Mary Elizabeth faces challenges as a writer and a mother. Two of her three kids are on the spectrum and they inspired her award winning book series. Not only all of that – she has two shows that stream online.
Her mission is to help families which ultimately helps the kids. Her books help with her mission and she has worked with other authors to achieve those goals.
[00:00:56] Mary: hello? We’re JP and Christine co-host of the serial fiction show. Do you like to read or write serial fiction and want to learn more? We have two podcasts, the reader serial fiction show and the writer serial fiction. On the reader’s podcast, we escape into a new cereal each week. Then interview the author to tell us more on the writer serial fiction show.
[00:01:20] Mary: We break the serial episode down with the author and talk craft, upping our serial fiction game together. Pump get lost in serial fiction and meet some amazing authors along the way to get you reading and writing cereal. So hop on over to serial fiction, show.com and check it out. We hope to see you there.
[00:01:45] Stephen: welcome to another great episode of discovered word Smiths, and there’s a great guest today. She has a. Interesting life let’s say with her not only her authorship, but her three kids, two of which are on the spectrum and her books are inspired by and also meant to help with families, with kids on the spectrum.
[00:02:07] Stephen: So it’s a great talk, great books to check out. Everybody should go learn a little more about dealing with these issues and it would probably make the world a lot better. And I think Mary Elizabeth is trying. To help us all do that. You also may notice that I have several episodes I’ve been releasing each week.
[00:02:28] Stephen: That’s because this fall I’ve had such an influx of people for interviews, new authors, authors, I’ve already talked to a chapter reads, I’m doing the panels, uh, just a whole bunch of stuff. So. I’ve started releasing two a week for a while to catch up because I don’t want all the authors sitting and waiting for three, four months until their, their interview comes out.
[00:02:55] Stephen: So that’s why we might have a few more than just the one. So anyway, uh, let’s move on with the talk and here’s Mary Elizabeth. All right. So today, uh, on discovered wordsmiths, we have Mary Elizabeth, some Mary. Hi, it’s great to see you. How are you doing?
[00:03:12] Mary: I am doing fantastic. So glad to be on here with you.
[00:03:15] Mary: Thank you so much for having me on. I appreciate it.
[00:03:18] Stephen: Great. No problem. It’s good to see you to talk to you. So I want to find out all about you and your book. Let’s start a little bit with you. Tell us who you are and where you live a little bit about your life outside of writing.
[00:03:29] Mary: Ah, okay. I live in Northeast Nashville, so I’m really close to music city and
[00:03:36] Stephen: literally.
[00:03:38] Mary: Oh, really? Where are you? Picked a terrible weekend to be here with all through,
[00:03:42] Stephen: but I was inside at an author conference, a really good conference. The one of the Drury’s Drury hotel.
[00:03:52] Mary: Cool. Yes, I, and I have, one of my closest friend from college was here this weekend on a birthday thing with six couples.
[00:03:58] Mary: And I was like, I’m like, oh, this weather is just, we drove into Nashville yesterday to meet up with her. And I couldn’t believe how many people were downtown, even in the rain. We were just like, this city is so crazy.
[00:04:13] Stephen: Yeah. It was raining all weekend. I looked down. Oh, Hey, look, it’s raining again. I’m going to go back in and enjoy some free coffee.
[00:04:19] Stephen: Yeah,
[00:04:20] Mary: there you go. Yeah, that sounds like a good idea, right? Yeah. I am a wife and a mother of three children. Super spread out. So it makes, what’s never boring. Let’s just say that there’s always something going on all the way from senior in college to an eight year old. And I’m also am a children’s author.
[00:04:37] Mary: I have an award winning children’s series that was actually inspired by my son who came super late in life. So there was no plans for it. It was like, I didn’t get that memo saying, Hey, do you want to get pregnant at this age and have a baby in the middle of your life?
[00:04:50] Stephen: You’re already kind of done with that.
[00:04:52] Mary: He, he, all three of my children inspire me. Absolutely. But he definitely was very heavily involved in the inspiration for all of this and the motivation for it. And I am also an advocate for special needs and disabilities because I have two kids on the spectrum and there’ve been some things that have happened in our lives.
[00:05:11] Mary: That kind of it, I ended up going to get certified to be able to do this kind of work, not only for my kids, but for other families as well. And it’s just, it’s so cool how it’s just transpired and just so many different things that I get to do that are a part of my life. And I, I just, I really love it.
[00:05:26] Mary: And I love being an advocate for various different things. And it’s so funny. Every time I turned around, I was like, oh gosh, okay. There’s something else that we need to advocate about. You just never, there was no boundaries or in sport, it seems like especially today in our world, I’m also a live streamer.
[00:05:40] Mary: So I co-founded in co-host two shows that are on. We now stream off Amazon lie, but we also stream out to Facebook and LinkedIn and Twitter and YouTube and it’s writer’s corner live TV is the first one. So it’s all about the writing world and features, interviews and things like that. And the other special needs TV.
[00:05:56] Mary: So that features everything about that world interviews and information and resources and stuff like that. I love doing links
[00:06:04] Stephen: to that in the show notes for everyone.
[00:06:08] Mary: And actually, if you go to my website, Mary jackson.com there’s links there, the links for the books, there’s links to go to the shows. And there’s also, I’ve got a couple of videos on there for families or parents or caregivers who are new to the journey of a child having.
[00:06:24] Mary: Diagnosis or feeling lost or I’m just going to, I will continue adding information. There are folks in I’m working on some peat, free PDFs and things that people can download for that to like what, what to have lined up, getting ready for your IEP meeting. Cool. And families really need to be educated on what their rights are because we do in, we feel like we don’t these days feel like they’re being taken away from us there a lot of rights that families and caregivers and people don’t know they have for their child, that
[00:06:55] Stephen: journeys.
[00:06:56] Stephen: Sorry to interrupt, I think has gotten better. It’s still needed. And I’m glad that people like you are doing that. My wife, we only met four or five years ago, but her one son has autism and she had a very difficult time in the late nineties with the school because of that. And things have changed and gotten a whole lot better compared to that.
[00:07:17] Stephen: But it’s too late for him. I’m glad that people are speaking out and helping make those changes.
[00:07:23] Mary: There’s little. Yeah, there are some changes, but I’ll tell you Stephen. It is so still in the dark. It’s so backwards in so many ways. So there’s so much work to do. I’m an advisor on a, it’s a global for-profit.
[00:07:36] Mary: You should tell her to look this up called billion hyphens strong, and you can join and be a supporter. You don’t have to financially support you. You can be a supporter of what they’re doing. They’re an organization that makes sure that company is all. And I do mean globally companies, globally hire folks with disabilities and challenges, and it’s a great organization and there’s a lot of heart and soul in it that goes with what they’re doing.
[00:08:02] Mary: So it’s
[00:08:03] Stephen: a great thing.
[00:08:06] Mary: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I’m a big fan of Debra Rue. She’s the leader. She’s like this, let’s see for virginity, Mike, my producer and co-host and I call her a mama bear on steroids. So she’s, she’s really working hard out there. So I also I’ve done some songwriting, but the I’m the voice on, it’s a new app.
[00:08:25] Mary: That’s coming out called sport together. It’s starting out in the Netherlands and Denmark and everything. And so they’re going to be bringing it over to the United States. So yeah, that. I love to be the beach I’m from Florida Orlando. So I am here in the rain and the clouds. My 17 year old just got done with production all weekend.
[00:08:49] Mary: We, she was in Peter and the Starcatcher it’s about how Peter became Peter pan and. Yeah, it’s very cool. And it was outside, but we were under a pavilion. Thank goodness. Um, but it rain for you we’re here and then it was stopped at night, but it was still all there. But anyways, so I like the sunshine any moment of any day.
[00:09:13] Stephen: Okay. So you’ve got a few things going on. You’ve got a few interests that you do. So the writing, why did you want to put
[00:09:20] Mary: writing in with, I’ve been writing my whole life and in my love, this is so funny. I’m a poet by heart, but I’ve never published any poetry. I have not been brave enough to do that.
[00:09:31] Mary: Sounds weird. I know, but I just haven’t done it yet. I want to though, but my, the children’s book got my foot in the door for writing and it was really an interesting way that it happened, but it, like I said, Uninspired it, it was just divinely, given it was inspired. It was had this instant, like the story came, one of those moments and I was in recovery with my son.
[00:09:56] Mary: We had a, the end of the pregnancy was very scary. My recovery was really touch and go and serious. And it was after all that. And I tell this story and it’s really true how it happened. I was in this place of just thank God I’m here and he’s here in row. K. And that’s where the story came and it was intended to go along the lines of his lifeline.
[00:10:18] Mary: And now he’s eight, but the first one is for littles like newborns, and then it goes the second one’s for toddlers in the third one, we just released June 2nd is for ages four to eight. And it’s like, Awkward silliness, funky, weird time that children go through at that period of time where they’re growing and changing.
[00:10:37] Mary: And they’re always growing and changing, but it particularly focuses on that time. And I like to rhyme because children love rhyming. It helps them to, they learn easier that way they’re able to retain. So rhyming is just the way it all came out. And it’s the first book is called perfectly precious, delicious.
[00:10:55] Mary: And I know the word sounds funny, but what it is a play on words and children love silly words. Dr. CS is obviously one of my biggest, I love Dr. C’s. And I always did, even as a kid, because all the words don’t make sense. They’re silly, funny kids laughing a kid. As soon as you have a child laughing, they’re just armed and the way they feel safe and I can learn, they can soak in that information so much more.
[00:11:18] Mary: So I included in these books, I am pages and they are there to inspire that conversation early, that language early for families and children. To start learning those empowering tools of I am and I can do. And you are, and it’s very important. I think we got to start our kids early on that positive language.
[00:11:41] Mary: Cause think about it, Steven, how would your life have been? I’ve thought about my life. If I had been given these tools very young in life, would I, how different would my life be? How different would my path had gone? And I had somebody actually there helping me gain. These, this empowerment early in life.
[00:11:59] Mary: And the cool thing I think about it is that language is free. So a child can have it with them always. So they’re having a bad day. They can talk themselves down or out from that place. So I’ve chosen my path or writing has really grown that way. I have a middle grade reader coming out October 19th for ages eight to 12, and it focuses on it does have an anti-bullying aspect to it, but it focuses on the redemption of these.
[00:12:26] Mary: Figuring out they have the guilty, they feel for what they did, but they seek forgiveness and they seek to be, they seek to forgive themselves to be forgiven, forgive themselves, and to help their friends be better people. And. How can we do this differently, moving forward and inspire each other instead of tearing each other down.
[00:12:46] Mary: So I chosen for children with writing to write empowering works for children and families that can be involved because the book coming out in October called tears from heaven, with my coauthor Thorton Klein, it has got tools in the back that can be used in schools for kids individually in classrooms, in groups, the whole class, and the whole school is.
[00:13:07] Mary: So I, I think that right now, more than anything, we’ve got to get that positive language going for children and families. I think it’s
[00:13:15] Stephen: so super important. Aren’t just focused on kids and families on the spectrum. These are overall for, right,
[00:13:23] Mary: right. These particular art. Now I’ve got an eight series that I’ve got the first one written for, and that is going to be for all kids, but there will be focus on children.
[00:13:33] Mary: You have challenges. And like my role as an advocate has changed over the year since I started writing. So the things that, so I have books that will be focused on kiddos with challenges and social skills and mindfulness. And I just did a mental health expo on Saturday and with two other people, and the focus was families.
[00:13:53] Mary: And my focus is helping children to self-regulate and understand their emotions and be able to like if they’re in a red zone and be able to come back to a green zone, like zones of regulation is one of my very favorite books for families and kids. And I use it with my own children. I’ve used affirmations with my kids and I’ve also given them.
[00:14:15] Mary: Outlets as they are there as they’ve grown up. My girls, they’re both very artistic there’s outlets of. Okay. If you can’t talk to me about how you’re feeling, then let’s write it out or draw it out for me or turn on the music and run around like crazy until you feel. Some kind of positive outlet for them that’s feel safe.
[00:14:34] Mary: And then once they do whatever it is physically, they have to do to feel better writing or drawing or singing or dancing or running or throwing basketballs, or then they can come back and go, oh, okay. Now I feel better. Or, wow. I was so upset about that. And it was such a, it was such a big deal that now I can see that it’s smaller than what I thought it was and I’m okay now, but it’s also a focus.
[00:14:58] Mary: My writing is also. About trying to help children except who they are. That’s one of the themes in the books I have is accept who you are. However you came into this world. Cause however you came into this world really is okay. The world tries to make it not. Okay. You have autism, you’re in a wheelchair.
[00:15:15] Mary: You have down syndrome, so you must be broken. And that’s so far from this.
[00:15:19] Stephen: I agree. And I’m bald dealing with that alone is enough for me, let alone some of these other issues and I’m not trying to make light of anything. So don’t nobody take it that way. Even people who look normal or look better or whatever, they, I, everybody has their own issues and it affects everybody different.
[00:15:38] Stephen: And I love what you were saying earlier about giving these kids, these words. Cause one of the things, cause I write middle grade and I’m also working on some talks for parents for middle grade kids. But one of the things I see with my own kids, their friends as they were growing up and the world in general, Kids.
[00:15:57] Stephen: They don’t know how to handle anything. The littlest thing will just set them off and they will cocoon up and they can’t deal with it. And there’s such a high level of anxiety and depression amongst 19 year olds. And I’m like, are you kidding me when I was 19 man? I was. So again, I joke about my bulb. And that’s such a small little issue, but I think that type of issue would have some major impact on kids nowadays.
[00:16:25] Stephen: Oh my gosh, I’m going bald at 22. I can’t handle this. So I think what you’re doing is super good.
[00:16:32] Mary: Oh, thank you. And it’s true. Even we’re in such a time right now for our kids. I watched my daughter come home from college, like last year, like so many families did across the country and our globe. And I watched my college daughter and my high school daughter, even with all the tools that we use.
[00:16:49] Mary: They’re they’re still human. They’re still normal. There’s just still. Trying to make it through the world. They’re faced with things that you and I will never, never had to face when we were kids growing up. I’m not sure what year you were born. I do know. Never do. We never had, we had any of this go on.
[00:17:05] Mary: And so I, I did a series on zoom back last year, uh, for a period of time parenting through quarantine and I got parents to come on and we talked about what was working for them in their homes, with their children and what wasn’t working and let’s share tips and ideas with each other. So for my girls, what I did was I had to process how I felt and those panic feelings at nighttime, you probably hadn’t.
[00:17:29] Mary: I think all of us adults did, are we going to wake up tomorrow morning? And it is something that part of the planet can be blown off because, and I’m not trying to be dramatic, but seriously, every day it was like something else and something else. And even that’s what’s happening now for, uh, for our world.
[00:17:45] Mary: I have to remember to compose myself in deal with how I was feeling so that I could be strong and supportive for my girls and I kid, and even my son and I can help guide them through, okay, we’re going through all of this right now. So we have to focus on what are our choices that we have. Well, we have choices about how we feel about things that are happening right now and how we deal with them in what we let affect us and the choices we also have.
[00:18:14] Mary: Where we put our focus, let’s focus on being creative or schoolwork or whatever we do. And let’s put almost like a bubble around us. And then this is where we concentrate and we let the world stay out there. And that seems to really help my girls be able to when they were having those moments of, oh, to be able to come back and go, okay, it’s going to be okay.
[00:18:37] Mary: At least right now in this moment. It’s okay.
[00:18:43] Stephen: And you’re what age group are you targeting these books out
[00:18:46] Mary: again? I have books for littles. Okay. Like the series that I have goes from newborn to age eight, then the middle greeter, middle grade reader. No is age eight to 12, of course. And so I have not. I have one written for older, but I haven’t published it yet.
[00:19:02] Mary: It’s not finished. What I’ll say is that I’m part of two collaborative anthologies that have just released in August. One is about being an entrepreneur and the church journey of entrepreneurs and the other, which is so prevalent too. Right now. I think also in life is called invisible. No more invincible forever.
[00:19:23] Mary: And that’s about the journeys of feeling invisible and what we overcame there 29 of us women in this book to feel invincible in our lives. And this book is so valid right now in the sense of self care is such a buzzword right now, right? We’re all very much needing to self care. Everyone needs to take care of themselves better than we have been doing.
[00:19:47] Mary: And part of that is being able to talk about the things. Maybe you’ve buried, maybe are your wounds. Maybe you’re dragging around a bag behind you, maybe are keeping you from moving forward in your life. But knowing that you can hopefully find someone in your life to talk to about them so you can get to a place of healing.
[00:20:07] Mary: So you’re not carrying all that around with you because it is so crippling for a lot of people. Isn’t it holding onto that stuff. And this is suicide prevention month. And so one of our focuses with the book with. Hopefully reach others so that they don’t feel like that was their only choice in life because it isn’t, someone’s only choice in life.
[00:20:29] Mary: There’s always gotta be an answer or outlet somehow. And I don’t know, I don’t have all the answers, but we, I lost someone recently, a family member to this, and I grew up in a household where we talked about everything. And I’m trying to teach my children. Let’s talk about it. Even if you can’t verbally say it, just write it down on paper, hand me a note, write it down, throw it away, rip it up.
[00:20:52] Mary: I don’t care. That makes you feel better. At least you’re not carrying it around in here. And as well as I do, like you said, at the drop of a hat children’s emotions can go from zero to a thousand and it’s. Hey, you were just, okay, what are you? What happened? The wind shifted. And now you’re freaking out for us adults.
[00:21:08] Mary: We’re like, oh my gosh, we’re on this boat with our kids. So we’re trying to steady the boat as they’re freaking out, the waves are crashing. So I just think it’s really important for us to give them those tools, even if they’re just a couple to help them, because something’s better than nothing.
[00:21:31] Stephen: And it sounds like there’s a lot here, not just something. And I think starting younger is good because they need to develop this as they grow and just all the way back you Suzy pulling or Susie getting her pigtails pool because the other little boy wants the glue all the way back to their. Dealing with that.
[00:21:49] Stephen: I can see how important that is. Especially when you were talking about people on the spectrum. Like I said, some of the horror stories I heard with my wife and her son, I’m like really, I, I can’t believe that little things like Adam is very smart and can do the test. But with all the other kids around making the noises, it distracted Omani putting concentrate.
[00:22:10] Stephen: So she said, Jenny just wear headphones. And at the time they said, absolutely not. He can’t do that well now they allow kids to do that. So that’s what I say. And I think it’s getting better, but being, giving the kids the power to have these tools and the confidence that builds in them in going out into the world, I think, has been missing for the last generation.
[00:22:30] Stephen: Unfortunately,
[00:22:31] Mary: It has, and they need to know what their rights are. I’m so sorry for your wife, that she didn’t realize she could have gone into the school and said, okay, listen, he has a right to this and this. And yes, she is.
[00:22:45] Stephen: They literally looked her in the face and said, no, the board did the part of education.
[00:22:49] Stephen: Oh
[00:22:49] Mary: yeah. That’s really hard. And then she has to go hire a lawyer and it gets very messy. It’s amazing. The things that still do go on and it’s amazing even today. All the awareness. There is all the services that are in schools and there are schools that don’t have the services that children need. I it’s amazing to me, the things that I still hear from a parent that we have to go fight for our asked for it, or even just bring up, Hey, can you, can we have this in?
[00:23:18] Mary: I just did it on Friday for my son. He just got. Uh, new evaluation, OT wise, I went in and sat down with his teachers and when we sat down and talked about, okay, this is what the findings were and can we implement these in the classroom? And they were like, sure. But that’s because I’ve been working there.
[00:23:36] Mary: It’s a good school where he’s at. Yeah. So they’re very, it’s a very small school and it’s, that’s on purpose for him because I know that in a big, he would not, he’d be like, oh, he gets a lot.
[00:23:51] Stephen: And he to be such a small number for them that they wouldn’t have the time I’ve got 40 other kids in this classroom.
[00:23:59] Stephen: I can’t look at the one. And unfortunately that’s what happens and I’m not blaming the teachers at all. I think teachers have one of the hardest jobs in our country.
[00:24:08] Mary: They do, and God love him. And thank you so much for the teachers that we do. And what a blessing they’re there in the position they’re in.
[00:24:19] Mary: And I know it’s hard. I know it is. So my mother was a teacher when I, when, before I was ever born. But. It’s a God journey. It’s a special gift to be able to work with kids who meet. Yeah. It is a calling and it’s not for the faint of heart. And neither is parenting. When we have children. Parenting is hard enough.
[00:24:36] Mary: This is like parenting on red bull.
[00:24:38] Stephen: Most of parenting, you don’t realize it’s not for the faint of heart until it’s too late and it’s past and it’s loud. I can’t believe we’ve made it through that.
[00:24:48] Mary: Yeah, because you’re alive. I’m alive. We’re talking. We’re still related.
[00:24:56] Mary: Oh, yes. My little guy says he’s alive.
[00:25:02] Stephen: So, what type of feedback have you been getting from parents and teachers and readers? You
[00:25:07] Mary: know what, it’s so funny. My, a friend of mine, who’s a mute, he’s a music producer. He sent me a picture of the, of the day and he said, look, what I woke up to. And it’s his little, two year old with my book thing read.
[00:25:18] Mary: So I was like, oh my gosh. I was like, okay, I have to post this. You’re okay with that. It doesn’t show his child’s face, but you can see as a child. And there’s been lots of positive feedback about it. And I hope that will continue. And I hope to. It’s been hard because with COVID for most of us authors, we’ve not been able to go into the schools and we not been able to have events.
[00:25:40] Mary: And so I’ve taken a lot of what I’m doing to online and virtual, like Saturday, our mental health expo. We actually did a couple of lives to take it out there into the virtual world, because we weren’t allowed to have so many people come in and. We Carson. And I actually go one the first Tuesday of every month, we go to our local library who I actually have worked with them to put a parent resource area in the library.
[00:26:07] Mary: We have a whole sensory room for kids. We’ve made the library much more friendly for families to come in that did not come into the library. I felt like that was very important and our library so amazing. They were very, they were very helpful in us working all that together, but we go in once a month, my son and I do, and we do a live video with the children’s librarians and it’s either.
[00:26:26] Mary: Spearmint or a craft or we make stuff it’s for kids of all challenges and that goes out on their side. And then I send it out to different organizations that I know cause like I’m an ambassador advocate for autism, Tennessee, which is one of our local organizations in Nashville. So I sent it to them and they put it out to all their family, just so it’s something for the kids and I’m really trying to grow.
[00:26:49] Mary: That, those kinds of things, like the stuff that I do with my son, we do science experiments that are easy for children, even if they need to have help with them, but it allows them. That freedom of experience and all of those sensations and sensory ways of learning, we try to include everything, but we also, sometimes I go into the therapy center where he goes and we’ll show so much the tools and things that are in there for kids and how they use it, why they use it, them what’s the science behind it.
[00:27:19] Mary: Why is it important? How does this help your kid at home? Cause you have a lot of folks who don’t have the insurance. Does it cover their services? And their child is sitting here and needs them and can’t get them, or they can’t come into the school and give their kids services. They need,
[00:27:34] Stephen: it’s not always these big elaborate things.
[00:27:38] Stephen: You’re doing little simple science experiments. And some of those kids probably remember that and they probably want to repeat the same experiment, 200 died because they were so excited. Yeah, exactly. I get that.
[00:27:53] Stephen: Sorry. Go ahead. Okay. My, so my oldest step son as wanting to do a streaming gaming, like a Twitch thing, like all the kids do. And when his brother with autism, they’re only a couple of years apart when they’re sitting down, they’re playing games together, they just laugh and talk and they do voices like Scooby-Doo and stuff like that.
[00:28:17] Stephen: We said guys, stream yourselves doing that and name the channel, like gaming with autism and just go down there and play games like you do the voices like you do, but we can’t get them to do that. And I’m like, but I think one it’d be extremely successful, but to show what other kids, maybe a, a parents and kids where they’re three, five, Where it’s hard to communicate with a kid with autism and hard to get them to understand and give them all hope and look at what these guys are doing.
[00:28:48] Stephen: And that kid has a guy now, man has autism, and I’ve tried to get them to do that. And it’s so difficult, but little things like that can help so much.
[00:29:00] Mary: Yeah, you just need to do it yourself. You just take the camera down there and you just video tape them. They just snap. You just do it. You do it. Let them start playing.
[00:29:08] Mary: Bring the camera.
[00:29:08] Stephen: Yeah. I love that. I will try and capture them at some point doing that. Maybe we’ll just get them going. And I think at first it might be a little awkward, but I think once I get rolling and forget the camera’s there, cause kids are used to it, you know? Oh,
[00:29:23] Mary: yeah. There’s, I’ve, we’re raising of a society of narcissists.
[00:29:26] Mary: What are we talking about? You know what I mean? It’s like putting on my deodorant. Oh, look at my earrings here. And I’m like, oh my gosh, I worry about this the next generation, because there’s not a reality base in a lot of ways, because a lot of them are living through. The video and television and we, we didn’t have that growing up.
[00:29:48] Mary: I didn’t, we went outside, we played all day. You used your yes. You used your imagination. This thing on top of our bike, that’s up here. There was, there’s a reason for it. And so is there, and the answer things are off and they’re sitting around I’m bored. Go use your imagination and make up something.
[00:30:08] Stephen: That’s one focus I’m trying to do in the classrooms. I don’t want to just go and do an author visit. Oh, look, kids. I wrote a book. I want to do a, like a workshop for building their imagination, inspiring their imagination. And I’ve been working on that, so totally agree with all everything.
[00:30:27] Mary: Oh, I love it.
[00:30:28] Mary: You do anything that you record. Let me know and I’ll share it because I’m so supportive. I was going to say to you, we should collaborate on something. Very much, you know, like about kids. And I think it’d be really fun to do that. And when I go in and read, I do some games with the children and one of them I do is I take, I take sticking post-it note and I have the, what I try to, if they’re able to write which they should, by the age that I’m going into kindergarten, first, second I am.
[00:30:55] Mary: And then some positive word, or you are as in positive word. And so then we fold the paper. And we turn the music on and the papers get passed around. And then when the music stops, then one by one, everybody has to read. What’s been written about them. And it’s really funny when a boy gets the one that says you are a princess and then everybody laughs you know, and it’s, it’s something cute, but it gets them start to think about those positive words.
[00:31:18] Mary: I’ll have kids look at each other and find something positive about that person to say, even if you don’t know them, I don’t tell them their hair looks nice. Tell me like the color of their shirt. It doesn’t have to be anything. Big, just even something small, we all want to be heard is human beings. Every one of us wants to be heard and everyone wants to be, and I’m saying notice, not in an egotistical vain way, but we, everyone wants to be acknowledged.
[00:31:45] Mary: That’s a, that is a core thing for humans. And so if we can just. Allow children to feel that, to be heard. That’s another thing that’s really important is to listen to our kids, even if we don’t agree with them, like the teenager that wants to do something that they shouldn’t be doing, but they really want to do it.
[00:32:04] Mary: So let’s listen to them verse to what they have to say. Yeah, let’s talk about something that you could do as an alternative. A lot better for you. One more thing with my girls, they’ll tell you, oh, my mom used this. I always use the one. If everyone is meeting at the bridge at four o’clock to jump off the bridge, what should you do?
[00:32:23] Mary: And I said it till it made him mad. Cause it, what
[00:32:27] Stephen: did you call your mother and say, mom, I’m sorry. I, that a
[00:32:31] Mary: long time ago. There have been challenges with the, my oldest has been, I love her and she, you have this kids who are so strong-willed and you’re like, gosh, is this going to serve you so well, I’m like, please let me survive in your box.
[00:32:46] Stephen: Now, the games you play are based on your book. And I think that’s for any people listening, a parent’s interested in the books. There’s an important lesson, especially at that age. Books are interactive. They’re meant to be interactive and it doesn’t have to stop at the book and doing those types of things.
[00:33:03] Stephen: I enforces it and builds upon it and actually puts it into practice. They get a much better understanding of how to use it in the world rather than because I think sometimes there’s a disconnect with some kids that, yeah, I read about that, but how’s that a blind, the ward. I don’t get that. I just read about it.
[00:33:19] Stephen: So I love that.
[00:33:22] Mary: Uh, thank you. And I also point out the pictures are big because of course for babies need big faces and bright colors. The colors are super bright and the font is large. So it’s great first readers for any children who are learning to read, they can read to their sibling. So those are all, some things that I also try to point out.
[00:33:39] Mary: And the third book that just released in the back of the book I’ve written in there all about. Yeah, why affirmations are so important to me and how I’ve used them in my life with my own children in. And then I give examples to help parents, families and caregivers get started with their not only would their children or whoever they’re taking care of, but also to do it for them because we all have bad days.
[00:34:00] Mary: We all have to pick, we all need to pick me up. Oh my gosh, I have to get out of bed today and I have to go forward and I’m not feeling so much inspired today. We just got to get up and we got to come up with. Positive words. Cause even if you’re not feeling that way, you can talk, you can motivate yourself to be able to do the things that you need or want to do, even if you’re not feeling it a hundred percent.
[00:34:25] Stephen: So Mary Elizabeth, let me shift gears just a little bit. Who are some of the favorite authors and books that you’ve read or my
[00:34:31] Mary: childhood or my
[00:34:32] Stephen: adulthood either.
[00:34:35] Mary: Okay. I love, I told you a Dr. Seuss. I love Dr. Seuss and I love Harriet Potter and I love, okay. I’m drawing a blank right now and I’m not supposed to draw, not supposed to be drawn a blank.
[00:34:47] Mary: I’ll tell you, who I love recently is Natalie Reeves billing. She’s out of England. Okay. And she self published. And she took the pandemic, just like Terry Shepherd, who love Terry. And I know we talked this morning and I said, Hey, he said, I’m opening Reno. And I said,
[00:35:14] Stephen: we got along. Great. He’s wonderful.
[00:35:16] Mary: He’s awesome. He actually is. I don’t know if he told you he’s audio recorded our invisible. Book for us women. So yeah, I can’t wait to hear it. He’s got such a great voice and a man reading women’s stories of trials, tribulations, and trauma, and overcoming. We just, we think that’s amazing because it brings everything together.
[00:35:36] Mary: But I love her books. You have to look her up. She’s in England and she’s brilliant in her writing. And she, I think is, I think she’s there making it. Uh, a series or a show or something out of the characters from her book, but she’s teamed up with the school and they’ve got so much going on for her. She’s on the same path I am to motivating and inspiring kids.
[00:36:01] Mary: So I really love her staff, but there are so many great authors out there. And I do always go back to Dr. Susan one, because. Doctor CS was able to write from the viewpoint of a child. And that’s where I like to be is the viewpoint. I don’t ever want to talk down to a kid or be looking like a child, feel like they’re being.
[00:36:22] Mary: Talk down too, but talk to on the same level. So I, I think that’s super important. Oh yeah. Just because the books I’ve written, cause I’ve already had my, the new book coming out. I’ve already had it beta read and I’ve gotten some reviews on it already. And so at least people are. Catching that I’m trying to alongside the child or to the child or with the child, not down at the child and especially in younger books.
[00:36:49] Mary: Now I’m living with a child, right. I’ve got an eight year old. So every day there are things that happen. I go, oh, there’s a book. That’s a story right there. And in that world of wonder, and that world of curiosity, I just think is one of the coolest places in the whole world to be. I just, I, I think it’s amazing and it’s beautiful.
[00:37:07] Mary: And the innocence of. It’s the only place in life where it happens, because then you grow up in the world, comes in from that innocence is no longer there and it’s really super stressful.
[00:37:20] Stephen: And that’s interesting because one of the goals I have in my mind is to help kids bring that wonder back, to discover that wonder, and even their parents and the adults that you don’t have to lose it.
[00:37:33] Stephen: It’s still there. You just have to tap it.
[00:37:39] Mary: The wonder and all of us, he brings up the kids. He’s one of my favorites. And so is all the Winnie, the Pooh books. My girls both had. That was the theme for both my girls. And it was just that innocence, that beautiful, tender, sweet, tined loving, just precious. And I’ve always tried to hold onto that as long as possible because the world comes in and sometimes the world is just not that.
[00:38:05] Mary: And then it’s lost forever. So I could stay in a kid book all the time writing.
[00:38:10] Stephen: Then there’s a cabinet Hobbs, which kind of is a whole nother aspect of childhood. In wonder the fact that. Talking to a tiger, but the adults, it’s just a stuffed animal. There’s so much perfection in cabin and OB. And then when you have your, oh yeah, there we are
[00:38:31] Mary: your child that a lot of children on the spectrum, which I always think is amazing and beautiful as the fact that they don’t always relate to their kids, the kids around them at their age.
[00:38:42] Mary: They usually are able to relate to adults. And, but it’s so funny. How many people, so Carson is, he was Pokemon obsessed for the longest time. He’s still slightly. But it’s amazing to me. He loves to loves Pokemon. Okay. Peanut galleries over here, but it’s amazing how many places that we go and things that we do.
[00:39:03] Mary: And then there’s an adult who, oh, I did Pokemon and they’ll do it with him. If I go to my chiropractor, his wife is still into it. So he’ll go in the office and play with her. And I just, I think if I watch my middle daughter just, she’s so able to carry herself with. And not all 17 year olds can do that, but she has a harder time with kids her age, but with adults, she’s totally fine.
[00:39:27] Mary: And I just think that’s the main thing. I think it’s amazing. I
[00:39:31] Stephen: see that. So Mary Elizabeth, we’ve been talking about your books. I think we got a pretty good grasp on it. And we talked about some of your favorite authors. No, why everybody should go get your books because it’s needed in the world. Any other good reasons to
[00:39:45] Mary: it, please buy them and join our Apulia family because there’s, it’s coming from the heart.
[00:39:51] Mary: It’s there is a purpose for them. My intention is not to just write a book. That’s going to stick up on a shelf somewhere. It’s got purpose and it’s got a reason to be here and all of it’s inspired. So it, to me, when inspiration comes in, it’s already got. And then we physically put it down and then we put it out into the world, hoping that it will get into the hands of others and bring to them if they have need healing, if they need something to make them laugh or smile, if they need something to help with growth, any number of reasons.
[00:40:23] Mary: So please, yes, please go by the books and leave me a message on my website. Tell me stories about your kids. Yeah, so I would really love for people to join your journey that we’re on and empowering kids.
[00:40:38] Stephen: Yeah. Agreed. I’ve loved you sharing that with us today. Thank you on that.
[00:40:43] Mary: No, thank you so much. I appreciate it.