Public Youth Education

PhoebeSchoolPicture2What. The. Heck. I am in disbelief that 2014 is almost gone. Did this year really just whizz by faster than last year? Seeing as this is the first year Phoebe has been in school full time, yes, it has gone by faster. Our calendar is chiseled in stone with morning drop offs, afternoon pick-ups, early releases, after school programs and teacher work days. Some days we’re left scrambling to align our schedules because college life and business life have not heard of such things as “Teacher Work Days”. In the blur of this past school year we’ve gotten the full public school experience. A few things have surprised me in a good way, some left me scratching my head, and other things have flat out disgusted me.

#1. What is up with all the days off school? Maybe it’s just me, but growing up in a private school we NEVER got as many days off from school as Phoebe has gotten this year. (And the school year is only half way over). We never got any of the traditional bank holidays or voting day off. We had Summer Break, Thanksgiving and Winter break – that’s it. Snow days? What are those? Teacher Work Days? Didn’t happen. I blame budget cuts and poor school board management. The fewer days the kids are in school the less we have to pay those teachers and power bills? Right? Sad. Yet, they wonder why kids are “left behind”. People wonder why children are  lacking in fundamentals and consistently scoring lower on national tests. Here’s a thought, pay the teachers MORE and keep the kids in school LONGER.

#2. NO P.E.?! Another victim of the almighty budget cuts, there are no Physical Education Teachers in any Washoe County school on the elementary level. Let me say that again – NO P.E.! Yet, our kids are growing up in a generation struggling with childhood obesity. Get the picture? Overhauling children’s diets is only one piece of the puzzle Mrs. Obama. Food and exercise go hand in hand. I know when I was little I had a love/hate relationship with PE, but I never ever thought it would be removed from schools all together.

**************************************************************************cover1Woodchip of Wisdom: When throwing darts even a blind man can hit a bullseye, even if he didn’t mean to.

Find more encouragement in our enlightening coffee table book  Daily Woodchips of Wisdomby Frederick and Joy Wood.

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#3. Fundraising Burnout. I think the biggest take away I’ve gotten from this year is just how desperately Phoebe’s school needs our money. Every week we’re bombarded with a flier for one fundraiser or another. They want us to sell wrapping paper, or chocolate, or dine at a specific restaurant, or buy books from a specific store on a certain day. Currently , they are selling candy grams for Christmas.

#4. Good Teachers Really Care. Phoebe is super lucky to have Mrs. Payne. From day one she’s been aware of Phoebe’s abilities and instead of letting Phoebe just fall through the cracks she’s been pushing Phoebe and challenging her as much as possible. Not only has she given Phoebe additional work books, books, and chores. She sends Phoebe to a first grade class once a week and has requested a student iPad for Phoebe.

For the record my husband grew up an average public school kid. Back in his day, not only did he ride the bus, he often walked to school – gasp! I know right? How unheard of these days. Unless you live literally across the street from the school your child is attending. Most parents would freak out at the thought of their child walking to school. I on the other hand, grew up in private Christian schools, being chauffeured to class each day by one of my parents and only having to endure a bus ride for field trips. Pretty much the polar opposite of my husband, but we both thrived in our educational environments.

PhoebeSchoolPicturePhoebe is thriving as well. She’s received a hybrid mix of homeschooling and traditional school, but Phoebe is far from a traditional student. Phoebe was reading and reciting her colors, shapes and some sight words by 15 months. She was fully potty trained by 18 months. She was reading signs, books, anything she could get her hands on and we just kept going with her. Many people feared that she’d become stunted socially. Others said that we would have a trouble maker on our hands because she’d be bored. Others doubted her actual intelligence “She’s memorized it right?” “She’s not ACTUALLY reading that right?” – She clearly enunciated and read every single word on the pages in front of her. She can read it. But trust me I had my doubts – “Are we blowing it out of proportion?”

All of my anxiety and concerns for Phoebe evaporated the second her teacher put her test scores up on the smart board (no more overhead projectors folks). It’s one thing to know your child is smart, it’s another to see it on a graph in black and white. Each child was tested and assigned a number so the results were annoynmous. The childs number was written down in the parent folder so each parent would know how their child did. Phoebe bounced over, “Mommy! Mommy! Who’s #4? Look at #4! It’s off the charts!”

Phoebe was #4.

Obviously I didn’t tell Phoebe what her number was. We’re keeping her grounded here. We didn’t need her announcing it to everyone. Lots of parents were caught off guard, others didn’t bother to show up.

I have mixed feelings about it. I know we are blessed to have a smart kid (still struggling with the “gifted” word), but some days it’s a little terrifying – “Will she be picked on? Shunned? Made fun of?” Other days it’s frustrating when she’s forgotten about, usually happens when a substitute teacher is involved and forgets to send her to her first grade class. Other days it’s awesome to watch her soar – when she blows through 13 pages of a math work book or reads books to her classmates or builds elemental structure of thymine “for fun” (Thanks again Stephanie for the app!).  The whole reason we keep encouraging her is to see how far she can go. We don’t force any of this on her, she seriously enjoys it.

I’ll never forget her teacher asking us; “What the heck we did with Phoebe?”

We simply explained that we have family members that value education (teachers, homeschoolers) and they offered us endless support. In some cases dumping books in our laps or pointing us in the right direction for resources. The secret is ACTUALLY DOING IT. Sticking to it. We still stick to it even though Phoebe is in school. We’ve seen what has happened to the kids who’s parents say “That’s what school is for.” Those kids are so far behind it’s ridiculous. Kids that don’t know colors, shapes, letters or numbers. Kids coming in at a below zero reading level to kindergarten. She wanted to know specifics and we just told her, we took everything we got our hands on from WIC, pediatricians, books, studies, ect…and just ran with it. Obviously, somethings didn’t work for us, but we gave everything a fair shake and stayed consistent with what we chose to do with Phoebe.

wtfThere’s really no secret to helping your child get ahead. #1. Read to them. #2. Continue to read to them at higher levels. #3. Stay involved. Everything from homework to workbooks to class room activities to field trips – whatever, stay involved keep yourself active and present in their education and your child will flourish in their environment too.

Ensuring that your child receives a well rounded educational foundation is not the governments responsibility. It’s not even the schools responsibility either – I mean have you seen the average public school? Have you seen their budget they’re working with? Teachers and volunteers (yes, folks donating their time, not earning a dime) are stretched thin as it is. It is up to the parent of the child.

Thanks for reading,
Joy

Patience in Specifics

pulling-out-hair2Recently, it came to pass that I needed to make a little extra income for the family.  I put it out there for the almight job hunting gods, and everyone else to know, I needed money and I would do “anything” to make it happen.

I began combing Craigslist and want ads. I talked to all my contacts here in Reno. “Do you know where I can get a job?” “Do you know of anyone hiring?” My only stipulation was it had to be part time because of school.

In only a few short days light came to the surface when Joy cashed in a tattoo coupon.  The purveyor of the shop said he knew someone looking to hire. I asked for what? He said moving man. I smiled, took his friends number, and gave them a ring.

The interview was a breeze and I was hired on the spot. I reported for work the next day. Now, I have been a moving man before. I’ve moved my family a few times, and I did a little side work when I was younger.  I figured it was like riding a bike.

tired guyAnd it was. My body was reminded very quickly how difficult the process is of moving heavy inanimate objects.  It shuddred when I saw the piano on the second floor with no elevator.  At the end of the day I had to lay in a hot tub as long as I could before passing out from exhasusation.

The next day was the same thing. My boss said she only had a few more moves on the books until her phone started ringing. I thought I could endure with only missing a few classes. Suddenly, she was calling me to do a move a day even on days when I had school. I told her I had school, but she must have forgotten that.  I began to seek work elsewhere.

When it comes to our wants such as a job, a significant other, or even lunch in order to make yourself happy it helps to be specific.  How else is the greater powers at be, like the job hunting gods, going to know what to help you find unless you get more specifc. Like for lunch you know that all you want is griled chicken on rye with cheddar cheese. The lunch gods send you a sign, in the form of a flyer or friend, and you find it. You procure your sandwich and lunch is a success.

When it comes to larger items in your life especially ones that aren’t necessarily tangent, like successful relationships, it helps to be more specific. Some of you like to expidite the process by simply saying “I want someone that makes me happy.” Or, “I want a job that I can make money at.”

Yet, this has untold consequences. You didn’t list how the other person is to make you happy, what thier personality should be like, what they should look like, or even what you would do to help make them happy. “Anything” is not a good answer that the relationships gods like to hear.  Cruel Irony generally befalls those who are not specific enough with their mates.  The same applies to jobs.

**************************************************************************cover1Woodchip of Wisdom: The fear of the beginning is over after the first step.

Find more encouragement in our enlightening coffee table book  Daily Woodchips of Wisdomby Frederick and Joy Wood.

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I made the mistake of not letting the all mighty job hunting gods know that i needed a job on specific days, making “X” number of dollars an hour, and not lifting pianos.

This change in tactics adds time. Very rarely can you make statements that specific without time being tacked on. It has been shown the more specific you are the longer you have to wait.  For example, a part time job working only Friday, Saturday, Sunday making at least ten dollars an hour that won’t call me in on the weekdays, and doesn’t require repetitive heavy lifting took me over a month to find. Fortunately, it was something I know, waiting tables.

If your job criteria requires a specific job title, like graphic designer, in a certain city, with necessary benefits, and a certain rate of pay then I’ve heard six months can be a short wait.

I don’t want you to think it was easy. I had to endure lean months and put Joy through some tough times. Maybe she’ll regale you in a later post.  The point is that positive relationships that will bring you what you want to have in your life, is going to take time. So, in the mean time refine your craft,  better yourself, and be specific.  From what I can gather it’s what you have to pay in order to earn the relationships in this world that are are worth it.

Like a pendulum that continues to swing you must know the hard dark side to better appreciate the softer light. 

Thanks for reading,
F.B.

 

 

 

Concert House Rocks: Brothers in Arms

high fivesThis is a post that is long overdue.  I have had the honor of working with a vast array of individuals in my time at the Concert House.  Some I only saw for three or four shows.  Others I have worked with for over a year.

Each of them has a different persona while working here whether they want to admit it or not.  It’s a coping mechanism to deal with the insane amount of psychological and physical pains we have to endure.

As you read about these different folks you may say, “We have one of those where I work.”  This list is not restricted to just the Concert House.  You will find personalites very similar to these in all walks of life.  However, there are one or two that are personality idiosyncrasies specifically tailored just for this job.

This is by no means a comprehensinve list, but these are some of the memorable folks I work with.

manical grinThe Animal:  This is the most enthusiastic employee you will ever work with.  They are never late. They are always smiling.  It would take the building falling down on their heads to get them into a bad mood, but if they ever do you know you just stay out of their way.

At the Concert House the animal wasn’t necessarily the tallest guy in the room, but he was the biggest. He was solid muscle and could always sniff out a fight.  An over abundance of testosterone would have him get even more excited about his job.  Because that meant he wasn’t going to be bored anymore. He was the front man into every brawl.  He would stick his nose into the fray even if there was no fray.

I heard a patron announce to another patron. “You got a problem with me.”  To which the animal replied, “NO, but you can have one with me.”  They will always need a handler, but once identified they will follow the handler into just about anything.

veteran warriorThe Veteran:  The person who has been at the job the longest will always receive this title.  They don’t have to be the person who has been at the company the longest though they usually are.  They will innatly take up a lead position whether they have been assigned it or not.  The veteran won’t necessarily take you under his wing, but they will tell you what you’re doing wrong.

At the Concert House our veteran had been doing security for over twelve years.  His first words to me  were “Don’t ever let them get me from behind.”  His sense of his surroundings was uncanny. When you didn’t think anything was wrong he knew there was.  He can find the smokers, dopers, the hot heads, and the idiots.  He takes great pleasure in pointing them out and then sending one of us in deal with the situation.

But when the occasion does arise that he has to get involved he learned long ago you don’t go in half way. He has no problem leaning all 300 plus pounds of himself into someone’s kidney with his knee. And he always gives the patrons an option. “You can either go home or you can go to jail.” Most just want to get him off of them and stagger home.

**************************************************************************cover1Woodchip of Wisdom: Though it may have run dry the “vessel” always stands ready to be filled up again.

Find more encouragement in our enlightening coffee table book  Daily Woodchips of Wisdomby Frederick and Joy Wood.

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intimidatorThe Intimidator:  This person will rarely talk to anyone during work.  They are focused, stoic, and unresponsive to anything but immediate danger.  They will never abandon their post.  Dedication is the highest form of work ethic.

In the case of the Concert House the intimidator is the biggest guy on staff. He towers at six foot eight and tips the scales well over 300.  Another power house of muscle he makes sure to stay in constant shape by exercising regularly and sharpens his skills in his off time within mosh pits.  There are those that are stupid enough to attempt interaction with him.  All walk away trying to figure out what they did wrong.

His only weakness is women. Like most giants he has a soft spot for pretty things.  They can get him to smile, but it fades quickly as no one can know he’s actually a giant teddy bear off the clock.

devious faceThe Sneak:  This person is the master of flying under the radar.  Not just the company’s radar, but his co-worker’s, and the patrons around him.   I wish I could say I was this personality, but I’m too tall.  The sneak is usually someone much shorter than everyone else.  It is a honed ability that comes with the size.

At the Concert House he is the one who catches the most wrong doers.  They never see him coming and by the time they do he’s already signaled to the larger bouncers who needs to be dealt with.  Because of their shifty nature their loayalties are with only those that recognize what they’re good at and let them do it.

You can’t keep tabs on the sneak just know he’s out there doing his job looking for all the fringe benefits that come with working in a seedy Concert House.

mastermindThe Mastermind:  This person is usually the one that has worked at a company the longest.  Sometimes they have made it up to supervisor, or manager.  They know where ever hidey hold is located.  They know every step of the process from beginning to end and they know how to exploit the weaknesses that ever company has to offer.  They are a pro at distinguishing who is easily manipulated and who is to be fed to the wolves.

The mastermind only looks out for number one. He will step on everybody else to see his own ends met.  He is also, more often than not, a coward.  Not to say he won’t jump into a fight with you, but if there is a “bus” being driven right towards you he will push you into it to give himself a few extra seconds to jump out of the way.

At the Concert House the one thing the mastermind became the best at was finding money.  Not money laying on the ground, but hustling it out of patron’s hands. The patrons want to party. He knows this and just where to sneak them in while taking their money and putting it into his pocket.  Making sure the cameras and his superiors see nothing.

polite faceThe Face:  This person is usually the most friendly of the group. They are not necessarily as enthuasted about a place like the animal, but they do know how to suck it up, put on a smile, and make the patrons feel comfortable with their choice.

At the Concert House you will usually find this person at the door taking tickets.  They rip, greet, and open the door to help bring a sense of welcoming peace to the patrons as they enter. The Face is well aware of their mask and wears it well.  They know what patrons are looking for in a greeter and how to give it to them.  The Face much like the Mastermind are usually restricted to customer service oriented jobs.  Rarely will you find them in the land of the cubicles.  Their skills are not needed for those that spend hours a day behind a computer screen.

There are more that could be written about, the Suck up, the Chief, or even the Boss.  But those are the kind of people you don’t get to close to as they have to maintain their professional distance. Their characteristics are universal and I’m sure you have already formulated your own opinion about them.

It takes all kinds to form a team, but make sure you know who you’re dealing with or risk feeling their heel on your head. 

Thanks for stopping by the Concert
F.B.

Fantasticalties Vol. 1 Issue 20

seals on a pier
The Pier
Our numbers have tripled.
Taking up the open spaces, lying vacant & empty,
to the bright sunlight.
Speckled, spotted & dirty, lying prone, covered
sprawled for all to see.
Aggressive wrestlers fighting over territory,
others bark, bark, bark, bark, attention!
The cryng yells falling on deaf ears.
Lonely ones simply raise a proud,
defiant arm to the sky.
Head raised, this is I.
A homeless beggar,
This is I.
by: Joy Wood
kids holding hands
Change
Back then, I held your hand
You were so fragile
I’ve watched you grow
I’ve been there
Together I’ve stood with you
Every smile and every tear
You and me, we made it through it all
“I’ll always be there” I say
Now, you’ve grown
I don’t know what to say
What have you become?
You no longer smile
Tears still fall
But they’re mine this time
Now, everyone follows you
You reach out
“Come with me.”
I don’t know
I don’t know what to do
You don’t back down
You ask, “Is always over now?”
This time, you’re holding my hand
by: Krysta Cook
You can find other works of fiction by Krysta on her blog located  here 

**************************************************************************BookCoverImageEnjoying the poetry? Here’s one from F.B. Wood

He saw the panicked look on Heidi’s face and in an instant Dwayne realized he was going to be ejected out of Mega Mall without the V.C. He grabbed the thirty-five kilogram V.C. and dashed off for the door, his heart pounding in his chest.

 Follow Dwayne Delaruse as he flees from security in “Six Billion Dollars in Debt”  featured in Smithing the Word By F.B. Wood.  Follow F.B. on Twitter @FrederickWoodII 

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fight for who are you

Who are you…

Who are you to swing like thick necked territorially silver backs
Bleeding your personal life onto the concrete floor,
Pummeling savagely at chunks of meat
Caught leering at the woman currently cheering you on.
Tearing apart Siamese twins bare handed would be easier

Who are you that’s going to retaliate dashing across the dance floor
Flailing wild right hay makers, pinning your prey
Under the savage beating cowards crow about
Through bloody teeth over Bud Lights in a shitty bar.
Stopping you is flying to your back and hooking my arm around yours

Who are you to snake your arms around my waist
Taking my mind from its defensive task to momentarily ask
What the hell? Violently jerked into
Weightlessness long enough to close my eyes before kissing concrete.
The hooked arms held, at least your buddy took us both down

Who are you to hiss, spit, and kick the ground, Lay down your Hilfiger hat
Bowing back your tiny chest, raise to your full height of five foot nothing
Point fast your fingers loaded with obscenities, looking to finish
What the rest of security has denied you.
This might be how you prove your man, but I’ve seen better

Who are you to continue you on after the music stops
Screaming for me over the caucaphony of terrorized conversation,
Your blood dripped hands demanding satisfaction
From the one person whose training says he can’t fight back.
As much as I’d like to see you lick my boot I’m being paid ten dollars an hour to protect you
by: F.B. Wood

Thanks for taking the time to enjoy another issue of Fantasticalities. Click back later to read more exciting fiction from the up and coming writers of today and tomorrow. 

Office Buddy

DSCN7509     As some of you may know the Wood family has recently adopted a new family member.  Her name is Iggy, short for Ignacia, (which means firey) and she is a half Chihuahua half Dacshund.

I will not lie I was against the adoption for months and months.  Joy and Phoebe would say out loud “I want to get a puppy.” To which I would respond “I already clean up after to cats. Why would we want another mess maker?”  When I say clean I mean more than the litterbox. Cats have a bad habit of puking, knocking stuff of the counters in the middle of the night, and one of ours shreds paper.

You can see why, as the primary sanitation engineer, why I didn’t need more work.  So, I kept saying no until Joy made a very good point to me.  For the last ten years I have wrestled with the cats through punishment. I’ve even written blogs about it.  Yet, like most cats ours have turned out to be untrainable. Discipline them all you want they just kept going about their business.

So, when Joy said that “a dog would terrorize the cats in a way that you can’t” I smiled and nodded.  The hunt for a dog began.

We met her, and her former owners, at a Sonic. She was scared of us, but we shared a few onion rings and she was ready to come home with us.  What happened after that is classic for anybody that ever said no.

**************************************************************************cover1Woodchip of Wisdom: Though it may have run dry the “vessel” always stands ready to be filled up again.

Find more encouragement in our enlightening coffee table book  Daily Woodchips of Wisdomby Frederick and Joy Wood.

**************************************************************************

I spend a lot of time in my office. I write blogs, news articles,  a novel, short stories, and poetry. I can get lost in my thoughts and words and in some cases I’ve haven’t been outside all day even though I really like the feel of sunshine on my face.

It also gets a little lonely. Cats don’t always want to keep you company and if they do they demand that some part of your body, generally your hands, need to be touching them.  When you try to ask a cat a question, or say someting to them, they don’t even acknowlege that you’re in the room.

At first Iggy avoided me. She knew that I was the alpha pack leader, but wasn’t sure how to interact with me as I was training her for the first three weeks that we got her.  Now, after six months, she sits with me in the office. Sometimes right next to my chair. Sometimes on the bed. Sometimes in the hall right outside the door.

Whatever the case may be she is within sight or calling distance and she will come running no matter what time of day.  When I tell her about something on the internet she wags her tail and her ears perk up .  Can she understand me? No. But she is excited to interact with me.

DSCN7398      She has also shaken up my routine. Even though she is a small dog and our house is big enough for her to exercise in I know that deep down she is still an animal and wants to go outside.  So, three times a day I take her for a walk.

This does her good becasue she goes for a longer walk and it does me good because I get out of the house.  Sometimes I have to stop in the middle of a sentence that I’m writing to take her out, but inspiration starts to flow a little easier when you don’t have a keyboard under your finger tips.

I haven’t forgotten what life without her is like, but I think the next ten or fifteen years will be enriching as she is taking me places on a daily basis I might not have found on my own.

Say no all you want, but if it is to enrich your life it’s going to happen anyway.

Thanks for reading,
F.B.

To Conquer Thyself

thinkingDisclaimer: Though this post was inspired by a church sermon it has nothing to do with religion, but personal views.

One of the great things about faith is the fact that its up for debate. Faith is an abstract concept that each of us makes our own by using the right vocabulary that makes sense to us.  Faith doesn’t care about semantics. It only cares that you believe.

At a recent sermon that Joy and I attended the pastor spoke passionately about lies in our lives that we have come to believe. One of the bigger lies he mentioned was on worthlessness. The idea that a person belives that they do not deserve the people, ideas, and momentos they have surrounded themselves with.

The pastor went on to say that these are lies that Satan has implanted in our minds.  Now, I wasn’t rasied in a Christian household with regular Sunday trips.

**************************************************************************BookCoverImageEnjoying the story? Here’s another from F.B.

He saw the panicked look on Heidi’s face and in an instant Dwayne realized he was going to be ejected out of Mega Mall without the V.C. He grabbed the thirty-five kilogram V.C. and dashed off for the door, his heart pounding in his chest.

 Follow Dwayne Delaruse as he flees from security in “Six Billion Dollars in Debt”  featured in Smithing the Word By F.B. Wood.  Follow F.B. on Twitter @FrederickWoodII 

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I came into faith using my own thoughts and ideas. Some of them were inspired and even correlate with the Christian religion, but there are also differing points of view.

One of which is the idea of Satan in my life.  I have come to understand that good and evil, light and dark, up and down, forward and backward are ideas that simultaneously co-exist within our souls.

You can no more eradicate evil than you can good from your life, but you can choose which way your needle will fall when making life decisions.

I have fallen prey to the idea of worthlessness more than once. The idea that I’m not even worthy enough to write down these words has occured to me as I’m typing them.  It might seem strange given my personality, but you are not the only one who knows how to put on a mask.

For me the negativity that courses through my soul is there to give me balance. I’m must think negative thoughts, if only for a second, so that I can realize that is not the way I want my life to turn out.  To consider the evil choice is to give more precednence to the good one.  Unfortunately, I have not always listened to my better judgement and the needle has pointed to a negative aspect.

Then I am left in a trap of my own doing and not by some outside force that is easily labeled as Satan. With this realized getting myself to feel worthy again takes a little doing.

I have recently let these feelings creep into my life again. And I’m left sitting on the couch, with the T.V. off, trying to figure out what went wrong. Where did this come from? Can I get out? Is it even worth it to get out? Won’t I just end up here again?

I feel like I have pin pointed one of the roots causes that sent me into this spiral to begin with.  I have been putting so much into my studies and my family/home life that I have been neglecting the very thing that needs attention, myself.  I am the very foundation for everything I interact with. If that is crumbling therefore everything I have built of this one block will come crashing down around me.

head shot      So, here I am doing something that adds worth and value to my life. I am writing.  It is what has proven, to me, to raise me out of the depths of worthlessness.  I have penned poems that made me smile and blogs that I didn’t even know I had inside of me. It is a ladder when I desperately need one.

I wish I could tell you what your ladder is.  That all you have to do is X,Y, and Z.  But I can’t.  You are the one that has to tell you that.  I can give you a couple of hints.  Whatever your ladder out of worthlessness is it will be something that adds value not only to yourself, but to society as a whole.

I can honestly say that needlessly spending money, playing video games,  or watching T.V. and movies are not what you are looking for unless its for some academic research that you intend to publish.

Your actions will influence those around you to either positivity, thought provocation, or an aesthetic decoration that soothes.  We were all meant to add something great to this world and if you haven’t found it yet then getting your ladder assembled and getting out of the pit of worthlessness will be a bit of a challenge.

Yet, when you find it the light inside your chest will begin to glow bright enough to attract all to your discovery.

Worthlessness is not a state of permanence, but a chance to find the inner light that will guide your positivity. 

Thanks for reading,
F.B.

Female Gun Protection

blogpost

Here at In the Woods Publishing we’ve shied away from polarizing topics such as politics, religion, and any other “hot button” topics, but I am breaking my silence on one issue. I, Joy Wood, own a gun. Yes, I am female, raising a beautiful 5 year old daughter in my house with a gun and I do not think, by any stretch of the imagination, that is a horrible thing.

I believe it to be a necessary thing.

Yes this is my opinion. Feel free to sign off now, flip to another page or go on about your day because the theme of today’s post isn’t going to change.

I’m here to answer your horrified “But WHY?”s

  1. Because I refuse to be a victim.
  2. Because I refuse to put my family’s protection in someone else’s hands.
  3. Because I still believe it’s everyone’s right to protect themselves and their loved ones.

**************************************************************************cover1Woodchip of Wisdom: Though it may have run dry the “vessel” always stands ready to be filled up again.

Find more encouragement in our enlightening coffee table book  Daily Woodchips of Wisdomby Frederick and Joy Wood.

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A few months ago I was grocery shopping with Phoebe at a local store. As we made our way down the cereal aisle I noticed a woman with her two small daughters and one very small infant. Strapped to her hip, open for all and God to see, was her hand-gun (Nevada is a legal open carry state). It was just her and her precious babies out doing errands. She sent a clear message: “I am protecting what I love and cherish.”

  • I didn’t feel threatened.
  • I didn’t feel offended.
  • And, no, I didn’t fear for my child’s, or my, safety.

No one said a thing to her, everyone let her get on with her business. Out in the parking lot the bag boy happily assisted her in getting all her groceries in her vehicle while she juggled her babies into the car. Without the gun, she would have been exposed to potential muggers or attackers. Keeping that pistol on her hip evened out her odds.

This was not the first time I have walked into an establishment where a person was open carrying. Each and every time I’ve felt safer, knowing that someone can take care of an attacker if necessary.

I was raised in a home where there were guns. I knew where they were. Never, EVER, did it cross my mind growing up to play with them or show them off to friend’s. My Dad made sure I had a healthy respect for them and what they could do. He also made sure that I knew how to use it if I needed too.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation found other women to be of a similar mind set when it reported that 73 percent of dealers showed an increase in female customers since 2011.  The percentage of female gun owners has also grown 77 percent in the last 7 years.

It is also my opinion that if we don’t teach our children healthy respect then their curious nature will take over. If we don’t teach our children how to interact with a gun they will consider them “toys”. I understand that these opposing opinions come from a place of protection, but we’re not doing anything to protect our kids by leaving them exposed and ignorant.

blogpost2   For those in defense of the other side….. I thank you for taking the time to listen to my full case.  To those of you that still don’t think it quite strong enough I wanted to bring in a few statistics from the Department of Justice. Our own government has shown violent crimes in the last ten years decreased from 42.1 percent to 39.2 percent. Serious violent crime decreased even more dramatically, down to 42.9 percent from 47.5

Over the last decade rape and sexual assault decreased from 26.1 percent to 24.1 percent. Robberies also decreased from 56.5 percent to 51.7 percent.  Numbers don’t lie.  Source: Town Hall Magazine

I now leave the floor open to comments. I look forwad to your thoughts.

Thanks for reading,
Joy

 

Concert House Rocks: One vs the Many… and I Lost

bronx street fightThe sound crackled unintellegible through the radio. I couldn’t tell what was being said, but I knew something was wrong.  I was roving through the bathrooms downstairs when the call came through. I bolted up to the main dance floor. I expected to find another staff member when I made it to the top. Instead, I found two thick necked hispanics squaring off.

I immediately intervened by jumping between them. I pushed them apart, but their eyes were locked. I managed to keep them apart a few more seconds, but their fists started connecting. I got them apart again after a few swings.  Just in time to watch a taller hispanic in a red hat run up onto the reserved section.  He jumped ontop of someone pinning them into a booth. Wild right hay makers started to fly.  I ran across the floor and jumped into the fray.

I hooked my right arm around the guy in the red hat’s right arm to try and stop him from swinging. It lasted only a second. I felt someone’s arms snake around my waist. I was ripped off the man I was trying to stop.  We flipped around in mid air and I was slammed onto the concrete. My 250 pound assailaint on top of me and my elbow throbbing from where it hit the steps.  I scrambled.

**************************************************************************cover1Woodchip of Wisdom: Big thoughts lead to big reality. Bad thoughts lead to bad reality.

Find more encouragement in our enlightening coffee table book  Daily Woodchips of Wisdomby Frederick and Joy Wood.

**************************************************************************

Their feet were coming. I knew it. Once a group of that size has you on the ground they will continue to visciously attack even if you’re out cold. I got back up thanks to the back up that finally arrived. Two other event staff finally got involved.  I looked away from their task or restraint to see two more guys squaring off. They were smaller and easily ripped apart.

The music continiued to thump. I screamed into my radio to turn it off, but it just kept playing. I kept surveying the aggression in the room waiting for the next powder keg to explode. Three women began to scream as they all locked their fingers in eachother’s hair.  High heeled kicks flew as they attempted tokick and claw at one another. I went to break it up and was aided by the women’s boyfriends.  They were eventually ripped apart and the music kept playing.

stand offA newer event staff came up to me and pointed a guy out who had been fighting.  My adrenaline was still running high. I screamed at the guy to get out. He pretended to play innocent.  Two of his friends flanked him on either side. They began to throw excuses at me. That’s when I pointed to the other event staff  and said “They said you have to go.” They then began to throw excuses at her. I stepped in the way and said “Leave them alone. You’re dealing with me.”

That’s when his two little hispanic hands darted out and pushed me in the chest. His two buddies began to cuss at me and pointing their fingers in my face. I waited. They worked into a circle and kept just outside of my reach. They were begging for it. They wanted to test their manliness by taking on one of the biggest guys on the staff. One of them reached out and bopped me on the end fo the nose in an effort for me to swing on them. I stood there and waited for them to make a move.  Tension ran thick. They wouldn’t do anything, but taunt.

The other event staff showed up. I pointed out the three guys and they were kicked out. They were pushed out telling everyone around them how they were going to kick my ass and put me in the dirt.  Even after they were kicked out they couldn’t get them out of the alley where they threatened me again and some random taxi bike guy.

The music finally got cut.  We started pushing them out.  And if it wasn’t bad enough that I was getting my ass kicked and staring down three punks the promoter started to bitch about how the show got ended.  In fact he was the one I wanted to kick the crap out of the most.  He was the one on stage spinning.  He had the power to end it long before it turned into what it was and he just kept playing the music. I was instructed to leave him alone, after yelling at his underlings, and that the GM would be talking to him.

I was so pissed that my boss let me hang out on the clock. He gave me free drinks and said supervise. It didn’t matter I refused to clean anything anyway.

The whole ordeal shook me. I”ve never been in the thick of everything that deep by myself. I stood my ground, but I can’t help but think that things could have ended very differently.  I won’t lie. I cried when I got home. I was so relieved to be in my bed next to my wife. I wasn’t being threatened, or beat, or lied to. A comfort like that is something you don’t take lightly after its threatened to be taken away.

Thanks for reading,
F.B.

Help the World by Helping The Borgen Porject

Borgen ProjectIt was an extensive summer long process, but I did it. I’m proud to say that after many applications I achieved my goal of acquiring a writing internship.  My hopes were to refine my writing voice while simultaneously gaining more publishing exposure. What I’ve learned has been more than I ever though I could, but I suppose that is what an internship is all about. I’ve never been one to talk about politics.  We’ve even made it a point not to discuss such hot button topics on this blog. Yet, my internship has thrust me right into the middle of the one thing I have tried to avoid.

The Borgen Project is a non-profit organizatin dedicated to the elimination of worldwide poverty. There mission is to work directly with world leaders to expand the awareness of poverty and the ways that it can be reduced. They do so through emails, phone call and, political meetings with Senators and Representatives.

One of the current focuses of The Borgen Project is the Energize Africa Act.  This bill has been passed by the House of Representatives and is currently waiting for Sen. Harry Reed to place it on the docket. This bill will raise funding to take giant leaps in bringing the continent of Africa out of poverty by bringing electricity to many of the remote areas.  This will enable many Africans to raise their standard of living by heating water, creating irrigation systems, and keeping food refrigerated.

Borgen Project1This is just one of the many ambitious tasks The Borgen Project has undertaken to raise the standard of living around the world.  I contribute by researching and writing article revealing to the world some of its autrocities and triumphs. I have become acquainted with Comoros, Canada, Mercer Island, WA, ISIS, and even reached out to friends in Nicaragua. As I try to enlighten as many of those around me willing to listen I, too, am brought up with them. No longer do I feel the need to be tight lipped about political affairs. I just might not have an opinion on all of them.

******************************************************************************cover1Woodchip of Wisdom: For something to remain permanent in your life you must accept it as it is.

Find more encouragement in our enlightening coffee table book  Daily Woodchips of Wisdomby Frederick and Joy Wood.

**************************************************************************

Another aspect of the poltical ring that The Borgen Project has brought to light for me is the accessibility of politics. Of course you could read about political action in the news or sign a petition. But beyond that I’ve never felt that there is much more than I could do. Even if I did take the time, in my earlier years, to create an informed opinion like I have now.  The Borgen Project has proved just how wrong I was and how easy it can be.  Their primary focus is poverty so I will use their cause, but this process can work to rally behind several differnt political causes.

The Borgen Project has listed all the bills waiting to be passed into law concerning poverty located here.  You do have to research your Representative and Senator’s phone numbers in Washington. Once you have that you click on the above link and then click on the bill you support.  The Borgen Project even supplies a small script so you know what to say when a Senator’s aid picks up.  If you care about a different topic you will have to reasearch the bill number, but the script can be easily modified for any bill.

If that wasn’t easy enough they also have links to directly email your Congressmen  here. Again, you click on the link fill in your address and the emails will be sent. These unfortunatley only work for the bills listed, but you could borrow the script to write your own congressional emails.

All this action causes a wave of notice within your congress.  They are given tallies, daily, on what issues their constiuents have contacted them on. These numbers are the deciding factors on what these representatives will do while in session.

Borgen_Project-optimized1For me it has been a very interesting journey through politics. I was always told that my voice made a differnce, but I didn’t really believe that. Now, that I have experienced a direct link to the poltical process I see that it can be heard and it does make a differnce.

I will leave you with some of the links of my published articles. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I like writing them.

The Borgen Porject is always accepting donations for its cause. If you would like to give please click   here. This is my personal crowd  source page as I am campgaining to rasie as much money as I can for this cause.
Gifts are given even in the simple gesture of the click of a mouse.
Thanks for reading,
F.B.

Making It Work: Round 2

crockpot In the hopes of stretching out every single penny in our grocery budget this month we’ve gone back to the drawing board to try a new strategy. Last year it was baking my own bread, cooking with whole chickens and turning the leftover meat/stock into additional meals. It worked for a while, but variety is something our family craves. Not to mention the insane amount of time it takes to get all of this together.  You sacrifice almost all of your Sunday getting ready for the coming week.

I’ve seen the posts and pins about freezer meals. My patience and sanity immediately balked. The whole idea seemed daunting, especially when I saw the one for 52 freezer meals that involved at least an hour’s worth of prep and an additional able body to help. Whoa there, I want to ease into it. Not dive head long off the deep end. The idea of having dinners ready to go for a period of time was something that we need right now with our hectic schedule.

Since we didn’t have anything going on this weekend it was the perfect time to tackle the idea. There are tons of posts on Pinterest and Google that cover stretching your weekly meals by freezing them ahead of time. Not only did they all look overwhelming, it looked like a huge investment on the front end and the whole idea was not to go overboard here. Some of the recipes were too bland, others required cooking before freezing, and others would have doubled my grocery list. I finally found one where each recipe sounded delicious, required no “pre-cooking” with the prep, and I already had several items on hand which kept the costs down. I was sold.  The idea was to throw all the raw ingredients into a freezer bag and then cook everything in the crockpot from noon to six while I was at work.

Now, it says that it yields 15 meals, but if you do the math it’s only 13.  I found a great deal on the pork roast so I was able to double the Cranberry Apple Pork Roast recipe into two bags so I got 14 freezer crockpot meals. She also goes on to mention something about left overs, but with a hubby and growing child I doubt any of these meals will yield left overs unless they just don’t like the dish. It also mentioned to be prepared to cook rice, noodles or some other side to accompany the main dish (Yes, that all went into the total of what I spent).

While my husband does cook I know many men do not.  This process is so simple that it can’t even dissuade men from doing it. He grabs the bag out of the freezer, throws it in the crock pot, turns it on, and places the cover in place.

Once the frozen meal is in the crockpot preparing the side is the only time consuming part of the process. I will say there is a daily down side of cleaning the crockpot and you can’t save any of the freezer bags once you’ve ripped them open to get at the contents.

I tallied up just the items for the freezer meals from my grocery bill for this weeks trip and it came out to be $60.38. Break it down even further and that’s $4.31 per meal, that’s $1.44 per serving. Not too shabby! All that’s left is to put the meals to the taste test. If it goes well you might see me undertaking the great 52 freezer crockpot meals task!

A few notes on where I deviated from the Pinterest post:

#1. The original author used 4 whole chicken breasts per bag that means she bought 40 chicken breasts. Hell no. First of all my family does not consume that much chicken in one meal. We may get seconds if we’re super hungry, but we just do not eat as much as the average person. Buy enough chicken according to your family’s needs.

#2.  She used a lot more spices. I have a 5 year old that sticks out her tongue at anything spicy. She won’t even touch carbonation because she declares it to be “too spicy” so I had to watch what I used. Season according to your tastes.

#3. Everything I needed I found on sale at Smiths (Our version of Kroger). Shop smart! Use what you already have on hand and it helps keep the investment low.

We have since finished our first two week run of meals.  We enjoyed Creamy Ranch Chicken, Coconut Chicken, Sweet Apple Cranberry Pork Chops, Honey Mustard pork chops and a few others. We have enjoyed them all so far.  And as I budgeted there are no leftovers. They all cooked while I was at work.  The stress of not having to worry about dinner when I get home is nice to have off my shoulders.  This plan saves us time, money, and stress. If you can make it work for your family then I hope you get to reap the same benefits.

Half the part of preparation is figuring out what works for you and those around you.

Thanks for reading,
Joy

Ellen Brock

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