Tag Archives: news

Limits and Boundaries

I want to reclaim my joy. I want to reclaim my peace. I want to reclaim the feeling that all is right in my own little world.

I’m not sure how to do that.

I could take a social media break and turn off all the news. But burying my head in the sand isn’t a real answer.

I give to ACLU. I donate to candidates who support public education.

And still I turn on the news and see the border situation (We tear gassed children today. That’s nice.) and just want to cry.

Setting limits and building boundaries might work.

We’ll see.

It’s been 2 years. It feels like the whole world has changed.

I remember when all this started a political activist I follow said choose your thing, your focus, or the next four years will make you crazy. I chose public education. It’s an issue that crosses party lines. Most people are impacted by the war on public schools.

But focusing in this environment is so hard.

Still, I need to try.

I need to make finding things to be joyful for a habit again. I need to surround myself in positivity. I’m listening to Michelle Obama’s new book. That’s a start. 😊

The next four weeks are Yearbook Yearbook. That’s always fun.

My new granddaughter is such a miracle. My older granddaughter is a doll. My daughter is a strong woman. Those are things to be thankful for.

I got to spend nine days with DH. That’s always nice, especially after the last two and a half years.

I love Fort Worth.

Tarrant County voted blue.

I hit 30k on my NaNo novel, and I’ve done it without killing anyone or blowing stuff up. That’s a different kind of book for me.

I’m planning my next CLE trip.

I’m planning the beach trip.

My job is fun.

We took a microwave to my classroom today.

Creative Writing Club is still hilarious.

I’m back on low carb (day 2, yes!).

Young and the Restless is still fun to watch.

I saw an ad for a new Bridgerton book.

I got an air fryer on The Macy’s Black Friday sale.

Beto didn’t win but he’s not going anywhere either and his message is amazing.

It’s Christmastime.

There’s a Christmas station on my radio.

I have FOUR Stars games coming up.

I snagged a bag of Thanksgiving blend coffee before it sold out.

Our Bass Hall season tickets were in the mailbox today!

Gas is cheaper.

I can’t eat romaine but spinach is safe.

My ankle is still fine. The shot worked!

We watched Hitchcock and it was GREAT!

I’ll see my writer’s group friends this week!

Yeah. That helped. ❤️

Today was awesome and then…

I spent all day in my Sharlene Gallagher universe. It was awesome. Half way through the day I posted this on Facebook:

ImageSo far Sharlene has fought demons, put some mean girls in their place, snagged a kiss (hel-lo, I write romance) and aced Calculus all while saving the world. Pretty good day for a guardian angel.

So yeah. Great day.

Even better because I finished edits on the book. Wonderful!

AND THEN (SPOILER ALERT…there’s no happy ending to this post. It veers off on a crazy direction of gloom courtesy of the news. If you don’t want to go there, quit reading now and enjoy the gloriousness of my day with Sharlene!

Better yet go read the first or second book. Angel Eyes isn’t ready yet, but it will be soon!)

 

(Don’t say I didn’t warn you)

 

(Third time’s the charm. The rest of this post is a rant…)

 

 

 

WAH! I’m addicted to the news. How did I let it ruin my great day?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

I watched News Hour. And the whole time the source talked about a serious problem with education I thought I can’t believe a word you say because I no longer trust News Hour and I no longer believe the Dept. of Education wants public schools to survive. AND then I got in this funk of reading all sorts of education news that made me even more depressed.

And that just sucks. Because until then I was thinking about how EXCITED I am for Monday and how weird that is because Monday is the beginning of the end of the school year…testing, crazy hormonal students, deadlines. But even with all that I’m looking forward to seeing my kids again. They make me love my job. Most educators I know love their jobs. But now I’m all stressed and sad and grumpy and I think I better go work on the romantic suspense I’m revising because I get to blow stuff up in those books and that might actually make me feel better.

I teach journalism. I can’t quit the news. I think I might have to, though. Boo.

I Remember, but I wish I didn’t

I remember 9/11.
I can see it as clearly as if I were standing in the newsroom with my students– on the phone with my husband telling me to turn the channel to MSNBC because something had happened at the Twin Towers. I can relive every moment as my class watched in horror as the second plane crashed intentionally into the second tower. We didn’t stop watching.

When I got home, I kept the TV on. I didn’t turn the TV off for a week. Not for a second. Every night I tried to sleep, but the news was on. Always.
As I prayed and asked God for a miracle.
That someone would be alive.

I didn’t know a single person in New York or D.C. that day, but it felt like every person interviewed was a neighbor. I watched, stunned, as day after day after day people who lost loved ones were interviewed.

When the news started playing the voice mails left behind by people who never made it home, I cried.

About three months after 9/11, I stopped sleeping through the night.

I’d fall asleep and then wake up catching my breath, sure something horrible had happened to my daughter. I’d have to walk into her room and make sure she was okay.
Once she stayed the night with my parents and I had to call at 2 a.m. to make sure she was alive. My mom laughed and told me of course things were fine. I laughed, too. But inside, I wondered if I was going crazy.

Finally, at a doctor’s appointment in January, I told my family practitioner what was going on. I whispered the words because it took everything in me to make myself speak. I was terrified of what was wrong with me.

The doctor listened to me and then asked me about my 9/11 experience. I brushed her question off quickly.

9/11 experience? I didn’t have a 9/11 experience. The people with loved ones in New York and D.C., with family members in the military, with friends who served as police and firefighters…THEY had a 9/11 experience. I was a passive bystander in every way other than the night we went to church and prayed.

I explained this to the doctor and she didn’t say anything while I talked. When I was done, she asked if I watched the events on TV. I’m addicted to the news. I not only watched it on TV, I accessed it online. It consumed my life outside of work for several days. I wasn’t alone. Everyone I knew stayed glued to the news those first weeks after.

My doctor nodded and then explained that I was suffering from panic attacks. That the panic attacks could be from a form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder caused by my non-stop news viewing. She prescribed an anti-depressant, told me to take it until I felt I could try to go without.

I took the medicine for a few months. It worked. I got better.

I thought it was over. Until this anniversary of the day that changed our lives in so many ways. The news is covering the horrors of that day again and again. You can’t flip channels without seeing the Towers fall. I want to watch Toddlers and Tiaras and Housewives and What Not to Wear and Food Network. Anything to NOT see a replay of those days. And THAT makes me feel even worse.  I can sink into mindless TV and ignore a day that shouldn’t be ignored and so very many people can’t because while my problem was caused by non-stop news, they lost people they loved and cherished.

I feel unpatriotic. I say the Pledge every day at school. I support the troops and say prayers for those in harm’s way. I don’t want us to forget what happened because if we do, it will happen again and again and again, and God knows, we need to do everything in our power to keep that from happening.

But I don’t want to watch the horrors of those days replayed again and again on cable news networks with ridiculous headlines like WHAT IF IT HADN’T HAPPENED? New flash. There is no what if. IT HAPPENED.

So while this is the decade anniversary of the most horrifying day in my memory, I won’t be watching the news. I don’t need to see it, hear it, read it. I don’t need to because if I’m not careful, when I close my eyes, I can’t make it go away.

 

Bravery

Watching the long lines of Syrian protestors from the safety of my living room TV, I can’t help but wonder if I’d ever be that brave.
These people know soldiers will fire on them. They know hundreds if not thousands of their fellow countrymen have already died. And yet, they still make their way to the streets where they march in non-violent protests of a government regime they feel is corrupt.
Pictures of torture inflicted on young protestors caught and then murdered break my heart.
I don’t know anyone in Syria, and yet, I watch.
I’ve been watching for months, ever since the Egyptians took to the streets to protest Mubarak. Or really, I’ve been watching for a couple of years off and on, since the protestors started marching in Iran.
The Syrian government’s response is something different, something horrible. Nightmarish.
And yet, the protestors continue to march.
And as they march I wonder WOULD I?
Would I be brave enough to defy an authority that has no problem mowing down scores of people in cold blood? Would I be there day after day crying out for freedom, hoping the world would see me, knowing every second there’s a chance my death could be seconds away?
I ask myself the same thing when I read my bible. The martyrs through the ages continued to preach the gospel even when faced with death for doing so.
It’s easy to organize protest rallies in Wichita Falls where the most danger you find is from some angry man who wonders why everyone is being so nice.
It’s easy to show a belief in God and Jesus and profess christianity in Wichita Falls where the most dissent you find is from atheists who feel christianity is filled with hypocrisy and judgment. It’s especially since 90% of the people in the area are christians.
I don’t know if I’d be brave enough to fight for freedom in the face of death. But I sure am glad the news is showing people who are. Those people challenge me. I hope if I’m ever confronted with the reality of what that kind of bravery takes I’ll be able to say yes, I AM THAT BRAVE. I’m afraid my answer would be no, leave me alone.
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Honor and Lies barely touches on the kind of bravery it took for the slaves of the south to run for freedom, but it’s there, especially in the character of James. I remember studying about the Underground Railroad in school and thinking how terrifying it must have been to leave the atrocities you know for the unknown that is freedom. I wondered then if I would be brave enough to take the risk when often that choice ended in death.  Honor and Lies coupon:  50% off for one month: coupon code is LH94Z.

Elizabeth Lee’s Smashwords Author Profile:http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/elizabethlee
Book page to sample or purchase Honor and Lies: http://smashwords.com/b/65497

UIL District

It was a nail biter. RIght up until headlines, it looked like I wouldn’t go to regionals. It would’ve been the first time in over a decade. Once I looked at my kids’ papers, I knew one thing: the competition was tough because their stories were solid.
In the end, we won 2, 3, 4 in headlines, 5th in news and 6th in features.
And we had a great time.
The six girls I took with me, including one who stepped up when two kids quit the team last Monday, gave up their weekends to compete and I’m proud of every one of them!
NOW, if only there would’ve been air on the bus for the trip down. 🙂
AND if only our computers would’ve worked! One died Friday night. One Saturday in the middle of competition. I don’t think we’ll use computers next year…or maybe ever again.

Lots

A week straight counting points and I haven’t been hungry. And actually I’m not really surprised. Losing weight isn’t difficult. (I’ve probably lost thousands of pounds!)
Keeping it off is. For me the key isn’t so much food as it is exercise.

The Book of Daniel:
I didn’t watch it but I have to say NBC is brilliant. Our local station brought several clergy in to watch the show and discuss it in advance. For the last week they’ve had at least a 2-minute Book segment every day, playing up the controversy. Great way to turn an ad into what people see as a story. (Other stations even picked it up. Like I said BRILLIANT!) I didn’t watch it so I don’t know what I think, but the reviews I saw ahead of time said the show had a great opportunity to be edgy and instead uses the religion angle as a shallow cliché’d gimmick.

The Miner Tragedy:
I’m surprised more people aren’t saying this. The media deserves to be called on the carpet on this one. Live TV isn’t news. It’s entertainment. If it were news some of the so-called reporters would verify their information instead of having to say oops after the fact. It’s happening more and more these days. The newspapers picking up the story and running with it are even worse. I tell my students all the time that if the public can’t trust the news, democracy’s in danger. Maybe the journalists working at this level need to remember, it’s not just a job or a ratings war. They hold the future of America in their hands.

Work
I was invited to teach at the Columbia Scholastic Press Association conference in New York this spring break. Woo Hoo. I’m not going this time because I’m going to Boston at the beginning and I can’t be gone from my family the entire break. That would stink. But it’s so cool that I was asked. I hope they’ll ask again another time. But when NYT Upfront asked me to fill in on their editorial board and I had to turn them down, I never heard from them again. I had to turn down the chance to sit in the editorial offices of the New York Times, the chance to smell NYT ink, because I was teaching at another workshop that weekend. It killed me to say I can’t but please remember me because I’d love to another time. A year later I think I missed my chance. 😦

Lots of sales
Not for me, but several first timers sold to Harlequin. Silhouette this week. Exciting, inspiring. I can do this. On that note, I entered the Intrigue log line contest. Yikes. 2 sentences to tell your whole story. Not easy. If they don’t pick me, that’s okay. I’ll just send in a partial with a query and synopsis. I’m pretty sure they’ll ask for a full on that. It’s very much an Intrigue. And I think it’s pretty good.

unreal

Since Monday I’ve been glued to the television watching the horrific aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. I don’t know why. I’m powerless to do much more than make a donation to the Red Cross. Still I watch and cry and watch some more. And the whole time I watch I can’t believe it. Biloxi is sad. New Orleans is unreal. I live a little over twelve hours away from New Orleans and we’re expecting 1000 refugees. We enrolled eight students Friday and that’s before refugees get here.
This is unbelievable.
I have finally turned off the television though. I’m tired of listening to stupid reporters scream at government officials about why they didn’t do anything. I know those accusations have to be looked at. But not while there are so many people still out there waiting to be rescued. 😦