We Met Our Goal! Thank you!

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Operations Write for Baseball was a huge success and we reached our goal yesterday! That includes a few “mail-in” donations, which is fantastic, too. We’re still doing the video, and there will still be expressions of gratefulness and appreciation. Many of you have asked to be anonymous. You will forever be known as Tank’s Baseball Dream Supporters Extraordinaire! Thank you for helping a 10-yr-old’s dream come true.

Coach emailed me because he heard through the hollow snakes that there was a chance Tank couldn’t go. I told him, not to worry. Our reservations and fees were all in. Tank ended up having supporters all over the world (we got an international donation, too).

Again, I’m still floored from all of this. I am also inspired. I have so many story ideas. Some of them, perhaps will make it into print, which will be further evidence to everyone’s kindness, I hope.

Thumbs up for all the Live Your Dreams supporters from Tank!


Baseball and Writing: They Go Together

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Tank’s baseball dreams for this summer for sure for next week’s tournament are a go! Wow! Thank you. Thank you.

Still more donations came in yesterday. How exciting! When I told Tank he said, “Mom, that’s awesome. You’re awesome. I need to be awesome.” I told him he was awesome.

This whole “Getting Creative to Help Make Dreams Come True” process has taught us all some valuable lessons, too. Community, our circle of friends, it isn’t just Hallmark Cards. It’s the real thing. Appreciate the human beings around you. There is a collective force that pulls us towards one another. That’s what makes this life worth enjoying and living.

We’re just shy of the goal ($50); but, a few more peanut butter sandwiches and dollar-stretching in other places and we’ll likely make it work. Thanks again to all the “Baseball is Life” sponsors.

And can I tell you how much I love PayPal? I wish more interfaces allowed me to use Paypal. Like I have a library fine I owe right now (I can never finish my books in enough time because I check out too many at a time). I logged onto the library page and you can pay online – that’s awesome; but it won’t take Paypal. Really? Bummer. I have to dig out a credit card. Ugh. Also, there have been times over the years, especially with Tank’s sports stuff, where we’d wish that folks took Paypal. One small note – the time of an email, and BAM! Everyone has their money. You’re collecting for a gift for so-in-so’s birthday at work. Take Paypal baby. It’s easy. Course this is because I NEVER carry any cash. Ever. Ask my kids.

“Mom! It’s the ice cream man!”

“Does he take Paypal?”

/snort. I crack myself up, at least.

If anyone wants to help us get that last bit of our goal, remember it’s a simple paypal donation to:  casz at creativewordlab dot com.

Thanks again to the incredible generosity and faith in dreams my fabulous circle has. You put your money where your mouth is. May your graciousness come back at you threefold.


Tank says, “Thank you. You’re Awesome!”


Update on “Getting Creative to Help Make Dreams Come True!”

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I’m indebted to the incredible generosity of those that responded to my “Getting Creative to Help Make Dreams Come True.” We need $150 more to meet our goal. But even so, I have a lot of writing to do. It’s really going to challenge me, but I am so inspired that there is such human greatness out there. I am stunned. It was hard to keep my emotions under wrap yesterday. I was a blubbering mess each time a donation came in. Tank, too, was very touched. He, however, in true athlete fashion was, like, “I’m gonna kick butt!” Made me realize yesterday I have raised some fighters. We don’t give up. With the help of some very dear souls and friends, we will regroup and wage assault again to battle for our dreams.

Again, my deepest gratitude to those who are helping my sweet Tank go for his dreams. Wow. You all are incredible! Thank you.



Getting Creative To Make Dreams Come True

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In mid-June, I stepped away from a stable, yet very unsatisfying job. I began a career of self-employment. Creative Word Lab (www.creativewordlab) was born.

Initially business was good. Invoicing went out and some monies came in; but not all of them. And it’s pinching in a too important place as far as I’m concerned.

Bills are still due and my son’s baseball dreams are at risk. He has two tournaments coming up.

Because there’s not enough in the baseball travel fund kitty at the moment we need to commit to his upcoming tournament, we came up with a plan.

We’re accepting donations to help his baseball dreams come true. In true modern athlete fashion, he’s putting his name – Tank – on the line to play baseball. And I’m putting my name as a creative artist and writer on the line.

For each donation of at least $25, you have two choices. You will be noted as a sponsor in a small video montage (that will be offered to other baseball families and posted w/ a promo posted on YouTube (which also features your sponsorship) that will be put together over the tournament weekends (there are two upcoming) or I will write you a  poem featuring you as a main character.

For $50 donation, I will write you a short story featuring you as a main character and Tank will give you a shout-out on the video.

If someone wants to sponsor one of the entire tournament costs ($300 – travel, lodging & entry fees), we will create a sponsorship banner that will be featured in the video. And I will do $500 worth of writing, creativity coaching and, or communication consulting for you.  That’s a savings of $200 plus free advertising!

You are also welcome to make a donation (anonymous or noted) without a gift beyond knowing you’re helping make a child’s dreams come true.

We are accepting PayPal Donations (casz at creativewordlab dot com). Private Message us here with your sponsorship preference — video advertising or literary memorialization, or some extra consulting business for free.

Look at the intensity on that face. Help make his dreams come true.


The Tech Generation Still Needs No-Tech Time

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Just like when my parents tried to keep the amount of TV down when I was a child, I have to do the same thing, to help raise a well-rounded and well-adjusted child. But, my job is three times harder. (I’m not invalidating that they may have had to walk me uphill both ways in the snow…) My parents only had to contend with the television. I have to contend with not only TV, but the internet, cell phones and video games.

Left to their own devices, I’ve watched my own children, along with their peers; sit for hours just surfing, texting and mmorpg’ing.

The goal however, is not to eliminate these things from their lives – knowing and using all these things are life skills for their generation. Clearly, it’s about balance. Just like nutrition, too much of any thing is bad for you. Same goes for technology use.

So here are five things to help you help your kids keep their lives from being taken over by technology.

1. Clear Expectations and Ground Rules Set. A good way to manage technology use by your children is to set clear expectations like all responsibilities like homework, chores and checking in with a parent before sitting down to game or Facebook. Homework’s not done? No Nintendo.  Morris the Cat not fed? No World of Warcraft. Ground rules like what’s okay to surf and interaction on an online game with other unknown persons is important. Talk to your kids about safety and the internet. How lack of moving makes you unhealthy. They want to do a marathon gaming session on Saturday afternoon? A nice long walk with Fido is necessary first. The message of balance is what we’re sending here with clear expectations and ground rules.

2. Get Them Involved in an Activity. Team sports, dance, bike riding, hiking, and swimming – you name it. The more time they spend involved in something they love — before you know it video games and computers lose their luster. Cell phones become a way for them to contact you for rides to the dairy freeze after a winning game. My son’s is an all-star in baseball. He hasn’t seen Mario or Azeroth in months. He also thinks since his time is at a premium, it’s easier to call someone than text, too.

3. Throw out the time limits. My mom went on a kick for about six weeks where she timed our television intake. After two hours we were done. It didn’t matter if a brand new episode of The Incredible Hulk or The Muppet Show was on. We had to go read a book or play outside. However, her grand master plan only lasted six weeks, but that was a parent who was home full-time. Most families today are dual income parents. Many parents are “tag-teaming” between jobs, splitting the day between morning and evening routine. Throwing another thing to ‘track’ is complicated and becomes too much and then inconsistency comes in and you’re whole point is moot. If you do some of the other things on this list – like responsibilities-come-first ground rules and getting them involved in an activity, having time limits just comes organically.

4.  Parental Control Cell Phone Plans/Network Control (aka:  In sight equals in mind.) Make sure your cell phone plan allows you the parent to block out certain numbers (like 411) as well as certain times (like when they are in school). With the exception of emergency numbers and family members (Mom, Dad, Grandpa, Siblings) my children cannot text or call anyone during school hours or after bed time. Oh, and bedtimes, especially on school nights are a regulated thing as well. No technology allowed in the bedrooms. If you don’t know how to control your computer network, take a class. Many free classes are offered at local libraries, or you can take a low-cost continuing education class that teaches you about firewalls, malware scanners and updating that software. Keep all technology in a public place. Phones are charged overnight, say in the dining room. Computers and gaming are in a family room, not a bedroom.

5.  Set The Example. If your kids see you going for a walk rather than surfing the internet, they’re likely to join you or at least decide they’ll do the same with their peers. Plan family time that centers on non-technology, although some time spent gaming together via active video games like the Wii can be good for family ties. Keep your technology in a common area of the home as well. If you don’t want them texting or taking calls at dinner, you can’t do it either. Let your kids see you reading a book as often as they see you play Dragon Age.

There are dozens of other ways to help keep the technology in your children’s lives balanced. These are just a few. What are your favorites?