Family

In a few months, I intend to publish my first children’s book.  It is called “I knew a girl named Buttercup Bloom.”  It is a fact-based story about my struggles with bullying.  “Buttercup Bloom” is a composite character of several people from my childhood and into my adult life.  The first person that the character is based on is my first girlfriend, Marta, that I met at the age of seven.  The most recent person she is based on is someone named Amy, a person who taught me a lot about friendship, probably without her even knowing it.

I hope with the release of this book, I can call attention to the stigma of bullying throughout the lifespan.  It is something that goes on from the playground to the board room and from face-to-face interactions to cyberspace.  I am a staunch anti-bullying advocate, as I hope “I knew a girl named Buttercup Bloom” will prove.

And now, the excerpt.  Be kind, it is still a rough draft!

I knew a girl named Buttercup Bloom.  I met her Once Upon a Time when we were young and I last saw her after we had grown up.  When I met her, summer’s green leaves were changing to the reds, yellows and oranges of fall. She had bright eyes and a smile filled with pretty white teeth. She wore cute yellow dresses that were the color of buttercups, just like her name. 

I let Buttercup Bloom into my life during a very sad time. I met her after my mother had died from a very bad illness. At first, it seemed that Buttercup Bloom didn’t like me. I may have annoyed her at times. But in no time, Buttercup Bloom filled the empty space that my mother’s death left in my life. She could never take Mama’s place, but she didn’t need to either. Talking to Buttercup was very easy and she became almost as good of a friend as my mother had been.

My name is Wes Wormer. I was not well-liked at school. Kids would pick on me because I looked funny to them, especially mean girls and one particular big boy. I didn’t have good eyesight, so I wore thick glasses. I had big ears that stuck out from my head like handles on coffee cups. They thought my last name was funny, and instead of calling me by my right name, they called me “Wes Wormy.” I was smaller than other kids, so the big boys liked to hit me and throw me to the ground.  I had horrible ear infections when I was young, which left me partially deaf in my left ear. This affected my speech, so I talked kind of funny as a kid. The other kids picked on me because of it.  Later, in high school, I was often shoved against or into one of the lockers near the cafeteria.  Yeah, lunchtime was usually quite eventful.

Mama stood by my side and tried to make me feel better.  She couldn’t be with me at school, but she was there for me at home.  Many times she saw me cry and she tried to say the right things to make me feel better.  In some ways, she over protected me.  I couldn’t try out for Little League and I couldn’t join Boy Scouts.  I think Mama was afraid I’d get hurt.

Buttercup Bloom was different than other kids. She didn’t make fun of me. After she got used to me, she spoke to me like I was any other kid. I never had to think about how I looked or about my funny name or my poor health – none of that seemed to matter to Buttercup Bloom.  Buttercup even liked my glasses.  She would take them off of my face and put them on herself, saying they made her look “sophisticated!”

It has been a while since I added any new content here!  I hope to remedy that. Over the past year and a half, my wife and I have been busy being foster parents to two mischievous boys, ages seven and nine.  Well, they have now been back with their biological family for a month and the “empty nest” is starting to become more and more real to me.

Now that I am not playing “Mr. Mom” anymore – at least until a new placement comes into our home – I will have more time for one of my other great loves – writing.  Not that I have been completely dormant as a writer.  I have a few projects that I am working on, namely a children’s book and a sort of memoir, both revolving around the topic of bullying.  I also continue my assignments at Examiner.com as the Rockford (IL) Workplace Issues Examiner.  You can find my work for Examiner here.

As I progress on the books I am writing, I will give updates here. I also plan to post some excerpts as they become available.  I am targeting the middle of 2014 for publication of both books.  They will be available on Smashwords and Amazon.  Until then, keep reading whatever you can get your hands on, even if it’s just for a few minutes per day.  Keep your brain sharp and your heart open!

On February 22, 2012, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn introduced his proposed state budget for fiscal year 2013. Among repeat areas targeted for cuts is the Department of Human Services (DHS), specifically the Medicaid program. This has a direct impact on the city of Rockford because among the facilities targeted for closure is Singer Mental Health Center, a state-operated facility serving people with severe mental illnesses. Singer escaped closure last fall after the bipartisan Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability voted against closing Singer because of a lack of transition planning for moving the residents served at Singer.

Governor Quinn seems to wear blinders when it comes to budgetary line-items to slash. He has continued the tradition of past governors to cut funding of human services agencies. This move is puzzling at best. Medicaid provides funding to many different types of services throughout the state of Illinois, including nursing homes, hospitals, and community health centers. All of these could be hard hit, but taking Singer as an example, several issues arise from a potential closure. First of all, alternate placement must be found for the residents. The state has already closed other state-operated facilities, so public options are not plausible. Placing residents with private agencies is possible, but as previously mentioned, these facilities are also affected by budgetary woes.

Continued at Examiner.com

Below is an excerpt from my Suite101 article “Origins of the Thanksgiving Holiday in America.”  Happy Thanksgiving to all!

The purpose of Thanksgiving is to express gratitude for the good fortune during the past year. It is a day of reflection that one spends with loved ones.

Thanksgiving of today is celebrated much like the colonists of Plymouth Colony celebrated it in 1621. Theirs was a three day celebration of feasting to mark the end of a successful growing season. The day has had other meanings. In the 18th century, Thanksgiving marked military victories, bountiful harvests or changes in the government. Some of the original Thanksgivings were days of prayer and fasting.

The First Thanksgiving Proclamation

The first recorded Thanksgiving Proclamation was made by the Governing Council of Charlestown, Massachusetts on June 20, 1676. This proclamation made June 29, 1676 a day for thanksgiving. Aside from the 1676 holiday, Thanksgiving was not a set holiday in colonial America. Different colonies would have many days for giving thanks during the year.

Continued @ Origins of the Thanksgiving Holiday in America | Suite101.com.

Below is an article I wrote concerning the use of social networking among people who are interested in adopting children.  Many prospective parents have turned to modern-day technology to improve their chances of starting a family.  This article was written as a guide for these parents as well as a way to show that there are pitfalls in this process.

Social networking is a tool that was not an option for adoptive parents and birth mothers in the past. It is still an option that should be used with care.

Look around on the Internet and one will find a plethora of websites on so many diverse subjects. Adoption has joined that vast group. The Internet can be a complicated place, yet more and more people are using it thanks to the benefits it provides.

In the past few years, there has been tremendous growth in social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Additionally, easy-to-use templates have made it easy for web users to design their own personal websites. People can also set up a web presence or blog on sites such as WordPress and Blogger.

Why Use Social Networking When Adopting?

It’s no surprise that families waiting to be chosen by a birth mother are turning more often to different forms of communication to market themselves. People can look up families who are using the site and send messages to them about their experiences. The purpose of these pages is to make a connection, so finding a prospective adoptive parent who has a Facebook page that will respond is more likely than not.

Prospective parents need to keep in mind that limiting themselves to this form of marketing may be foolhardy. Many people use social networking these days and it is very easy to get lost in the crowd. When the ratio goes from one profile in a hundred versus the one in ten or fifteen with an agency, it is easy to see that multiple forms of networking are needed.

Continued @ The Use of Social Networking by Prospective Adoptive Parents | Suite101.com.