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By hooking VCR and DVD player right, TWC tech kept 9 rating

Yesterday, was a busy moment for me. In addition to church service, there was an appointment with a Time Warner Cable technician to reboot the cable box. Some of my favorite channels were missing. Most of this didn’t bother me as long as “Doctor Who” was accessible on BBC America on Saturday night.

While my mother visited Saturday, the above channel went out and panic rose in me. Normally, one got “This channel will be available shortly Reference code $0012”, which meant the digital signal was available within seconds. That day, this message appeared on screen: “This channel will be available shortly Reference code $0011”, which was an unfamiliar code. Friday night, while watching the Hallmark Channel, this code showed up and the movie broadcast viewed by me never returned. It was still showing this code Saturday and Sunday.

Several other of my favorite channels were missing too, even on the basic tier. Some were: CN, Boom, Sprout, and Freeform, This was what prompted me to contact customer service. The attempt to reboot the cable box was unsuccessful mainly because of my inability to reach the white cable cord being handicapped and confined to a wheelchair, disconnecting it and reconnecting it after they sent a signal. Another person tried to help me by doing this a few hours later. He felt stupid when I relayed the reason for the above condition. It should’ve been in the notes.

At least they were able to get a technician out this Sunday past. Normally, they only worked on weekdays and were only available on weekends until 12 p.m. A call like mine normally got scheduled for Wednesday at the latest. Even though the church an dropped me off last, it was still in time to get the second automated message reminding me of my appointment of the technician’s arrival between two and three that afternoon.

The technician told me the signal coming into the apartment was excellent, the problem was the box. Once channels began missing it was the beginning of a dying box. It was time to get a new one. The new box was half the size of the old box and had an adapter. It took a little bit longer to boot up after the diagnostics screen was set. The tech would have left my VCR and DVD players unhooked if I hadn’t asked why those chords were left loose. Trending topics were also on television. Reviews were part of my writing. He didn’t know how to rehook them. He learned though basically because my DVD player played through my VCR The ironic thing was he did it right without messing up my settings on both. Now watching “The Peanuts Movie” was paramount. Most of the time, I fell asleep and woke up at the ending. This secured his 9 rating.

The best thing about older equipment was that it was built to last. This was one reason why switching to a high powered television and DVR wasn’t necessary at the moment. The bad news was like all equipment it needed replacement when it broke down or was no longer serviceable. My brother told me the Blue Ray player that he was to pass to me no longer played either type disc. The player also didn’t have the three prongs with the red middle that hooked to my TV either. If nothing was broken, why fix it?

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Family Support in Writing

M. J. Welcome

Recently I was asked to share my family’s reaction to my writing both positive and negative. The positive side is easy because my sons and my husband have been supporters of my writing from the beginning. They encourage me, help me edit my work, and give me helpful criticism by asking difficult questions, which forces me to clarify areas of ambiguity.

Supportive Encouragement
There were times when I felt so low because rejection letters poured in. I was at the brink of giving up. I thought I would never make it as a writer. My family stepped in and spoke words of reassurance. They focused on what was good about my storyline or characters. They identified areas in which my writing had improved and gently told me what I could do to make the piece stronger.

Helpful Editing
I have never enjoyed the technical side of the English language. Grammar, punctuations, tenses, or adjectives were never areas of strength. In college, I would have people reread my work until it was “perfect”. I knew my shortcoming, so I relied on those who were better to review my work until it was ready for submission. My husband Dwain is wonderful at this.

When I decided to pursue writing as a career, I knew I had to learn to edit for myself. So I took note of what my family said was a pattern and I consciously tried to look for those problems in my writing. I joined critique groups, read articles and books on editing; I was also a judge for several years, in the Inspirational category of the Silicon Valley RWA chapter’s ‘Gotcha!’ writing contest.

Thanks to practice and loving support, I have made drastic improvements and now I’m able to edit and proofread other writers work with expertise.

Compassionate Questioning
In the beginning, I was defensive when people asked questions about what I wrote. I viewed it as criticism. Then Dwain took time to explain why he asked questions it reduced my sensitivity. Questions help to clarify things, they offer areas of further exploration or development, and ignite a creative spark.

Although some questions are asked to belittle or tear down a person and their writing, others offer a beautiful opportunity to hone and create something that is even more splendid than the original draft.

Family support may be a rare thing for many writers, but when you have it, you are truly blessed.



M. J. Welcome is a public speaker, copywriter, proofreader, and author. Her books include Overcome Secret Sins in 15 Days, Battling for the Light, The Adventures of Charmaine the Cockroach, Bella’s Dream, Debate Handbook: The Smart Way to Exercise the Mind! (Volume 1), Excuse Me! Let Me Speak…A Young Person’s Guide to Public Speaking, The Excuse Me! Let Me Speak Teachers Manual, The Excuse Me! Let Me Speak Student Guide The Easy Way to Write and Deliver a Great Speech!, and The Smart Guide to Public Speaking.

Michelle is also a publisher and editor at Smart House Publishing located in Far Rockaway, New York. She lives with her husband Dwain and their two sons.

Visit Michelle’s websites:

Family Indifference to Writing

By:  M. J. Welcome

Indifference, dismissiveness, or belittling are some of the words writer’s use when they speak of their family’s interest in their craft. I’m not sure why some family members fail to encourage, exalt, or uplift a writer who is pursuing their dream. But it happens too often.

Although I receive support and encouragement from my immediate family, it is not true of my extended family. If I had to describe their interest it ranges from polite tolerance to indifference to disinterest or belittling.

Polite Tolerance

When chatting with family members on the phone inevitably the question is asked, “What are you up to?” Hope leaps into my heart for a brief moment. I start to share my latest project then the deafening sound of silence hits my ears. After about 30 seconds, I get one of five possible excuses. “I’ve got to cook. I’m tired. I was in the middle of something. It’s getting late. Or oh that is nice, have you heard—”

Polite tolerance is when a family member listens to you, but refuse to fuel the discussion with life by asking questions. Their indifference is hurtful because it’s obvious they’re not interested and are just asking the question to be polite. These family members will spend all day talking about themselves or others, but aren’t interested in discussing you or your writing.

Dismissively Rude

There are times when family members dismiss your writing as not being a legitimate profession. They make snide comments like, “When are you going to get a real job? Or who will pay you to do that? Have you gotten paid yet?” Their comments can cause wounding because writing is an intimate thing. Often a writer’s craft emerges out of personal experience and is intertwined with the identity of the writer. When the writing is discounted or dismissed, it’s as if the writer is being disguarded. It is rude, insensitive, an often painful.

Belittling Comments

There are still other family members who belittle a writer’s efforts by making statements like, “I should write a book. I should become a writer. It can’t be too hard to write a book.” Comments like these are cloaked attacks, which pierce a writer’s heart.

Elated from completing a written work, the writer shares his or her achievement with family, expecting to get accolades, praises, or encouragement in the endeavor, yet what’s received is that anyone can do what you did. It isn’t a big deal. Look, I could write what you did and I would be better at it. In each case, the selfishness of the family member is exposed.

The truth is, not everyone in your life will be supportive of your dream to write. In fact, most will not. If you have one or two individuals who support and encourage you then you’re blessed. Many may try to discourage you because secretly they are jealous or envious of you because you have the courage to create something new with each story or article and you exist outside the box that’s why they feel intimidated.

Whatever you do, don’t let negative people rob you of the positive joy of writing. It is who you are and part of your nature to create.



M. J. Welcome is a Christian public speaker, copywriter, proofreader, and author. Her books include Overcome Secret Sins in 15 Days, Battling for the Light, The Adventures of Charmaine the Cockroach, Bella’s Dream, Debate Handbook: The Smart Way to Exercise the Mind! (Volume 1), Excuse Me! Let Me Speak…A Young Person’s Guide to Public Speaking, The Excuse Me! Let Me Speak Teachers Manual, The Excuse Me! Let Me Speak Student Guide The Easy Way to Write and Deliver a Great Speech!, and The Smart Guide to Public Speaking.

Michelle is also a publisher and editor at Smart House Publishing located in Far Rockaway, New York. She lives with her husband Dwain and their two sons.

Visit Michelle’s websites:

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Freedom to Write

By:  Michelle J. Welcome

michelle head shot

Many writers have special things that they do in order to set the mood, tone, or atmosphere in order to facilitate their writing. Truthfully, I don’t have one particular process that helps me to fluently write.

Write anywhere

Over the years, I have found myself writing in my bed, at a desk, in the car, or even in the shower. When an idea comes, I give myself the freedom to flow with the thought.

Set the right atmosphere

They’re at times, for instance, when I am writing a devotional I play praise and worship music to set an atmosphere of worship unto God. I drown out all distractions and focus on Him.

Grab inspiration where you can

As with most writers, I am always on the lookout for interesting material, which I can incorporate into my writing. When I watch television, I have my ear tuned to intercept catchy phrases or powerful one-liners, which I can use in books or copywriting.

Know your subject

I have found that reading up on the subject I want to write about in a relaxed environment helps me to absorb the content better. That is why I have oil fragrances throughout our home. The aroma removes stress and pressure from me instantly.

Remove hindrances

Years ago, it was hard for me to concentrate and remain focused especially during the winter. I found out that I had Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is like depression because of the lack of light. I invested in a day light and it helped me tremendously. Since that time, I have installed top hats in the ceiling with daylights and this helps me to have continual daylight.

Conquering Writer’s Block

These minor adjustments have made such a profound difference for me. Before writers block was a regular occurrence for me now it is not such an issue.

There are no true mistakes

When I first started writing, I would beat myself up for every mistake. I would call myself names, which was self-defeating! I did not give myself permission to make mistakes. This robbed me of the joy of writing. Then something happened. The Lord moved on my heart to take the position of a student in all things. As I did this, it was made clear to me that if I know it all, I can learn nothing, but if I admit I know nothing, I can learn more.

It was through this revelation that I discovered there are not true mistakes only opportunities to learn. Writing demands freedom—freedom in mind, body, and soul. This will allow the creative juices to flow.

Whatever you need to do as a writer in order to obtain your freedom so that your gift of writing is not blocked—do it.

Carve out time for yourself, get away for a few hours at the park or in the library, read your favorite novel, watch silly shows with the children, do something goofy with your mate, take up a new hobby, get a massage or soak in a bubble bath. Whatever you need—give yourself permission to do it and watch for amazing dividends!

Hold on to Your Money

michelle head shot.pngBy  M. J. Welcome

Over the years, I have grown in wisdom, but it was not the case when I first started out. As a writer and copywriter, I came across many great products, each one promised success and the ability to make a profit. I foolishly invested money in many of these schemes. I followed the advice of individuals who appeared to be thriving in business. They had the talk down pat, they were oozing with confidence, and many had the following of groupies.

The truth is that they were good at marketing. They presented an image, which I bought into, and it caused me to go into debt, by buying programs that I would never use. The accumulation of all the programs caused me to get overwhelmed. There was too much stimulation!

After a while, the weight of all the courses became too much for me, and it started to stifle my creativity. I admit that some of the programs were helpful, but most were not. Although they were priced economically, they eventually added up.

I squandered through much of my business profits to the tune of approximately $12,000 if not more. I charged many of the success in a box schemes on my credit card. And after a while I woke up and realized I had nothing to show for the investment. That is when I made the hard decision to hold on to my money!

I cannot say that all these courses were bad. But I do encourage you to investigate the ones you thinking of investing in. Sift through them. Pick one or two that you want to try then lock down your wallet. Take the time to work the product and prove its worth before you increase your deeper financial commitment.

I have not recouped my investment yet, but I have decided not to spend any more on get rich quick schemes or in guaranteed success in a few quickstep schemes.

Twice burned this writer learned

As a freelance writer,  it makes me suspicious when receiving job offers from my secondary email accounts. Most of the time, they were fraudulent. For example, the ones that need someone in the U.S. over the age of 21 to clear sold paintings. This one wasn’t, but it was declined anyhow because of my disastrous past with previous companies like it.

Here was my response:

Thank you for this opportunity, but I regret that I will have to decline. I never placed my disastrous descriptions of my past experiences with companies such as yours on my resume. There were three, Jobz For Writers, Essay Writers, and Academia Research.

The company in the middle, I left because it was like the two opposite it. The one mentioned first suspended me after the one who needed his paper typed kept all the information until the last minute and still expected me to type a 50 page thesis on a computer that failed. The last company gave me a job I couldn't complete. The book I needed was outdated and so rare that it wasn't to be removed from the library. It came at the last minute the day before the paper was due, in spite of my efforts to get an updated one. The money spent to get this book was more than they paid for writing the paper.

I don't know where my name came from or how you received it, but it was my wish that it be removed.

Kim Taylor

Here was their response this morning:
Thank you for your prompt reply. I appreciate the time you spent checking the offer and I respect your decision.

I wish you luck in all your future endeavours!

Best Regards,

It surprised me that another job similar to Jobz For Writers would ever come across any of my inboxes, let alone AOL. After so long, it amazed me that companies like that still existed or ended up in court for so much writer turnover.

The day before receiving that offer, it was my thought that most of the information was more for a high school childcare  and development class , not a 50 page college thesis. Trying to get the information needed to type the chapter was like squeezing blood from a turnip. They knew getting the information to do the job was not cheap or readily available.

This was exactly what happened with Academia Research. The book needed to write this paper was rare and hard to find, There Aint No Black in the Union Jack 1976,  but the employer needed it because the foreword in the front of the book for his paper. He knew, inter-library loan costs money, $32 to be exact. Returning an updated book to Amazon cost me a restocking fee too. All that was offered was $28.

After being burned twice, the advice of a former Vocational Rehab Counselor of ‘being careful’ was heeded. There was no need in my going through this a third time. Twice burned this writer learned.