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Writing Wednesday/ Lets Get Credible

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Writing Wednesday

Typewriter Pink

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Wednesdays I like to share information I picked up along my journey to being published, marketing my first book, editing and preparing to be published again. Information that I wish someone would have shared with me, back then…

If you like the information I hope you will share it!

 

Establishing Writer Credibility

Not unlike other professions, building credibility as a writer/blogger/author can be a long and confusing process. Everyone wants to know what you have published and where. Before I actually got paid to write I did a lot of writing for free. Some of that free ‘stuff,’ I look back on now and want to cover my face in embarrassment because some of it is just plain awful.

If you want to build a successful career in the writing/publishing industry and get paid for your work, the first thing you need to do is assure your customers, editors or publisher that you are an established and respected professional.

To improve your work and gain credibility you need to write everything you write like a professional. That includes facebook posts, e-mails, tweets, blog posts, text messages, etc…

Publishers, editors and agents want the writers/authors they work with to be credible and to have a national platform. Your blog can be an effective part of your national platform if you have attracted engaged national readers.

How do you attract those readers so you can engage them so you can gain credibility?

It really isn’t about the numbers.

There are some companies out there that will promise you thousands of followers, page impressions, unique visitors and so on and so on but the fact is once YOU write outstanding content and YOU build a relationship with your readers the numbers will follow.

Quotes Goals change the plan not the goal

A few ideas:

  • Write witty opinion pieces or letters to the editor of your local newspapers. Once they print it or post it on their website, you are published.

 

  • Read and leave meaningful comments on blogs.

 

  • Engage in virtual conversations on large websites such as the Huffington Post, New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Washington Post and your areas largest newspapers and magazines.

 

  •  A bit of advice would be to think about and edit your comments to be more intellectual than emotional. Try to keep your responses positive.

It is important to talk to people you disagree with

 

  • Maintain consistency. Post good content on a consistent schedule. (I need to follow my own advice.)

 

 

  • There are a lot of bloggers out there looking for guest posts. Write for them.

 

  • When you write know your facts and back them up with sources if needed.

 

  • We all have our political opinions. Most of us are passionate about those opinions. It is a good idea if you are trying to build credibility to fact check anything political before you share.

 

  • Read more than the catchy headline before you share anything. It is crucial that your readers trust you.

 

  • Get out and meet people in real life. Join or start a writing group. Look for networking opportunities. Hand out business cards with your blog/website address.

 

  • Edit every single thing you write. Read it out loud. (I am still working on this one.)

 

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This Months Press Club Workshop/via Hellenic News of America

Marketing a business today can be confusing with so many choices, in advertising, blogging, social media and websites. The Press Club Serving The Delaware County Suburbs is hosting a series of Professional Development Workshops, “How to get the Media to Notice Your Business, Product, Nonprofit, Book or Event.” The workshops, open to the public, are held 9 am to 12 noon on the fourth Saturday of every month (except December) on the spacious Open Connections Campus, 1616 Delchester Rd., Newtown Square. October’s class is on “Styling or Re-styling You and Your Business and How to Network Effectively.” Having the best look for a person and a business can boost confidence and self esteem. Kara Speckhals, a professional stylist with degrees from both the University of Pennsylvania and Moore College of Art and Design will be one of the presenters. Speckhals works with photographers, models, corporate clients and personal clients. She is known for infusing confidence in her customers’ wardrobes and bringing precision to every set. Kevin Bruton of the “Purple Picnic People” will also be one of the presenters. He will draw upon a rich tradition of quality catering spanning more than 28 years to discuss planning and networking at corporate, business and non-profit events. Rounding out the presenters Oct. 25 will be Bo Sanders who previously led the United Way’s annual campaign and guided the organization’s fundraising efforts. He was the assistant executive director for the Blue White Scholarship Foundation and held a leadership position in government and community affairs at Comcast Cable. Sanders is currently writing a memoir and will share his experience and tips with attendees. For thirty-five-years the Press Club of Delaware County has hosted hundreds of informative and entertaining luncheon events as well as dozens of professional development seminars for members and the community. Future workshops will be facilitated by top professionals in their fields, including Susan Tabor-Kleinman (Your Professional Writer,) Charlie Tomlinson (Custom Communications), Jim De Lorenzo (JHD Enterprises), Grant Gegwich (Crozer Keystone Health System, Director of Communications), Susan Barnett (five-years as anchor at KYW-News,) Jim Donovan (CBS3 Consumer Reporter), Peg DeGrassa (Delco News Network editor), Annmarie Kelly (Happy Hour Radio Show Host) and many more. Everyone is invited to dust off their business cards and notebooks and join The Press Club for these inexpensive, informative and fun classes. For more information visit, http://www.thepressclubpa.org For information on sponsoring, presenting or volunteering, e-mail Doreen McGettigan at doreenb8@verizon.net/.

Workshop Photo                                                Cindy Falteich, Bo Sanders, Doreen McGettigan

 

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Scary dolls, High School and the Judge…

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Friday Fragments are bits and pieces of your week that are usually brief; too short for a stand-alone post, but too good to discard. Collect humorous observations, “Heard” items, other small gems and put them together in a Friday Fragments post. Then leave a link to your Friday Fragments post and link back to our host Mrs. 4444 at Half-Past Kissin’ Time.

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It’s not too late to join in on the fun and we would love to have you!

I am SO behind in my blogging and in my life! The editing of The Stranger in My Recliner however, is nearly done. I missed posting Friday Fragments last week and this week I missed posting Writing Wednesday. I am going to work harder to stay caught up.

* Last Sunday after several days of marathon editing, I thought I better do a back-up, save to drop box and send myself an e-mail. As I clicked on my document to save it, I noticed the size changed. To make a very long story short- a Verizon and a Microsoft update were done at the same moment I hit save. My file, my book was corrupted. It disappeared and I could not find it anywhere. All ended well several hours, only $30 and a visit with the geek squad later, my book was back. My hair is grayer!

* Our Eagles really beat up on the New York Giants on Sunday night. I felt a teeny-tiny bit bad for my son-in-law and my grandson. They are big time Giants fans. Just a teeny bit!

Friday Fragments 10 16 14 EAGLES photo

* This Saturday night I will be speaking at the kick-off of a new foundation called No More Helpless Daughters. The foundation was started by friend, Ujwala Dixit to give more attention to preventing domestic violence and abuse.

* I was invited to appear as a guest on a TV show that is created and produced by the high school students at Wissahickon High School. The kids were all no-nonsense, so professional and I had so much fun. The show airs on local cable channels. I am going to post the link when it’s available.

* After the TV show we went to see the movie, The Judge at our favorite movie theatre with large, comfy leather recliners. The movie starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Robert Duvall was very, very good. I predict Oscars.

Friday Fragments The Judge

* The VA messed up my husband’s meds for the 3rd time. I called the pharmacist when the pills arrived because I thought the color was darker. He swore to me they were the correct pills. That night he got sick. I took him to a different VA hospital emergency room. I just couldn’t go to the one in Philadelphia. His blood pressure was extremely high. They quickly got us the right medication and sent us home. I don’t know what to do. I wrote to our state reps and they never answered. Attorneys won’t get involved because there is no value, which means he didn’t die. So frustrating and scary!

* One of my favorite Facebook groups is having a conference in NASHVILLE!! I am excited. I will share more about that later.

* A woman that I work closely with took leave a few months ago because her brother was critically ill and she needed to go to Africa to care for him. She is back and all we know is they are not letting her come back to work…. yet. I am guessing 21 days. I hope they make it 30 days, to make sure. I really like this woman a lot and I am praying for her. This #Ebola virus is so scary and excuse me if I sound dumb but why are we allowing the people who are infected to travel all over the states. Shouldn’t the infected be quarantined in ONE place, like near the CDC?

* My doctor has been out of the flu vaccine for 2 weeks.

* Does it seem to you that Halloween is getting scarier and scarier every year? It seems to me the trend is to make it all about an adult party holiday and less of a fun night for children. I am so not okay with people decorating with severed heads and hazmat suits. It seems like such poor taste. And then there are the dolls, yikes!

Friday Fragments 10 16 14 Scary Doll

Have a blessed weekend,

Doreen

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A Perfect Dacation, Birthdays and Revenge…

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Friday Fragments are bits and pieces of your week that are usually brief; too short for a stand-alone post, but too good to discard. Collect humorous observations, “Heard” items, and other small gems and put them together in a Friday Fragments post. Then leave a link to your Friday Fragments here:

Half-Past Kissin’ Time

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My granddaughter Allyson turned 19 on Monday. We celebrated with her on Saturday. She has not stopped amazing me since the day she was born. I am so proud of her for so many reasons but especially because she is such a good big sister.

Allysons Birthday 19

John and I took a motorcycle ride down the shore last Sunday. As soon as we got there it started to rain. We ordered cheese steaks and watched the Eagles game. As soon as the Eagles won, the sun came out. We took a long walk on the beach, visited the spot where we ended up on our first date and then married. For the last day of the summer it was surprisingly deserted.

Beach Goodbye Summer 3

After our walk we went to the boardwalk for the famous Manco’s Pizza. In the parking lot, I was going through my purse looking for quarters to put into the parking meter. A couple walked up to our meter and inserted seven quarters and refused to take our dollar bills. It is amazing how a small act of kindness like that really does make you want to pay it forward.

Manco and Manco

It was a perfect daycation.

Two weeks ago a guy ambushed two Pennsylvania State Troopers. One died and one was critically wounded. The guy has been hiding in the woods in the Pocono Mountains for fifteen-days now. There are over one-thousand cops looking for him. Yesterday they spotted him but he disappeared into the rough terrain again. It’s been interesting following the tweets of the reporters who no doubt are bored out of their minds waiting by the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. These tweets happened yesterday:

State Police will not speculate why Frein is wearing diapers except that they are sometimes used by snipers to stay in place

Thanks to Twitter, I just learned survivalists depend on #diapers and #Serbiancigarettes. Bizarre. #Frein

There were many more diaper and cigarette tweets but you get the idea.

I hope they find him soon and no one else is hurt. Life is really disrupted for everyone that lives in that mountain community. I cannot imagine the fear they must have especially the police officers families.

Today I am going to an alumni lunch at Temple University. Brian Williams is the keynote speaker. Tonight I have an event at our local mall and Saturday morning we have our first in a series of Press Club Workshops. It seems like we have been planning them forever, I’m excited and very nervous. Saturday night is date night and Sunday a Fairy Tale in the Hamptons Party celebrating the return of Once Upon a Time and Revenge. I have never seen either show. I want to watch them both, I need to see at least one episode so I can figure out what to wear so I can try to win a prize.

Have a blessed last week of September, oh my!

Doreen

 

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Nightmares and Department Stores…

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Friday Fragments are bits and pieces of your week that are usually brief; too short for a stand-alone post, but too good to discard. Collect humorous observations, “Heard” items, and other small gems and put them together in a Friday Fragments post. Then leave a link to your Friday Fragments here:

Half-Past Kissin’ Time

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I am feeling so fragmented today. It was my first full week back to work ( I worked on Labor Day ) after an awesome vacation. As hard as I tried to be organized, by Wednesday it all fell apart and here I am on Friday scrambling to check all the boxes so I can relax and start my weekend.

Are you a Garth Brooks fan? I am so excited about his comeback tour. I was one of those people that slept on a sidewalk in Philadelphia all those years ago to get [good] tickets to see him. I was confused at first by the new digital format but this video sort of helped with that. I think it might be awesome. I wonder if Trisha will be offering her music on the space too.

http://youtu.be/ZvXjka4Zjc8

Garth and Trisha

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few of my grandchildren started school on Wednesday, two others will start on Monday and Adrianna will start kindergarten next Tuesday. Is it me or do our schools in the Philadelphia area start late? I do love that the kids don’t go back until after Labor Day.

My teaching schedule starts with the first of the Press Club workshop series, a social media class on September 27th.  The committee and I have been working on these for months and they are really coming together.

My author schedule starts on September 19th with an author panel and book signing at The Boscov’s Department Store at Granite Run Mall. I am looking forward to spending time with the other awesome authors.

Boscov's

When we got back from our Florida trip last week (with 5 grandkids) I had the same nightmare for three nights in a row. I dreamed my eight-year-old granddaughter, Avery was drowning. It was terrifying. I was afraid to look up the meaning of the dream. Apparently when you dream a child is drowning it means you are feeling the end of a deep emotional connection. That made perfect sense because she was the youngest on the trip and we were worried about her getting homesick and being left out by the older kids. Neither happened thank goodness but I did feel very connected to her and all of the kids. Do you believe in dream interpretation?

FLORIDA avery in the hot tub

There is more sad news from Hollywood. I always found Joan Rivers hysterical. That said, more recently on her show Fashion Police, even I thought she could be a bit harsh. No matter what you thought of her she was the first women to have a nighttime show of her own and she paved the way for many female comediennes. My favorite thing about her was her refusal at all costs to be politically correct which made her, in my eyes and in spite of her exterior a very ‘real’ person inside.

Joan Rivers

The real news has been brutally sad too. I am usually pretty immune to it but these be-headings of journalists are so heartbreaking. I cannot stop thinking of their family and friends and the grief they are feeling.

Just thinking about this next election season is making me nauseous.

Have you had anything pumpkin flavored yet?

Have a blessed weekend,

Doreen

 

I would love to connect with you here too:

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Recent Posts:

Writing Wednesday- PR advice:

http://doreenmcgettigan.com/?p=5271

An excerpt from The Stranger in My Recliner [2015]:

http://doreenmcgettigan.com/?p=5268

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Time for Teaching and still Beaching…

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Friday Fragments are bits and pieces of your week that are usually brief; too short for a stand-alone post, but too good to discard. Collect humorous observations, “Heard” items, and other small gems and put them together in a Friday Fragments post. Then leave a link to your Friday Fragments here:

Half-Past Kissin’ Time

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My husband told me yesterday to stop thinking about summer being over and to concentrate on enjoying each day of September. He is so right. The days are still sunny and warm, without being oppressive and the nights are comfortably cool. Then he asked me to go on a couple of beach dates. Just another of the million reasons I love that man.

Florida Does Beach Feet

I have some exciting things to look forward to this fall. Not only will I be teaching again but I have been working with a committee since last spring to put together a workshop series sponsored by the Press Club of Pa. They will be held the fourth Saturday of every month (except December.) They will be on social media, branding, style (for men and women), networking, understanding the news, how to get attention from the media for your product, business, store, event, non-profit, blog or book, writing and publishing, pitching your business and more. We have been so lucky to have top experts in these fields offer to join us. We even have a few celebrity guests. I will be writing more about these classes next week!

http://www.thepressclubpa.org

Our Florida adventure has come and gone but I have no doubt we all created memories that will last forever. My husband and I took five of our grandchildren to Daytona Beach to visit my mother and John’s sister. We were worried that at least the driving part would be a nightmare but I have to tell you the kids were so good and we had SO much fun. Kudos to John for renting the top of the line Town & Country minivan equipped with DVD players and satellite radio and kudos to me for creating maps and putting them on corkboard for each child with colored stick pins. One color for cities we stopped in and another color for cities we passed through. They really got into it and now they know how to read a map. We had a great time with family and friends, went Go Karting, to batting cages, the beach, to Zoomair Daytona a zipline adventure and more…

FLORIDA trip the kids by pool FLORIDA Here we go FLORIDA trip maps FLORIDA with Kids Florida beach all 5

During our vacation my laptop kind of crashed and even though there was a TV by the pool the kids always wanted to listen to music so I was forced to detox from my news addiction. After reading this post on Boomeon written by Cathy Chester, taking an occasional news break is going to become a habit for me:

http://www.boomeon.com/posts/taking-a-short-break-from-the-news

Have a safe and fun Labor Day,

Doreen

 

 

 

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Dragging Fragging Friday Fragments…

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Friday Fragments are bits and pieces of your week that are usually brief; too short for a stand-alone post, but too good to discard. Collect humorous observations, “Heard” items, and other small gems from your week and put them together in a Friday Fragments post. Then leave a link to your Friday Fragments post with our host Mrs. 4444 at Half-Past Kissin’ Time.

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The Pope is coming to Philly! I should be super excited and yes it is very exciting but for some reason all I can think of is the traffic and the diversions. Will I go if he holds an outdoor Mass. Probably but I already know it will be a logistics mess.

I LOVE that he met with the FINALLY released Christian woman who was sentenced to death, Miriam Ibreham and her family.

pope-francis-Meriam-Ibrahim

I was so excited to have a post on Midlife Boulevard for the first time! Which by the way is an AMAZING community of the most talented, funny, brilliant and supportive women I have ever met (only a few in real life) but cannot wait to meet more of them in real life.

http://midlifeboulevard.com/boomer-deadly-road-rage/

As if that wasn’t exciting enough this happened on Books is Wonderful:

http://www.booksiswonderful.com/books-by-writers-i-know/

The author of Books is Wonderful, Helene Cohen Bludman is in England right now with another MLB friend, Lois Alter Mark. They are touring the Downton Abbey Castle and doing all sorts of other dreamy things. I cannot wait to read both of their posts about the trip.

My conspiracy theory mind is spinning out of control over all of these ‘air’ disasters. Sad.

I had to have surgery to clear up a jaw infection that resulted from jaw surgery. Just ouch and a frustrating setback. It has me dragging.

Hell on Wheels will be back on AMC on August 2. I cannot Wait!

Hell on Wheels

Have a Blessed Weekend,

Doreen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cowgirling up for the 4th of July…

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Happy 4th of July!!

Friday Fragments are bits and pieces of your week that are usually brief; too short for a stand-alone post, but too good to discard. Collect humorous observations, “Heard” items, and other small gems and put them together in a Friday Fragments post. Then leave a link to your Friday Fragments post and leave a link back to Half-Past Kissin’ Time in your post.

I would love to read your Fragment’s. Sign up here (all weekend)

http://www.halfpastkissintime.com

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July 4th was always a huge celebration in my family and it always started out with my brother, David’s birthday which is on the 3rd. when David was murdered 15-years-ago we tried to continue the tradition and still have a birthday party for him, a sort of memorial celebration of his life. It may have been a good idea but it felt awful. So around here the holiday has pretty much been a sad one. That hasn’t been fair to my grandkids. This year I am spending the holiday with 3 granddaughters.

We planned to attend our neighborhood block-party, with pony rides, ( Peyton is running through the house yelling wake up it’s time to cowgirl up, trying to wake her sister’s) bouncy houses and lots of hot-dogs and cotton candy followed by a concert and fireworks show at our local high school and lots of swimming and relaxing for the rest of the weekend. Then Arthur formed. I’m not sure how much outdoor fun will actually happen. It is not looking promising. At least here it will only be rain and wind. I hope everyone in direct hit areas stays safe. I hope Arthur just fizzles.

My week was sort of uneventful which is extremely rare. I’m still battling an infection that resulted from one of my dental surgeries and it is making me feel so tired. I haven’t had a 3-day-weekend in a very long time. It is going to feel so good to sleep in.

I took this picture on the way home from picking the girls up. They say they see an angel in the sky. I see it too. Do you?

Sky angel photo

I wrote this article on caregiving and stress for our local Patch. It sure could use some likes and or comments.

http://media.patch.com/blogs/-edge-of-philadelphia?content_subdomain=media

One thing I was disappointed in this past week is the lack of understanding by so many people on just what the actual job of our Supreme Court Justices involves. There was legally, no way there could have made any other decision in regards to the Hobby Lobby case. President Clinton signed the Freedom of Religion act in 1993. The Supreme Court must hold up existing law. They have no authority to create or change laws. Whether we like the decision or not the law is the law. Am I the only one frustrated by the lack of civics knowledge?

Happy Birthday to my little brother in Heaven:

http://youtu.be/PAc7b-pnfLw

Have a safe and blessed Holiday Weekend,

Doreen

 

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Holy Hillary, Summer Fragments, Happy Hour and Kate + Eight…

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I’m late but I’m here.

Friday Fragments are bits and pieces of your week that are usually brief; too short for a stand-alone post, but too good to discard. Collect humorous observations, “Heard” items, and other small gems and put them together in a Friday Fragments post. Then leave a link to your Friday Fragments post and leave a link back to Half-Past Kissin’ Time in your post.

I would love to read your Fragment’s. Sign up here:

http://www.halfpastkissintime.com

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Our annual beach week starts tomorrow—without us. We were so disappointed in how everything unfolded last year and I have taken so much time off from work this past year that we decided to take a break this year. We will be back next year.  John and I are going to try to get down for at least a day.

In August we planned a beach week in Daytona. It is so soon after losing my Dad, I just need to spend some time with my Mom in Daytona.

Change is good, right?

I entered the More Open Doors Contest  yesterday.  “What doors could $10,000 open for you?” You should check it out and good

Have you read Hillary’s book? The reviews are pretty bad and I am surprised that Sarah Palin’s book sold nearly 400,000 more copies the first week. Should I bother reading it? Look what I saw at a rest stop while driving back from North Carolina (Maryland)

ABC_hillary_clinton_bus_tour_ml_140613_16x9_608

My writer’s group friend and fellow Tate author, Toni McCloe’s book came out this week. She is a talented writer so I cannot wait to read Rude Awakenings. I am hoping to interview her soon.

I tuned in for the return of Kate +her eight last night. Wow, have those kids grown. They are all adorable.

kate-plus-8-sextupets-turn-10-special-tlc

The next 24 is making my blood pressure high but I am as hooked as I ever was.

Have a blessed week,

Doreen

This afternoon at 3:00 est I will be on the radio show Happy Hour with Annmarie Kelly. Cindy Falteich, author of Aliquot Sun (soon to be a film) and I will be chatting about summer reads and more. You can listen live here:

http://www.wche.com

 

 

 

 

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DISNEY’S ‘CINDERELLA’ …

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DISNEY’S ‘CINDERELLA’ is at the Media Theatre in Delaware County, Pa. this summer…

My two youngest grandchildren, Peyton Elizabeth and Adriana Jean have birthdays just a few days apart. This year they were turning four and five. Last year I took them to see their first movie and they loved it.  This year I wanted them to experience a live theatre performance. The Media Theatre in Delaware County, Pa. is presenting CINDERELLA on Saturday’s at 11:00 a.m. and Sunday afternoons at noon throughout June, July and August. What four and five- year- old little girls wouldn’t like to see a live version of their favorite princess?

Media Theatre Cinderella and Prince Charming

Cinderella and the Prince=== The Prince (Owen Mannion) and Cinderella (Emily Kinka)

Originally released by Walt Disney Studios in 1950, the film is one of their most successful adaptions. Disney will be releasing a new version of Cinderella in March of 2015. The newest version will star Cate Blanchett as the wicked stepmother.

Media Theatre NEW CINDERELLA MOVIE  3 15 The Media Theatre adaption is referred to as the kid’s version due to its shortened length and a cast that features young actors in many of the roles. It includes beloved songs like Bibbidee Bobbidee Boo and a Dream is a Wish your Heart Makes. The play is approximately one hour, which was perfect for my four and five -year-olds.

Media Theatre Cinderella play

Cinderella (Emily Kinka) with The Mice: Jaq (Carter Weiss), Luke (Alex Pollard), Perla (Alexsa McKeown), and Gus Gus (Sean O’ Neill)

Adriana and Peyton were so excited to sit in the front row. They enjoyed waving to and speaking with the musician in the orchestra pit. They were a bit frightened at first of the wicked stepmother played by Roger Ricker and the wicked stepsisters.  They loved and are still talking about how beautiful Cinderella’s gown was, how pretty the Fairy Godmother was and how handsome the prince was.

Adriana at Cinderella

Adriana

Humor plays a large part in this version with plenty of opportunity for young audiences to laugh, have fun and even participate. The king came down from the stage and invited children from the audience to his ball.

The production was professional and all of the kids did a wonderful job singing, dancing and narrating. The adults were hysterical. I love that the girls are still talking about Cinderella, the theatre and they are asking to see another play. I love creating memories with them. After the play we went to Linvilla Orchard, also in Delaware County for ice cream.

Peyton at Linvilla

Peyton Elizabeth

My girls went from the theatre to the sand pile. They are definitely my granddaughters

Adriana and Peyton playing in dirt For tickets to Disney’s “Cinderella” at The Media Theatre call 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org. All Broadway Series and Youth Series productions are produced by Media Music Theatre Company.

The Media Theatre is also offering, for groups of 12 or more, Golden Slipper Parties following the show. The Parties include a ticket to the show, pizza, punch, cupcakes, and gift bags. They take place in the theatre’s second level Crystal Room, where the party-goers get to meet the cast for photos and autographs.

As a summer celebratory wrap-up event and fundraiser for Media Music Theatre Company, Roger Ricker has his annual concert on Wednesday night August 13. This year’s title is “UP!” The show will feature upbeat numbers with positive messages, youth performers, and plenty of fun. Ricker has been seen in over 80 productions at The Media Theatre, with this being his ninth summer concert fundraising event.

Media Theatre Photo

 

 

 

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Does History Repeat itself? For Us the VA Scandal is Personal…

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They say if you don’t study your history you are sure to repeat it. I have not been able to get that saying out of my head for the last few years. It started when I read the more than one-thousand- pages that are the ACA. [Affordable Care Act]

I cannot fault President Obama for knowing that drastic changes needed to be made in our healthcare insurance industry.  However, I am concerned about the changes that continue to be made to our actual healthcare industry. After reading the ACA I looked at my husband and said, “This sounds like the VA. It sounds like bureaucrats will be deciding who gets what when it comes to medical care, not doctors.”

In 1963, President John F. Kennedy believed that the mentally ill should be taken care of in their homes with assistance from the government. He was motivated by the mental illness of his own younger sister who was institutionalized. Critics say it was more likely the matter of the hundreds of looming lawsuit judgments against the government due to abuse, neglect, rapes and murders in our nation’s mental institutions and the lack of federal funds to pay those judgments that motivated him.

President kennedy

His administration first decided that people needed to have more humanized opinions of people with mental-health disorders. They urged church, school and scout leaders to begin visiting our nation’s asylums. As a young girl scout I visited the Byberry State Hospital in Northeast Philadelphia to sing Christmas Carols for the patients. I still shudder when I remember that field trip.

The plan was to create group homes in neighborhoods. A staff of caregivers would take care of the needs of the patients. Mental health professionals and state officials would monitor the group homes. It was a good plan but unfortunately it didn’t work. The doors to the asylums were literally sprung open and the patients were released into the communities in masses. They were given twenty-five dollars, an outfit and an appointment to be accessed at a community mental health clinic many of which at the time, were not yet operational. Most of those patients wandered the streets of our neighborhoods never showing up for their appointments. Several released Byberry patients were found dead on the hospital grounds. They died of exposure.

Byberry Sign

I believe those human beings that were tortured within the walls of Byberry and every other asylum in this country deserved love, compassion at the most up to date treatment and care. Why couldn’t we make those hospitals safe for them?  Why did the administration think if they could not effectively monitor what went on in the confines of a state hospital that they were going to be able to monitor what happened with these patients in the communities? Why do so many people believe that in order to protect the rights of one person and putting that person’s safety as well as the safety of entire communities at risk is okay?

The problem with our nation’s asylums was corrupt politics and a complete lack of leadership and accountability by the management and the staff. The problems began as soon as the facilities were opened back in Ben Franklin’s days. Occasionally newspapers would shine a light on the atrocities, action would be taken and the guilty would be fired. Once the media attention died down the staff member was quietly rehired and the horrors continued.

Whether we agree with the way President Kennedy opened those doors and let the mentally ill out of those state institutions, without a solid plan for after care or not we must agree that the conversation about the care and treatment of our mentally ill and intellectually challenged was started by him.

President Kennedy’s sister never left the institution.

The problems in our VA Medical System are just as systemic, probably even worse than they were in those asylums. People are dying. I fear we are headed towards just opening the doors and releasing our veterans into the already overwhelmed community health centers and the closing of our VA Medical Centers. It sounds like a great idea and a quick fix until we look back and see how opening the doors of those asylums in the nineteen-sixties created the homeless and mental health crisis we are still not dealing with today.

Removing General Shinseki as the leader of the VA Administration was overdue but it will not fix anything. Shinseki is without a doubt a good man. Sadly he is not a good leader. Leaders need to be committed to quality, accountability and results. They need to create strategies and see that their teams are responsibly implementing those strategies. The teams working in our VA medical system are implementing a complete lack of respect and disregard for our country’s heroes. They are there to collect a decent paycheck and government benefits. Nothing else is demanded of them.

VA Medical Center Philadelphia

When you take a manager like, Shinseki who already has no leadership skills and replace him with his own assistant who also has no leadership skills and then further complicate matters more with employee unions that will completely cripple any attempt he might make at requiring correctable action and accountability from employees chances are it will be business as usual again in no time. Add to that those narcissistic, stagnant politicians on ALL sides offering endless, useless investigations that do nothing but rob taxpayers and fatten their own wallets.

The problem that needs to be ‘fixed’ is the union ‘leader’ problem we have in this country. While unions were started for valid reasons they did exactly what they were supposed to do. We now have government employee protection agencies and laws to protect our workers from abuse, discrimination, unsafe conditions and more. Unions are a waste of hard working employee’s money and because most of them are hanging on by a thread the leaders are becoming desperate and looking for ways to ‘money grab.’

I fear we are about to repeat some very bad history here.

~ ~ ~

My family is no stranger to the VA Health Center. My husband is a disabled Vietnam War era veteran.

We have had some good experiences at VA Medical Centers. We have met some committed and caring employees. We have also had our share of waiting, life threatening misdiagnoses and degrading treatment by V.A. staff members. I wrote about this experience (just one of many bad experiences.) a little over a year ago.

http://doreenmcgettigan.com/?p=4109

Because I complain a lot, my husband’s case was recently moved to our community hospital. While this is so much more convenient for my husband, it will not solve the larger problem and that is wrong.

President Kennedy’s message to Congress on Mental Health:

http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=9546

 

 

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  • New Beginnings October 22, 2014
    Finish each day and be done with it. you have done what you could. some blunders and absurdities have crept in;forget them as soon as you can.Tomorrow is a new day. you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumberedwith your old nonsense.This new dayis too dear, with its hopes and invitations,to waste a moment in the yesterdays.- emerson