It is actually quiet in my home at this moment. I know it would seem that with only three of us living here that it must be quiet all the time, but this morning and early afternoon was just loud. I think it is because Caroline has been sick with a nose and throat thing since Friday evening. She’s hardly been able to talk and today she can. So she’s got about four days worth of words to get out. LOL!
At the moment, however, David and Caroline are gone so I can think. Here are all the random things I’ve been thinking about the last several days.
Some are just little nothings and some are really important.
Why You Should Interact With Emails
A tip about emails and newsletters you receive from anyone, not just me. You have to open them and click on them regularly. Most people don’t realize email processing programs (such as gmail and all the rest) are moving toward AI “management” of your email. One thing I read said that they are testing out the idea of deciding “when” you will want to see certain types of emails rather than delivering them in real time. Super. I can see all kinds of ways this will work out really well. (/sarcasm)
But if you don’t open and click on emails from a particular company or blogger, your email system will start to devalue them. Then the system as a whole starts to mark them as less valuable. Then they end up in your promotions folder or even spam. It’s the next way Big Tech is going to try to control what you see. They already do it with smartfeeds in Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and the like. It’s starting in your email to varying degrees.
So the tl;dr version – click on a link every time you get an email from me. Click through to my site to tell the email provider you want to keep getting my emails.
Generation X Retirement Planning
One of my goals for this year was my Gen X Retirement Planning site. I have massive amounts of research for it and I constantly tried to get to it. Now I know why I never did. With the widespread changes to online search and online advertising (here and here), my site would have gone nowhere. It’s one of those times I feel like God’s restraining hand was on the situation and He spared me a lot of frustration and disappointment. I can still use all the research and info here in financial posts (and have just started to do so) so it isn’t wasted. But I’m so glad I never made much progress there. There was a reason.
If there are any free printables you want on my site that are in posts (not the shop), please take a few minutes and go into the posts and save a copy to your hard drive. I am thinking about moving all of my free products to my shop and I want to save you the hassle of having to go through the checkout process. I am also going to remove many of the free ones so they will only be available through purchase in my shop. Again, I want you to be able to get them now since you are a loyal reader.
No Sunshine and Other Miscellaneous
In the past seven days, we’ve had approximately 18 minutes of sunshine. Yes, you read that right. In 7 days, 18 minutes total. I like cloudy weather, but this morning I could tell it was getting to me. I think it will be time to get out the special lamp tomorrow morning. Thankfully we’ve had snow on the ground for most of that so it is brighter outside. I love the glow of snow at night especially so that’s been welcome.
I’m seriously thinking about moving my newsletter to Sunday. I was going to try it this past
Sunday, but then I ended up making our Thanksgiving meal that day. (Long story) And then Caroline was sick and David had stuff to do and it just all went out the window. But I was thinking about moving it to Sunday so people can either enjoy it on Sunday or it will be waiting for them Monday morning when they get back online if they turn off their technology on Sunday.
Politics and Culture
After David and I completed the gorgeous redo of my cultural commentary site, I fully realized how much Google and social media are never going to allow that site to take off. I haven’t posted on it in almost a month. Not because there isn’t anything to say because there is a lot. But because it seems like a waste of time to continue adding to a site that won’t be seen. I just received the domain renewal and it feels like throwing money away.
I went back and looked at the Reader Survey for 2019 for this site and was struck again by how many people liked it when we discussed things happening in our culture during the Kavanaugh hearings and such. At the same time, I lost over a hundred subscribers very quickly so not everyone likes discussing the truth. I absolutely hate that things have become so toxic in our country (and other parts of the world such as the U.K. with Brexit) that even trying to have helpful discussions is seen as divisive.
And yet I believe that if those of us who are sane and able to have conversations about facts and truth don’t have those conversations in a public manner then we are letting the nutjobs win.
We’re allowing ourselves to be shut down by people who have nothing to offer other than rage and projection.
I have a post that’s been written in my head for months about why I don’t celebrate the record high women participation rate in the workplace that Republicans and Conservatives like to rattle off when they discuss the accomplishments under President Trump. I’m a Conservative through and through, but I don’t celebrate this number and I think it would be interesting to discuss why in the context of faith, money, and parenting. But discussing women in the workplace, feminism, and the like? Some readers here will love it and we’ll have a great conversation. Others will hate that I mentioned anything to do with controversial topics.
People Who Compartmentalize Their Lives
Part of the problem for me is I don’t understand how people compartmentalize their lives. For example, there are more and more Christian homeschool bloggers who write from a purely secular viewpoint in order to attract more readers. Well, I understand it from the practical standpoint of wanting a bigger audience. But I’ve tried going that route and I can’t do it. I cannot separate my faith from my parenting, my homeschooling, my homemaking, my money, or any other subject in my website menu bar. As a follower of Christ, how do I cut off something that is in me? How do I discuss anything without taking into account the Holy Spirit who indwells me? I can’t.
In fact, it’s not just that I can’t. It’s that I would feel dishonest to not tell the full story of my life. How do I take the blessings and challenges that God has allowed in my life and then ignore Him by pretending He has no impact on it all when writing about my experiences? I can’t.
So it’s weird for me that people think it’s fine or even admirable to advocate for gifted kids or homeschooling or Christian faith or marriage or whatever but to advocate for or against political or cultural movements that will have a PROFOUND impact on my child, my grandchildren (God willing), my freedom to practice my faith, my freedom to homeschool, my freedom to do business as I choose, my very freedom of speech, etc. is somehow seen as crossing the line. People think it’s mean or wrong.
I don’t get that.
Whether we like it our not, we live in a politicized culture right now. We’re in the midst of something on the same scale as the American Revolution or the Civil War. To think that people going through those historic times never discussed the various points of view or got into arguments over aspects of it is ludicrous. We know they did. We know that family members literally took up arms against each other. The Civil War ripped families apart. But to take a stand today against blatant evil or the undermining of our constitution is seen as uncivil or hateful.
Why do we think we have the luxury or even the responsibility to stay silent? Don’t we look back with gratitude on the men and women who risked everything in order to give us the freedom we have today? If we stay silent so as not to offend people, we’re not living up to the example given to us by those who went before. We’re giving in to the bullies and the weak who are unable or unwilling to defend the freedoms they enjoy and take for granted. We’re allowing the immature and selfish who would gladly destroy our heritage make us cower in silence.
It’s disgusting that we allow ourselves to be censored in this way.
So what does this all mean?
Setting Up Political and Cultural Forum Area
It means this. I’ve decided that this website has my name on it and it’s going to contain whatever I want it to contain. I’ve tried over and over again to appease the people who want no controversial topics just like I tried to appease the highly partisan secular gifted/2e community by not talking about my faith.
I can’t do it. And I won’t do it.
I am going to move my cultural commentary site to a part of the forum. It will NOT be in the main part of my site. It will be at the bottom of the forum page so if you want to use it, you’ll be able to easily find it. If you want to pretend like nothing is going on, you don’t have to scroll down to look at it. I don’t want my main blog overrun with political posts either. I want to keep it focused on peace, understanding, joy, beauty, and faith. But for those who indicated in the reader survey that they really like the discussions about cultural issues, this will be happy news for you. You can find it right here every day.
I’m in the process of building the new area. I cannot import the posts from the other site so I have to copy and paste them. I’m going to unfortunately lose all the comments. If you commented over there and want to copy your comment over here, that’s great. Otherwise they will just be lost.
I thought about putting the new forum behind a password, but I decided I’m not treating people like snowflakes and babies. That’s half the problem with this country. If someone is triggered by what I put in this new forum, they probably need to read it without being hindered by a password.
So that’s where we are. I started out the year with three websites and I’ll be back to one by the end of the year.