Today I’m very happy to introduce you all to a fellow author, Sally Meadows. It’s an honour to share some of her story with you.
Sally Meadows is a two-time national award nominated Christian singer/songwriter, author, and speaker from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Sally is guest blogging today via a question-and-answer session to tell us a little bit about her creative journey as well as her children’s picture book The Two Trees (2015), about a boy on the autism spectrum.
Here’s a big question to kick us off: What is your Kingdom purpose?
Wow, that is a big question, and one worthy of each of us to consider! First and foremost, this life has certainly been an interesting journey for me! It seems that my Kingdom purpose has shifted as often as my career has changed. (I’ve been a scientific editor, children’s entertainer, teacher, university outreach educator, and engineering technical editor.) But if I can identify one common ministry thread it would have to be that I have a heart for those who are often overlooked or undervalued by society: children (especially gifted and/or differently abled), differently abled young adults, Aboriginal youth, and immigrants. I am a strong believer in helping those in these underserved demographics discover and grow in their gifts to reach their full potential.
Since I left the corporate world in 2013 to work full time on my writing, music, and speaking ministry, my Kingdom purpose has focussed on encouraging people of all ages (with a special interest in women 40 and up) to passionately pursue God’s call on their lives. I would like my own life to be a testimony as to how God can do amazing things—He has a special purpose and plan for each one of us—by giving my life fully over to Him. My blog, “Butterfly’d: Unfurling Glory in An (Extra)Ordinary Life”, is all about inspiring others to unfurl God’s glory in their own lives.
What is a typical week like for you?
As an author, speaker, and musician (sometimes all at once!) I am involved in widely diverse projects, so I don’t really have a typical week; it really depends on what’s going on at any given time of year and can be seasonally related. April is Autism Awareness Month and is one of the peak times for me to travel to schools around the province doing author readings of my children’s book The Two Trees. At this particular time, I am also working on a new children’s book manuscript as well as a couple of inspirational short stories for adults. Finally, I have a new partnership with a fellow singer/songwriter and we are already in the studio recording our first single! Never a dull moment here!
Tell us about your book The Two Trees; what motivated you to write it?
The Two Trees is the story of two brothers: Jaxon, who is the younger brother and narrates the story, and Syd, who is on the autism spectrum. The story shares in narrative form the challenges families that include a child on the autism spectrum face on a daily basis. Its primary purpose is to raise autism awareness while giving a voice to siblings, whose needs may often be overlooked. My initial motivation to write the book was to help parents identify characteristics of being on the autism spectrum that may be masked by giftedness (such as we see in the character Syd). The book’s purpose has grown from there; it is now used across the country in classrooms and clinical practices, and by autism specialists, social workers, counsellors, universities, and more as a resource to open up discussions and educate. As for motivation, I have family members who are on the spectrum, and as a former teacher, have taught children with autism who have widely variable abilities. So I have seen first-hand the challenges—and successes—of families that include a child on the autism spectrum.
One thing I have done lately is to donate books (The Two Trees) to two autism organizations offering for them to receive 100% of the profits. Also, from now until the end of August (at least), $5 from every The Two Trees book sold on my website will go to various autism organizations. (I wanted to give back because they were so supportive during the launch of the book.)
What is your The Two Trees presentation like?
I start with a reading of the book (about 8 minutes long), have a brief discussion about specific topics including autism, bullying, and the importance of being a good friend (5-10 minutes depending on the audience), then the kids have about 40 minutes to do hands-on activities themed to the book. These activities are keyed to things that appear in the book including dinosaurs, rocks and minerals, trees, bullying versus being a good friend, and more. The Two Trees was written for ages 5-9 but the presentation is certainly suitable for families and the general public. I have done presentations at schools, libraries, museums, and autism events. I am grateful that I (and the venues) receive funding from the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild (SWG) to do these presentations, although organizations can also book me outright. For details about my presentation, please go to: http://sallymeadows.com/speaking.
Can you do a presentation outside of your province?
Absolutely! I travel across Canada for various events, so if you are interested in having me come and speak at your school, autism event, or other venue, I would be happy to let you know if/when I will be in your area. Although SWG funding is not available for out-of-province venues, I would be happy to discuss terms for a visit.
Your website indicates that your book The Two Trees can be used for fundraising. Can you tell me about that?
This is of primary interest to autism organizations, but really any group that has a vested interest in raising autism awareness (i.e. an elementary school) can take part in this. Basically, I will provide The Two Trees to your organization at wholesale cost and you can resell them at a profit. Here is the link for more information: http://sallymeadows.com/fundraising.
Where can we learn more about/contact you?
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/SallyMeadowsMusic
Facebook Page for The Two Trees: https://www.facebook.com/thetwotrees
Thank you so much, Lynne, for the opportunity to share about my book The Two Trees during this Autism Awareness month!
I’m very happy to have you visit with me and my readers today, Sally. May God bless you in your work as you inspire us to live out our purpose and passions. Sally can also be found on the ChristianAuthors‘ bookstore website, where we both promote our work. Lynne