Help Yourself & Someone Else!

My mother sent me to this nonprofit website (, and it’s totally cool! It’s a quick and easy way to improve your vocabulary and help feed the hungry at the same time. The site offers a vocabulary game; and you can spend just a few seconds, or up to several minutes playing—it’s up to you.

How does playing the vocabulary game help you?

According to the FreeRice website, playing the vocabulary game will help you (adults) in all your business communications, including speaking and writing more effectively and persuasively, thus helping you to become more successful at your job. And if you’re a student, it will help boost your scores on tests, as well as help you read faster, and comprehend more of what you read. Even after playing the game for just a few days, “words you have never consciously used before will begin to pop into your head while you are speaking or writing. You will feel yourself using and knowing more words.”

How does playing the vocabulary game help someone else?

For every vocabulary word you get right, rice is distributed by the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) to feed the hungry. It’s the world’s largest food agency, and works with over 1,000 other organizations in over 75 countries. On top of providing food, WFP helps hungry people to become more self-reliant so they can escape hunger for good.

So go ahead, take a break from work and play. Go help yourself, and help someone else!

I'm a Terrible Mom

I’m a terrible mom. Yup, it’s true. It’s especially tough to admit this since being a stay-at-home mom has been my chosen profession for the past 14 years.

But time has passed and my “babies” are now 13 and 16, and very self-sufficient. So, with visions of college and retirement expenses looming in our future, I decided it was time to reenter the work force. I was excited about starting a career again. I established Write Expressions and began doing freelance writing work out of our home.

From the beginning it was a battle for my time. I grumbled against the imagined sabotage plot against me, as family and volunteer commitments continually pulled me away from achieving my goals. My frustration grew and finally peaked one day a few weeks ago. Fed up with getting nothing done for days, I came up with the brilliant idea to turn off the radio, turn down the answering machine volume, and turn off the phone ringer.

Diving in, I worked steadily all that morning, feeling great about everything I was getting accomplished. Then at 12:30 p.m. I heard the front door open, and my daughter’s voice calling, “Mom?”

Shocked to find her there, I took one look at her face and could tell she was sick.

“I couldn’t get a hold of you. So I called Mrs. Thompson and she brought me home,” she said, gesturing to the driveway, where one of my closest friends was still sitting in her car.

I ran outside, covering my face with my hands. “I’m so sorry!” I cried. I’m a terrible mom!”

“No, you’re not!” she replied without a trace of judgment in her voice. She is a social worker, and works out of her home as well. “If I’d been in a meeting or on a phone call, it could easily have happened to me too.”

But I couldn’t shake the feeling. Especially when I went back inside to find my big 16-year-old baby girl crying because she had a fever, chills, sore throat, and no mommy to drive her home. I gave her some medicine, tucked her into bed, and rubbed her back until she fell asleep.

As I quietly left her bedroom, I contemplated what I had been doing. I had, in effect, been putting my new career ahead of my old one. I’d lost the focus of why I was at home in the first place.

As excited as I am about pursuing this new career, I still have a job to do here at home. I’m not finished yet. I can’t shove it all aside believing I’ve put in enough time and effort already so now it’s my turn. Of course, this doesn’t mean I can’t continue pursuing my writing and following my dream. But I have to put it in perspective. While my children are here, I still need to give them my all.

So now I’ve got my new phone with caller I.D. sitting beside me so I can see who it is when it rings. And if it’s my kid, this time I’ll take that call!