My teen’s insight into the human experience of storytelling

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Photo by Garrett Morrow from Pexels

My son’s final project for a high school English class involved the creation of a piece of literary work. Students were given a list of submission options that included choices like a collection of poetry, a short story, or a novel chapter. He chose to write a short story, and when he had reached the word count limit without a successful wrap-up, he changed his format choice to “the first chapter of a novel.”

“There’s been too much character development and not enough plot advancement to resolve this in a short story, and I don’t want to take anything out.”

Curious, I asked if I could read it. …


A dog walk story

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Double coat dogs like huskies shed a large volume of fur. Photo by Nancy Lovering — All Rights Reserved.

“I love your dog — he’s so beautiful!”

She was young and dressed impossibly well for someone doing light gardening in her front yard. My Siberian sensed he had a fan and leaned against his leash to get as close to her as he could.

“His eyes — they’re so neat! They’re different colors! Aw, I love these dogs — I want one!”

Her husband stood behind her, smiled at me, and nodded.

“They shed a lot, you know,” he warned.

“Oh, it’s ok. I don’t mind that!” She slowly extended a flat palm for my dog to sniff and then gently reached forward to scratch his ears. …

What I’m hoping my spreadsheet will tell me

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This was my son’s sharpened-into-nonexistence pencil, and yes — I measured it. Photo by Nancy Lovering — All Rights Reserved.

I’m a data nerd. I track stuff, and I make excel spreadsheets. My kids have learned to avoid me with certain types of questions because they know I’ll hand them a blank, dollar store composition book and say “write this stuff down so we can see if there’s a pattern.”

If you’re one of my tribe you may have made your own COVID-19 spreadsheets in the spring of 2020. This was doable for a few weeks until the numbers eventually overwhelmed me and I abandoned the project. I’ve since switched my focus to my Medium story stats. …

Questions to ask yourself about the time you’ve just spent online

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

The internet is an interesting place. We use it to socialize, order things, educate ourselves, and make money. Sometimes we even let it think for us, without reminding ourselves that it’s a widely inclusive place where almost anyone can publish a website or post an article without anyone else’s input.

Poorly sourced quasi-facts are bad enough without internet platforms and their feeds that manipulate user behavior. Unless you think about this as you enter the stream, you’re vulnerable to the pull from the current of someone else’s design.

How do you know what you’ve read is true?

It’s all there: incorrectly interpreted data, misleading arguments, questionable premises, and outright lies. …

Connecting with nature for at least 20 minutes each day can help with symptoms.

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Image for post theorizes that time outdoors repairs attention fatigue by replenishing prefrontal cortex neurotransmitters. Photo by Nancy Lovering — All Rights Reserved.

Green time is time spent outdoors in a natural setting, surrounded by plant life such as grass and trees.

Research indicates that it’s the green space setting, not the activity, that can reduce ADHD symptoms for both children and adults. As little as 20 minutes can be of benefit, but more is better. Green time is particularly beneficial when that time is spent before you attempt tasks that require focus.

Ways to increase green time:

1. Schedule regular park time.

2. Take a greener route to school or work.

3. Choose nature-oriented vacations like camping.

4. Play green field sports like soccer. …

The quiet space between commands that allows your dog time to think

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Dogs need time to think about our words, but we interrupt this process when we continue speaking. Photo by Nancy Lovering — All Rights Reserved.

Do dogs understand our words? It can certainly seem that way. Some estimates place their receptive language capacity at around 150 words or more. Whether it’s those words, or our body language, facial expressions, tone of voice, hand gestures, or varying combinations of any of these elements used in the right context, our dogs’ behaviors suggest that they’re trying to understand us.

I work as an education assistant (EA) supporting students with diverse learning needs. One of the things I’ve discovered is that I can apply classroom strategies to dog training. …

Face it to erase it.

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Photo by Jermaine Ulinwa from Pexels

Good stress isn’t the problem.

The stress of beating the timer on my phone is helping me write this rather than mindlessly scrolling through social media. I also have four pending deadlines for my favorite client, which boosts my productivity. Deadline stress is good.

It’s the harmful stress we should eliminate, like toxic interpersonal relationships, upsetting world events, financial worries, and workplace conflict.

The American Institute of Stress paints a bleak picture of the ubiquitous nature of stress, stating that as of September 2019, 83% of workers in the US are plagued by this burden.

Bad stress isn’t just about feeling anxious: The prolonged activation of our sympathetic nervous system, which is designed for temporary availability in acute situations, takes a tangible toll on our health and impacts body systems such as cardiovascular, digestive, endocrine, and immune. We need to calm that fight or flight response when it’s inappropriately active for too long. …

Step 1 — Identify the barrier

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Sometimes young people can’t proceed with a task even when they really want to. Whether you’re an EA in a classroom or a parent helping your own child, removing obstacles can be one of the best ways you can help.

Before you can remove a barrier you need to identify it. Start a conversation to see if you can uncover one of these many possible culprits:

Insecurity — They lack feelings of competence.

Embarrassment — They worry about being judged.

Confusion — They don’t understand the instructions and are unable to ask for clarification.

Distraction — Their environment is too disruptive. …

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Insatiable thirst is a symptom of Type 1 Diabetes. Photo by Nancy Lovering — All Rights Reserved.

Type 1 diabetes does not go away on its own. Don’t wait, or assume it will self-resolve. If left untreated, it gets progressively worse and is ultimately fatal.

With treatment, you can live a normal lifespan.

It’s important to note that you can develop type 1 diabetes at any age. You are never too old to be diagnosed with this condition. For your safety, see a doctor immediately if you have concerns.

Signs of untreated type 1 diabetes include:

•Excessive thirst and hunger
•Excessive urination
•Unexplained weight loss
•Vision changes
•Fruity smelling breath
•Stomach pain
•Rapid breathing

How to know, and what to do about it

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Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

Shoulder pain interferes with the arm days of your workout, as well as with everyday tasks that involve reaching or lifting. The causes of shoulder pain are varied and can include things like dislocation, arthritis, torn rotator cuff, fracture, bursitis and even heart attack. If your pain is accompanied by reduced range of motion or stiffness, you might have frozen shoulder.

What is frozen shoulder?

Frozen shoulder, or adhesive capsulitis, is a condition that causes pain and stiffness in your shoulder. It can occur after prolonged periods of inactivity, after an injury or overuse, or as the result of certain medical conditions.

When you have frozen shoulder, the glenohumeral joint capsule of your shoulder becomes enflamed and stiffens. This capsule is between the humerus (upper arm) and the scapula (shoulder blade) and is normally slack to allow for shoulder movement. …


Nancy Lovering

Writer, Photographer, EA (K-12) and T1D mom

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