Introducing inspirational author, Paula Mowery

Paula Mowery, Author

Paula Mowery, Author

From the time I met Paula online, I’ve felt a kinship with her as a pastor’s wife and homeschool Mama. I’m very pleased to have the opportunity to introduce my readers to her wonderful writing!

Paula is a pastor’s wife and a former homeschool mom to a daughter who just started Liberty University Online. She works part-time as an assistant in a Pre-K and is a published author, speaker, and acquisitions editor for Prism Book Group.

And now for the interview!

And now for the interview!

Paula, I’m so happy to have you here today on my blog. Please tell my readers about your writing space! (I don’t know why I’m intrigued by people’s writing caves but I am!) Where do you write?

My husband calls it my writing hole. I have a wonderful L-shaped desk in a back extra bedroom. It is somewhat like being in a hole since it is at the end of the house away from everyone and most distractions. On one side of the L is my laptop. On the other side is stacked notes and lists of my present projects for writing and editing.

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Sounds fantastic. What is your process? (Spreadsheets, Snowflake, Lists/Outlines, Seat of the pants?)

I’m what you might call a combo writer, meaning that I’m not totally seat of the pants but also not a big outliner. I normally get an idea and scratch it out on a piece of paper, putting it into a file. As I have other ideas for that story, I will add notes to that file. I usually make a short list about what the story is about, who it is about, and where it is headed. When I’m ready to start writing, I skim my lists and notes and then take off. I’m categorized as old-school because I write out my stories first in spiral notebooks. The only things I can compose directly on the computer are articles and blogs. I just can’t write a novel that way.

I love notebooks!

I love notebooks!

I use notebooks, too, but usually when I’m on the run. Tell us about your book, Be The Blessing.

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My novella, Be The Blessing, released on September 13th. The main character in this book is a pastor’s wife named Addy. She wants to follow what God would have her to do but struggles when God asks her to be a blessing to others even when she is suffering through trials of her own.

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Another title, Brave New Century, released November 14th. This is an anthology of four stories set in cities in the 1900’s. My story is called “Forgiven” and is particularly special to me because of a scene that I included that really happened to my paternal grandfather.

Why will readers want to read these?

I would encourage readers to pick up Be The Blessing for encouragement and even challenge for your Christian walk. The novella includes a short Bible study for further personal application.

Readers will enjoy Brave New Century for the sweet romance and historical aspects.

Ah, romance!

Ah, romance!

How did your book come to life?

Be The Blessing is actually the second in Addy’s story. When the first, The Blessing Seer, was completed, my editor asked if there would be a sequel. I hadn’t considered it until she asked. That evening the ideas starting coming, and Addy’s story continued.

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Brave New Century was the brainchild of co-author, Lisa Lickel. She put out a call on a writer email loop for those interested in writing a story set in 1900 in a city with romance. Lisa, Teena Stewart, Kathy Rouser, and I corresponded. The result is the anthology, Brave New Century.

Who is your favorite character in the book and why?

In Be The Blessing I have to say that Conrad is my favorite character. I don’t want to give away anything about him. Let’s just say he is a little different and mysterious.

In my story, “Forgiven,” I really like Henry. Henry Smith was my grandfather. I never had the opportunity to meet him, because he died before I was born. I do have this newspaper article about him which is where the whole story was born.

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How did you name your characters?

For The Blessing Seer and Be The Blessing I used a Christian baby name book. I wanted the names of the characters to have a significance as to their personality or importance in the book.

“Forgiven” utilizes my grandparent’s real names as well as the names of people in the newspaper article.

Why will readers enjoy your book?

As with anything and everything I write, I pray readers will enjoy my books because of the impression that is left on them. I hope and pray that they can be encouraged in their Christian walk or maybe encounter a need for a Savoir for the first time.

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Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book. ~Author Unknown

Is anything in the book based on your own life?

Be The Blessing does include some real occurrences from my experience as a pastor’s wife. Some of the events that Addy must endure and go through with church members has happened in my life.

What is your favorite scene in the book?

My favorite scene in Be The Blessing is the moment that Conrad tells Addy that she looks more like Jesus. I crave that!

Oh to be like Jesus!

Oh, to be like Jesus!

Why Christian fiction?

I only read Christian fiction and some nonfiction. I only write Christian literature. First, I feel God has called me to a writing ministry. Second, I desire to communicate Christ through what I write so that others may encounter Him, too. I want to encourage Christians to fulfill what God has planned for their lives.

Is there anything else you’d like us to know?

All I can add is that God has so blessed me as well as humbled me by allowing me to write for Him. I promised Him long ago that if a book I write only touches one for Christ, that is enough reason to write it.

Find Paula Online:

Blog: www.paulamowery.blogspot.com.

Book reviews and articles: www.christianonlinemagazine.com.

Find her editor bio under “submissions” at www.prismbookgroup.com.

Paula, thanks so much for sharing your books with us today! Have a question for Paula? Please send them to us below!

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Hallelujah! We have poop!

hallelujahHey, when you live with autism, you get excited about some strange stuff.

This week I’m jumping for joy about poop.

I’m not saying that when Isaiah woke me up first thing Friday with — “Mom! I pooped in the hat!” that it’s my favorite way to wake up.

But let me tell you, it was a long-awaited event.

hat

The Hat

Isaiah has been sick since October. We haven’t been able to figure out what’s going on. He’s been losing weight and his stools are very loose. He gets tired easy. The next step in pinning down a diagnosis was to get a stool sample. Which he refused to give us.

He’s eighteen. How do I force him to give me poop?

He was terrified of pooping in “the hat.” I called the nurse and asked for an alternative method. Nothing doing. It had to go in the hat and I had to scoop it out and put it in four different vials.

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Weeks later there was still no poop.

We had an intervention. We sat him down and explained to him that he MUST poop in the hat. His twin brother told him that he wanted him to go back to school with him (he is in home-bound education until we clear this up).

I don’t know how, or why, but the next morning — HE DID IT!

And I had the pleasure of, er, collecting it.

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So now we wait for news back. Hopefully it will reveal answers. Otherwise he has to have a endoscopy and if you know anything about autism, you know that it will be terrifying for him.

Here are some pics of his Grandma helping him endure another scan. He’s had three. Each time they have to put in an IV. And he’s terrified of them.

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How do you help your child with disabilities endure an illness? How do you cope?

Strong Girls are Happy Girls

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Do you know what kind of girl is a pretty girl?

A happy girl.

Are scowly, bitter girls happy or pretty?

I don’t think so.

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Strong girls are happy girls. And one sure way to keep from being happy is to be unforgiving and spiteful.

I know it isn’t easy. Our nature without Jesus is to take revenge. To give back whatever hurt us is our first reaction.

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But a Strong Girl stops before she reacts. She counts to ten. Or she takes a few days to calm down before reacting. And then, maybe she doesn’t react at all.

It’s good to remember this: you can’t reason with unreasonable people.

If a person has a point of view that isn’t yours, and they aren’t willing to listen because they are angry, hurt or just plain stubborn, then your efforts to change their mind are a waste of time.

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God knows all about human nature, and He’s given us some very good advice on how to treat people who hurt us:

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger.The tongue of the wise utters knowledge rightly, but the mouth of the [self-confident] fool pours out folly” (Proverbs 15:1 & 2, AMP).

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Being spiteful just continues the cycle of hatefulness. As Strong Girls, we’re called to love and grace, not hate and revenge. And that means laying down our own feelings and obeying God. It’s hard at first, but once you do it, you’ll feel more freedom than you can imagine.

When you continue to hate and feel bitterness and resentment toward the person who has done you wrong, you give them power to make your life miserable. Why let them have the power to keep you bitter? Bitterness just leads to ugliness. Strong Girls are beautiful.

forgivenssCheck out what God has to say here:

Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive] (Colossians 3:13, AMP).

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you (Ephesians 4:32, KJV).

Do you know what helps me forgive someone when they’ve been mean to me? I remember the words of Jesus as He hung on the cross: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do (Luke 23:24).”

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If Jesus can forgive those who crucified Christ in the midst of the excruciating pain on the cross, and have compassion for those who hurt Him, the least I can do for His sacrifice for me, is to imitate Him by being a forgiving girl.

why-its-important-to-forgive-and-forget-L-gwe619A forgiving, gracious girl will never be a hard, bitter girl. She will remain sensitive to the Holy Spirit. She will remain tenderhearted and compassionate. This may also mean she will be hurt easier than others, but that doesn’t mean she’s isn’t strong. On the contrary, it takes a lot of strength to live this way.

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But you can do it, Strong Girl. Because it’s not by YOUR might or power, but by the strength that God gives you by His Holy Spirit (Zechariah 4:6).  Ask Him for the strength.

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There have been times when I have been so hurt and it’s been so difficult to forgive someone that I’ve literally had to get down on my hands and knees and cry out to the Lord, “Father, I don’t want to forgive them because it hurts so much and what they did to me makes me want to scratch their eyes out. But Lord, out of obedience to You, I forgive them.”

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Do you think God is surprised by how you feel? No way! He made you. He already knows how you feel, but telling Him about it is very freeing! I know from experience! Nothing I say to Him can shock Him because before a word is on my tongue He knows what I’m going to say. So talk to Him. He can handle it (Psalm 139).

Remember, forgiveness isn’t a feeling. It’s a decision. But there is a huge blessing in it for you!

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When Job forgave those who criticized him and he prayed for them, God gave Job twice as much as he had before! Job was one strong dude because of His close walk with God. But it wasn’t until he prayed for his friends that God began to bless him are restore all he’d lost and much more (Job 42:10).

Jesus said:

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you (Matthew 5:44, KJV).

Forgive to forget.

Do you have any questions about forgiveness? About being a Strong Girl? About God and the Bible? Please feel free to ask them below and I will answer them.

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Ally’s Angle: Fantasy Literature: Through the Facade

Today’s post is written by my intern, Allison O’Neil.

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Last week I wrote about the value of nerd-thinking: the genuine desire and love of learning, teaching, and research. This week I want to explore another nerd-related topic very near to my heart.

Fantasy literature (and a lot of sci-fi) are my favorite kind of fiction. While I love a good novel, and do enjoy a well-written read from almost any genre, fantasy books allow a certain kind of involvement which is rare in other kinds of reading. There are many explorations of this topic available in countless formats, but I will here explain the specific value of fantasy literature as I see it.

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A key element of most fantasy is the presence of a mission or quest. The main character(s) may or may not be aware of the quest as they begin, but the quest functions to give these characters a purpose in life. They have something to accomplish: usually in an effort to stave off evil, preserve a virtuous element of their world, or perpetuate their peoples’ survival.

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These tropes of fantasy must be interpreted in the context of metaphor, otherwise we would only have adventure stories. They are certainly that, but our analysis must go deeper. We, as readers, necessarily identify with the characters as we read a book. As we become attached to characters we like, we experience their turmoil and joy through them. Any book we enjoy contains features we recognize, whether a character, a place, or a feeling.

amazing fantasy book

Not only do characters function to allow us to experience adventure in our armchairs, but the literature itself represents elements of society. This is the key boon of fantasy literature, in my opinion. While other forms of literature are hampered by the desire or need to mimic reality, fantasy and sci-fi largely abandon this aim. That is not to say the observations and criticisms of social structures or patterns aren’t real—quite the opposite. By eliminating the imitative components of other literature forms, fantasy becomes more universal. Through artifice we see what is real.

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Interview with Award-Winning Author, David S. Brody regarding his new release, Powdered Gold

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I’m excited and honored to introduce you to David S. Brody and his latest release, Powdered Gold. I’ve written about Brody before, and I read three of his books over Christmas break while recovering from surgery. I’m happy to say Powdered Gold: Templars and the Ark of the Covenant kept me as entertained as his two former books in the series, Cabal of the Westford Knight and Thief on the Cross.

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From his website:

“David S. Brody is a Boston Globe bestselling fiction writer. He served as a Director of the New England Antiquities Research Association (NEARA) and is an expert on the subject of pre-Columbian exploration of America. A graduate of Tufts University and Georgetown Law School, he resides in Westford, Massachusetts with his wife, potter and novelist Kimberly Scott, and their two daughters. In his spare time he coaches youth sports and Special Olympics, skis, and plays on adult ice hockey and softball teams.”

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I exchanged several of emails with David while reading his books, explaining that I was fascinated with his study of the Templars in North America. I learned tons reading his books. He was very patient with my questions and that impressed me a lot.

Description of Powdered Gold from Amazon’s site:

Cameron Thorne and Amanda Spencer continue their investigation of ancient artifacts which reveal the true, secret history of North America.

Cam and Amanda don’t for a second believe the Ark of the Covenant is hidden in a cave in the Arizona desert. But when a militant survivalist leads them to a radioactive replica of the Ark, filled with a mysterious white powder, they begin to wonder if legends of Templar Knights visiting the American Southwest on a secret mission might be true. What is this strange white powder? And is it the key to understanding the true power of both Moses and the sacred Ark of the Covenant?

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Now for the interview:

[Disclaimer: David S. Brody writes for the secular market and his books may be offensive to some readers of the Christian or Jewish faith. The thing to remember is that these are works of fiction with fictional characters.]

Your characters believe, in your words, that “ancient Jews” and “Christianized Jews” came to Arizona around 800 AD. Do you believe that as well? Why or why not?

My characters find artifacts in Arizona which leads them to this conclusion.  On their face, this is the story the artifacts tell (they contain a narrative, written alternately in Hebrew and Latin, carved into them—the narrative uses various dates circa AD 800).  The artifacts have been analyzed by forensic geologist Scott Wolter, who believes they are authentic.  So it is certainly possible that some group of peoples who spoke Latin and Hebrew found their way to the American southwest many centuries ago.

Karla’s Note: I could not find free use images of these artifacts, but you can see them on David’s website.

I like including dogs in my stories and I noticed that you do, too. Do you have a dog or cat?  

I do have a dog and I grew up with cats.  (SPOILER ALERT:  If I could have one “do-over” in “Cabal of the Westford Knight,” it would be that I don’t let the villains kill the dog!)

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One of Karla’s furry editors, Jake.

How did you get the idea to use Survivalists in Powdered Gold?

There was nothing in particular that prompted me to include a survivalist character in the story, other than I think the survivalist community is a fascinating and colorful subculture of our country.

Your books deny any supernatural explanation for miracles in the Bible. Is this your worldview? Do you only believe in those things that you can explain, touch, see?

I’m not sure that’s a fair summary of my books.  In my books, particularly Thief on the Cross my characters explore and debate the tension and seeming contradictions between “faith” versus “reason.”  I do think many of the so-called “miracles” in the Bible can be explained by historical events.

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Do you personally believe that Ark of the Covenant is really just a radioactive power source?

The Ark of the Covenant is a fascinating object.  In addition to carrying the Ten Commandments, it knocks down walls, fells enemies, emits electric-like charges, causes facial burns and even gives the Philistines, enemies of the Israelites, hemorrhoids after the Philistines capture the Ark in battle (after suffering for a few months, the Philistines returned the Ark to the Israelites—see 1 Samuel 5 and 6.)  I believe the Ark contained, or itself was, some kind of power source.

Are you a fan of the TV show, Ancient Aliens?

I’ve never watched it.

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Karla: “I have to admit I’m surprised Brody hasn’t watched it. I think he’d get a good chuckle.”

Do you believe Moses was a huckster as your characters describe him?

Honestly, I struggled over the use of the word “huckster” in the book since Moses is such a revered figure.  But it is the conclusion the characters in the book would have reached based on the evidence in front of them, so I kept it.  Somehow Moses was able to convince the Israelites to follow him into the desert for 40 years based solely on his claim that he had been instructed by God to do so.  That’s a tough sell, no matter what the circumstances.  Then we start to analyze some of Moses’s behavior—he had the golden calf melted down and the gold somehow dissolved and laced into the water, which he forced the Israelites to drink.  What strange behavior, unless he somehow knew the dissolved gold would serve to make the Israelites more malleable and willing to follow his instructions, like some kind of drug.

I note that I am not the first to wonder about Moses, as Sigmund Freud in 1937 wrote a book entitled “Moses and Monotheism” in which Freud theorized that Moses may have been an Egyptian pharaoh.

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What main message are you trying to convey in this book?

I think the main thing I would like readers to take away from my novels is an understanding that there is a lot of evidence that explorers came to North America before Columbus.  If so, what were their motivations, why were they here?  I believe that religion, not surprisingly, often was a key motivating factor.

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Do you have any questions for Brody? Leave your comments and questions below!

Autism weekends

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Weekends and autism are a challenge.

Weekends mean less structure. And Saturdays usually end up with the twins fighting.

Even though they’re 18, they still fight. Developmentally they are only about 8 or 9 years old. And I have to remember that.  Add autism to the mix and it’s just not the kind of dynamic that’s by any means “normal” for them. There is no normal in autism. There is no typical. Autism is unpredictable.

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I’m trying out some apps to help us get more structure to our weekends and evenings. But being tech challenged (I’m not as bad as most but I’m no wizard) something has gone wrong with a wonderful app that was working.

Which teaches me another lesson: no matter how many bells and whistles I throw at this thing called autism, one thing will always, always be required:

zlata_contortionist_8FLEXIBILITY.

If there’s one thing autism has taught me it’s how to prepare for the unexpected. The only way to do this is to remain flexible. Have more than one plan. And execute them one after another.

Sometimes it’s easy to fall into a pity pot and feel sorry for myself. I fight it but to be honest, sometimes it just happens.

Sometimes I’d like to know what it’s like to have a clean house for more than five minutes.

Sometimes I’d like to know what it’s like to ask them to do something and have them do it without constant coaxing.

Sometimes I’d like to be able to be spontaneous and just go to the movies with my husband without making elaborate arrangements for childcare.

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But if I keep my focus on their humanity — their beautiful spirits, and realize that as hard as my days are with them, their days with me are just as hard if not harder.

I’m not the one living in the confusing world of autism.

They are.

And that’s when compassion overrides self pity and I can pull myself up and conquer another day.

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Silent Sunday

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Hey, Strong Girl, how much are you worth?

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“But I was lonely, and he was there, so one thing led to another and…”

Just because you’re lonely doesn’t mean you aren’t still a Strong Girl. Everyone gets lonely. I imagine Jesus did, too.

But no one, absolutely NO ONE has a right to your body just because they ask.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says:

Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own, You were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own]. So then, honor God and bring glory to Him in your body. (Amplified Bible.)

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God loves your body so much that He bought it with the blood of His Son, Jesus. Really. Jesus died on the cross for YOU. If you were the only person in the world, He’d do that for YOU. You are that precious to Him.

Now, maybe nobody’s ever told you before that you’re that precious. But every single hair of your head is numbered by God. That’s in the Bible, too in Luke 12:7. Jesus was telling His disciples not to worry about money and clothes because if God loves the little sparrows and watches them, then He watches, people even closer.

And He knows how many hairs are on our head!

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Do you know how many hairs you have? Does your Mother? Father? Anyone?

Nope. But God does. Now, if God knows how many hairs are on your head, imagine how He watches you ever so closely.

The God Who created everything — mountains, trees, seeds that grow into plants, little tadpoles and butterflies. That same amazing God loves you enough to count the hairs on your head.

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Next time you are tempted to give yourself away just because you’re lonely, think first about how lonely God is for you to say “hello” to Him. Start having conversations with Him everyday as you go to school, ride the bus, or whatever you’re doing. Develop a close relationship with Him and He will become more and more real to you with each passing day. He promises that if you look for Him, you will find Him.

If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. Jeremiah 29:13, NLT.

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So now that you know that God knows how many hairs your have on your head, how much are you worth, Strong Girl? Do you think you should give yourself away for free? Or do you think you’re worth the wait?

If you develop a relationship with God, does that mean you’ll never be lonely? Nope. You’ll still get lonely, dear daughter. But you will have the strength to overcome that loneliness by focusing on Him. And if you ask Him, He’ll show you how to get past that loneliness.

No one will ever love you like He does. No one. Not even your parents. And certainly not a sexual partner or boyfriend. That emptiness you’re trying to fill is a God space that can only be filled with Him.

Seek Him–the One that loves you most. You are priceless to Him. That’s how much you’re worth.

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Z is for Zoom!

It is with great sadness that I introduce the last letter of our A to Z blog hop: the letter Z. Or as they say in Australia: Zed.


A to Z blog hop at Patterings.
Z is for Zoom! Which is my favorite thing to do. I love go to FAST. Unless I’m running. Then it’s not zoom but doom. But as long as there are other mechanized motors involved, fast is my favorite.

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Now, I realize there are other kinds of zoom. Such as the zoom lens on a camera–

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Or the zoom button on your computer that makes font or pics larger–

zoom-in-iconBut that’s not the kind of zoom I mean.

I mean the type of zoom that makes your heart beat faster, right in your throat, and makes you feel extremely alive.

Here are some creatures that ZOOM!

Race Horses

Race Horses

cheetah

Cheetah

greyhounds

Racing greyhounds

People who zoom:

Star Trek

Star Trek

Niseko, Japan Snowboarding With The GoPro And GoPro2

Snowboarders

My agent, Linda S. Glaz

My agent, Linda S. Glaz

Human inventions that zoom:

Bullet Train

Bullet Train

SR-71 Blackbird

SR-71 Blackbird

Ever noticed how fast money can zoom and disappear?

Money

If you don’t think money zooms — just go balance your checkbook. Go ahead. I’ll wait…

Pregnant pause...

Pregnant pause…

Welcome back!

As those of you who know me already know, my favorite way to zoom is on my motorcycle. I’m missing the feel of the wind on my face during these cold winter months, but rest assured, I’m plotting my riding strategy, drooling over maps and out-of-the-way riding destinations.

Out of the way zooming

Out of the way zooming

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Ally’s Angle: On being a nerd

Today’s blog post is written by my talented intern, Allison O’Neil!

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I’ve always been a nerd. The term gets slung around by bullies and “cool kids,” and in this sense can mean anything from an insufferable know-it-all to an uncoordinated kid whose clothes don’t fit. But that’s not why I like being a nerd. For me, being a nerd is a positive thing, which isn’t necessarily “dorky.” There are even social benefits to being a nerd: I gained a lot of respect from classmates who had ignored me after I helped our team win a trivia contest in middle school. Knowledge translates to the ability to know and do things, which people admire. By working to reclaim our inner nerds, we can help foster genuine curiosity among kids and adults.

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Almost everyone is a nerd about something. What might that be, you ask? Well, you are a knitting nerd if you research new patterns or techniques to use, a tech nerd if you read about products that haven’t even gone on the market yet, or a . Basically, being a nerd requires you to actually enjoy learning new things—whether they concern a certain subject or just knowledge in general. Another important aspect of nerdiness is the ability to spontaneously pontificate about your favorite subjects, often to the amazement (or boredom) of your friends. Do you get excited when teaching something to your kids or friends? You may be a nerd regarding that topic.

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This kind of passion for collecting information is beneficial at every life stage. True fascination about a topic leads to better retention in memory, since you are personally invested in the learning process. How can you remember something if you don’t care about it? Even when you start with a narrow focus—rock tumbling or dolphins, say—you will inevitably encounter an overarching or intersecting field to study, and following that track will lead you to explore almost anything. As you grow up, your rock collection turns to an impressive understanding of geology, and your dolphin poster collection leads to a scholarship to study marine biology.

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As part of this nerd awareness, I am working to convince my six-year-old siblings to reclaim the word “nerd,” if not for themselves then for classmates, present and future. I hope that neither of them will grow up to tease or exclude their peers for being “uncool,” and embracing the curiosity of nerdiness will help them. This is already a success with my little brother, who immediately professed that he was a “Minecraft nerd” when I gave him my definition of being nerdy, saying, “It’s something I know all about!”

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Now, you don’t  necessarily need to adopt the nerd label to achieve this goal. What I want is to help de-stigmatize the negative connotations of nerdiness, which may impede the natural curiosities of kids and youth. If our youngsters are afraid of the social repercussions resulting from nerd status, they aren’t going to be as excited about learning. At least, they won’t feel comfortable expressing what they know, asking pressing questions, or exploring without self-consciousness. Kids shouldn’t be afraid of knowledge, and if they aren’t afraid, they will surprise you with their insightful observations and inquiries.

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