Hark to the sound
Of angel song above,
Announcing God’s great gift of Love.
photo courtesy of Geralt @ pixabay.com
photo courtesy of Geralt @ pixabay.com
photo courtesy of Geralt @ pixabay.com
photo courtesy of Angeleses @ pixabay.com
photo courtesy of Kalhh @ pixabay.com
The Advent of Christ:
Ev’ry heart that makes Him room
Is filled with His light.
photo courtesy of Geralt @pixabay.com
The following story is an excerpt from my Christmas anthology: STOCKING FULL OF STORIES. If you’re interested in more stories, you can find the book on Amazon in paperback or digital.
Misty laced up her skates and glided smoothly across the ice. It had been more than a year since she’d come to her favorite pond. The trees were stark silhouettes against the deep snow, barren and seemingly useless in this white wilderness. She felt that way herself. The gray world around her matched her gray and barren heart. Words came back to her now from the whispering past.
“You can’t just give up, Misty. Marcus wouldn’t want you to quit skating. He wouldn’t want you to give up the life you’ve always loved.”
She continued to circle the pond, listening to conversations in her head – all from last year. After the accident. “I can’t skate alone. I’m no good by myself. It’s always been Marcus and me together – from the time we were seventeen.”
“But you’re so gifted, dear,” Mother had insisted. “You were skating beautifully long before you even met Marcus. Why, from the time you put on your first pair of skates – remember? – the pink pair you got for Christmas when you were six? – from that very first day, you’ve been a star in the making. All your fans want to see you back out there on the ice.”
Misty had merely hung her head and wept. She new her mother meant well, but she’d never be able to understand. And Misty was glad her mother had never known that kind of loss.
But her family didn’t understand about the fans either. Yes, her own family were her personal fans, but the fans in all the ice rinks around the world hadn’t been hers. They were fans who loved Misty and Marcus – together – “the darling duo” as they’d been dubbed in more than one news story. The fans wanted to see both of them on the ice, not just one lonely girl – lost now in a world that had been her own kingdom little more than a year ago.
The cold wind bit at her, but she welcomed the pain. It matched the pain in her heart. And she welcomed the gray world she skated in now. It matched the world she lived the rest of her life in with Marcus dead.
So she skated – round and round the pond – one hour – then another. And with each trip around that pond of her childhood came the memories – like warm flashes of sunlight: the first time she’d skated in her pink skates; the first day she’d invited Marcus to skate with her there; the first competition they’d entered – and won; the grueling hours of practice that both of them had loved.
Gradually, as the happy memories flooded back and thawed the ice that had held her soul in its lonely, gray world for the past year, Misty began to feel alive again. A smile spread across her face and she flung out her arms as if to embrace this precious pond with its stark trees and white emptiness. She found herself skating into routines she’d used before she and Marcus had become a team. And gradually, she found herself adding moves to those routines. They weren’t done consciously. They just flowed from her as naturally as water flows down a hill when a barrier has been removed.
Her heart began to sing. Her body followed suit. And although the pond and all it’s surroundings were still as gray and barren as they’d been when she’d arrived, Misty discovered that she was now skating in sunshine – in the warmth of her love for Marcus and in the fire of the passion she felt for skating. Perhaps her family and friends had been right after all. Perhaps she did still have a life to live and a gift to give to the world from her kingdom on the ice.
“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.”
Proverbs 17:22, Holy Bible.
Readers, you can totally ignore this post if you like. I am just experimenting with the brand new editor — and as a result of my experiment, I am venting profusely. As usual, over the last 6 years, WordPress will not leave well enough alone. They do not understand the meaning of the advice: “If it isn’t broken, DON’T FIX IT!”
What don’t I like? Well, to begin with, I asked where in the heck are the tools to make text bold, to underline, to insert special characters? Not only are they not visible, but WP does not even give me a note in this editor to tell me where I can find them. I will stop here and say that as I wrote this paragraph, I searched in the block search window for a “bold text” button. The editor told me there was none. But then all of a sudden I got a row of tools with a bold button showing up along the top of my post. Now, where did that come from? I have no clue how I got it, or how I will get it again if I need it?
And I still can’t find an “underline” symbol or a button to click to let me insert special characters. I did finally find a section called “Keyboard shortcuts.” That will let me use my keyboard to get something underlined or switched to italics. Then, after about half and hour, I finally saw a button that let me add the “classic editor tools,” but they come in on the bottom of the post instead of the top, and you have to tell it to “hide the block settings” before the tools will work in the text. But all of these features are twice the work that the old editor required to accomplish those jobs. Why on earth would any writer want that???
And I still can’t find a way to insert special characters — like the copyright symbol — which we all need from time to time. What is it that makes WordPress believe that we will appreciate having to learn how to do almost everything from scratch again? And what’s with the paragraph symbol all over the place? It pops up right and left when there should be no need for it. Previously, all we had to do was space down an extra line, and we had an automatic new paragraph. Not anymore. Also, I tried to right click and choose “select all” so I could copy the text, but the editor will not select all. It selects only the paragraph that I’m close to when I right click. I finally hunted around for an option that said “copy all content,” but when I did and pasted it into a document, it pasted all the HTML codes into the text as well.
I went to my admin page to see what I had available for help there, and there’s a link that says I can “try a live demo which will highlight some of the key features of the new editor.” But when I clicked on that link, it took me to a page with 4 black boxes with a label for each feature, but did absolutely nothing to show me what they actually are or how they work. Supposedly, this new editor is great for what they call “media-rich” posts and for people who worry about whether their content looks good on all sizes and kinds of devices. WordPress has claimed for years that they have themes that can be relied on for those features. If there are a some bloggers out there who really need a new kind of editor, then WP needs to develop a couple separate themes that will allow those bloggers the extra technology. But for those of us who are actually writers — who want to use our sites to “say” something in a simple, easy, quickly-posted manner — they need to just leave us alone, for pity’s sake, and let us get on with blogging.
This whole editor looks like a lot of mumbo-jumbo junk to me. I have to laugh when I see that they are naming the new editor ‘Gutenberg.’ Holy cow, the man would roll over in his grave if he had to deal with an editing program like this one! But then why should WordPress care what I think? I’m just the creator and administrator of 5 blogs/websites on WP (all under different names and e-mail accounts to avoid confusion.) And since I have only 5 sites, why should my concerns make any difference, right?
Not only does the problem affect me personally, but since I teach blogging classes — and, by the way, have been responsible for getting several new bloggers to do business with WordPress over the past 4 years — this change drastically affects my students as well. I can tell already that this new concept editor is going to be much more difficult for brand new bloggers to get a handle on, and, frankly, I’m concerned that they will give up and just quit — which would be a shame for them, for me, and for WordPress.
Anyway, they are not going to allow us to stick with the old editor window — which is actually the new editor window from just about 3 years ago — and which caused a lot of confusion for multiple bloggers, particularly those new to the blogging world. Now that everyone is finally pretty comfortable using that editor, Word Press feels they MUST get rid of it and force something else new on us.
Oh well, they are still a better platform than Blogger — barely — so I guess I’ll stick with them for a while yet and see how things go. Since I have 5 blogs to deal with, that would be a whole lot of work if I decided to change them to another platform. Staying put sounds like the easier choice, but I’m not sure how long that will be true. Maybe — just maybe — I’ll be able to make friends with this new editor at some point — if I don’t give up first. After an hour of frustration, I finally switched back to the old editor to get my post to look normal before I hit “publish,” but how long will I be able to make that choice???????
I was watching an art tutorial the other day, and the artist shared about something she had learned from a life coach that had changed her life for the good. It was the concept of determining what you give your time and energy to by always “focusing on what sparks joy.” The concept found a home in my heart as well. It’s very good advice, and I intend to follow it more in the future. In light of that fact, I offer this bit of Haiku for two reasons: Writing it sparks joy in me, and I hope reading it sparks the same joy in you.
Concrete, steel, and light —
Man-created universe —
photo courtesy of AsmuSe @ pixabay.com
Order reigns in here
Until board members take seats
And conflict begins.
photo courtesy of Pexels @ pixabay.com