Pay Attention to the Public View of Your WP Site

COMPUTER WITH TONGUE OUTFor the past few years, WordPress has put a little box at the very bottom of our posts with the notice “Sometimes, visitors may see an advertisement here.”  That implies — and it used to be the case — that they would place ads at the bottom of our posts. And, of course, they’ve always told us that if we are logged into our account, we won’t see the ads.

However, this year, WP has begun to put large ads all throughout our posts. Even though they still “say” that an add might appear at the very bottom — which implies that the bottom is the only place ads will go — they are popping ads into our posts in as much as 4 or 5 places, interrupting our text, and then throwing in more ads at the bottom of the post.

I don’t argue that they have a right to put in an ad or two if they offer the web space free, but, in my opinion, they have been very deceptive about the whole thing since the changes this year, and — also in my opinion — one or two ads at the bottom of the page should be sufficient. Moreover, some of the ads are offensive and vulgar, and can, at times, seriously conflict with the purpose and tone of the blog itself.

So, folks, don’t stay in the dark about your blog or website. Be sure you log out of WP and then pull up your site while you’re logged out. Do it regularly. You need to be aware of what the general public sees whey they visit your site.

Other WordPress users are not supposed to see your ads either — although several times recently I’ve seen them even when logged in.

But it’s important that you be aware that a whole lot of people visiting your site are being exposed to tons of ads that you may not even agree with at all. At least if you are aware of the specific ads, you can say something to your visitors if necessary — or be prepared if you get any negative feedback or reaction from visitors who may be judging you by the ads they see on your site.

WordPress has really been pushing hard lately to get everyone to purchase a blog rather than use the free service. I understand that they want and need to make money. But these pressure tactics — including deluging our posts with mass advertising — seems a little over the top for good customer relations.



Trash Talk — I Need to Monitor Comments

KNIGHT IN ARMOR CLIPARTJust want to let my regular readers know that I’m going to have to start monitoring and approving comments for the foreseeable future. I haven’t done that since the very first year of this website. I’ve allowed people to comment freely, and I’ve had almost no spam or unacceptable trash in those comments. However, the past two weeks I’ve had a number of totally off-the-wall and trashy things posted in my comments section — things totally unrelated to the post itself.

So, although 99% of my visitors are still very dependable when it comes to reasonable and polite comments, I don’t want to give opportunities for these few “crazies” out there to post things that would confuse or even offend readers in general. As most of you know I am not a “politically correct” journalist, so the problem has nothing to do with political correctness. It has to do with comments that are ludicrous or trashy — or are obvious attention grabbers in order to lure people to the commentor’s  site. I think it’s time I put up a shield and start standing guard for a while.

Sorry about this change, and I hope those of you who comment for the right reasons will continue to comment a lot. I’ll try to stay on top of approving them as quickly as possible.





New Poetry Site

SINGLE TQRS DAISYJust in case some of you really enjoy poetry, I’m inviting everyone to visit my new site here on WordPress. After losing my best friend recently, I have been dealing with a lot emotionally, and it has affected my creativity to some extent — only temporarily, I’m sure. But creating this new site — which is devoted almost exclusively to my poetry and to pictures (some by me and some by favorite photographers) has been a kind of therapy for me.

It is a site purposely focused on positive, light, refreshing works that will give a restful, happy experience to visitors. I’ve shut down a couple of the sites I posted from in the past to be able to focus more of my attention on the new website.

So if you’re interested, mosey over and visit me at this link: AHYOKA.

Introducing ‘Ole Bill’


cartoon-writer-yell-spikey-hair-2You all know — well, at least all my readers who have been around a while know — how much I love to introduce new bloggers and channel visits their way. Today I’m really happy to tell you about a blog called “Pen In Hand.”  It’s hosted by a delightful man and good friend named Bill Murphy (hence the “Ole Bill” handle in his Internet address).  And let me hasten to add that I’m not the one who started referring to him as “Ole Bill.” That’s his own choice for handles, and it just about sums up his fun personality.

Bill and his wife hail from Mississippi, USA, but they now live closer to me in Illinois. He has written most of his life — and is quite good at it — but only recently decided to jump into Cyberspace with his talent. He writes about all kinds of things — both fiction and non-fiction — and he often draws on his real-life personal experiences for material.

If you enjoy sitting back, propping up your feet, and just enjoying life, you’ll like visiting Bill’s site. Just follow the link in the blog title above and pay him a visit. Be sure and tell him I sent you.




Seven Reasons I Love Blogging



1) Meeting people and making friends from around the world.

2) Taking part in all kinds of writing challenges that force me to get out of my comfort zone and stretch myself as a writer.

3) Opportunities to share my thoughts and beliefs with people I’d never have a chance to communicate with through any other medium.

4) Communicating with other extraordinarily creative people. Creativity begets creativity, so my own creative gifts are strengthened and stretched by that communication.

5) Opportunities to present some of my work and receive honest feedback from my peers.

6) Opportunities to lift and lighten someone else’s day by positive things I’m able to share.

7) Opportunities to make myself available to other writers and artists who would like to draw from my years of experience in the field of journalism and literature.

I’d be delighted to hear from some of the rest of you about why you love blogging. Just post your thoughts in the “Comments” section below — or if you want to write a whole post on your own site, you can share the link to it.




The WordPress Family Expands

CARTOON WRITER,GOLDWell, this past week, I finished up one of my “Blogging Made Easy” classes, and it’s time to introduce my WordPress family to some of the newest members of the clan. I’m not sure they would all tell you that they found learning to blog “easy,” but the difficulties we encountered were not of their making — or of mine — but, in fact were the fault of the WordPress system and so many of its so-called improvements.  Those changes, which are not working correctly in many of the themes, and which offer much less in site control than was previously offered in many themes, did cause a set back or two. However, all of my students were valiant troopers and plowed through all those hindrances with determination.

As a result, I have four new blogs to introduce to you today. Some other students are still working on getting their sites more “finished,” and I’ll introduce them at a later date.  Each one of these blogs is hosted by an individual who wants to get to know other bloggers and interact with the rest of the WordPress community as soon as possible. So here are the links to four new sites, and I hope that many of you who follow this site will visit them and extend a personal welcome.

Random Ritings — hosted by Wes Henson

Herron’s Hope — hosted by Anne Herron

catattack — hosted by Douglas Wells

Word Up — hosted by Debra Hawkins





Share Your World Week 41

To join in the fun of Cee’s Share Your World Challenge, just follow the link to her site and get all the details.

MUSIC STAFF - MULTICOLOREDQuestion # 1:  What genre of music do you like?

Easy Listening/Swing/Soft Rock.



BAKING DAY - TABLE BRIGHTENEDQuestion # 2:  What is the worst thing you ate this last week?

I love food. Nothing I ate was bad.


BOOKS - DARKER - w. textQuestion # 3:  Would you like to be famous?  In what way?

I  would like to be so famous as an author that the world would be literally clamoring for my books.


MOUSE 1Question # 4:  Complete this sentence:  This sandwich could really use some …

This sandwich could really use some cheese — more cheese — lots of cheese. A sandwich isn’t a sandwich without cheese!

Teaching on Computer

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m super grateful that the Lord provided some extra money to put towards paying off the mortgage on my house. I’m getting very, very, very close now!

I get to teach my blogging class and the healing school classes again this week. I do love both of those experiences.





I Just Can’t Make Up My Mind …..

BLACK SMILEYOkay, I know what you’re saying to yourself: “Good grief, she’s changed themes again!”  And you’re right, of course.  You see, the problem is that I just can’t seem to decide which one I like best right now.  And added to that situation is the fact that my blogging students are coming to the lesson where they get to choose their own themes, and I’ve been sort of shopping through the possibilities for them as well.

When I begin the blogging classes, I put every student on the same theme — one of the fairly basic themes offered by WordPress that will let them learn to handle the technology without too much hassle. That way, the whole class is seeing the same thing on their screens at the same time, and it’s easier to teach them how to maneuver. But tomorrow they get to change to a theme of their own choosing.  They’re looking forward to it.

And as for me — well, I think I’ve finally made a decision. I’ve tried about three different ones this past month, and kept each for a few days each. I can’t really tell how much I’ll like or dislike a theme with just a preview. It takes several days of actually using it to know for sure. There are several things I like about this Lingonberry theme right now, so maybe — just maybe — it will get to have a home here for several months. But, as I’ve mentioned previously, I get bored easily, so sooner or later, even this theme too shall pass.

If you have a favorite theme and would like to share why you chose it and what you like about it, share your thoughts and experiences with us in the “Comments” window below. My students would appreciate your input as well, and I’ll be sure to pass along what you share.





Yep, Got A New Title

Well, it’s this way. I never have been able to get the tag line to work on this theme.  And I wanted my new tag line to say, “The right word makes all the difference.”  But since it won’t post on my site — unless I create a graphic with the title and the tag line myself and post it as a header — I decided that maybe I’ll just make that statement my new title.  Don’t know if I’ll stick with it, but I’m in the mood to experiment this week, so …… why not? Sorry if it confused anyone.  I rather like it.  Maybe some of my visitors will as well.



Life Gets Tedious Don’t It? – Or – Whatever Became of Sandra’s Problems With the Customizer?

COMPUTER WITH TONGUE OUTWell, I thought I’d give you a little update concerning my going round and round with WordPress over the lack of control I now have with the look of my blog. After communicating with several different technicians — most of whom told me something that conflicted with what others told me — I have come to this conclusion. I can still change the background color of my blog — but only if I go through the round-about way of doing so. But we can’t have any changes that make sense or that are simple and easy, now can we?

Unfortunately, the one thing all the techs agree on is that I can never change the color of my header text again. Now, being a ‘picture person,’ I like to change my header picture frequently, and I generally change my header text color and my background to compliment each picture (as all of you know). That being the case, I changed my text on here to white the last time (almost two weeks ago.)  Now I’ve learned that I can never change it again unless I buy an upgrade.  Of course, some of the free themes still say that changing that header color is still a free option. But — according to the techs — that is not true.

Here’s what’s happened. Without giving us any advance notice that I can find anywhere, WP decided to drop the option of changing the header color for free. Now they insist on making us buy an upgrade for that option, and now – with no warning – I’m stuck with this dilemma: On this site (“In Love With Words”) I can never again change my background to white, or no one will be able to see the title of my blog. On my “Happy Patriot” site, I will have to always use a picture and background that blends with bright red, because the title is currently bright red and there’s no way to change it back to black.  And I have the same problem on my other two sites. Honestly, if I weren’t so aggravated, I’d roll in the floor laughing at such ridiculousness.

I have two blogs on Blogger, but I had decided a couple years ago to focus only on my WordPress sites — and there are 4 of them. After all this mess — along with several other changes that have taken place recently that have made my blogging experience unhappy — I seriously thought about giving up on WP and just moving all my stuff to the Blogger sites.

The only thing that stopped me was thinking about all of you — the sweet people I’ve come to know and love over these four years. I know that a handful of you would follow me to Blogger and continue to stay in touch. But most of you wouldn’t bother. And I understand why. All of us are so busy these days that the only way we can actually stay connected on a regular basis is if it’s quick and easy to do so. With the majority of my followers being WordPress bloggers, it’s easy for all of us to stay close. If I move, that connection with most of you will be lost.

So —- I have taken a deep — deep — deep — deep breath, and decided to stick it out for now. I’ll do some experimenting and see what I can find that will let me come as close as possible to making my sites look like I want them to look.  Besides, it’s true for blogs the same as it is true for human beings: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and when you love someone, she looks good to you, no matter what her hair, clothes, or make-up looks like. And I know that so many of you love me — even as I do you — so you won’t really care even if I have a lavender picture posted onto a bright orange background. Ewwwww!!!

Mostly, though, I just feel sort of sorry for the WordPress “happiness engineers.” They have a rather thankless, almost impossible job trying to explain why all these changes should make us happy.



I Have a Favor to Ask

MAN TYPING HUGE PAGE - CHAPTER TEXT ONLYWell, dear blogging buddies, I am writing this post to ask a favor of any of you who might have the time to visit a new blog. As most of you know, I teach creative writing classes for a local college, and this year we have decided to launch an experimental addition to our curriculum.

We have created an online magazine, Debut Writers Journal, in which we feature work by the students in the creative writing classes. The magazine serves two purposes. For one thing, it allows the students to see their work in print and gets their names out into the literary world. But secondly, the magazine offers opportunities for the more advanced students to learn editorial and publishing skills by working with us on the magazine. It’s a brand new effort and will take some time to polish, but I’m excited about it.

I have posted quite a few pieces by some of the students already (short stories, non-fiction articles, and poems), and I will be posting a few more in the next couple weeks. Then when we get into the summer term, there will be new students to add to the roster. These students are from all walks of life and include every age group — from those right out of high school through those in their 70’s.

Now, the favor I’m asking is that any of you who have time would hop over there and take a look at some of what they have written. You probably won’t have time to read everything, but if you pop in and out from time to time, you can read several entries. And, of course, if you enjoy some of the pieces, please leave a comment for the writers. They are all very eager to learn the ropes of perfecting their craft, and they work very hard. So every word of encouragement is a great blessing to them.

Please don’t feel pressed to say things that you don’t feel sincerely, but when you do enjoy a piece, please let them know.

Thank you so much for being willing to share your time and energy to encourage fledgling writers. I hope doing so blesses you as well. Just follow the link in the second paragraph above and enjoy your visit.



Let Me Introduce You To . . .

MAT AT MICMy world grew much, much larger, and exponentially richer the day I started blogging. A few years later, I have so many wonderful friends and acquaintances online that I find it hard to try to list all of them. However, periodically, I like to introduce some of those people — and their own blogs — to my readers. A few of you already know these people, but many of you probably do not. 

Of course, I cannot begin to tell you in one post about all of the wonderful blogs I follow, but I can suggest a few of them at a time and give you a short synopsis of what you can expect to find when you visit them. I’ll do another list later on. But for now, here are nine great blogs that you might enjoy as much as I do. 

Making It Write

Jane Basil writes mainly about the challenges that are in her life and about her heroic and mostly successful efforts to overcome them. Her writing will intrigue you one day, humble you the next, cause you to delve deeply into your own conscience on another day, and the day after that inspire you to reach farther for your own dreams. She is one of the most honest writers I know, and she truly appreciates readers’ feedback.

 Lucid Gypsy

Gilly Goldsworthy was the second real friend I met after entering into this delightful hobby called ‘blogging.’ And she is one of the most ‘comfortable’ bloggers I’ve become acquainted with. I use that word to describe her site because that’s just what I feel every time I visit. I know I will enjoy a sense of welcome and refreshing and, very often, learn something new. Gilly loves to travel, and she often writes about the places she visits. She enjoys her family, her nation, her British and Nigerian heritage, and her friends — both in person and on the Internet — and her blog makes that enjoyment abundantly clear. Her site is filled with lovely photography and some of the most charming haiku and tanka I have ever read — as well as articles about a large variety of subjects.


Gerry Ainger will have to go down in history as the very first blogging friend I made after I became part of the WordPress network. He is super friendly, gracious, and big-hearted. You will find an enormous variety of subject matter on Gerry’s blogs. This link is to only one of his sites, but once there, you will find links to the others. If you enjoy music, stories of fantasy, or trips down memory lane, Gerry has a little bit of all of it for you.

Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures Plus

Lee Dusing is just a super lady — or perhaps I should say a super birdlady — or maybe that should be ladybird.  Anyway, no matter how we say it, Lee has one of the most incredible sites I’ve connected with on the Internet. She works harder than almost anyone I know to fill her site with a storehouse of information, and does it all with excellent photography and interesting visits from other bloggers as well. Her focus is on birds and how they are gifts from our Creator to teach us many things and to make our lives fuller and richer. I sometimes go over there just to listen to the audio of birds singing.

Northwest Photographer

Bob MIelke is one of the most incredibly talented photographers I have ever known. His sites are so enjoyable. (Besides his WordPress blog, which is the link you’ll find here, Bob also has a Tumbler site with full-screen size photos, and a National Geographic site where he posts photos he’s submitted for possible use by that periodical. You’ll find links to those 2 sites on his main blog.) Bob has been a portrait photographer, although he does a lot of landscape photos these days. He’s also an artist and a photography instructor, but I think his favorite thing to do is visit the Portland, Oregan Zoo and take super pictures of all the animals. You can’t visit his blog without experiencing any number of “oooohs” and “aaaaahs” before you go away. And if you’re interested in learning how to take better pictures, he’s got some great tips that he’s always willing to share.

The Day After

Dawn is a very down-to-earth lady who is a professional photographer as well as a talented writer. Her site is rich with photographs of a huge variety of subjects. My favorites are her landscapes and buildings.  She creates calendars with her original photography gracing every month. Every Wednesday she posts her articles and stories, and generally she takes part in several writing challenges each week. I’m also jealous of where she lives, and if you visit her site, you’ll soon learn why.

Pure Glory

Christian ministers Hazel Straub and Gabriel Cross are the two hosts of the ministry site Pure Glory. Every day, without fail, they post a message — based on God’s Word — that goes right to the heart of where we live. Their encouraging posts have helped me many times — often as if they had written the words just for me personally. However, I know many, many people feel that same way when they read those messages. I believe that’s because the Lord tells them exactly what to post every day. If you want a word that will lift you, strengthen your faith, and make you know you are loved, visit them often.

Writer On The Edge

Writer Tish Farrell’s site is classy, warm, and full of energy. She covers a wide variety of subject matter — and always with great photos to accompany her words. Tish has written some wonderful articles on writing, full of thought-provoking and encouraging ideas. But whatever she posts, from pictures of red elephants to articles declaring shopping to be the one characteristic that most denotes our humanity, she makes the reader feel that she’s completely invested in what she presents.

Writing With Some Ink and a Hammer

Scott Thomas Summers is a prolific writer and a teacher of literature and writing as well. He seems to be one of those people who has a dual personality — at least where his writing is concerned. He has written two powerful books about the American Civil War, telling the stories in each book from the perspective of a young soldier. The books are written in free verse, and Thomas’ ability to make the experiences blatantly real is something that I envy. More recently he has written about the life of Jesse James with equal realism. However, his alter-ego is that of a fantasy writer, and just as thoroughly as he creates reality, he also creates totally make-believe worlds filled with trolls, goblins, dragons, and the valiant warriors who fight them.  The truth is you just never know when you stop by Thomas’ blog whether you will be galloping with a posse chasing Jesse James, slaying a dragon to rescue a fair damsel, or fighting for your life at Gettysburg. Better just hop over and find out.


It’s worth repeating one statement from my introduction here. There are many other blogs that are worth visiting and following. But in order to do them justice, I must present only a few at a time. So watch for the next installment, and I’ll add a few more for you to check out and enjoy.