Second-Hand Education

Have you ever received any really great Second-Hand Education? When we think of education, we think in terms of getting it first-hand from a primary source. We receive it from a parent, teacher, book, seminar or webinar. But have you ever thought about the fact that you receive lots of your education in a second-hand way? Exactly what does that look like? 

girl and boy sitting in front of brown wooden coffee table

Photo by Zun Zun on

Well, when one of my brothers would come in late and get grounded for a week, I learned to keep the curfew that was set for me. When I would read in the newspaper about someone going to jail for a crime, it would reinforce the teaching I had received about not breaking the law. When I would hear about someone else’s experiences, either in person or in a magazine, I would learn about what to do or not to do in a given situation. Every now and again though, I have had the opportunity to receive some really great Second Hand Education.

The first time was when I was in the sixth grade and my older brother was a freshman in high school. He got rheumatic fever and once the initial hub-bub was over about it, he was stuck at home for three months. He needed to remain inactive and could not go to school. His teachers had to come to the house after school to teach him. 

I didn’t sit in on all of his lessons, only the ones that interested me at the time. I loved his Latin teacher and listened dutifully while she taught him tenses and grammar. Those lessons helped make learning Spanish and Italian a breeze. They also gave me the ability to understand a bit of French, Portuguese, and Romanian, all Latin based languages.

When his biology teacher came, I would listen as he talked about cells and their makeup. Sitting on the sidelines gave me a leg up when I went to high school and took Biology and then Physiology and Anatomy. Those lessons gave me the preparation to walk into my high school classes with some advanced knowledge.

The next opportunity came when he was getting ready to go to college. He had chosen a major that would require that he read a lot of books. He decided to take a speed reading course and he started on it. I would sit with him in his room when he was learning how to speed read. First, words would be shown to him on the screen, then phrases, whole sentences and finally paragraphs. I learned how to take my finger and run it down the page and retain information. That skill became invaluable in college and has benefited me my entire life.

The last time I benefited from really great Second-Hand Education was when my best friend went to Seminary. She was required to take a lot of interesting classes and she would call me and tell me about what she was learning. She would then send me any books I was interested in and I could then pursue that subject on my own. That experience gave me a knowledge and depth of information on many subjects I would not normally have studied. 

Some of the best parts of my education have come in a second-hand way. Even though I was not the person primarily being taught, I still benefited greatly by another person’s knowledge, skill, and generosity. The information I learned has been extremely useful along the way. I don’t know about you, but I will take education any way I can get it…even if it comes to me in a second-hand way.    

What about you? Have you had some experiences where you benefited from some really great Second-Hand Education? Let me know, I would love to hear your stories!



Woo Hoo…Made it Through One Year of Blogging!

As of last month, I made it through one year of blogging and looking back I have to tell you, I have learned a lot. A few months after I began blogging, I started writing magazine articles. The format is a little different and you have to write to the specifications of each magazine’s submission guidelines. I checked the Writer’s Guide and I decided to send a blog post to one of the magazines that publish them. 

Within a day or so, I got an email back from the Blog Editor. She said they only publish blog posts by bloggers who have been blogging for at least six months. I thought, “No problem!” I will wait six months and then see about sending in a blog post. However, about five months into blogging, I thought about quitting. It wasn’t what I thought it would be and I was getting discouraged. I seriously considered bagging it but decided to stick it out as my goal had been to blog once a week for an entire year. About a month after that, the readership grew and I am glad that I decided to stay with it.

The problem is real, though. The first five or six months of blogging is hard for a new blogger. It takes time to develop followers and get the reads and comments you would like. I read a blog post on the site Hellbound Bloggers by Harshit Singhal entitled: “5 Reasons Why Most Bloggers Quit Blogging Within Six Months.” He talks about the fact that 9 out of 10 bloggers will not make it through the first year. It is a great read if you want to look it up and very informative. I will mention the five reasons he states that most bloggers quit: 1. Looking for quick money 2. Not passionate about writing  3. Lack of motivation 4. Not enough topics and 5. The unavoidable renewal.


So it’s tough for new bloggers, that’s seems to be an established fact. When I started blogging, I knew NOTHING about blogging. I just felt like I was supposed to start a blog. I listened to an interview with Kristen Lamb and she mentioned her latest book, “Rise of the Machines, Human Authors in a Digital World.” She is an established writer and her book is full of information about the publishing industry. She also mentioned that it has a special section on blogging. I read it cover to cover and especially focused on the chapters related to blogging. I learned so much from her and I still reread it when I need a fresh insight about the subject.  So, “Thank You, Kristen for all of your help, I couldn’t have done it without you!” 

We can do our best when blogging but we are still dependent on the readers to let us know if what we are writing is speaking to them. I want to thank everyone who read my blog, liked it, commented on it and followed it. I really appreciate the support and encouragement you have given me. I would also like to thank the Lord who gives me the ideas and words to say. I am not a natural writer and without His help I would never have been able to write even the first blog post.

I want to encourage all of you who just started blogging…stay with it. It will bear fruit and it be worth it in the end. If you’re struggling, check out Kristen’s book and you will be surprised at the amount of great information and encouragement you will find.

Again, a big “THANK YOU” to each and every one of you!  Please enjoy a piece of  Blogiversary cake (even if it is virtual) on me!

close up photography of pink birthday cake

Photo by Mohammad Danish on




Obscenity and Trash Talk – The Problem With Crossing The Line

This past week in the news, there were two different incidents in which media celebrities made obscene or malicious comments about other people. Both took a fair amount of pushback from the public, and both celebrities apologized and said they had crossed the line. But I was wondering, what line was it?

zebra-814814_640 Photo by Pattern Pictures – Courtesy of Pixabay

Exactly where is the line that was crossed? I can’t seem to identify it, because if what they said was on the other side of the line, how much was okay up until they got to the line? Which obscenities are okay and how much trash talk can you say up until you reach the line?


What is acceptable today in the public arena was not acceptable five years ago.  The same is true for five years before that, and ten years before that. The line has moved with every downward shift of the cultureI have lived long enough to remember when men did not swear in front of women and women did not swear in the public arena. In fact, in the home I grew up in, you were not even allowed to swear in the private arena. Girl or boy, when you transgressed, the least you would be sanctioned with was a bit of soap in the mouth (and believe me, Ivory does not taste good!).

So, what can we do in a culture where the lines are so low that you have to don a facemask, oxygen tank and flippers to dive down and find them? First, when people have been trashed in the public arena, we can make our voices known. It is not okay to use obscenities and trash talk when disagreeing with anyone, no matter what their race, religion or political affiliation is.

Since the public standards and lines are so low, each of us must come up with our own lines and standards for communication. As a believer in Jesus Christ, I have found a few lines in Scripture that work for me. First, “Let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouth,” and second, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Those two will help keep my mouth and heart in check. When I do cross those lines, and I have, I need to apologize to the person I have offended and take responsibility for my actions.

Crossing the line? Hah…what line? 






Fear, Shame and Remorse – Breaking the Bonds


woman in maroon shirt with black chain on her body

Photo by Markus Spiske on

Have you ever been held captive by one of the big three…Fear, Shame or Remorse? I spent years in captivity by these three. People can look at us and never see the invisible chains that are holding us back, refusing to allow us to go free. 

I think for me the worst of the three was Fear. I left my ex-husband and took my six week old baby with me. He wanted us back and threatened me. I lived for years with the fear that at any time he would come and take me or my son. Finally, several years later, when he remarried the fear began to subside, but it still wasn’t gone.

If carrying around the chains of Fear wasn’t bad enough, I was also shackled by Shame. I had been raised in a small conservative town and after college moved in with my boyfriend…soon to be husband. It was at a time when that just wasn’t done and gossip flooded the town and I was at the center of the deluge. At the time, it didn’t really bother me, but several years later when I came back with my baby in tow, I felt the scourge of that Shame.

Add Remorse to the equation and you have a girl who was in bondage. I was really sorry for what I had done, but I could not change it. There was no magic time machine that would take me back and undo my bad decisions.

So there I was, full of Fear, Guilt and Shame and there was nothing I could do about it. I did not have the power to break the bonds that were shackling me…and then I met the Bondage Breaker – The one Person, the God-man-Jesus, who sacrificed his life for someone like me; someone broken and held in bondage by her own bad decisions. What a day that was for me. He walked into my invisible prison and unlocked the door and broke the chains that were holding me.


It was a great feeling…He had set me free. But was that all that needed to be done? Was there something I was supposed to do? Yes, yes, there was. I had to make the decision to get up and leave the chains behind and walk out of the prison. 

Was it easy? No. Every day I had to choose to believe that I was free and I had to rely on the truths in his word. Truths like…”For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”( 2 Timothy 1:7) when I would start to feel afraid. When Shame started to hem me in, I knew that I needed to focus on “For you will forget the shame of your youth” (Isaiah 54:4).  When Remorse started to overwhelm me, I needed to focus on Romans 8: 28: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” I had to believe that I was forgiven and nothing could change God’s love and mercy towards me.

Set free…Yes, by the Bondage Breaker…once and for all. Learning to walk free…that was another matter…step by step, day by day, until I could truly say, “I am free!”  


“The Golden Handcuffs” – Breaking Free

 I was talking to my son a while back and he was telling me about a man at his place of employment. The man hated his job but continued to work there. When I asked my son, “Why?” he said, “The Golden Handcuffs.” I asked him what that meant. He said, “It’s the money, Mom. He can’t leave his job because of the money.”  So that is what it is called in the corporate worldI imagine the higher up you get on the economic ladder, the harder it is to leave the money, even if you are miserable. There are a lot of legitimate reasons people wouldn’t be able to leave high paying jobs, i.e. mortgages, college tuition for the kids, medical problems, or personal debt, just to name a few. All things being equal though, if a person could leave a job without doing irreparable harm to the family, would you do it? Would I do it? Or would we slog through life with a job we hate in order to have more money? Could we really break free from “The Golden Handcuffs?”



It’s a tough question, one I imagine those working in the nosebleed section of the corporate world have had to ask themselves many times. Most of us, don’t have to make such dramatic choices. For us, we make other choices, and though not the same, are similar in their origin, but opposite in their outcome. We end up shackled by “The Iron Handcuffs of Debt.”

Should we stay where we are, in a nice neighborhood, or move to a bigger house in a better neighborhood and assume a larger mortgage?

Should I keep my dependable car that is paid for or buy one that makes a better impression on my friends and take out a huge loan?

Should I go to a good college close to home or to the more prestigious college and end up with a mountain of debt?handcuffs-2070580_640

None of us wants to be enslaved by “The Golden Handcuffs” or by “The  Iron Handcuffs of Debt.” The decisions are out there, we just have to make them, and hopefully we will make the ones that will not hold us captive.  

“Now godliness with contentment is great gain,. For we brought nothing into this world and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” 1 Timothy 6: 6-7








Good-bye “Winnie the Pooh” – Social Engineering at its Most Ludicrous

I just read yesterday that the book “Winnie the Pooh” is again on the chopping block. “Winnie” has always had a tough time ever since it was published in 1926. It has been banned in different countries for a multitude  of reasons: talking animals, Winnie doesn’t wear underwear, and Piglet to name a few. Winnie even has the distinction of being #22 in America on the Banned Book List.  


So, we’ve established that “Winnie” has been labeled an offensive book. But now we are finding out that “Winnie” has offended even more people. A country to the east of us is now considering banning “Winnie” from their school libraries for a different reason: gender specific pronouns are named in the book. Yes, dangerous gender pronouns are in the book, pronouns like he and she. These pronouns are now deemed offensive.

I am always incredulous when I read reports like this. I mean, really, who is in charge of making these ridiculous decisions? It seems like another case of social engineering at its most ludicrous. Trying to deny that there is a difference between boys and girls flies in the face of scientific fact.

Scientific studies have revealed that there is actually a biological difference between males and females. In utero, male brains experience a testosterone wash that female brains do not. This fact may explain the difference in behaviors between boys and girls as they grow and develop. So from early on, science has found that there are, in fact, differences between boys and girls. 

For the geniuses who hope that by banning the book “Winnie the Pooh,” people will not know or observe that there are differences between boys and girls, go for it.  But know that banning this book in your schools will not change the facts about how we are biologically made.

“You’re Taking Yourself with You.”

I have a good friend who is a Christian Counselor. We were talking about how many times we think that changing our circumstances, i.e.  job, spouse or location will make us happier. She said, “We always have to remember: You’re taking yourself with you.”

luggage-2708829_1280 Photo by Alexes  Fotos. Courtesy of Pixabay.

I’ve thought about those words a lot. If I am unhappy in a certain situation in my life, my natural tendency is to think, “If only  _______ was different.” I only need to fill in the blank. Would that blank be: my job, my kids, my spouse, my house, my car? That certainly depends on what problem I am facing. If only….

My friend made me realize that the first person I need to question anytime I am unhappy with a situation is myself. What is my response to what I am going through? Am I contributing to the problem? Is there something in me that is causing the problem? Am I just plain discontented with my circumstances and refusing to be thankful and content where I am?

Those are hard questions, but real ones that we all have to think about when we are evaluating our circumstances and our discontentment or unhappiness. Who is the main contributor to our problems? Not always, but many times it is really ourselves. We are the ones holding onto a bad attitude or an intractable position.  Changing our circumstances is not really going to make us any happier…after all, we will just be taking ourselves with us!




Mystery Blogger Award

A big THANK YOU to Joni for nominating me for the Mystery Blogger Award.  Joni writes Grief to Life, an inspirational blog by a single mom who is raising kids after her husband passed away. Please check her blog out…one read and you will be as hooked like I was.

Mystery Blogger Award

The Mystery Blogger Award was created by Okoto Enigma’s Blog…in her words…”The Mystery Blogger Award is an award for amazing bloggers and their ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. they are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging, and they do it with so much love and passion.”


1. Put the award logo/image on your blog.

2. List the rules.

3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.

4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well.

5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.

6. You have to nominate 10 – 20 people.

7.  Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog.

8. Ask you nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify).

9. Share a link to your best post(s).

So here goes:

Three things about me: 1. I love ancient history. 2. I have a vivid imagination. 3. I live on two continents (in my mind…because my family lives on two continents).

Answers to Joni’s questions:

1. Why did you start blogging? 

I was NEVER  going to blog and one day I felt like I was supposed to start and so I did.

2. If you had to change your name, what name would you choose and why?

I would choose Valeria as my first name and my mother’s maiden name as my last name.

3. You are about to get into a fight, what song comes on your soundtrack? 

“Stop, in the Name of Love.”

4. If you could write one new law that everyone had to obey, what would it be and why? 

My law would read: BE KIND.

5. What’s the meanest thing you have done to someone to get back at them?

I stood on the kitchen counter and waited for my older brother to come home from school and punched him in the face ( I was pretty small at the time). He was not hurt but he didn’t make fun of me any more!

Link to one of my best post (favorite) post: The Ultimate Flea Market Flipper.


R.W. Morgan – Grand Narrative

Lydia Reyes – Planted by the Rivers of Water

Dawn Running Strong

Through Ink and Image

Confessions of a Type A Woman

Quo Vadis – Jack’s Blog

Jane Duquette

The Fashioned Woman

Ruins and Rosemary

Historical Ragbag

A big thank you for the inspiration you have provided to me in the past year!

Five questions for my nominees:

1. If you could live in any other time period, when would it be and where would you live?

2. Which historical character would you have liked to have been and why?

3. What is your favorite book?

4. What is your favorite quote?

5. What is the quirkiest thing you have done?

Thank you again to Joni – Grief to Life for the nomination. I encourage all of you to check out all of these blogs! 











Guilt – Discerning the Real from the False

Guilt – just say the word and we think about the times we have felt it. It is an easy emotion to feel for a multitude of reasons. Sometimes we have done something wrong but other times we have had unrealistic expectations of ourselves and when we don’t meet them, we feel guilt. Others can have unrealistic expectations of us and try to make us feel guilty for not measuring up to them. There are two kinds of guilt – real and false and we need to learn how to discern between the two.  

adult alone boy building

Photo by Pixabay on

Have you ever done something wrong and you feel bad almost immediately? That emotion is called guilt and it is built into us. We all have a conscience and when we do something wrong, our conscience lets us know and we feel guilt, real true guilt. We have crossed a line we shouldn’t have crossed, we have lied, stolen, or hurt someone. That conscience has been built into us by God and it is there to help keep us on track.

What do we do with that guilt? We feel awful about what we have done and now, how do we make it right? The Lord has given us a way to feel okay inside again in His word. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 God, himself, knew we would transgress his eternal commandments and hurt others and he provided a way for us to be clean from our wrongdoings. We “confess” our sins to him. We talk to him and agree with him that we have done wrong. Many times, he then requires that we go and make it right with the other person.

At that point, we have come full circle. We have done wrong, confessed it and made it right. The guilt we felt was a positive thing because it caused us to acknowledge our wrong doing before God and many times to the person we have offended.

monochrome photography of woman wearing cross necklace

Photo by mohamed Abdelgaffar on

But what about false guilt? Does such a thing exist? I think it does and I have experienced it many times. We do something right, something we were supposed to do and we are struck by a wave of guilt. Does this guilt come from our conscience or does it spring from our own insecurity or some other insidious force? It can come from many places. I know because I have experienced it a lot. I think we all have.

Just the other day, my husband asked me to type up a speech he was going to give at a graduation ceremony. He left and I wanted to surprise him while he was gone, so I went ahead and typed it up. He was not there to answer any questions I had, so I just typed it up the way I thought it read. I gave it to him and thought he would find it perfect, or at least almost perfect. Instead, he started reading and correcting it. There were several corrections in it and I could hear him writing on the printed copy. I began to feel bad. How had I missed so many things? How could I have made so many mistakes? Did I really do a bad job? For about five minutes I felt really bad; I felt false guilt.

He handed the papers back to me to correct. I looked at them and there were not near as many corrections on them as I thought there would be. Some of the things he had written were additions, but my mind had imagined they were corrections and I had done badly. Where did those feelings spring from, my own insecurity perhaps? I don’t know, but I know that for a while I felt really bad. I felt that false guilt that can attack us for no reason and pummel us with negative feelings.

False guilt can also be put on us by others. Perhaps our friends or family members have expectations of us that are unrealistic and they want us to meet them. When we don’t, they can say things that make us feel guilty. But have we done anything wrong? No. We have just not lived up to someone’s idea of what we should be doing. “Should” is a word that is often associated with false guilt. We say to ourselves, “I should have done something different. If I had, others would be happy with me.”

We have to be on the lookout for false guilt because it can attack us at the strangest times. We can do something good or something right and we can begin to feel guilty for no reason whatsoever. We can question our motives and let that questioning take us down a wrong path. We have to be really discerning about the emotions we feel , because many times what our emotions are telling us is not true.

How do we do this? Well, we can speak truth to ourselves and try to listen and hear that truth.  If that doesn’t work we can call a friend. I have one friend I can call and she will listen to whatever I am feeling and help me sort out my feelings. She will tell me if what I am feeling is false guilt and that I need to let it go. If you can’t hear the truth from yourself or a friend, go to God. Ask Him to help you discern what you are feeling and let go of the false guilt. He is always there to help you!

Guilt, it’s a big one…we all feel it and we all have to learn to deal with it. How do you discern between the real and false guilt in your life?     


Faux Feelings


Faux…the French word for false. We have been using it in the English vocabulary since the 1600’s. Since the 1980’s it has been used in the general vocabulary to denote something that is a false version of the original. It does sound so much better than “fake” when we are talking about marble, leather or fingernails. It verbally puts a shine on whatever we are referring to. Unless of course, you are talking about fur. Faux fur is in…we don’t want to see people walking around wearing the real thing (unless it’s raccoon, then we can laugh our heads off). So faux fur is a positive thing…nothing wrong with a fake in this category!

So the word faux can refer to something positive or negative depending on what it is modifying. Have you ever thought of faux in regard to your feelings? Or more to the point, have you ever thought about the word faux when you expressed an opinion on something you didn’t really care about? It has happened to me a few times, and this is how it happened.

I would be sitting with a group of ladies having lunch or dinner and a subject would come up in the conversation. Maybe I would not have any opinion one way or the other, but because I wasn’t expressing myself, I felt like I wasn’t contributing to the conversation. So I would say something, something false, something faux, that I wasn’t really feeling, just to be part of the conversation.

After I left the group, I would begin to feel uneasy about the way I spoke on that subject. I knew I didn’t really care about that issue and I expressed a false opinion. It happened to me a few times and I decided change the way I handled the situation. Now, if I am in a group and a subject comes up that I really don’t care about, I just sit and listen. If I am asked about an opinion, I can tell the truth, whatever that is. Even if it means saying, “Oh that, it doesn’t really bother me at all!” I know, it does brings the drama quotient down a few notches, but I feel much better about just being honest.

It’s not always easy, though. A lot of the things that may bother others may not necessarily bother me. When I sit there quietly, I don’t feel part of the group and I feel different, especially if the subject is discussed for any length of time by all the girls, and if the emotions get higher and higher the longer the conversation goes on.  I am getting used to being a bit uncomfortable for the sake of not expressing a faux opinion about something. I’ve decided it’s okay to be different and to think differently.

How about you? Do you struggle when you are in a group? Have you ever expressed a faux opinion just to be a part of the group and take part of the conversation? How did you learn to deal with it?