Let’s Just Play Ball. Together.

I am sick to death of the debate over kneeling during the National Anthem at football games. My team played the game of the decade on Sunday night, but did anybody care? Nope. Most people I know, even lifelong fans, refused to watch the game. And why? Because they’re angry that some chose to kneel, or to stand, or to stay inside, or whatever else they’ve chosen to be angry about. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

Enough of the cry-babying about the protests. We live in America. Like it or not, protesting is their right. Do I like that they aren’t standing for the flag? NO! Do I understand and appreciate the 1st Amendment? YES!

But here’s the thing. There’s a double standard here that nobody wishes to acknowledge. And it all boils down to one thing. Nobody is willing to TALK. Nobody wants to have a conversation about what is going on. Everyone just wants to fight, and yell, and take sides. Which is really the biggest and most obvious thing wrong with kneeling during the Anthem but the one thing that nobody is saying. Rather than making a statement on which we should all agree – about the dignity of the human being and fair treatment of all – all this is doing is creating more divisiveness.

So, here is some food for thought.

All Players: You are professional members of an organization and should behave as such. You are representing your team, your city, your state, and your country. You should set an example for others in more ways than just standing for the anthem, or kneeling, or any other gesture. In my opinion, that means standing for the Anthem on the field but standing up for what you feel is right off the field. Put your money where your mouth is, so to speak. Volunteer in your community. Make public service announcements telling people how to treat each other. Join a public rally or march. You will get much farther, and receive more positive attention. I guarantee it.

1502825575-NS_01CowboysEagles31SPDallas Cowboys: I never thought I’d ever say this in my life, but I applaud you. You did things the right way. You took a stand (well, a knee) to show your unity in the fight against injustice. And then you took a stand, literally, and paid homage to our flag, our Vets, our Nation. Job well done.

Baltimore Ravens: Kneeling for OUR anthem and standing for another nation’s anthem is just plain wrong.  Period. Enough said.

IMG_1354Fans: Saying you will never watch football again because someone does something you don’t like is childish. There, I said it. Childish. Grow up. I refuse to cut off my nose to spite my face. I like football. I like cheering for my team. I like seeing them defy the odds and kick butt on a Sunday night when nobody else is watching. I’m going to keep watching. Get over it.

And there is NO clause in the NFL handbook that requires players, or anyone else, to stand for the National Anthem. That’s fake news. Stop telling people it’s true. 

Everyone: Football, like baseball, basketball, golf, etc. is a game. It’s for entertainment. Enjoy playing. Enjoy watching. You are all, players and fans alike, taking the joy out of it. Please stop.

By the way, I’d love to see a game where every player kneels in prayer like Tim Tebow did. Oh, but wait. That’s not allowed in football. Sorry, I thought we all wanted to uphold the 1st Amendment. I guess I thought wrong. And that, folks, is where I have to chime in with my biggest and most heart-felt rant. Why is one form of expression allowed and even heralded and the other is ridiculed? If players and viewers were all truly trying to be politically correct, accepting, and expressing their right to free speech, then why are protests okay but prayer isn’t? But that’s a topic for another day.

New Orleans Saints quarterback, Drew Brees, said it best.

Do I think that there’s…racism…inequality for women…minorities, immigrants, yes; but as it pertains to the National Anthem, I will always feel that the National Anthem is the opportunity for us all to stand up together to be unified and to show respect for our country, for what it stands for, the birth of our Nation…. We should be striving to make things better….but…standing for the National Anthem and looking at the flag with your hand over your heart is a unifying thing.

The bottom line is, please, let’s stop the fighting. Let’s stop the bullying, because that’s what this has become – one giant attack by bullies on both sides. Aren’t there far more important things going on in the world to worry about? Hurricanes, wildfires, missile launches, and countless other things that should be getting a lot more time and attention than what’s happening on the sidelines of a game of entertainment.

Let me repeat that last line that Drew repeated several times in his press conference. “standing for the National Anthem and looking at the flag with your hand over your heart is a unifying thing.” By kneeling, sitting, or staying inside, you are actually causing a rift. Instead, make your voice heard, help in your community, show a sign of protest when you walk on the field. And then stand together, hand over your heart, arms linked, whatever, but together, show your unity as a team and as a Nation. Only by working together can we make a difference.

Teach your children to respect the flag, the Constitution, the military, and each other. Teach them why we stand for the Star Spangled Banner as well as why some aren’t standing. Teach them that all people are created to be equal, that all human beings deserve respect and should be treated with dignity. Teach them how to be kind and loving. Teach them to not bully, tease, instigate, or cause fear. Teach them the greatest commandment,

Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. 

Matthew 22:39

What I was writing about one year ago this week: Rewriting the Story.

Amy Schisler is an award winning author of both children’s books and novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me and Whispering Vines, are recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top three inspirational fiction books of 2015 and 2016. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. Amy followed up her success with, Island of Miracles. Her next children’s book, The Greatest Gift, is now on pre-sale.

You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor, Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschislerand at http://amyschislerauthor.com.

Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017)

 

The Voices in My Head

They’re back. The voices in my head that won’t leave me alone. They won’t let me sleep at night, won’t stop nagging me all day, won’t be quiet when I try to pray or concentrate on anything other than them. They are demanding, ruthless in their quest to break free, to be born into this world, to exist somewhere outside of my mind. And there are dozens of them. Men, women, children, young, old, of various ethnicities and backgrounds. They all want to be given a voice, a home, a story.

No, I’m not suffering from any kind of mental illness. At least, I don’t think I am. Unless this is how it begins. There were others, after all–Salinger, Poe, Kerouac, Hemingway, Plath, Joyce, and even Dickens. Some are even said to have gone mad while writing. But I’m pretty sure I’m still sane (though Ken and our girls may disagree at times).

The voices in my head are the characters that seem to multiply on, at least, a weekly basis. There are so many that I can’t decide which ones belong in which stories, which ones are main or supporting characters, and which ones are simply intruders with no business being in my mind or my stories. Those voices quickly die among the herd. But there are others waiting to take their place.

It’s a shame, actually, to have so many people and stories in my mind because, right now, I haven’t got the time to bring all of these characters to life and tell their tales. But the time is coming. Our youngest daughter, Morgan, is a junior in high school. I imagine that in less than two years, I will have a much quieter, slower life, and that is when the fun will begin. That is when the multitude can be unleashed, when story after story can be written. And truth be told, it’s a little daunting. All my life, I’ve told stories, imagined worlds and people, contrived conversations, created events, and now I’m really just beginning to give them life. And I never want it to end.

Cover-001Which is good because the stories go on and on and on. So many stories. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed and unable to write the first word because I don’t know which one to choose. Which voice is the loudest? Which is the most demanding? Which will be the most well-loved? And it seems I’m not alone. According to the Washington Post, James Patterson has “a three-inch-thick folder labeled ‘Ideas,’ one sheet listing 21 separate projects boiled down to their titles.” I have online folders, Apple notes, and a white board that boast a combined 16 stories at various stages of creation, including two that will be released in the coming months, the first being another children’s book. I’m not quite the next James Patterson, but I’d love to give it a try!

 

So, here’s to all of you who read my books and my blog. No matter how many voices are in my head or how many stories are on my docket, they would be worthless without you. With that in mind, I will raise a glass to you, my readers, the next time I open a bottle of wine. In fact, I’d love to have you join me in raising a glass. You’re all invited to my next book launch! It is being planned for the first weekend of December. Be on the lookout for more details. And who knows, yours might just become one of those voices in my head.

What I was writing about one year ago this week: “Without any doubting or quiddit”.

Amy Schisler is an award winning author of both children’s books and novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me and Whispering Vines, are recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top three inspirational fiction books of 2015 and 2016. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. Amy’s most recent novel, Island of Miracles, is now on sale.

You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor, Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschislerand at http://amyschislerauthor.com.

Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017)

I’ll take that iPhone…NOT

AP_17255096683722
Matt McClain/The Washington Post via AP
 Florida Keys

A major hurricane recently devastated the city of Houston and surrounding cities and towns. A second hurricane destroyed parts of the Caribbean and the Keys while over four million people in Florida are currently without power. On a single night, there are as many as half a million people on our nation’s streets without homes. Approximately 43 million Americans live in poverty. But fear not, the new Apple iPhone 8 is here, and it will only cost you $1000. For just pennies, you can have a device that will keep you in the loop socially, tie you to your office, aid you in your FOMO (fear of missing out), and cost you countless hours of lost time while you surf the Internet or play a game. Why worry about those in need when you can drop $1000 on a phone?

I could go on and on about the negative effects that smartphones are having on our children. And that’s scary, folks, I mean, truly Stephen King type horrific. I could talk about how social media is destroying our mental health.  I could tell you about the new findings on the adverse effects of cell phones on your children’s learning in school. But those things are everywhere, and I pray that parents, physicians, and educators are paying attention and proceeding with caution. 

But here’s what bothers me the most about the new $1000 iPhone. I’m sure you guessed it. Yep, it’s the $1000 ticket price. When did we become a group of people who willingly, without blinking, spend $1000 on a phone? Do you know how many meals that could buy in a place like Guatemala or Colombia or Ethiopia or even at your local food pantry? Do you know how many children that could clothe? 

And here’s the real kicker. How many kids will be the recipient of an iPhone 8 for Christmas this year? If you’re considering being one of those beloved parents, check out the links above about what these phones are doing to our children already!

A young man I love like a son headed to Florida on Sunday with a nearly empty wallet and little more than the clothes on his back to help the flood victims. He and his friends are sleeping in their vehicles, begging for supplies from friends and family, so that they can help others in need. Can you imagine what they could do for others with that $1000 that someone reading this is about to drop on a phone? 

jane-jetsonOkay, enough of my preaching. I will admit that I love Apple. I love my MacBook Pro and I am seldom without my iPhone 6 (all paid for and not being replaced any time soon). I hold no ill will against the company or anyone who buys their products. I just can’t help but wonder where we, as a society, is heading when we don’t even blink at the cost of a $1000 phone. I sure hope that, if I ever own one, it will make the beds, do the laundry, and cook my dinner for me. At that price, it should do all that and more.

If you want to support a group of Marines in their efforts to help Hurricane Irma victims, please click here.  Good luck, men. Semper Fi.

What I was writing about one year ago this week: Beautiful Land Across the Water.

Amy Schisler is an award winning author of both children’s books and novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me and Whispering Vines, are recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top three inspirational fiction books of 2015 and 2016. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. Amy’s most recent novel, Island of Miracles, is now on sale.

You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor, Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschislerand at http://amyschislerauthor.com.

Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017)

 

 

Seriously, you think THAT will get you a job?

downloadThings have been a bit hectic for me lately. Along with a very busy summer, school starting this week, and my next book being prepped to go to my editor, I have been hunting for a new administrative assistant. I’ve learned so much at every step of this process and been surprised, in ways both good and bad. I have met some wonderful people and enjoyed getting to know them. But I’ve also seen some things that have me wondering about the state of our nation’s unemployment issues. Perhaps the problem is with the job-seekers and not the industry.

I began searching for an assistant about two years ago, and I did it all wrong. I hired, first, a family member, then, a close friend, and then friend of the family. We all had the best of intentions, and things started out great in all cases, but it’s tough employing someone you value as a family member or friend. It’s not easy telling them that they need to be more on top of things or more accessible. I found it, not only difficult but, exhausting. So, Ken and I decided that I needed to love my friends and family but employee someone not connected to us in any way.

Not knowing where or how to start in today’s modern world, I asked my daughter, a recent college grad, what I should do. Most of her friends are just entering the job market, and she had some great advice. I put an ad on LinkedIn and on Indeed.com (which I had never heard of before). Literally, within minutes, the applications started rolling in, so many that I had to end both ads in under 24 hours. I had almost 200 applications already! Feeling overwhelmed, I had no idea how to weed through them until I began opening the emails.

The vast majority of the applications were nothing more than an instant email generated by somebody simply pushing the “Apply for Job” button. There was nothing in the email that made me want to look any farther. Those were immediately deleted. There were several that contained an introduction or mini resume. Most of these were addressed to: “Human Resources Officer” or “Sir or Madam.” Some had no addressee at all. The introductions were canned, offered no insight into the person, and made it clear that this applicant simply cut and pasted his or her standard intro. They knew nothing about me, or my writing, and presumably didn’t care.

Then there were the few that stood out: “Dear Amy” or “Dear Mrs. Schisler,” they read. “I have always wanted to be a writer,” “I would love to work for an author,” “I am a fan of yours and have read your books,” “I’m a long-time follower of your blog.” Those were the ones that stood out. Those were the ones which were flagged. Honest or not, they had my attention.

But the ones who were granted interviews were the ones who reached out. Five people sent me a personal email as a follow-up, introducing themselves and letting me know why they wanted the position. According to Glassdoor, quoted in a recent Inc. Magazine article, those numbers are pretty on target, “On average, every corporate job opening attracts 250 resumes, but only 4 to 6 of these people will be called for an interview, and only 1 of those will be offered a job.” In my interviews, the job applicants inquired about more details, attached resumes, or gave me reasons as to why we would work well together. 

I recently had a conversation with a cousin, who does both professional interviews and service academy interviews. He told me that he is amazed by the amount of potential employees who want to know what this job will do for them (salary, benefits, perks) without ever offering what they have to offer for the good of the company. While I was happy to discuss what I could do to help these women (many men applied, but only women went the extra mile), I loved hearing them list the ways they could assist me before inquiring about what I might be able to do for them. They knew who I was, looked into my work, assessed my needs, and told me why they would be the perfect assistants for me.

I’m making my final decision tonight. I’m in a hurry to hire someone because I have a lot on my plate in the coming months – a children’s book coming out later this month, a new novel being released just before Christmas, a book launch to plan, several trips to visit book clubs who have read my books, and work on a new collaboration with Anne and Susan of the Y’all Need Jesus Blog. It’s going to be a busy fall, and I feel confident that one of the finalists in this whole process will do a wonderful job. As far as all the other applicants, I wish them all the best. I’m not sure that will get them very far.

What I was writing about one year ago this week: Parent Orientation – Loving our Kids Before it’s Too Late.

Amy Schisler is an award winning author of both children’s books and novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me and Whispering Vines, are recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top three inspirational fiction books of 2015 and 2016. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. Amy’s most recent novel, Island of Miracles, is now on sale.

You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor, Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschislerand at http://amyschislerauthor.com.

Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017)