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.

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Feel Good Friday- Giggles and Sniggers #jokes

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Feel Good Friday – Oh Dear!

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Feel Good Friday – Time

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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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Weekly Devotional: On the Island of Earth, We’re All Children of God

Watch the Video after you read this devotional. It’s a strong message we all need to hear.

Rev. Dr. Jo Hudson

The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it.                                                                                                13-earth-from-space-artwork-detlev-van-ravenswaayPsalm 24.1

Let me point out the obvious. No doubt we are living in a time in which violence around our globe is escalating. In addition, it seems that our political and religious leaders are determined to stand on opposite sides of any issue simply to “win” the day. They see no value in learning to listen to each other or finding other ways, other solutions, or as some suggest, “a third way” that recognizes and honors the positions of each.


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New Blog Home

I am moving my blog to my website.

You can access it here or by visiting

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Book Covers/Titles

Advice from David Morgan: Your book cover should look professional and should attract readers to your book. Yes, people still do judge a book by its cover. If you don’t have the skills to do it yourself, hire an art student. You will get it done cheaply and will help advance both their career and yours.

Links to articles on book covers/titles:

1. The Atlantic magazine article: “Has Kindle Killed the Book Cover?” by Betsy Morais (April 16, 2012)

2. Jonathan Gunson’s Bestseller Labs blog on book covers: “The ‘Billboard’ That can Make or Break Your Book’s Success,”  by Jonathan Gunson (August 2012).

3. Sarach Baughman’s Write it Sideways Blog: “What’s in a Name? Writing the Right Title” (A clever and helpful piece about choosing an evocative title).

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