The Gift of Reading


The Gift of Reading

Do you remember when you learned to read? 🤔 I don’t remember the learning process, but I DO remember how I loved to sit down and read a book (this was before Kindle and other electronic medium). ❤️

📖 And, yes, I STILL prefer to hold a real book in my hands when I read. 📖

One of the things my best friend and I did as kids was climb our favorite tree 🌳, choose our own branch, and read our books. Those were the days. 🙂

I eventually got a Masters in Reading Education and taught students who had a great deal of difficulty when reading (6th/7th/8th graders at 2nd/3rd grade reading levels). It was not fun for me to watch these children struggle at that age when trying to read, and it certainly wasn’t fun for them either. Many had behavior issues due to this stigma. 😥

Even though I moved on from teaching, I still have an instilled appreciation of the fact that I can read. I know how important reading is – no matter what medium you use.

It does not surprise me that the career paths/interests I have chosen in my life (reading teacher, technical writer, communications specialist, freelance proofreader/editor, songwriter) all are somehow connected to reading.

So when my daughter sent me a text about her oldest child going crazy for reading, I was overjoyed! He is discovering the world of books, and it’s one of the greatest gifts you can ever receive.

It can change your life…

As business people, the written word in any medium is valuable – and being able to read is precious.

Take a moment right now to be thankful for your gift of reading…


How a Sense of Humor Can Help


How a Sense of Humor Can Help

😄 A sense of humor…
…gives me the ability to deal with the ups 👆 and downs 👇 of daily life.

I am so thankful to have a sense of humor.

It has helped me through bad news, uncomfortable situations, stress, and so much more.

Now this does not mean I never take life seriously; I do, but a sense of humor is a tool 🧰 I use to lighten things up.

Yesterday I felt terrible for a medical assistant who could not see the humor in a blood pressure machine that would just not turn off. Laughing about it would have helped him deal with the problem so much better.

Being able to laugh at commonplace events is like balm to my soul. Laughing has even been medically shown to be great for the health of your heart. 😄

I have had stressful jobs 😟 in which I used my sense of humor to get me through them.

Starting my own proofreading/editing business is stressful, regardless of how much I love it. So I use my ability to laugh to relieve that stress.

😄 Do you use a sense of humor for your daily life and work situations? I hope so!


Going to be Unavailable? Here’s How to Let Your Clients Know


Going to be Unavailable? Here’s How to Let Your Clients Know

When I recently broke my ankle, I suddenly needed time off for surgery and recovery. It seemed to make good business sense to let my regular clients know I was going to be unavailable for a set period of time.

So I thought I’d show you the process I go through to let clients know when I need some time off.

🌟 If possible, give your clients 2 days’ notice before going away, whether by phone or email.

🌟 When you are ready to leave, do any or all of the following:
✔ Change your phone and/or email message to “away” and give clients the specific dates/times you will be unavailable.
✔ Send a direct email to each client.
✔ Call them directly if the other options are not preferable or possible.

🌟 For your message content:
✔ Give them the specific dates/times you will be unavailable.
✔ You don’t need to be specific about why you’re away. For example, instead of saying “I broke my ankle and am getting surgery”, you can say “for medical reasons”.
✔ Apologize for any inconvenience (“I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause”.)
✔ Let them know as soon as possible if something occurs while you’re away and you can’t return on the expected date; give them the date you expect to return.
✔ If you like, you can offer to do any “rush” jobs before you become unavailable.

🌟 When you return, you can do any or all of the following:
✔ Remember to turn off your away messages on your phone or email.
✔ Send a direct email to each client informing them you have returned.
✔ Call them directly if the other options are not preferable or possible.

All of the actions I outlined above are basically suggestions that may help you decide how to inform your clients when you’re away. I hope the suggestions are helpful!


What Was Your First Job?


What Was Your First Job?

What was your first job? My very first job (does not include babysitting) was as a store clerk. I was 16 years old and worked at a department store for the summer between my junior and senior year in high school.

This was not easy for me to do. You see, I was very shy as a kid and teenager, and working in a store meant that I had to interact with people (oh, no – you mean TALK to them?!?). The only time I usually opened my mouth before having this job was to answer questions in a classroom (very rare) and to sing (choir, glee club, musicals).

So here I am, a quiet and shy teenager whose first task at this job was to bag items at the checkout, which soon resulted in me becoming a cashier. This meant I had to talk to customers (horrors!). I did well enough that they finally upgraded me to working as a clerk in Housewares. I memorized every item in that department, was always cleaning and arranging the shelves, and knew my stuff.

Do you know what I also had to do? (Remember, I was very shy.) If I heard the words “price check in Housewares” over the loudspeakers, I had to go to the cashier to find out what needed a price check, go back to my department to find the item, and then ANNOUNCE OVER THE LOUDSPEAKER THE PRICE OF THE ITEM! *GASP*

Maybe that doesn’t sound like a big deal to someone else. But to me, it was a HUGE deal. One day my mother was in the store and heard me on the loudspeaker. I remember her telling me later that, when she realized it was my voice, she thought to herself, “Oh my gosh, that’s KATHI!” Yup. Even my mom couldn’t believe I had the courage to do that.

I’m grateful that I had this job. It gave me much-needed confidence and took me out of my shell just a bit. I believe that was its true purpose for me (aside from learning how to count change 😉).


My Particular Set of Skills Includes Humility


My Particular Set of Skills Includes Humility

I saw a social media post the other day that disturbed me quite a bit.

Someone stated that those who care about proper English skills (such as grammar, punctuation, etc.) feel they are “above” others; they love to belittle others who do not have these skills.

Well, I have a “very particular set of skills…acquired over a very long career” (as quoted by Liam Neeson in Taken). BUT:

✔ I do NOT belittle others if they don’t have these skills; and
✔I do NOT feel I’m better than others because I have these skills.

I love working with people who want some help with their content. I love how doing so gives them more confidence to put that content on their website, send an important email, and so forth.

That’s my job, and I feel lucky to have helped — and continue to help — people by using these skills.




Literacy: A Game Changer


Literacy: A Game Changer


Imagine you could not read this article, traffic signs, books, emails, etc. Imagine you could not write a letter, an email, a text message, or even your own name. Life would not be the same, would it? But if you are literate, the world opens up to you in ways you may not even realize. That, to me, is a game changer.

What Is Literacy?

As defined in the Cambridge Dictionary, literacy[1] in its purest form is “the ability to read and write”. It’s an essential skill for communication between human beings. Early humans used pictographs on cave walls as a form of reading and writing (communicating) to others. This type of communication eventually evolved into written language using pen and paper. One of our most recent forms of communication is computer literacy. We use our phones and computers to talk with others through text messaging, emails, emojis, and so forth.

How Does Illiteracy Affect People?

For people without the ability to read and write, the world can be a tough place and affect them in many ways. Below are a couple of my own real-life examples of how illiteracy can have an effect on others.

✍️ I once taught in a small-town public middle school as a remedial reading teacher; the children in my classes were in 6th, 7th, or 8th grade, but they were only reading at a 1st or 2nd grade level. Each day, they were taken out of their regular classroom and sent to my classroom. That in itself must have been embarrassing for them. Many of them had behavior issues, and as they grew older, it was harder for them to fit in with their classmates.

✍️ One summer I worked as a reading teacher in a youth correctional facility for boys. Imagine how it must have felt to them — at 13-16 years old — to be unable to read at more than a 2nd grade level. They were often disruptive and rude during a reading lesson, even when I tried to bring in material at their level that wasn’t “babyish”. Their literacy did not improve very much, and I have often wondered if some (or most) of them continued to get into trouble after leaving the facility.

📖How Does Literacy Help People?

To help demonstrate how important literacy is, I would like to relate a true story to you. When I was just out of college with a fresh teaching degree in hand, I tutored a third grader in her home for about a year. She didn’t have learning disabilities; instead, she had a dreadful, debilitating disease called EB[2] and could not leave her house due to a high danger of infection.

Despite her condition, this little girl absolutely loved to learn; she loved reading and writing, music, science, and most other subjects. She read at a 6th grade level. Having the ability to read and write kept her connected to the outside world, even though she couldn’t see much of it herself. Literacy, in her case, was essential to her well-being and attitude toward life.

📖Final Thoughts

Based on my experience, I believe that literacy is an important part of our lives. It plays a role in what I do today as a proofreader/editor (and sometimes writer). I can use a universal set of tools (such as grammar, spelling, punctuation) to communicate information so that it makes sense to others when they read it. Isn’t that what literacy is all about?

[1] “literacy.” 2022. (January 10 2022).

[2] EB (its scientific name is epidermolysis bullosa) is an extremely serious genetic skin condition.