Archive for ‘Uncategorized’

February 5, 2013

Make the Switch

 

I Have!

It took me a little over a year, but I’ve finally made the switch… from wordpress.com to wordpress.org. It took longer than I would have liked because it turns out I’m not as technically savvy as I thought. But I did it! 

 My new blog can be found at blog.terrificwords.com. It will look the same as this one. The difference is I’ll be able to take advantage of all the cool widgets and plug-ins available to wordpress.org users. That means I’m part of the cool kids now! 🙂

So please head over there and make sure you follow the new blog. Starting next week, I will begin posting on the new blog every Tuesday

Can’t wait to see you over there!

TERRIfic Words Quip: It takes time. Never forget that. 

December 25, 2012

A Christmas Poem in Honor of Newtown

I can’t take credit for this poem. It’s been circling the internet for a while now and was passed on to me by my parents. Though it makes me tear up, it certainly helps to lift spirits and rekindle the fire this Christmas. Enjoy!

 

Twas’ 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38                        A Christmas Poem for Newtown
when 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven’s gate.
their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air.
they could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.
they were filled with such joy, they didn’t know what to say.
they remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day.
“where are we?” asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse.
“this is heaven.” declared a small boy. “we’re spending Christmas at God’s house.”
when what to their wondering eyes did appear,
but Jesus, their savior, the children gathered near.
He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same.
then He opened His arms and He called them by name.
and in that moment was joy, that only heaven can bring
those children all flew into the arms of their King
and as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace,
one small girl turned and looked at Jesus’ face.
and as if He could read all the questions she had
He gently whispered to her, “I’ll take care of mom and dad.”
then He looked down on earth, the world far below
He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and woe
then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand,
“Let My power and presence re-enter this land!”
“may this country be delivered from the hands of fools”
“I’m taking back my nation. I’m taking back my schools!”
then He and the children stood up without a sound.
“come now my children, let me show you around.”
excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran.
all displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can.
and i heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight,
“in the midst of this darkness, I AM STILL THE LIGHT.”

Written by Cameo Smith, Mt. Wolf, PA

November 27, 2012

How to Accept the Apology You Never Got

I remember the day exactly. The moment I knew I’d never look at her the same way again. It was the same day she managed to

Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

shoot me down to size, rip my heart out, and remove any remaining faith I had left in humanity or myself. It didn’t take much. Just a simple phrase related to the one thing in my life that I shield from the world. I’ll never know how she found out, but she zeroed in on my Achilles heel and shot fire like a pro.

On that day, my entire world changed. I didn’t trust her and our relationship forever changed. But most importantly, I didn’t trust myself. For as long as I could remember, I was the girl with a shield. Harsh words came my way and they rolled off my back. Suddenly, this lady not only made me question her, but it made me question myself. I considered myself a fraud. After all, how can I let someone break me down so easily after professing my strength and ability to ignore insignificant voices for years? How could I continue to call myself a lover over a fighter if all I wanted to do was duck for cover only after I made her feel the pain she put me through? Everything I thought I was turned out to be a lie. I was lying to myself for years and I was just starting to learn the truth about myself. There was no way that I was such an optimistic and resilient person if I let the harsh words of another woman bring me down.

For days and weeks later, I continued to replay the moment in my head – the moment the inflicted pain and harsh words changed my life forever. I lived in constant vision of what my life would have been had I not been wronged. Would I be happier? Would we have a better relationship? Would I still be the vibrant person I knew myself to be? Would I still be living the lie of a tough chick? They were all questions I may never know the answers to. So why bother dwelling in it?

It came to me that I would only be living a lie if I continued to let this heartless person unknowingly run my run my life. Despite that fact that she took my heart and put it in a blender with her cold comments, it was time for me to forgive her. It wasn’t an easy feat considering I never got an apology, but it was something I had to do. I didn’t want to accept that I lied about who am for so long and wanted to be the hero of my story. After weeks of struggling to accept her non-existing apology, it all become easier when I did just one thing. I remembered the acceptance of this “apology” and ability to forgive her wasn’t a favor to her. It was a favor to me so I could live my life once again. So I could have peace of mind. And once I recognized that I should actually be thanking this poor soul for showing me that she was lying about herself all those years, my ability to forgive grew. Once I realized what she said was more about her and not me, accepting that apology became so much easier.

There will always be callous people, hurtful words, and disappointing moments. The important thing to remember is that those moments won’t change who you are unless you allow it to. And not allowing them to change you and live your life becomes that much easier once you learn to accept the apology you never got.

How have you learned to accept apologies you didn’t receive? 

TERRIfic Quip: Give up on all hope of a better past. Instead, invest in the hope of a better future. 

October 16, 2012

What You Can Learn from Your 6-year old Self

My parents taught me not to judge a book by it’s cover. As a child, I certainly took that life lesson to heart. When I was six years old, I made friends with everyone. Age, religion, race, social status, sexuality just didn’t matter to me. Chances are it didn’t matter to most six years old. That’s why it shouldn’t have come of much surprise when I made friends with an eleven year old girl who lived in the same complex I did. Not only was she five years older than me, but she was deaf and mute. (That’s where the surprise came in) It didn’t matter that we didn’t understand each other or that we were years apart. All we saw in each other was a playmate and a best friend.

Of course, there were those who probably thought that it was impossible to build a strong a relationship when you couldn’t even communicate with each other. After all, she was a deaf eleven year old and I was a six year old that didn’t understand sign language. But that didn’t matter. We showed each other the world. She taught me how to do cartwheels and things she learned in gymnastics and I taught her how to play card games and things I did in Girl Scouts. We were inseparable and had a strong bond.

As we grew older we started to drift apart and then she moved away. However, our frienship hasn’t been forgotten. I often wonder how she is and look back in awe at how close we had become. Even though, I was the one in the middle of this fairytale friendship it was like one of the eight wonders of the world to me. For some reason, I couldn’t get over the fact that all we had in common was our address and the shared desire to play. I couldn’t help but ask myself, why everything can’t be that simple. And then I realized everything is that simple. Oddly enough, it took my reflecting on my life as a six year old to realize that.

There will always be obstacles, differences, and hardships. However, those obstacles and differences always seem much bigger than they are because we make it that way. Rather than focusing on the obsolete, it would be wise to focus on the greater good. There will always be a solution. And there will always be a way out of the tunnel. If not, there really isn’t a problem. So stop stressing yourself out. And stop making a problem bigger than it is. Chances are there is a simpler route and a solution but you’ve blinded yourself from it.

It would have been easy for my childhood friend and I to refuse to cross pasts because of our obvious dissimiarities. We could have chosen to predict unforseen problems with building a friendship based on something as shallow as playtime and avoided it. However, we chose to build something meaningful based on our shared common ground. It’s a premise that can and should be applied to romantic relationships, professional relationships, family life, etc.

Rather than dissect every situation until there is nothing left, we should accept every situation for what it is and make the best of it. After all, that’s how friendship is made and opportunities are seized. It’s hard to believe that it was a life lesson I understand at such a young age, but took twenty years for me to grasp. Turns out the wide-eyed and innocent children know a little more than we think… Silence the voices and the differences and just let your inner child speak.

What life lessons have you learned from your youth?

TERRIfic Quip: Everything is simple. We make it difficult.

August 7, 2012

I Carry Play-Doh in my Purse. You Should Too

Contrary to popular belief, I am not regressing. I just love the innocence and bright spirits of children so I decided to keep it as  FreeDigitalPhotos.net close to my heart as possible. Hence, the reason why I keep play-doh in my purse 24/7.

Here’s my theory: If I open my bag I will find several things that I relate certain thoughts and tasks to. For example, my check book reminds of student loan bills. My cell phone reminds me of one of two things 1.) My fiance or 2.) work. And all the receipts in my purse remind of all the money I no longer have because I spent it and feel broke. Obviously, this can make anyone a bit down if this is what they see in their purse everyday. But what nests within the depths of my trusty handbag is a little more promising. I’ve got a playful side, an imaginative side, and a relaxed side. It’s called my Play-Doh.

Still not sure why I or anyone else should carry around Play-Doh? Imagine this. It’s Friday the 13th and you are definitely having an unlucky day. You didn’t get the raise you asked for. You left your lunch on the train. And to top it off you’ve got a cold that prevented you from giving a business presentation in which people could actually understand what you are saying. As you run home from the train station in the rain, you drop your keys and break your heels. At that moment you think your day can’t get any worse. As you dig through your purse for tissues to blow your nose, you come across something that instantly brings a smile upon your face. It’s your Play-Doh. Suddenly, you go through the rest of the day with a spirit you were absent of previously.

I mean, let’s be real. No matter how terrible your day might be going, it would be pretty difficult for you to keep a straight face once you find a little jar of fun within your belongings. You can’t help but  feel a little bit better once opening the small jar and are welcomed with the familiar scent of innocence mixed with paste while your anxious fingers dig right into the squishy delight. Yes, people look at me like I’m crazy when I pull out my Play-Doh and make creatures during lunch breaks, waiting at bus stops or when I’m bored. But within a few minutes the ones who are giving me odd looks and asking why I feel the need to play are the same ones who soon end up asking for a piece to join in on the fun. It becomes a great conversation starter and an easy way to make friends. After all, every one deserves the opportunity to revisit childhood every once in a while.

To make it even better, it becomes my personal purple stress ball in the most draining of moments

Who knew Play-Doh could do so much? And it’s only $.88 at Walmart!

TERRIfic Quip: We’re all just one small adjustment from making our lives work. (Courtesy of How Do You Know)

July 24, 2012

Time for a Change of Direction

After eight months of managing the TERRIfic Words blog. I’ve decided it’s time for a change. I’m taking the blog in a whole new direction. Better put, I finally have a direction. I’ll be honest. When I first started this blog, I had no idea what I wanted to write about. I just knew I wanted to write and I needed to have a blog, which is totally bad coming from a pro writer. For some reason, it didn’t matter how many blogs I churned out for other clients with ease. I still got a mental block when it came to zoning in on one area and letting the words flow for my own blog. Well, that ends now. (It kind of ended a few weeks ago, but now it’s official).

No more writing about weddings, writing, business, education, appearance, New Jersey and everything else under the sun. Instead, the focus of my blog will be about self-improvement, and making the world a better place. It will be uplifting, inspiring, eye-opening and will even bring a smile to your face at times. As some of you may have noticed, my blog already began heading in that direction with posts discussing missing children, the importance of being friendly, and writing effective to-do lists. I’ve even included TERRIfic Quips at the end of each post meant to motivate and inspire.

Of course, you will still see posts about writing, and business, self-image, etc. from time to time, but the overall focus will still be the good in the world and encourage improvement for the better. It’s easy to forget the potential the world has to offer when we are faced with statistics about death, poor economy, job loss, and crime on nearly a daily basis. That’s why I’m making it my mission to take all the heartache and injustices in the world and show you the positive or how to turn it into a positive. Remember, everything is cracked. That’s how the light gets in. It’s up to us to make the world a better place. After all, We CAN do the impossible.

So please bear with me as make I the change and prepare yourself to be inspired, motivated, and happy. In the mean time, I’d love to hear your suggestions on what should be included.

What things inspire you or motive you to take action against injustices? Are there any topics you would like to see covered?

TERRIfic Quip: It’s never too late to be what you might have been.

June 19, 2012

Learn to Bite Your Tongue

Have you ever found yourself in one of those peculiar situations where you just can’t help but say the wrong thing? Whether it be traveling abroad, attending a wedding, or enjoying a business lunch sometimes you just can’t help but find yourself with your foot in your mouth creating the most awkward and uncomfortable situations. While it may seem like common sense, some phrases and questions really are difficult to decipher. Sometimes it’s because the person just isn’t thinking. Other times the person just might be curious. Regardless of the reason, there’s no denying that people just don’t know how to act! It becomes even more obvious when you are the recipient of the unwelcome comments and tasteless questions.

Luckily, there is now help. After finding myself on the receiving end of way too many comments in poor taste (and been the one to unknowingly deliver them), I’ve decided to start an ebook series designed to help people avoid them. The series will include books describing what not to say in several scenarios such as weddings, at parties, when traveling, during lunch dates etc. Not only will the book provide practical advice on how to keep your foot out of your mouth, it will have you nodding in agreement, blushing with embarrassment and reflecting on past experiences as you see yourself in the scenarios. Check out the first installment here.

Oddly, enough I’ve found myself one too many times on both sides of the scenario. I will never forget the day I was shopping in the maternity section for a friend’s gift and chatted up a friendly woman in the store. We discussed pregnancy, how much it costs to have children, things to buy etc. We giggled and sighed as we shared a mutual hate for baby expenses. And as she analyzed some more maternity clothes I made the biggest mistake anyone could make by letting some dreaded words leave my lips.  “How far along are you?” Seems like an innocent enough question. Only problem is she wasn’t pregnant. I immediately got upset with myself for ruining what could have been a great friendship that started in the maternity section and turning it into the moment this kind woman suddenly second-guessed her appearance,  convinced herself to go into hiding and committing to a “no – anything that tastes good” diet. (Of course, I’m speculating but knowing that things really could have ran through her mind kills me.)

What makes it worse is knowing that anything you say from that point on could never make it better no matter how much you grovel or apologize. I will now forever be remembered as “the woman in the store that called me fat by assuming I was pregnant.” Needless to say, I’ve never made the mistake of uttering those words again. But could you blame me? We were in the maternity department and she was measuring maternity clothes against herself!

And then there were times that I was on the receiving end of thoughtless comments. Like the day someone mindlessly asked me why I have a boy name during a social event. Or the other time, someone told me I was too young to get married. And how could I forget the time someone asked if I had a job because I collect coupons and shop at thrift stores. Or the time, an acquaintance asked if my fiance is white. And the time….. Well, you get the picture. The point is we have stupid things said to us all the time, but we rarely acknowledge the times that we can be just as stupid. It’s about time that ends…

When have you made a thoughtless comment to someone that did more harm than good? In what situations do you find yourself on the receiving end of comments in poor taste?

TERRIfic Quip: Be your own advocate. No one can do it as well as you.

January 2, 2012

New Year, New Focus: 2012 Edition

It’s that time of year when everyone decides to break out that New Year’s Resolution post. Since it seems like the “in” thing, I figured I’d give it a try.

I’ve never been one to make resolutions for when the clock strikes midnight, mostly because so many things can change from now to the end of a year. Resolutions also seem to lack direction and come off as vague. I usually break my goals down by month – much more attainable and manageable that way. However, I must admit that I do have some things I want to focus on to help me reevaluate my career and the direction it’s heading in.

I’m about to make some moves this year. Here’s where I’m going…

1. Get out of my bubble and mingle. It seems as though I’ve fallen into that loneliness that many freelancers tend to encounter. This year I want to spend more time reaching out to more freelance professionals; especially writers. Not only is it good for personal growth, it’s good for business. Of course, I can’t forget to reach out to the contacts I already have.

2. Work on appearance.Naturally, as a professional writer my focus tends towards content. However, it’s about time I worry about the appearance of my blog, website and marketing material. Expect to see changes.

3. Actually use my Writer’s Market book. Almost every year, some kind soul gives me a Writer’s Market reference book and I always neglect to use it the way I should. It’s about time I start utilizing the gold right at my fingertips.

4. Pitch like mad. Last year, I lost sight of my passion of magazine writing and focused more on copywriting projects and clients. This year I plan to focus more on doing more in the magazine world and pitching more editors as though my life depended on it.

5. Make a difference. The whole reason I got involved with journalism and writing was to make a difference in the world. However, I seem to have fallen short of that. Playing to my passion of volunteering and writing life-changing pieces is of utmost importance this year.

I think one of my biggest challenges is not getting completely consumed in wedding plans! Wish me luck!

Where are you heading this year? What’s your focus?

December 21, 2011

Give the Gift of Thanks

If you are anything like the 77 percent of Americans who didn’t finish holiday shopping, you’re scrambling frantically for the perfect gift. With Chanukah here and only four days left till Christmas you are probably feeling hopeless; especially if you are a business owner giving gifts to employees or clients. The solution: Keep it simple by giving thanks.

It’s amazing what a (handwritten) thank you card can do. The gesture says so much more than any other store bought gift. Not only is it simple and inexpensive, it almost guarantees a smile by the recipient. It’s also the perfect excuse to buy pretty stationary and corny cards. While you can purchase thank you cards with a message, I prefer blank cards so I can personalize it. Giving each note a special touch makes all the difference… and it’s good for business. Clients really do appreciate the effort business people make in getting to know them and building a relationship.

Of course, this strategy isn’t only reserved for holidays. Sending notes all year is a great, fun idea. Try sending two thank you cards everyday. I know what you are thinking… “I don’t have time to send two cards to clients everyday.” Trust me. It doesn’t take a lot of time. I spend about ten minutes five days a week sending personalized thank you notes. And I must admit that they are ten minutes well spent; especially since I they seem to be well-received judging by the responses I receive. I also love the tingly feeling I get when doing something to bring a smile to someone’s face.

December 14, 2011

A Freelance Writer’s Christmas List

It’s that time of year where  the smell of mistletoe and pine fill the air. It’s also the time where all the best bargain hunters

scramble around to present those nearest to them with the perfect gift.

Just in case you were wondering, us freelance writer’s aren’t terribly difficult to shop for. In fact, it’s practically a walk in the

Photo Credit: taesmileland / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

park.  And I’ve been especially good all year. I’ve turned in stories on deadline and even did the extra legwork to find amazing sources so I know I deserve something good! 🙂

Not sure what to get someone like me? Just take a look at my list for some direction:

1. To have the time to write two books that I’ve had on my mind for a while

2. That all future assignments pay at least $2 a word (Thanks Michelle V. Rafter!)

3. That all publications I work with pay on receipt rather than on acceptance

4. That I get a ton of client referrals so I’ll almost never have to market myself again

5. A subscription to all my favorite magazines

6. The ability to keep churning out amazing story ideas

7. To get two assignments for every pitch sent out

8. An external hard drive and time to back everything up

9. A loving, lasting relationship with all of the most fabulous editors and clients

10. The opportunity to interview a high-profile person for an article

11. Have a column syndicated

12. Have a movie created that is based on one of my stories

13. Time to travel and write about my travels

14. That a bunch of people re-tweet this post

15. Make friends with lots of other freelance writes in the area

16. To be able to retain some rights to everything I write that is published

Am I missing something? Hey fellow writers, what’s on your list?