February 2021: I’m Back

My last post was in December 2019. I’m no different than anyone else, 2020 was a year I will choose to forget and it ranks right up there with 2009 when I had cancer. 2020 consisted of finding out that my body is getting old and I did not know how to help myself.

I had a series of falls that resulted in fractured shoulder, smashed wrist, bruised elbow, sprained shoulder and contusions on my pinky, elbow and head. In addition, I had started eating what I shouldn’t eat, six years ago I was diagnosed with celiac disease.

Now I am on the mend and its a brand new month.

This month I will be reading the following books (plus more):

Forgiving What You Can’t Forget By Lysa TerKeurst I will share the book review when I am finished and let you know what I think. Some of you may have completed her bible study of the same name. If so , let me know what you think AFTER I post tthe review. Don’t worry I’ll remind you!

James Liu’s e-Book, “How To Get Your Own Students Online And Charge What You’re Worth,”

He has a Facebook page plus a 21 day challenge to help individual who what to teach online and earn money. I am also part of another group where I am in the process of writing a curriculum .

Take Joy by Jane Yolen. This book is almost out of print. I was able to get used book (and I o mean used) So far I’m really enjoying the book.


Challenged to Change Group with Nicki Koziarz

A 40 day journey that I will share, my challenge is to follow my planner: I can do this!!

Flooded: The 5 Best Decisions to Make When Life is Hard and Doubt is Rising by Nicki Koziarz  | Mar 16, 2021

I am part of the launch team for this book.

All of thebooks I mentioned above will have their own blog posts in the near future.

I’m back and better!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Happy New Year: Let’s start a new decade right!!!

Merry Christmas!! Six more days and I will end the year with a fractured shoulder, arthris in my hip and sedimentary chronic illness related issues.


The title says let’s start the decade right and we will or I will because I don’t expect to be in this physical condition at this stage of my life.

This decade I will increase my everything and writing will improve. I will establish my quilt income so the each month I will be earning a certain amount and have the ability to travel and go where I want need get what I want so that I will improve my health.

I’m 57, when I’m 67 we will discuss this journey of life. The work of an online educator.

Reviewing Books

What is an opinion?

More than just reading a book and giving your opinion

As a teacher I often tell my students that an opinion is something that a person says to you with facts that support their belief. According to Miriam Webster and opinion is

“a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge. i.e. I’m writing to voice my opinion on an issue of great importance”

I’ve always wanted to be a book reviewer because I thought it would be a great way to get books to read for free. However,it really isn’t free because

  1. there are times I really don’t like the book or don’t know why I like the book.
  2. A review is needed in multiple locations
  3. the amount of time involve.

In any case:

My purpose as a book reviewer is to write a review to convinces you (the reader and hopefully a long term follower) that I read the book and I am giving you an honest account of the book. In addition, I send the book reviews to various outlets so that the publishers and book review sites will keep me on their list and send me more books. Finally, I hope to develop a well respected blog that may earn me some money by convincing author’s and publishers that my blog is the place to be and have a review written. (Yes the almighty dollar rears it’s ugly head) Long term goals yes, but the main purpose still remains I live books and wan them to stay in the society so that people will read them even if it is in a ebook (which I use). I just consider reading to be such an important skill for all of us to have and we should all read for pleasure.

This is why I started to write reviews and got involved in the world of book reviews. However, I was recovering from and didn’t allow myself the grief process to run its course, so I became depressed overweight and angry (mainly at God because this is not where I was supposed to be; another blog) I like books and I like my blog. I want to get back to where marketers and publishing companies were sending me notices about their upcoming books.

Stay tuned!!!

Journey Back to Health

A one-armed bandit is what I refer to myself at this point in my life.  I am a victim of sedentary lifestyle which is the newest and most deadly disease. It is the new smoking., I have come down with three things associated with a sedentary lifestyle: obesity, decrease in skeletal muscle mass, plus, anxiety and depression associated with sedentary lifestyle. Now am on the journey back to health, thanks to a broken arm. This will be included in the online education because I work at home and this an area that isn’t discussed very often. This is the negative side of working at home.

As I stated above, I broke my arm as a result of fall in my home. I tripped over something, a small growth of arthritis in my left leg which causes my leg to lock at the most inconvenient times. Since my balance is off and my leg won’t move I fall. I have done this several times, hurting my hand, arm or just cause embarrassment. Unfortunately, in this case I fell, hit the edge of the wall and fractured my shoulder.   

I have a Humeral Head fracture. Right now, my arm is in a sling. I will have a CT scan in order to determine if there are any other injuries to my arm.

citation: Orthroinfo.com

My arm is in a sling, I’m on pain pills and ice is my new best friend.  I’m very happy that m working at home so I can take meds as needed, rest as needed, and just do what I need to do without having to work it out with anyone else.

 The flip side is that I don’t believe that I would have fallen if I worked outside the house. I believe that I would not be living this sedentary life.  The most activity that I do or did was to walk my dog. I eat a lot.  Now I have a litany of illnesses and physical ailments that I can trace back to its origin or when I started working full time here at the house.

The sedentary lifestyle is the new smoking and is the type of lifestyle involving little or no physical activity. A person living sedentary lifestyle engages in activities like reading, using mobile phone or computer for much of the day. It means light movement. This may contribute

  • to anxiety and depression
  • certain cancers  cardiovascular disease   
  • coronary heart disease  
  • overweight or obese
  • decease in skeletal muscle mass
  • high blood pressure an elevated cholesterol

So, follow me and we will see how it comes to pass. My first goal is to make significant improvement by January 31, 2020. I will post about this every week. k.

Mystery Book Giveaway

Grand prize (all 11 books): Michelle Dragalin
TOXIC TOFFEE by Amanda Flower – Shanna Alley
STEAMED OPEN by Barbara Ross – Wendy Lee
A BODY IN THE BACKYARD by Elizabeth Spann Craig- Joanne Merrill
A CUP OF HOLIDAY FEAR by Ellie Alexander – Cherry Darche, Carolyn O’Hare, and Dawn Lehnert
WORD TO THE WISE by Jenn McKinlay – Kimberlee Sams
DEATH IN A BUDAPEST BUTTERFLY by Julia Buckley – MaryJo Edgar
SHOT THROUGH THE HEARTH by Kate Carlisle – Marcia Cramer
THE DIVA SWEETENS THE PIE by Krista Davis – Deana Dale
CHAI ANOTHER DAY by Leslie Budewitz – Katherine Lenzovich
A PLAIN VANILLA MURDER by Susan Wittig Albert – Doris Jackson
SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT by Vicki Delany – Joanna Schaab

I couldn’t believe that I had won all 11 books!. I filled out the form and sent it in and forgot about it. I don’t win things like that or maybe I would bet one. I’m very excited that I won all ELEVEN of them. Considering I like all of the authors listed and keep up with their series. Here is the link to the contest if you are curious: https://susanalbert.com/mystery-unscramble-giveaway/ and according to Susan Albert-Wittig’s blog Kate Carlisle supplies the idea.

Some of you may or may not be asking yourself now: Don’t you have those books?

The answer is: Yes and No

The books I have are all e-books, these are actually books. I’m so excited!!!

What is TESOl, TESL, TEFL, TESOL, CELTA, ELL & ESL: How does it differ from English as a Second Language (ESL)? And ELL What’s the difference? What do they mean?

Teachers who want to teach ELL students online or in a public classroom will need a minimum of a state teacher certification and an ELL Endorsement to be qualified to teach ELL students. This article will discuss the differences between the acronyms listed in the title. Also,  keep in mind that is important to get a certification that will meet the teachers’ goals and to do that, ask the following questions:   What do I want to do with the certification?  Where do I want to teach?

Let’s begin with   acronyms, ELL and ESL and how they are connected to teaching students who are second language learners.  The acronyms ELL and ESL are not certifications, it is shorthand to determine if a student requires specialized instruction and whether the organization and their teachers are properly accredited to teach them.  These abbreviations are used to identify students who are non-native English speakers.  An English Language Learner (ELL) is a student who is a non-native English speaker and therefore requires specialized instruction in an ESL or an English as a Second Language (ESL) Classroom. These will be the acronyms used in this article as we seek to determine which certification is best for an online ESL teacher.

Now it is time to answer the questions:What do I want to do with the certification?  Where do I want to teach?” Once those questions are answered then you will know which type of certification make the most sense and will fulfill your teaching goals. Some of the endorsements will get you in the door and others will keep you in the organization, plus advancement.    

 TESOL: (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Language) A TESOL course draws on broader elements of each of teachers’ certification to provide the base for teachers to teach in both nonnative English countries and within English speaking countries.    

TESL: (Teaching English as a Second Language) TESL prepares teachers to teach English to non-English speakers. The significant difference in this certification is the intended teaching location. A teacher with this certification would teach nonnative English speakers in an English-speaking country.

CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults, now known as Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).

TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) TEFL courses aim to equip teachers with the knowledge as to how to teach English to students living in a country where English is not the native language

Still Confused?   There is a difference between each of the certifications, however minor.    The accreditations vary between the type of course and the length of time invested in getting your certification.  Some accreditations involve coursework and practicums that will take up to 18 months and others will take as long as a week.  Let’s begin by breaking down each certification by answering the first question: “What do I want to do with this certification?”

 If the answer to this question is vague, i.e. “I just want to teach ELLs and I need to be certified.” “I need for my online job.” or along those lines.  The TESOL: (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Language) certification is your answer. This training will allow you to teach students who are English Language Learners and help you determine your direction. The course will take about a week to complete and the fee is usually $50 – $100. This doesn’t mean that once the payment for the course is completed, you will receive the certification. It means that the course to will teach the broad elements of how to teach nonnative English learners in either a country where English is the first language or in a country where English is a not a first language.

The other certifications require a definite answer to the second question: “Where do I want to teach?” In other words, “Yes, I plan teaching ELL students online.” Or “Eventually I plan on traveling abroad and want to teach English.”   The TESL (Teaching English as Second Language) certification would meet your goals if you just want to teach online or in an English-speaking country.  A teacher would be able to work with ELL student in an online classroom or in a public school in a country where English is the first language. 

However, if you want to teach in another country, where English is not the first language, then TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) or CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults, now known as Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) would be your best bet. This certification takes into consideration that the teacher speaks English, has a teaching certification and doesn’t know the language of their students. The TEFL programs vary greatly: they can be as short as one intensive weekend, or about 20 hours of class time. The training can also include several months training, which includes up to 300 hours of class time. The training doesn’t usually require the participant to work with students who are second language learners.

TEFL will not take as long to attain as a CELTA, but of the two the CELTA endorsement is the most recognized and respected.    In order to receive a CELTA certification, the requirements usually include a combination of theory and deep understanding of the English language. CELTA requires students to complete 120 hours of class time and six hours of student teaching (practicum) with real ELL learners. In addition, it will take about four weeks in order to conclude the training.  This certification is usually required by organization who hire the ESL teacher for their employees or students, inside or outside of the country.  This endorsement is considered the most through training for teachers who want to make teaching ELL students their careers.  The CELTA course provides a comprehensive understanding of the different stages of the English language, but the training emphasizes working with adults, The TESL training is not as intense and at the most will require about 9 hours of training and 2 hours of using those skills in a classroom.

At the end of the day, an instructor who requires training in order to learn how to teach students in either an online ESL classroom or in a public school. They will need a certificate to document that they have received this training.  Do your homework and seek out a reputable TESL, TEFL, TESOL, or CELTA program. A portion of that research should include speaking with an individual who is doing the job that you would like when you complete your studies.  If you do all of this, in the end regardless of which certification you decide to pursue, you will get a great education.

Self Employment

Work at Home? Good and Bad

The dream has become a reality. You are working at home! Yeah!  The refrigerator is right there; all those little jobs are going to get down.  Plus, a paycheck, no matter where you are during the day. Want to go on a trip? Just pack your bags, grab your laptop and materials, and you are off?  Right?  RIGHT?

Not entirely, the reality of the situation is that you must keep yourself disciplined so that the work gets done and income is generated, but this isn’t always easy.  Not by a long shot.  So, the key is keeping yourself disciplined. A skill that God gave each of us when we were conceived.  Depending on your Bible that disciplined is synonymous with self-control.  How do you do that?  You work on this skill every day.  

Working at home is not like working for someone else or working in an employers’ building. You are in your home; your work is laid out for you, and you are not sleeping late. However, your family is there, the dog, the laundry, the home phone, in my case your husband who is also self-employed. Then there are all those chores that need to be done. In addition, not one person is around to keep you from getting up and going anywhere including the store or coffee shop. If you are sitting down at your computer, no one is keeping you from turning on your iPad which doubles as a TV or surfing the internet.  Again, DISCIPLINE, DISCIPLIne, DISCIPLine, DISCipline, Discipline, discipline, and more DISCIPLINE is the key.

There are many blogs, articles, and books that tell you how to overcome all the distractions and attain the discipline that you need to make working at home successful. I will say that I agree with their recommendation, they authors seem to know that they are talking about. The books are accommodating and are full of good advice.  However, there are some things that you need to do to successfully work at home. I have listed five items.

  1.  Planner

Find a planner that you like that has the timeline (or close to it) that works for you.  In my case, I use Michael Hyatt’s Full Focused Planner.  Each day has two pages, one for the day’s to do’s list, priority items, and timeline.  In the beginning of the planner, there is a place for the annual goals, an ideal week, monthly calendar, quarterly items, daily rituals, and daily routines. At the end of week there is a reflective week worksheet that will provide reflection and review of the week. I combine this planner with Fly Lady’s website which helps me set up my work life and personal life.  You may have to go through a couple of different planners or make your own before you find one that is companionable to your life. However the point is the planner must work with your life and help you, if it doesn’t get rid of it or modify to suit your needs. 

There is an old saying that “when men (and women) plan God laughs”. Make sure you bring him into your plan because I can tell you from personal experience that if you don’t, your week will fall apart.

2. Know You Don’t Work 8-5 All the Time

Just remember. There are times when you need privacy and quiet, but you know you won’t get at your home. This mean you will have to be creative with your time in order to finish your work.

This week is a good example. The week was completely planned out, mainly because I am looking for more work and need to find it NOW.

  It snowed! 

It is May, and it snowed. undefined

Plus I had promised to provide material for a writing event. It’s hard for me to work when my husband is home because he can’t stand not working.  He is self-employed and has a lawn, landscaping, and snow removal business, and once the snow is removed, he has nothing to do and is exhausted. Not to mention, my daughter is having issues with her work and on and on.  I just decided I needed to schedule events early in the morning (and I do mean right after midnight.) until everyone could get back on their regular schedule.  The people whom I met with didn’t mind because this time fit into their regular working hours, but when they found out it was between 2:00 to 3:00 am for me, they were a bit surprised. I usually will split the differences in the time zone.  

3. Have a Bolt Hole!

A bolt hole is a place you can go to and work without interruption.  

I have two places I can go to work, three if it is necessary. The library; if I know in advance, I can reserve a room with a white board for an hour or, so.   If I don’t have advance notice, they have quiet study areas in which I can set up my stuff and get to work: the local coffee place, either Starbucks or another coffee shop.  If necessary, the site where I exercise at has a vending area with tables and chair, it also a section with table and chairs.  I will work there if necessary.

Most important to me, all three places have internet!

Remember, the internet will go down. The appliances need to be fixed.  Everyone at home decides you need to help them. Since you work at home, your neighbors ask you to watch for deliveries. The dog needs to be walked and go outside. There is no quiet in your home period. Whatever it is, something has happened that requires YOUR attention, and you can’t shut out the rest of the household. Have a bolt hole!

4. Child and Elderly Care

My suggestion is that it is good to have more than one place that meets your requirements in order for you to complete your work.  Most importantly, please plan so that you know that you have what you need when you leave.  Deadlines don’t move, and work does need to get completed. Remember that the materials that are left at the house will not drive themselves to your current location.  There will be days that you need to leave your home office and work.  That is why you need to plan the day, so you already know what you need to bring with you.

If you have children who are home, they do need to be taken care of during the day.  It is essential that you have a way to do this when you are at home and still complete your work.  I know that there will be times that the children will sit on your lap as you work.  Caring for your children or elderly is not something that will be convenient to do all the time. It makes concentrating on your work very hard.  Have a plan in place.

If it is possible to hire someone; however, I have co-workers who work from 2:00 am, and it’s hard to find daycare. Perhaps you can rearrange your child’s schedule so that they now sleep or otherwise occupied during your work hours.   If they go to school, after-school care may be an option, afternoon babysitter or nanny, someone to care for children.  If you work for a company, they may require that you provide a plan that shows that your children will be cared for while you can work.

5. Enforce Boundaries

Remember you are working at home and the paycheck is important.  At least I find them important!  I work as an online ESL teacher, and I need my computer, stable internet, and headphones at the very least to do my job.  Besides, I have props and other items I use, so it is not convenient for me to leave my office; however, I do have a large packed suitcase that contains everything I need. I have this because my husband and I like to travel, and we have a cabin we go to on the weekend. My husband down to the dog know that if my computer top is up and I have my headphones on, I am working and cannot be interrupted.

The Full Focused Planner has a section for daily rituals, and the Fly Lady website provides you with suggestions on how to set up your day. Both products encourage individuals to make sure that individuals develop a morning ritual, workday startup ritual, in addition to workday shutdown ritual and evening ritual on each of the pages for each day. The two products I mentions provide assistance in developing these rituals, which I find that very helpful.

The rituals and routines provide times when you can do your laundry, plan meals or other household tasks. These rituals help make sure that you get the work done that you need to get done.

When I am typing on the computer and writing, developing content, or working on projects, my family know that I am working.  My daughter has a habit of coming up to me and start talking, although it also took an unyielding voice and steely eyes looking directly at her, I told her “are you dying, bleeding or need to go to the hospital, unless you are not, wait until I am done working or at least say excuse me.”  I have had to do this more than once and she still does it.  Also, since she works nights and is often alone, consequently she would call me during her shift.  Her brother used to do the same thing.  In today’s world of cell phones, mine doubles as alarm clock plus emergencies.  I go to bed very early so I can get six-plus hours of sleep at night before my classes start. They would call me to talk.  I love my children, but I had to tell them they needed to call when I was not sleeping because I need my sleep.  Again, if it wasn’t an emergency, I need my rest.  It took a while, and finally, I didn’t answer their calls, and they stopped calling, they texted, and I would answer their texts during my free time the next day.

Enforce your boundaries and keep work hours!


Most people who are working at home are doing the type of work that they love.  Yes, you can set your hours and determine how much work you need to complete. I like working at home, there is a lot more flexibility, and when I follow my advice, a great deal of work is completed. 

Set up your day so that you get the most done during your work time.  Also remember, there is a reason that most businesses give their employees sick time, personal days, and vacation time.  Just because you are working at home, this doesn’t mean that you don’t deserve the same privileges.  The difference is that you have a bit more flexibility to determine when, where, and how to take this time.


Enjoy your life!!

Disclaimer:  This is not a sponsored post. I receive no income from the products mentioned in this post.

A cozy mystery is ….?

A cozy mystery has a formula of sorts that it follows in all the books. I find them interesting when an author takes that formula and adds a twist to it that makes it even more fun to read.  In some ways the cozy mysteries remind me of the Harlequin romances.  There is a formula that romance authors follow as well. Mystery stories are the second most popular type of genre and romance is the first most popular genre.  In some ways authors combine the two together in a cozy mystery but maintain a certain amount of privacy for the main characters.

The definition of a cozy mystery is as follows (based on Wikipedia) . . .  

 referred to as “cozies”, are a subgenre of crime fiction in which sex and violence are downplayed or treated humorously, and the crime and detection take place in a small, socially intimate community. Cozies thus stand in contrast to hardboiled fiction, which features violence and sexuality more explicitly and centrally to the plot. The term “cozy” was first coined in the late 20th century when various writers produced work in an attempt to re-create the Golden Age of Detective Fiction.

This section of blog “Michelle’s Innovations”  will speak to the cozy mysteries that are out there and these are books and authors that I like and enjoy.  Hopefully you will as well!!

During Mystery Thriller Week, May 13, -23, 2019, I will submit my to their blog and site as well.


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An Introduction to Joanne Fluke

Joanne Fluke (courtesy of her website)

Joanne Fischmann is an American author using the pen name Joanne Fluke.  She is known for her Cozy Mystery series and for her Four Movies for the Hallmark Channel. Joanne’s other pseudonym are John Fisher R.J. Fisher, Jo Gibson, Chris Hunter, Gina Jackson and Katharyn Kirkwood.  Ms. Fluke started her writing career in 1980 by writing young adult horror stories under the name of JO Gibson. In 2000, she started writing the Hannah Swensen’s Cozy Mystery series.

Ms. Fluke has written 42 books.  They will not all be reviewed on this site, just the books listed which were received from NetGalley.

The following books by Joanne Fluke were received from Netgalley via their publication in exchange for an honest review.   The number represents where in the series the book is placed. Just so you know I have actually read all of her books.

17. Blackberry Pie Murder

19. Wedding Cake Murder

21. Banana Crème Pie Murder

22. Raspberry Danish Murder

23. Christmas Cake Murder

24. Chocolate Cream Pie Murder

Non- Hannah Swensen books written by Jo Gibson

               The Step Child

               Winter Chill

Mystery Thriller Week

May 13-23, 2019 will be the week to view all the different sub categories of Mystery. There is a slot where where I would like you to click and read my columns for Cozy Mysteries. It has taken me a long time to understand that I really like this sub genre of mystery.

I am a member of Sisters in Crime-National and Colorado. I am also a member of Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators. I have manucript started for both types of material for each organization.

My cozy mystery is about a former teacher who left teaching because of bad decisions, miscarriage and death. The first book is an introduction to form the backstory. After that the stories will incoporate the proganist’s Mom, Dad and the rest of the family. I hope it goes over big.

The manuscript for picture books has a working title of “Backyard Zoo”.

Stay tuned!!

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