You are being manipulated. Here’s how.

Let’s get something straight right up front. I love technology. Not only for how easy it makes my life, but mainly for how it can be used to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Since the birth of Christ, nothing has given us a bigger platform to share the love of Jesus than the Internet. Nothing. However, saying something is one thing. Getting heard is another. And the ones with the power are the ones who manipulate what is seen and heard. Search engine algorithms can be designed to filter out anything pertaining to Christ. Money and the prince of the air think they’re in control. (But seriously, we know Who really is, right?) You think you have a plethora of choices? You do. But not really. Those who own the algorithms are the ones who decide what your choices really are. Truth has never been more relative than it is today. If people believe what comes up first when they’re doing a search, (on Google, Siri, Bing, etc.) are they living in reality? Or the reality that the search engine created? Not only do search engines and Amazon filter what’s seen at the top of a search, so do advertisers. Add to that the government accessing your search stats and freedom flies out the window only to be captured and shackled. Oh, oh, oh, and what about when you’re browsing for say,  a pair of shoes, and you’re reading the news on another site and the ad for the shoes shows up. How intellectually free are you? I mean, really? Is this freedom or manipulation? Amazon manipulates its customers. You might not think so, but take a gander at this post on the Hoosier Ink blog by Joe Allison: Amazon Restricts Promotion of Books with “Religious or Spiritual Content” I mean, c’mon, we all know it happens, but do we remember when we’re searching for things, that our choices are limited to what those in charge want us to see and find? Or are we lulled into intellectual laziness and put discernment on the back burner? Please tweet: Are we intellectually lazy and easily...

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AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Can you hear me screaming all the way to your house? My computer is broken. Hard drive is kaput. No, I didn’t lose data. I have it backed up on Carbonite. (Thank You, Lord!) I’ve learned that lesson the hard way. I’m very hard on computers. They rarely last me more than four years. And like clockwork, they blow up. I should know better. I actually did have a premonition, but you know how it is. You just keep babying it until you absolutely have to do something. Now I have to decide whether to simply replace the hard drive or get a new computer. Since I’m editing videos now, I need a much more efficient hard drive which means going solid state. But what if the motherboard is the next to go? If money weren’t an issue, I’d definitely get a new computer. But money is tight and I can’t make the decision lightly  or quickly. In the meantime, I’m using my son’s little netbook. It’s slow. It’s annoying. But it’s better than nothing. The thing is, to get a new computer, I need to make sure it’s what I really need now that I’m editing videos. That means more RAM, and an Intel Core i7, not to mention an expensive video card. All these things add up fast. If all I needed were a computer for writing, I wouldn’t be agonizing over the decision so much. Needless to say, I’m beyond frustrated. Service on computers is notoriously slow, and I have deadlines. It’s been so difficult to get things done. I’ve had to cancel interviews I’ve had scheduled for weeks for my video channel. So disappointing. But, I’m determined to keep praise on my lips and rest in God’s perfect plan. When I’m on my deathbed, I’m not going to be fretting over this recent turn of events. The important things are still in place: God, faith and family. Work will always be there. And God’s timing is perfect. What would you do if you were me? Buy a whole new computer?  Or just add a solid state drive to the old one and some more RAM? Weigh in! Tweet this: There is only one satisfying way to boot a computer!...

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Teaching kids to touch type

If there’s one thing I am grateful for from my public school education in the 70s, it’s that I was able to take classes to learn how to touch type. I can still type about 93-102 words per minute (WPM), and believe me, it’s come in handy when writing books, blogging, and writing research papers! (Thanks, Mr. Geesik!) (I can still hear and see him wiggling his fingers and sing-song saying, “Type, type, type!”) Since I have special needs children, and taught many special needs kids in my cottage school, I was always on the lookout for unique ways to teach life skills. One of the coolest tools I discovered  were these ingenious typing gloves from a company called Touchtypers. From the website: “Touchtypers is a system that uses specially developed lettered gloves and simple exercises to make it easy for students to learn to touch-type on computer keyboards, using any typing system or word processing software.” The gloves come with an instruction booklet, but I also used old-fashioned typing books to help my students practice. These gloves worked great! I like anything that helps children self-direct and teach themselves. The only thing you have to do is supervise a bit to make sure they’re actually using the correct fingers and not “cheating.” I hope you like these gloves as much as I do/did. I don’t get any kind of kickback or anything from this company. But when I experience a great product, I want to tell everyone about it. Oh, and when you order the gloves, err on the smaller side because they stretch. Let me know how you like them! Please tweet: Teach your special needs kids to...

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Meet me in Iowa!

Hi, Friends! Just a wee update to let you know that I’ll be speaking at the Homeschool Iowa Conference next week! Here are the topics I’ll be covering: Technology and Your Homeschool Is technology really all that important? How should you use it in your homeschool? When should you not use it? Learn some creative ways to integrate technology in your homeschool and have your eyes opened about dangerous technological advances you and your family needs to know about. Homeschooling Children with Autism Has God called you to teach your child with autism at home? Do you wonder what the most important skills are to teach? Get practical tips on coping with tantrums, learning social skills, and leading your child to God. As children with autism grow up, what life skills are important to teach them? What can a parent do about aggressive, oppositional behavior? Learn how Karla taught her own sons with autism. What were the most valuable lessons of all? Handouts include practical tips for parents, therapists and teachers. Homeschooling Typical Children and Children with Special Needs Using the Same Curriculum Do you ever feel as if you’re in over your head? Worried that you aren’t qualified to teach your special needs child? Learn why you’re the expert on your child and their condition. Get practical tips on helping them succeed through finding the right resources, building a supportive network, and accessing the right therapies. Learn what therapies worked and didn’t when Karla taught her own children with autism, ADHD, intellectual disabilities, speech disabilities and dyslexia. Handouts include practical tips for parents, therapists and teachers. Creative Writing in the Homeschool Have a gifted writer in the family? Learn from published author, Karla Akins, how to foster that gift with practical tips and creative writing ideas. She will also share the climate of publishing today, and a brief introduction to self-publishing in today’s market. I can’t wait to meet you! By the way I’m giving away goodies in a drawing while there, too! O Canada Her Story (print) — Autographed Sacagawea (ebook) – Autographed coupon Jacques Cartier (ebook) – Autographed coupon What Really Happened in the Middle Ages (print) — Autographed What Really Happened in Colonial Times (print)– Autographed Scented wax warmer The Pastor’s Wife Wears Biker Boots (print) — Autographed And those are the just the goodies I’m giving away in the overall conference. My table will also have a beautiful gift package drawing you can enter, too. See you in Iowa! If I were coming to your state, what would you like me to speak on?  Check here for a list of topics! And let me know in the comments below! Tweet this: Meet me at the Iowa...

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Top 10 Christmas Gifts for Busy Writers (Or at least for this one)

I love writerly gifts. But most of the time, my friends and family haven’t a clue what such things are. I may leave my computer open to this post in case Mr. Himself walks by… Here are my top 10 picks this Christmas in no particular order. Number One:  Jane Austen Action Figures and anything Jane Austen. Such as this,   this, and this. Just because I love all things Jane Austen. And these are absolutely frivolous and uniquely writerly and readerly. Number Two: Stickers for my laptop. Such as this NASA one. It’s cool for people to think I’m a rocket scientist when I’m out in public writing. Then again, the astronaut sloth sticker might clue them in to what I really am. Or the  NASA “I need my space” one. Seriously, though, this one is perfect. As is this one. And you can’t beat the price! Okay, forget the gifting. I’m getting these myself. Number Three: I am in total love with this gift idea! It’s a Moleskin notebook in a Moleskin gift box! How perfect. No need to explain why any writer wouldn’t love this one, right? Number Four: Altwork Station. When I make my first million I’m so getting one of these.  You’ve got to see this for yourself! (Watch the video. You’ll be putting this one on your list, too.) Number Five: Bookends. I have so many books. I’m never without a need for bookends. And since I’m really into elephants, I love these little guys.   Every writer can use a nice set of bookends or even a cute bookshelf! Number Six: Movie passes! Fiction writers love movies. Mainly they like to go and rip apart every scene, dissect each word, analyze the dialogue, conflicts, and more. Sometimes they want to sit in a movie alone and savor every morsel. Writers are weird. You might want to get the passes for them  to go to the movies alone unless they happen to have patient friends who understand. Or you have a unique writer friend who’s an extrovert. Unlike me. It’s not that I’m anti-social. I’m just an in-her-head-all-the-time kind of gal. Okay, fine. My kids think I’m anti-social. Number Seven: A vintage typewriter. Just because. Personally, I’d love to have a pink one:     Or this one from my childhood. I can still remember its smell! And if the below picture is really a thing, please, please, please, someone show me where I can get this one! It does look like you can make your own according to this website, but a circuitry aficionado I’m not. However, I’m a writer, and there’s nothing a writer loves more than dreaming–besides caffeine and chocolate. Which brings us to...

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How I Get It All Done (Sorta)

Like you, I’m insanely busy. Sometimes I feel as if I don’t even have time to breathe. This can make writing hard. Not only for finding time to write, but having the mental clarity to write. It doesn’t get easier as we get older. We need a lot more brain support in terms of exercise, nutrition and supplements. I was sharp as a tack until I turned 40 and then I realized how fallible and fragile this thing called life is. And I don’t know who told me parenting adult children was easy, but I have a hunch they didn’t have adult children. Most of you know that I’m a full-time pastor/pastor’s wife, full-time college student and “full-time” writer. That is, I spend at least four hours a day on my writing career. (Often, I spend much more than that.) As a pastor I spend at least 40 (ahem, to 60) hours and my college homework gets squeezed in there in between it all. On top of that I’m a Mom, grandma, wife, daughter-in-law to my mother-in-law who lives with us and has Alzheimer’s. My candles are pretty much melted. If I don’t keep track of my tasks, they don’t get done. Here’s how I do it. My first favorite item is my physical planner notebook, The Planner Pad. I love this planner because it not only gives me a full calendar view but also lets me plan by the week and day. Now, I also use a digital planning system as well, but it’s different than this planner, and I’ll get to it later. This physical planner helps me write out my week by hand in order to internalize it. Here is a pic of my calendar page for the month of September 2015 (it’s not nearly as pretty as the video). And here’s the “funnel” pages I use each week to categorize and prioritize my activities. This is the one for this week. It will fill up more as the week goes along. Now, if you watch the following video, you’ll see I don’t use the funnel pages correctly. For some reason I want to put my specific times on the middle part of my page instead of at the bottom. What you’re supposed to do is break down the tasks in the middle of the page and then schedule specific times for them at the bottom. I tend to just schedule appointments at specific times on the middle of the page. Our lives are so interrupted that I get discouraged if I write something like, “blog from 9 AM – 10 AM.” No sooner will I write that than someone in this house or at the church...

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