Category Archives: kid power

Midwest Musings: What to Do When Your Internet’s Down

Photo by Leslie Sloan, Ignite The Light Photography

Photo by Leslie Sloan, Ignite The Light Photography

By the time you read this, our internet service will have been restored, but today while I’m writing this article, I am frustrated, to say the least. In the last twenty-four hours since we’ve been without access to our email and other websites, I’ve discovered just how much time and energy I’ve come to place on them. It’s not the end of the world, by any means. All I have to do is leave the house and find somewhere that has free wifi. It’s the convenience of having the service right here, handy, I really miss.

While I’m reassuring myself that our provider will have the service up and running shortly, I’ve also been exploring what to do with all this frustrated energy in the meantime. Why not share with you? Maybe I’ll start to believe it myself, if I put it down on the screen.

First and foremost, I haven’t lost access to any of my manuscripts. I can continue working on the one in progress. This initial rereading of something I wrote a few years back isn’t easy on the ego – my writing style has changed, hopefully improved, in the intervening months – but the task certainly offers hours of something to keep myself occupied. Problem is, I’ve grown accustomed to stopping every so often and checking something on the Internet, like my latest emails or some site of the moment. Can’t do that now. Have to find other distractions.

Did I say distractions? Well, there you have it. I apparently have difficulty remaining focused on my writing for very long periods of time. Not such a great self-discovery, but definitely something to consider when I wonder why I’m not more prolific.

What else can I be doing? When I was recently prepping another manuscript for submission to my editor, I used that, as well as the heat and humidity, as an excuse not to walk for exercise. No excuse today. So I started the week off right by getting myself out and about.

I’ve also been using my writing as an excuse to hold off housecleaning. We’re still in the process of moving in, so it’s been easy to justify keeping household maintenance to a minimum, like doing the dishes and laundry and making the bed. Now I have the “opportunity” to do that sweeping and dusting I’ve been putting aside. Not glamorous and, for me, not really fun, but certainly beneficial.

After the above, there’s always the books I’ve downloaded to read and haven’t gotten to. All I’ve been managing to keep up with are the books for my book clubs. While I’m at it, I might even write a few reviews. I’m sure those authors would appreciate the effort.

Finally, this brief – I hope it’s brief – Internet-free period is allowing me time to write this article and a few others. So to quote a cliché, every cloud has its silver lining.


Follow-up: Next day. The Internet is back! Yeah!


Midwest Musings: RandomKid

Photo by Leslie Sloan

Photo by Leslie Sloan

Since this is my last “Midwest Musings” post for a while, I’d like to take this opportunity to honor another author, Talia Leman, who wrote A Random Kid, the Power of Anyone. Last fall, she and I celebrated the launch of our respective books about the same time. Talia was 16 and I was…somewhat older. Talia has also been my neighbor since her birth. She is now headed off to her freshman year at Stanford University in California after being named valedictorian at Roosevelt HIgh Schol in Des Moines this past spring. As she departs, she takes with her an incredible resume of accomplishments for one so young. I’d like to share some of that story with you in hopes it might serve as inspiration to you, no matter your age.

Before I do, though, the first thing I want you to know about her is that she is a very down-to-earth, friendly and caring young woman. This past summer, the enterprising Ms. Leman asked to join our garage sale with some of the things she and her brother no longer needed. For a time, I joined her in our driveway, where she’d set up shop with her card table, and watched with fascinated interest how she interacted with the kids who came to examine her ten-cent toys while their parents wandered off elsewhere. She would be an excellent child psychologist or elementary education teacher, because she absolutely clicked with them.

Eight years ago this month, Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, wreaking terrible devastation to the residents of that area of the country as well as causing horrible destruction of land and property. Those of us in other parts of this country saw daily, hourly broadcasts reporting Katrina’s wrath and wished we could do something to help. One young nine-year-old wasn’t content to just sit by. She began by collecting money locally as part of Halloween celebrations. But that wasn’t enough. She organized other kids in town and then around the country to band together to raise money to help. Their efforts raised over $10 million.

Talia Leman

Talia Leman

But that wasn’t enough for Talia. Seeing how successful these kids-helping-other-kids efforts were, she decided to apply this principle, along with her mother, Dana, and Annie   Ginther, to an ongoing organization which eventually became RandomKid. The purpose of RandomKid is to educate, mobilize, unify and empower youth to directly impact local and global needs.  Since its inception, the non-profit organization has brought together over 12 million kids in some 20 countries in such world-changing efforts as funding water pumps, building schools and providing medical care.

51oMMn+N+FL._AA160_For her efforts, Talia has received the National Jefferson Award (along with fellow recipients Marlo Thomas and Ruth Bader-Ginsberg), World of Children’s Founder’s Youth Award, and the International Youth Talent Award from the European Union and the Spanish government of Extremadura.  RandomKid has been designated a United Nations Champion of Intercultural Innovation.

It has been such a privilege to watch this young woman grow up. She will suspend her duties at RandomKid while she attends college, but by now, the organization can operate on its own. This idea grew from the simple premise that kids can make a difference. Just imagine what great ideas and accomplishments lie ahead for her in her college years and beyond.

To learn more about RandomKid, go to

Available September 25 on Amazon Kindle

Available September 25 on Amazon Kindle

9781440556463 The Sleepover ClauseAndHeCooksToo_7346_750

The Sleepover Clause

Amazon ebook, Amazon POD

Barnes and Noble




And He Cooks Too

The Wild Rose Press, TWRP POD

Amazon Kindle, Amazon POD

Barnes and Noble Nook


iBookstore POD