Wednesday, June 12, 2019

This Year's Royal Academy Winners Invented A Means To HEAR Sign Language

Photo Courtesy:
Have you heard the latest about a phenomenal prototype on its way to the market? Gloves for the deaf to communicate with the listening population. The gloves have sensors that translate hand and finger signs into audible language!

I have friends and acquaintances who can sign with the deaf. I also have deaf friends who can read lips. These individuals can understand me, but I am not able to understand them because I cannot sign. 

The June 9, 2019 news reporting Roy Allela's award-winning gloves that enable the deaf to audibly communicate with the hearing is spreading across cyberspace. The invention won him the grand prize for the Hardware Trailblazer award at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and second runner-up award at the Royal Academy of Engineering Leaders of Innovation Fellowship in London.

What gave Allela the idea? He has a niece who was born deaf. The niece learned sign language, however, the family has not. Allela realized the communication barrier that might hamper children with hearing loss in schools. His goal is to mass produce the gloves for use in not only African schools, but also schools around the world.

Here is the link to read more about Allela and see his amazing invention:

In 2016, two young University Students collaborated on making sign-language gloves. The one had suffered a seizure when an infant rendering him unable to speak. Although he could hear, he used sign language as a means to communicate. The two worked together to create sensory gloves that translate signs to text and audible sounds. The project won them the Lemelson-MIT first place prize. Their gloves are also in the prototype phase. You can read more about these young astronautic engineers at:

I think the idea is amazing! A way for those who do not know sign language to communicate with their non-hearing family and friends. 


This post has been brought to you by the one word-CommunicatingWithFriends

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Green Heroes Envious of Newest Superhero Spotted by the National Weather Service

A 1930's radio program started the Green Super Hero craze in 1930. 

The Green Hornet matched wits with the underworld, ridding the world of criminals and racketeers. A 2011 movie made by Universal Studios updated the story with ridding the world of meth labs.

In 1940 DC Comics created the Green Lantern. He wears a ring that gives him the power to create anything. His power is limited by the ring which must be charged by a green lantern. The power originates from another world where fellow superheroes meet up to fight the ultimate villains. A remake was made in 2011.

In 1941 Marvel Comics created the Green Arrow. The answer to Batman. The Green Arrow's power is martial arts and archery. Netflix has made a TV series called The Green Arrow that is currently running.

Photo credit: AP as shown on the NPR website
See link below
But none of these superheroes can hold a candle to the Green Blob, sighted by the National Weather Service this week on June 4, 2019. CLICK HERE for Article and Videos

This IS NOT, I repeat, not an area 51 sighting.

The Green Blob was measured at 80 miles by 80 miles and flying over the San Bernando Valley in Southern California according to Newsweek. CLICK HERE FOR ARTICLE . The National Weather Service states this is not the first time the Green Blob has been sighted. 

The blob masked its appearance to a mass likened to a light rainstorm and flew ten miles above the earth's surface.

A meteorologist contacted a local weather watcher and asked him what he saw.

"Ladybugs," the local reported. A massive swarm of ladybugs that is called a "bloom".

Now that is amazing. An All Natural Green Superhero.

This post has been brought to you by the one word: AllNaturalGreenSuperhero 

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Facebook Thread About Crazy Diets

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This week a thread on Facebook received a lot of attention. The comment section basically drove it viral. The issue was eating disorders of a strange kind.

Some parents have taken the goals for good eating and exercise for children as outlined by Michelle Obama a few years ago to the extreme by placing children on adult level diets. Restricting the daily caloric intake for a child to 600 in one case. 

Another individual's comment stated a focus on their weight led to missing indicators for a terminal disease.

When convincing information is presented, it is natural to swing the pendulum. Being overweight is not healthy. We want our family and ourselves to be healthy.

However, not all diets are for all people.

A child grows in spurts. At times the child may appear overweight. One month later, a growth spurt will show the child's body prepared for the event. Growth does not happen on a schedule. It sure would be nice if it did, though, right?

As for adults, before engaging in a drastic diet, check with your doctor first. Perhaps the added weight is a physical problem that needs to be addressed. The thyroid can throw us off and that isn't the only culprit.

Be careful. 

Your health helps produce quality of life.

And you are important.

This post has been brought to you by the one word: WisdomAndModeration

Saturday, May 25, 2019

You Can Put the Pizzazz Back In Your Day!

So, I am at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer's Conference east of Asheville, North Carolina. Like the previous years when I attended this conference, the instructors provided all and more than I needed. I have learned so much. 

But the week hasn't been easy. I struggled while dragging my suitcase up the hill from my car and into my assigned room because my arm was not fully healed from the break in February. Lifting my laptop out of my bag hurt. Typing took a lot of effort. Holding the tray in the food line became a crazy balancing act.

Every topic we discuss here on Let's Talk revolves around the idea: Never Give Up Stories. We all have issues that pop into our life and drag our spirit down for a time. The length of that time is always a variable.

Perhaps you have an issue at this moment. Something that has taken the pizzazz out of your day. I went to an occupational therapist yesterday. Apparently, the tendons near the bone I broke aren't healing at the speed he wanted. I don't have the range of motion or strength typical by this point. He pressed and pushed, forcing the encased tendons to move and stretch. I left the session in so much pain, BUT, today, I woke and was so surprised to find I could move my wrist just a little bit farther than yesterday.

Life is like that. Bad habits, unexpected trials, inconveniences can leave us unable to move in the way we usually do. Our smile isn't bright. Our energy is dampened. Our spirit is squelched. We don't feel like doing jobs we didn't mind doing before. Our spirit is encased in this negativity and keeping us from living life.

Like the occupational therapist, we have to force ourselves to break free. We can:

1. Talk with real people each day - not just social media - not just listen to TV.
2. We can walk a few more steps. Physical activity of any sort oxygenates our bodies and revives us.
3. We can cut back on foods we shouldn't eat. Too much sugar really does harm us. Those vegetables (and I so agree with the vegetable haters) are God's gift of health to us. Close your eyes and swallow. :)
4. Spend time with God. He really does love you and wants a close relationship. He listens. He consoles. He gives answers and suggestions. He protects and provides. And so much more.
5. Complete a task. Any task you want. Make a plan. Start it. Complete it. 

Sometimes the task is rest. I am one who doesn't like to rest during the day, but I desperately needed it yesterday after driving 16 hours home from a very busy writing conference.

Guess what? I feel so much better today.

You only have one life. This is the time to do something that will break whatever is stealing your day.

This post has been brought to you by the one word: BreakFree!

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

A Totally New Way To Help Kids in Hospitals

So many children end up spending a long time in hospitals. I was one. I spent my entire Kindergarten year in a hospital. Some of these little darlings pop in and out of hospitals over a long time. Nursing staff know them on a first name basis as they walk in the door.


I saw this wonderful new idea to help these little ones. I took a little screen shot of one photo to give you an idea.

This link has the full art to help explain the idea:


The product is called Playtime Edventures and it was designed and created by a dad. Kevin Gatlin came up with the idea after visiting a friend's child in the hospital. The kid was bored beyond belief. Kevin's heart and mind was stirred.

Apparently the idea sparked from watching his wife play games with their children while in bed. 

It took him two years to perfect the idea into the product today. His goal was to not only edtertain, but make the games educational. He designed severeral to meet different age groups with activities including sign language, trivia, and etc. 

Kevin has a heart of gold, wanting to help sick kids smile. The idea is still new. Ten hospitals have purchased these sheets. The idea is spreading, and I wanted to help. Parents can buy the sheets for use at home or to donate to their hospital/charity.

There is a wonderful video on the link I provided above. Take a look.

This post has been brought to you by the one work: HelpAKidSmile

By the way, next week I will be in North Carolina at a Writer's Conference. The Selah Writing Awards Ceremony is that Wednesday evening. My book, Daring to Live is a finalist for the contest. Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writer's Conference Award Ceremony  May 22 at 7 pm. Help me cheer on all the winners. Books by Authors you will enjoy reading.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Accents around the world.

Photo by Mary Vee

Today we are talking about accents around the world.

While working with a Crow Indian people group, I noticed the children barely had the accent of their parents'. I mentioned this to a linguistics student and learned an individual's accent comes mostly from the child's school and neighboorhood friends. 

The child spends the majority of their formative time in the schoolroom and playing in the neighborhood. As they speak, he or she is corrected by their teacher and peers. The peers tend to correct during everyday play and offer the community's slang and idioms. The teacher tends to offer something closer to correct grammar with an added ingredient, his or her own accent, cultural idioms, and slang.

So, when my sister came home with her family after serving as missionaries in Wales, she had taken on such phrases as "I will phone you," instead of "I will call you," etc. A few of her sentences had the sing-songy raise at the end. But that was it. Her children, however, came home speaking completely with Welsh inflections. The accent, after more than ten years there, was so different from what they had before moving to Wales. 

Since then, one of her children has married an American girl and had a son. This son speaks with a Midwestern accent, having not picked up the Welsh accent of his father. Quite typical for where he is being raised.

So curious.

I, of course, do not feel I have an accent. In my head, I hear myself speak normally. I hear the accents of others and detect the differences from mine. Therefore I do not have an accent. 

Hmmm. Is it possible, everyone feels that way?

What do you think? 

This post has been brought to you by the one-word: Accents

Link to my books, Mary Vee Writer: Click Here

Friday, May 3, 2019

How to Make a Medieval/Fantasy Map

Student created Fantasy Map
Photo by Mary Vee
Last week I drove 40 hours on a book tour.
While on my book tour, I was invited to speak to 6 classes. Rather than lecture the students, I chose to engage them in an activity. A map making activity.

Most fantasy novels have a map in the beginning pages of the book. The purpose is to acquaint the reader with the fictional land where the story takes place. 

After hours of studying the fantasy mapmakers on Instagram and practicing the techniques, I had a good grasp of the concept and made the map found in the beginning pages of my new fantasy book, Fire and Thorn.

Here is the how to Make a Medieval/Fantasy map in a nutshell.

Photo by Mary - Fantasy Maps

1. Make a border along the four edges of your paper. Many old maps, like treasure maps, end up with torn or yellowed edges. To protect the vital parts of the map, the border is drawn. Make it about 1/2" thick.

Photo by Mary Vee
Students creating Fantasy maps

2. Decide how many kingdoms you want on your map. Due to the limited space, choose one, two, or three. No more. Draw lines separating the countries. Make it squiggly for a puzzle piece look.

Photo by Mary Vee
Students Creating Fantasy Maps

3. Each kingdom needs a castle for the king. One castle per kingdom. Give it a mote. Drawbridge. Flags. Perhaps a princess in a window. Soldiers with weapons. Etc. Every detail added needs to be small...teeny tiny in order have enough space for other additions.

Photo by Mary Vee
Student creating her map

4. The people in the castle will need water and will not want to walk far to get it. Draw a river near the castle. Each kingdom--one castle. Each castle--at least one river.

Photo by Mary Vee
Student creating her map.

5. The water from the river comes from the snow-capped mountains upstream. Draw mountains at the source of each river. The river can be extended to end in an ocean or lake.

6. Add habitats for the creatures. Deserts: cacti, dunes, sandstorms, rattlesnakes. Forests: Bats, coyotes, wolves, etc. and so forth. To draw a forest make a triangle with a line (like a popsicle). Draw a second triangle touching the first. Add a third one touching the second. Add as many more as you wish. Draw the appropriate creatures, including dragons, unicorns. One student created a snake-tiger. Create away! Add villages. Thatched roofs. Campfires with pots to cook food, and more.  

Photo by Mary Vee
Student creating his ornate
compass rose

7. Add a compass rose. Fantasy map makers will spend more time creating an ornate compass rose than the entire rest of the map. So, put lots of details, swirls, anything to jazz it up.

Photo by Mary Vee
Finished Fantasy Maps

8. Each kingdom needs a name. This can be a made-up word. I used: Malum, Vista, and Aerlis for my three kingdoms. Use block letters. To help viewers see the kingdom name put a box around the word with a dark line.

By this point, the map should be CROWDED with amazing details.

Feel free to share these instructions with a Fantasy reader you know. THEN tell them how they can take a quest in my new fantasy, Fire and Thorn.

Link to Mary's books:
Fire and Thorn
The day the king of Aerlis heroically dies and his lovely queen is viciously carried off to the dark north, dragons invade the land. Crops and homes near the border burn to the ground. Prince Gilbert must give up what he wants most to save his father’s kingdom and himself. Far away lies the answer. Something unseen. To save the kingdom he must go on a quest to bring the unseen back. A quest filled with danger. There seems an easier solution in the vast north. One that offers great wealth and power. Time is short. One choice will save his kingdom. The other will silence him and his people—forever.

This post has been brought to you by the one-word: FantasyMapMakingFun