Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Two articles I wrote today

Today I wrote two articles. I know, I know.... will miracles never cease?

I just finished this one:

How to Use Pinterest to Promote Your Webdesign Business - Klamath Design

While doing that I made a Pinterest business page for my Klamath Design site.

Visit Klamath Design's profile on Pinterest.

Earlier today I wrote a somewhat whimsical article on my Antediluvian Adventures blog. The blog is for the book series I wrote, with that title.

Today's blog post was ostensibly written by the main character of the the first book, Raoli. I'm using his voice on the blog to help myself get back into character, as I'll be working on these books this coming year.

It was kind of fun and I'll probably do it again.

Monday, December 28, 2015

On Changing Churches

I've been a Christian only two and a half years at this point. I was saved two weeks after moving to Idaho. During this time I was loyal to the church I went to the day I was saved. I never considered moving to another church even though one was available to me. I liked my pastor's sermons and enjoyed going to the church to see a lot of familiar, friendly faces.

A few weeks ago, something happened to change my mind. I was at home, listening to the sermon which streams live over the internet. I wasn't at church because the woman who usually gave me rides there was sick. I do not own a car.

The pastor started talking about how many articles on the internet contain erroneous information. While this is true, the discussion of it from the pulpit gave me a heads-up feeling for several reasons. You see, I'm a person who makes a living by writing articles on the internet. I'm a blogger and affiliate marketer.

I wondered if he was talking about my websites. I don't know if he ever reads any of my articles, but he's so critical of things he reads on the internet, I realized he'd probably find something to criticize in my internet writing efforts too, if he ever reads them.

Even if it wasn't my articles being read, I thought it was inappropriate to cast doubt on all people who write on the internet, especially coming from a man in a pulpit. Then I realized that at a recent church meeting for seniors, I'd gotten up and introduced myself as a person who blogs for a living. Now were all those people going to think less of me because our pastor stated that internet writers can't be trusted?

I thought my reaction was ridiculous, but at the same time, I thought, "I'm tired of hearing this." I realized he'd said many things about what he'd read on the internet by other Christians whose work he didn't agree with or respect. I'd also heard before that he didn't like blogging.

This thought came to me: "I've sent my money into this church for months, for this?" Of course, the money is a donation to Jesus, not just to an individual church, so that thought is off base as well, in some ways. But it did make me want to re-evaluate what I'd been doing.

I seriously felt like someone who had just been through an earthquake. My paradigm for Christian living had just been shaken. I was unhappy with my pastor and my reaction was something I was questioning and re-questioning.

I went to the contact page of the church website and sent the pastor a very short email to let him know I'd been listening and wanted him to know I'm a professional blogger and that we all would like to have some respect for our professions.

I waited ... but there was no email response. This didn't surprise me too much. I'd emailed the church at least twice in the past without receiving a response. I wondered if my emails had gone into a black hole. I wondered if they had been read.

The next week, the pastor mentioned during his sermon that people who have their feelings hurt should just not feel that way, and that we shouldn't be offended and that's a trick of the devil, or something like that. Again, I wondered if he was talking about me or some other situation he was dealing with.

In case it was about me, I thought that was a shoddy way to answer an email. Instead of having a real one-on-one communication with this pastor, all I was getting was pot-shots from the pulpit, possibly directed at me, possibly at some unknown other. I realized I had no real relationship with this pastor. It was all about listening to him.

There are two secretaries in his office. If he doesn't want to answer emails, couldn't he delegate that task to one of the secretaries so that people wouldn't think their emails had been ignored?

I realized that a lot of the problem was that I was having negative thoughts about the pastor. I realized it could be time for me to think about going to a different church.

This is a problem for me, because this one church is the closest to my home, and is within walking distance - only a mile from my apartment. Transportation is an issue as I have no car.

I started looking around for other churches, using Google Maps as a guide. This took me to several local church websites and I got a good education on what's out there in case I wanted to switch churches.

Nothing seemed to be a good fit - except for one church I already had a history with - a small church in Washington, four miles away. I started attending their women's Bible studies a few years back because my church had almost no women's ministry. My church's approach to women's ministry was to have a series of three or four meetings once a year if we were lucky, at which the pastor's wife would get up on the stage and talk as if she was the pastor. Really, it was no different than going to church, but with a different speaker.

(Keep in mind that my church has about 1500 regular attendees, no consistent women's ministry, and no home groups. The pastor didn't trust others to speak from his pulpit so we listened to him three times a week, and guest speakers only happened if he was on vacation, or at a conference, traveling, or something like that.)

The other church was much smaller - only about 200 members, but they had a thriving women's ministry. There were evening Bible studies for women once weekly, and also a Bible study for women one weekday morning each week. They offered real friendship and support for the women of their church, and for others like me, who came in from other churches. They also had annual women's retreats - and I've already attended two of them.

The pastor at the other church supported women's ministry so much that he allowed two women in his congregation to improve their ministry skills by speaking to his congregation on Sundays once in a while. I noticed that he also allowed his wife to speak to him from the audience on Sundays in a conversational manner, and it was just like being in their family room at times. I liked that they worked together as a team.

My first pastor is almost never seen with his wife at church and I've always found that strange. All this made me wonder if women are being suppressed at this church I'd spent so many months at. Why almost no women's ministry, and why is the wife never seen standing next to the pastor? Why does the male worship leader do most of the lead singing when the woman standing next to him sings so much better than he does?

Why do I have so many bad thoughts about these people?

Something was not right there. I blamed myself for all my bad thoughts - after all - these are Godly people, good people, and followers of Jesus.

I realized that the problem is that I needed to go elsewhere, despite the distance. I was being transplanted from one church to another, from a large congregation to a much smaller one. I realized that a pastor with a smaller congregation naturally will value his people more than one with more than a thousand to care for. I realized I had no real two-way relationship with the first pastor. I was ready to try something new. Maybe the pastor at the church I'm now starting to attend will talk to me like a friend rather than just another warm body occupying one of the chairs in his church on Sundays.

I went to the smaller church last Sunday. They have a wonderful worship team. The pastor was awesome, and his teaching style was different, and somehow friendlier. I am finally ready to immerse myself in their church, their sermons, and their activities. I'm looking forward to this change and am happy to be transplanted into the place where I've found most of my friends, nurturing, and shepherding during the two and a half years since I became a Christian.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

My writing business, snow, and my son's visit

Sometimes it is better to write a little than not to write at all. I like this blog because I feel like I can write tiny posts without it harming anything.

Some of my other blogs are there for more important purposes, and so I write articles with a minimum of 500 words, and sometimes much, much longer. The pressure to write long articles is enormous because they do better in search engine results.

Today I've set before myself the task of writing 2 articles. One is a revision of an unpublished old article on what to do if your home business gets more business than you can handle. The other - I think will be on parental rights for disabled people.

And now, a prayer:

Heavenly Father, please help me with my writing. You alone know how hard this is for me. You are the only one who watches as I stumble and fall, and you know how much failure has become the norm for me. Please help me today and every day to get my work done and to write articles that are truly useful to those who need to read them. Let me do it all for You. In the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.

It snowed all night on Thursday/Friday this week and we're expecting a lot more snow before Christmas. In the two years since I moved to Idaho, I've never seen deep snow. I saw deeper snow when I lived in Happy Camp, in California.

It gets a lot colder here, though, and the snow freezes to the pavement, whereas in Happy Camp the roads were usually cleared right away. People here drive on frozen, icy packed snow like it was just nothing.


This is what I saw when I woke up Friday morning. This is what Northern Idaho is supposed to look like in the winter... though too often I see no snow at all. The snow here is only four inches.

When I went into my office (a bedroom in my apartment) I saw that my window was iced over. I'm trying to train myself to take photos whenever I see something awesome... because I know it won't last long. Something will change. The ice melts, or light patterns change. So I snapped a few photos right away.


Once I settled into my office chair, which is a chaise lounge with a card-table desk that goes over it, I saw this sight out that window. The roofs, covered by white, and the icy window slowly warming.


That table is for filing. The little green-topped Truvia jars are what I keep little things in - like rubber bands, buttons, paper clips, etc..

Last week I decided to sponsor a poverty-stricken child in Mexico. I wrote about it on my Prayer-Power blog: Prayer for Children Living in Poverty. I love this little girl and want so much to be a blessing to her and her family, and her town. Her name is Brisia and she's eight years old, of Mayan descent.

A few weeks ago my youngest son came by to visit. I hadn't seen him in over a year so this was a wonderful event for me. I had to walk down to the truck stop on the corner, and he came rolling in with an 18-wheeler.


We ate dinner together at the Subway in the truck stop. This is how he gets his vegetables... something only a mom would spend time thinking about, I guess.


Okay, I'm ready for another visitor. Who wants to be next?

I'd better go do some serious writing now.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Emotional Setbacks and Unsafe Schools

I have to admit I'm not doing well right now. There have been too many emotional setbacks this month... including some things that are so personal I cannot even write about them on this blog.

My foot that has had pain since last winter has been better since I got the anti-inflammatory shot on the 21st of last month, but still sometimes the pain returns. That's a great disappointment, and I hope I don't have to go back for another shot because I have no insurance. (Long story... I don't even remember if I wrote about that on this blog already.)

Anyhow, I'm not getting as many pages written for my income producing blogs as I wish I was. I really need to do more on that.

I think I do better when I'm using my Synergy powder, but I haven't even had my act together to use that regularly lately.

There's just too much going on. The terrible news about the shooting at the Oregon college this week really upset me... that is part of the emotional tailspin I'm in. I love that area... and at one point was trying to move to that little town in the hills, upriver, where the professor lived, before he was killed in his classroom. It is so disturbing when something like this happens. I feel things deeply and internalize the pain of those who are grieving.

Then I found out that the day before, several boys at Summerville High School planned to do the same thing... but someone reported it and their plan was thwarted. That high school name jumped out at me. I immediately knew where it was because I used to live there in Tuolumne City. Summerville High School is on the hill just outside town, along the road to Sonora, CA. It is so disturbing that a group of small town boys living in a beautiful historic gold prospecting town were thinking of killing people at their school.

I am totally against the idea that more gun control is needed. I believe what's needed is more armed security guards at the schools. Either that, or close the schools down. Every time I saw that school administrator for Umpquah College proudly say it was a "gun free zone" I felt sick at heart. If there had been armed security guards nearby, the gunman wouldn't have killed so many people. But due to her idea of having a gun free zone, it went on and on until nine people were dead.

And people wonder why I didn't want to send my kids to school? It is obvious: the schools aren't safe. They weren't safe for my children when they were young, and it is getting worse all the time. Sending children to school is looking more like child neglect. If a school can't protect the kids, they shouldn't be there.

Taking guns away from honest citizens means that only criminals and the government will have guns. I can't see where that would be a benefit for the rest of us. Criminals would have a heyday preying on people then, knowing that nobody law-abiding would be armed.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Church

Church last night. Church tomorrow. Sounds good to me.

We sang this at church last night:

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Notice to Those Who Lurk and Don't Contribute to the Conversation

If you come onto the internet to look at what other people wrote, and don't leave comments or in any way contribute to the conversation, you are losing out on the purpose of being here. Do you see that link... it says "comment" ??? It is there for a reason.

How about on Facebook.... do you read other people's postings without ever clicking "like" or leaving a comment there? Don't you ever think that you're not holding up your part of the conversation?

The internet isn't a spectator sport. It is an exchange of ideas and information.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

I'm Walking Without Pain Again

My foot no longer hurts! After seven months of foot pain and no walking or bike riding, I finally got to see a doctor a few days ago. He identified my malady as an inflamed tendon and gave me an anti-inflammatory shot. It feels good enough to be a miracle.

This evening after the Wednesday Bible studies I decided to walk downstairs. I walked around the outside of the building and checked my mail, then walked up the stairs on the other end of the building. No elevator this time.

It seriously feels like I'm being given a second chance at life. No longer am I forced to spend most of my time at home on my chaise lounge.

I'm still loving the chaise lounge, but it just feels good to be able to walk freely again... something like being reborn. It is an awesome feeling and believe me, I know how lucky I am. So many people don't get that chance to walk again.

Anyhow, it has been a good day with good friends, and I am happy.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Life is Full of Surprises

Sometimes life doesn't go as expected but that's okay - I submit myself to the Will of God and keep traveling onward.

I thank the Lord for good Christian friends and all the love He's brought my way.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

God Helps Bloggers - You Just Need to Ask

I'm putting this here as a "note to self."

Today I prayed to finish two gift-list blog articles, and one short one for this blog. Well, I'm here to tell you - I did it. I'm feeling good about it, and thanking God for helping. I wish I could write that much every day.

I will be praying about it. I'm trying to get as many gift-list blog articles written as I can... during the time from now until Christmas.

I will never run out of things to write about.



Today's new articles are:

Baby Einstein Toys for Infants - I noticed today that one of these toys is popular at Amazon.

and

Aroma Rice Cooker-Steamer + Recipes - I'm a fan... I own one of these.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Progress on the Halloween Site

My little Halloween site now has two articles on it.



1. Halloween History: Samhain and All Saints' Day - Oh, I can smell the pumpkin carving already. This was my first article on the blog. I wanted a good understanding of the history of this event I'm dedicating some time into.

I've never been big into Halloween... the way it is celebrated these days is truly not my style. But I live in this culture and want to know how these things come about. It is interesting to know that until the 1930's there was no trick-or-treating in the USA. This is an Irish and Scottish custom and while it started as innocent harvest celebrations, many centuries ago, the day has been beset with fearful folktales and eventually turned into the fright night that many people consider it to be these days.

2. The True Meaning of Halloween - this one happened last night. It practically wrote itself. It is about the meaning of the word, Halloween . . . which means "Holy Eve." And it ended up being about church harvest parties put on to give children an alternative to trick-or-treating.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Blogging, Affiliate Marketing, and What I'm Reading

I've had a busy, happy day. Yesterday I joined a blogging mastermind group - something I've been wanting to do for a long time. I also got a mentor for my affiliate marketing career. I've been having difficulty with sales since the time I was writing for Squidoo (a site that folded over a year ago) and am learning techniques (new to me) that will help increase online sales.

With that in mind, I made some changes to my most recent article, How to Overcome the Fear of Cooking. I also started a new page for selling scarves and shawls. It is partly written already because it had been posted on HubPages long ago. I am doing more research and will revamp all the affiliate links. I want to write well over 1000 words of content on each page. The last one I wrote was 2000 words... and that sounds like a good number to aim for. I want my readers to find the information they're looking for whether it is ways to overcome cooking anxiety, or the information needed to safely wash delicate silk scarves.

Today I also wrote a new welcome page for my online office at LJ Martin Web. I want to continue adding to that site as the central hub of my online activities. It has most of my links - both blogs and social media links - but I've skipped a few that will eventually be added, when time allows.

I'm nearly done reading Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking. I bought the book because, while reading the introduction I was moved by a particular quote that spoke to my heart. The book delved into scholarly writing, but not frequently. For the most part it is readable and I've learned more about reasonable expectations for artmaking.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Left Behind - The Movie (2000)

Tonight I watched the 2000 version of Left Behind - The Movie ... and it is not as bad as I expected. In fact, I enjoyed watching the movie... the whole process was painless.

This is the first time I've ever watched a Left Behind movie. I've been a Christian only 2 years.

I was surprised the movie only earned 1 star on Netflix, but it has 4 stars averaged on Amazon. After watching it, I think it deserves the 4 stars. The acting and directing are just fine. This is not what I'd consider a B movie... it is better than that.

I wonder if a lot of people on Netflix gave the one-star feedback because they don't like Christianity. It isn't reflective of the quality of the movie.

The plot was somewhat predictable, for anyone who knows about the rapture and tribulation. However there's a strong sub-plot about an airline pilot whose wife and son are among the disappeared. He wasn't interested in learning about her Christian faith before, but post-rapture, he's confronted with a need to know the truth.

The rapture was depicted with people disappearing leaving all their clothes and jewelry behind. I'm not so sure that will happen. It could be we'll leave our physical bodies behind too. Wouldn't that be a mess for those "left behind" to clean up?

This movie also shows that all the children are raptured along with the Christians. My friend commented that it will be so sad for the parents who are missing their children. Again, I'm not sure whether that idea is scripturally based or whether it was just the understanding of the director, Vic Sarin.

The movie was entertaining enough. The main characters are portrayed by Kirk Cameron (Buck Williams), Brad Johnson (Rayford Steele), and Janaya Stephens (Chloe Steele).

I know there's also a 2014 "Left Behind" movie. I haven't seen it yet. How typical of me to be fifteen years behind the times.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

To Homeschool or Not to Homeschool

I started homeschooling my children in 1995. I loved the adventure. My son wanted to be homeschooled, after being bullied in kindergarten by a group of girls.

I researched curriculum and educational activities, took my children to the school supply store, read novels to them, and loved them always. We went on numerous educational trips to state historic parks, to drive the entire Mother Lode highway, and even drove to the Peace Arch and Canada, all in the name of home education.

I wanted my children to learn at their own pace and study what they wanted to learn about. Mission accomplished.

Years later, my family members still think I was wrong to homeschool them. According to what they think, I should have left them in school to be bullied and get a cookie-cutter education so they could be just like everyone else.

What I have now are two adult children who are capable of creative thinking, who are independent and self-supporting, who are unique and capable.

I'm happy with the way my homeschooled kids turned out. My family members may want to denigrate my homeschool efforts, but as I recall, they were not there to help. I'm the only one who knows what I went through and why I did what I did.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Scarborough, UK, and Memories of Tilden Park in Berkeley, CA

One of my favorite YouTube channels is a travel vlog by Darren... it is called ExploreList. Here's his latest video, about a day he spent at Scarborough, England:



At the end of the video he asked us to tell him about our favorite place to spend time when we were children. That question brought back a lot of wonderful memories about visiting Tilden Regional Park in in hills above Berkeley, California.

Tilden Park steam train - Berkeley, California
Tilden Park Steam Train - Photo by Andrew Malone.


I should write about it more on my childhood memoir site: Cali Childhood. About six years ago I wrote 50,000+ words worth of childhood memories during a NaNoWriMo month.

...

Please subscribe to my YouTube channel: Book Lady - Adventures of a Senior Citizen - Books, Health, and Happiness.

Monday, September 07, 2015

How To Create a Blogging Editorial Calendar on a Spreadsheet

Today I've been working on setting up my blogging editorial calendar for the final four months of this year. Blogging, especially blogging on multiple sites, as I do, requires the same kind of pre-planning that goes into creating a magazine that will be published monthly. I need to keep my blogs up-to-date and filled with useful content that will really help my readers.

I created my blogging editorial calendar using Excel. I once used a WordPress editorial calendar plugin however found it to be too simplistic for my needs. It doesn't allow for pre-planning on multiple blogs; I had to access the calendar on each individual blog, so I found it confusing. I need everything represented on one page.

Each year I start a new Excel file for blog organization, and the editorial calendar is one page of that file. Other pages are for notes on various blogs and aspects of my blogging work. I create a new file annually because I've had Excel files cease working in the past, due to being overly used. It can be a huge challenge when the file that stops working contains a record of your annual business expenses for the last five years!

Here's the page for my blogging editorial calendar. If you would like to have a copy of this to help create or design your own editorial calendar, just click on the image. Below this, you'll find explanations of the sections I use.



Date Posted: The day this project is completed.

Platform: What blog (or YouTube channel, for vlogging)

Post Type: See the "Types" page in the spreadsheet.

Category: What category in your blog will this fit into? Blogger.com blogs refer to categories as "labels."

Proposed Title: Suggest a possible title. Change later if need be.

Sources: Where will you get your information for the post? ie: research, experience, etc.

Graphics: Where will you get your images?

Multimedia Needed: What do you need?

Request: At the end of the article, will you ask your reader for something?

The rest, in small font, are the social media platforms you plan to use to let people know about your new article or video. ...

Please subscribe to my YouTube channel: Book Lady - Adventures of a Senior Citizen - Books, Health, and Happiness.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Pyramids in China and Bosnia

I found two interesting articles this evening about ancient pyramids.

The Bosnian pyramids date back 29,200 years!

The Chinese pyramids seem to have been the work of aliens who crash-landed in the Himalayan mountains of southern China. They left records that are actually about the size of phonograph records. This knowledge has been suppressed and the disks are stored in China.

There's much about the history of this planet that is yet unknown.

My interest in ancient archaeology has been brewing many years... and I've written a yet-unpublished novel series set in an ancient land: Antediluvian Adventures.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Music for Relaxation

I'm having a peaceful, relaxing Saturday at home. I worked on my websites this morning and did my laundry.

Now, it is time to relax and enjoy the weekend. I found this music to help:



I also started a painting this morning. It is the Lion of Judah crossing the water near His kingdom.

Friday, September 04, 2015

Just Watched "Do You Believe?"

I just watched a movie called "Do You Believe? It is a Christian movie, and it is awesome. Well produced, good actors, great plot... with a compelling theme. What more can one ask?

Then I went to Facebook where a friend of a friend was calling herself a "Christian Wiccan" . . . she said she was raised Baptist, but I couldn't help but get the impression she hadn't read the Old Testament very well.

On Google News I saw an article stating a 1500-year-old copy of the "Gospel of Barnabas" was found and that it said Jesus didn't die on the cross, but that Judas took His place there.

Heresy is nothing new. I hope Jesus returns soon, to set things straight.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

It's Been One of Those Days When It Seems Like Nothing Gets Done

I feel like I've accomplished nothing today. It wasn't because I didn't try. I've been trying to organize my audiobook collection. I'd never transferred most of these books from my old computer, and since that one isn't working well, sometimes using it is an exercise in frustration and futility.

Well, today I did it - I transferred all the audiobooks to my portable hard drive then installed them in my new computer, and transferred some to my SanDisk Clip.

I can fit a lot of audiobooks and music on that because I have a 32GB micro-hd card in it. I have an entire audio NKJV Bible on the card, and many other things. I spent some hours deleting things I no longer want and need. In the process I found a recorded sermon from my friend's church, and stopped to listen to that. It was about when Jesus appeared to His disciples when they were fishing (this was after His resurrection) and told them where to cast their net to get fish.

This audiobook organization is something that's been on my to-do list at Workflowy.com for a long time, so I'm glad I took time to do it, even though the work isn't completely done yet. That's probably why I feel like nothing is done - because I can't cross it off the list, unfortunately... and not much else got done.

The one drawback to being a web worker is that I'm never done with my work. There's always a massive number of tasks left to do. I can't just walk away from it like I'd do if I had only eight hours at a job in someone else's business.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Finished Video: Review of "One Zentangle a Day"

I finished my video yesterday and uploaded it to YouTube. There were still a few things I could have done better - but let's face it - this is just a simple YouTube video and for me, these videos are all learning experiences. At some point you have to quick picking at it and upload it to YouTube, then move on to another project.

I struggled with learning the software programs, Audacity and Adobe Premiere Elements 13 - but this video project taught me a lot. The next one should be easier if I keep up the momentum to continue making videos regularly.

This is the book I reviewed: One Zentangle a Day by Beckah Krahula. I'm still working my way through the book, but I did enough to feel confident in recommending the book for anyone interested in learning how to do Zentangle art. This is essentially a thirty-minute per day form of meditation through focus on artistic process. It is easy to learn, and practical to use.



Thirty minutes of artistic focus calms and de-stresses us, and that's a good thing.

You might notice, if you go to the YouTube page for this video, that I included a lot of text on that video page. I'm doing that to help the search engines classify and understand my YouTube pages. I also place text in the Closed Captions (CC) section as it helps search engines rank a page as well.

I appreciate all subscriptions to my YouTube channel. As of today, I have sixty-two subscriptions - which isn't very many! I guess not too many people are interested in seeing an old lady's videos. YouTube seems more successful for the youth culture - with young teenagers getting thousands of subscriptions. To be young and beautiful helps, and they appeal to young YouTube users - teenagers - who have plenty of time to watch youth videos about topics important to them, like what makeup to use, or what clothes to wear.

Well, God bless them... and all that. I wish them well. But I'm still hoping to make my YouTube channel something older people (or anyone) would like to subscribe to.

After reviewing all the videos I made last year, I noticed my book review videos were getting more hits than any of the others, so I will be making more of them. After all, I'm the "Book Lady" on YouTube now. I love this persona.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Still Working on Producing a Video

I'm working on a book review video. Big job! I'm still learning to use the software.

Yesterday I focused on learning about Audacity, the audio editing software. Today I'm back at Premiere Elements 13, trying to re-learn that.

I took a course on this video editing software, but have forgotten too much, and must go back to it to relearn sections.

Don't let anyone tell you that web work is easy. It isn't. There are always new challenges.

The audio track is complete and edited. Now I have to fit the video and photos to the audio track.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Recording 1-2-3 ... I'm Learning to Use Audacity

Today I've been taking a class on how to use Audacity software. Audacity is 100% free, but it has always been mysterious to me.

It is easy enough to record something. Just press the red circle and start talking. My problem came with editing. Since I'm using Audacity to record the audio on some of my videos, I need to do some heavy editing. With this class I'm learning more about Audacity than ever before.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

I'm In Idaho's Health Care Gap

Last summer I injured my foot while walking. It hurt, but not much, until February of this year. Then the pain became intense at times.

The Gap

I no longer had health insurance. My "Affordable Care Act" insurance was cut off at the end of December 2014. They said I didn't earn enough money to qualify during 2015.

I was told to apply for Medicare instead - but my state, Idaho, didn't expand the Medicare program (more than twenty states opted out of the Medicare expansion) so I fell into what is called the "health care gap." Here in Idaho, 70,000 people are in the gap, without health insurance of any kind. My Medicare application was denied. No surprise.

I will stay in this health care gap until I'm 65, or unless I become disabled before then. I'm not disabled because I can still do my regular work, which is done sitting down, writing on the internet.

Because I have no insurance, I waited, hoping my foot would stop hurting. I researched on the internet and decided I had either a fracture, cuboid syndrome, or a bone spur.

After some months, I realized it wouldn't go away on its own, so I found a clinic with a price I could afford, and made an appointment. Because I was a new patient I had to wait over a month for that appointment.

Their x-rays showed I have a fracture in the fifth metatarsal of my right foot. I'm walking with a cane to keep weight off that foot.

The clinic was supposed to make a referral to a podiatrist for me, and I waited more than three weeks before the podiatry office phoned me. Then they gave me an appointment almost a month away. (Late September.) Whatever it costs, I will pay out of pocket or owe. I hope I won't need an operation.

That's how the Affordable Care Act is working (or not working) for this low-income American. It was nice the one year I had it; I was able to see doctors when I needed them and got things done I've been needing to do for the last five years.

Fortunately I work at home (on the internet) so I can stay off the foot most of the time. I go out only one day a week - on Sunday - to go to church and to go shopping. I have to use the little golf carts at Walmart because walking on their concrete floors tears up my foot, causing more pain. Today after church I went to lunch with a friend, at Shari's restaurant in Coeur d'Alene.

I don't know how long it will be before I can qualify for health insurance again. I hope next year they will reinstate it, though my income hasn't gone up much. I used to earn more, when I was writing for Squidoo.com - but that site began to fail late in 2012 and went out of business as of October 2014, and I'm still working on building my income back through other channels. I don't understand how people make money quickly on the internet. For me it has always been a long drawn out process with incremental and slow increases.

Until last December I'd never heard of the health care gap. Now it is my reality.

...

Photo credit: Pixabay

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Napping is Good for Us

Here's some good news. Mid-day naps can lower blood pressure and reduce risk of heart attack by 5 percent. *

I'm all in favor of napping! I do it frequently.

Maybe too frequently.

In fact, during the last few months I've felt tired more often than ever before. But I've found a solution.

No, not the naps... though I've had a few of them. Maybe, more than a few.

My solution came in a box from Amazon earlier this week. It is a jar of Pure Synergy Powder.

Now, I've purchased a lot of food supplements in my lifetime, but I've never felt such immediate positive results as I have with this super-food powder. It is amazing. I'm seriously energetic. No more exhaustion!

I'm not just writing this to try to sell something. I really mean it. I feel so much better!

Let me try to explain this to you.

During the last few months I've frequently felt tired most of the day. I had a few good hours in the morning, and then by 1pm, mid-day lag overtook me to the point where I seriously couldn't do my work. The only choice I had was to take a nap.

But in the four days I've been using the Pure Synergy Powder, I've recovered. It started on the very first day, and I still haven't worked up to a full dose yet. (It must be started slowly.) Here it is, past 4pm, and I'm still going strong. Able to think, able to work, able to write, able to cope. I love it.

I was on the phone with a friend a few minutes ago. He said he's been feeling exhausted for the last few months too. I wonder if we have some kind of societal health problem here. How many others have felt too much exhaustion lately?

I wish I could buy my friend some Pure Synergy Powder too, but here's the drawback. This stuff is expensive. I paid a bit over fifty dollars for 12 ounces, which is about a month's supply. I can't get into buying this for everyone who could benefit from it.

Come to think of it, my daughter also complained about being too tired lately too. I'm more likely to buy her a jar. She's a working woman and needs a health boost.

My friend asked me why I would buy such an expensive super-food powder. I told him that this comes from part of my food budget. It is easy to go to the grocery store and spend over 100 dollars without thinking much of it. I will reduce my spending on foods that aren't all that good for me and put that money into my health and well-being.

Using the powder is easy. I put it into a jar with about a cup of water, then put on the lid and shake the jar. It blends, I drink, and that's all there is to it. The taste isn't the most wonderful thing, but it isn't all that bad either. I don't gag on it.

Some people put the powder in orange juice, or breakfast smoothies. Some sprinkle it on their salad. Me? I'll just take it straight for now. I'm so grateful to have it.

Anyhow, if you want to recover from exhaustion, napping helps... but my opinion is that Pure Synergy Powder is better.

I'd like to do both, and I'm about to go take a nap. Why not? I work at home. I set my hours. I can take a nap if I want to. And it is good for my heart and blood pressure, so I'm all in.

...

* Source: A nap a day could save your life, research suggests, published August 29, 2015, in The Telegraph.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Videography and Me

One of the most frustrating things I do is... videography. I am trying to learn to use my new video editor. That's already a task. But the worst part of my video making journey is that I am not a speaker... I'm more of a writer. So getting my thoughts out there on a video is very challenging for me.

Case in point, here is one of my first videos ever. I tried to memorize what I wanted to say. It came out very stilted. I noticed that when I spoke freely it sounded better. I look like a scared rabbit in this video, and that summarizes my problem with video making.



Now you've seen my worst video ever. I keep that video on my channel to remind myself of where I came from. It is also a good reminder of what I'd like to include in my book review videos.

Background noise on that video is outrageous!! I still don't have a good camera.

My goal is to learn to produce better videos, that will gradually improve. I'd like to produce mini-documentaries rather than just splatter my life all over YouTube.

What I've done so far has been fun, a learning experience, challenging, difficult, and frustrating. However, I will continue on, and learn to make better videos in the future.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

7 Things Overdone on the Web

I've been an internet user for twenty years now. I think that qualifies me to write about things I believe are overdone on the web. I'm going beyond complaints about the "wall of text" effect and people writing in all-caps. This list is skewed toward internet marketing types because I am one, though to a lesser degree than most.

What's over-done on the internet? This links to an article about internet marketing, writing, and blogging, and things that have become annoying because they're done so often.

Here's my list of things I believe are overdone on the internet:

1. The ridiculously overused word, "passion." - I am tired of reading "about me" blurbs on blogs that start with "my passion is" or "I'm passionate about." The word has been used so much it is an instant turn-off for me.

I wonder why people can't find some more creative way to tell us what they are writing about. The fact that they are excited about a topic doesn't exactly qualify them as an expert. I want to see results, not statements of passion.

2. Excess marketing on blog articles. - I was a writer on the now-defunct website, Squidoo. I know what it means to put too many advertisements on one page. I've done it. But I've observed the downfall of Squidoo and at some point realized that one strategically placed advertisement is better than a block of five.

A block of five ads may give a person more to choose from, but it increases the tendency of your reader to skip over the block of ads. People are at your site to read an article and get useful information. They're not there to see an excessive number of ads.

I will use multiple ads if I'm using them to explain how to do something, like on my article, How to Make Homemade Castile Soap. And I'll use multiples on a top-ten best products list, for comparison shopping purposes. But to inundate a reader with ads in the hope that they'll be persuaded to click on one of them, due to the sheer number of opportunities, I don't. It isn't attractive and I hereby eschew the evil practice.

What I find better is to write my article naturally. Then, if I mention a product, I might illustrate it with the perfect product or book that directly relates to the topic of the article.

3. Newspaper websites that load slowly because they have too many ads. I'm going to pick on one news website I've been to recently: S---- Daily News. Today I'm counting more than ten ads on their front page. I don't know if they have any popup ads because I've got a popup blocker.

The excessive ad content makes these pages slow to load and annoying. Furthermore, my reading is interrupted by a content refresh I didn't ask for.

By comparison I looked at the LA Times website. There are only five ads on the front page and the site is quick to load and easy to use. SFGate has seven ads on the front page today.

So to the small town newspaper with an annoyingly slow website I say this: Having more ads on your site is not going to make me want to click on them. It only makes me want to go to another website that is easier to use.

4. Blogs about how to blog. Enough already. I've been a blogger since 2001 and have seen and read more than my share of blogs and articles about how to be a better blogger, what social media I "must" use and how to use it, how to get more hits to my blog, and this morning's offering - "Metrics to Improve Content Performance."

I am honestly so over it... I don't care to read another word from a big-wig content producing super-blogger of epic proportions. Everyone knows now, if you want to make money blogging, write a blog about blogging, social media, or both. The market is saturated but with enough effort you can convince enough people to buy your next information "product" which will have dubious returns on investment for most of the people gullible enough to fall for it.

Listen people, you don't learn to blog from products. You can only learn to blog by doing it. Your first efforts are likely to be clumsy - but don't use anyone else's magic formula for blogging because it is already over-done and seen too many times. Instead, find your own creative voice, and forge ahead. Creativity is awesome.

5. Landing pages. Need I say more? Too many people build landing pages to market their expensive information products. Each landing page has an extensive sales pitch which hopes to reel enough people in to make a fortune on their gullibility.

They have the opposite effect on me. I see a landing page and want to run. I have never read all the way through one of those lengthy landing pages they took so long to write. (Or more likely, paid someone else to write.) They are ridiculous and people are laughing about them.

6. Expensive information products. Yes, while we're on that topic, I'll mention I'm tired of seeing information products that every talking head on the internet wants to sell. They typically have a DVD set, a CD set, a few booklets, maybe even a book - displayed in a professional manner. You can learn about anything you want for 100 dollars or more. This is just sickening.

The truth is you can buy a book at Amazon for a lot less than you will spend buying some talking head's information product collection! Many of these savvy marketers have multiple products. I'm tired of seeing them. Materialism sucks. I'm all for people earning money off their specialties, but I do not like overly-priced information products.

7. Facebook posts that look like videos but when you click them you go to some advertising-heavy web page rather than to YouTube. - These days, I'm very careful what I click on when I'm at Facebook. If I view a video there I want it to be a Facebook video or YouTube - not a photo-link to someone else's website.

A lot of sites are set up to feature thousands of pages with YouTube videos made by someone with no connection to the website. I have no objection to people embedding YouTube videos. I do it myself when a video adds to my topic in a way that will benefit the reader.

What I don't like is the fake-look video images on Facebook that take you off-site to see the video. It is time consuming to load those advertising-heavy websites and let's face it - when I visit Facebook, I want to see what my family members are up to, check on my groups, and get out. I don't want to spend hours there being redirected to other websites for videos that could just as easily be seen right on Facebook.

If you see a YouTube video on a site you could easily go to the YouTube site and share it from there.

That's it for now.

Did I fail to mention your pet peeve? If so, leave a comment to let me know what it is.

...

Photo credit - the computer came from Pixabay.com.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Bible Study Day

Wednesday is the day for my Bible study groups to meet. There are two of them . . . I am blessed that they both take place here in my home.

The women's Bible study is at 4pm and the other Bible study is at 6:30pm.

The women are studying Kay Arthur's book, Lord, Is It Warfare? Teach Me to Stand: A Devotional Study on Spiritual Victory. It seems like we've been using this book well over a year now. We took a break of several months between chapters three and four.

We're currently on chapter nine so it won't be too much longer until we finish. It takes about a month to get through one chapter, the way we're doing it. We read it at home, then read it together as a group, then do our study questions at home, then review them with the group - so I go over the information in the chapter 4 times before we're done. Hopefully some of it stays with me.

The second Bible study includes two men - and we study books by Paul Little.



We've skipped around a bit between the two books. Currently we're reading a chapter about Jesus that makes me love Him more than ever before. It is about how he is half human and half God . . . part of each. He came here to suffer and die on the cross, willingly, to help us and redeem us. That's true love.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Why Blame God?

It happened again. I came across something written by an atheist to try to discredit God, which contained the idea that because bad things happen in this world, there could not be a loving and beneficent God.



What these people miss is that the story of the fall of man (Genesis 3) explains that this is Satan's world. Bad things happen here because of Satan and the spirit of rebellion against God.

The argument goes like this: "The God you believe in allows children to suffer and die so He can't be real."

The rebuttal is: "Since Adam disobeyed God and ate the forbidden fruit, Satan was given ownership of this world. Adam and Eve were thrown out of the Garden of happiness and perfection, and entered a world of suffering and evil. God is not to blame for their rebellion, and the rebellion of Satan."

Jesus said His kingdom is not of this world. He has gone before us to prepare a place for us there, if we want it.

...

Atheists that write these types of things take one concept from the Bible, that God is love, and try to disprove it, without taking the rest of the Bible into consideration. How can they forget the fall of man, or expect me to?

When Jesus agreed to die on the cross to save us from our sins, and when he was resurrected, He redeemed us. He now has the right to be given the deed to the world. That deed is a scroll with seven seals. He has yet to break the first seal. He is waiting for us to be ready. Every day, more and more people are being saved, and He will not break the seal until everyone who is meant to be saved will be saved.

At that point, when the first seal breaks, the world will change. You may not believe it now, but change is coming, and it will be an unpleasant seven years that most people will not live through.

When it is over, the old earth will be gone. There will be a new earth where Jesus and His people will live in happiness, without the evil, without the suffering, without Satan.

I hope to see you there.

...

I usually don't write about the Bible on this blog - it is a blog about my life, however, and Jesus is part of my life. I have another blog called Prayer Power where I write prayers and devotions.

Monday, August 24, 2015

YouTube Dreamer - My Plans for the Future

I am still dreaming of developing my BookLady YouTube channel, though I haven't added to it in months. What am I waiting for?

Last year I had a goal of creating 100 videos but I created only about fifty... and currently there are only 47 videos on the channel. I may have deleted a few. So I didn't achieve my goal and that is always a downer.

I was hampered by lack of a good video editor. When I ordered my new computer a few months ago, I had a video editor installed before Dell shipped it to me. My new video editor is lightweight - I've got Adobe Premiere Elements 13 - there are other much better (and much more expensive) video editors such as Adobe Premiere Pro CC - but what I've got is a good place to start and will be more stable and trustworthy than some of the free video software programs I endured last year.

Today I looked at my BookLady YouTube channel and found that some of the videos with the most views are my book reviews! I didn't make many of them last year because I thought they would bore people, but apparently the opposite is true. Fewer people looked at my walking and biking videos. Live and learn! I will make more book review videos in the future since they are so popular.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Cascadia Earthquake and Tsunami 70 Years Overdue

Here's some startling bad news. Geologists say soil samples show the Cascadia region, the Pacific Northwest, gets regular massive earthquakes and tsunamis every 243 years. And the last one was on January 26, 1700. This means we're 72 years overdue.


Oregon coast. Photo from Pixabay.


This was revealed last month, July 2015, in a lengthy but well-written article published in the New Yorker magazine: The Really Big One.

Why didn't we know this already?

The West Coast of the USA hasn't been settled by Americans of European descent all that long. When the last cataclysm occurred in the Pacific Northwest, only Native Americans were there. Their stories about this event have been collected, including a story about an entire tribe living on Vancouver Island, BC, disappearing into a wave.

It isn't just Canada involved, however. The problem of colliding tectonic plates runs from Mendocino, California, up the coast into Canada. If tension needs to be released, the entire coastline could be jolted, then flooded and destroyed.

I love the coast, the beaches, the surf - just as much as anyone. I've spent a lot of time there. But with this information, I'm thinking that inland destinations are better.

It is sad that we might stay away from the ocean due to an event that might not even take place in our lifetimes, but we've seen the devastation that took place in Thailand and Japan. The threat of oceanic inundation is real, and if it happens, inescapable.

If you're living on the coast and are jolted awake by a large earthquake, you will have ten to thirty minutes to get to higher ground. Ten minutes isn't long, so consider sleeping fully clothed. If you have to run, then run for your life. Stopping for any reason will decrease your chance of survival.