Category Archives: Customs

Reaching Out: Social Justice Award

Bloggers Who Reach Out

Reaching out to others means at least calling out from a hole. I prefer when it means looking out to see what others are up to. I am even happier when it means interacting with others. The best is when we connect to grow.

Many bloggers reach out by interacting with readers on a regular basis. They produce posts from careful wording and editing and research. They give credit to their sources. Most of all, they shine light on issues that matter. I admire them, and want to express my appreciation by way of the Reaching Out: Social Justice Award.

Jenni of Unload And Unwind created the Social Justice Award to “acknowledge those whose work seeks to inform, aid and connect with others. It is a large world we live in and often there is such strife but the internet has made it smaller. Social media has given us the tools to make us closer and to find and disseminate new information and ideas, reach out to those who need it and speak out when there is injustice.”

I am one of her first nominees! I feel very honored to be recognized by a blogger who reaches out to many people while sharing her own challenges, in an inspiring way.

The conditions are:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you, and create a link back to their blog.
  2. Insert a Link back to the original award page to create a pingback so that Jenni can chart the progress of the award.
  3. Nominate no more than three people for this award, and write a short paragraph [or longer] saying why you chose each one, and what each one does.
  4. Display the badge somewhere on your blog, either in the sidebar or an awards page.

Honorable Mention

I am limited to three nominations. I would give the award to the following bloggers, but you have met them in other posts on my blog. Therefore, I am simply reminding you of them before I announce the award winners.

Jeff was the first person whom I thought of for this award. His blog Deconstructing Myths has been reaching out on WordPress since August 2012. He shines his light strongly and consistently on troubling issues, shares many links for further investigation, and stirs his readers to discuss the issues in his comments sections. His readers leave intriguing comments. His guest bloggers are some of the most outspoken people in favor of justice. On top of all of that, you can rely on his judgment when he guides you to some of the best of WordPress via his Jeffster Awards.

Jeff introduced me to Dandelion Salad, which has been a WordPress fixture since June 2007. It is a blog that acts much like a forum. DS has been one of the most useful places to find reports on events submitted by more than a dozen regular contributors (and many more less frequent ones), and articles and videos by the greatest Social Justice activists. This blog is quiet recently, only posting a few times each week instead of several articles every day, and its energy might resume if enough of us offer enough substantial support or persuasion.

Ohnwentsya posts numerous times every day on Spirit In Action. She began her blog in September 2011. Her posts are enlightening, empowering, and insightful. She collects articles from The Oracle Report, Truthout, Yes! magazine, and some of the other greatest sources. Her blog has the potential to provide nourishment for the roots of social justice movements, and a shift in planetary energy.

Award Winners

Many of the bloggers whom I read are equally qualified for this honor. I decided to come up with fair criteria to narrow the list of candidates, and select my three winners:

  • not previously featured on my blog
  • focuses on a social justice issue in a creative and effective way
  • promotes social justice by reaching out and connecting to share ideas that make us closer

I am awarding the Reaching Out: Social Justice Award to the following bloggers:

Carol of Voices From the Margins encourages conversations about how to raise awareness of diversity and its value. She describes using fascinating exercises in the cultural awareness workshops that she leads.

Danielle of Broken Light Collective presents a guest blogger each day who knows mental illness (personally, professionally, or socially), and who also photographs. Each image is inspiring, especially after reading the artist’s explanation of the significance of the photograph that they share. This blog is giving hope and support to people who are connected with mental illness. Photography is working as therapy for the photographers and viewers.

StoriesBellyHeader Diahann of Stories From the Belly appeals to sexual empowerment. She urges men and women to overcome shame by discussing — in healing ways — feminine and sexual experiences. She brings sex issues out of the closet, and repurposes the sex act as something for the participant(s) to completely enjoy.


I welcome comments about other social justice blogs that are important to share. (note: if you include “too many” links in your comment, the WordPress spam filter will hold it, and I will need to manually approve the comment. Please feel confident that I approve over 99% of the comments submitted to my blog — except unrelated advertising spam.)

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Meet My Main Character Blog Tour

Jo Robinson tagged me to continue a tradition of bloggers. Meet My Main Character Blog Tours resemble radio interviews: tune in now for answers to questions posed to me, and a week later for answers to the same questions posed to other authors. This tour asks the authors of works-in-progress to answer questions about the main characters of their historical fiction novels. Jo describes her main character as being part of other-worldly myths that she (her main character) doesn’t believe in. Jo features this character in her Shadow People series. Shadow People: The Hunger coverJo and I write similarly: our characters tell us their stories, and we merely translate them into a language that you can read. And now, the questions and answers about my historical novel-in-progress:

  1. What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person? Polly is my grandmother’s grandmother, as I imagine her.

  2. When and where is the story set? Polly raised her family in the mid 1800s in the crude log cabin that her husbandbuilt in Pennsylvania, USA. My sister and I stirred up few clues about Polly and her family, through our genealogical research projects during the past few decades. I felt amused and then angered when I hit adead end inan historical reference book that declared that Polly’s family didn’t “succeed” because they didn’t develop their land into villages; they didn’testablish businesses on their land in the mid 1800s; they remained farmers.  I define “success” differently, thus I continue her story beyond the history books.
    Polly's mother Elizabeth

  3. What should we know about him/her? Polly grew up surrounded by people whom her parents and grandparents had grown up with in Germany. The adults were doing what they could to stay together in this land that was new to them. Their language was a unique combination of German and English; that is a fun puzzle to translate as I read their historical documents.
    Polly's husband William

  4. What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life? Polly’s story is a fictional diary. She writes about reaching the age of marriage and child-rearing. She gives you the unfamiliar perspective of a young woman at that time in that culture. It is a time when her community’s life has become much easier and requires less creativity, but basic survival is still challenging. They were reviving their old ways as much as possible.

  5. What is the personal goal of the character? Polly has the new challenge of defining how to be happy and creative when strategies for survival have become easier and more familiar, and leisure time has become available. My personal goal is to help her figure that out.

  6. Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it? I refer to it as Polly’s Diary, or Diary of a Modern Household. I have not yet shared any excerpts or notes beyond what I shared with you here. Leave me a comment, and I’ll be glad to keep you updated on its progress.

  7. When can we expect the bookto be published? Itwill be published after I finish writing it, or when someoneyanks it from me 🙂 I’m considering putting everything aside for a few weeks to see how far I can get if I focus on it single-mindedly. I am still choosing which word processing program to use to assemble the pieces that Ihave been writing on receipts, magazine page margins, junk mail and other scratch paper; in .pdf, .txt, .odt, .xls, and .doc files; and in my own diaries/journals. I welcome suggestions.
    I have a pile of resources that I nibble on. By the time that I read a few sentences, Polly has woken up to tell me more of her stories. I understand that historical fiction novels often take years to write, especially when the writer does a lot of research into primary documents like wills, letters, and church records, in addition to historians and cousins. Therefor, I might have a few more years before publishing, since I just started writing this story a year and a half ago.
Thank you Jo

for sharing your enthusiasm about my novel.

The Tour Continues…

Susanne Alleyn writes historical fiction with impeccable credentials, as a result of extensive research. In addition, her potent writing makes me consistently breathless. Reading her work is no spectator pastime; it makes my pulse race. You must read what she says about the sequel to her successful book at her blog.

I enjoyed reading about where Roderick Gladwish’s ideas came from when he wrote his trashy story: “Trashy” because it’s about the Green Trash Vortex, and the technology that might clean it up in the future, and what that might lead to. You can read it in Jupiter SF, Issue XLIV, April 2014. Read about the status of his most recent work at his blog.

Ronda K. Reed’s flash fiction stories catch my attention when she submits them to the Moderator Selected Writing Exercises at the Writer’s Discussion Group on Google+. Her tour site is here at my blog where she talks about her book’s main characters, and its mysterious landmark.

I was also hoping that Jess of JMGajda would participate. She caught my attention when I read some of her futuristic and supernatural work. In the midst of her high-risk pregnancy, she took the time to join this tour! You must read about the cultures that challenge her main character!

Dragon’s Loyalty Award

Jo of Jo Robinson and I began enjoying conversations at her blog. We discussed some of our interests, the process of writing, and where ideas come from. I was honored to find that these discussions led to my being nominated for a Dragon’s Loyalty Award.

Dragon's Loyalty Award

I quote from her site:

“The Dragon’s Loyalty Award is an award for the loyal fan/commenter, whether the recipient is a fellow blogger or just someone who follows and comments regularly.

“The rules to fully accept the award are:
1. Display the award on your site – either on your award page or in your sidebar.
2. Link back to the person who gave you the award in your acceptance post.
3. Nominate 15 well-deserving bloggers for the award, and let them know by sending a message to their site.
4. List 7 interesting facts about yourself.”

In addition to Jo (who nominated me for this award), I would like to recognize the following bloggers as the ones who contributed some of the most essential threads to the fabric of my blog by being the most conspicuous visitors.
(in reverse alphabetical order, for non-preferential treatment…and to turn you upside down)

Nominees

 Syd of The Truth Shall Set You Free
 Ohnwentsya of Spirit In Action
 Mama D of RitesReader
IllicitByNatureThumbnailLouise of Illicit By Nature
 Little Miss Menopause of Once Upon Your Prime
 Leni of All Things Moocable
 Jode of Jode Gray
 Jess of jmgajda
 Jeff of Deconstructing Myths
 Heidi of heidi ruckriegel
 H3nry of high-grade discourse
 DandelionSalad of Dandelion Salad
 Claire of Electrica In The Desert
 Chris of Uncivil Liberties
 Bob of MightyTurk

Seven interesting facts about myself

GraceWeaving1. I, Weaver Grace truly am a weaver who uses a loom

a tulip in my front lawn garden in May2. I photograph my gardens to compare the yearly changes

one of the gardens in our front yard3. I have always loved to grow plants (not much mowed lawn here)

we pureed tomatoes using an old hand-crank "squeezer"4. I enjoy growing, preparing, and eating foods that are nutrient-dense

completing a puzzle named Checkerboard Cat5. My husband and I are having a blast working on one of the most difficult jigsaw puzzles that Springbok makes

6. to 7. My book shelves and piles contain the following topics:

  • Natural history, gardening, homesteading
  • House maintenance, repairs and improvements
  • Spirituality
  • Fiction, poetry
  • Weaving, painting, drawing
  • Health care, food preparation, running, physiology
  • Logic puzzles, algebra
  • Sustainability, privilege, corporations
  • Business management, psychology, sociology, philosophy
  • Dictionaries and thesauruses
  • Computer software and programming
  • Investing, income tax preparation

Thanks, Jo

for this opportunity to share the WordPress Dragon’s Loyalty Award tradition.

Now my dear readers

please describe how you chose the blogs that you follow, and why you leave comments there. When have you refrained from commenting?

My Response to a Liebster Award

Thank you Ron of The End Zone for honoring me with a Liebster Award. In his blog, he writes about insurance. He recommends “Notable and Inspirational Videos”. He also writes romantic song lyrics. Such a versatile man.

Liebster Award

Procedure for responding to a Liebster Award

You can retain the award, even if you don’t accept it.

  1. Accept the award by creating a post that recommends a few new blogs that have few followers. This helps to promote the blogs.
  2. Answer a question that was posed by the person who nominated you (see below). This helps your readers get to know you better.
  3. Write a question for your nominees to answer. This helps your readers get to know your nominees better.
  4. Add a link to the blog of the person who nominated you, in recognition of the honor. This lets the readers of the nominating blogger know that you accepted your award, and helps to promote the blogger who nominated you.
  5. Have fun with it.

Congratulations to my fellow Liebster Award nominees and friends Maggie Wilson, Stephanie, and JMGajda.

1. Blog Recommendations

Social Commentary

I met Sydney Majoko of The Truth Shall Set You Free through an international online coursera.org writing course, and felt kinship as I watched him bring his head and heart to the public eye. Now his blog gives me a view that I really appreciate: he literally sees the world upside down from me, being on the other side of the world in South Africa. I am fascinated by his commentaries on news stories, and his storytelling style. Besides, he was my first follower.   🙂

Mental Health

Sydney’s new blog Battle of My Life shares important, compassionate stories about people experiencing mental health issues. Each stirring story gives its readers an intimate glimpse into the experience of mental illness.

Illicit By Nature has a way with words that hook into my heart, as I look on with admiration. Her words are bold as she writes about her day-to-day struggles and victories with mental health.

Soul Food

I am always glad to receive notification that jamesneed published a new post at his Welcome to our MindMedicine blog!. Each one is a simple meditation that balances me.

Each LisaRosier “Daily Haiku on Being” accompanies an equally stunning photograph.

Heart and Brain Food

Leni Spooner at All Things Moocable got me blogging. She rescued me from my frustrating attempts to expand the blog that I started at tumblr (as a statistics MOOC assignment). She is one of my favorite advocates for MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses).

2. Nominator’s Question to Me

“If you inherited a lot of money or won the lottery and never had to worry about money or work again, how would that change your life, and what would you like to do that is different?”

My husband is the best friend I have ever had, so I would use the money to give us more time to be together.

My kids, siblings, and closest friends are financially independent (fulfilling their dreams), so I would put aside some secretly as an emergency fund for them, in case they ever need it.

Prison Reform

When I was in college, I discovered a certain idea living in my mind, and it continues to wait for a time when it can grow out to the sunlight.

If I had enough money, I would start a program for the largest “correctional” system that I could afford. Each facility would be designed and renovated by a team of engineers and technicians who are the leading edge of resource conservation.

Joan Baez sings, “There but for fortune go you and I” at the Open Houses. This is a pleasant place of healing, not punishment. Prisoners earn the ability to care for themselves and each other through various occupations, not because this saves money on Operations, but because of the very simple, clear principles and standards that explain the consequences of constructive behavior. Personnel and residents at all levels meet regularly to discuss ways to give more meaningful guidance and opportunities for responsibility to each of the residents. Not everyone would be released, but everyone has opportunities every day to work toward increasing their freedom. Each prisoner who is released has experienced transition to life outside in such a gradual way that they have minimal culture shock. The support system and structured routine do not suddenly collapse. The likelihood of recidivism is wonderfully low because each person and their supportive network has become confident in their ability to set and work toward goals.

Lawyers, judges, juries, and people who testify, take on a different view of the felon and their own roles in the criminal justice process: they are sending the person to a place of caring, not fear.

3. My Question for my Liebster Award Nominees to answer

“At my new correctional facility, meals are nourishing and appealing. What is your favorite nourishment?”

Thank you, Ron, for nominating me, and prompting me to think about how to accept a Liebster Award.