Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How to Stop Bullying

During an era when there is increased bullying in our nation’s schools, we must support our legislatures as they attempt to implement a Bullying Prevention Program and enforce stricter sanctions in an effort to end bullying.
Administrators and teachers must begin to identify the bullies that walk the hallways of schools, and let them realize that they are being carefully watched.
Bullying defined:
·         Physical (hitting, kicking, pushing, stealing, hiding, or ruining others’ possession against his or her will.
·         Verbal (name calling, teasing, insulting, or threatening)
·         Social (refusing to talk to, or play with someone, making someone feel left out)
·         Cyber (using electronics such as computer to write mean, demeaning, truths or untruths about someone)
Research reveals that bullying victims may experience:
·         Depression
·         Loneliness
·         Anxiety,
·         Low self-esteem
·         Feelings of sickness
·         Poor eating habits
·         Dislike for school
·         Poor grades
·         Or the worst (think about, or commit suicide)
As parents and educators, we must help our children affirm who they are. We must enhance and build their self-worth as hearty and powerful individuals who are sure of themselves. Bullying will become a record low in our nation's schools if we talk to children about respecting differences and similarities of others.
My children’s chapter book, No Tildes on Tuesday, has arrived at a crucial time. It is unique because there is a worksheet entitled: I am a Biracial/Multiracial Person! Let me Share My Attributes with You in the back of it. Students may be encouraged to discuss the personal attributes that they possess, or the positive strengths they have personally acquired over time. Just remove the title and use the worksheet as needed for discussion.
Once a child is given the necessary tools to strengthen his or her character, he or she will be strong enough to withstand upsets in life, including bullying.
What can we do?
 1. Our children should learn to love themselves and appreciate who they are!
·         Empowerment   ·     Boost their self-esteem  ·     Teach leadership skills     ·    Social Problem-Solving    Techniques
                ·         Role Play -- helps build self-esteem, encourages the child to speak up, fosters                     encouragement/character building    ·    Use Self-fulfilling prophecy    ·    Use words of empowerment
 By doing so, we will equip our children with strength to withstand!

 2. Work with Administrators at Your Child's School -- Assist them with ideas to Bully  
    shield/proof our schools
         ·         Foster climate of respect one to another    · Encourage staff to talk to children about differences and acceptance of differences using friendly discourse   ·  Teach and model acceptance of other·  Implement school wide, classroom, and individual intervention programs · Implement school wide rules and sanctions
 ·        Build and enforce a climate that is intolerant of bullying behaviors
 3. Intervene -- Our children need to know that we are listening to them -- Hear about the pain they are experiencing
          ·         There needs to be consistent supervision -- in hallways, under stairwells and places that children can easily hide and disguise themselves.
4. Talk to our children. Ask them about their day at school. Ask if there is anything we need to know.
           ·         Get into the trenches -- Let your children know that you will be there for them "at all cost"
Dr. Cherrye S. Vasquez, Ph.D.
Author Cherrye S. Vasquez is a public school administrator and an adjunct professor. She is a Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum & Instruction; a Master of Education in Special Education; and a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Pathology/Audiology. Vasquez specializes in Multi-cultural education and holds certifications in Early Childhood Handicapped, Mid-Management and Educational Diagnostician. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Communication tips that you may or may not know about

I thought that I would share a few communication tips to help everyone build up their business platform.  Now to me that means, places where visitors can view your product.  For authors, our product is our books and we want people to know where to find them.  On the Internet, each location has an URL <Insert link> .  
I guess the most basic ability that I recommend for everyone is to know how to copy and paste links. It seems simple enough, yet each browser is set up slightly different as to where you see the web addresses.  If you locate that web address on your browser then place the mouse over it then highlight from right to left or right to left.  Then right click scroll down to copy, then place the web address or link into whatever place you want it. Then right click and scroll down to paste. That should put your web address or link onto the document for you. If all else fails there is the Ctrl button + C for Copy then Ctrl button + V for Paste.  When doing a blog post you can highlight a word such as URL then find the link button.  When the button pops up you can place the link you want in the appropriate place. The result is that you have a word with a link without the distraction of seeing the link. 
I highly recommend that you keep a document program such as Microsoft Word replete with a list of the different links that you might need.  For example, Call Sign Wrecking Crew, LLC has a website, blog, and Facebook fan page, each with a unique URL.  Of course on the website there are the links where our book can be found.  I also use this list of links when I’m tweeting out information for our book. 
On twitter, I saw an interesting tweet from Karen Baney regarding twitter profiles.  The article <Insert link>  talked about profile black holes.  After reading this article, I tweaked my twitter profile so that anyone who visits it will know what our book is about and where to find it. 
While marketing, no I don’t mean for food although these days you can do that on-line as well, you may need to know the direct link to your twitter or Facebook page.  The lesson that I recently learned on LinkedIn is that when copying the URL from twitter it comes out looking like this:!/LynnHallbrooks
The symbols #!/  seem to be thrown in to make it difficult for you to be found.  If you see them when you post your twitter address then kindly remove the symbols.  You should have a clean twitter address that anyone can click on and find you right away: 
I’ve also noticed that those symbols sometimes come up on some Facebook page addresses as well and simply remove the offending #!/ and you should provide a direct link to your Facebook fan page.  I’ve also seen people ask, “Why do I need a separate page for my book?”  If you have an author page and no co-author then you don’t.  I highly recommend not using your personal page for business if you can avoid it.  I’m sure potential readers don’t wish to read all the latest gossip from your BFF or even your siblings.  Now if authors are “friends” with one another, well then that is another story altogether.
Our Facebook fan page has a RSS feed <insert link>  that comes from our blog. Once I finish posting a blog it goes to not only our Facebook fan page <insert link>  but also to <insert link>,, <insert link>  and Triberr <insert link> so that my tribe mates can help spread the word.  To be honest, I had some one find my RSS feed so I can’t explain that one to you.  I did however, copy and paste the link on my growing list of links. It has saved me many headaches having my list. I hope my tips help you out as well. 
Lynn Hallbrook is the Texas based co-author of Call Sign: Wrecking Crew (Storm Warning) and together with her co-writer David McCoy will be the first author to be interviewed on our new upcoming Blog Radio Show on 12 Dec. More about that exciting new venture next week!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Mini Occupy

It’s been quite awhile since I stood on a street corner waving a sign, ingesting car fumes, and encouraging people to honk at me.  But the latest round of Occupy events attracted me.  I live in a really laid-back community, so the crowd that gathered together on Thursday in solidarity with other Occupy events was small, but enthusiastic.  Many participants were seniors from my retirement community.  One man had a wonderfully bright Santa hat to catch the attention of  passing cars.
We held up U.S. flags, and signs  like, “If you get rid of the middle class, who will buy your stuff?”  It’s doubtful that anyone in the cars could read the signs, but it made for a colorful waving display.  People chanted “We are the 99.  You are the 99″ and other catchy phrases that kept us energized.
We were too small to attract much media attention, but there was one man there with impressive camera equipment, and one young man walking around making a video that is undoubtedly already somewhere amidst the mass of YouTube offerings.  I didn’t see any police, but there were two security guards in front of a nearby restaurant.
Some in their cars sternly looked away from us while stopped at the long light, while others gave us thumbs up, waves, and honks.  We particularly loved hearing the strong blasts of trucks, buses, even a moving van.  The one I liked best was a driver who loudly played a rousing Souza march that got me dancing.  As I said, it was a looong light at that major intersection.
While the news of other Occupy events was of arrests, violent confrontations, and forcible dismantling of the tent cities, our little Occupy was more like a celebration of the right to gather on a street corner and demonstrate our frustration and extreme disappointment with the blatant corruption and greed that continues to overburden 99% of our country’s residents, forcing American history to a new low — of our own making.
Leaderless, grassroots movements can end up going in many directions — to extinction or toward accomplishing something meaningful.  I’m glad to be a small part of what it is now, with some hope for what it may accomplish in the future.   Fortunately, there are examples from the 1960s and 1970s where persistence, hard work, and a noisy minority forced change.
I ended my evening catching an old movie on tv that was eerily relevant to why I was on the street corner today.  The movie was “Presumed Innocent” with Harrison Ford.  His young face, old computer, and the low level of forensic investigation showed how old the picture was.   It was a murder mystery that cleverly exposed many levels to dwell on.  An innocent man was proven innocent, not because he was innocent, but because there were many nasty secrets to keep to protect an elected official, a corrupt judge, inept police, a wife whose devotion to her family caused her to commit murder, and a husband who protected the mother of his son.  In the end, no one could feel good about the web of tragedy they had spun.
At one point in the movie, Harrison’s boss says, “You’re still hanging on to the shreds of your ideals.”  Harrison replies, “The shreds of my ideals are all I have left.”  By the end of the movie, he had let go of even those shreds.  I wonder what shreds of ideals I have left.
Suellen Zima is the President of the Laguna Beach Chapter of the National League of American Pen Women. Her travel website is called Memoirs of a Middle-aged Hummingbird.Suellen recently got interested and involved in Occupy movement.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Award Winning Photos

I'm a great admirer of a website called Though not a writer, Paz has something wonderful to offer: exquisite, breathtaking photos that he often underwrites with informative captions. I'd like to support him--maybe other artists as well-, maybe deep down I miss my second home.
Paz, whose job takes him around the country has provided numerous opportunities to take shots that you wouldn't normally see. Every Ireland lover is in for treat. Here is his ward winning one:

".. it's third time lucky as my third entry won the August contest, the theme was Lakes, Ponds, Rivers or Creeks. My prize is I get the bragging rights and a widget, but most of all it made me smile on a bad day!
Here is my winning picture taken in Connemara, I was surprised to win as there were other great pictures click here."
Another winner for me is his series "Waiting on Shore" taken on Nov, 6. Below is one of them. Paz writes "This statue is dedicated to those lost at sea taken against the midday Sun".
I bet you  want to see more and check out his website!Especially the photographers among you.He also has videos on his site.Boreens and Backroads a video of a drive up an Irish Backroad. I posted that one on my Irish blog when I first encountered him over 2 years ago. 
Siggy Buckley

Thanksgiving--from the Perspective of a"Blow in"

(Due to moving the blog posts the dates of publication are off by 2 or 3. Sorry a bout that delay. Contents remain the same.)

Thanksgiving is a uniquely American and Canadian tradition. In Germany, where I grew up, I only knew it from that Thanksgiving Sunday in early autumn in the Catholic Church where thanks is given for a good year’s harvest. Some crops are brought in and put on display under the altar to be blessed. Ireland where I also lived hasn’t adopted this American holiday although it tends to follow American trends in many other regards.
So my exposure to American Thanksgiving is fairly new. It was only introduced into my life a few years ago by my new American husband. I read up on it and know that it originates from the first pilgrims. “When Europeans first arrived to the Americas, they brought with them their own harvest festival traditions from Europe, celebrating their safe voyage, peace and good harvest” (Wikipedia) and blended them with Native American harvest traditions.
Having read up on a topic is one thing; living it can be a different matter. Halloween feels equally strange to me. Our whirlwind romance catapulted me into the open arms of a welcoming family. Not being used to a big family, I find the big get togethers and their customs challenging. In Germany, we never ate turkey. I find the food pairings odd and am not aware of their symbolic meanings. Why pickles with turkey and gravy?  Bread rolls plus potato mash? The overflowing table and abundance of everything makes the Ex Farmer’s wife in me cringe when I think of all the starving people around the world and millions that go hungry in this country alone. In all fairness, not all left-overs go down the garbage disposal. The turkey will be served again in various forms until everybody is fed up eating it. Why not get a smaller turkey in the first place?
I should still embrace the day as one of purely saying thanks for the good life I’m enjoying. Deep down in my heart of hearts, I am grateful for the privileged life-style I’m enjoying. I’m grateful for the fact that my husband has a job and that he brings home the bacon while I can indulge my hobby, i.e., writing. I’m grateful for all my friends and the encouraging words and responses I’m getting from people who “befriend” me and that I’m “linked” to.
I’m grateful that my daughter started her first paid job and that my son will graduate next year too. I’m grateful that I have lived a life in countries with civil liberties and the freedom to express my convictions without persecution. I’m grateful that I was born into this world at this point in time and place.
Yet, being a person for whom the glass is always half-empty, saying thanks doesn’t come natural. Since I feel the years creeping up on me, the cynic in me wants to inject that what is left in the glass is evaporating fast. I would be more grateful if I saw my children more often than just a few days a year. I would be more grateful if my pain didn’t keep me from working in my job.  
Having been told to “Count my blessings” by my Irish housekeeper, I try to do that every day. Shouldn’t we all be grateful for what we have all year long, day in, day out? Do we need a specific day in the year to remind us?
I guess we do. Otherwise we would take it all for granted even more.
PS. My American family would find some German traditions strange too, I’m sure.
Happy Thanksgiving to you all! Siggy Buckley

Thanksgiving, a Matter of Eco Perception by Silvia Hoehns Wright

(Due to moving the blog posts the dates of publication are off by 2 or 3. Sorry a bout that delay. Contents remain the same.)

According to a report issued by USA Today, bad weather is brewing. From blizzards to heat waves across the nation, we face the prospect of ongoing natural disasters fueled by unhealthy shifts in the environment.

As one of the people who ‘dig in the dirt’ and dwell in the central Virginia Interstate 95 corridor, the fall of 2011 hopefully will be recalled as an once in a life time experience. In late August, the landscape experienced drought. Next, the earth shook with such vengeance that many of those who lived near the core of this earthquake were left homeless; and then, rain generated by the force of tropical storms occurred. At first, we gardeners were pleased to see the landscape recover its green but as the winds and down-pour of rain increased, each of us sought shelter from the rage of these storms.

In the aftermath, one-hundred plus year-old trees litter our communities, storm debris blanket open green spaces, and 21st century utility services were unavailable. If you were fortunate, personal property such as your home or vehicles were unharmed. So, hear me when I say, I relate to USA Today’s warning of bad weather as brewing. Still, I believe we need to view our world as a glass half full, thankfulness for the world’s natural beauty. For nature is resilient and leaves us each season with a promise renewed.

Nevertheless, why (you question) would I view my glass as half full? Over the years, I’ve learned being thankful is a matter of perception. I’ve adjusted my plant choices, moved plants that once flourished to more sheltered locations and extended a regional planting zone guideline of 7 to zones 6 through 8, considering both extreme cold and hot. In other words, I listen to national environmental warnings and incorporate change into my gardening strategies.

So, while many view the Thanksgiving holidays as a time to celebrate family and host feasts, I urge you to be thankful for the world’s natural beauty. Together, let’s appreciate the resilient of nature: the promise of a season renewed. For, we not only have opportunities to make a difference through personal choices but can influence others through our use of green space, both rural and urban. View your world as a ‘glass half full’, make thanksgiving a matter of eco perception. For additional tips and strategies, visit web site

Saturday, November 26, 2011


google plusGoogle Plus, G+,Google Plus One, Google +, however you want to call it, began as an invitation only social media site and is now open to all. Yes, this means anyone and everyone with a valid email and internet connection can join the site that's grown faster than Facebook and Twitter combined in their first 3 months of business with 20 million sign-ups in just the first month alone (existing social media infrastructure helped of course).

From the Google Plus team; Yes, finally the Google+ Invitations are now out and you can request your invitation immediately. Create Your Free Account.

You might be thinking, Really? Do I need to add yet another social  media thing to my whole routine? The answer is yes, or you really should consider it because if you're serious about building an internet
presence, it's quite possible Google Plus will end up being the one that gives you the most internet visibility over time. The reason is because they're owned by the king of everything online: Google. And even though
Facebook is the current king for social media, Google does so much morethan just social media including being the world's largest search engine by a truly gross margin.

From just a few weeks of regular use on Google Plus, my experience is that this service is my overall favorite social media venue, better than Facebook and Twitter for networking with readers, writers and publishing
people in general (or whatever your field is). Like LinkedIn, it feels more professional while Facebook feels more suited for friends and family. Unlike LinkedIn, Google Plus is much more dynamic, streaming with real time updates-chats-video hangouts and more. Another nice feature is creating individual circles for family, friends, colleagues, the softball gang, whatever you want and streaming (or viewing) those announcements from just the people in that group. Facebook has recently upgraded their own service to copy many of G+'s innovations, but now it means going through lists of hundreds of FB friends and separating them into categories, which is something I don't feel like doing at this point.

I wrote a previous blog post with a bit more detail here but mostly I wanted to remind people who might be feeling reluctant about getting involved with yet another social media site to just do it. This one is really important if you want to continue building an online presence over time.

Google Plus Jason Matthews author head shotOther things that are smart to do after joining G+ are to fill out your profile with a good deal of information and some photos of you. Add all of your websites and blog links that point to you
and your books. Also, for bloggers, learn to add the ?rel=author suffix tag just after your G+ user ID and place that on every website or blog that you have listed on your G+ profile page. This way Google will
recognize your profile really belongs to the webmaster of that site. In time it could help you get "verified" as a celebrity or branded person in the eyes of the site, which will help immensely with your following. There's no guarantee they will "verify" you, but it's an easy thing to do in hopes they will.

For any writers, readers and publishing people who might be interesting in connecting with me, please do and I'll add you to my circles. Just click on my photo or this link here –

(Notice how I used the ?rel=author tag for my G+ link; that's how it should look following your own user ID.) And if you think this is a nifty badge, you can make one easily for your own sites at

You can contact Jason at :


Our first posting is a poem by an extraordinary award winning poet, Sandy Hartman. She likes her poems to be read out aloud for their full effect. Her own Website is still under construction but worth a look already.Powerful words there! This one she wrote for me and my Irish blog.

Earth Bound
A downpour empties the rain choked bowl of a thundering sky
Earth pauses after the soaking
And basks in a gray green glow
Back lit by brushed metallic radiance
That moment just before a new sun breaks through

The last few fat rain drops
Splat on the tin roof of the chicken coop
Bothering brood hens fluffed wide
Over clutches of satin brown eggs
Each hen, eyes half closed in contentment
Chucking quietly to herself

The moist smell of new straw warmed under feathers
Then touches the fragrance of strawberries and lavender
From the garden

My small refuge in this frenzied world gone mad over itself
As it speeds down a highway that cuts through corn fields
Sandy Hartman (©2010)