after leaving college. I can meet a sister from any chapter of Alpha Gamma Delta all around the world (yes, I have met some over here) and feel an instant connection. In some ways, this sisterhood is even stronger the older I get.
One of the hardest parts of moving to the UK was leaving my friends behind and making new ones. I’m a pretty friendly person, but I found that as an adult it was tougher to meet people and make friends than I expected. I also found that we women are a bit choosier than men and finding people you click with on a deeper level can be challenging. It definitely takes time too. I was very lucky to eventually find a great church which was where I found some great friends, but when we moved a few years ago to our current location, it was like starting all over with the friendship-making-business. I have school-aged children so that has been my main source to meet other women like me, and recently I have been blessed to attend some networking events which has brought some new friends into my life. I have found some real gems and this whole experience has made me really value their friendship and realise how important it is to have a group of ladies that will stick with you through life’s ups and downs. Sometimes, a good girly-chat can turn your day around.
How about you? Do you have a group of girl-friends to support you? Is this something you’d like to change in your life? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences.
So, here I am….I’m taking the plunge!
I have joined NaBloPoMo and am committing to post once every day for the month of November.
I did NaBloPoMo once before a few years ago and failed miserably. But this year has been a great blogging year for me, so I am going to conquer this! It’s scary, but I’ve learned that if you don’t face your fears, you can miss out on some amazing opportunities in life. I’d like to say that not all my posts this month might be as enlightening or indeed as long as what I usually post, but this is more of an exercise in the discipline of writing every day rather than perfect writing. I hope you’ll support me.
I am also doing this for a fantastic group of ladies that I am mentoring as part of the BritMums Big Sis Mentoring Programme. If you haven’t heard of BritMums, it’s one of the biggest parent blogging communities in the UK. Check them out, they’re a great group of ladies (and men….there are dad bloggers too!)
So, this is short and sweet see this website. See you tomorrow!