I’ll take that iPhone…NOT

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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)

 

 

Prescription for Happiness

IMG_1159I have to admit that over the summer, I had many, many moments of envy.  Not all-consuming jealousy or want-to-tear-their-eyes-out rage.  Not even the kind of envy that lingers.  Each instance lasted for just a few seconds, but it was there nonetheless.  These moments came each time I took a few minutes to pause and steal a quick look at Facebook.  No, it wasn’t the traveling, or the shopping, or the amazing photos.  It was even more basic than that – I was envious every time someone posted a picture of themselves by the pool.  Yes, I said the pool.  People had time to lay by the pool.  Some even had time to get IN the pool!  How could they do that?  How did they find the time between laundry, housecleaning, work, driving children around, etc. to even sneak into their room and put on a bathing suit, not to mention make themselves that delicious looking cocktail, and lounge by the pool?  Some of them even had books on their laps or on the table beside them.  That was serious pool time!

Here’s the thing – we’ve had our pool for several years, but for the past two summers, I haven’t even gotten my toes wet.  Every day I look longingly out the window and think, Today I will find the time to get into the pool.  By bedtime, the pool is the farthest thing from my mind.  At least it was, until a few weeks ago.  Remember that fabulous vacation I wrote about?  The one to Canada that was such an awesome family adventure?  Did I happen to mention how it ended?  Nope, I spared you the details of the last few days when I walked around with a fever and a general feeling of something getting a hold of me.  On the fourth day of my fever, while in Niagara Falls, I awoke to discover that despite no previous signs of a sore throat, I had strep that had gone systemic.  Yes, giant spots covered my entire body, and Ken had to rush me to the nearest urgent care.  Fast forward to the following week when I happened to mention to the pediatrician at Katie’s physical that the spots would not go away.

The doctor took a quick peek and said “Spend 10 minutes every day outside in the sun exposing your body to the rays.  They’ll dry up and go away.”

“What about the pool,”  I asked.  “Would the chlorine help?”

“Absolutely,” she replied.

Willing to do whatever it took, later that day, I put on the new bathing suit that I bought at the beginning of the summer and had never even worn and quietly went out to the pool.  The water was warm and so soothing.  At first I just immersed myself in the luxurious liquid, and then I began swimming some slow, easy laps.  After a few minutes, I remembered just how much I love to swim.  I mean, I really, really love to swim.  I began doing different strokes, racing back and forth from one side to the other.  Then I just floated atop the water, letting it wash over me as I closed my eyes and relaxed in the glow of the late afternoon sun.  After about 30 minutes, I reluctantly dragged myself from the pool to go in and get dinner ready.

When I walked inside, Rebecca looked at me in surprise.  “You were in the pool?”

“Yep,” I replied with a smile.  I repeated to her what the doctor told me and then added, “This is the best prescription I’ve ever been given.  I wish my doctor would refill this at the beginning of every summer.”

“Mom,” Rebecca said, “you know, you can prescribe it to yourself.  You deserve to enjoy summer, too, and to get in the pool every day if you want to.  Nothing bad will happen if you take some time for yourself every day.”

Ah, the wisdom of a collegian.  As her words sank in, I realized she is absolutely correct.  Aren’t we always hearing about taking time for ourselves and paying attention to our own needs?  That seems so selfish to me!  But I can tell you, for the rest of the summer, each time I stepped out of that pool, I was in a better mood and felt more relaxed and ready to get back to whatever task awaited me.  The pool was good for my mind, body, and spirit (and by the way, the spots were miraculously gone in just a couple of days).

So I’m trying to remind myself each day, whether it’s an hour at the gym or a long, relaxing lunch, I’m going to take just a little bit of time for me.  So attention everyone I’ve ever promised to meet for lunch, I’ll be calling you to set a date.  We all deserve to prescribe some time each day to do something for ourselves.  I’ve realized that if I slow down and take just a few minutes for myself, everyone around me will benefit, including me.

Amy Schisler is the author of two mystery / suspense novels. Her first book, A Place to Call Home is in its second printing and may be purchased in stores, online, and through ibooks. Amy’s newest mystery, Picture Me, was released in August of 2015 and is available in stores and online.  Her previously published children’s book, Crabbing With Granddad, may be purchased in stores and on Amazon.

You may follow Amy at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor on Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, on Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschisler and on her web site http://amyschislerauthor.com.