Friday, September 8, 2023

International Literacy Day!

Today is International Literacy Day, with this year's theme being "Promoting literacy for a world in transition: Building the foundation for sustainable and peaceful societies."

ILD2023 will be an opportunity to join efforts to accelerate progress towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4) on education and lifelong learning and to reflect on the role of literacy in building more inclusive, peaceful, just, and sustainable societies. In doing so, it will embrace the reciprocal relations between literacy and other areas of development: Literacy is central to the creation of such societies, while progress in other areas of development contributes to generating interest and motivation of people to acquire, use, and further develop their literacy and numeracy skills.

My mother was a teacher for 37 years in the Chicago Public Schools. Her philosophy was that if a kid could read, he could learn just about anything. She taught fourth grade, and would make sure that, by the end of the year, as many kids in her class as possible were reading at a fourth-grade reading level or above.

When I was in college, Mom overhead me talking on the phone with a friend of mine. We had mentioned a friend of ours in the conversation, and when I got off the phone, she said that she thought she had taught the friend we were talking about, and asked me to ask him if he had been in her class.

The next time, I talked to him, I asked him if he had attended Mom's school. He smiled and said, "that is your mom!" He then told me a story about how, when he got into fourth grade, he couldn't read at an appropriate level, so Mom told him that he was to read a book a week and turn in a book report every Monday morning. He said that, by the end of the year, he could read at a higher grade level than fourth grade. By the way, he was graduating from the university that June and would be continuing on to medical school.

We take reading for granted sometimes. I've been able to read since I was about three, and so could my brothers. It's hard for me to envision anyone my age (67) not being able to read. Unfortuntely, adults not being able to read is more common than you would think. When we were in Chicago, Mary volunteered with an organization called Literacy Volunteers of America, now called ProLiteracy. She worked with several adults who had managed to graduate from school without being able to read. They weren't dyslexic (which is an entirely different issue), they just were passed along by the school system. They were doomed to work in unskilled, low-paying jobs as a result.

In today's world, the ability to read, write, and do simple math is essential for survival. UNESCO thinks that those abilities are fundamental to building sustainable and peaceful societies, and thus a sustainable and peaceful world, and I can't argue with that.

Take time to appreciate the gift that you have been given. Share it with your children and grandchildren, your nieces and nephews. Help them to enjoy the worlds that reading opens to them. If you have the time and inclination, volunteer to help a non-reading adult to learn this critical skill.

Happy International Literacy Day!

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Happy Book Lovers Day!

August 9th is Book Lovers Day, widely celebrated around the world (or at least on the Internet). Since a lot of our A to Z challenge participants are authors or book bloggers, we though it would be nice to acknowledge this cheerful and bookish day.

So.

HAPPY BOOK LOVERS DAY!

If you have a book that was born from an A to Z theme, please drop links in the comments!

To celebrate, I wanted to share my favorite reading challenge with you. There are a lot of amazing reading challenges out there - please share YOUR favorites in the comments!

The challenge I have been enjoying the most in the past years is run on a Hungarian book site (moly.hu) by community members. It's called Polymath Training. Every January they announce 12 topics that participants have to read freely selected nonfiction books for. Topics range widely from astronomy to animation to church history to classical music. 11 topics are the same, the 12th is generated randomly for each participant (using Wiki articles). I have found amazing books through this challenge that I would have never found (or been interested in) otherwise, and I learned a whole lot of fascinating things about the world. Whenever I finish the list early, I usually generate some more topics for myself just for the heck of it. There really are no prizes or anything, just the adventure of discovery.

Whatever your genres and tastes are, I hope you have a great time reading today! :)

Monday, July 17, 2023

World Emoji Day

 Happy World Emoji!

Do you know why we celebrate World Emoji Day on July 17th?

It's because on the original calendar emoji, the date shown was July 17th! This is what I get when I search for a calendar emoji:


But the typical calendar emoji we can insert easily is more vague: 📆

If I had to pick a favorite emoji, it would probably be 😈

In my youth, I spent a lot of time in chat rooms (I'm showing my middle-age) and we used emojis before they actually existed. >:-) was my favorite then, and that has continued into adult-hood. But now that we have the pineapple🍍, it might take the favorite slot for me now. My husband and I used it so much that he named me Pineapple in his phone and all of our rooms have pineapples everywhere!

What is your favorite emoji? Drop it in the comments!

Monday, May 15, 2023

A to Z 2023 Road Trip Is Here!

#AtoZChallenge 2023 RoadTrip

It's time for the Post A to Z Road Trip 2023! This is a great opportunity to catch up on the many blogs you would have liked to have spent more time visiting, but didn't during the Challenge, and a chance to visit the blogs of people who did the Challenge that you never got to. And, if you're one of those people who did the Challenge but didn't get a lot of visitors, this is a way to let people know that you'd appreciate a visit.

Here's what you do:

  1. Sign up for the Road Trip. There's a place where you can put in the URL of a post that you would like visitors to read first. Then, grab a copy of the Road Trip badge from the graphics page (if you want) for your home page to use as a "bumper sticker."
  2. Get copies of both the Road Trip List and the Master List. Both will be useful.
  3. Start with the Road Trip list and visit the blogs of the people who signed up there. Take some time to read their blog and their Challenge entries. Leave comments where you feel led to do so, and make sure you identify yourself as a Road Trip participant. Leave a link to your blog so they can return the favor.
  4. Then, if you have the time and inclination to do so, visit some of the blogs on the Master List that you didn't get the chance to visit. Even if they didn't sign up for the Road Trip, I'm sure they'd appreciate a visit.

There's no set time limit to the Road Trip (i.e. no specific end date), so if you wanted to, you could visit everyone who was part of this year's Challenge between now and the start of next year's Challenge. If that's what you want to do, go for it! Most importantly, have fun!

Happy Motoring!

Monday, May 1, 2023

Did You Win! Tell Us About It! Reflections #AtoZChallenge 2023

 


      If you managed to make it to the end of the alphabet in the 2023 April Blogging from A to Z  Challenge then you've earned bragging rights.  Go ahead and grab a winner's badge to slap on your own blog page to show everybody that you did it.  Thanks to our graphics star for providing us a handsome trophy to brighten our blog pages.   

     And Congratulations to all of our A to Z Winners!

      Now grab a badge and move on down the page to the next little hop.


Winner Badge


#AtoZChallenge 2023 Winner

Reflections

         Ever since the very first A to Z Challenge in 2010 there has been a tradition of sharing a "Reflections" post to tell of our own experiences and what we gained from them.  It's a good time to remind readers of what you posted in April and to find out what great posts you might have missed and will want to go back to check on.   After all, A to Z ain't over until you think it's over and for some of us it's an all the time way of thinking.  

         We're hoping that each A to Z participant will tell us how this past April went for them.  Let us know what was good as well as any recommendations to make the Challenge better in the years to come. We would especially like to know if the posts with the lists were useful to you. Is there anything you'd change? Anything you'd advocate keeping? How can our team keep you coming back for more and get you to invite friends to this blogging community? Please, give us your thoughts as part of your A to Z Reflections Post.  You can use the badge below to adorn that post.

       >>> Drop the direct link to your Reflections Post here and hop to the responses here. <<<

        Thank you to all!


#AtoZChallenge 2023 Reflections


Graphics #AtoZChallenge

The Road-Trip kicks off next week. And there will be a post on this blog every month for the rest of the year. 

March 10, 2024, will be our next Theme Reveal.


Follow us on social media all year, because we have fun posts planned.

bloglovin
bloglovin.com/blogs/blogging-from-a-to-z-april-challenge-3294742

Instagram @a.to.z.challenge @a.to.z.challenge Facebook logo @atozchallenge
Twitter @AprilA2Z @AprilA2Z Our hashtag is #AtoZChallenge
Please follow us on social media.


Sunday, April 30, 2023

Z for Zealously #atozchallenge 2023

#AtoZChallenge 2023 letter Z


Blog zealously (with great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or objective).
Zealously definition #atozchallenge

Part of being resilient about blogging is staying enthusiastic, or at least faking it. Resilient bloggers have the same hard lives, stresses, and roadblocks as anyone else -- except they have a blogging community to provide a reason to keep making posts, a reliable audience to leave them comments, and a sustainable list of other blogs to visit regularly. If you've just finished the challenge, you should now have all of those!

In a training session, a doctor said just because your patients are resilient doesn’t mean they aren’t suffering. This concept of coexistence struck me. Resilience is often out of necessity, and doesn’t mean someone is okay.


We hope you enjoyed the challenge this year. Congratulations on making it to letter Z. 🙌🎉
You've earned a nap. 😴💤

Winner Badge


#AtoZChallenge 2023 Winner

2023 Site Stats-- Views and Most Popular Posts


#AtoZChallenge Views 2023
#AtoZChallenge most popular posts 2023


March 10, 2024, will be our next Theme Reveal.

Mark it on your calendar now. 

Tomorrow, May 1, Arlee will post the REFLECTIONS sign-up. 
It's important to let us know how the challenge went this year, if you feel the team has been RESILIENT at keeping this international bloghop going, what went right, what went wrong, anything you wish was different, how being part of this blogging community impacts your blog and online social standing, and whatever else you want to share. 

If any brave graphic artists/ talents out there wish to apply to do the 2024 graphics, leaving a potential sample badge in your reflection would be cool. (It is a LOT of work. There are close to 40 graphics to produce and get approved by the team. Plus the Instagram platform to run.) Our anonymous helper this year opted not to share their information because of the increase in graphics complaints since Jeremy died. It's not a gratitude-heavy volunteer position. HTML and Blogger platform knowledge is a huge bonus. 

Follow us on social media all year, because we have fun posts planned.

bloglovin
bloglovin.com/blogs/blogging-from-a-to-z-april-challenge-3294742

http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com

Instagram @a.to.z.challenge @a.to.z.challenge Facebook logo @atozchallenge
Twitter @AprilA2Z @AprilA2Z Our hashtag is #AtoZChallenge
Please follow us on social media.

#AtoZChallenge 2023 badge

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Y Is For Yield

It's the next to the last day of the A to Z Challenge for 2023! Time sure flies, doesn't it?

For my last post on the A to Z Challenge blog, I thought of another word that suggests resilience, yield. It can be used as a noun or verb. When used as a verb, it means to give way, to wait until someome else has passed before making a move yourself. You see YIELD signs on the highways, when you're on an entrance ramp and about to merge into traffic. It doesn't mean you have to stop: if, when you get to the end of the ramp, there's no traffic in the lane, you can go right ahead and move over. It's a sign of resilience to be willing to do that. Plenty of times, I've seen someone come barreling onto the highway, nearly causing an accident when they do because someone else is in the lane. If they do cause an accident, they're the ones at fault, because they failed to yield.

When used as a noun, yield relates to the amount of output you get. A recipe for muffins might yield 8 muffins; a deposit in a certificate of deposit might yield 3% interest over the course of a year. Participating in the A to Z Challenge, of course, yields 26 blog posts and hopefully a new attitude toward blogging. Maybe you'll end up with a book out of all your posts. Who can say?

Regardless of why you did the Challenge this year, we're glad you did. Thanks for participating!

Friday, April 28, 2023

X for Xiexie and Xenium #AtoZChallenge 2023

#AtoZChallenge 2023 letter X


Xiexie

Definition: a remark showing gratefulness 

Xenium

Definition: something presented to guests as a farewell gift  

(Source: https://intothepixel.com/positive-words-that-start-with-x)


The A to Z team is grateful to every blogger who took part this year. The alphabet is nearly over! Here is the badge for anyone who feels they have earned it, as our farewell gift for this year. (Don't worry, Y and Z will still post. As well as Reflections and the Road Trip!)

Winner Badge


#AtoZChallenge 2023 Winner

March 10, 2024, will be our next Theme Reveal.

Mark it on your calendar now. 

On May 1, Arlee will post the REFLECTIONS sign-up. It's important to let us know how the challenge went this year, if you feel the team has been RESILIENT at keeping this international bloghop going, what went right, what went wrong, anything you wish was different, how being part of this blogging community impacts your blog and social standing, and whatever else you want to share. 

Also, if any brave graphic artists/ talents out there wish to apply to do the 2024 graphics, leaving a suggested sample in your reflection would be cool. (It is a LOT of work. There are close to 40 graphics to produce and get approved by the team. Plus the Instagram platform to run.) Our anonymous helper this year opted not to share their information because of the increase in graphics complaints since Jeremy died. It's not a gratitude-heavy volunteer position. HTML and Blogger platform knowledge is a huge bonus. 

Follow us on social media all year, because we have fun posts planned.

bloglovin
bloglovin.com/blogs/blogging-from-a-to-z-april-challenge-3294742

Instagram @a.to.z.challenge @a.to.z.challenge Facebook logo @atozchallenge
Twitter @AprilA2Z @AprilA2Z Our hashtag is #AtoZChallenge
Please follow us on social media.

#AtoZChallenge 2023 badge

Thursday, April 27, 2023

W is for... #AtoZChallenge

 


Who? What? When? Where? Why?

Every time I write an invitation to any event, I go through the 5 W Questions, so when I realized that I would be writing the W post for the A to Z Challenge, that's what immediately popped into my mind.

So now, I invite you to join me in finishing this month strong. Of course there's X, Y, and Z to go, but also the Reflections and Road Trip!

Who? You! Our wondering blogging community.

What? Participate in the A to Z Challenge Reflections and Road Trip!

When? We'll be posting about Reflections on Monday, May 1st and the Road Trip on Monday, May 15th.

Where? Right there on your blog.

Why? Because you can't wait to share what you learned through the A to Z Challenge and you want one more opportunity to connect with others!

Why do you love blogging with A to Z? Let us know in the comments!

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

V is for Victory Lap (#AtoZChallenge)


We are close to the end! Only a few more letters to go.

Pat yourselves on the back! (Or on the shoulder).

How are you going to celebrate your victory in completing the Challenge this year? Because you deserve to celebrate your accomplishments!

If you finished the Challenge, celebrate it!

If you made some posts, celebrate those!

If you visited new people and made new connections, celebrate them!

Even if it's just a small thing. Tiny everyday celebrations are important. Have fun! :)

Utilizing Your Writing Skills ( #AtoZChallenge )

 

#AtoZChallenge 2023 letter U


       Up to this point, if you've been keeping up with all of your daily letter posts, you've been utilizing your writing skills.  "But it's just blogging," you might say.   It's still writing just like writing a letter or an entry in your life journal is writing.  Writing is writing the way I see it and it's up to the writer as to how good the writing is.

        Undoubtedly you've read--or are at least aware of books consisting of letters written by some author or some significant person of the past.  Why were those letters saved and treasured?   They probably were a window into a past history which made them interesting or even important to readers years later.  And often they consisted of good writing or writing that was somehow worth preserving for posterity.

        Sometimes we are just hacking out posts to have content on our blog sites.  It's writing nevertheless.  And it's up to each of us to make that writing as good as we can.  Some of our posts might be akin to first drafts for some future work we might write.  Or they might be masterpieces waiting to be discovered by readers.  They might be just the thing that some reader out there has been waiting to find--the idea or experience that connects them to a writer they may likely never meet in person.

         If you've made it successfully to this point in the A to Z Challenge then you need to congratulate yourself.  As long as you've been persistent and dedicated with your posting, you have utilized your writing skills and that is a good thing for anyone--especially anyone who thinks of themselves as a writer.   In the past, A to Z has spawned books and other projects.   Who knows where your A to Z blog posts might take you.  

        Once you've made it through the alphabet by blogging you can continue on to face new writing challenges.  Perhaps it will help you blog better.   Maybe you'll even want to come back for more A to Z blogging like so many have done for over a decade now.  

         Just a few more posts to go and then you can start planning for next year.   You might even publish something as a result of your participation in this year's Challenge.  Keep going to the end!  You can do this!


Have you ever published something as a result of your A to Z participation?   Do you think blogging helps you to be a better writer?   Do you still write letters?




Monday, April 24, 2023

T is for Time #AtoZChallenge

 


T is for Time

Do you ever feel like you don't have enough time? That is my constant state of being. My To Do List never ends, and sometimes feels like it gets longer every time I look at it. Just focusing on the A to Z Challenge for a moment, I have over 100 emails from the blogs I've subscribed to that I haven't read yet. I'm behind on my posts on my personal blog (actually, I got caught up just now, but I was two days behind). I haven't had a chance to read any new blogs...

The list just goes on.

I share this because I want you to know that if you feel the same way, you aren't alone! And while time is always short, there's still time left in April for you to catch up. Even if you can't catch up on your own posts, we hope that you'll take some time to visit and comment on new blogs, revisit some of your favorites, and hopefully gain something from this challenge.

Take time to invest in blogging this month. Feel free to tell us in the comments what you hope to accomplish this month with the time we have left!

Friday, April 21, 2023

S is for Surprises (#AtoZChallenge)



Even with the best laid plans and the best preparation, SURPRISES can happen. Our resilience is constantly tested when we face something we absolutely did not expect or prepare for. Case in point: I thought as I was all prepared for this month... and then my phone went down. And then the internet. And both proved to be a lot harder to fix than anticipated. And suddenly, keeping up with the Challenge became harder.

What do we do when SURPRISE pops out of nowhere? Well, if we are resilient, we deal with it. Here is a piece of advice that was very meaningful to me, and helpful in dealing with "WHAT IF?" anxieties. I'd like to share it, maybe it will help you too:

You CAN'T prepare for everything. You can't have a plan for every possible event. What you CAN do is build your resilience: take care of yourself, build up your reserves of energy, mental strength, physical wellbeing. So when the unexpected DOES happen (and it will), you have the reserves to deal with it.

Some surprises are not fun. But some of them are. Did you come across any FUN surprises during this year's Challenge? :)

I personally was delightfully surprised by a lot of great themes this year.

Keep up the good work, you are doing great! :)

R is for Resistant (#atozchallenge)

#AtoZChallenge 2023 letter R

This clip from The Big Bang Theory Tells you almost all you need to know about the difference between resilient and resistant.

We see Sheldon, Leonard, Raj, and Howard with a complex logic problem mapped out on the white board in Leonard and Sheldon's apartment. It turns out that they are trying to choose a restaurant and a movie theater for that night's entertainment. The reason the process is so involved is because Leonard, Raj, and Howard are trying to satisfy Sheldon's demand that the theater has an Icee machine and sells Red Vines at the candy counter. They try multiple alternatives, all of which are met with Sheldon's resistance. Finally, they reach the only conclusion: leave Sheldon at home and go out without him.

Leonard, Raj, and Howard are resilient: they just want to get something to eat and go see a movie. Sheldon, who once commented that "as long as everything is exactly the way I want it, I can be flexible," is being resistant: he's willing to forgo dinner and a movie with his friends rather than settle for Twizzlers and a Slurpee.

If you've watched The Big Bang Theory from the beginning, you know that there are a lot of moments like this, where plans for an entertaining night are stymied by Sheldon's truculence. You wonder why they're willing to put up with him, an d the answer is simp[e: they're his friends.

There are good reasons to be resistant. Everyone has the hill they're willing to die on, although not necessarily over Red Vines and Icees. Sheldon is an extreme case, but we all do this. If you feel comfortable sharing, leave us a comment and let us know.

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Q is for Querying #AtoZChallenge

#AtoZChallenge 2023 letter Q The proverb is Nana korobi, ya oki which means Fall down seven times, stand up eight.


Hi!
I’m Brandy, a writer of YA fantasy, thrillers and adult fantasy. And the Japanese proverb above encompasses my own personal definition of resilience: the ability to stand up after being knocked down, and a willingness to put yourself in a position to face the same circumstances, even when you know you might get knocked down again. 

Never have I found this more true than with the experience of querying.

question marks

For the writers out there you may associate querying with one of the steps on the path to traditional publishing. This is certainly what I think of. But I think that we all query way more than we realize.
love keyboard

A typical job search parallels querying very closely,
As does using dating apps,
Or, hoping for engagement with blog posts.


In all of these we are selling ourselves, our work, our experience and backgrounds, our interests, packaging them into tidy bundles that we hope will appeal.

And when rejection hits- it hurts.
Batman Robin Grey's Anatomy pick me quote passed

A lot. 

This is where resilience comes in. 

For me resiliency in querying is based on two factors:
Accepting rejection without internalizing it.  My work is being rejected. But others' opinions on my work is not a reflection of my personal worth.
Reminding myself if a door closes, it probably wasn’t the door for me. I don’t want to work with an agent or publisher who doesn’t love my work. 

I think these translate well to other avenues of querying whether it’s in your work or personal life.

When you’re resilient you have the ability to accept rejection, despite how personal it feels, and continue to put yourselves out there.

If you’re writing that means continuing to query your book, or the next book.
If you’re applying to jobs that means continuing to search for a role you want and not settling for the first opening that says yes.
If you’re searching for connection that means continuing to look.
And if you’re putting yourself out there with blog posts, it means taking on challenges like A to Z, to find the right audience and to make connections with other bloggers.


Sure, I fall down a lot, but I always get back up.


#AtoZChallenge 2023 badge

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Plodding Onward ( #AtoZChallenge )

 

#AtoZChallenge 2023 letter P


Please tell us you haven't given up!  

Today I ran across a few blogs that seem to have stopped posting a few letters back.  If that's you and you feel like you cannot catch up then let me say:  "Yes you can!"

It's okay to fall behind a bit.  But do not give up!  Not yet.

Whatever you do though, be sure to have a good time.  After all, it's just blogging.

Let us know how you're doing.




Tuesday, April 18, 2023

On and On We Go ( #AtoZChallenge )

 

#AtoZChallenge 2023 letter O

      On and on to April's end we keep moving forward with great resilience.   

      I hope that's what's happening with all of you.  Even if you've fallen behind, you still can catch up.

      Don't give up!  You will do this!


      What have been some of the obstacles you have faced with this year's Challenge?   Have you been able to visit many new blogs so far?   Will you be able to finish by the official end date?






       

Monday, April 17, 2023

Nuts! No One Is Perfect! ( #AtoZChallenge)

 



        Sorry!   We are a little late with an 'N' post, but that's okay--this Challenge is about you and the posts on your blog.   We are here for presence and motivation.

       Leave your blog links below and let us know how things are going so far.