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Mary Biever | One Writing Mother |

Global is the New Local

As technology advances, the size of our planet shrinks. It takes less time to conduct business with partners on the other side of the planet.

We can talk in real time, share projects, and more. Smart businesses will analyze their product mixes and determine if there is a way they can broaden their reach to other geographic areas. Social media, blogging, and web design that are fully integrated can make that happen.

This morning, I’m giving a talk, Global is the New Local to an area business group. Local entrepreneurs and businesses in my area are making wise use of social media to grow their business bases and develop strategic relationships. Because of their savvy efforts, they have a crisis management team in place in the unfortunate event it might one day be needed.



How to Rebuild Your House?

If you grow up with less than perfect beginnings, and you want to make a better life for yourself, how do you get started? In my book He Uses It For Good, I described how God used various bad beginnings in my life for good purpose later. Changing my mindset and the direction of my life, so my kids have a strong foundation, has required hard work, lots of faith, and the support of good friends.

It’s a total life makeover, a rebuilding of your interior house. You clear out the old and build anew.

It’s hard to create healthy when you don’t know what healthy looks or feels like. I remember not realizing that healthy people make mistakes, have bad days, get into disagreements, and later work them out – and that that is normal. A blow up today does not mean I’ve put on the dark magic transporter ring that shoves my family into the Bizarro world of my own childhood. Sometimes a bad day is just a bad day, and tomorrow will be better. It’s taken me years to recognize that not only in my head but in my heart.

I realized after writing my book that I needed a follow up on what to do for someone with a similar background to mine who wants to create a better life. Here’s my next book I plan to write this year:

Rebuild Your House: How to Create a Great Life After Bad Beginnings

It will include strategies to create second chances and new beginnings.

And here’s where you can help. I have friends and know other people who have flipped their life script for a new beginning. If you’ve done so and would like to share your strategies for the book, let me know. I would love to include different perspectives and ideas.

And finally, I would ask for prayers. Mother Theresa often said she was God’s pencil, and I identify with that.  My hope and prayer is my next book will be divinely inspired and will help me help others, to offer hope for the future.

God Will Take Care of It

“God will take care of it,” a friend consoled me after I burst into tears when I saw her while shopping just after Christmas.

It was the evening I wrote about with my bad dressing room experience. I had certain shopping that had to be finished before New Year’s Eve, and that evening was my only time to finish it. So, despite the the bad experience in one store, my 911 call in another parking lot, and our making decisions on what to do about the dressing room incident, I had to keep going.

To avoid any other problems, I drove to the opposite side of town and went shopping, hoping not to again see the peeping Tom. I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach and struggled to keep my composure. I prayed for God to help me, texting a few trusted friends and asking saints and angels to pray to God on my behalf.

Once I was in the store, I saw a friend – we don’t know each other very well but have kids the same ages and have been in several activities together. “How was your Christmas?” she asked.

As soon as she did, I was overwhelmed with the night’s drama and trauma and burst into tears, sobbing on her shoulder. Then I worried – our Christmas had been wonderful, the best in years. I didn’t want her to think terrible things had happened. So as soon as I calmed down enough to choke out some words, I told her Christmas was good, but some bad things had happened that evening.

I was quiet, and few if anyone else in the store knew anything had happened or that I was upset.

She let me cry on her shoulder for a moment and told me, “Whatever it is, God will take care of it. He will handle it.” Sometimes moms are moms to their children and sometimes for their friends.

I straightened up, regained my composure, thanked her, and was able to finish my errands. Afterwards, I felt convicted to stand for what was right and tell what happened to try to prevent it from happening again. A few days later, I wrote the blog to share what had happened. Friday, I wrote how the situation resolved itself.

When I wrote how the situation resolved, I realized I left out that at each step the hand of God was there and how He helped. At the moment I needed help the most, when I felt the most powerless and alone, He sent someone to deliver a message and comfort me.

God will take care of it. He will handle it.

We have a place we can go to seek comfort and aid when we need it the most.


Pinterest = Next Generation Social Sharing

As Mark Zuckerberg changed the rules and interface of his Facebook playground, he opened the door to the next generation of social sharing – beyond faces to things and ideas showcased on new platforms like Flipboard and Pinterest.

Why and What has happened to shift the direction of social media?

There’s a limited amount of time we can spend talking about ourselves and other people before we want more. We want to talk about things we enjoy and ideas we like.  The newer platforms fill this new interest.

Pinterest has created a virtual niche that people – women in particular – can embrace. I like trying new things for dinner or organizing something better. Now, instead of swapping a recipe at the office or over the back yard fence, I can see a pin on my friend’s board – or someone else’s – and if it fits me, I can repin it and share it with my own friends.

I’ve had an address book for almost 30 years and have relied on it. Now, the role of that address book has been supplanted by my phone contacts, Facebook, and LinkedIn worlds. I especially love how Facebook can link with my phone contacts so if I click on your picture, I can call, text, email, or Facebook you instantly.

However. No 2 women ever stood over a backyard fence comparing one another’s address books. The constant changing of the Facebook’s interface accelerated the interest in a different media.  Pinterest is user friendly and offers a quick start, letting me immediately watch the boards of my Facebook friends or Tweeps.

Instead of a linear list of statuses, I see cool pictures of the things that interest me the most. In my case, that involves recipes, some home decor, and home organization plus fitness info and inspiration. If you love photography or travel, you can create your own clipboard of what you love. So instead of telling what I love, I show what I love and learn more about it at the same time.

I’ll still keep my address book, Facebook, LinkedIn et al. Pinterest can’t replace those tools.  It wasn’t meant to. Instead, it takes social sharing to a new level, the new trend.

This is the beginning of the shift of social media to more sharing. If you want to do social media well in the next generation, you’ll need to bump it up a notch – a little less name dropping and personal branding and a little more sharing of content of value with a great picture attached.

I just read several leading gurus who all talked of how Google Plus will become the flavor to taste for 2012. I disagree. It’s a reworked retread of what we already have, wrapped in multicolor analytics with a Google search time bomb for a ribbon.

The real new trend will instead be social sharing that teaches and delights – by way of things and ideas more than people.

Dressing Room Privacy Renewed

Good things can come from bad experiences. After a terrible shopping experience last week, I wrote a blog, Dressing Room Dangers. The following has happened since that blog was written:

  1. That blog shattered my analytic records in the number of hits in a single day and on a single blog. It was shared widely.
  2. Stefanie Martinez aired a segment on Local 7 News Lifestyles, where the Evansville Police Department’s Chief Public Information Officer, Jason Collmon discussed safety tips women can follow when changing clothes in dressing rooms. Local public awareness of dressing room dangers was raised.
  3. The department store in question investigated the incident. A regional vice president from their corporate office visited the local franchise, reviewed my blog with them, and found ways to better ensure the privacy of women in their women-only dressing rooms. If those ways work in our local store, they will recommend the changes be made in other franchises as well. Further, they have made design recommendations that new franchises have taller dressing room doors.
  4. My husband got a chance to tell me “I told you so” but chose not to. He discouraged me from naming the store in the first blog because he said they needed a chance to rectify the situation.

A generation ago, when I was younger, this many constructive changes would not have happened in a week.

Social media and blogging, when done well, can shed light on problems that once would have been swept under the rug. It can be used for good.  Stand up for what’s right.

And for my daughter and young professional women, who are living in a new century:

  • Take classes in self defense and find other ways to equip yourself to handle unpleasant situations.
  • If someone tries to steal your dignity or take advantage of you, get help.
  • Know that there are good people who will stand with you. You are not alone.


Dressing Room Dangers – a Warning for Women

This is for all women: be on your guard the next time you try on clothes in a store’s dressing room. You need to be prepared to protect your privacy. Last week, I had a terrible shopping experience; not only did the store fail to have procedures in place to protect women from predators but the first step of the legal system failed as well.

Last week, I was shopping with a friend when she went into a dressing room to try on clothes. As soon as she went into her dressing room, a couple walked out of the dressing room beside her: a female and her boyfriend, who was about 6 foot 6 inches tall. He was so tall that he could see over all the women’s dressing room doors and was looking for a show. Because he was so big, I immediately went to find help and told the first cashier I found.

“There’s a tall peeping Tom going through the women’s dressing room.”

The cashier and I returned and could not find him. Then he walked out of the dressing room with his girlfriend again, again getting a peep show as he left (my friend could see him walk by). I called to the cashier and pointed him out. She approached him and walked away with him.

I then stood guard at the dressing rooms, waiting for my friend to exit.  She found clothes to buy. As she checked out, I asked the cashier (different from the first one) to call the store manager. I wanted to know what had happened to the peeping pervert. The manager knew nothing of it. My new cashier, as I described the peeper, commented he had just left the store with his friend. I got angry and asked about the store’s procedures to protect women’s privacy, and I asked about security tapes. The cashier I originally approached came up and said she had just told the guy he couldn’t be in the dressing rooms.  The store cashier deliberately let the peeping Tom get away.

The store’s manager was patronizing. I gave my phone number and asked for a follow up report. A week later, I have heard nothing. I emailed the national website and have heard nothing. I called their complaint number (buried on the website and they nearly didn’t want to talk to me) and have heard nothing. When I wrote on the national chain’s Facebook wall, they responded in 2 hours and apologized.

The story gets worse. We then went to shop at another nearby store and saw the peeping pervert with his girlfriend going in. I took down his car and plates, and we called 911. I spoke with a police officer. He pulled the guy’s record and said he had no priors. We were given a choice of having him arrested so he might be charged with a misdemeanor. The police officer said if we did not he would talk to the guy when he left the store.  We opted for the talking to and assumed the police report would be a beginning record of incidents if this guy repeated them later. We erred on the side of mercy.

When I called police records the next day, I learned that the officer did not file a police report. All there is is a run report. Our legal options are limited.

Then I learned that other dress stores in our area have an increased problem with couples going into dressing rooms to play show and tell. Had I known then what I do now, we would have gone for the arrest.

A generation ago, sexual harassment was typical in the workplace and beyond. I thought that my daughter would not face the same gropes and disrespect that were typical when I was her age. I was wrong. 

Lesson learned – if stores can’t or won’t protect women in dressing rooms, and law enforcement fails to take this seriously, it’s up to us to take care of ourselves. Suggestions:

  1. Share this blog with your family and friends so they are aware of the problem.
  2. Go in pairs to women’s dressing rooms. One should watch guard while the other tries on clothes. Scope out a dressing room and make sure no one is in it.
  3. The one watching guard should have a cell phone with a camera or video cam ready to snap photos. Then you have evidence.
  4. Before going into a dressing room, see where the nearest clerks are should you need assistance.
  5. Have a phone ready to call 911 from the dressing room to ask for help. If an incident like what we saw happens, insist the perpetrator be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the current laws.
  6. If an incident happens, contact your local news media and tell them what happened. Show your photos and videos to them.

Long term ways to take care of ourselves:

  1. Insist stores have dressing room doors that are taller.
  2. Spend more money in stores with a dressing room attendant.
  3. Ask lawmakers if they have laws to protect the privacy of women in dressing rooms. If your state doesn’t, ask that laws be written.
  4. Hold law enforcement accountable to defend the rights of women and their privacy.

Bottom line for stores that sell women’s clothes: 

  • If you want us to spend money to buy your clothes, take care of us.
  • Protect our privacy in dressing rooms.
  • If you fail to do so, we’ll spend our money elsewhere. Why bother shopping in your store when I can go elsewhere, buy online, or enjoy a home fashion party of CAbi or Vault jeans with my friends?
  • And  then we’ll tell a few thousand of our closest friends – in blogs, on Facebook, Google Plus, Youtube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Clothes stores that fail to honor the privacy rights of women in their dressing rooms seal the coffin of their own demise.

Chicken Vegetable Soup Recipe

Blending vegetables and chopping chicken are the secrets to my chicken vegetable soup.

  • 1 fryer
  • 3 large carrots, peeled
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 large onions
  • 3 stalks of celery
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 T chicken soup base (optional)
  • 8 oz. kluski (egg) noodles

First, put the fryer in a large stock pot and cover with water. Cut the carrots, celery, and onions into pieces just small enough to fit into your food chopper or blender. Chop the garlic into small bits. Add the bay leaf (broken in half), salt, pepper, and soup base. Bring to a boil, cover,and then simmer for at least an hour, or until the chicken is done.

Then turn down the heat. Remove the fryer from the stockpot and place in a shallow pan to cool. It will cool faster if you break apart the fryer (if needed – it may fall apart on its own). Strain out the large vegetable chunks. Using your vegetable chopper or blender, blend the vegetables. You can leave a few bits of carrot unblended if you like the color. Remove the bay leaf. When all the vegetables are blended, return to the chicken pot and let it simmer on low. I like to puree the vegetables so they add color and flavor but are less likely to be seen – the carrots especially add a golden hue to the soup.

When the fryer has cooled, bone it. You can cook the egg noodles at the same time. Bring the pot of chicken broth to a gentle boil and stir in the noodles. If you use actual kluski noodles, they will require at least 20-30 minutes to cook. This will give you time to chop the chicken.

Remove all fat, skin, bones, and gristle from the meat. I usually use a cutting board to remove meat portions. When my cutting board is half full, I use a large knife and chop the pieces of meat into bits no larger than 1/2 inch square. When that portion is chopped, I add it to the soup and then repeat these steps until all of the fryer is boned.

Let the soup simmer until the noodles are done. Serve hot.


The Peekaboo Fake Facebook Security Tip – Why It Doesn’t Work

If you see the following status on Facebook, be on guard. Not only does this lack merit – I list 3 problems with it - it increases your security risk on Facebook:

With the new ‘FB timeline’ on its way this week for EVERYONE…please do both of us a solid favor: Hover over my name above. In a few seconds you’ll see a box that says “Subscribed.” Hover over that, then in the box that appears, scroll down to bottom where it says “unsubscribe”. That will stop my posts and yours to me from showing up on the side bar for everyone to see, but MOST IMPORTANTLY it LIMITS HACKERS from invading our profiles. If you re-post this I will do the same for you. You’ll know I’ve acknowledged you because if you tell me that you’ve done it I’ll ‘like’ it. Thanks

Another version of this includes to unsubscribe from comments and likes. Problems and then the major security risk this causes:

  1. Subscribing just impacts your news feed. If you unsubscribe from someone’s page, all that does is remove that person’s information from your news feed. If you remove the comments and likes, you’ll remove the information from your news ticker. It in no way restricts your own information. It in no way restricts the information from the person whose page you just unsubscribed. You can still view that person’s Facebook profile as you would had you never unsubscribed. That person will still be able to see your Facebook profile as before you unsubscribed.
  2. Unsubscribing like this gives a false sense of security. Following this tip, which does nothing whatsoever to improve security, can give a profile user a false sense of security which could result in that person not following the real, effective steps in protecting Facebook privacy.
  3. Mobile doesn’t show the ticker.  With the increased number of people using Facebook via mobile, the new news ticker isn’t visible. So those who unsubscribe from likes and subscribes are doing steps which impact fewer actual Facebook users.

Often, young children play peekaboo and cover their eyes. Just because they cover their eyes doesn’t make the world disappear. They just don’t see it. This unsubscribe tactic does the same thing.

Finally, the biggest problem/risk with this. I know most of my neighbors and chat with them. I keep an eye on their house, just as they do on mine. What if I went to my friends and neighbors and asked them,

“Please do me a favor. When you drive down my street, don’t ever look in my driveway and see whether or not our cars are parked there. That will stop you from seeing my car and MOST IMPORTANTLY will LIMIT THIEVES who want to break into my house.”

If I publicly post this on my property, who is going to honor my request? The bad guys? Or only my friends who were never a risk in the first place?

If my friends and neighbors don’t glance at my house when they happen to be driving by it, will that improve my home security? No! It just means they won’t notice if I’m not around and someone does break in.

If I get my Facebook friends to unsubscribe from my posts, or my comments or likes, isn’t that comparable? What if I’m not on Facebook for while and my profile is hacked? If I’m hacked and my most trusted friends and neighbors aren’t keeping an eye on my profile via the news ticker and I’m not available, won’t it take longer for me to find out it happened?

Why would I remove my first line of defense in home security or Facebook privacy and tell everyone I’m removing it? You shouldn’t either.


The Whos and Whats of Facebook Timeline Security

Who and What are the keys to Facebook security with Timeline. How do you work with Whos and Whats to share information but protect yourself from harm?

  • WHO. Your first line of defense is who you share your information with. Check your privacy settings – if you are sharing something with Everyone, Global, or Public, then you are saying that information is available to any of the other 800 million Facebook users on Earth, which is 1 of every 13 people on the planet. Then, think carefully about who you accept as friends. If you need to accept certain people as friends for business reasons but are uncomfortable sharing your information with them, then put them on a restricted status. Another new option for Facebook friends is to put someone in the acquaintance group. Then set your privacy settings to restrict what acquaintances can see. Be sure to do the same with your photo albums. Check your privacy settings every month to make sure they reflect the privacy level you prefer. If you tag people in a photo, are tagged in a photo, or tag or are tagged in a Facebook status, then that photo or information is then available to the friends of everyone who was tagged. If you’re uncomfortable with that, then untag yourself.  Basic rule: Sharing means sharing – if you don’t share information with someone, that person can’t use it against you.
  • WHAT. There is no rule that says you must share everything on Facebook. In the questions in the about section, you don’t have to answer all the questions. Choose carefully what you share. If you don’t share it, it’s less likely to be made public. If you have certain information you use in making password selections, don’t share that information on Facebook. Review your old posts and information. If you don’t want them easily accessible, delete them. Yes, right now you have to delete them one at a time – just like you posted them one at a time over time.

Finally, we need to understand what Subscribe means. Today I’ve seen Facebook posts asking friends to unsubscribe from their feed. If you unsubscribe from someone’s newsfeed, all that means is that person’s status updates will no longer show in your Facebook news feed. If you ask your friends to unsubscribe from your news feed, you are simply asking them to no longer see your status updates in THEIR news feeds.  I have not yet discovered a way this reduces the risks of others hacking into your Facebook page.  If someone unsubscribes to your news feed, that person can still access your Facebook page.

The only way I can see unsubscribing increasing security is with mobile devices. If I lose my phone and someone steals it, the thief could look at my news feed and glean information. If you are unsubscribed, the thief would not see your information in my news feed. However, an enterprising thief could still go through my friends on my phone and glean information one at a time.

My caution with the lists of friends is to be careful what you post in the first place. Someone may be placed in the wrong group. You may share your information with the wrong set of friends. The former Congressman Weiner learned last year what happens when you confuse private postings in social media with public ones.

My blog How to Lock Down Your Facebook Privacy Settings will take you step by step through protecting your Facebook privacy.

Bottom line: be careful who your friends are and what you share. It’s the same on Facebook as it is in real life. There is no quick one click fix to social security – on Facebook or real life.  Just think before you share.


Plan Your New Year’s Challenge

If you break resolutions as soon as you make them, perhaps you’ll want to join me this year in a New Year’s Challenge. I was inspired this morning by Susan Oglesby Hyatt as she spoke about making real lifestyle changes in the new year on Local 7 News Lifestyles.

Susan hit home ways to make real changes and how to look at change from a deeper, big picture perspective.  Following her advice, I’ve chosen my word for 2012 – plan. I hope to be more intentional and do a better job of planning my life choices.

Another item she hit on on making real change is to write down a resolution and to share it with someone. So…I’m going to share it with more than someone – with my blog.  This year, I hope to better plan:

  • Incorporating exercise into my daily lifestyle by scheduling it on my calendar
  • Making better food choices for my family.

Following Susan’s suggestion, I’m looking for an inspirational song that will bring to mind the word plan, and I am soon going to have little plan cues around my home and car to keep me on focus.

A plan takes action, so I did 2 things this morning:

  1. Put exercise onto my calendar for the week and then rode an exercise bike for 30 minutes.
  2. Enrolled in the President’s Active Lifestyle program (free online). Many years ago, I did this with my children. Now, I’m back in the game, whose rules have changed a little. Five days a week, I’ll exercise at least 30 minutes and log the exercise in their program. Each week, I’ll choose 1 of 8 different nutritional goals and work to incorporate it into our food choices. If I complete 6 weeks of this challenge, then I’ll have earned the first level of an active lifestyle award. It’s time for me to take care of me because it’s the right thing to do – not just because I’m helping my kids develop their own fitness habits.

Maybe if I take a risk and blog this, I’ll be more likely to stick with it. You’re welcome to join me on this new year’s challenge.

My bigger goal is that making this change to plan will trickle into other areas of my life – to help me better focus and have the energy to complete at least 1 of the next 3 books I want to write. If I plan my work, and work my plan, I hope my plan will work.

Thanks to Susan Hyatt and your TV appearance this morning – I think you’re about to make a major, positive difference in my life in 2012.

What’s your goal, your challenge, or your resolution for 2012?


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