Anonymous Blogger: A Vet’s Rights

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Buy book above here: American Patriots: Answering the Call to Freedom

My Anonymous Blogger  gave me her piece just before the government funded. So I have only published part of her paper here.

Nikki,

Please call Gosar, Flake, and McCain

Ask them to support a service member’s constitutional right to freely exercise his or her faith within the U.S. Military without fear of censorship or retribution. If legislation is required to do this, then ask that they introduce such to do so.

Anonymous Blogger

Thrushbeard

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When she mentioned the Book of Rules on their third date, he laughed.

“So?” Kelly came back with a larger Frappuccino.

“He laughed at me.” Carolyn thumbed through the dog-eared copy of the Book of Rules. “It says here you never laugh at a woman when she is speaking, even if he doesn’t agree with her. Right there…on page 35.”

Thrushbeard is available for purchase here. Thrushbeard is about one woman’s attempt at finding happiness through control. All proceeds from the purchases of my short stories go toward a 2014 missions trip.

Astonished: Not Today

astonished

Astonished: A Story of Evil, Blessings, Grace, and Solace by Beverly Donofrio will not be reviewed today. Too many things were going on this week, some things which were out of my control. The review will instead post on Monday, May 27.

I am not thrilled with the story, but will make an effort to force myself to finish it. Read my review on Monday to find out why. Normally, my book review policy allows me to stop reading at this point. I feel some things in the book need to be answered in my review.

Thanks, Nikki

A Life of Words: @beingrudri

Last year I began a series called, A Life of Words. I wanted to talk about the heart of social networking instead of the mechanics of it. Today I am featuring a good writer named Rudri. I enjoy her blogs whenever I can find the time to read them. Her blog name is easy to remember. You can read the rest in the series here. Meanwhile, enjoy this interview that Rudri has graciously granted.

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www.BeingRudri.com                

Your Name:   Rudri               

Your Twitter: @beingrudri

Your Facebook page: Being Rudri

NH: Why did you pick that name?

BR: I wanted a short blog title that included my name and reflected ideas and thoughts that were unique to me.

NH: What prompted you to begin blogging?

BR: This blog is my mechanism of coping with life’s changes. I lost my father from a 4 year battle with cancer in 2009, I moved to Arizona after living in Texas all my life, and my mother moved in with us. Life is full of changes, mostly unexpected, so this blog is my perspective on life and everything in between.

NH: What kind of blogs did you first write?

BR: My writing, from the inception, focuses on my personal observations. The subjects that are most important to me are: loss, grief, love, and gratitude.

NH: What mistakes did you make when you first blogged?

BR: I tried to compare myself to other writers and realized that was a futile exercise. I now focus on one criteria: embracing my authenticity. When my writing is genuine, the emotion is palpable.

NH: What are your top 5 favorite blogs to read?

BR: I enjoy reading many blogs. Paring it down to five is difficult. Here are some of the blogs that I regularly frequent:

A Design So Vast, Kitchen Witch, Motherese, Only You, & Ivy League Insecurities, First Sip & Happiness Project.

NH: What inspires you to blog?

BR: Daily observations about life, my relationships, the pendulum swing of sorrow and happiness prompt my blog posts.

NH: When do you write your posts and how long do they take?

BR: I usually write my posts during the evening. My posts usually take about 20 to 45 minutes to write.

NH: When your first comments came and they weren’t family or friends, describe that feeling.

BR: Affirmation and excitement!

NH: Why do you blog now and how has that changed from your very beginnings?

BR: My blog is still about coping with loss, gratitude for the present moment, and understanding the uncertainty between happiness and sorrow.

NH: Do you have any comments to add for people who want to start blogs? Any advice?

BR: Know your voice. Determine why you want to blog. Write for yourself. Be persistent. Write back to those who comment. Enjoy the writing process.

NH: How many times a week do you post?

BR: 2 -3 posts a week.

NH: What religion do you believe in?

BR: I practice Hinduism.

NH: Do people at your church or work know about your blog? What is their reaction?

BR: Yes. Most people are quite expressive and let me know if a particular blog entry touched them in some way. There are many readers that never comment and are reluctant to let me know how they feel.

NH: What was your family’s reaction when you wanted to begin blogging?

BR: Very supportive. My husband and mom are my biggest fans.

NH: Did you ever write a blog that made someone feel hurt? How did you reconcile that or resolve that?

BR: Yes. I wrote a post that advocated walking away from toxic relationships. Even though I never mention names, the person whom I talked about figured out I was ending our relationship. I tried to talk to her prior to my writing the post, but it was not met with any resolution. I gave closure to the relationship by writing about it.

NH: How many hours do you social network and/or blog per week?

BR: I try to write 3 blogs per week.

NH: How many readers do you get a month?

BR: It varies month by month.

Life Upside Down Launch

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Life Upside Down

Welcome to Life Upside Down where everyone has a story. Through telling our stories we create community. My blog’s intentions is to create that community through authentic Christian living and talking about the people, culture, books, and movies that influence us for better or for worse.

Creating Community

My interest in re-launching my blog is to create community. Less time blogging means more time on twitter, Facebook, and social networking to talk to you.

More Writing Time

Because I am available to ghost blog and will be launching a magazine in the spring, 2013, I need to make sure I am continuing my regular writing on my novel and short stories. Blogging every day has created a unique challenge and I have discovered I yearn to write relevant posts. Relevant posts take more research. I will post Monday, Wednesday and Fridays every week. That doesn’t mean I won’t post in between times, but if I do, it’s because it’s a guest blog, interview or a book review.

Tomorrow is the first day of my posts. Please feel free to email me at nikolehahn@thehahnhuntinglodge.com if you have suggestions.

It’s About Relationships

ShoesFox and Friends on December 29 interviewed a financial reporter. It’s amazing how many businesses don’t utilize the online tools like web pages, Facebook, Twitter, etc to promote their business and create relationships.

The reporter stated that due to all the regulations for brick and mortar businesses that online presence is going to become more and more necessary. Without the online presence, you lose business. But I agree with Rebecca when she said she was ready to unfriend and delete some writers from twitter and Facebook because ALL they do is promote. Where’s the relationships?

It’s important to market, but as Christians we need to realize there’s a bigger picture here. It’s about relationships. We need to care about our readers and not just use them to sell our books. Plus, like Rebecca said, it’s frustrating to see only promotion in our news feeds. People aren’t interested in more advertisements. There’s enough of that on our televisions; not just in between the shows we watch but at times nearly taking up the entire screen of our shows during the shows. Personally, I am tired of the marketing.

Businesses need to market, but they need to also forge relationships, too. We have these tools available for us as Christians to network, to listen, and to be a light. The reporter said in the future due to regulations storefronts will be small,  online commerce will be big. So those businesses that aren’t using the social networks and websites to promote will lose money while businesses that do have an online presence will make money. It’s not about money though. It’s about people. It makes for a sticky situation.

Do you promote yourself too much?

A Grumpy Cell Phone Customer: Need Versus Want

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Cell phone Samsung SGH-X680 ubt (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The lure of having a computer in my hand nearly overrode my best judgment. My cell phone plan is coming up for renewal and I always get a new phone—the free one that comes with a two-year activation. Cell phones almost always go bad after a while. I almost listened the whispers of temptation as I got excited about all the neat games, apps, and perks of getting a smart phone or an iphone.

Our cell service is with Verizon. Verizon and Sprint are the best cell phone companies when you live in the mountains. The signal is strong even when you drive through the shadow of a mountain. However, that being said, it seems like the big cell phone companies are forcing smart phones on us. I want a basic phone.

On both Sprint and Verizon sites I read a handful of reviews on the basic phones. It used to be a basic phone could rate as high as a four on average. Equipment problems and phone sound seem to be the main complaints. Verizon also used to have a wide variety of basic phones available. Now smart phones outnumber the basic phones, and though the iphone 4 is free with a two-year activation, I have no need for a smart phone. I would use only 5% of it’s capabilities for Facebook, Twitter, and Email. Then, there’s the dependability.

Our computers break down after so many years, forcing us to buy newer and better technology. It’s not a bad thing to buy new technology, but I like to make that decision based on our budget not on necessity which is why I use a day planner.

I like my day planner because I am a note taker. I stuff all my notes and business cards in my day planner. My schedule is kept on my day planner. I buy refills. Once in a while for something really important I might set my phone to remind me of an appointment. A smart phone is just an added expense in a poor economy. I don’t understand why I can pay one consistent rate with my internet provider at home for unlimited internet, but have to pay exorbitant prices for limited or unlimited internet on my phone.

iphone maker, Steve Jobs, once was quoted in a blog how cell phone companies control cell phone innovation:

“It’s even worse. The carriers now have gained the upper hand in terms of the power of the relationship with the handset manufacturers. And they’re starting to tell the handset manufacturers what to build. And if Nokia and Motorola don’t listen to them, well, Samsung and LG will. So the handset manufacturers are really getting these big thick books from the carriers, telling them “here’s what your phone’s gonna be.”

With our tight budget, it’s not a necessity to have apps on my phone or even the ability to get internet on my phone. Yes, as a writer, it would make social networking and marketing myself even easier so that I could do it anywhere. But I don’t want my electronics tapping into the addictive side of my brain leaving me only half-present around people. It’s not necessary to be plugged in all of the time. I control my time with my electronics; it doesn’t control me.

Plus, the prices of iphones and other smart phones go for retail (without a cell phone plan) from $80 to $700 each. The highest retail prices are the same cost as a laptop computer. I just want a high quality basic phone with access to Facebook, Twitter, and Email without all the other high-priced items and extra monthly charges that send my cell phone bill above $100.

It feels like a few cell phone companies corner the market on cell phones and plans when the customer has little choice but to acquiesce to what the cell phone companies want to sell. I like innovation and choices. I don’t like being forced to take on a smart phone when a basic phone serves my needs. In my struggle between choosing a share plan and a good phone and the reality of our finances, I reluctantly admitted that the apps and games and ringers would only satisfy me for two weeks before it would become rote. It’s not something I need, and in this culture we justify a want as a need in order to give ourselves permission to spend money unwisely.

Updates…

Dear Friends,

Someone reported that this site’s organization can be fuzzy. I’m not sure how to fix that and so on my main website you’ll find featured posts, old posts, and my writing news blog at www.thehahnhuntinglodge.com.

It’s a bit more organized and I also showcase latest publications and new and upcoming book reviews.

If you have other suggestions for the website or here, feel free to share them in the comments.

Love, Nikki

Julie Arduini: @HumbleBrag

By Julie Arduini

It’s a buzzword birthed from social media that Boston Globe language columnist Ben Zimmer said was his favorite word of 2011. (Memmot, 2011) The original definition seemed to first pop up on Twitter and center around celebrities and their “pay attention to me” Tweets.

The word?

Humble brag.

I first learned of the humble brag when I saw a RT (re-Tweet) from the @Humblebrag account. At first the account was anonymous, busting entertainers for their false humility. The account gained a following and Harris Wittels, stand-up comic and writer for NBC’s Parks and Recreation, confessed to being the man behind the account. (Heyman, 2011)According to Wittels, it’s a true humble brag if the reader feels annoyed when reading it.

Here’s an example from the @Humblebrag Twitter feed, a RT he gave off @Bethenny’s original tweet: “For a girl who doesn’t like wearing makeup, this LA paparazzi thing is a bit intense.”

Humble brags transcend Twitter. Take a few minutes and you will find them on Facebook and Google+ updates. Instagram pictures. Pinterest boards and pins.

And that’s where I struggle.

Because as a writer, I realize the hypocrisy. There’s a fine line between marketing your work and becoming a humble bragger. I’ve caught myself sharing a link to my post with the team blog Christians Read. What made it a humble brag? The gush included how I couldn’t believe I was paired with my favorite authors, and I named them. I went beyond letting readers know my post existed and elevated myself in an effort to be noticed. It was the equivalent of a child jumping up and down and shouting, “Look at me!”

So why do people humble brag?

I think it comes down to one word, insecurity. When I publicized my post with Christians Read, I was full of fear. The other bloggers are published authors and some are names that I’ve considered the best of the best for all I’ve read. Like that song I remember on Sesame Street, I struggled feeling like One of These Things Doesn’t Go with the Other.

One worldly remedy I have when I fight not feeling good enough is to embrace the nice things people say about me.  If you’re familiar with Dr. Gary Chapman’s book, The 5 Love Languages, my primary love language is words of affirmation. I don’t require a lot, but when someone gives an encouraging word, it fills my “love bank.” That’s healthy and how God made me. But, when I throw remarks on Facebook or Twitter with the intention of stroking my ego, that’s a humble brag with wrong motivation.  Those are the times I need to rely on God’s word and what He says about me—and you.

 I can’t speak for celebrities, but entertainment is a cruel business. Aging isn’t popular and even 19 can be over-the-hill in that business. With reality television, some who are on the scene might not have the acting chops Dustin Hoffman or Meryl Streep possesses. Letting everyone in social media know what you are doing, wearing, or who you are with puts a Band-Aid on the insecurity. In this instant feedback society social media gives, an insecure celebrity throwing out humble brags on their Twitter accounts is going to receive feedback from fans.  Sadly, my guess is the public gives those ego stroking responses in hopes of having their insecurity filled, too. When the actor who portrays Nevel on iCarly gave me a re-Tweet, I promptly let my followers know about it. Why did I humble brag? I felt validated when someone with a bigger following recognized me.

Humble brags, at least with the @Humblebrag Twitter account, can be amusing to read. Overall, I think they are a commentary on evolving social media and me-centered world.  Because of my own humble brag experiences, I think they stem from insecurity and the need to be recognized and affirmed. Humble brags aren’t the same as marketing our work, but there is a fine line. As a writer, it’s something I need to keep in check, and own up to when I stumble and fall prey to using the humble brag to feed my fears.

What about you? Were you aware of the humble brag before today? Have you been guilty of one?

Julie Arduini is a writer and speaker. She is a team blogger with Christians Read and The Bella Women Network, and she’s working on her first contemporary romance based in the Adirondack Mountains. You can learn more about her work at http://juliearduini.com.

People Matter

Coffee cup

Coffee cup (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

Someone told me, “It’s tough to fellowship with people.” He was saying this to me after reminiscing about the good old days. I agreed with him as I have heard that same statement echoed across twitter and Facebook within all age groups. People in real life don’t seem to be reaching out to people beyond their small circle of friends and family. They’ll spend hours on Facebook playing games, sending app requests to others they don’t hang out with, and forwards to people they haven’t spoken to or sent a personal email to in months, but they’ll hang out with the same people at church, never broadening their circle of friends.

I wonder what church would look like if we broadened our outreach?

A blogger reminded me how we should continue to reach out even if we’re doing all the inviting and rarely being invited in return. She shared the same frustration as I, taking time out from people because of the lack of love shown in return. Love is a verb, they say, and we love to quote it, but we have to act on it. Serving the homeless, on a missions field, or in a form of outreach is great stuff, but we are on a missions field every day that we interact with society.

Whether we’re always inviting or always the one being friendly, we must not give up on people. They matter to Jesus and should matter to us. This year I have reorganized my time, balancing writing, blogging, family, downtime and work to allow for serendipity—to be used by God wherever and whenever.

And sometimes that means shuffling my schedule to have coffee with someone who is hurting.

 

How are you making people matter (ministry doesn’t count)?