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Smile How You Want, When You Want


Axel Muench/imdb

This lovely girl at left is Rowan Blanchard, a fourteen-year-old actress from a current Disney Channel show.

I saw last night that, according to an article on HuffPost Women, she gets a lot of flack from media and fans for not smiling more often. She has in response made a statement, simply saying, she’ll smile when she wants to!

I get it. Because why is a smile the obligation? Who is that important to, and for what reason?

My two daughters — just a bit younger than Miss Blanchard — have close-lipped, sweet smiles. And every fall, every year, the school picture photographers require that they bear their teeth for the camera, which is not natural for either of them on command. They end up feeling self-conscious, then unhappy with their pictures, and every year I resent those photographers for accepting nothing short of a huge, unrealistic expression based on what I can only assume are rote and rigid ideals, which don’t at all capture my girls in the way they want remembered. Again, for what reason?


See? My girls are smiling. And beautifully, I might add.

Why can’t children — those in the public eye — everyone — choose for themselves when to smile and how?

Love/Hate Relationships

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I’m a pretty private person. I’m not apt to share the minutia of my life with others. I bore myself half the time and figure I shouldn’t spend time boring others. I’ve even written entire blog posts on my hatred for Facebook.

But… Screen Shot 2012-11-15 at 1.59.16 PM

There are times when I discover things on FB that I never would have known. For instance, there is a page dedicated to the recovery of a young woman who suffered a traumatic brain injury after a car accident. I’m not sure how this page ended up on my feed, but a friend must have liked it and now I read the posts and updates whenever I see them.

I don’t know the girl. I don’t know her family. The posts are remarkable and uplifting and so full of hope. The mom and dad take turns writing posts that convey their courage and faith as the family takes baby step after baby step toward recovery.

There are thousands of pages like theirs on Facebook. Thousands. I’m not sure what it was about this one that caught my eye and made me read. And keep on reading. And praying for them. I believe in the power of prayer.

I found this girl’s story through a social media site I sometimes love and sometimes hate. Love or hate it, social media has power. Sometimes that power is a wonderful thing.

What about you? Have you found something through social media that has impacted your life? If so, would you please share?

The Eerie Feeling I’m Being Tracked…

Have you ever been surfing the internet, leaping from site to site, forgot where you left off last only to have your web browser remember for you?  Or whatever remembers for you?

Flickr: Itani stock photos

I’ll admit it.  I don’t know how all this web stuff works, but I do know they’re tracking my every movement.  No big deal coming from the woman who’s certain she’s made the “list” somewhere along the way, but seriously.  Am I crazy?  Paranoid?

I don’t think so.  I have a few WordPress blogs, a couple of websites using WordPress platform (though not accessed via  But when it came time to write my post for this week, I was denied access.  Denied access?  I practically saw red lights flashing around me, horns blasting “intruder!”  What do you mean denied access?

And then I read a bit further.  Seems I was logged in as “gardenfrisk” ~~ my garden blog persona.  Yep.  Not only do I multi-task, I multi-alias to boot!  No wonder I feel crazy–half the time I don’t know if I’m the author of romantic fiction or the organic gardener-extraordinaire.  Am I mom today, or career gal?  Incognito, or looking for attention and promo opportunities at every turn?

Phew.  This social media business can be downright exhausting.  Adding to this is my new venture into Pinterest.  Ever heard of it?  It’s all the rage.  Though I still haven’t convinced myself to sign on for the “Pin It” button action.  My web security detail, Mr. McAfee, doesn’t approve.  And if he doesn’t approve, I don’t approve.

So how I can remain part of the “in” crowd?  Guess I’ll have to upload and “pin it” photos myself, the old-fashioned way.  Is it worth it?  Well, that depends on what you’re after.  I was recently “discovered” by Pinterest because a member decided to “share” (hence, pin)  one of my garden blog photos to her Pinterest board.  I had over 500 hits that day!

Incredible.  If those numbers aren’t enough to make you look twice, I don’t know what is.  So I blinked.  I looked.  And now I’ll wade my way through yet another fabulous, revolutionizing social media site.  How about you?  Is it worth it?  Or is it merely a part of a greater, sinister plot?

Ducks, Waddling, and Quacks – Oh My!

I don’t know why I chose to write about ducks today.  Actually that’s not true.  I took a social media class online, taught by Kristen Lamb, and she asked us to write down 100 words that would describe ourselves.  At the time I thought that was crazy.  One-hundred words to describe ME?  Impossible.  But I let me mind wander and it wasn’t that hard at all to come up with 100 words to describe “Patti”.  You should try it some time.  It’s actually fun!  Anyway, she had a reason for her request.  As an author, Kristen says that readers want to know about us.  And what better way to do that than to pick a word that describes ourselves and write about that subject.

And one of my favorite things in life are ducks.  I mean, who can pass a duck waddling across the grass and not think they have the cutest way of walking?  And that quacking!   It makes me laugh every time I hear it.  Several months back I got out of my car at the local grocery store and there, in the middle of the parking lot, was a mother duck and her ducklings, keeping warm on the black top.  When they crossed the parking lot I had to play crossing guard so that they could safely navigate to another area.

There’s just something about the way ducklings scurry behind their mom that’s endearing.  It brings out the nurturing instincts in both men and women.

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