Wishing you Health, Happines, and Widsom

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The following are not my words, but they do depict how I feel. Thanks DW for the quote!

Only 12 hours left until 2016. This past year’s been a rough one for some family members and friends. My wish for everyone for 2016 is more happiness, better health, more acts of kindness, love, forgiveness, acceptance and peace. Wishing family and friends all the best as we ring in a new year. Please be safe tonight! xo

I was going to share my WordPress stats their “monkeys” calculated. I’m sure you’ve seen a number of them shared already. But since the new year isn’t here yet, I thought I’d wait until tomorrow. Then I can do a Month in Review and a Year in Review post. I’ll catch two birds with one hand. (I don’t like to kill birds with stones)

So, today, I’m hoping everyone had a year to remember, is looking forward to year full of possibilities, and like DW said more happiness, better health, more acts of kindness, love, forgiveness, acceptance and peace.

In the meantime please click over to Coach Daddy’s Six Word Stories (you’ll find mine there, along with 62 others).

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Guest Post: Eli, The Way to Pray if You’re A Dad

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Have you read a book, or perhaps a blog, that as soon you start reading you know you not only want to read what they wrote, but you want to read what they have written? All of it. Eli is one of those authors who you can’t just stop reading. At his own blog, Coach Daddy, he deftly answers questions posed by his daughters and writes about life as an amazing dad with three amazing girls.

He’s become a friend despite our sports loyalties. I can forgive him for being a Broncos fan. I try my best to forgive him for being a Rockies fan. Therefore, I can understand why he’s a praying man. However, he no longer prays for football and baseball (usually). He’s here today to explain why.

So, without further ado, please welcome and please visit, my first blogger guest, a purveyor of prose, a soccer dad, the one and only, Eli Pacheco, the Coach Daddy.


I’ve never really asked God for anything.

Well, that’s not true.

There was the time I asked for a high-grade bacon cheeseburger. (I got it.) And once, I half-heartedly prayed for a Colorado Rockies rally (Got that one too.) And more seriously, I asked God to give all my strength to my father as he fought for his life against Leukemia (It wasn’t enough.)

As a dad, there’s a different way to pray.

In the above examples, I prayed each time for specific outcomes. One was to upgrade from the meager value menu. Another, to stave off a loss to the Houston Astros in a meaningless June baseball game (a game need not be in June for the Rockies to render it meaningless.)

As a dad, you defer a bit to a higher authority to do what’s best.

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Let’s go back a little.

I learned to pray as a dad as I prayed for my dad. This past August, it had been 15 years since dad died. I had one daughter, age 3, and another three months from her birthdate. In the final weeks of my dad’s stay at Duke Hospital, my prayers changed.

When dad first got sick, I prayed, “Not now, God. I’m not ready. I’m not ready to not have a dad.”

As odds turned and prognoses worsened, I prayed, “Please God, do what you will. Either give him back to us, or take him home. But please … do it soon.”

By the final days, I prayed, “God, take him now. He’s suffered enough.”

He did, on a languid Friday afternoon. I drove away heartbroken but relieved. Dad wouldn’t suffer any more. I didn’t recognize immediately how little control I held in this whole ordeal. When I did, it marked a shift in how I spoke with God – and what I expected as a result.

# # #

Lots changed since those days. My second daughter came into this world as I recovered from my dad’s death. Four years later, we were blessed with a third daughter. Throughout, my faith underwent significant stresses. It still does, to this day.

My long-time Episcopal church closed.

I found a temporary yet never-comfortable home in the Lutheran church. I finally walked out of that church in search of God on my own. I found myself in a Buddhist meditation center. One of my first lessons centered around taking on the suffering of those around me.

Are you kidding? I’m suffering enough on my own.

Struggling to maintain strong relationships with daughters who mean the world to me. Toiling to maintain my best self to hold a relationship together. Trying my best to find my own inner peace to better cope with what life throws at me in a million other categories.

Internalizing these struggles has strengthened me to deal with the struggles that persist, and those that lie ahead.

“All my strength, God,” I used to pray when my dad fought his fight. “Give him all my strength.”

Now I hope and pray for the strength to come to me.

Not my kids?

No.

Let me explain.

I won’t pray for an easy path for my girls. Instead, I’ll pray for just enough resistance and hardship along the way to sharpen character and strengthen resolve.

I won’t pray for easy answers for my girls. I’ll pray for situations to challenge their beliefs and galvanize their faith.

I won’t pray for my ideals for a good life for my girls. I’ll pray that they’ll see clearly the paths life presents to them, the value in detours and beauty of steps along the way of the journey.

For all this, I’ll need strength. All I can get, to help them along their way.
As a dad, that’s the way to pray.

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When he’s not refusing to pay for autographs or facing his fears, Eli Pacheco writes the blog Coach Daddy. Follow him on Delicious, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter and Tumblr. (He gets around.)

 

Bloggers

Last month there were 53,098,938 posts made on WordPress. That’s more posts than there are people in Canada!

There were 43,461,936 comments made on WordPress. Again, that’s more comments than there are people in Canada.

This was from the WordPress stats page I found somewhere on the internet. Unfortunately, I forgot to save the link to prove it.

Anyway, I’ve read many tips on how get some of that traffic to your blog. In a nutshell, here’s what I’ve discovered this year.

Be seen.

If you want people to come to your blog, people need to know about your blog. This would be equivalent to opening a pizza joint, but keeping it a secret. There are more social media outlets than there are pizza joints. Which is a shame because pizza is so much better. Good old Facebook with it’s billion users. Twitter, YouTube, Pintrest, Linkedin, Google+, Flickr, Instagram, Reddit, StumbleUpon, etc… Get your blog out there. Share it!

Been see again.

While social media outlets are a good start, you have to promote your blog by way of promoting yourself and others. Share posts in Link-ups and take part in meet and greets. Reblogs and pingback being the main two ways to share other’s posts with your readers.

Be friendly

When someone takes time from their day to not only read what you wrote, but also leave you a comment, treat it as if they just handed you a fresh from the oven slice of pizza. Thank them, bow to them, and most importantly, respond to them in a timely manner. But not just a “thanks” but make it meaningful. Essentially, hand them a cold Coke Cola to go with that warm pizza.

Be friendlier

Hand someone a hot piece of lasagna. Comment on other’s posts. Find authors who are writing on similar topics or topics you are interested in and comment. Engage. Follow. You’ll be surprised at the the network and community you will build in this manner. Also, when someone follows you, follow them back. I wish I would have learned that one sooner. Lastly, there is more to the blogging world than just WordPress. While the fire inside is so delightful, it’s nice to get out and see what others are up to.

Write write write

Be consistent with your writing. I find the more consistent I am the more readers I attract. And don’t write rubbish. Nobody wants a pizza with rubbish on it. Make it appetizing. Sometimes I have a half baked idea and rather than letting it broil a bit longer, I just put it out there for everyone to see. While some will stop by to see what it is. Not very many are willing to taste it and read it.

Swear

735aa256247006090806cf175cab94ceWhile people don’t want shit on their pizza, they think it’s funny to read

shit they think is funny. If laughter is the best medicine, then swear words are the sugar to help the medicine go down. Science has shown that people who swear are more honest with their friends and family. I read that shit on the internet, bitches! But you need to be tasteful about, too. For example, don’t call your readers bitches. Going to drop the f-bomb? Better use that fucker correctly.

These are just a couple tips to help gain readers and followers that I have discovered this year. I’m still learning. So if you have any tips that are helpful that missed here, please, please, please feel free to share them with me (us).

Happy blogging!
Happy reading!

My Test

Yesterday I wrote about keeping my boys from becoming a-holes. These were rules for my boys to follow should they decide they want to date. Since the oldest is only eight, we still have plenty of time to teach, guide, and practice those rules.

And like I wrote yesterday, there book-promotion-writing-romance2were two directions I could have taken with that post. The way I chose to go yesterday were rules for my boys to follow in order to treat a girl properly. Today, I’ll flip the coin. These are rules for all those girls out there who might want to date one of my sons sometime in the distant future.

First, you must be educated. I don’t necessarily mean smart (smart is major bonus, though) but at least in school and trying. Not in school and not trying leads to stupid and stupid hurts.

You must dress appropriately. Shorts can’t be too short, skirts must be tasteful. No bra showing. Essentially, don’t dress like a hooker. You won’t make it through the front door. Consider covering up like an Amish girl.

There will be no touching, fondling, kissing, etc… I expect lady like behavior. Be a lady, not a hooch.

Ears pierced only. There’s no need for things through your tongue. It’s bad for your teeth. Isn’t there only one reason to pierce your tongue? See the previous rule.

He will not be your money machine. Sure, he’ll be the gentleman and pay for supper when you go out to eat. Don’t expect him to buy everything. Be a woman of power and buy your own shit with your own money.

He will be a gentleman, I expect you to be a lady and treat him as such. So, when he holds the door open for you, you tell him thank you. When he opens your car door you reach across and unlock his door before he gets to it. I understand this might be more difficult in the world of remote unlock buttons. But in the event you don’t have a key fob, unlock his door.

When the two of you go swimming, the less skin you show the less distracted he’ll be and the more lady like you’ll be. The less you reveal the more respect you’ll earn. Victoria’s secret isn’t a secret anymore. Your secret will remain as such.

Lastly, to my sons, the girl you choose should make you feel like you are flying. She should love you for who you are, not who she wants you to be. Yet, at the same time, you should feel you want to be the best you can be, be better than you were, just for her. Because she makes you feel like you can conquer the world. If she can’t do this then she’s not “the one”.

Should she break your heart, you’re dad will beat up her dad for raising a heartless wench.

 

Passing the Test

couple-holding-hands-walking-tumblr-5Ah Dad has a Test for boys to pass if they intend to date his daughters. After reading his list (and his reasoning) I feel obligated to write my own. Except, since I have two boys, I figured there were two ways to take this. This first way will correspond with Ah Dad’s rules. However, the rules will pertain to Crash and Bang. Then perhaps, I will succeed in raising two boys who can pass the test to date his Princess. With some planning, a hell of a lot of instruction, guidance, and discipline, my kids won’t grow up to be a-holes.

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Merry Christmas Eve

Some of you, like us, are just waking up. You still have an entire day of anticipation ahead of you. Anxious kids perhaps, bouncing off the walls with excitement. Anxious parents, biding their time until the kids finally fall asleep so Santa can come.

Or perhaps your children are already nestled, all snug in their beds, while visions of sugar-plums dance in their heads.

Or perhaps your tree is already surrounded by Christmas day’s bounty. Silently waiting to be ripped into.

Or perhaps you have no kids. So you drink wine or spike the egg nog and enjoy spirited Christmas parties with family and friends. Or just watch Christmas movies while drinking hot chocolate. Either way…

Or perhaps your kids are like my wife and I, grown up, moved out and with kids of their own.

Whatever this Christmas Eve holds in store for you, wherever you find yourself this Christmas Eve, I hope you find peace, joy, happiness and good health.

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The Daily Elf (or Parenting Win)

December 23

You haven’t seen the elves for two days now because the elves haven’t been here. They took a break. The kids were having trouble getting along and were doing an unusual amount of fighting, bickering, and tormenting. So Woody and Elfis left a note saying they would be staying with Santa and helping in his workshop for the day. If they came back to a good note from Mom and Dad they’d stay. Otherwise, they’d return to the North Pole to keep helping. They said they like making toys but they’d rather be here with Crash and Bang.

Crash and Bang didn’t try to get along that first day. The fighting continued. At bedtime Crash was worried they wouldn’t be back for Christmas. I let him know they would be, he just needed to try harder to not argue with us or fight with his brother.

It worked.

Yesterday morning there was no arguing. There was no fighting. There was some stomping and screaming from the four year old. He’s been in “I don’t give a shit” mode for a couple weeks now. However, Crash was trying really hard despite his brother’s attitude.

As we were leaving the house yesterday morning, I told Crash to change out of his sneakers and put on boots for our hike. Normally, there would have been an argument. But not this time, he simply changed. We went to the library to print Bang a Princess Peach on the 3D printer then headed out for a hike. There’s never any fighting on the trails. I love it.

Plus, the boys were amazed, standing silently in awe as we watched a squirrel no more than six feet away.

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After lunch, they played Wii together – Disney Infinity. Crash was letting Bang win and Bang was laughing hysterically. It was music to our ears.

We watched “The Polar Express” this evening. Both boys were captivated and watched the whole thing. Whereas, usually one or both get restless and starts distracting and disrupting.

Of course, there were some minor hiccups in their behavior yesterday. But overall, it was exactly what were hoping for. I let Crash know all of this at bedtime tonight. It really did make him feel good to remember the day and all the good things that happened, especially the good things that he helped make happen.

Are the elves back this morning?

You betcha.

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Anyone up for some zip lining?

Authors Answer 59 – Characters of the Dark Side

There are some pretty bad guys in literature. The Author’s Answer the question about the baddies they’ve created.

I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

Star Wars: The Force Awakens has just opened to sold out audiences, and everyone loves the original trilogy’s villain, Darth Vader. But he is a favourite of many fans’. What about characters that are absolutely hated by readers? But what if those characters are hated by their creators?

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 59 – Have you ever written a character so offensive that you hated or strongly disliked them?

Tracey Lynn Tobin

Yessir! But don’t worry, she’s evolved. She’s the main character from the four-part YA-fantasy series I’m writing right now, but she (and the story itself) have changed a massive amount since I first started writing it. Originally I started writing this particular story back in college, and I was using it as a form of cathartic therapy after my boyfriend of five years broke up with me. Because of a combination of little experience in professional story-writing and the wave of…

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Geeking Out

Our local library is not just for books any more. It also contains a geocache. It also has a 3D printer.

If being a geek means I know how to use computers, I know how to fix computers, and liking Star Wars, then I enjoy being a geek. I found out last winter that our library has a 3D printer. It went through a phase of always being broken down. So I didn’t get print anything for a long time. This winter? I have printed.Merry_Christmas

The librarian told me to use the website Thingiverse to find stuff I wanted to print. And find stuff I did. Being Christmas time, the first thing I printed was a Christmas tree ornament. Nothing fancy, but pretty enough for our tree. What tree isn’t complete without a 3D printed ornament? The librarian set up the printer for me while I used the computer program the printer communicate with. It was really easy.

On my next visit the following week, I just had to start printing the ultimate 3D printable. It’s not fully operation, by any means, but still…

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It’s a Death Star! How cool is this?

IMG_4237Apparently I’m not the Princess Peachonly geek in the house. Crash wanted something printed as well. Back to the library we went (we were taking books back, anyway). What did he want printed?

Steve. From Minecraft.

We’re going back to the library today so the third geek, Bang, can print a Princess Peach. She’s his girlfriend, he says. Except he wants a golden Peach, not blue. I can do that because I learned how to change the filaments so we can use any color the library provides – which is actually quite a few.

We’re a family of geeks and I’m okay with that. These are just simple figures that we are printing. There are much more complicated builds. The Death Star was three builds – it printed in three separate pieces to be glued together. Each build takes about an hour. The more complicated builds would take several trips to the library. There are builds with actual working pieces – like the nut and bolt we printed last summer. And then there’s this marble race! It prints in seven different pieces. It’s on our wish list.

What would you 3D print?