Lisa Reads: Employment Options: The Ultimate Resource for Jobseekers with Disabilities

Lisa Reads: Employment Options: The Ultimate Resource for Jobseekers with Disabilities and Other ChallengesBook cover for EMPLOYMENT OPTIONS
by Paula Ruben Viellet

(My Employment Options) 

I am distinctly ambivalent about this book, but I will give it tentative positive review. After all, it is full of useful information. It is not just designed for people with disabilities, it is for ANYONE with issues in moving forward with for new employment.

You don’t have to read this book “cover to cover.” It is designed for you to choose that areas that you need the most help in. “Employment Options” is particularly good and detailed in the self-assessment areas.

Another bonus is that this book is written by one of the experts who runs the website MY EMPLOYMENT OPTIONS, which is a national Social Security Administration (SSA) Employment Network in the Ticket To Work program. Not getting crossways with the federal government is important, these folks can help you avoid that cluster of issues.

I have two problems with the book.

1. It doesn’t particularly help with avoiding problems with state and local intricacies. Attendant Care, and the payment thereof, is a state issue. Figuring a way to keep your PCAs paid for until you can afford to dump all state funding is a daunting task. Even if some states are better than Texas when it comes to this issue, EVERY state has problems.

A number of people simply give up and decide to live in social media and watching TV.

2. I am already fairly confident in my job hunting skills. Yes, I will continue learning, but I don’t need someone holding my hand and pretending I need them to be my cheerleader. JUST GIVE ME THE FACTS AND THE STEPS and let me do what I need to do!

When it comes to my first problem, I found NMD United to be a much better resource for me. It is for people with neuromuscular disorders, and covers circumstances like my own. So far, the people I met there are interesting, active, and proactive. If you are in Texas, there is also a Facebook group dedicated to our Texas members. If you want more information, contact me and I will tell you about them.

When it comes to actual jobhunting skills, I think that an online course I’m taking is a MUCH better source of information. HOW TO FIND A WORK FROM HOME JOB OR SIDE GIG IN 30 DAYS OR LESS is interesting and fun. After a brief introduction and “setting the ground rules,” it BEGINS by talking about scams, and how to avoid them. I thought that the chapters on effective search strategies were particularly useful.

I’m almost 1/2 of the way through. Next comes the resume and interview practice, then the cover letter. At the very end, there’s even a chapter about convincing the current boss to let you work from home.

If you are interested in that class, here is the info. I found the video toward the top of the page to represent the style of the class very well.

Scary Monsters and Other Friends

“Tessie Mara Favor! Don’t make your Daddy and me come in there one more time tonight!”

The little girl pulled the sheet and blanket up over her head and closed her eyes tightly. “No ma’am, Mama. I’m asleep.”

Mama spoke more gently. “We checked in the closet and under the bed. We used the flashlight to see in all the shadowy places. You’re safe. Nothing bad is here.”

But Tessie could hear the giant spider walking across the ceiling. Its really big mouth scared her. It had huge brown things on the side of the mouth that made clicking noises when it ate one of the ghosts or fairies that got too close to it.

It’s eight eyes were too scary to look at.

Huntsman spider Olios giganteus eating crane flies
Huntsman spider Olios giganteus eating crane flies

Still, sometimes, even with her eyes closed she could see it. It wanted her to see it and be afraid.

She hugged her stuffed horse more tightly. “Pedro,” she whispered, “what can I do to make it go away?”

Pedro didn’t say anything, again.

Tessie made herself be very still. She breathed slowly and quietly. She thought happy thoughts to Pedro about playing outside in the sunshine. He thought happy thoughts to her, his white body with red polkadots becoming softer and more oval as he became a real horse.

After a while, she opened her eyes. She didn’t know whether she was sad or mad. It was still there.

She looked at the giant spider and asked, “Who are you?”

A lovely voice answered, “Why, thank you for asking. I’m Olivia. Most of my children have the same name, ‘Olios giganteus’. I and my children are definitely hunters, but we aren’t interested in you. Your kind aren’t tasty to us.”

“Olivia?” whispered Tessa, “Why do you seem so scary?”

Olivia thought for a minute and said, “I don’t really know. Why do you look so scary to me and my children?”

Tessa gasped. “I look scary to you?”

“Yes, indeed! Remember last August when you scared my daughter? Olios was in a cardboard box in the garage. After you disturbed her, she took cover under the truck. She was brown, and was probably 2 inches wide. She has a lovely eyes and darker brown chelicerae that are quite large.”

“I remember,” said Tessa. “She ran very fast and got very flat and got away.”

“Yes,” said Olivia. “I’m very proud of her. She has many beautiful children of her own, now.”

Tessa whispered, “I’m glad she got away. We were trying to kill her.”

“I know. Your kind doesn’t like what it doesn’t understand.”

The little girl thought about that for a minute. “You might be right. Can I ask a different question?”

“Of course,” said Olivia.

“Why are you eating ghosts and fairies?” Tessa moved closer to really look at the spider. “You are kind of a pretty brown and you look kind of soft.”

“Thank you,” Olivia laughed with surprise. “We all have to eat something. You thought they were ghosts and fairies, but they were just my usual fare, mostly flies and mosquitoes.”

“Why did it look like you were eating fairies?”

“You are still learning to see. It takes a while to learn to recognize what you are actually looking at. While it is just a part of growing, most of your kind take it too far. You stop seeing the wonder of life and can only see what is useful to you for now.”

“Is that why my parents can’t see or hear what I hear?”

“Yes, indeed.”

Tessa yawned. “Pedro, I want you to meet my friend, Olivia. Olivia, do you know Pedro? He doesn’t say much.”

“Yes,” said the spider. “We are old friends.”

“I feel sleepy,” said the little girl. “Will you stay and keep with scary monsters away?”

“Maybe for you tonight, I will,” said Olivia. “Maybe some of the scary monsters will also turn out to be friends someday.”

Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment. I will approve feedback of any sort, but will delete spam. That’s why I handle this task manually for now.

Here is the best part of the fun! It’s the list of everyone else participating in the Storytime Blog Hop:

link to story time blog hop
Storytime Blog Hop

Morning Has Broken, by Katharina Gerlach

Good Honest Work, by Chris Wight

Bad For Business, by Gina Fabio

The Last Friday, by Raven O’Fiernan

Lost And Found, by Angela Wooldridge

Bia Trevi’s Worldly Eats, by Barbara Lund

Hunting Bob, Vanessa Wells

Don’t Drink The Water, by Juneta Key

Duty, Elizabeth McCleary

The Footnote, Karen Lynn

The Monster Under The Bed, by Nic Steven

Field Trip to the UFO Museum, by Bill Bush


Remember, you can join the fun next time around. The next Blog Hop happens in April. Stretch your creativity and writing muscles. Get out of your comfort zone. The rules are here.

Still Fighting a Cold

An Embroidery Illustration of What Lungs Look Like
An Embroidery Illustration of What Lungs Look Like

I have had a hideous cold since January 3. I probably should have gone to the doctor, but I am as stubborn as all get out. I’ve been taking it easy and drinking water. It still sounds like I have inhaled an aquarium!

Yesterday, though, I had a doctor’s appointment to change my tracheostomy tube. After he did that, Dr. C listened to my lungs and prescribed a broad spectrum antibiotic. I took the first dose (one dose daily for five days) and today was the first day I woke up without needing suctioning.

Maybe I have turned a corner!

This really has put a cramp on all my writing goals. My energy level and attention span have been quite low.

Again, today, that has improved. I have logged about 500 words today. That doesn’t help with the 14 days that I didn’t do much, though. Still, I still have time to catch up with my goal of writing 100,000 words this year. That’s almost 8500 per month. It is almost doable.

I also got some more interesting news! In August, it turned out that I couldn’t take Spinraza because they couldn’t get through my spinal fusion. Here is the latest info:

the latest on Spinraza for me
The latest on Spinraza for me

Blank Slate for 2019

We’ve closed the door on 2018. There have been gains. (For example, after 30+ years of friendship, Bob and I admitted that we might like to try to overcome distance and finances… And that we like each other.) There have been losses. (I am SO going to miss Aunt Helen!)

It’s time to look forward. Now… I don’t do “New Year’s Resolutions.” I used to. When I was 10, I remember being quite impressed with my list of 75 things that I would accomplish by the end of the year.

I did as well as you think!

This year, my resolutions/goals can be summed up in one word:

animated image of the word FINISH

Yep… I’ve gotten quite good at starting projects. Come to think of it, I have MASTERED beginning things. Give me five minutes and I’ll probably come up with 15 things that I have to do right now.

I have not mastered completions. I haven’t even mastered getting into the middle of things.

The buzz that I get from starting is addictive, but even short flash fiction stories take time to complete. (Especially if I want somebody to want to read the results…)

So… I’m trying to set myself up to succeed at the long slog. When I need a boost in my motivation quotient, I can get it from this Trello blog posting.

“The solution isn’t to do away with dreaming and positive thinking. Rather, it’s making the most of our fantasies by brushing them up against the very thing most of us are taught to ignore or diminish: the obstacles that stand in our way.”

I’m reading a book called “Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation” by Gabriele Oettingen. I’m finding it refreshing and encouraging: the typical positive thinking doesn’t work for me. It’s as if my positive thinking and daydreaming is short-circuiting my doing what it takes to

Lazette Gifford's 2018 writing accomplishments including almost 2 million words
She Is Intimidating

accomplish what I want. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve finished NaNoWriMo with a couple thousand words and lovely daydreams about writing as prolifically as Lazette Gifford. (Yeah… She has completed another million word year. It’s downright intimidating!)

The book led me to WOOP, a website and app that breaks Dr. Oettingen’s research into practical steps that anyone can accomplish. My first WOOP is underway. I will keep you informed…

For now, though, I need to finish this posting. After all, the word of the year is…

animated image of the word FINISH

Happy “Clergy Appreciation Month”

Photo by Nicole Honeywill on Unsplash

1 It is also taught among us that we cannot obtain forgiveness of sin and righteousness before God by our own merits, works, or satisfactions, but that we receive forgiveness of sin and become righteous before God by grace, for Christ’s sake, through faith,
2 when we believe that Christ suffered for us and that for his sake our sin is forgiven and righteousness and eternal life are given to us.
3 For God will regard and reckon this faith as righteousness, as Paul says in Romans 3:21–26 and 4:5.
1 To obtain such faith God instituted the office of the ministry, that is, provided the Gospel and the sacraments.
2 Through these, as through means, he gives the Holy Spirit, who works faith, when and where he pleases, in those who hear the Gospel.
3 And the Gospel teaches that we have a gracious God, not by our own merits but by the merit of Christ, when we believe this.
4 Condemned are the Anabaptists and others5 who teach that the Holy Spirit comes to us through our own preparations, thoughts, and works without the external word of the Gospel.
1 It is also taught among us that such faith should produce good fruits and good works and that we must do all such good works as God has commanded,6 but we should do them for God’s sake and not place our trust in them as if thereby to merit favor before God.

Theodore G. Tappert, ed., The Book of Concord the Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. (Philadelphia: Mühlenberg Press, 1959), 30–32.

These articles in the Augsburg Confession are tied together. Our JUSTIFICATION is from God, worked by faith. Faith doesn’t sprout willy-nilly from the air, THE OFFICE OF THE HOLY MINISTRY (A.K.A. PASTORS) preach the Gospel and administer the sacraments. The Holy Spirit works faith in those who hear The Gospel. After faith works, THE NEW OBEDIENCE begins showing up in our lives as a way to thank our God for these extraordinary gifts.

If God chooses to work through plain old human beings, far be it from me to argue. Pastors, their wives, and children certainly have targets painted on their backs!

We get to thank them for their work this month. This article is a lousy way to do it, but it’s my way to start.

Happy GET ORGANIZED WEEK?!? Who knew!

I admit it. A couple of days ago, I was surfing the web when I should’ve been writing. Guilt about my lousy efforts at writing in September was probably leaking into October, but I didn’t know it at the time. It was just easier than actually writing.

Naturally, I justified my surfing by saying that I needed it for story research. Yeah… Okay. I suppose that everything I absorb will probably find its way into my writing. Eventually. If I actually WRITE instead of frittering all my writing time away looking for LOL cats or videos of fractals to mesmerize myself. (Although… That video about that guy forging obsidian into a sword is really tugging at my subconscious. It NEEDS a story!)

man looking defeated under a mountain of paper
Drowning under a Mountain of Paper
Photo credit: on CC BY-NC

One of the potentially useful websites has lists of weird holidays to celebrate. According to that site, today starts GET ORGANIZED WEEK.

How depressing! That just isn’t my strong suit or favorite hobby!

So… I created a “content calendar” for this month. Monday is my day to post here. We will see how well I do at that. I also have another blog and a diary. Tuesday is for the other blog, Wednesday is for the diary. I will probably tell you whether I’m keeping it, but only if I’m doing well.

While I probably should have my head examined, I decided to take a break from the short story class that I’m struggling with. I am plotting a novel this month. I’m planning on trying NaNoWriMo. Maybe.

Since some of the homeschooling families at my church are forming a kids’ writing club, I’m helping with that.

I think my motto is when in doubt, start more projects! At least it keeps me from organizing stuff…

Re-Examining and Updating My 2018 Goals

The other day, a friend asked me how I am doing with my goals for 2018. (What a mean thing to do!)

Of course, I had been successfully avoiding the question on my own. If I had been keeping up with everything, everyone would know about it. I would blog about how proud I am about myself. I would tweet my myriad successes. I would Facebook images of myself smiling about the two novels and 50 short stories that were awaiting re-editing before sending to beta readers.

Regarding short stories. I have finished two out of my personal “10 Story Challenge.” I start one and I keep twiddling with it until it is completely useless. I need to finish the next eight. I need to just post them here, not trying to make them the most brilliant nibbles of fiction on the planet.

The same holds true with my novels, both the science-fiction and the Texas (with a Lutheran twist) stories. I spend so much time editing the first sentence, that it drains all the energy and fun from writing. It’s a terrible thing I do to myself!

It is also what I do to myself when I am blogging.

I need to quit attacking myself and leave that to “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”! 😉

This is a screenshot of my writing goals for the year. The background shows open books all piled together. The first box shows RESOLUTIONS.

2018 Goal Setting

Goal setting terrifies me. It feels like I’m getting locked into something that I don’t necessarily want to do, all because I think I’m supposed to do it. Sometimes, it feels like setting a goal guarantees that that is the last thing I will ever do.

So… I’m trying a different route. I’m doing the scary thing first. I am ANYTHING but finished, here is my progress so far.

This is a screenshot of my writing goals for the year. The background shows open books all piled together. The first box shows RESOLUTIONS.
Beginning My Goal Setting

I am keeping my goals on That way they will be accessible to me in more places and with more devices. It’s not like paper and pencil is an option!

I think I have three lists.
1. My TO-DO list. This is where most of the work will be done. This is where building my habits will be  is too annoying for words!
2. My “main” goal setting for various areas of my life.
3. Writing (and reading)

I don’t know why goal-setting is usually problematic for me. I get these BIG OLD DAYDREAMS, castles in the sky, etc. I just don’t always know how to build a good foundation. Others have said something similar to what is in this blog post I think I just wasn’t really listening. (ESPECIALLY to the part about setting small and consisted steps…)

My daily “To-Dos” are already in Trello so I’m looking for other goalsetting tools there.  looks interesting…  is a totally different approach.

Those have some really useful approaches, and I probably will use them in setting up my resolutions and goals for the year. Still, I think that this may be the winner!

There is a whole different train of thought, though. Now that my goals list is three pages long… I find out that I shouldn’t be telling you all about them…  This really resonates with me. It seems like… If I set a goal, that is the one thing I am guaranteed to NOT do.

Today, I found this. It is far more comprehensive than some of the others, and includes “looking back.”

And Now I Need to Remember What I Read…

Yup, I’m starting to think about next year: goal settings and what might work for me. How about you? Let me know at