Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A to Z Countdown

A to Z Blogging Challenge starts in just two days! 

Photo by Dawn M. Hamsher, 2013

Some may write on "apples", while others on "allegory".

Some will post on "bananas" and others about "books".

Some may go for "carrots" and others for story "climax".

No matter what you write about, A to Z is for everyone! Hurry to sign up! 
A to Z Challenge  

If you are participating, what do you hope to achieve or get out of it?
I look forward to checking out other blogs.  

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Words that Sing - Poems

Poem by Dawn M. Hamsher
Poem by Joan Disbrow

The other day in our writing group (1st Writes) we learned about using "words that sing". 

Poem by Sandy James
It can be hard to find just the right words to use in your writing, but writing poetry can help. Poetry forces you to choose precise words. 

Poem by Pam Williams
Some of our members wrote poems about words (using words that sing). I'd like to share them with you. 

Just click on the artwork to read each poem.  Enjoy! 

 Artwork and photos by Dawn M. Hamsher, 2013

How do you find just the right words in your writing? Do you brush up your skills by writing poetry? 

One of my favorite word tools is RhymeZone (rhyming words, synonyms, definitions, and more!).

Friday, March 8, 2013

Book Review: Public Confessions...

I finished reading "Public Confessions of a Middle Aged Woman" by Sue Townsend.

I bought it a our library's book sale. I have to admit that I almost put it back down just because of the title. I'm not middle aged! I'm 40 something...oh, I guess that makes me middle aged. How did that happen?! I don't feel middle aged.

Anyway, I'm glad I got the book. Ms. Townsend is English and she has that dry humor that I love. The book is a collection of her newspaper column stories. All are reflections on herself and her life. From her bad back to her problem with slugs, she makes mundane things funny. Each story is short, so its a great read for lunch breaks and waiting rooms.

The other thing I really enjoyed was her use of English slang words. She uses words like "larf", "gormless", and "groanies". It was lots of fun to figure out what the words meant.

If you like English slang, check out "The Best of British Slang". 

What's your favorite slang word (PG words, please)? 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Writing – Cards and Letters

Photo by Dawn M. Hamsher, 2013
Most of us never think about writing cards or letters as a true form of writing that rivals fiction, non-fiction, or poetry. Card writing, though, can be every bit as powerful because your readers are people you know (from loved ones to acquaintances). 

Your personal words (for birthdays, hard times, sympathy, and more) can have a profound influence on friends and relatives, sharing love and encouragement.

 So then, encourage one another and build each other up, as you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11

With today’s technology and social media, information is transmitted instantaneously. Less people write cards, so this makes every card you send even more special. When you take the time to pick out a card and write a note, it tells the reader that they are special and worth it.

Here are some card writing tips: 

1. Pick a card that fits the person. Some like funny cards, while others prefer sentimental cards.
a. To save money, get boxed cards. I buy boxed Dayspring cards when they are on sale for $5 at LifeWay.
b.If you are artsy, try making your own cards.

2. Write meaningful words. Don’t just sign and send.
a. Consider including a scripture that fits with the person or circumstance.
b. Share information about yourself, as well as inquiring about the recipient.

3. Consider including a gift (a bookmark, a gift card for a cup of coffee, a newspaper carton clipping)

Who is on your mind today? Write them!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Password Security

You’re a blogger. You have a password to log into your blog.
You’re probably on facebook too. Another password.
On Twitter. Another password.
You have a bank account (or several). Password(s).
Shopping sites. Passwords.
Your child’s school site. Password.
Work. Passwords.

With so many sites, many people use the same password! According to internet sources, 60-75% of us do this!

This is B-A-D

If a site is compromised, a hacker could be able to get into your other sites as well (possibly even your bank account).

Q: What can you do to protect yourself?

A: Create a [strong password] that is [easy to remember] and [use variations of it] for your logins.

[strong password] = Two uppercase, two lowercase, two specials, two number, 10-14 characters in length.

[easy to remember] = Use a phrase to help you remember it. 
Example --
Phrase: Jimmy graduated on 5-6-10 at Clemson University, SC! 
Password: Jgon5610@CUSC!

[use variations of it] = Switch parts of the phrase around to create other passwords. 
Example --
Original Password: Jgon5610@CUSC!
Variant Passwords: “5610Jgon@CUSC!” and “CUSC!Jgon5610” and “56CUSC!Jgon10” and “@CUSC!5610Jgon” 

So, as your Blogger Friend, I encourage you to create strong passwords and go out and get your sites updated. It will take a little time to do this, but it will take a lot less time than trying to mess with the hassle of of a compromised account!