Life. Love. Poetry.

Life.

Love.

Poetry.

 

Passion waning

hopes diminishing

time passing

unrequited feelings

and being constantly overlooked

is my lament

as the years go by.

 

A blessing

for me

to recently be inspired again

and not let my writing gift go dormant

My ten day poetry class

has quickly sped to an end.

 

Future hopes

would be

poetic inspiration flourishing

love coming

boy meets girl

and actually asks girl out

(yes, such a novel concept these days)

commitment more than a passing fancy

or moving on to the next girl

but one

that promises more

and touches my heart

and his.

Love blossoming

like a beautiful cherry blossom.

Faith flourishing

and a dash

of exciting world travel, too.

In my dreams

for the future.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Love Tarries

Embed from Getty Images

Love tarries
as sunrises and sunsets,
new moons,
summer,
fall,
and winter
come and go
and another spring bashfully peaks
through the horizon.
The delay
and wait for love
weighs down my heart
with much sadness.
I feel forsaken
by love.

Men in my age range
seem to prefer model-types,
exotic foreign girls,
girls who like to flirt,
or girls who run after guys
and make things happen.
So, I’m no model,
nor do I want to be,
and beauty ultimately should come from within,
but I fault too many guys
for caring too much about appearance
and putting it on a pedestal,
and not caring enough about qualities
like compassion or intelligence or courage.
I don’t have exotic foreign appeal.
Alas, I can’t compete with that.
And I’ve never been one
much for flirting.
I appreciate genuine connection
and prefer to be monogamous
with flirting, but in dating
and not with every single guy.
I’m more traditional in nature,
and want to be pursued,
but society seems to laugh
at that these days.
I can be both traditional,
as well as for women having equal access
and opportunity in both the home and work sphere.

Love tarries
like a long, cold winter
when spring seems like it is forever gone,
and I sigh
and grow in patience,
albeit somewhat ungracefully,
in this wait for beautiful and lasting love.

Digital Inequality and the IRS

Inequality is “an unfair situation in which some people have more rights or better opportunities than other people.”  The definition of inequality is “the quality of being unequal or uneven” and can include social disparity and disparity of distribution or opportunity (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/inequality).

In terms of digital inequality, this can also be referenced as a technology gap.  I understand this very personally, because I was raised in a blue-collar family that was largely against computers when I was growing up.  I think my parents either hated or were scared of computers, and my Mom as a postal carrier never had need of a computer.  Today she gets upset when coupons are e-mail only since she doesn’t do e-mail, however, now that she is retired she surprised me when she took an entry level computer class with her friend at the community college.  Personally, I never owned a computer or laptop in college.  I would sometimes borrow my friend’s or my boyfriend’s computer, but mostly I would live at the library or computer lab when I needed to write papers.  Finances were an issue, and my first real computer came once I graduated with my Bachelors and Masters degrees and bought an old computer from an acquaintance for $100.  I know my experience may not be typical, but it is important to note that not every family can afford computers and technology, which can be very expensive.  This reality does set a child behind in school and can be a learning disadvantage.  A pencil and notebook is much less expensive than a laptop and affording home internet, and for parent’s struggling to put food on the table, technology is most likely not a priority.

Tonight I was disappointed and concerned when I went to my local library that is a star library in my state (Illinois) to pick up my federal and state tax forms and booklets.  Earlier in the week I had no success picking up the tax forms at the main post office that always stocks them, so I figured that perhaps I was thinking about my taxes late this year and the post office was just out of everything.  However, the sign at my local library said that the IRS decided to not send federal tax booklets this year to places that they always send them, like post offices and libraries. An extremely helpful woman at the library reference desk pointed out that the IRS also did not send supplementary forms like years previously, and a library staff member had to repeatedly call and ask for tax instruction booklets, only to be given 10 booklets that were quickly gone.  Also, there were no IL-1040 forms or booklets at all, and it was unclear to me what the library was given regarding state forms.

People looking for tax booklets were instructed to go online to look up the information.  This is not a good option for people who want to use a tax booklet and a paper form to mail their taxes in the old-fashioned way, which many older people still do.  Also, the library had a sheet with a phone number to call to have tax forms mailed to you.  That is a decent option for people that aren’t trying to do their taxes that night or at the last minute.  However, it is a hardship and a hurdle for taxpayers to jump through when instruction tax guides are not free and easily accessible to people of all income levels.  Many people may not have access to the internet at home, and most people would not like doing confidential tax information at the local library. I think this situation is inequality since it is social disparity and a disparity of opportunity for people of lower income levels.

Libraries and post offices are hubs of their community and provide services to people regardless of socioeconomic status, race, gender, or other factors.  While I can understand the IRS wanting to save money in the costs of printing and mailing forms, which is good both economically and environmentally, it still troubles me that this move results in an inequality that epitomizes the technology gap that is a way of life for many citizens in the United States of America.  I am a fan of freedom, and my hope is that people who are comfortable with old school paper tax forms can easily find and use them, while people who are comfortable with internet tax filing can utilize the internet to file their taxes.  I do not want to see either option cease to exist.

Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images

 

 

 

 

My Article was Published in “Empowered” (an online Magazine)!!!

Original Sunset Photography by Julie A. Smith
I submitted an article in September to the Christian online magazine, “Empowered.”  It was accepted!!!  My friend Melissa writes for them, and she recommended me.  It is a blessing, especially since I have wanted to be published in a Christian women’s magazine, but the ones that I have found don’t take unsolicited writing.  I have my blog, but it is incredibly exciting to get published on a wider scale.  I would love to have more opportunities for my writing to be published in the future.  As rain falls beautifully ending a drought, I earnestly hope that my writing both on my blog and my personal poetry will be reinvigorated and inspired again, ending a dry spell for me with both my motivation and inspiration that has been lacking.  It was extremely encouraging to have my article published, and I have received promising feedback from the small number of family and friends that I have told thus far.  It was so affirming to see my article referenced on the cover of “Empowered” with the caption “Finding your path.”  It was also empowering (yes, I am doing a play on words with the magazine title) for me as a writer to type up my credentials and biography and submit a professional picture (actually taken at a previous staff expo for my current job that has nothing to do with writing).  While there was a slight editing mistake in the article (i.e. I never actually bought a Siberian husky  when I was younger, because the dog sold at the pet shop before I could buy it), I am so thrilled with the article overall.  However. I have to fight my inner critic and own self doubts when reading my own work or thinking that I should have edited more before submission, even though I spent hours on the article.  I sincerely hope you have a moment to check out my article.  It is in the October/November/December issue of “Empowered” on the topic of careers that was published mid-end last month.  My article is on page 23-24 and is entitled, “Finding Your Path When your Career Path is Different than you Dreamed.”

Starbucks 2014 Happy Hour Edition (May 1-10, 2014 from 3-5 pm)

Starbucks Happy Hour is back for Half off Frappuccino blended beverages from May 1-10, 2014 from 3-5 pm.  Woohoo!  I’m definitely behind the times promoting this awesome special due to the busyness of my life of late (re: an exciting new car purchase and some vacation time largely without internet), so my apologies to all the people who have scrolled through my old Happy Hour blog posts trying to figure out the date for the Starbucks 2014 Happy Hour Frappuccino special.

But an exciting new twist this year is for My Starbucks Rewards Members!  If you are a My Starbucks Rewards Member, then you can get an extra hour of Frappuccino Half off Happy Hour from 5-6 pm during May 6-10, 2014.  This is great for working people who would largely miss this amazing promotion if not for the extra hour.  Since I am a big fan of Starbucks, especially of their frappuccino blended drinks,  I have a Starbucks gold card, but you can also register ANY Starbucks gift card that you have and become a My Starbucks Rewards member.  Then you can use the gift card (and reload it) and receive the aforementioned special during the alloted time period.  Please see the Starbucks website for Starbucks Rewards member information for this free program which has some cool perks, or if you want any other info about the Half off Happy Hour for Frappuccinos.  Enjoy!

http://www.starbucks.com/

 

 

 

Week in Review: Fab Lab visit, Kickball game, and an Amazing Omelet!

This past week was a unique one in ways which were fun.  On Palm Sunday I visited the C-U Community Fab Lab, which may perhaps fly under the radar as an innovative place to visit and merge technology and your creative side.  It’s a free community place where you can utilize a laser and an open source computer program to create your own key chain, make a magnet, or do more intensive things such as 3D printing and creation of your own designs.  It appeals to various ages, and while the young boy next to me seemed to do slightly better with his project than I did, with the help of three awesome volunteers I was able to solve some issues I was having and emerged victorious with a pretty blue heart key chain with my initial inside that I created.  I even got a pretty purple key ring to go with it!  See my photo below and the website links (including Flickr group for project ideas) if you are interested in learning more about the Fab Lab +/or visiting.

http://cucfablab.org/book/about-us

https://www.flickr.com/groups/1847246@N22/pool

Heart Keychain that I made at the Fab Lab!  (Photo and design by Julie A. Smith)

Heart Key chain that I made at the Fab Lab! (Photo and design by Julie A. Smith)

Next was an amazing omelet that I made heavy on the cheese which turned out good.  I’m not Betty Crocker or Rachel Ray, but that’s ok.  I get excited when I cook something and it turns out well, because my forte is in areas other than cooking.  So I was definitely proud of my omelet!  Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo to illustrate, because I ate the omelet exceedingly fast and was not thinking of photo-journaling.

Finally was the fun kickball game that was competitive and took me back to childhood.  It was between my small group and another small group from my church (note: our huge small group had actually split several months ago into 2 groups due to our size, but we still regularly get together for social outings).  Honestly, I don’t think I have played kickball since grade school, and I found my self asking questions as the game went on, such as “do you have to wait till the ball is kicked before you run from your base?”  However, unfortunately, I got out immediately three times when I kicked.  My balls always seemed to fly high, and the other team were stars at catching them.  My team was great at that, too, but we were vastly outnumbered, and I think that made a difference in our loss.  But fun was had by all it seemed, and I was happy that ONE TIME I ACTUALLY GOT ON BASE!  I DIDN”T EVEN GET OUT UNTIL RUNNING TO THIRD BASE!  I have always appreciated the saying, “it is not whether you win or lose, it is how you play the game.”  It was a ton of fun.  See photos below to illustrate.

Small group Kickball! (My team)

Small group Kickball! Fun times! (My team)

 

Kate and me (Small group Kickball)!

Kate and me (Small group Kickball)!

 

Our tough picture! (Small group Kickball! My team)

Our tough picture! (Small group Kickball! My team)

Finally, while there were some not fun issues to the week (re: multiple doctor’s visits & health issues, etcetera),  but the week was good overall.  Now I’m looking forward to Easter Sunday and my Dad visiting.  We’ll get to attend church together and have quality father-daughter time.  Sweet!

Birthday Blues (but gotta stay positive!)

Birthdays are super special to me. When I was young, I remember having a big birthday bowling party for seventh grade. Plus, there were the birthdays where I had a party at the local Chuck E. Cheese or did other fun stuff. For my 17th birthday (shared of course with my twin sister), we had a huge house party (minus the alcohol). It was a fun mixer of friends across several schools. While our school was closed due to a big snowstorm, our party was still on. Ah, the perils of early February birthdays- you kind of never know with the weather what will happen.

Right now I am on the brink of my early February birthday. While I always enjoy my birthday, the last few years it has been harder due to reconciling of my age, where I thought I would be, and dreams that have never come to pass and seem to be losing their sparkle (a.k.a titling this blog “Birthday Blues”). I find myself needing to be careful not to walk in self-pity. Plus, sometimes life’s disappointments can get me down, but I realize life has a way of combining the good with the bad, and I need to try to embrace the good and sift away the bad. Easier said then done, tis true. I often find tremendous encouragement from music, and right now I am listening to my favorite artist, Jeremy Camp, who always lifts me up emotionally and spiritually. My brother bought me Jeremy’s new “Reckless” cd from 2013, and I like this line from his “Paradise” song: “Don’t let this life take hold of my desires. And I won’t give up the fight.”

Last year, half of my friends cancelled the day of my birthday party, which was hard emotionally. They all had good reasons, but it felt like they let me down. Maybe I wouldn’t have thought that if I wouldn’t have noticed how one of my friends did 2 other activities that same day but said she was sick and had to miss my party, or how some friends are so busy that it can take months to connect in person, and I hoped my birthday was at least an “unmissable time.” I am definitely not high maintenance with friends, and myself and many of my friends are quite independent, but still, it is nice to keep up with friends, as well as connect on special occasions like birthdays.

This year, rather than having the anxiety of planning my own party again, I decided that I want to have one on one time with my good friends and get to do my favorite things, like going to Starbucks and one of my favorite affordable restaurants (that has cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory- gotta love it!). This way I can be flexible with my friends busy schedules and get to do more things, so that is a definite win-win. Also, I am excited that my small group leader was interested in organizing a birthday bowling party for me, because we sometimes celebrate birthdays in small group. That is such a blessing, and I will even get to break out my bowling shoes that I own. Woohoo!