R is for Resurrection

My husband’s mother and several of her siblings died with Alzheimer’s. This is a reality that is part of our world as we age. We are about the same age that she and others in her family were when they began to show symptoms of the advance of the disease. In the last few years my spouse’s memory has slipped. However, my own memory is not as sharp as it was even a few years ago. Often when we notice a lapse on his part, we used to look at each other with wide-eyed fear  – could he have it? Now, I stare it in the face and use humor as a weapon to quell the panic. We will make the best of it, no matter what comes along.

The following is a poem that I wrote a couple of years ago. It conveys my feelings that the act  of wrapping him in my arms reminds me of who he was, is, and shall be for me, always.


I remember watching small boys
Throw frogs against a wall,
Stun them, explaining
To me after that, as they
Enfold them in their hands,
They return to life.

Will you, if this dreaded disease
Is to stun and overtake you
And you become another,
If I embrace you, enfold you in my arms,
Encircle your face within my hands,
Will you come back to me?

JLN, 1/26/14
(Final revision 4.21.16)

This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z (2016)  Challenge. Click here. to see all of the blogs in the A to Z Challenge

Q is for Questions


Erik Erickson defined the stage of life in which elders find ourselves as Old Age and the conflict to be resolved at this stage was between integrity and despair. An integral part of the stage, in Erik’s views, is making a “life review” as a way of finding acceptance of one’s life in its completeness – to accept the good with the bad.

In this post, rather than a life review, I wish to present a live preview, posing questions that remain unanswered about what is to come. I offer these questions in order that those who are not yet elders will understand what their loved ones are questioning and contemplating.

  • When will I die? In other words, how many years, months, or days remain?
  • Between this day and the day that I die, will my memory be intact? What of my faculties will I lose?
  • How long will I be able to think clearly and manage my affairs?
  • Will I be able to communicate with my loved ones? How? Through voice, signing, writing?
  • Will I be able to care for myself?
  • How long will I be able to remain independent?
  • If I fall, how long will I have the strength to get up on my own, especially if I am alone?
  • Will I be strong enough to walk and to get myself to places that I need to be?
  • If I drive, how much longer will I be able?
  • Who will care for me if I need someone at home for a short time?
  • If I have to move to residential care, will I have a say in where I am placed?
  • Will I have enough money to sustain myself until the end?

If you are an elder, I offer this live preview in hopes that you will be able to use the questions, along with questions you generate to do some prior planning. If you have elders in the family, perhaps you will want to assist your loved ones in thinking about questions and making plans.

Q is for questions.

Photo by Evan Dennis on unsplash.com (https://goo.gl/nG3ddJ)

This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z (2016)  Challenge. Click here. to see all of the blogs in the A to Z Challenge

P is for Patience


Being an elder is an exercise in patience. I find I need patience with children like my grandson and other youngsters in our lives who are just beginning to learn and need for me and for other elders to give them the freedom to learn on their own. So often we see older people jumping in to finish a task when the little one is struggling to do so or, in the words of my grandmother, dawdling. I find patience is required in the marketplace as young adults are finding their way in the work world and may not yet have learned what old school customers expect. I find that patience is needed with middle-aged adults who are still in denial that they will ever be elders and sometimes criticize elders who have what seem to them to be curious habits. But most of all, I find that I must be patient with myself.

I remember my friend and mentor, Annemarie Roeper who, at 90 years of age, bemoaned the growing discrepancy between her mind and body. In Annemarie’s case it was so true! She was still writing and publishing in her early nineties and her thinking was as clear, as deep, and as well-deliberated as anyone I knew. I told her then that I understood her grieving the loss of her physical strength and abilities. However, as I age I understand much better what it is like to grieve the losses. In addition, I understand now what patience Annemarie developed. Now is my turn. 

Where do I need patience? I  need to learn to be patient when my perception goes awry and I must hold the handrail as I descend the stairs. I learn to be patient and to take the time make sure I lift my foot as high as the next step, rather than fall stepping onto the porch as I did a few days ago. I need to be patience as my hearing fades and I need to ask others patiently to repeat their words. When I plan to complete a project in a few hours and it takes me much longer, I need patience. When I need to memorize a set of concepts for a psychology exam and it takes many, many more rehearsals than even a few years previous, I need patience with myself. When my eyes tire much sooner at the computer than they did just a year ago, I need patience and need to manage screen time. When I forget, I need patience. When I tire quickly, I need patience. When I ache from arthritis, I need patience. And the list goes on…

Photo on unsplash.com by Christian Langballe (https://unsplash.com/photos/3I0X0owZS7M).

This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z (2016)  Challenge. Click here. to see all of the blogs in the A to Z Challenge




O is of OE’s

IMG_0211They Come Back! Overexcitabilities in Adults, was the title of a presentation that I delivered a number of years ago at different conferences on giftedness. Today, I am prepared to deliver a presentation entitled, They Come Back in Abundance: Overexcitabilities in Gifted Elders. Overexcitabilities (OE’s), or the term that I prefer, intensities, are the strong responses that many feel in the presence of certain stimuli in our environment. The construct of OE’s stems from the work of Dabrowski, a Polish psychiatrist who developed the Theory of Positive Disintegration. I reference below (and share a photo of) an excellent book in this regard for the reader who wants to learn more about Dabrowski, his theory, and OE’s. In this reflection I wish to share how intensities manifest themselves in some elders.

Psychomotor Overexcitability. This is the intensity that we see in gifted children who have an abundance of energy, talk almost constantly and very rapidly, and bubble with enthusiasm about a favorite activity, among other traits. In the gifted elder,  this intensity is seen as the need to be doing, producing, accomplishing something from early morning until bedtime. One does not just sit, one engages.

Sensual Overexcitability is heightened response from sights, sounds, tastes, textures, and smells. For gifted elders who experience this intensity, the world as we know it today can produce discomfort, pain, or pleasure (i.e., visual media are too loud or too graphic, tagless clothing is a blessing, fine art and/or music can produce inexplicable pleasure). For elders in residential care facilities, sensual overload may produce anxiety or depression.

Intellectual Overexcitability is the intensity we first think of in regards to gifted individuals. For the elderly, the rage to know – the intellectual imperative – and the desire to continue learning does not diminish. In some cases, especially with more time for learning in retirement,  elders need the opportunities to satisfy their love of learning.

Imaginational Overexcitability.  Elderhood for me is a time of imaginational richness. I dream every night and I remember my dreams vividly. They provide fodder for my creative production. As  with learning, the time freed up from not working fulltime allows for more poetry, more reading, and more creative activities in general. 

Emotional Overexcitability.  Intense emotional sensitivity never wanes, in my humble opinion. What I have noticed in my own life that changes is the self-acceptance to be able to feel an emotion deeply, no matter how deeply, and then to gently say to myself, “Ah! There it is. That is what I am feeling. I am grateful for both the negative and the positive feelings. They are gifts and I honor them.” That does not mean that one does not suffer loss, or pain, or other emotions. Rather, one recognizes one’s ability to feel emotions deeply and is at peace with it.

Dear Reader, this is just a brief overview of OE’s and there is much more to share. I hope to return to the topic in a future post. In the meantime, I suggest my friend Lisa Rivero’s blog, Write to Meaning. She has an excellent series about Dabrowski that she posted in November 2015.


Daniels, S. & Piechowski, M. M. (2009). Living with intensity: Understanding the Sensitivity, Excitability, and Emotional Development of Gifted Children, Adolescents, and Adults. Scottsdale, AZ: Great Potential Press.

This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z (2016)  Challenge. Click here. to see all of the blogs in the A to Z Challenge

N is for Navan

9700430425_3c6a1b231d_kThe town of Navan is in County Meath, about an hour northwest of Dublin. Founded by Normans,  it is one of very few towns in the world whose name is a palindrome. The word itself probably originated in the Irish word, Uamhain, which means “cave.”

The surname Navan has a different origin. There are several alternate spellings of the name, among them are Naven, Nevin, and Navin. Navan may be a form of the Gaelic word, Naoimhin, which means, Little Saint, a term that was used often as at baptisms as a name of affection. I can never think about its meaning, Little Saint, without thinking about my father-in-law, who bore the surname and who was one – a little saint. A small man and Irish through and through, it is impossible to imagine that he ever had an enemy. Always quick with a smile and a kind word, we had a special bond because we were both readers. We shared ideas we came across and he seemed to delight in our conversations. I believe I was one of the few individuals in his life who shared his thirst for knowledge.

My father-in-law’s life had a great influence on how I interact with elders in my visits to residential facilities. As a boy and young man, he was fascinated with aviation, which was in its earlier years of development in pre-1920 years of his boyhood. He was so passionate about the field that as a young man, he built a scale model of the Spirit of St. Louis after Lindbergh’s flight. It was entered in a contest and consequently he won a college scholarship, which he had to turn down because his parents insisted he stay home to work the farm. 

How many of the gifted elders that we know and interact with had similar roadblocks in their lives? How many now are languishing in residential care, with no stimulation or opportunities to engage intellectually with peers that share their passions? What can we do as a society to differentiate care for our gifted elders?

Photo by Can Pac Swire on Flickr (https://goo.gl/xj32ku) (CC BY-NC 2.0).

This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z (2016)  Challenge. Click here. to see all of the blogs in the A to Z Challenge

M is for Mysticism



Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.

— St. Teresa of Avila

My first acquaintance with mysticism was through reading works of the Spanish mystics, St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross. It was difficult for me to imagine someone praying so fervently that one would levitate as was reported of St. Teresa, or to think of a religious person performing self-mortification with whips or other instruments of torture in order to enter into a mystical trance like St. John of the Cross. How could a woman who seems to attain a consummate sense of tranquility in the prayer above plumb the depths of her soul to such an extent that she endured spiritual anguish and physical suffering? 

However, pain and anguish are not necessarily the primary characteristics of mystical experiences. Shrader, tracing the work of others (e.g., William James) and his own,  described seven characteristics, including:

  • ineffability, which is the inability to describe the experience with common, everyday language.
  • noetic quality, the feeling the individual has that mystical events reveal something to the individual or others which is otherwise unseen (such as the meaning of the Transfiguration of Christ for the disciples). 
  • transiency and passivity, two other characteristics, are echoed in the poem above by St. Teresa de Avila. 
  • unity of opposites, which is a sense of oneness of the universe. The poet William Blake captured this sensation in the following lines,

To see the world in a grain of sand
And heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour.

  • timelessness, the feeling that the mystical experience is beyond time.
  • and a sense of encounter with the true self

In an article that I wrote for the SENGVine (2013), I referred to mystical events as those in which we touch the mystery. I shared that gifted individuals are preoccupied with existential questions like, “Who am I?” Where did I come from?” “What will become of me?” Often, those times when we touch the mystery are moments that – although they may be intense and often painful, they don’t answer our existential questions necessarily. Nevertheless, if we are fortunate, we are left with a sense of peace and well-being, similar to what is described in the words of St. Teresa that begin this reflection. One of the beauties of elderhood is that we can both relish the memories of our mystical experiences and use those memories to come to terms with who we are – our true selves.

Have you experienced moments of mysticism in your life? 


Auden, W. H. and Pearson, N. H.  (Eds.). (1950). Poets of the English Language. New York, NY: Viking Press. Retrieved from http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/172906.

Navan, J.L. (2012, August). Touching the mystery: Spiritually gifted children. SENGVine. Retrieved from http://sengifted.org/archives/articles/touching-the-mystery-spiritually-gifted-children.

Shrader, D. W. (2008). Seven characteristics of mystical experiencesProceedings of the  6th Annual Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities.

Photo by Hanna Grabowska on Flicker (https://goo.gl/JCV1FX) (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

 This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z (2016)  Challenge. Click here. to see all of the blogs in the A to Z Challenge

L is for Lexical, and Logomachia


L is for Lexical

I am a lover of lexicon! Anything that has words awakens my hyperlexia, the good kind, my passion for reading. I believe that words must increase the uptake of serotonin in my brain, producing a natural high.

When I was two, my brothers came home from kindergarten with rhymes they learned at school. I used to hear them recite them once to my mother. Later, when my father came home from work, I would run to repeat them from memory to my father. Nursery rhymes, songs, stories, I loved them. In fact, in the introduction to a chapter in my book about gifted females, I used a personal narrative about myself.  For readers who saw this in a previous blog, forgive the repetition.

       Hailey discovered words the first time her mother read nursery rhymes and other poetry         to her. She imagined herself playing with the words – tossing them up in the air and                 watching them spiral, leap, and dance…She invented special gestures to accompany the           delightful sounds of her special words and shared them with all she met (Navan, 2009, p.         27).

As a preteen, I read through all the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boy books, moving on to Louisa May Alcott books. The custom of “reading through” or almost reading all the works of an author stuck with me – Hemingway, Steinbeck, Jane Austen, Willa Cather, Edith Wharton, and in adulthood Joyce Carol Oates, Annie Dillard, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, Barbara Kingsolver, and others. When I began studying Spanish language and literature, there was Garcia Lorca, Cela, Delibes, Matute, and more. I am happiest when there are words in front of me.

L is for Logomachia

The spark that began my reflection in this regard was a story I heard on NPR’s Morning Edition a few days ago. It was an interview with Ohio’s first Poet Laureate, Amit Majmudar. He is also a radiologist.  My favorite poems are those that leave me with the physical feeling of “ah” inside, even more so when they evoke not only the physical reaction in my chest that pushes outward on my ribcage, but also bring forth the verbal “AH!” from my lips. Majmudar is one of those poets.

In the interview the poet shared how he finds similarity between the mechanical work of a radiologist and composing poems. The two acts are similar for him in that both are a way of looking at patterns. Looking at an x-ray, he finds the pathology, the abnormality that disrupts the pattern. With his poetry, he delights in creating patterns with words. He said, “For me, it has this mathematical, musical aspect to it that quickens it into poetry.”  Below I share some lines from the Radiology section of his poem, Logomachia.

Each pixel: a point geometry
defines dimensionless, no height,
no width, no death. I see what ails the body

by regressing body back to spirit:
the volume a stack of planes, the plane a row
of lines, the lines a string of points,

and the point, at last, nothing at all, all form
substanceless by radiologic proof. I read
no images more imaginary than

the mind’s, every layer of it immaterial–
the gray matter,
the white matter,

the dark. (Majmudar, 2016, p. 76-77).

Yes, I am a lover of all things lexical! I imagine the worst punishment I could ever suffer might be to deprive me of the printed word. 

L is for lexical, and Logomachia.


Majmudar, A. (2016). Dothead: Poems. New York, NY: Knopf.

Navan, J.L. (2009). Nurturing the Gifted Female: A Guide for Educators and Parents. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

NPR, Morning Edition. http://www.npr.org/2016/04/07/473238301/a-radiologist-and-poet-explains-how-he-sees-the-world-in-patterns

Photo by Pierre Metivier on Flicker (https://goo.gl/VfN1AB) (CC BY-NC 2.0).

This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z (2016)  Challenge. Click here. to see all of the blogs in the A to Z Challenge

K is for k unit vector, is for Kahn


If Math anxiety is a diagnosable disorder, then I am the poster child. Just the thought of having to manipulate numbers to solve a problem brings on symptoms of a panic attack –  I feel my heart racing, I begin to glisten with perspiration, and my stomach begins to flip-flop.

It was not always so. In the 7th grade, the results of a standardized test showed my Math achievement to be equivalent to that of an 11th or 12th grader. Of course, imposter syndrome set in, preventing me from claiming that my success was due to my ability. I attributed it to luck. That was the last time I experienced any sense of pride in my mathematical ability.

Ninth grade Algebra was my downfall. Suddenly, we were replacing a known quantity such as the nine in (9 + 3 = ), for an unknown, and I needed much more scaffolding to understand algebraic concepts than my either inexperienced or inept instructor provided. In addition, the instructor – and I am sure the descriptor would be inept in this instance – left the room during our exams. Now, what could anyone expect of  a classroom full of 13 and 14 year-olds when given the opportunity to compare answers? Right, we cheated.  I can honestly say that was the only time that I participated in cheating. In my case and the case of others in the classroom, we did not actively ask for answers. Rather, when someone gave an answer to a problem that we had not yet solved, if that person was someone we looked up to, we merely wrote down the answer, doubting that we were as smart as the one who finished it first. I received a “B” in the class and knew in my heart that I did not have above average ability in Algebra. After that year I bought into the myth that girls could not do Math.

The next year, a new school and a new subject – Geometry. Since I grasp things visually, I did fine with the concepts. However, whenever we had to solve or prove problems using Algebra, I was at a loss. Thus, I struggled throughout the year to maintain even an average grade. Knowing that my chosen university only required the first two years of high school mathematics in those days, after my sophomore year, I did not enroll in Math again.

K is for k unit vector ~

Fast forward to my most recent degree, a Master’s in Clinical Psychology. In order to be admitted to the program, even with three other college degrees behind me (including a Ph.D.), I had to take the GRE – Graduate Records Exam for the first time. When I started studying the math section of the review book, it was not long before I was lost! I went to our university’s study center for help, only to be overwhelmed by a bright – probably gifted – student who did not know how to simplify his explanations enough for me to understand. I was in despair when I was expected to understand phrases like, “Just solve for the k vector.” What to do?

K is for Kahn

It was then that discovered the Kahn Academy, developed by Salman Kahn, with funding from Bill Gates and others. He uses video to illustrate mathematical problem solving, accompanied by his calm and soothing voice explanations. Upon watching a few of his programs and solving problems along with him, I began to feel at ease and my anxiety began to abate. The motto on the homepage of Kahn Academy (www.khanacademy.org) is, “You only have to know one thing: you can learn anything.” What a lifesaver this discovery was for me.  Readers can see his Ted Talk at https://www.ted.com/speakers/salman_khan.

One of my favorite activities is mentoring young gifted students and, needless to say, we spend time with Sal Kahn often. We learn or reinforce math concepts. We learn about their 16033891697_3cf48f3b77_mfavorite historical events. We spend virtual time in the Vatican and in the most famous museums in the world viewing masterpieces of art. For me and for my students, we have a valuable teaching and learning tool at our fingertips. 

K is for Kahn Academy.

Photo of math problem by Dylan Ng on Flickr (https://goo.gl/hMipVN) (CC BY 2.0).

Photo of Chair of St. Peter by Byron T. on Flicker (https://goo.gl/GO03QT) (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z (2016)  Challenge. Click here. to see all of the blogs in the A to Z Challenge

J is for Joy in the Journey

On Gifted Elders: Finding Joy in the Journey


With the subtitle for this blog of “Finding Joy in the Journey.” I am sure readers who know me realize that this is a play on words.  For those readers who do not know me, Joy is my first name. Consequently, through sharing the intricacies of growing old as a gifted woman, I am learning about myself as an individual and as a writer.

What have I learned about myself as a writer? There is much learning and, in particular, through my participation in this Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

I have learned…

  • To recognize and embrace my elder voice. When I look back on pieces that I wrote at different stages of my life, I note little change from one stage to the other – until now. Lately, I can hear a tinge of authority in my personal writing that my earlier scribblings lacked. While I wrote with knowledge in my academic writing, my personal narrative in the past was tentative, searching, ingénue-like.  At present, often I recognize the voice of a crone – wise elderly woman – coming into her own through the writing of this blog.
  • That I can apply myself daily to the task of becoming a writer. In the past I tended to write in spurts, as a dilettante. Presently, I can see myself – and enjoy myself – as writer.IMG_0212
  • That being an author, at least in my experience, is becoming a combination of (1) a writer inspired by her muse, (2) a builder, and (3) a contractor. My muse arrives during the not thinking about writing times, when I have set up my topic and then walked away from my desk to let subconscious juices ebb and flow. The builder begins when I sit down and put my fingers on the keyboard. Annie Dillard described this part of the process with the words, “When you write, you lay out a line of words” (Dillard, 1989, p. 3). I see myself laying down a line of bricks, then building about one line to lay down another, and another. Finally, the contractor is the part of me that time and again shifts from muse to builder and back again, pulling in references as needed, tapping creativity as needed for ideas, and assembling – hopefully – a logical whole.
  • My writing process. I have learned that what works for me, at least with daily blogging, is to decide on topics days or more in advance of the writing. That is the first gift to the muse, allowing her to mine memory and language, emotions and images. Next, I might look for an image, or a poem, or something else that might spark more ideas. My next task is to create a template, inserting the image and a few notes,  then to put it aside and let the muse ruminate until it is time for the builder to lay out the lines. Currently, I have all of the remaining topics chosen and the templates created for each of them for the rest of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. I draft each of them as far in advance of the deadline as possible.  Afterwards, I return to the piece as often as possible until publication, revising each time.
  • I learned that my memory of details of places and events in the past is better than I realized. I shared in a previous post that one of my favorite ploys  for falling asleep is to revisit in my mind places that I have visited, re-creating favorite scenarios. This has become a part of my writing process as well. I choose a scenario that I will be writing about, walk myself through it as if walking through a guided imagery exercise, and I fall asleep, allowing my faithful muse to do her work.
  • I learned that my writing is honest to the highest degree that I can make it. I might want to add some fictitious gloss to a piece about my reality, but if I stick to the Hemingway decree of writing one, true sentence, my words are clearer, stronger, and richer. As I grow stronger in writing personal narrative, I will venture into fiction.

I know that I am learning much more about myself as a writer than what is revealed in this post, but my muse is still working on it. Thank you for reading!


Dillard, A. (1989). The writing life. New York, NY: HarperPerennial.

This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z (2016)  Challenge. Click here. to see all of the blogs in the A to Z Challenge

I is for Ireland



From previous posts, some readers may have deduced that I have had a lifelong love affair with Spain. Beginning in high school and college and affirmed beyond a doubt in the year that I spent in Madrid as a 22525844599_f506327a4d_qstudent, Spain has been and forever will be a part of me. It has been my good fortune to return to my love several times during my life, and each time I am there, my heart races with passion as  I feel embraced by the people and their culture. I was told by Spanish friends in the late 60’s that one always said farewell to the fountain of La Cibeles upon leaving Spain, because doing so meant that you would again visit Madrid. Not knowing if this is a folk legend, or something that my friends made up for my benefit, I still dutifully follow the custom each time I visit to ensure my return.  In addition, my hija española (Spanish daughter) cautioned me not to count the lions in the Plaza de la Universidad in her home city of Valladolid, because doing so would mean I would not return to the city. Once again, I will always comply, no matter how hard it is not to count them. Now in my seventies, thinking about returning to my beloved España fills me with morriña, which is the Galician word for homesickness that is used throughout the country.

In the last few years my beloved Spain has competition in terms of my affections. Our family traveled to Ireland about five years ago and never did I think that I could fall in love with a country as quickly as happened there. From the moment we landed and left Dublin for Newgrange and Knowth – ancient burial sites with passage tombs  – I was struck with how comfortable it was to be there. Perhaps it was the Irish expression, Céad míle fáilte, “a thousand welcomes,” which one sees throughout the country. Perhaps it was something akin to Jung’s collective unconscious, as echoes of the Irish ditties my grandmother used to sing to me rang so true in my ears and I sensed a deep connection with the land. Perhaps it was how wrapped in warmth we were when spending the first night in the town of – you guessed it – Navan. We all felt it – the magic and mystery of Eire. The entire trip, filled with castles and cliffs, pubs and pints, was full of good Irish craic (fun, entertainment, and enjoyable conversation). 

20140829_181724On our second trip, my husband and I stayed in a thatched roof Connemara cottage not far from Quiet Man Bridge, made famous in the film, The Quiet Man. Though we spent each day touring different parts of western Ireland, my favorite part of the day was enjoying the late afternoon sun coming through the window of the cottage as I wrote in my journal with the tang of the peat fire wafting from the parlour. We both had the sense of “coming home” and imagined what it would be like to live in such a setting.

When will we return? Although we have no specific plans, of this I am sure, I WILL return to my newfound love. 

I is for Ireland.


Photo ~ Glendalough by Alejandro Escario Mendez on Flicker (https://goo.gl/DKZFhn). (CC BY-NC 2.0).

Photo of Madrid by Nicolas Vigier on Flckr (https://goo.gl/dylgTj). Public Domain.

This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z (2016)  Challenge. Click here. to see all of the blogs in the A to Z Challenge