8 Things I Love About Pinterest

pinterestPinterest is designed  for someone like me. I used to print interesting articles that I wanted to save, putting them in notebooks.  I always look for new craft ideas, information on creative techniques, ideas for painting or refinishing furniture, repurposing just about anything, and research various topics.  Needless to say, I had a great collection of notebooks.  Pinterest saved me from being buried in binders, for now I can save information and ideas virtually, which is the number one thing I love about Pinterest.  I use information that I have pinned to my boards often, whether it is for personal reasons, like making  homemade finger paint for my daughter, creating new greeting cards, or reading some of the inspirational quotes that I have, or for business, like building my own business, inspiration, marketing ideas, or research for an article or book that I am writing.

I also love the plethora of creative ideas at my fingertips without searching the web if I don’t want to. Pinterest  saves me time, and is searchable, a handy feature that I make good use of constantly. It is like creating my own magazine. I can feature any topic I want in my boards and pins.  I find great information about small business and entrepreneurship, social media, ADHD, military resources and educational material, and I connect with people who are way smarter and way more creative than I.  I appreciate people’s willingness to share.  I hope that  my contributions to the world of pinning are of benefit to others as well.Pinterest addiction

I actually have two boards.  One, I started almost eight months ago, and is solely my personal account.  I started a second, Elephant Tree Features  (I know, go figure) to promote my freelance writing, yet it too only has boards of personal interest.  That brings me to the third thing I love about Pinterest.  I can have as many boards as I want. Some of my boards are duplicates, such as my boards for Small Business and Social Media, as well as boards for beauty, educational material, inspiration, and creative stuff.  Most of the pins are unique, however, and I have boards that are exclusive to each account. For instance, Elephant Tree Features has boards called Writing Is My Favorite Form of Expression and Pallet Envy, as well as a board called I Love Elephants (I collect them). My personal account has boards for Cards and Paper, as well as DIY Jewelry, DIY Storage and Organization, Furniture and a board for food called Yum!   I need to separate some of my boards into new ones, for the pins that I have collected are very general, like the board for Great Ideas, and I like my boards to be more specific. This makes it more usable for me, and, I hope, for others as well.

Fourth, I love the community-driven nature of Pinterest. The idea of sharing and collaborating is very ideal for me, for I am a team player, a sharer of  ideas and a constant learner.  I learn a lot from information I find on Pinterest.  I learned recently that you can collaborate on projects via Pinterest, and it makes total sense.  Think of the last project you worked on, and how projects are  made up of elements and stages, such as ideas, research, color schemes, marketing, partners, graphics, marketing, resources and tools for  managing and tracking all of the different pieces of a project.  If you are working with people and organizations outside of your own, Pinterest is the perfect place to gather all information, ideas and resources, with all parties contributing.  Once specific options are agreed upon, you can create a board for that, keeping everyone on the same page.  Not only that, you can create a board and invite others to contribute to it. Simple and flat out brilliant!

The fifth feature that I love about Pinterest is that it can easily be integrated into your own website. The Pinterest button is easily embedded and Presto! You are connected.  I have the Pinterest button at the top of my browser, and I can pin anything. If I run across an article that has no pinnable images, I can upload one and then include the url for the article. Easy peasy!

I love the usefulness for small businesses and nonprofits, which is the seventh item on my list of things I love about Pinterest. Pinterest provides a high-traffic platform for drawing awareness to a cause or important social issue, such as my board on Without A Home and More.   This board is aimed at drawing attention to human suffering and the high number of people doing without basics that we take for granted, such as our homes or food. Pinterest also provides valuable information for market research, and there are a number of services, such as PinLeague, available to help you  maximize this benefit. Just clicking on your followers can help you learn more about them.  You can also track how many views and the number of repins from your site, by topic or by time frame. Pinterest drives more traffic that Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.  Find out more about using Pinterest to drive traffic to your website.

The eighth thing I love about Pinterest is that it’s FUN!  I can easily spend hours perusing new pins, repinning, reading new information and sharing great material that I have run across. It’s all so Pinteresting!

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Understanding ADHD

ADHD logo colourOne of my goals for the summer is to teach my daughter more about ADHD so that she will continue to develop the understanding needed to manage it well. We are using the book “Putting on the Brakes: Understanding and Taking Control of Your ADD or ADHD” by Patricia O. Quinn, MD and Judith M. Stern, MA. The book has an accompanying workbook that is pretty good. We don’t do every exercise in it, but it does direct discussion well.

I occasionally run across debates on this topic that range from “Should I tell my child they have ADHD?” to “How much should I tell  my child?” Personally, I don’t understand why you wouldn’t tell your child they have ADHD. They already understand that something is different, and keeping them in the dark while having regular conversations with teachers, appointments with doctors and sometimes counselors, as well as conversations with friends, simply builds the belief that there is something wrong with them.  Having ADHD does not mean there is something wrong with you, it means your brain works differently.

Children are smarter then we sometimes give them credit for, and keeping secrets about something involving them increases anxiety and insecurity, doing nothing for self-esteem or problem-solving. Children respond as we respond, and if they observe us being uptight, even secretive about an issue that involves them, they will respond in kind.  Why not empower them instead?

ADHD seems to carry the same stigma as any mental illness–and I don’t clearly understand why it is often referred to as a mental illness.  I have seen it firsthand, for I have ADHD, and most responses are casual or interested, like it’s no big deal, but every once in a while I see the instant distancing, coupled with an “Oh” as if I had just told them I had leprosy. Then, they treat me differently, almost as if I were a little bit dumb.  I have long since moved past getting frustrated about this, but it does  make me ache for my daughter and anyone else with the diagnosis, for I know that they, too, will eventually come across this response, and I just pray that by then all have developed the understanding necessary to realize that this response comes from ignorance.  As common as ADHD is, many people still do not understand what ADHD is, and have latched on to some of the myths floating about. I wrote a book trying to explain it simply for anyone who wanted to understand it better.  I hope it makes a difference.

I told my daughter right away.  I wanted her to understand immediately that there were reasons for some of the challenges she faced, and that there are solutions. We are partners in managing ADHD. The name gave us something to research and learn about.  As her mom, it is my duty to equip her to become a successful adult, and understanding ADHD is part of that process.  She will take over her own care one day, and how can she do that well if she is not prepared? I balance everything I teach her, for there are challenges, but there are many gifts. She has her fair share, for she is funny, smart, gifted, creative, precocious, sweet, sensitive, energetic, fun, curious, well-grounded and excited about life.  I want to grow those gifts, not stifle them.  She is a courageous warrior and a gentle princess–who happens to have ADHD.  It’s like having asthma, diabetes, or any other health-related condition that will require attention and care for ever.  Other conditions don’t cause such an uproar, so why does ADHD?

Do your children a favor and just tell them. Teach them to understand it and handle it now.  Buy a book and read it together.  If you want to teach them honesty, then be honest with them.  Tell them “You are so awesome.  I love the way you danced and sang in the front yard this afternoon.  By the way, some of he challenges you have been dealing with have a name.  It’s ADHD, and we will talk more about it over time.  Right now, I just want you to concentrate on being you and on remembering how much you are loved. ”  Not so hard after all.  Dr Zuess on being different

Fascination with Flatulence

farting on girlfriendWhat exactly is the fascination with farting? When you stop to consider this for a moment, you’ll realize that flatulence receives a lot of attention and is an ongoing source of entertainment.  For instance, the kids are playing in the bedroom, when suddenly you hear “Pee Yew! You stink!” followed by a burst of giggles. This is way funnier than anything on television.

And then there’s my daughter, a sweet little girl, just the right mix of tomboy and little lady.  She can play football with the boys just as easily as she can get dressed up for a tea party with the girls. She loves to paint her toenails and have her hair curled.  She is also queen of the on-demand farts, and she is always willing to share, especially if her mom is on hand.  To top it off, my little darling usually produces quite the aroma as a bonus, often causing me to wonder “What did that child eat today?” It’s no wonder the boys adore her, for we all know that ripping a choice one every now and then is a major male bonding activity, particularly, it seems, with soldiers.  I say this with fondness, even with my nose plugged, for my daughter’s dad is a soldier.  He seems to have honed his air biscuit skills in the military, and is quite the expert.  His favorite method of delivery is the the Dutch Oven, which is one thing I willingly surrendered the rights to during the divorce.  I can honestly say that my daughter gets her endearing talent  from him.

But it’s not just farting itself that cracks people up.  There is the bonus activity, albeit a rather dangerous one, of lighting farts. I have to confess that I tested this out years ago during my college days, and yes, they really do light. All goes well as long as you don’t suck the flame back in. DISCLAIMER: Lighting farts should only be performed by a trained professional. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!

fart boysPublic farts seem to be the most entertaining, and I have a special knack for sitting in the pew next to an individual who apparently is unaware that they periodically drop little stink bombs, much to the delight of children sitting near by and to the dismay of their parents. And have you ever been in a classroom when someone lets one loose? If you haven’t yet, then just make a note that when it happens, the whole class will dissolve into fits of laughter, and the producer will most likely be very pleased.  You may as well take a breather (get it?) for a moment and let them get it out of their systems (another brilliant choice of works) before trying to regain control and continue with the lesson. Leslie Nielsen's Grave

Passing gas is quite a topic online, as well.  I located a fart thesaurus, a system for naming farts, and even a website called The Daily Fart. Youtube has a whole library of videos having to do with farts, and there is quite a selection of articles and blog posts on Google. One in particular caught my eye, and it was written in honor of Father’s Day, The Gift of Gas: Five Surprising Things About Farts for Father’s Day.  Seriously.  And then there is the post on Nickelodeon’s Parents Connect  Top Funny Things YOUR Kids Say About Farts and Poop (which is a topic I won’t touch with a ten-foot pole.  You have to draw the line somewhere.) There are even fart apps available through iTunes and Google Play (aren’t you pleased as punch) , such as the Atomic Fart , BaconFarts Free–Fart Sounds, and Fart!!, touted by iTunes as the “BEST AND MOST COMPLETE FART SIMULATOR FOR IPHONE with Random Farts, Leg Fart Mode, Fart Bomb Countdown, and a farts soundboard!” That’s pride, ladies and gentlemen. For those who are not computer savvy, there is always the Whoopie Cushion, the Fart Blaster

fart walter the farting dogand Walter, the Farting Dog. If you want to ramp it up a bit, you have your choice of farting gadgets, ranging from the Fart Detector to the Fart Machine.

No conversation about flatulence would be complete, however, without a brief discussion of the pseudo-fart. This is the unexpected noise emitted from non-fart-producing items, such as squeeze ketchup bottles.  Beware, also, of folding chairs  that, when scrooched over just a bit on a bare floor, produce THE sound, and the guest may just field the blame.  If that weren’t enough, the human race is intent on producing pseudo-farts au naturel, using the mouth and the arm pits as instruments.  Personally, I believe that body parts should refrain from imitating other body parts.

Bottom line, if you ever think that kids of all ages cannot entertain themselves without video games, television or cell phones, think again.

In case you haven’t had enough, I’ve put together a rather entertaining slide show of flatulence in the animal kingdom for your viewing pleasure.  Enjoy!

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Little Girls, Bad Dreams, and Big Prayers

sleepy little girlMy daughter Miki has her own bedtime routine that includes the usual shower, pajamas and teeth brushing.  She also rounds up her favorite stuffed animals that she cannot go to sleep without, and she chooses the music that she wants to listen to as she falls asleep.  We read stories earlier in the evening because I found that by bedtime, she was usually too tired to make it through one.   I go into her room to make sure she is tucked in, and then let our dog in, who sleeps at the foot of Miki’s bed.  I then return for the last bit of conversation, love on her, and then we say prayers.  We always say our “thank you” prayer first, followed by any concerns on our hearts and people we want to pray for. We then do our “kissing hands,” I tell her she is safe and she is loved,  and then we say good night.

Now, Miki has been periodically plagued by bad dreams throughout her young life, and we’ve talked before about dreams, discussing various ways to make them go away.  I can’t tell you how many nights during the past ten years I was startled awake by Miki’s crying and needing reassurance that I am there, and that she is safe and she is loved. I’ve tried various ideas, even one from an episode of “Little Bill” in which Little Bill’s grandmother gives him a blanket she used as a little girl to ward off bad dreams.  We have even tried positive imagery, but with little success.

Friday night, Miki climbed into her bed, but didn’t want to go to sleep because she didn’t want to have bad dreams again.  I talked to my little girl for a bit, and then told her to take it to God.  I said good night with kissing hands, and went downstairs to do some reading. After about an hour, I finished getting ready for bed and went to sleep.  I woke up the next morning and realized I had slept through the night.  I didn’t say anything until bedtime, when I casually commented on the fact that mommy had gotten a good night’s sleep.  She said “Yep, I prayed to God about my bad dreams, and I didn’t have any. So, what do you think about my prayers, Mommy?” I told her I think she needs to tell God “Thank you” right now, so she did.  We did our routine and said good night.

This  morning, again I woke up and realized that we had night number two with no bad dreams, and I said my own” thank you’s”, not for getting a good night’s sleep, but praying-hands1because it was evident that God was making his presence known in Miki’s life by responding to her request for help.  She took it to Him, and He answered her.  She was understanding the power of peace by trusting God. My little girl had her own firsthand experience with Him, and for that I am truly thankful.


Reach Out to Someone Reaching Out to You

Every day we have the opportunity to reach out to someone, whether with the words we write, the words we speak, or with a simple smile.  Sometimes it’s “How can I help you?” What about the times that someone reaches out to us?  “Can you please help me?”  or “Do you have a minute?” Are you too busy?


Conner is reaching out to you…can you reach back?


ADHD Needs a New Name


I recently read a guest opinion in the Boulder Daily Camera entitled The misnamed ADHD is not over-diagnosed that discussed the misconception that a person diagnosed with ADHD simply cannot pay attention. Veteran Boulder psychologist Bob Hopper, author of the guest opinion, noted that research has long demonstrated that people with ADHD can, in fact, exhibit concentrated focus when they are engaged by the activity or the topic.  Not only is ADHD not over-diagnosed, but is actually under-diagnosed in girls and adults, particularly women, because of the lack of understanding that ADHD presents differently in females, much like many other conditions.

I felt compelled to respond to Dr. Hoppers opinion, because he voiced something that I completely agree with, and even included in a book about ADHD I wrote recently.  ADHD is, indeed, misnamed.  ADHD is not the inability to pay attention, it is the unregulated ability to pay attention.  Simply put, the parts of the brain that are responsible for intentionally focusing on something are “sleepy,” which is why people with ADHD can focus on things that are of interest to them.  There are those, lacking a strong understanding of the nature of ADHD, who will observe a child or an adult deeply engrossed in an activity and draw the inaccurate conclusion that the person being observed “doesn’t really have ADHD–it’s just an excuse for lack of discipline or for simply not wanting to do some things.”

Dr. Hopper notes in his article that people with ADHD are interest-based learners, easily engaged in material or topics that are compelling to them.  He notes that this learning style successfully responds to four qualities: newness, interest, challenge, and urgency, and provides several examples of people, with whom we are all familiar, who fit this description: Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison.  As an adult with ADHD, I see this principle in action not only in myself, but also in my daughter and other children with ADHD with whom I interact with on a regular basis.  School systems that use these principles to drive education reach and teach not only students with ADHD, but all students.  Where are these school districts? Few and far between.  I know of two: Meade School District in South Dakota, and Boulder Valley School District (BVSD).  Fortunately, my daughter attends Lafayette Elementary School in BVSD, and I am incredibly thankful for the teachers and staff in this school.  The care and respect with which they treat their students is profound, and the difference they make is stunning.  I cannot fathom why this isn’t the norm across the country. Dr. Hopper comments in his article that students with ADHD are like square pegs being forced into round holes, forced to try to fit a one-size-fits-all mold that obviously does not work, yet education still tries to ride that dead horse.  The concept of tailoring education to meet learning style is not foreign; I experienced it and even had to study it when working on my masters, and experienced it while working for Corporate America as well.  Why do we appreciate this concept when referring to adult learning, yet cannot seem to grasp its importance when educating children?

As a final note, I would like to address medication for a moment.  When my daughter was diagnosed with ADHD, I was loathe to put her on anything; however, it was clear that ADHD was interfering with her ability to learn reading skills, so I chose to try it.  It worked, meaning that it increased her focus enough for her to learn the skills she needs to.  Medication did not cure her, and it did not alleviate other ADHD characteristics.  It simply allowed her to focus enough to learn.  The end.  I am on the same medication as she is, and I experience the same results.  It helps me focus enough to get work done, and to actually comprehend what I read.  Period.  Management of ADHD is a lot more involved for me and my daughter than simply taking our pill in the morning.  We both exercise, we both avoid certain foods and concentrate on others, we both need various organizing and time management tools, and we both are learning meditation and mindfulness, as well as techniques to manage stress and anxiety. ADHD requires daily management, and without medication, this would simply be impossible.  Medication puts our minds in a place where everything else can happen.

The book, What is ADHD and is it Contagious? is an overview of ADHD,  highlighting the differences of the diagnosis in girls, and addressing a number of  myths. It is intentionally a short book. I wanted the book to be a quick read, and wrote it to simplify the topic and to promote understanding. The book includes the personal perspective of Bell, an adult woman with ADHD, that  many of  you will relate with, and hopefully some of you will be compelled to view ADHD differently after reading it. The book is available in Kindle and paperback formats, for just a few dollars, and can be found at What is ADHD and is it Contagious?

I would love to hear your comments, not only about the comments in this post, but also the book.  Please take a moment to share.