Draw Near To God

 

I am excited for what’s happening in the month of June. My first children’s book will be published!! What started as an idea being in a comic-con convention to an actual illustrated book was an adventure and I cannot imagine doing it by myself.

Well, maybe that’s a lie. When I got my first idea for writing a book I thought I could do it myself. I knew the book would be dental related and drawing couldn’t be that hard…so I thought. I figured out quickly I needed an illustrator.

First, my husband went on forums  to find an illustrator for me. A lot of people responded but did not meet the criteria. People responded to my post that did not believe in my book idea so they would back out. There were people that responded with sketches that appeared as if they were rushing, missing important details. It was frustrating trying to find an illustrator.

When I exhausted my obvious options I decided to pray and ask God for my illustrator. I had an idea for how I wanted my characters to look but I needed someone to capture that on paper. I prayed for the illustrator’s personality to sync with mine since I was working with them. I was led to looking for an illustrator in a Facebook group and within a day or two later three people responded.

I asked God to narrow down my list of illustrators and give me the best one for my first book, the rest was history…

There were sooo many lessons I learned from working with an illustrator. Staying humble, being open for critique, patience, etc, etc. The biggest lesson was I couldn’t complete my book without God or my illustrator. As it starts off in Peter 4:8 “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you..” I had to spend time in his presence and then spend time learning the way he wanted the book . Yes, I would’ve drawn the characters myself but at the same time I felt nudges from my heavenly father saying ‘I want yours done a certain way.’ Working with the illustrator taught me a lot and to trust God knows what’s best.

“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.” – Ryunosuke Satoro

 

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In 600 Words or less

For those that may not know I have been working towards completing my first children’s book. I’m happy to confess I’m close to being finished … YAYYYY!!!!!!youth-active-jump-happy-40815.jpegThe journey had a few challenging moments however, when I needed encouragement one of the sources I plugged into was my husband, Marcus. He never leaves home without a notebook and pen, from working behind the scenes of newspapers and featured in comics, to publishing his first book From The Mind of Marcus E.T.: Freaky and Fantastical 500 Words or LessI wanted to share my inspiration with you all. Enjoy!

Q: At what age did you start writing?

A: I’ve been writing stories since I was 8. I won my first writing contest and spelling bee when I was 9 years old.

Q: Wow, what was the writing contest about?

A: It was a narrative poem about me creating a robot to replace the friends I was angry with, which was inspired by a real-life situation at the time.

Q: *Laughing* Interesting! What were some other stories you created during that time?

A: I wrote my first two books by hand and made the covers out of construction paper. One titled Animania, about a world where everyone in my 3rd grade class being their favorite animal and living in one community together. The other was called Catimorphs, about me and my closer friends being Power Ranger-type heroes who could also change into large cats and use special armor to fight aliens (based on Power Rangers and Animorphs).

Q: I can definitely see how Power Rangers and Animorphs played a role in those stories. Were there any other shows that inspired you growing up?

A: One of the most influential series for me when I was younger was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Q: True! I liked playing their game on Nintendo. So any-hoo I see the pattern of how you gravitate towards sci-fi/ action stories, why is that?

A: I’ve always enjoyed action/adventure stories,sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. I appreciate thought-provoking stories, especially with good twist endings, and stories with a powerful message.

Q: Speaking of stories with good twist endings, you’ve recently published your first book less than a month ago, congrats! Where did the idea come from?

A: My book, Freaky and Fantastical 500 Words or Less, was a 6-month project where I recreated my dreams and nightmares, reinvented some of my favorite tales, and explored the all-important “what-if” question.

Q: Who would you say is your ideal reader for this book?

A: I thought of family, friends and associates who always said they could never find time to read for fun. So I created a flash fiction anthology with time restraints in mind, also challenging myself to limit my word count for each story to a multiple of 100.

Q: You know I’m definitely a fan already! As I work in the lab I mostly listen to podcasts and scroll through my phone so reading this book would entertain my time for sure especially since this book can be read via phone/ computer. I know you’re constantly writing and will be sharing more throughout the remaining of the year. How can people connect with you?

A: My website is Penandswordink.weebly.com . Twitter is @MarcusET3 and you could also check out my author page on Amazon Marcus E.T

Q: Sweet! Any last words of inspiration  you’d like to share?

A: The best thing about being a creator and fiction writer is that you don’t need to be an expert in anything. You only need to know what stories you enjoy reading and writing, and the only limiter is you.

 

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Dear 20’s

Dear 20’s,

We’ve been through so much together and It’s now coming to an end. I learned so much in our relationship and so before we depart I would like to share how awesome you were to me.

You taught me how to be independent especially when I decided going out of state for college would be best. I didn’t have any friends on campus and I didn’t have a car so you made sure I figured a way using the city bus.

I’m getting better at this but at the beginning it was ROUGH! I’m talking about speaking up for myself. I had a select few of roommates that were pretty awesome but the rest… WHYYY??! I learned what to tolerate and what not to tolerate, so thank you ladies 😉.

I got my first full time job with you! I learned how to prioritize in that season. You taught me it’s ok not being an open book to everyone I like. You taught me it’s ok to want more in my career and not get to a place where I feel stuck.

You taught me to think outside the 📦 box with my career goals. God tinkered with my vision so I could see a bigger picture of what he’s painting for me. I thought becoming a dentist was my final destination (you know how much I love dentistry😍). However, everything that I thought was random growing up actually served towards my purpose and now I’m actually going to publish a children’s book!

20’s , you were good to me. I got married to my best friend with you. Honestly, I didn’t think getting married would happen. I thought I’d be in my 30’s…

Speaking of 30’s, I’m looking forward to meeting them . I know we’re going to start our relationship on a good note this Friday but I hope they’re consistent like you with all the lessons I received.

I’m definitely going to miss you, but until then let’s make the last few days special .

Love you,

Ash

Finding My Voice

I was about two months into my job when I heard God say “You’re going to find your voice.” Find my voice? I didn’t have a clue on what that meant but I had a STRONG idea it would involve me being uncomfortable. Finding your voice is finding a way to connect by expressing your ideas or discovering courage as you walk in your greatness. I thought I heard God wrong because with the role I had at my job , I didn’t see where I could use my voice. As things started to shift, opportunities came for me to speak up . Still to this day , I’m adjusting to vocalizing my opinions at work and am now faced with a new challenge.. Periscope.

Never would I ever THINK of being on Periscope in all the days of my life until I had the idea for a children’s book series called, Ella’s Greatest Adventures. A good friend mentioned the benefits of creating live content a few times but I kept shrugging it off. Eventually, I couldn’t shrug it off because I was surrounded with the idea at business workshops, books, and podcasts. I finally got the nerve to make a video and it was HARD! I looked at it as if I’m giving a presentation in an empty room and as people join it becomes overwhelming. I’m still working on getting better because its not about me.

Finding my voice was never about me, it’s all about God. Of all the things he could’ve gave me as a talent, expressing himself verbally and through writing, are some of the ways he sees best through  me. Everything we say or think he values and I think during this season he wanted to let me know that as well.

 

Glossophobia

What is glossophobia? It’s the fear of public speaking and something I hate the most.  No matter how hard I avoid speaking , the environment creates a platform that requires everyone to talk . In school, I was the student that would not make eye contact with the teacher. I figured if we made eye contact there was a higher chance of them calling my name. I never liked introducing myself  or presenting to a crowd of people. I’m not sure how I dread speaking in front of groups of people, but I was a cheerleader and jazz/tap dancer, go figure.. Maybe it was the fact I felt comfortable performing as a group rather than by myself. Either way, as I continue to grow I notice there is no escape for public speaking. So instead of hiding it’s time to face the music,awkward stares, and everything else public speaking may bring.

Practice, practice, practice. I remembered practicing my capstone presentation with my teacher after her office hours and it was worth every minute! I was scared because I was not only presenting to my colleagues but to teachers and I had no idea what they were going to ask. My teacher helped me as far as my posture, making eye contact, and not being wordy in my power point. The time spent in practicing  those minor details helped me in a major way the next day when I presented my research.
Engage with the audience. Remember when I said I felt comfortable performing as a group rather than by myself? Speaking in front of people is like a big performance so it’s important to get everyone involved to avoid feeling awkward. I like asking questions to not only take the spotlight off myself but it’s a way get everyone engaged.
Picture everyone_____. Ok I’m not sure about this one lol. People would say if I pictured everyone in the room in underwear or something I would feel at ease. Actually I think it would make me look silly laughing in front of everyone like I’m on medication, no thanks. I heard this works but honestly I just like to get through the speaking so I can hurry and sit down.
Don’t look at everyone in the face. I look for that one person I’m comfortable with and pretend they are the only ones in the room. Focusing on one person vs the entire room help me control how fast to talk and keep my nerves in check. When I was a little girl I had to recite my Christmas speech and I would not look at anyone in the face! Instead I randomly stared at the big church hats, people teeth, and the big clock that hung in the back of the church LOL.
I thought my fear of public speaking would have disappeared as I got older, instead it got smaller which is progress! If you’re like me I’m here to say you’re doing great!  Always remember there’s a platform waiting to hear your voice to gain insight, stay encouraged, and be inspired.
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Overcoming the fear of dentists

I had the opportunity to shadow all kinds of dentists and the specialty that caught my interest was pediatric dentistry. In this field dentists focus on oral health of children from babies through teenage years. The patients are unpredictable , some cooperate while others have no problem letting everyone know they are terrified of dentists.

tips-to-tame-childs-fear-of-dentist-webCould it be from the bright lights? The weird looking dental instruments? Or the fact dentists are working in their personal space? I agree the dental office can be intimidating and the thought of someone handling vulnerable areas in the mouth is enough to run away . However there are some tips that may help children on their next dental visit.

According to NCPediatricDentistry, they recommend that you talk about dentists positively. Create a good experience by sharing stories related to dentists. If you could only think of that one bad experience you had share other people stories. Reward them for being brave. One of the things I enjoyed from my dental visits was the toy treasure chest. If I was good during my appointment (which was all the time lol) the dentist allowed me to pick one toy from the chest, very encouraging! I went to one office to shadow and they rewarded children by giving them a gold coin to use for their toy/ gumball machine.23034455_m

Explain that the dentist is a friend. I could tell the difference between the child that received ‘pep talk’ before their dental appointment vs the one that cry hysterically as their parents talk to them at the moment. I think it helps children and dentists when the parents already explain the details of the dental appointment. Playing ‘pretend doctor’ could help lessen anxiety and reading children books about dentistry is a plus!

Take your child to meet the dentist first. As they visit the dentist consistently they’ll hopefully start to recognize them as a friend and become comfortable during their actual appointment. I enjoyed watching fear disappear from children faces when hygienists allow them to hold some of the dental instruments  to let them know there’s nothing to be scared of . When there’s a lot of interaction and communication between the patient and dental staff it makes a big difference.thw7oqr9w0

Select sedation for children. Now for this I wish there was an alternative. Through shadowing I’ve watched and helped dentists keep children seated so they could sedate them properly and it was NOT EASY! I also understand this is necessary for most of their procedures. One thing I enjoyed was how some dental offices kept children preoccupied with iPads and TV as they administered medicine.

There’s so much to learn from the world of dentistry and fear is not one of them. So let’s start painting better pictures for our children and dentists!

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