The Religious Reasons My Kids Won’t be Taking the Test

Great article regarding the testing situation in Pittsburgh. No doubt this applies nationwide.


As we head into several weeks of high-stakes-testing here in Pennsylvania, I would like to share with you the religious reasons my children will not be taking the state mandated PSSAs. Here is an open letter I sent to Dr. Linda Lane, Superintendent of Pittsburgh Public Schools; Dr. Lisa Augustin, Director of Assessment; Ms. Jamie Kinzel-Nath, Pittsburgh Colfax K-8 principal; and all of our children’s wonderful teachers.

April 10, 2015

Dear Dr. Lane and Ms. Kinzel-Nath:

Pursuant to Pennsylvania Code Title 22 Chapter 4, section 4.4 (d)(5) I am hereby exercising my right as a parent to have my children, ____________, excused from PSSA testing on the grounds of my religious beliefs. Please allow ­­­­­­­­­___________ to pursue alternate educational activities such as a research project or volunteering in younger classrooms during testing.

I could stop my letter right there, as that is all that is legally required by the state…

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Praise the Lord! – Choosy Bookworm

Praise the Lord! – Choosy Bookworm.

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Publication Mania

Great writing advice. I’m grateful that I know a great copyeditor, and for the reminder to slow down before hitting the publish button.

Anneli's Place

Publication Mania

One of the saddest things I see among beginning writers is their burning need to publish before their work is ready. For many writers in the early days of their career, publication at this stage often comes at the expense of their reputation as a good author.

Writers’ groups, for all their many good deeds, are sometimes gathering places for pompous snobs. I want to be clear that I am not down on writing groups. Far from it. The writing group I belonged to for several years involved a wonderful collection of writers who brought a variety of skills and experience, and who wrote in many different genres. The majority of the members were down-to-earth and extremely helpful to new writers.  However, my writing group also happened to have several authors whose agenda included basking in the prestige of “being published” rather than first concentrating on producing their best work or helping…

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Feel Good Friday- Giggles and Sniggers #jokes

Facing 50 with humour.

AUTHOR3AE25First Feel Good Friday of the year and I decided to bombard you with this amusing collection. I honestly cannot remember (old age is setting in here) where they came from, so thank you to all of you who sent the following and made me start the year with a giggle:

A vicar goes to the dentist for a set of false teeth. The first Sunday
after he gets his new teeth, he talks for only eight minutes. The second Sunday, he talks for only ten minutes. The following Sunday, he talks for two hours and forty-eight minutes.

The congregation, fed up by now, mob him, get him down from the pulpit and ask what happened.

The vicar explains the first Sunday his gums hurt so badly he couldn’t talk for more than eight minutes. The second Sunday his gums hurt too much to talk for more than ten minutes. But, the…

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Feel Good Friday – Oh Dear!

Facing 50 with humour.

AUTHOR3AE25Sorry I missed last week’s Feel Good Friday and to make up for it, here are a few from Jacqueline Gum, author of Confessions of a Corporate Slut, Facebook friend Tony Middleton and that mischievous Fran Fischer AKA Fishducky.


A 65-year-old woman had a heart attack and was taken to the hospital. While on the operating table she had a near death experience. Seeing God, she asked, “Is my time up?”

God said, “No, you have another 33 years, 2 months and 8 days to live.”

Upon recovery, the woman decided to stay in the hospital and have a face-lift, liposuction, breast implants and a tummy tuck.

She even had someone come in and change her hair colour and brighten her teeth! Since she had so much more time to live, she figured she might as well make the most of it.

After her last operation, she…

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Feel Good Friday – Time

Facing 50 with humour.

ww_120_timefliesclock photo

This weekend, the clocks go back so in honour of grabbing an extra hour in bed on Sunday, here’s a few jokes about time. My thanks go to Tom, Paul, Gilly and Rob from Derby for them.

A social worker asks a colleague: “What time is it?”
The other one answers: “Sorry, don’t know, I have no watch.”
The first one: “Never mind! The main thing is that we talked about it.”


Q: Why don’t women wear watches?

A: There’s a clock on the stove!


Proudly showing off his new apartment to a couple of his friends late one night, the drunk led the way to his bedroom where there was a big brass gong.
“What’s that big brass gong for?” one of his friends asked.
“It’s not a gong. It’s a talking clock” the drunk replied.
“A talking clock? Seriously?” asked his astonished friend.

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In Praise of Friends Who’ll Read Your Manuscripts

Great advice. Having others read and critique helps a lot. I have a friend who helps with editing too. Priceless!

Jennifer Keishin Armstrong

girl with bookWhen students ask me what my “one piece of advice” is for aspiring writers, it’s usually: Read. But my second piece of advice — something people rarely ask for — is almost as important. That piece of advice: Cultivate a group of friends willing to read your stuff before it’s published.

I recently taught a workshop about writing book proposals, and a professional copyeditor was among my students. This was his advice, too: Don’t turn anything in ever without having at least one other person read it first. Other people can see holes in your work that you can’t. They can point out places where your knowledge and research is overwhelming your ability to see that others won’t understand something. They can tell you, whether you like it or not, when you’re not making a lot of sense to anyone who does not have your brain. (One of the other…

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