Three Inspiring People with Autism

Feature Image for Inspiring people with Autism post

Good Morning! Here’s the Monday Morning Blog!

Have you talked to the teen/young adult in your life yet?

I had a couple of great conversations with my oldest son last week. and they happened spontaneously. While reading in our living room, he came in, sat down on the couch and started talking to me. At the end of the conversation he was glad we talked. I suggested watching a movie together and we wound up watching a couple. Sometimes knowing someone is available to listen is all our teens and young aduts need to start the dialogue.

April is National Autism Acceptance Month

Autism Awareness Month graphic

After my post last week on Accepting Autism, I learned the subtle difference between being aware of a cause and accepting people affected by it. I am working becoming more aware of the causes and doing more to accept those affected. This week, by sharing the information on the blog, I take on a more active role in promoting the understanding of Autism. This in turn helps to understand it more and be better equiped to accept people with the disorder.

So, I am focusing the posts this month on Autism, not only to raise awareness about what Autism is and what we can do to accept those who have this disorder. This week the focus is on three inspiring people who have autism.

Three Inspiring people with Autism

Michael McCreary

Book Cover for Book Review of Funny You Don't Look Autistic

Last year for Autism Awareness Month, I reviewed Funny, You Don’t Look Autistic by Michael McCreary. He’s a 20-something stand up comic who was told he doesn’t look autistic. Autism “looks” different for just about everyone who has the autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

He was diagnosed with ASD at 5. While in junior high, he started journaling about his life and how hard things were for him. He took his experiences, expressed them in funny ways and became a stand-up comedian at age 14.

Here is a link to the book review to learn more about Michael and his journey with autism. Funny, You Don’t Look Autistic

Jason ‘J-Mac’ McElwain

I learned about J-Mac through my research about autism. According to Wikipedia, he was diagnosed with ASD at the age of 2 and initially struggled to interact with other kids but developed better social skills as he grew older. After his older brother, Josh, introduced him to basketball. He loved to play the game, but was hindered by Autism. He became the team manager for the Greece Athena High Schools’ varsity team.

Book Cover for The Game of my Life

The team’s coach, Jim Johnson, decided to add Jason to the team roster for the last home game of Jason’s senior season. He was given a jersey and allowed to sit on the bench during the game. With a comfortable lead late in the game, Coach Johnson put Jason in the game. A dream come true for someone with a passion for basketball. After missing the first two shots he took, he went on to score six three-pointers and one two-point shot. The fans stormed the court at the end of the game which Greece Athena won 79-43.

A memoir, The Game of my Life, written by Jason, his family, coach and teammates published in 2008. Many people asked for the rights to make a movie about this amazing dream come true, so The Magic of J-Mac released in 2009.

Here is a link to a video highlights from the game of Jason’s life – The Game. To learn more about Jason and his journey with autism, pick up a copy of The Game of My Life.

Girls and Autism

An image of a girl with autism

Girls with high functioning autism, learn to hide their social skill deficiencies and differences more than boys with ASD. Because of this, they tend to be diagnosed with ASD later in life.

While I looked for a story about a girl who is doing great things while being autistic, I stumbled onto a newsletter from The Kinera Foundation featuring a teen named Amanda.

The Kinera Foundation is an organization in Stevensville, MD that provides support and understanding to families living with disabilities and special health care needs. They shared more of Amanda’s story on their website.

Amanda

Girl Scout Logo to emphasize her involvement

According to The Kinera Foundation website, Amanda is a 16-year-old teen with autism, but she wasn’t diagnosed until she was in 8th grade. She recently completed her Girl Scout Gold Award project on the topic of girls with autism. Her goal; to raise awareness.

In an interview posted on their website, she decided in 10th Grade to make some positive changes in her life. She got straight A’s, became a member of the National Honor Society and played in the orchestra pit at school. She changed her life around. Now, due to COVID-19, things have changed a bit again, but she is anxious to get back to school and continue improving herself.

Her advice to people struggling right now is

“To keep your chin up, do the best you can. It’s all that matters.”

Inspring People with Autism

These are just three stories about people with inspiring autism stories. There are many more out there to learn about. Continue becoming aware of Autism and accepting these people and the great things they and others are doing. They are making things better for themselves and people with Autism. Together, we can do more.

The Hard Way

Last week I announced The Hard Way’s fourth birthday and a $.99 book sale through Amazon.com. It is coming up this week on April 23rd-25th. If you have been waiting to get your copy, this is a great chance to pick one up.

Marketing Graphic for The Hard Way ebook sale

What do you think of my new logo? Along with the new logo, we are creating new graphics and a new website will be launching in the next few weeks. Be sure to stay tuned for more details.

Have a great week!

Inspiring People – Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart Sitting in Airplane for Featured Photo

Good Morning! Here’s the Monday Morning Blog!

How was your week? Did you get a chance to talk to your teen yet? Try asking them what their favorite color is. You may just start a conversation.

I asked my two young adults what their favorite colors are. One said red and the other said red or black. Red and black were the school colors from the high school they attended. So it makes sense. When we picked out their first cell phones, one was red and one was black. And each kid got their favorite color.

National Women’s History Month

Women's History Month Logo

I’ve been focusing the posts this month on women who have done inspiring things or made contributions to our country’s history. Since there are five Mondays in March, I chose to write about another inspiring woman as a final post for National Women’s History Month, and that woman is Amelia Earhart.

Amelia Earhart, a fellow woman pilot

How many of you know that I’m a pilot? I soloed an airplane, became a private pilot and started an instrument rating. That’s where my training stopped. I came to a point in my life where I needed to focus my money on things other than flying. It wasn’t an easy decision, but since I’d still be a pilot after attaining the certificate, I knew I’d be able to complete training to become current and start flying again, when the time is right.

Amelia Earhart did a lot more flying than I have done. According to AmeliaEarhart.com, when she was ten she saw her first airplane at the state fair and didn’t think much of it. “It was a thing of rusty wire and wood and looked not at all interesting.” She didn’t become interested in avaition until almost a decade later when a little red airplane swooped down towards her and a friend.

Growing up as a tomboy, she wasn’t afraid to take on things that were seen as not being feminine. She kept a scrapbook of newspaper clippings about successful women in male-oreinted fields for inspiration. During my research, I learned she did a lot more than just fly an airplane.

She did other things before her first flight

Did you know that Amelia Earhart…

  • After graduating from Hyde Park High School, she attended a girl’s finishing school. She left in the middle of her second year.
  • She went to work as a nurse’s aide in a military hospital in Canada during World War I.
  • Then attended college and became a social worker at Denison House, a settlement house in Boston.

all before doing her first flight on January 3, 1921.

Denison House contributions

According to Wikpedia.com, Amelia Earhart was hired as a social worker at the Denison House in 1926 and became a full time staff member in 1927. While she was working there as a teacher and home visitor, she was in charge of adult education and supervised a girls program. She was also taking flying lessons to pursue the interest which was sparked in her.

After six months of working, she was able to save up enough money to buy her own airplane, a Kinner Airster.

Photo By John W. Underwood

Here’s what sciencephoto.com had to say about the airplane,

It was very much an experimental proposition. The engine was a Kinner-copy of the Wright Gale, forerunner of the Whirlwind, but it was anything but a success. It threw more oil than it consumed and vibrated excessively. The experience gained from Earhart’s flying helped Kinner build a better engine and by 1930 he was a leader in the field.

Flying takes over

After building flight experience on the weekends, Ameila Earhart received a phone call at work in April of 1928. She originally responded that she was too busy to answer, but finally decided to take a call that would change the course her life was on.

“How would you like to be the first woman to fly the Atlantic?”

Of course she said yes and it led to a flight in a Fokker F7 called Friendship. The flight made headlines world wide, and led to many more flights, during a time when flying was building momentum, especially for women pilots. One of her most famous flights, the one to circumnavigate the world, she never came home from. She disappeared in July of 1937 and what happened to her is still a mystery to be solved.

An interesting story

Every person has a life journey. I’m interested in how people navigate the challenges in their lives to do great things. Amelia Earhart did some amazing things as a woman pilot, but she did other things which made her more than just a pilot. That’s the part of her story I didn’t know before I took a look. Be open to learning about other people. We all have interesting things and experiences to share with each other. If you are interested about learning more about Amelia Earhart, check out her website AmeliaEarhart.com.

My first book – The Hard Way

Cover design of my first book

When Paul Jones meets Anik Hatcher and is introduced to his gang, Paul becomes a key player in their most harmful “prank” yet. He learns how the decisions he makes, good or bad, can quickly affect his whole life. Find out more by picking up your own copy of this teen/young adult read. The Hard Way

If you want to check out the first chapter to see how you like it, sign up for my email list and you’ll have the first chapter delivered to your email.

Have a great week!

STEM Women Pioneers

Good morning! Here’s the Monday Morning Blog!

How was your week? Did you touch base with that teen in your life? We are back to having both of our young adults in the house again. It feels good having all of us together.

National Women’s History Month

Women's History Month Logo

I’ll be focusing the posts this month on women who have done inspiring things or made contributions to our country’s history. The two women I’ll be talking about today meet both of these criteria.

Their contributions utilize the elements found in STEM, an acronym introduced in 2001 by scientific administrators at the National Space Foundation (NSF)

STEM Defined

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Using the term STEM is a way to bring all of these disciplines together. Many people struggle with the classes that are found in the STEM family. However, they are found in many things in our day to day lives. Science develops vaccines and new foods. Technology creates new iPhones and tablets every year. Engineering helps to build things like buildings and bridges. Finally, Math calculates the statistics you see on the news and determines how much fuel to put on the airplane which takes you on your family vacation.

Women Pioneers using STEM

To celebrate National Women’s History Month, I want to talk about two ladies who made contributions to our country’s history through the use of elements found in STEM. One is Emily Warren Roebling who contributued to the building of the Brooklyn Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in the world in the late 1800s. It was also the first one to be built with steel cables. The other is Admiral Grace Hopper who was a founding mother in the area of computer science.

Emily Warren Roebling (1843-1903)

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, (ASCE.org) despite advice she received in her early years about what higher education women did or didn’t need, she studied math and science at a convent school in Washington D.C. Emily Warren Roebling was the wife of Washington Roebling who was a civil engineer and the chief engineer during the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge.

During the construction of the bridge, Washington developed caisson disease (decompression sickness). Fearing the project wouldn’t be completed without her husband’s contributions, Emily began taking notes from her husband on what needed to be done. She took that information to the crew, but she also began to study the technical issues involved in building the bridge. Things about the strength of the materials they used, stress analysis of those materials and the calculations that determined the catenary curves used in the building process. An important part of a bridge built with cables. According to Google:

A catenary is a curve that an idealized hanging chain or cable assumes its own weight when supported only at its ends.

With all of the knowledge she obtained, Roebling became a good stand in for her husband. So good in fact that many believed that she was the intelligence behind the building of the bridge.

Abram Hewitt, a competitor in the steel business said of the Brooklyn Bridge and Roebling,

“An everlasting ,monument to the self-sacrificing devotion of a woman of her capacity for that higher education from which she has been too long disbarred.”

Her contributions in the areas of STEM live on in the Brooklyn Bridge.

Admiral Grace Hopper (1906-1992)

Admiral Grace Hopper was an American computer scienctist and an United States Navy rear admiral.

According to GraceHopper.com, she enjoyed breaking things as a kid, to only put them back together. This was done in an effort to learn how they worked. She earned bachelor and masters degrees in math at Yale University and added a PhD to it. She also double majored in physics. Covering two of the four STEM areas.

She attempted to enlist in the Navy during World War II, but she was deemed too old (34 at the time) so she joined the reserves instead. She started her computer career in 1944 when she worked on the Harvard Mark I project. The Harvard Mark was the first automatic calculator.

Do you know where the term “bug” in the system came from? It was coined by Hopper when a moth infiltrated the circuits of the Harvard Mark I.

In 1949 she went to work for the Eckert-Maulchly Computer Corporation where she worked on the UNIVAC I and developed the linker, which converted English terms into computer language. Most believed that computers could only do arithmetic, well Hopper proved them wrong. Just look at what they can do today.

According to Hopper, the most damaging phrase in language is

“We’ve always done it that way.”

Her contributions in the areas of STEM live on in the computers we use today.

Women Pioneers Make a Difference

If we and the pioneers before us didn’t challenge that phrase, many of the inventions and ideas we have today wouldn’t have never come to fruition.

Women like Emily Warren Roebling and Admiral Grace Hopper show us that people can make things happen. With their skills in STEM, one went on to help build the Brooklyn Bridge, which still stands today in New York City. And the other laid some of the foundation into the technology we use everyday in computers and cell phones.

Want to learn more information about either of these ladies? Follow the links provided in their profiles above.

The Hard Way

Cover design of my first book

Are you looking for a good teen read for yourself or that special teen in your life? Take a look at The Hard Way. It is the first book in The Way Series. It can be found on the books tab of the website.

The Hard Way

Have a good week!

Inspiring People – Ida B. Wells-Barnett

Ida B. Wells

Good Morning! Here’s the Monday Morning Blog!

Did you have a good week? Did you touch base with that teen or young adult in your life? We had a pretty quiet week of activity at our house with the sub zero temperatures here in Minnesota. But still had family dinners as an opportunity to catch up.

Today is President’s Day

According to officeholidays.com, the first President’s Day was celebrated on February 22, 1796 commemorate our first president, George Washington’s, birthday. In 1971, it was shifted to fall on the third Monday in February to simplify the yearly calendar and to give federal employees some standard three day holidays. What are you doing to celebrate our nation’s presidents today?

Black History Month

Black History Month

February is Black History Month. The posts this month are focusing on leaders, issues and pioneers that have had an effect on the history of the different races in our country. I wanted to feature someone not as well known, but made her mark on civil rights history. This week’s inspirational person is Ida B. Wells-Barnett.

Who was Ida B. Wells?

According to the book, Who was Ida B. Wells? by Sarah Fabiny, Ida B. Wells was born in Holly Springs, Mississippi in 1862.  She was born into slavery, but was freed by the Emancipation Proclimation in 1865.

As a young girl, her father asked her to read the newspaper to him and his friends. Through reading, she became interested in writing. When she lost both of her parents to yellow fever in 1878, she was put in charge of raising her siblings while she became and made a living as a teacher.

After two years of teaching at the rural school, Ida received an opportunity from her Aunt Fannie to move to Memphis and teach in a city school. While teaching school during the week, Ida started editing and writing a newsletter called the Evening Star on the weekends. This opportunity led her to start writing for a weekly newspaper. Through these different opportunities, she was able to start her career as a journalist.

She wrote for and edited many newspapers and published pamphlets about issues that affected blacks during the time after Abraham Lincoln abolished slavery in the 13th Amendment in 1865.

Her Anti-Lynching Pamphlets

Ida B. Wells was a Black American activist at a time when many Black Americans weren’t speaking up for their rights. She wasn’t just speaking up with her voice, but through her writing and publishing pamphlets about how blacks were being treated, The main focus of her pamphlets was about about lynching.

Lynching – when someone is killed without a trial. Many times, black people would be killed because they are black. The punishment does not fit the crime.

This was in response to something that happened to a friend of hers, Thomas Moss, and two others. They were the victims of a lynching while serving time in jail for defending their grocery business, the Peoples Grocery. Here’s what happened…

A competing grocery across the street, owned by white men, were upset about how well the Peoples Grocery was doing. So they sent a mob of people to ruin the store. Ida’s friends had to protect their business because they knew the cops wouldn’t help them. When they shot their guns off, three white men were injured. Moss and his friends were taken to jail, but they never made it to court, they were taken from jail and lynched.

I wrote a book review a couple of weeks ago about Death of Innocence which was about Emmett Till, a teen who was lynched for supposedly whistling at a white woman in Mississippi. This would be a great read to learn more about the human effects of lynching and racism. Here’s the link to that book review. Death of Innocence

The articles that she wrote about the lynching made many people in Memphis mad and Wells received threats. But that didn’t stop her from continuing to write about the injustices being served as is shown in her quote below.

What impact did she make on American History?

  • She was a journalist, activist and researcher in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
  • She was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
  • She dedicated her life to fighting for equality of blacks, especially women

Inspiring woman in our country’s history

Ida B. Wells-Barnett wasn’t afraid to speak her mind about the social injustices taking place in our country towards Black Americans. Her skills in writing and connections as a journalist helped to voice her opinion in a time when newspapers were the main way that information was transferred to our country. She made her mark and was a key participant in the early part of the civil rights movement.

As a side note, Wells-Barnett was awarded a posthumous Pultizer Prize in 2020 recoginizing her as a journalist and her reports and publications about lynching.

If you would like to learn a little bit more about Ida B. Wells, here’s a link to the book I read to learn more about her. Who was Ida B. Wells? The author, Sarah Fabiny wrote several Who Was books about other interesting people in history. And there are many other books in this series written by other authors. Take a look and find another interesting person to read about.

The Hard Way

Cover design of my first book

Having friends that support us and have our backs is important throughout our lives. It is very important for teens to pick friends who will support and help them through those tough teen years. Looking for a good teen or young adult read about it? Here’s a link to The Hard Way. Be sure to check it out.

Have a great week!

The Ignauguration and Kamala Harris

Good Morning! Here’s the Monday Morning Blog!

We remember what Martin Luther King, Jr. did for our country today.

How was your week? It was fun for us to work together as a family on Tuesday night as we got our final items out of the condo we are selling. We sat around our dining room table after we finished and enjoyed Mexican takeout. So grateful we get to have those dinners together.

Like I mentioned last week, there has been a lot of emotion and difference of opinion surrounding the 2020 election results. This week we are having the inauguration ceremony for our President elect and our Vice President elect at the United States Capitol.

A few interesting facts about Inaugurations.

  • An inauguration ceremony is where the new president and vice president are sworn into office.
  • There have been fifty-eight oaths of office given and received in the history of our nation.
  • Inauguration ceremonies started in 1789 with our first president George Washington and his Vice President John Adams. Our most recent ceremony was in 2016 without current president Donald Trump and his Vice President Mike Pence.
  • They used to be held on March 4th to allow for officials to gather election returns and for newly elected candidates to travel to the capital. It was changed to January 20th in 1933 as technology and travel got easier, not as much time was needed to get everyone in place. The first inauguration that was held on January 20th was held in 1937.
  • This year it will be held on January 20th in our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. This is when our President-elect Joe Biden and our Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be sworn into their new positions.

We know somethings about our President elect, Joe Biden, he served as Vice President under former President Barack Obama. But who is Kamala Harris?

Kamala Harris

According to the Senate.gov website, Kamala Harris is

Currently,

  • a United States Senator for California
  • second African American woman to serve in that role.
  • first South Asian-American woman to serve in that role.

Soon to be,

  • The first African American, South Asian-American woman to serve as our nation’s Vice President.

Her early background

According to an article in Politico Magazine, 55 Things You Need to Know About Kamala Harris, she was born in Oakland, California, the eldest of two children with a mother who was a cancer researcher and a father who was an economist. Her parents divorced when she was seven and her mother raised her and her sister in a duplex in Berkley. She rode the bus to her school, Thousand Oaks Elementary, in its second year of the integration of black students into their school. After attending middle school and high school in Montreal, she returned to the United States to attend Howard University and obtained her political science degree. After completing her law degree at the University of California, Hastings and passing the bar exam, she became a prosecutor, since she wanted to change the system from the inside.

Determination and passion are traits I admire.

Her determination has helped her to achieve many things during her lifetime. She was the first woman to do quite a few of them. Including being first Black woman to be elected the District Attorney in California. It has also helped her to showcase her passion to fight for others in a national spotlight.

Her mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, also broke barriers in her field and brought other people with her.  She told Kamala, “you may be the first to do many things, make sure you aren’t the last.”

These are the kind of traits I look for in someone who is going to have a key role in helping to unify our country.

As she enters the White House

With Harris serving as the Vice President of our country, we are celebrating diversity in the executive branch of our government again. It is the second time an African American has served in that office, but it is the first time it will be a woman. Biden and Harris won the election with an unprecedented voter turnout, even during a pandemic.

Part of their platform is fixing what is broken.

  • Investing in American Workforce
  • Involving science in the solution
  • Fight for criminal justice reform – to help curb some of the racial inequality issue.
  • Reform to the public school system to help all school districts.

According to an interview that Harris did with Vogue Magazine, published in January 2021, she talks about how bringing the country together is the biggest challenge facing our country.

“Americans share the same concerns that keep them up at night regardless of where they live, the color of their skin or the God they pray to. We have more in common than what separates us. It isn’t in our best interest to have one group suffer for who they are.”

An asset to help unify our country.

Government officials should be more than just a party affiliation. They are people who should have a passion for the people they serve. Whether you follow the Democrats, Republicans, or a mix, I believe Kamala Harris will be a great person to be involved in unifying our country. Her determination and passion in fighting for what is right are the kind of traits I want for a person to serve in that role.

What traits do you look for in an elected official? Please let me know in the comments below.

Be sure to take a look around my website!

If you have a little time this week, take a look around my website. There is a link to purchase my book, information about me and the upcoming release of my second book, and a way for you to subscribe to my email list and follow my writing journey.

Have a great week!

Today is Columbus Day! Or is it Indigenous Peoples’ Day?

Good Morning! Here’s the Monday Morning Blog!

Have you touched base with the teen in your life yet?

As I was running errands over the weekend, I saw a sign like this one.

So, what is Columbus Day?

History of Columbus Day

According to history.com, in the late 1400s, the route from Europe to Asia by land was long and filled with hostile armies. Portuguese explorers figured out how to do it by sea instead. They sailed around the West African Coast and around the Cape of Good Hope.

Christopher Columbus had a different idea. Why not sail west across the Atlantic Ocean?

His idea was good, but his calculations were flawed. He believed that the circumference of the Earth was much smaller than it was and sailing west would be a quicker way to get to Asia. There were no accurate maps available at the time. So, there was no way to know for sure.

Columbus had a hard time selling this idea and obtain funding for his trip. Then he finally convinced Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile to support him. On August 3, 1492, Columbus and his crew set sail from Spain in three ships, the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria. On October 12th, the ships made landfall not in the East Indies, but on one of the Bahamian Islands.

The four voyages of Columbus to the New World

This was how Columbus discovered America in 1492. If you would like to read more about his life, here’s a link to history.com Christopher Columbus.

Timeline of being recognized as a national holiday then a federal one

In 1892, to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Columbus discovering America, President Benjamin Harrison declared Columbus Day as a one-time national celebration.

In 1934, Franklin Roosevelt made a proclamation to recognize Columbus Day as a national holiday. This would allow for appropriate ceremonies expressing the public feelings towards the anniversary of the discovery of America.

In 1966, Mariano Lucca, pushed to have Columbus Day made into a federal holiday which it became in 1968. Since it is a federal holiday, all federal employees celebrate the day as a paid day off.

Every year, it is celebrated on the second Monday in October, which this year happens to be October 12th, the day Columbus actually landed in the New World, 528 years ago today.

What have we learned about Columbus?

Columbus sailed across the Atlantic not only to have the fame in finding new lands, but also to capture riches to bring back to Spain for him and the sponsors of his expedition. While he was in the new world, he started to enslave the native people, Taino. He believed they were made to be enslaved, due to their body build and peaceful nature.

When the riches he promised were not coming to fruition, he started sending the Taino people back to Spain on return voyages to serve and be sold as slaves for his sponsors. Isabella was uphauled at the gesture. She believed people who were found through the expeditions should become Spanish citizens and not be enslaved. The Taino were sent back. Colmbus was arrested and brought back to Spain in chains.

Change to Indigenous Peoples’ Day

When people learned a little more about Columbus and how he had treated the Taino people, many stopped celebrating Columbus Day. The holiday has changed its name in many states to Indignous Peoples’ Day. The theme of the day is to honor Native American people, their histories and cultures.

Shawn’s Way

The second book in the Way Series, Shawn’s Way, will be released next month.

Just like the first book, The Hard Way, it is also a coming of age novel focusing on a teen challenge. Where The Hard Way focused on peer pressure, Shawn’s Way, focuses on a teen being a target of a bully and an older teen being thhe one who bullies. Be sure to keep checking back to my wesite for updates on the release date.

You still have time to pick up a copy of The Hard Way for another good teen read and get up to speed for what happens in book two.

Have a great week!

People in our country’s history – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Good Morning! Here’s the Monday Morning Blog!

Did you have a good week last week? Did you get a chance to check in with that teenager in your life? What did they have to say? We are in the process of painting our condo to sell it in the near future. Our youngest son came over and helped us out by moving some stuff for us to clear space to paint. With a little direction, we handed him the roller and gave him a lesson on how to paint a room. We took an opportunity to give him another life skill that will come in handy someday.

Speaking of learning, what else can we learn from others?

I enjoy reading memoirs. What is a memoir? Well, according to the Google dictionary, it is a historical account or biography written from personal knowledge or special sources. I’m currently reading one of Barack Obama’s called Dreams from My Father, which is a collection of memories written by him. With the focus on racial inequality lately, reading Obama’s book is shedding more light some of those same themes for me. The memoir not only tells his story growing up and getting involved in the community around him; it also talks about his own personal experiences with racial inequalities he has either witnessed or experienced while on his own life journey. If you are interested in reading it, check it out of you local online library or purchase a copy from your local bookshop at Bookshop.org.

Not only do we have racial inequality in our country, there’s also inequality when it comes to gender. We lost a champion of women’s rights last week to complications from metastatic pancreas cancer.

People in our country’s history

Do you know who Ruth Bader Ginsburg was? She was

• An associate Justice on the United States Supreme Court
• Second woman to serve on the Supreme Court after Sandra Day O’Connor
• Attended Harvard Law School (only 9 women in a class of 500 men) but transferred to (due to her husband’s work transfer) and graduated tied for first in her class at Columbia University
• Became the first woman to be on two law reviews, Harvard Law Review and Columbia Law Review

The list of things above show just some of the things she accomplished in her life, she was also

• A wife
• A mother
• A grandmother
• And a champion for women’s rights

When she earned her law degree in 1959, it was hard for women to do the kinds of things she wanted to do. You would think that being at the top of your class at Columbia, you should have no trouble finding a job. If you were a man, yes, but no so if you were a woman. She wound up doing a lot of teaching before she was even able to practice law. She took on her first position as a professor at Rutgers Law School in 1963. She was informed that she would be paid less than her male counterparts because she had a husband with a well-paying job. If you are a woman in today’s society, would you want to have your salary based on what your husband does for a living? Or be paid a fair wage for the work you are doing?

She battled this type of gender discrimination throughout her life. Through her struggles, she pushed for and helped get many of the rights that women have today. She served on the Supreme Court for 27 years before she passed away and was seen as a champion of women’s rights. The results of that fight will live on in what she gave this country during her lifetime.

“Fight for the things you care about”

Without reading these life stories, we wouldn’t know about the struggles people have had to face in their life journeys. Obama and Ginsburg have made great strides towards equality in our government, but we still have a ways to go. Obama was working within our communities to try and make things better and then became the first black President of the United States. Ginsburg was breaking down barriers for women on her way to becoming the second woman associate justice on the United States Supreme Court. Sure, they both had people supporting them, but they also kept going after the things they personally wanted to achieve, even when challenges were put in front of them to keep them from getting there.

People like Barack Obama and Ruth Bader Ginsburg inspire me to fight for the things that I care about and want to achieve. Who inspires you to fight for the things you care about? Please let me know in the comments below.

Deep Valley Virtual Book Festival

Two weeks left until the Deep Valley Virtual Book Festival! Be sure to check into their website on October 3rd and 4th. There are many authors participating with a wide variety of books to purchase. There are also different panels to check out too! I am participating in the YA Author panel. I will have an author profile where you can purchase a copy of The Hard Way and get a little glimpse of book #2 in The Way Series called Shawn’s Way, due to publish in November of 2020.

The Hard Way

Can’t wait to pick up a copy of The Hard Way? Click on the books tab onmy website and follow the link to get your very own. You still have plenty of time to read it before book #2 is released.

Have a great week!