Life in the Slow Lane

Contemplating life, faith, words, and memories

Defining Friendship in Today’s World — September 16, 2014

Defining Friendship in Today’s World

Today I’m visiting with my friend, Mary Gottschalk, on her blog with a look at the topic of friendship in today’s world and how we define it within our social existence of networks, life, and more. Won’t you come join Mary and me to discuss this ever-changing definition?


Henri Nouwen

Henri Nouwen’s quote defines the foundation of a friendship. In looking at online definitions of the word “friendship,” they are many. Not one encompasses the qualities necessary to move from “being friends” to a true and lasting friendship.

The definition found in Urban Dictionary is worth reading and understanding as it relates to today’s ever-growing cybernetic society:

“Something that is much underrated in our society. Friendship is actually a form of love (here I’m not talking exclusively about erotic love). It’s not a lesser form of love than erotic love, only a different form of love. In fact, the ancient Greeks had a word, “phileos”, more or less equating to fraternal/brotherly love (friendship). …” [read more here]

With the birth and exponential growth of social media, we use new words to define or describe friendships and how they are created. As the 2000s rolled by, social media networks burgeoned and we began to meet new people online.

(Read the rest here …)

Divorce and Teenagers | A Guest Post on Mary Gottschalk’s Blog — November 25, 2013

Divorce and Teenagers | A Guest Post on Mary Gottschalk’s Blog

Image: ImageToArt
Image: ImageToArt

Today I’m visiting with Mary Gottschalk on her blog with an essay I wrote on the topic of adolescents and divorce and how that combination impacts a family. My essay dovetails with a novel-in-progress Mary is working on where just such a situation is making life difficult for a mother and her 13-year old daughter. I do hope you will come and visit Mary’s blog and join in the discussion.

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Divorce and teens don’t mix well.

Carl Pickhardt, Ph.D., a psychologist in Austin, TX, wrote in an article published in Psychology Today in 2009:

Because the adolescent is at a more disaffected and rebellious stage with parents, divorce can intensifies [sic] their grievances. Rather than cling, the adolescent tends to pull away. Adolescents often feel betrayed by the broken parental commitment to family and become angrier and less communicative. (Emphasis mine.)

I know from experience that something changes during adolescence, creating a resurgence of memories from childhood layered onto the present.

I saw this with my stepdaughter, who was almost six when her parents divorced. By the time Leah (not her real name) reached adolescence, her life experiences included (1) learning she was adopted, (2) seeing her adoptive parents divorce, and (3) watching daddy remarry.

In her memory bank, each of these events directly linked to a woman who had let her down – her birth mother, her adoptive mother, and me. Leah’s adolescent rage centered on a distrust of women.

Leah’s solution: Bring Mom and Dad back together again and all will be right with the world. How to make this happen? Destroy Dad’s new marriage.

Around 15, Leah convinced us her life at home with Mom and Mom’s boyfriends was miserable, and she needed stability. We believed her every word.

Read more here . . . 

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On tap for tomorrow, a post on memory triggers. I think you’ll find it interesting, and I’m looking forward to your comments adding to the list!

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Guest Post at Clara Freeman’s Blog on Insights Gained While Writing Memoir — November 22, 2013

Guest Post at Clara Freeman’s Blog on Insights Gained While Writing Memoir

I am privileged today to be sharing some insights I’ve gained while writing my memoir on Clara Freeman’s blog, Clara54’s Weblog. I hope you’ll take the time to visit me there.

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For most of my life, I wanted to write. Words on paper fascinated me even as a child. Writing exercises in first grade were fun!

My dad was a printer and publisher. I could smell the paper and ink on his skin each evening as he came home. He began teaching me some of the tools of the trade when my age reached double digits. Proofreading and editing became my holiday money-making gambit.

In high school and college, research papers became “writing” on a larger scale. I thrived on those assignments. I loved the search for the best material to prove my point, or the sentence or phrase to place my professor in awe of my writing abilities. I knew I wanted to write something bigger though – a book, something between covers, something others read.

Read more here . . .

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Too Old to Write? Proof the Answer is “NO!” — September 11, 2013

Too Old to Write? Proof the Answer is “NO!”

Today I am sharing blogging space with Madeline Sharples on her blog. It is my hope that you’ll follow me over to Madeline’s to talk about when a person becomes too old to write. I think you already know my answer!

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Lately I’ve been asked by friends and family what I’m doing with my time in retirement. Since I left my position with a local law firm in 2006, I’ve spent a lot of time with expensive surgeons who have corrected my eyesight and repaired a lot of bones. I discount those months as paid medical leave (paid by me and my retirement fund) and explain that I’m at last fulfilling a lifelong dream of writing.

The responses I have received are jarring, startling and some even painful:

  • Aren’t you too old to be writing a book?  (Excuse me?)
  • At this stage in your life, do you really want to deal with the burden of writing and then publishing a book? (I really love it!)
  • What if no one wants to publish a book by a retired legal secretary? (I beg your pardon?)
  • What do you have to write about? (Stories – lots of stories.)

And the list goes on.  I try to smile and make polite comments. However, I didn’t realize there was an age limit on when a person could write a book.

At a workshop I attended last winter, one of the workshop coordinators took a moment to announce a regular attendee was no longer with us. (Read the remainder of the post here . . .)

How to Review a Book in Eight Easy Steps — September 2, 2013

How to Review a Book in Eight Easy Steps

Today I’m over at Kathy Pooler’s blog, Memoir Writer’s Journey. Kathy asked me to share with her readers, and mine, what process I follow when reviewing a book. Writing this post didn’t come as easily as reviewing a book does, but I now have down just what I do when I review a book, no matter the genre. So, here goes!

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“A good, sympathetic review is always a wonderful surprise.”
Joyce Carol Oates

Image: SpiritFire via Flickr

Loving books and reading them has been a part of who I am since childhood. The only thing that has changed is that now I review books.

When Kathy invited me to talk about how to review a book, I mentally stopped in my tracks.

How does one explain the process of reviewing a book?

There are many online sites where you can review books — on a blog, at Amazon, Goodreads and other book outlets.

Recently, author Jody Hedlund shared some “creative” reviews of her book, Noble Groom. Take time to look at these — they are interesting and unique. Although I tend to stick to standard reviews, you may find something that is a perfect fit with your blog or a book you’re reading. And one day I may step outside the box. For today, however, I’ll just stick with explaining my standard method.

Read the rest at Kathy’s blog . . .