Friday, April 17, 2020

Some things have to change

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Have you ever wanted to tackle a task that needed to be changed in the first place?  Hold that thought for a moment.
In a world that for the moment everything is uncertain; your job, your finances, your shelter, food, entertainment, or the lack of any of these things have been questionable.  This virus has even slowed down those people who have thought they were invincible and thought that they had plenty of money to deal with the uncertainty.
Although this is not the conversation I am having today, the one thing I do want to talk about is the word THINK.  Think and thinking are taking on new meanings these days. More importantly, the question I want you to think about is, “where will I be in 6 months? 1 year? 5 years?”  I will tell you that your answer for right now is different from when that question came up if it came up at all, and some of us knew exactly how to answer, while others struggled to get a word out of our mouths.
Three things
I am struggling with my business.  This is the main topic for entrepreneurs for the last month.  We all thought that this was some cute little virus like the flu, and like the flu, it will go away, and we will all get to laugh about the chicken soup remedies we shared online, what happened while we were in for a week or more.  Well, Covid-19 is not your cute little virus.  This virus is like the plague, the Spanish Flu of the early 1900s, and so on.  When you have whole countries shutting down, telling people to wear masks and gloves when going outside, staying 6 feet or more away from each other.  S Even shutting down Disney parks to the point where they will be furloughing employees on April 19 because of this pandemic.  It is messing with essential things like food, toilet paper, and other important supplies, as well as people not taking things seriously, but it is serious.  My minister says that God is asking us to do a hard reset, and re-evaluate what is more important in our lives.  It does not matter if you believe in Him or not.  On second thought, it really does. More on that later.
school systems and all but the essential jobs come to a screeching halt.
It is to the point where the government has to help out those people who are struggling, which we all are.  A stimulus check was in order, but who will get it and when.  There are several flaws to the check requirements, which I will not get into, but it made me put in an application to help out my business.  I signed up twice because the first one, which is a grant from a group called Hello Alice, said that they were setting up a grant for a few select people.  I thought it was part of the one from the SBA (Small Business Administration).  They are separate from each other. The one from Hello Alice is not a guaranteed grant, and neither is the one from the SBA, which I signed up for today.  I signed up for the one at Hello Alice two weeks ago.  This is where the questions I proposed were based on.
6 months
That is the easy question, but in a way it is not.  Personally, I want a new home.  The current home is an attached condo, and though I am blessed to have one, it would be nice to have a change of scenery before I enter into senior citizenhood. I also want a new car.  I am questioning the ability that my car’s transmission for the moment is not the best, and those who had to replace a transmission on the car know that it is better to get a new car than a new transmission on a car that is over 10 years old with no new models being made for this car. (2008 Dodge Caliber). 
As for my business, within 6 months I would like to have more brand recognition.
1 year.
This is even harder than the last one.   A year ago, I thought:
  • I would have good memories of my trip to Walt Disney World in December.  I had to cancel it in October due to some financial situations with myself and other family members.  Plus, I had not even told my father that we were going.
  • I would have more customers and my business would be in a space away from my home.  That has been delayed.
  • I would have a new car.  I am currently having transmission problems with the current car (see under 6 months).  With this corona thing.  The test drive alone will have to wait. 
  • I was going to own a house and have my second membership with Disney Vacation Club.  Guess what?  (crickets!!)
So you see, even though these are goals, which I am not going to talk about 5-year goals yet, change can happen any moment now, and even if it may hurt for a moment, you have to do a few things, like readjust and rethink.
Photo by Pixabay (c) 2020
The Readjustment Period
I am not going to leave you hanging.  After all, this is about things changing.  Let me explain:
These days, everyone is “about doing it now or else”, but what has this season of uncertainty has taught us.
  • Life is short.  Instead of concentrating on making goals to be completed in a day or a year from now, make sure to concentrate on “If they are not completed by THIS DATE, reexamine and move on.”
  • Maybe the task does not need to be completed NOW, if ever.  Not everything is meant for you or to be done by you.  concentrate on the basics, and add things when they come up, but do not wait too late.  If anything, seek a second opinion on things such as remodeling a kitchen or opening a second business. 
  • Some things require a little more, like finance (money).  I always say to budget everything.  For example, I have an idea to have a craft room.  I talk about it all the time to family and friends.  I know what I want in the room, which is my second bedroom. This was to be complete in 2018.  My nephew and his girlfriend moved in, and at first, it was only to be a couple of weeks, which went into a month. There sat my second bedroom, filled with stuff that needed to be put in other spots in the condo.  I gave them a task: clean out my second bedroom, and you can stay in it until you can find a place.  Ok, they went to cleaning, and they stayed for 2 years until the birth of their child forced them to my parent’s home two months ago.  Both of us agreed that carrying the baby up and down the stairs would be too much.  Now I have this empty room (well not quite, a couple pieces of their furniture is still in there), and I am ready.  Alone the way, I had to adjust to fit things into the room for when they did move out, as well as making financial plan adjustments.
Do not look at this virus as signs of defeat.  Think of this time as a slow down period and regroup.  Also, consider this:
Readjustments also mean reconnect.  Not only reconnecting to things you once held as your guiding principles and your moral values, but reconnect to family and friends.  I know at the moment we cannot visit them if they are far away, but you can do other things:
  • If you have kids, take the time to do things with them.  If they are school-aged (4-18), they may not be able to see their friends, so helping them with their schoolwork, doing activities with them, and teaching them your values is a way to connect with them, see what is going on in their head, and so on.
    • Read with them.  Mom and dad’s homeschool is in session.  If you are Christian (I am going by what was taught to me by my parents when I was a child), this is time to introduce them to the bible and God’s teachings and how He wants us to live.
    • History lesson:  if they do not know about their family history, teach it to them.  Contact their grandparents, aunts, and uncles if you cannot remember it.  Teach cultural history, such as Black history.  Yes, February has passed, but if you are Irish, Asian, even an independent woman, teach that history. Give your child a reason to know that they have come from somewhere.
    • Go on outings…. Inside your home.  For example, create things such as safaris, a trip to Disney, or a trip to the moon.  Have a cooking show (nothing that involves a stovetop), shop in your own closet.
    • If quarantine permits, have a real outing, but not far from your home.  Remember 6 feet apart.
    • Journal.  If you have an extra notebook or two lyings around, have your child start a journal.  This is a good time for you to start one too.
When it is all over….
When the governments give the okay sign to get back to normal, it is not going to be the same.  By now, you should have a good sense of what is going to change for the better and what is going to be business as usual.  For one, I hope that we all will take into account to:
  • Never take anything for granted.  I do not know about other countries, but here in the United States, we have been wasteful, quick to judge and walking over each other.  Now that everyone from the rich to the poor is basically in the same boat, I hope that we will realize that when we get back to do the norm.
  • Everything can change in an instant.  It has been a month since this whole thing hit the United States.
  • Everything is a luxury item.  When you panic, you can think the worst, from running out of products (masks, gloves, toilet paper) to not having enough money to pay bills.  Big corporations, as well as the 1%, are finding out what is it like for the lower middle class to the poor to not have.  Perhaps it is a reminder for them when they did not have any money or maybe this is the first time (meaning they were born into money).  However, they have arrived at this or because of their income they may not see that stimulus check is coming, the 1% are finding out what it is like to be denied. 
It is kind of funny how everything is working out, but as the title says, some things had to change…for the better.  It will be alright if we exercise a little faith.  
Comment below on how you are adjusting and regrouping your life and how is your family dealing with this change.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Am I Superstitious?

Today, In addition to a motivational Monday post, which I am going to start back doing, I am answering a blog challenge.  While everyone who decided to take the challenge is on track with it, I have not. 
This is a Facebook group I am in, and though I enjoy bringing you my thoughts, ever once in a while I like to change it up.  So, with that being said, I will bring you my thoughts on the subject, “am I superstitious?”
“Step on a crack, you’ll break your mother’s back”, black cats crossing paths, the number 13, and my favorite one, do not walk under a ladder.  All of these things are the westerners believe in when it comes to being superstitious.  I know everyone has their own cultural ways to things like these, I have always been scared of them.  I did not want to tackle getting myself killed or worse, going to hell when I was a child. 

Full moons?  I believe that the moon has an effect on people’s behaviors when it is full.  I cannot explain its pull, I do know that my cat acts strange during this time (unless when she goes into heat, it happens as the moon is full).
As a child, I cried every time I did step on a crack.  My mom is fine.  She does have back issues among other things, but it was not because I stepped on a crack.  There is no scientific evidence that proves it otherwise, or millions of mothers would be in the hospital for broken backs.  There are reasons for not walking under a ladder, which has been proven to be unsafe anyways, especially when someone is working while on a ladder.  A tool or the person can fall on you or the ladder itself could have a malfunction and potentially fall on you.  So, it is not a superstition per se, but rather good old-fashion common sense.
I do not believe in lucky numbers.  Lucky numbers to me (without doing any research on this) is a sign of numerology.  As a Christian, I am instructed by God to avoid things like numerology, astrology, and even talking about witchcraft and sorcery.  So, do I read Harry Potter?  No, but I do not who he is. What about Disney since I am a fan?  I believe that the magic that Disney magic translates into happiness and joy.  It is okay to have that.  As long as I know that Jesus is the one who died for me and my sins, and he is my savior, and God is my heavenly father, I will be fine.
What about voodoo?  Some things get you very crazy in the head and having you think there is a curse on you.  I am not from Louisiana and neither are my parents, but it does exist.  A couple of my grandfather’s sisters-in-law were believed to have practiced it.  My mother and her siblings were forbidden to go to their houses to visit.  I never have seen it, nor I never do.  I know this does not have anything to do with being superstitious, but I want to throw it out there since it belongs in the category. 
Is this superstitious?  Image by Pixabay (c) 2020
I do want to tell you a secret… when I was a teen, I did believe at one time that I was clairvoyant and had ESP. I looked it up in the “E” encyclopedia (this was pre-Wikipedia for those who want to compare the set too), and I thought I had all the signs until my mother told me that if I believed that, I would not be Christian and depended on God and Christian, and that having these things were that of devil worship.  Since I was brought up in the church, I started reading about the things that were wrong in God’s eyes and I no longer believe that I had them in the first place.  Hey, as a Christian teen, there is nothing wrong with that, as you know what is right and what is wrong, and you can steer another person who feels the same way in the right direction towards Christ.
So, this ends another short but sweet entry, that will not get my usual “wait until morning to publish it” treatment.  Neither will the Motivational Monday piece, which has to do with …. Nope, you will have to wait to check it out.  No hints.
If you have any questions about this piece or have any comments, please state them below.  I look forward to reading this, and hopefully, I will start making the posts longer (hmm, now there a hint to the Motivational Monday post).  Be safe as we all get through this thing that is currently happening in this world. If you want to comment about how you are doing during this time, I am no expert, but I am a great listener and will let you blow off some steam here.

Monday, April 13, 2020

This is Goodbye to Tumblr

“I am not sure if I am saying this because I am not on Tumblr as much as I should or what, but I am saying goodbye to this account.  
I has been real, but like I said, I have not posted much on this account.  If the time comes and I want to renew, or start a brand new account, I will, but It is time for me to say goodbye to this account of mine.
There was a time that I would hold on to this account, and say that I will write a post on it someday, but I really do not feel that Tumblr is not as popular as the platforms, Blogger, which I have posted for three blogs on, and WordPress, where I will have my business, P. Lynne Designs, as well as the same blogs I have on Blogger. 
I will leave it up for a couple of days because I will refer this post to my Facebook page My Ambiance Life, in addition to I, will have an extended copy on the Blog post My Ambiance Life.
Thank you,
There are several reasons why I am not going to keep this account much longer.  They are in no particular order:
1)       I am not interested in it any longer.  I am trying to work on my websites, including this one and a brand new one for my love of Disney. 
2)      I have everything marked and planned.  Yes, I could with the Tumblr account as well, but to be honest, please read #1 again.
(c) 2020 By
3)     I have too many blogs?  I put a question mark there because most people would say that 7 blogs and a website are a little too much.  (three current ones and 4 to be created ones). I have to be honest with this statement as well.  I have known to have burnout before. Here is the reason for the 7 blogs:  the current ones will still be up for people to read, and I will only be writing new stuff on the new blogs.  Why?  I have traffic on some of the posts I’ve written, and I would hate for the posts to be referenced to and not be there.  The plan is as I update the old posts with new info (A tip I learned in order to keep posts fresh and alive), the old blogs will come down.  Rome was not built in a day and neither are my blogs.
4)     Tumblr isn’t that popular in comparison to Blogger and WordPress. 
So, what does that tell you about Tumblr?  Nothing much, it is not popular.  I see Tumblr as a posting ground for artists, musicians.  I could be wrong, and I have not done any research on the site either (unless you count now)
Let’s see…
According to the article in 2011, titled “5 Good Reasons to use Tumblr”, “Tumblr is a short-form, social blogging platform that supports rich media like videos and photographs; is flexible in terms of design and use; absorbs posts via email, text, or even a phone call; integrates well with other social media sites; and is growing in popularity.
So, Tumblr is not like Blogger or WordPress blogs in which there is more text than rich media items.  As I said, I have seen blogs by artists, musicians, photographers, and so on… This was the reason why I gravitated towards the platform in the first place.  I was (and still am) a crafter.  I placed my cards, scrapbooks, and other earlier works on my little blog, but I kept on forgetting that I had one.  Other social media-type things I keep forgetting I have are:
  • Being on Triberr
  • Having a Bloglovin’ account to promote my blogs
The first one is an old way of promoting while the second way is older too, it is still helpful in getting people to read your blog post.  There are many, many other ways of promoting your blog posts and that subject will be covered on another day, but now, let’s stick to me getting rid of this Tumblr account.
Another the reason why I do not like Tumblr is the same reason I like Blogger, the layout never updates.  Like Blogger, the themes are all the same, and it has been like that forever, it seems.  Well when you look at how much a theme costs for WordPress themes, you would keep the theme you have.  I saw one for $65 last week.  I was trying to find one for one of my blogs, and I do not want to pay for any theme over $25.  I will cover themes within the next couple of weeks, but as a heads up, you do not want a free one either. 
Why?  When you get a free theme for a website or blog, you will get a stripped-down version of that theme or maybe it will not work as well as the theme that costs.  Plus, there may be some underlying issues that you will be able to correct once the theme is in place.  Yes, you can always change it if you do not like it, but now you have wasted the time of putting it on your site.  Trust me, you do not need that kind of headache.
OK, I have thrown myself off course, so let’s keep moving…
So, what was I talking about…. Tumblr
I want to talk about what made Tumblr so great back in 2011 and what you can do now so you do not have to use the platform in 2020.
1)       Visually Engaging Rich Media:  In case you do not know what rich media is, they are your videos, photos, audio clips, and images to name a few.  The internet has improved a lot since 2011.  You can now safely embed these rich media items in your Blogger and WordPress blogs and websites.  In fact, I find them more superior than Tumblr.  For instance, I have an IFTTT (If This, Then That) plugin that allows me to post my YouTube videos to this blog when I make one.  It publishes at the same time as the YouTube video.  I use it as a separate post, and I do not have to write anything else for that day.  This is one example. 
2)      Design (Brand) Flexibility:  OK, I stand corrected.  You can customize your Tumblr blog, but with the constraints of Facebook and Twitter, Tumblr does it better these social media platforms.  As for Blogger and WordPress?  That would have to a “No” to me. Even though you may have to pay for the theming, you can customize it on a WordPress blog, if you get the right one and none of the stripped-down versions I talked about earlier.
3)     Advanced Email and Mobile publishing:  Nice for 2011, but today, with most people viewing blogs on their phones and tablets, Blogger and WordPress have really up stepped their game.  In fact, they both leave Tumblr in the dust.
4)     Post to and from Facebook and Twitter:  I call it even.  Today, all platforms should be able to allow you to post share your posts to Facebook and Twitter (as well as Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn).  If they do not, that platform is behind the times.
5)     Tumblr is a Rising Star: let me rephrase that…. was a rising star.  I am not sure how many people have a Tumblr account and blog.  
The titles I got from Armando Roggio.  He does present a winning argument at the time that it was written.  It allowed me to challenge myself as a writer to make my point of view as well.  I should send him a copy of this post.  I would like to know what his opinion about Tumblr is now and answer the question on “Should I dump my account on Tumblr?”  Nah, I already made up my mind.  Two weeks tops if I do not forget, then it is gone.
Like I said at the beginning of this post, I am not on Tumblr much, and it has been a good year and a half since I last looked at it.  As both Peter Welsh and Mari Kondo both say, “If it does not bring you joy and you have not used it in a year, get rid of it.”  This goes for digital stuff as well.
I would push this post to 2000 words, but at 1418 words, I think I am good. Talk to you later.