Saturday, December 30, 2017

Blog Post for the New Year: Breaking Down Janet Jackson’s Unbreakable

Does not belong to P. Lynne Designs but a copyright
of Rhythem Nation/BMG Rights Managment
Via AP 

“Hello, it’s been a while”. It is one of the lines from Janet Jackson’s latest album, Unbreakable which is part of a song by the same name, Unbreakable.  It has been a while. A failed blogmas’ as well as a failed vlogmas’ for this year, and yet, my world is “unbreakable”.
This is how this song speaks to me (grabbing the lyrics from the site,
“I lived through my mistakes
It’s just a part of growing
And never for a single moment
Did I ever go without your love
You made me feel wanted
I wanna tell you how important
You are to me, love.”
We have all made some mistakes, and it is what it is.  You are learning, and you cannot learn if you do not make any mistakes.  My pet peeve about a perfectionist is they will call out your mistakes, and some will even remind you that mistake every now and then. “Remember that time when you…”   It is really annoying.  My question to the perfectionist is “how am I supposed to learn if I do not make a mistake”? For those of you who are, please ponder that for a moment. 
Next part of the phrase…
I started this journey of blogging because I wanted a voice.  I was not mad at anyone, I simply wanted a voice.  That is all a person who blogs, or vlogs wants is a voice. What is that voice?  It depends on that person.  Some want to change the world around them, some want to voice their opinion about a subject they are passionate about, and some want to be silly, but they still have a voice.  It is the same thing when a person writes a piece of music or choreographs a dance, they are speaking their mind.  I never thought of this thing called writing and I certainly never thought of putting it out in public, the internet of all places.
For the people who have read my posts, I want to thank you.  I wish I had a small gift to give to each one of you, but I do not.  It does not matter if you spent one minute or an hour or two reading, that is good enough for me.  Google has a different idea, but I am not worried about that at all.  I have too much on my plate to do that. 
My readers are important to me.  They keep me going when I do not feel like it.  When I post a link to a blog post that I have written, it is for you to read.  I have my own journal for me to write and read from. It is written in the same program that I start my blog posts from, MS. Word.  I have several posts mentioning my process when I write a blog post.  You may do something different or the same.  I give advice mostly to people who want to get started in writing, crafting, or whatever I decide to write about.
Verse 1:
“Truth is, truth is that I wouldn’t be here
Without the love I stand on
Anytime I get lost in the world
You’ll always be there
To care and share
In the joy and the pain, oh
Our love won’t change.”
Love of God, family, and friends is what I am all about.  I do not think that I could have survived without that love.  God brought me into this world through the help of my parents.  I am their only birth child.  I have a brother who was adopted at age 4 months, and through him, I have 2 nephews (21 years and 7 years old).  I have a foster sister, who I still call my sister, although she has plenty through her birth parents.  Through her, I have a nephew who is 10 years-old, and a niece, who is 9 years-old.  I also have various friends who I call my sisters and brothers, mostly through my church.  Do I wish that I had birth brothers and sisters?  I have two birth sisters who are in heaven, and at first, I did miss that bond to have someone to share my DNA with.  I went through that period when I was ages 10-16 years, but then I began the process of being thankful for who I have in my life.  I could have been a foster child myself, never have known these people who I call mom and dad.  I also could have been born in an abusive home like my foster sister. 
When you think back on your life, what do you think of?  I think of the joy and pain that Janet speaks about in this verse.  Do not think about the joy or the pain in your life, but think about all of it.  What molded you into the person you have become, even if you are a teen reading this right now?  I am so glad that my grandparents were praying grandparents, and in turn, made my parents praying parents.  Not only for the bad things but thanking God for the blessings that this family was and still able to enjoy, as well as getting us through the rough patches in our lives.
And what I share with you
Ever sacred, everlasting
The greatest love for me
I love you
And it’s pure
And it will endure
The world can’t break down
The connection
Cause our love is divine
And it’s unbreakable
Even though this is a secular song, I feel this chorus is God speaking to me and that His love is everlasting, very pure, and very sincere. (I was going to put another word there, but I do not want it to be misinterpreted to something more).  Even though God is a jealous God, meaning do not put anyone else before Him, he loves you like nothing else.  After all, He made us.  (Sorry, for those who believe otherwise, these are MY beliefs, and nothing you can say to change my belief).  When you make something, you cherish it, and you will do anything to protect it.  This is how God feels about us.  He sent His son, Jesus for that reason, among many reasons.  When Jesus died, He sent a comforter to look after us until He comes again.  It is a divine love that stands the test of time and space.
Verse 2:
Faithful love that I will always keep first
My heart will never be hurt
Family that walks through fire for me
So I don’t get burnt
Fans and friends chime in
To a love that’s true blue
I dedicate myself to you
I have nothing to say about this verse.  This is all Janet, and I said my peace in the first verse.  Family comes first after God.  I do have this to say, it is the reason why I have been absent from blogging.  With my parents’ health, it was important to me to tend to their needs.  (See Lesson 1:  Being a Dutiful Daughter) Next, it was important for me to take care of myself.  If I am not at my best, how can I take care of them?  I am not going to lie to say I have had a couple of financial issues through the year, and my parents have helped me with that. 2018 will be better, but I cannot say for my parents and their health.  Mom almost had a scare before Thanksgiving, but it is under control.  I pray nothing comes up while I am gone for a week with neither parent.
Cause our love is defined
And it’s unbreakable
Cause our love is defined
And it’s unbreakable
This is a repeat to let you know that God’s love is defined, and it is unbreakable

(I found a friend)
(I found a friend)
It’s been a while
(I found a friend)
Lots to talk about
(I found a friend)
I’m glad you’re still here
(I dedicate myself to you)
I hope you enjoy
I was going to take out the words in the parentheses, but it takes away from the song itself, so I left it in because I have found a friend.  I may not know you, but I do consider you a friend, a reader, a fan, a viewer, whatever you want to be to me. 
So, I have come full-circle, back to the beginning of this post, “Hello, it’s been a while.  Lots to talk about.  Glad you are still here.  I hope you enjoy.”  2018 is going to be one of my best years, and I want to take you along with me.  I am leaving 2017 behind, having learned from it, and having dealt with all the stuff that came with it, both the good and the bad.   My life is far from perfect.  This is your takeaway for the evening and the year that was 2017.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Blogmas day 5: Behind already, Yikes!

Welcome to Blogmas day 5, and no formal intros, except the one with me making the announcement that I am doing one.   How silly of me?
Let’s see….
First off, there is the preparation of getting ready for Blogmas and Vlogmas (Heh, did I mentioned I was doing that too?)  I did not realize that there is so much prep work going into these things.  There is the mental prep and the emotional prep.  You must be ready to think on your feet at all times.  Heh, no problem.  OK, did I also mention that I have my normal Christmas, plus a cruise to prepare for?  Yep, that’s me in a nutshell, always ready to think at the last minute on how I am doing something.  You would think that in the nine years of blogging I would be prepared mentally, and really I am, but it is the organizational part that worries me.  Don’t worry, I will do fine.  I am getting used to this all over again.  I would not be doing this if I thought I could not handle it. So that is the end of that subject.  On to the next thing smoking.
Shopping for decorations
This is a tip for those of you who, say, misplace your decorations from one year to the next, or have very little to would with:  Dollar Tree and 50% off sales.  
50% off sales have been going on (at least in the United States) for a couple of weeks, and you have to act fast.   I was late this year because I was a late bloomer (meaning I am now discovering this myself).  I went to Hobby Lobby Saturday looking for the sales.  It also helps that I was out of money as well. The shelves were almost empty when I got there.  I am looking for a color scheme of red and silver, with maybe a touch of blue here and there.  I am abandoning my traditional colors of burgundy and gold, with a touch of mauve or rose pink, whichever color name you choose.  It is only for this year (maybe). My plan is to look at Michaels this week. 
Unless you plan on keeping your decorations year after year, including the same color scheme. Dollar Tree is your friend.  In fact, this store is your BFF.  I have found more items that are as good, if not, a little better than name brands.   Now, a word of caution:  There are some items, like electronics, I do leave to the bigger brands like Target and Walmart, but since I am a crafter, I will upcycle the item.  That is another tip:  Upcycle when you can. I plan on posting this as one of my Vlogmas Videos, hopefully, this week. 
When you upcycle a less than perfect product, there are some tools and supplies you will need:
·         Adhesive
o   Wet Glue
o   Tape runner
o   Painter’s tape (blue- I use 3M)
o   Hot Glue Gun and Glue Sticks
o   Double-sided tape (I use Scor-Tape, although there is a cheaper tape at Tuesday Mornings
o   Scotch Tape
·         Stapling gun (one for light projects and one for heavier projects like wood)
o   Staples
·         Paint
o   Gesso
o   White paint
o   Black paint
o   Mediums
§  Gel-to dilute the paint, available in Gloss, Semi-Gloss, and Matte.  You can also use Gel mediums to adhere things to the paper or other materials
§  Texture-to modify the texture of the paint.  Use as Modeling paste, which can be sanded or painted on. Use also with pastels,
§  Flow increase- it allows the paints to flow better on the canvas or wood
§  Slow drying- it allows you to blend colors.  The reason is acrylic paint dries fast, allowing you more time to blend your colors.
·         Paper-I will not go into the different types, but this is something you will need on hand.
·         Fabric-same advice.
·         Sewing machine.  Some people like to upcycle clothing
·         Scissors
·         Markers and pens
These are the basics.  I will have more in a future post or Vlog.
More Decorations…..
I mentioned that I am on a last-minute hunt for decorations.  I went with my folks to look at the different neighborhoods in the city at lights.  We have done it each year when I was a child, and for some reason, I want to start that tradition with my niece and nephews.  Tonight, was not a good night to look, everyone does not have their lights up.  We will try again later.
My plan is to keep the Blogmas blog post short and sweet.  I also will not put a takeaway element at the end of Blogmas posts unless, I decide to combine the two.
Have a good evening.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Sitting at a Sushi Restaurant…. Where to work

Photo by P, Lynne Designs

It is Blogmas, Day 3, and I am currently sitting in a sushi restaurant working, enjoying a bowl of Miso soup, and the waiter brought in my “any 3 rolls” combo.  Looks delicious. I ordered the spicy scallop crunch roll, a squid tempura roll, and an eel avocado roll.  For sushi haters, it is quite adventurous, and very delicious.  Ok, I have said delicious too many times already. Let me move on.
While I was waiting, I decided that I wanted to write a blog piece (this one), and before I could finish one sentence, the waiter came out with the meal.  I could have finished this post, but the food was so delicious (there’s that word again) until I wanted to finish every bit of that sushi and soup.
The point to this post is not to boast about my meal (as good as it was), but to mention about an important step in the life of a writer, you do not have to work at home.  This is what separates my handmade business from my writing business, and better still separates my writing business from my direct selling business.  Let me explain
In my handmade business, P. Lynne Designs-Handmade, I need my tools with me.  These tools are big, bulky, and require many trips from the car and back.  It is perfect for craft shows when I go. I can sit there, do my work, and attend to customers at the same time.  I cannot take the tools to a coffee shop or a library.  Too noisy and I would get kicked out.  Same thing with my direct selling company, Longaberger, where I am an independent home consultant, except the noise level is a little quieter, but again, it does not make a good idea situation.
With P. Lynne Designs-writing, all I need is a pen, a notebook, and/or my tablet (I have not owned a laptop in years), go upstairs, away from the cat, who likes my desktop keyboard, cuddle up in my bed, and compose. I can go to a restaurant like Fugu Sushi, get a table in the corner during lunch, and pen my thoughts.  I have even gone to the bathroom to write.  Try putting a 12-pound electronic die cutter next to you in the bathtub, I would not be sitting here typing.  But then again, I have not attempted that feat with the Ipad either.
I have a Microsoft subscription that accommodates all 3 of my devices (Phone, Ipad, and desktop), so When I am saving my posts, I am saving it to my OneDrive cloud, and then I can retrieve the post from my desktop.  Once that is done and edited, then I can upload it to my blog.

So, how do you write?

I am not talking about your writing style.  I want to know where do you like to write?  Is it on the shores of Lake George on a moon-lit night (stole that line from an episode from Star Trek Voyager, when Captain Katherine Janeway tells her commanding officer, Chakotay where she would like to take her leisure vacation after she cheated death)? How about in the tub?  In bed?  Sitting down while sipping coffee on a rainy day (where I am right now in front of the desktop screen with a kitten behind me-I left the restaurant) or a sushi restaurant?  No one will call the writing police on you and no one will know unless you tell them.  The important thing is:

A.   You are comfortable.  My most comfortable spot is in my bed, feet stretched out day or night.  I know sometimes that is not feasible nor does it make the most ideal situation, but it is my space, and I have my pillow and blanket around me (no food or drink, I am not starting that habit). When I am downstairs on the main floor (hence, the reason for the no food or drink rule for me), I am at my desktop, coffee in hand, lunch or dinner, and these days, a kitten to keep me warm (not my cat, Gizmo is my nephew’s girlfriend’s cat, but she has claimed me).  I like to sit forward, and she plops herself between my back and the back of the chair.  I also sit on a pillow for comfort, and she thinks the same way.  Why can’t Gizmo sleep on the floor like my nephew’s dog, Strype, A mini Huskey mix?
Again, it does not matter where you are as long as you are comfortable
B.    Have plenty to work with.    Sometimes, if you are like me, you have this great topic that you think will blow to roof off the Interwebs, and you think that there is plenty of material to support it.  You start researching it, and nothing comes up.  It is the same old stuff that a friend of yours wrote about months ago, and nothing new has been written about your “mind-blowing” topic.  Although I have covered research in a prior post, as well as, adding little sprinkles about it here and there, it is important that you do have plenty of support to cover it, or you are maybe writing something that no one has not written about in the last 6 months. 
C.    Connection.  I am not only talking about connecting with your readers. I am talking about what is your Wifi connection in the establishment or environment you are in.  Not all eating places, hotels, cruise ships, or even places of worship have the wifi capabilities of a mega wifi, and some even charge for that connection.  For instance. Next month is my cruise.  I already know that I will not be able to call family when not docked at a port of call, but that also means that my data rates will become very high too.  My phone and my tablet need to be in “Airplane” mode at all times, except when we embark and disembark at the U.S. port.  While at sea, I could get International charges, which is a US citizen and living in the states, is something that my family plan may not cover.  So, that means, no writing or vlogging, then uploading.  I can, but it must be saved to the tablet or phone.  Once I get back, I have one night at a hotel before flying home, then I can remotely upload to my computer at home, safely under US authority.  So, your connection may not be that extreme, and mine usually isn’t, but you may not want to pay $5 an hour to read an ebook on your tablet or phone, or even write a post, at a hotel, but what you can do is download it at home, and read it offline when you get there.  You can also check to see if there is a free connection where you are at.  Most places have that in place as well, but, you may be limited to what you use it for.
D.   Finally, make sure you are not in violation of the free stuff.  Yes, it is wonderful that technology is this vast thing, where you can hook up with a phone, tablet, or laptop, and cruise the internet (the legal name to what I call, the “interwebs”).  While in places like The United States and other countries in the western world have that capability, not everyone has it, and even here in the states, there are limitations to free access.  There is no free access to cruise ships to certain websites and social media unless you pay for a package. Even when free, there are certain restrictions, like no porn sites and no YouTube videos.  If you are caught, you may be banned for life.  Read all rules to your temporary package of internet access (even if you plan to pay for it).  Once you sign on the dotted line (or click “accept”, you are bonded until you leave the area.
I will have a trip report on what I could do with my family plan and Carnival Cruise line, as well as Delta Airlines.  Anything I do would be under my normal conditions and nothing out of the ordinary.   In the meantime, your takeaway is to be flexible with your writing conditions, even when away.  The best thing about having portable devices is they are portable.  Be careful with everything, including where you lay your device.   That is the last tip.  People are watching, and all they need is for you to misstep and you have a missing device, especially in a foreign country.  Be mindful of your surroundings.  I look up every 10 to 20 minutes, sometimes sooner than that, and sometimes I do not engage in my device at all.  Whatever you do, be safe, and know that you write anywhere.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Attention All Trolls (Yes, that means Me too)

Attention:  If you say mean comments about someone’s post, comment, video, etc…. you are a troll.  I am not talking about those cute little things from the latest movie by the same name, those cute little dolls people were seen carrying in the 1970’s, or those trolls from Frozen, I am talking about those people who feel uncomfortable enough that they say mean nasty things about something that another person post in pictures, video, and in print on the internet.
Before I address that, note I said in the title, me too.  Yes, guilty as charged.  Why did I confess?  Because in the Bible, there is a bible passage (a group of scriptures) that points out that you cannot point out the actions of your brother without pointing out your own faults. (started to use the Old English word, and MS. Word would not let me), so I am not exactly the “Snow White” of comments.  In the beginning, especially, I have been known to have a tart in my comments about another post or video. 
Now, I am not against our country’s 1st amendment rights of free speech.  In fact, sometimes I think we, as Americans take it too far.   Yes, while we do have the right to say what we want to say, we really do not.  I want to ask you (especially if you constantly the one doing the trolling):
·         When is it right to call another race of people names like Pocahontas (for Native Americans) -heard that was said by our lovely POTUS (President of The United States) about another senator in front of a group of Native American Veterans, or calling each other in the same race N****.  If you do that, not only are you hurting that race, but you also do not have any respect for yourself. 
·         Tell a Youtubber that they are fake because they advertise on their channel.  (Also known as having sponsorship).  Last night, I was reading comments on Cullen and Katie’s channel because I thought that the video, which was a sponsored video for Google Home, was cute.  They rarely do sponsor videos, but I had to be nosey, and peek at what others said about the video.  Most people thought that the video was cute, especially Gaines and Brookes (their children ages 3 and 1), but there were one or two who thought that Cullen and Katie were being sellouts, being fake, and other nasty little comments. Folks, I will address the real life as a Youtubber in another post, but this is their job.  Any job, from being an actor, an ordained minister, construction worker, a blogger, mortician, or a vlogger has it's not so glamorous moment.  If you want to make money in this business (blogging and vlogging), you need sponsorship.  Not only that, Youtube has forced advertising on our channels, mine included.  Next, these sponsors will require product placement in videos, which is what television shows do.  You need lots of viewership to see any type of profit, and right now, I have 125 regular subscribers on my Youtube channel, and 556 pageviews from the month of October without posting a single new post on this blog, My Ambience Life.  I would love to see the numbers that Cullen and Katie get on their channel.  They have consistency and cuteness on their side, and I vlog sporadically, and I took off for 3 months on this blog.  
·         When you basically point out how ugly, stupid, or a being an idiot that the person was for posting in the first place.  You do not like the content, but you decided to point out the person instead.  That is being plain childish in the first place.
Folks, I have one word and one phrase for you…. Delete, and don’t watch (read).  You do not like the content, move on. This should be that simple.  This goes for anything that shows up on Facebook and Twitter feed (I have yet to see that much control on Pinterest, Instagram, and SnapChat), but you are in control of your feeds.  I do it all the time.  If a friend posts something on Facebook or Twitter that I do not like.  I ignore it or delete it.  Facebook even has the option for you to receive fewer posts from that person or to delete that one post.  Sometimes, I delete it because I do not like the language or the content is not my taste.  You must remember that this is what that person is thinking at the time.
I wish that the blogger or vlogger would give some sort of announcement when their video is sponsored.  Some like Cullen and Katie or GabeBabeTV will do that, but a lot will not.  For the ones that do not, I do not watch as much.  I am like you, If I want to watch a commercial, I have my lovely television set to keep me warm, but I must bare through it.  This happened when Google bought both Blogger and YouTube. Unfortunately, the interwebs within itself have become one great, big commercial.  This world has become one, big commercial.   
Anyway, all I am saying is (and I am probably talking to the air at this point), that no one likes nastiness and when you spend a better part of your day trying to given information that may help someone, even if it to entertain a person for 10-15 minutes a day, like I do, the last thing a person needs is someone to comment on a person’s hair, weight, their children, or their decision on what they did or not do new on their channel.  For the most part, I personally ignore the comments that are nasty, but I hate it when it presents itself on other people’s channels, news feeds, and blogs.  It makes me wonder why a person would subscribe to a channel in the first place.  I understand that we as bloggers and vloggers ask for subscribers and “likes”, but it is our job.  Yes, I could be doing a 9-5 job, and I do have other jobs besides this, such as graphic designing for others, but I love the freedom that a supervisor at a company could never give me.  I have done it for over 15 years, and it is tough when you must request to get off and get frowned on when you miss work due to an illness. 
Don’t get me wrong, I loved every single one of my jobs, including the temporary ones.  There were the jobs that I hated, and there were jobs that I loved everything about the job, except a couple of tasks that were part of the job itself.  I will have to tell you about the worst job I ever had and why I hated the job.
Well, I am rambling now. 
So, your takeaway for today is real simple.
Please do not be a troll.  I and other bloggers and vloggers understand your opinions, and we welcome them all, but some comments spell out hatred.  There is a saying that I first heard on the movie, Bambi.  This is the part when Thumper was commenting on how small Bambi’s legs were and if he was going to be able to stand on them at all.  The saying goes; “If you cannot say something nice (Thumper pauses), don’t say it at all.”  It is a good lesson and one of many on how to treat someone, especially on the internet.  Most times and before I say something about an article, post, picture, or video, I try to put myself in that person’s shoes.  By that time, the mean thought is out of my head. I also check comments before I place mine because what I want to say may have already has been said.  No use telling that person the same thing twice.

Well, I have covered trolls twice this year.  I am done.  If no one gets it by now, then remember, it is a matter of respect for one’s art, even in writing.  What a person does on their videos, newsfeeds, pages, and blogs is their business.  If a person is wrong, I am sure there are plenty of people to get them banned from Facebook, Twitter, even Pinterest, and Youtube.  No use writing a nasty comment to stoke the ego.  Have a good evening.

Monday, November 27, 2017

A different kind of blogging

Hello, I am back.  I have been away since late August/early September, and I decided to take a break.  I had to re-evaluate a few things.

History of blogging
In case you may or may not know, I have been blogging non-stop in some form or another since 2009.  I started out with a blog, called MDN Creates, had to split it into 2 blogs.  Then along the way, those two became 4, which finally became 5.  I although I enjoy writing, I had to ask myself if I was doing too much writing.  After all, by the end of 2015, I had a total of 8 blogs.  (2 on WordPress, 5 on Blogger, and a seldom written blog on Tumblr).  On top of that, I was trying to work at a craft store, which I quit for my handmade business in 2010.  The reason why I quit the job was my hours were severely cut down to 4 hours a week by the new manager.  I was used to pulling 35-40 hours, and suddenly, the new manager decided that she really did not need me, but strung me along.  Another reason for me quitting was the new employee policy was I could not have a business.  I was not even allowed to do any direct selling for not only any company that sold scrapbook supplies (which was the policy since I was first employed there but other companies, such as Longaberger, who had no interest in crafting at all. Anyway. Enough with that.
I decided to focus in on the handmade business, direct selling, and writing, as well as anything that was related to these areas.  By the time June 2017 rolled around, I had cut all but three, and I was keeping them up just in case something from these two subjects popped into my head.  I took a much-needed break in July because I was doing some traveling to family events and I wanted to really enjoy myself, and what the summer would bring me.  I had planned on recapping around Mid-August, and I started packing for my cruise. (The last post was actually August 14, 2017) I decided at that time that I would recap everything from the summer and my cruise on September 16th.
No cruise for me.
I was devastated when I heard the news that my flight was canceled on September 7, 2017.  Hurricane Irma and her children, Jose and Katia had landed in Florida, Puerto Rico, Grand Turks and Caicos, Dominican Republic, and U.S Virgin Islands, the very places where I was to cruise from and to.  While I was glad that the Carnival Conquest was not caught up in that mess (she sailed 4 days later to only Cozumel for what would have been day 4 of this 7-day cruise), I am glad that I was not stuck on the ship waiting to disembark like guests on 3 other Carnival cruise ships (Carnival Glory, Valor, and one other ship).  It took them like a week to get off those ships.    I am sad for the people who live on those islands. There are U.S citizens who had to fly from their home in Puerto Rico to the U.S. Mainland to be evacuated.  Some may never return to their homes.
On second thought, re-schedule that puppy!
However, I was happy to learn that we (my group and I) could re-schedule for another cruise.  So, next month, I am going to Cozumel, Montego Bay, Jamaica, and one other island, Belize I think.  I will not tell you of the exact date for privacy.  So, my air has been paid for, my cruise is paid for (I need to check in online), and my one night in New Orleans after the cruise is reserved. 
Back to the reason behind this post. 
As I have said at the beginning of this post, it has been a good 3-4 months since I posted anything.  No more excuses for too many things happening in my life (2014), I had an accident (2015) or I have been sick (2016).  This time I was burned out of subjects and re-evaluation.  I am still working on my “Lessons learned or learning” series.  I am finding out that as I learn these lessons, is it a lesson that I would have learned on my own, or would I have learned them by reading it from someone’s experiences?  For instance, when I wrote, Lesson 2: How to be a Dutiful Daughter, the lesson was to learn how to take care of my aging parents.  I now question myself on the premise of, “Should I already know this or is it something that naturally comes out when we get to that point in our lives?”   I helped daddy take care of mommy when she had surgery one year.  I did the washing and folding of clothes, we shared in cooking and cleaning.  She was younger then and I was a teen.  Fast forward to 2014.  She had another surgery, though minor, she still needed time to rest.  Of course, I was well out of the house by then, as well as my nephew, who was 18, but me and my dad did what we could to help mom heal.  This year it was a different ballgame.  This was serious than the other two times, and at times I seriously thought that I was going to lose her.  She stayed in a rehab facility for last part of January, came home and finished her recovery there. 
 What also kept me from writing a blog post in the last 3-4 months was dad’s time in the hospital for some issues.  Because doctors advised mom that she could not stay by herself if dad is cone for any length of time, I had to stay at the house.  Since that time and that post, I wonder what new lessons I would learn now?  In 2018?  Or even beyond that point.  I have concluded that as long as I am alive, I am constantly learning something, rather it is about myself, someone else, or a new skill. Besides that, my goal should not be what have I learned that was new, but what do I have to teach to someone who is younger (or older) than me? 
What I have also learned in that lesson on being a Dutiful Daughter, is something that was taught to me from the moment that I opened my eyes for the first time.  It is the word, Obey.  I know that some people have problems with the word, obey, but let me throw in another word after it, and that word is trust.  I will have a full post on this subject, but I have learned that while I had to obey my parents, any other authoritative figure, such as teachers and first responders, and God, I have to trust them as well.  This is why all these women and children who are now adults are coming out, telling the world that they had to obey these accused men, and they had to trust them with their careers.  Many of these men took the opportunity to say, “If you do or meet me at XX place, I can make your career soar”.  When the act is finished, and these men had their little sexual fantasy, they probably told these na├»ve beginners, “if you tell, no one will believe you”. or “You will wish you never heard of Hollywood because I will ruin you”, The next thing is “obey” and “trust” or thrown out the window and that person is broken and to the point where they do not trust anyone.
No take away this time only explanation.  
I will have some holiday stuff.  I am trying something new.  I do have a video channel on YouTube that I am trying to build viewership on.  In conjunction with my blogs, My Ambiance Life, and P. Lynne Designs, I am going to attempt to do my first, Vlogmas 2017.  I say attempt because I never have done one before.  I heard that you should vlog for 30 days, starting anytime after Thanksgiving.  Since I am preparing to spend time with the parents, family, and friends, as well as, putting new things in my Etsy shop, preparing for things at my church (I need permission to video during those times), and preparing for this cruise, this is a hard task that I am willing to do.  I want to do this.

So, consider this my Day 1 of Blogmas 2017.  I will try to keep up and I may not get to it every day.  See you on day 2.

The start of Vlogmas 2017

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Truth about Lead Programs

This morning, I was thinking about the many jobs I had in the past.  As I was remembering each position at these companies, one position, rather two struck me and made me wonder why I did ever decide to accept these positions.
Photo by P.Lynne Designs
 As you see by the title, one of the positions was a sales rep for a lead company, and if you never had a chance (and I hope you never do) work for one, it is an interesting experience, to say the least.  
To protect the innocent employees of the company, I will call my former employer, New Leads for Me.  Like I said, New Leads for Me works pretty much like that other company, Welcome Wagon, in which businesses get leads based on new residents and homeowners.  These are not people who move into an apartment complex, but people who have bought a home.  Companies like New Leads and Welcome Wagon, bank on the idea that new residents do not know the area, and they will need some type of service (carpet cleaning, hair salon, etc.…) The businesses, introduce themselves to these new residents before they start calling around looking for services.  
So, if you have recently moved, and you get a welcome to the neighborhood package of some sort, chances are that the business card you are holding used a company like “New Leads for Me”, and you may get a phone call about their services.

My day to day work schedule….

This was my last job before working for a Temporary Worker company, then Archiver’s, a Memory Store (which the online store shut down in March 2017), but in my head, I can still hear the motivator (I guess that what he called himself) as he bellows out the words, “GOOD MORNING, NEW LEADS”.   (at which I and the other employees are to clap and cheer that we were happy to be here).  This guy makes the announcements, sets a goal for the newbies, and tells everyone to have a great selling day.
Next, if you are a being trained, you go to your training room, everyone else goes to their cubbies. You put on your headset and start calling.  There is a regular customer service area, as well as a quality assurance area.  Customer service is for people who are having problems with their accounts, while Quality Assurance made sure everyone from the two departments was in compliance with the company and national government policies.  As you can tell by now, I was on the sales floor.  I do not want to bore you with the other day to day operations, except to say, when you are cold calling a company, and you get a sale, they celebrate it, and you get your commission in your next two-week check.
I hated it, and I was plotting to get away from New Leads, but they beat me to it.  I got home one day, after a long day of work, received a phone call from my supervisor, Stephanie, and she thanked me for being part of the team.  After she told me what was going on with my employment, I let her have it, with all the anger I had in me about this company, and what I hated about the position I was about to lose anyway.  Forget about the good reference I should get from her.  This is how you do not get your next position with a new company.  I do not recommend it.
I also do not recommend working for this type of company.  This leads to my title, but first, you may be wondering why I am talking about it now in 2017, instead of 2002 when I was let go?  First, blogging was not really a thing back then. Second, writing was not my thing back in 2002.  I was a happy person looking for her next 9-5 job.  Last, I was finishing my marketing degree at Franklin University, which I graduated from in 2003.

What are lead programs are to the customer?

I explained briefly what is a lead program.  My example is this: You are a new company looking for customers.  I will use my businesses, P. Lynne Designs, and Longaberger as an example. (Because I have shortcuts in MS. Word to type the company names faster and I will not get complaints if I use another company, LOL)
I may not need a lead program like New Leads for neither company.  Longaberger has a lead program for consultants if they need new customers, and since New Leads only provide leads from new residents and P. Lynne Designs is looking for brides (although I will accept anyone), it may not be the service for me.  Let just say for now that I need them.
(c) 2017 P.Lynne Designs
First, I am on their calling list.  There is a website for people to use.  There is an 800 number for companies to call, and you cannot apply on the website.  By the way, they have moved from their former location and is now called New Leads Communications, but they pride themselves of cold calling your company. I will concentrate on the cold calling aspect of the sales floor.
They will ask for the owner or CEO of the company, and the rep introduces themselves and who they represent.  At this point, I can turn them down, but I need leads (customers), so I continue with the call.  The rep asks what does my company do, and I explain that Longaberger sells home goods of baskets and pottery to people who like to organize and entertain, and P. Lynne Designs sells stationery goods like invitations, note cards, scrapbooks, and freelance writing.  At this point, the rep (who is now Mandy), asks what areas of the country would I like to concentrate on to get my new customers.  I would tell her something in the Columbus, Ohio 43215 area.  This is downtown, and I can attract residents as well as other business who may be looking to collaborate with me and bring customers over to my businesses, and I would do the same for them.
Mandy goes into the database of new residents and pull several names and gives me a quote.  At the time when I was a customer (which was for 6 months), I was quoted a price of $7.50 per month, which is not bad if you have the budget for it, but some lead name list can grow to as much as $200 or more.  This is the first thing you need to watch for because it can add up quickly, especially if you are starting out in a business of any kind. 
What can you do with leads?

Some ideas for leads:

·         New campaigns
·         Mailing list
·         Offer coupons and other discounts for a first order
·         Recruiting for a new team* (*Longaberger and other Direct Selling companies), although it is not recommended that you use the leads list for that purpose by any reparable direct selling company, your products should speak for themselves at your parties and through your hostess and your presentations.
·         Wedding, baby, and new home registries.
·         When a customer only wants one type of product in your line.  This is mostly for businesses who have collections.  The customer does not have to be on your main list, but a more specialized list.  For instance, I have a customer on my Longaberger mailing list who only buys the baskets.  She does not want to know about the pottery or even anything from my other business.  She loves the Horizon of Hope Collection specifically.  So, when a new piece comes up, I let her know about it.

Why am I against lead companies?

I am not totally against lead companies.  They can be quite helpful if you are willing to pay a one-time fee for it.  Most companies like New Leads, however, do not want a one-time commitment.  I am letting you know now, but there is a way to do this without paying the monthly fees.   It is called “try it before you commit to it”.  This is not getting out of paying for the list.  I do not condone that move at all.  You pay for the one list, but before your next list comes, and it will say it on the invoice when the next shipment of names is coming, at least it should, you cancel the account.  You need to do a little research, like reading the website first.  There may be some hidden costs behind getting your first list.  You may have to commit to the first 4 lists, for example, before canceling the contract.  If you are not willing to pay those costs, do not call, and do not buy when prompt. I am letting you know up front that this may happen.  These companies already know what might happen, and they may talk you out of canceling. Be firm and give the reason, that it is not working out for you.

There is a total out for lead companies….

Put a contact list on your website or blog if you have one.   It is as simple as “If you find my information helpful, and you would like to know more, feel free to sign-up for my mailing list.  I will send you a newsletter and other goodies to your inbox”.

Tip-feel free to use that wording too. 

I use MailChimp for this, but there are many services out there for you to collect names. You can also use MS. Excel or MS. Access for this task as well.  Keep in mind of the last two, unless you are a programmer, they will not automatically send out the materials, however, you can still start out in these programs (and others like them), and when you are able to include an online program like MailChimp in your budget, you can download your current mailing list into MailChimp without having to reenter every name in manually. 

Tip:  When I set up my mailing list for the first time, I used the wording, “I dislike spam as much as you do.  I will not send your name to any third-party companies.”  This assures the new customer that you will not be sending your mailing lists to anyone, and their name and information are secure in your database.

What does that mean for writers….
Many of the tips work perfectly for you, especially if you have a freelance business, and write and publish books.  It works for bloggers as well, especially if you want repeat customers.

Takeaway for you:  I am not totally against these companies, but you do have to watch them.  Many of these companies can and have been scam companies whose sole purpose is to collect and sell information.  Read all information on any company especially if that company is exclusively online.  Check consumer reports, reviews, everything before committing to a lead company.  Create your own mailing lists.  If you do not have the time, hire someone to do it for you (a senior, teen, or virtual assistant).  They can also maintain it for you as well. This post is for anyone who reads it, and I am no expert on the subject.  I am a person who had a couple of experiences with these companies, both as an employee and a customer.  If you must hire a lead company (and that is what you are doing when you receive leads each month), take it slow and find a way out if it is not working out for you.  

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Technical Thursday: It Is not that type of Technical Thursday

One day, I will have another lifestyle blog so I can relieve this one.  What is the hold-up
?  Glad you asked, let see:
·         Panicky sister with no car, again
·         Aging parents
·         Creation of products
·         My health
·         Organizing my home to live in and eventually move
You name it.  No really, I am ok with all this busyness. It keeps me on my toes and keeps my writing sharp.  After all, you cannot write if you do not have something to write about, right?
Some may ask, why don’t I write at night?  Well, it is simple as during the day, I have the above mentioned, plus, my body is the type of body that when the sun goes down, so does my brain.  I think better during the day, and I am finally in the process of switching my schedule to designing at night. 
I am a handmade, content, and direct selling person.  What does that mean, you may ask?
I have mentioned this several times, but the handmade portion is graphic design, cards, stationery products (note cards, invites, RSVP products), and scrapbooks and journals.  This is what P. Lynne Designs started out as.  It was the beginning of a beautiful and not so beautiful relationship.
The content portion is these blogs and freelance writing.  I fell into this portion of my career.  This is how you get to find out about my passions, my hang-ups, my heart aches, and my inspirations.  This is where you find out how I feel about Disney, Abby Lee Miller, and Cricut die cutting machines for starters. This is where you find out about latest hang-ups I have about the treatment of others for ALL races.  This is where I have figured out that I was doing too much in this area and had to cut it out (no more hang-ups about these things, only happy outcomes).
Even turtles know when they are stuck.
(c) 2017 P.Lynne Designs
Direct selling, which is separate from the other two is all about Longaberger and its products.  This is where I first got started thinking about selling anything.  Sure, I sold the typical Girl Scout cookies, magazines, and other products for high school. Who hasn’t, but Longaberger was the first as an adult.  I was not crazy about the jobs I had in the past and that’s ok.  I was still working REGULAR 9-5 at the time I started.  I will be completely leaving Longaberger by June 2019 with a backup “B” plan. When you get your feet wet of selling your own products, the rest seem to slowly go away, and that’s happening to me.  I still love the products, but I feel I can do more in the entrepreneur area.
So, what is the “Technical Thursday” about anyway?  This is something that I have been working on all summer.  Today is all about (sort of your takeaway for today):
1.      Find your why.  It may take the whole season (like summer) to find out why you do what you do.  You may have to do this several times in your life.  That is ok, everyone is always transitioning into someone else.  You are different from you were when you were 2, 10, 40, 60, or even as a senior.  It is good to re-evaluate yourself. You have different likes throughout your life.  Nothing stays the same.
2.      Once you find it, ask yourself, “do you want to stay in that space?”  Some people get content when there is something that is familiar to them.  It is like an old comfy sweater.  It may have holes in it, it may not fit anymore, but they love it the same way.  I have a pair of pajama bottoms like that.  Sometimes you must say to yourself, “do I want more?”, and toss them away.  You will miss the old ways at first, but as you get comfortable with a new way of doing things, you may enjoy it. If not, change it.
3.      Give it a test drive.  Try the new way for a few weeks, or give yourself a goal of trying it for 6 months to a year. If you find out that you are dissatisfied with it, tweak it, or try a new way.
I am learning how to:
·         Saying “no”.  It is not that I will not do anything for anyone, and it depends on what it is.  I am saying “no” to people’s pity parties, whining, accusations of things I did not agree to do in the first place, and things like that. 
·         Saying “Yes”. I will do things that benefit my business, but it will also benefit that person I am saying yes to.  I had two friends who needed invites for their parties this past month. I did them because it benefits them, and I get to dust off Photoshop and have something for my portfolio. (They did pay me, by the way). I will comfort someone who needs it. I will give encouragement and will help a friend (or stranger) in need.
·         Not be a pity party myself.  I realize that I am a single person with no kids (still working on both), and my time for adopting someone is winding down (I think the maximum age for adopting children in the state of Ohio is 54 or 55).  I also realize that building things around the house has never been my strength (even though I have managed to put up a shelf or two around here).  I am always ready to whine about something, but now I think about “does it benefit for anyone to hear about it?” If it does, fine, they may have a solution for me, I need to ask nicely and use my “big girl voice”.  If not, shut up, and figure it out myself.  Nothing gets solve on a whine anyway.  (Not even with the drinkable stuff, LoL).
·         To constantly move.  It is easy to sit at the computer and do nothing (read social media, play games).  I have things to do and people to see.  Yes, when I am in pain, it is easy to do, but if I do not move around, it will be worst, plus I have bills to pay and money to save.

So that is it for now.  Technical Thursday is all about you and what you can bring to your world and to others.  I decided not to preach to you today, but have a sensible post that explains a few things to you, and how you can make things a little better for you and yours.  (Oh, I am going to be dinged so bad by Grammarly and Word on that last sentence, but I am leaving it in).  I will pick back up to my usual writing starting in the middle of September. I am still in vacation writing mode. 

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Summer Saturday: Poetry

Happy Saturday Morning, everyone!
One of the African Dancers performing at my family
Reunion banquet last Saturday
(c) 2017 P.Lynne Designs
I know it is late, I have not posted in a while (August post coming soon, I promise).  I am not excusing the lack of posts, except it is summer.  OK, so it has been a couple of weeks since I posted anything, but again, it is summer. 
I have been to my family reunion last weekend, and if you follow me on Instagram (  same username as my Twitter account), I have posted a couple of pictures there.  Me and my family went back to Alabama, where both of my parents are from (remember, I am a Northern Baby, born here in Columbus).  My father had surgery but insisted on going. (Do you have men in your family like this?  All I can say is Uggh!!) My brother drove there and back.  My nephew, is at the typical age of 6, going on 7 at the end of the month (who actually is 17-year-old in a child’s body, LOL), was good.  Never complained, except a couple of times was a real trooper, being the only kid in the van.  We rented the van, a Chrysler Suburban, rides like a dream, and I had the pleasure of having the whole third row to myself.  My only wish was that I was put on the driver’s list of people driving (having only driven an SUV once). 
We stayed with my aunt in Madison, AL, 2 nights, the hotel the rest of the nights.  I am not going to tell you all of my adventures of last weekend.  Next stop…The Islands.
Why am I posting?  A Poem
This is a short post tonight.  I was trying to find something to write about.  Tip:  sometimes you have to let inspiration take control. 
I do not write poetry.  I probably can if I let inspiration take control of the situation and I am not patient on some things.  So tonight, I was reading a Facebook post, and a friend of mine found this poem about being a black woman.  I read most of it, and I thought, “where has this poem been all my life?”
It talks about what’s wrong with being a black woman.   I have often thought why I have to make an excuse for being born a black woman.  We are often the low person on the totem pole for benefits, pay, and other things.  People always think that when I am upset, I am going to beat a person up.  I am upset, how do you think I am going to react to something that was done against me?  I had an incident that blew up in someone’s face. 
I was getting off from work in December 2006.  It was the holiday season, and I am tired from working (my hours were from 3 PM-8 PM).  I was working at Archiver’s which was a scrapbooking/crafting store.  I walked to my car, and at the same time, two ladies were walking towards their car.  I had a tote bag with me and had put it on the passenger side of my car.   The driver of the other car looked at me and screamed, “you parked too close and you better not hit my car with that door”, or something to that effect.  I told her that I did not hit her car, and I was rushing to get to the driver’s side of my car.  She thought that I was rushing to hit her.  I was not paying attention to her at all.  She had threatened to call security on me.  Her friend tried to calm her down.  I was only trying to get away from her.  Now, I had a hard day, and I had parked the car in that spot 3 hours before I went into work, so I was in the mall area from 12 NN.  I had not moved my car, and I do remember that her car was not parked there before. So, in essence, she was in the wrong, but since she saw I was African American, she thought that maybe she would provoke me, to make a scene, which did not work in her favor.  Maybe she too had a bad day, not getting what she wanted from the stores she shopped at?  Who knows, all I know is I wanted to get home, decompress, and get ready for the night.  I found myself 5 minutes later, sitting on the side of the freeway, crying because this woman decided to pick on me and my spirit.  A freeway officer pulled up behind me and asked me if I was OK.  I told her “no”, and explained to her what happened in the parking garage.  She talked to me for a minute, and that was the best 2-minute conversation I had with a police officer.  She told me to take my time to compose myself before going back on the highway.  I stopped by my parent’s house before going home.   After leaving my parent’s house, I went home, took a hot bath, and forgot about the day.
I should never have to explain myself to anyone who is in the wrong.  I know that now and should never have said anything to that woman who was leaving with her friend.  I thank God that I kept my temper in check and security never came to her supposed rescue.
The Poem is called “What If I’m a Black Woman”.  It was written originally around 1996 and the author is unknown, but I imagine that is was a black woman who wrote it.  Enjoy reading it, and I will talk to you later.

What If I Am a Black Woman?

Is it a disease? Well, if it is, I sure hope its catching
Because they need to pour it into a bottle,
label it, and sprinkle it All over the people
men and women who Ever loved or cried,
worked or died for any one of us.

So...What if I am a Black woman?
Is it a crime? Arrest me!
Because I'm strong, but I'm gentle,
I'm smart, but I'm learning,
I'm loving, but I'm hateful.
And I like to work because
I like to eat and feed and clothe
and house Me, mine
and yours and everybody's,
Like I've been doing for the past 300 years.

What if I am a Black woman?
Is it insane? Commit me!!
Because I want Happiness, not tears;
Truths not lies; Pleasure not pain;
Sunshine not rain; A man not a child!

What if I am a Black woman? Is it a sin?
Pray for me! And pray for you too,
If you don't like women of color
because we are... Midnight Black,
Chestnut Brown, Honey Bronzed,
Chocolate Covered, Cocoa Dipped,
Big Lipped, Big Breasted, and BEAUTIFUL
all at the same time!

So what if I am a Black Woman?
Does it bother you that much because
I want a man who wants me...
Loves me and trusts me, and respects me
And gives me everything because
I give him everything back, PLUS!!

What if I am a Black woman? I've got rights,
same as you! I have worked for them,
died for them, played and laid for them,
On every plantation from Alabama to Boston and Back!

What if I am a Black woman?
I love me, and I want you to love me too,
But I am as I've always been,
Near you, close to you, beside you,
strong giving, loving,

For over 300 years, Your Black woman...Love me!

Now, enjoy a video I took of this group who performed for us last Saturday: