Order – I Want A Pet Turkey

Have you ever wanted a new pet? Matt sure did and when he saw a turkey in his backyard, he knew he found the perfect pet. How do you get a turkey to be your pet, though? Everyone has a choice they have to make: to be nice to others or not. Matt will learn a very important lessons about his choices having consequences.

Moose Egg Productions first children’s book is now available online. If you would like to order a copy for yourself, your classroom, or your church this is the place to order them! This book is meant for preschool thru 2nd grade children. I Want A Pet Turkey has been used in churches, story-time events, preschools, daycare’s, and puppet shows! We hope you will enjoy your version of this new children’s book and hope that one day you get your very own pet turkey!!!

I Want A Pet Turkey – Children’s Picture Book

Haven't you always wanted your own pet turkey? Matt sure did! He is about to learn an important lesson about the choices we make. Will Matt choose between the good way on getting a pet turkey by being nice or the bad way and trying to capture the turkey. This story (based on real life events) will teach your child that the choices you make have consequences and that the best pet is the one you love!

$14.95

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Interview – Entertainment Writer – Shea Fontana

Today we are talking to the amazing Shea Fontana.  Shea has many credits to her name including developing and writing DC Super Hero Girls TV specials, movies, and graphic novels, working on Disney’s The 7D, Whisker Haven Tales with the Palace Pets, the new Muppet Babies series, and a show that is pretty much on non-stop in my house, because my two little girls love it – Doc McStuffins!  Shea has been on the NY Times Best Sellers list and has won multiple awards for her writing, including the 2018 Ringo Award for Best Kids Comics/Graphic Novel.

Shea

Shea, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with our readers today!  I have read and watched so much of your works.  Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started being a writer?

I grew up in a tiny town in Utah. We lived in an area where there weren’t other kids in walking distance and my brothers were all substantially older. So, a lot of my childhood was spent entertaining myself. I’d make little movies of myself acting all the parts, put on elaborate shows with my dolls, wrote, drew, made crafts. Pretty early on in school, I found that writing was easier for me than it was for other kids. I loved going home after school and writing overly long reports and stories (and I still write overly long…). Initially, when I started college, I was pursuing journalism, but it soon became clear that my passion was actually animation and family entertainment.

You have been a part of a lot of amazing projects, DC Super Hero Girls, Doc McStuffins, Wonder Woman, and the list goes on.  Out of all you have done, what stands out as one of your most favorite you have written?

DC Super Hero Girls was such a great experience from the beginning and it’s so incredible to see how it has taken off. I love seeing all the kids in their DCSHG costumes and hear from parents how much it has meant to their superhero-loving kids who didn’t previously have a lot of options. I had a lot of creative freedom, especially with the graphic novels, to tell the kind of stories I wanted to tell, and it’s very fulfilling to see it succeed.

So I am a father of two girls (6 and 4 months) and my oldest loves DCSHG!  A lot of your writing features strong female leads.  How important is it for you to inspire younger women and girls in literature, art and entertainment?

I absolutely want to empower girls and inspire them to be the heroes of their own stories. But I also think it’s extremely important not to limit strong female leads to an all-girl audience. Boys need to see female leads just as much as girls do.

DC Super Hero Girls

Great point! Since I have two girls and we have watched EVERY single episode of Doc McStuffins, so much that I can sing all of the songs now, what was your favorite part of writing for Doc?  It is really a unique show teaching children about medical situations that could come up in life.

Doc touches and inspires all kids who watch it, but it is particularly important and impactful for kids who have medical conditions. One of the episodes that I wrote (Factory Fabulous) featured a toy character who was “manufactured” without a limb and the message was how that was a perfectly “fabulous” way to be. When the episode premiered, a mom posted on the Disney Facebook page about how much it meant to her son who was born without a lower arm. For the first time, he got to see a character like himself on TV. Not many shows have the chance to really effect kids like that and it was such an honor to be a little part of it.

Doc McStuffins

What a really cool moment that must have been!  I know that you have written a lot of comic and graphic novel stories.  If you had the chance to write for any character, for any publisher, who would you want to write about?

I have been incredibly lucky to have written just about all my favorite characters! Between DC Super Hero Girls, Wonder Woman, Disney on Ice, Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz and many of the other branded properties I’ve been involved with, I’ve written many of the greatest, most famous characters in the world. Next up, I’d love to write more originals and get some of my own characters out there.

What new projects are you working on and are excited about?

The problem with the long production time of animation is that all the things I’m working on now haven’t been announced yet! I recently wrote and story edited a new Polly Pocket series, which is now available in many countries around the world and will be coming the US soon.

That is hilarious, because I just overheard my wife telling our girls about Polly Pocket a few weeks ago.  What advice would you give our readers if they wanted to be an author?  What advice were you given that really stuck with you?

Of course the first — and most generic (but it really works!) — advice is read a lot! Read whatever you can. I also tell kids to try a lot of things. Even if you don’t love soccer, gymnastics, horseback riding, painting or chemistry, it’s incredibly beneficial to know about a wide breadth of things as you can use it stories. You can’t only “write what you know” (I don’t can’t fly and I write plenty of flying characters!), but the more you know, the more you have to write about. Everything you do, especially the things that take courage and help you meet different kinds of people, is great story fodder. I always reframe bad experiences as “that will be good for a story one day…”

Growing up, what was the book that you read and reread over and over again?  Why was that book important to you?

I’ve never been much of a re-reader, but I did love the Little House on the Prairie series. It had such great female characters.

This one is kind of silly.  You write a lot about super heroes.  What super power would you want if you could have any of them?

Teleportation! I love travelling, but going to the airport and flying is such a pain.

Teleportation would be amazing.  Go anywhere and no lines!  Last question, we want to end with something that inspires you.  So, what in this great big world, inspires you to do what you do and follow your dreams?

Meeting kids who have read or watch things I’ve written and loved them is incredibly inspiring and encouraging. Not many people get an opportunity to share hope, optimism, relief from loneliness, and encouragement to a mass audience, and I’m always thankful that I get to be one of the lucky ones.

Thank you so much Shea for spending some time today talking to us about your inspirations and your passions.  For any of our readers who want to find out more about Shea’s works like DC Super Hero Girls, Polly Pocket, or any of the new projects that Shea is working on please check out her website.  

Thanks everyone and remember to like this site to see more interesting interviews as we continue to ask Questions to Inspire!

Interview – Children’s Author Jess Redman

Today we are talking to children’s book author – Jess Redman.  Jess has written her first book called Miraculous.  I can’t wait for everyone to hear a little bit more about what inspired Jess through her journey as an author!

Good morning, Jess! Please tell us a little bit about yourself and what made you want to become a children’s author?

Hello, and thank you so much for having me on Moose Egg Productions! I’m Jess Redman. I’m a therapist, mother of two young kids, and the author of the middle-grade magical contemporary THE MIRACULOUS.

I was (and remain) a huge book nerd as a kid. I read constantly—constantly! There was a staircase in one of my childhood homes that had been closed off. My mother used it as a pantry, and I have fond memories of perching between cans of tomatoes and a bag of potatoes and reading, reading, reading.

I wrote a lot too as a kid, and when I got older, I was sure that I would be an author—but for adults. I wanted to write very serious, literary works, and I took myself very seriously.

It wasn’t until I was pregnant with my first child that I started writing a story for children—specifically middle-grade—and it was a revelation for me. The story flowed, I fell in love with the characters, I felt energized and connected throughout the writing process. The truth is that it’s the books from my childhood that are imprinted on my mind and my heart. I can picture their covers, quote first lines, remember where I was when I read them and how they made me feel and what they taught me about myself and the world. I’ve loved lots of books as an adult but not in the same way.

Children’s literature, I realized as I wrote that story, is where my heart is.

That is awesome! What were some of your favorite books growing up?

Just one?? If I have to pick just one, I’ll go with THE WESTING GAME. My mother read it aloud to my brother and I while we drove across the country, and it completely astounded me. I had never read anything so clever, with such twisty twists and such a large cast of characters. And not just kid characters—ADULT characters too!

I wanted so badly as a young would-be-author to write a story that brilliant, and I tried very hard to replicate it (if you’ve read the book, you’ll appreciate that I wrote the Star-Spangled Banner lyrics on little pieces of paper towel to use as clues). I was also completely in love with A WRINKLE IN TIME, THE GIVER, and BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA.

We are big fans of those books in our house. I loved reading A Wrinkle in Time and The Giver is my wife’s favorite book! What would you say is the importance of children’s literature today and what has it meant to you to now be a part of it?

I think there are so many good and true ways that we learn about the world and about ourselves. But for me, stories have always been one of the most powerful and accessible ways. During the middle-grade years (8-13ish), kids are exploring and discovering and asking questions about everything. They are starting, for the first time, to really look out and beyond. Stories can help them to develop the language and the insight to ask those questions and to express feelings.

Stories, as Emily Style said in her often-cited paper, can be windows and/or mirrors. They can show young readers (and older readers too!) who they are and who they could be. They can show them what the world is like for others, growing their awareness and empathy.

I know that you have had someone who gave you advice through your journey. What is some sage advice you could give others about becoming a children’s author?

Heed my wise words!

Just kidding.

My best advice, really and truly, is just to read, daydream, write, and not give up.

Keep reading to be inspired and to learn more about how stories are told. Keep thinking and questioning and wondering until you figure out the story you want to tell. Keep writing until the story sounds the way you want it to sound. Then keep trying and trying and trying to get it out there.

Also, listen to some advice, of course, but not too much. Find your voice, and trust your creative instincts.

Please tell us about your latest book, The Miraculous?  What was the inspiration?  What is about?  Where can we get it?

THE MIRACULOUS is the story of a miracle-collecting boy named Wunder and a cape-wearing girl named Faye—two kids who have recently experienced great losses. Both are drawn to the mysterious DoorWay House in the woods where an old woman has recently appeared. The old woman—who Faye is convinced is a witch—sends the two new friends on a series of sometimes-magical quests. These quests take them through graveyards and forests, to police stations and town halls, by bike and by train. It’s a journey filled with friendship, healing, magic, and miracles. My book trailer captures the story so well: 

THE MIRACULOUS is a story about asking big questions and coping with big feelings. It was inspired in part by the smaller-but-still-confusing losses of my own middle-grade years, by my work as a therapist, and by losses in my adult life. Writing this story was a way for me to answer those big questions, for myself now and for my 11-year-old self. The answers are rooted in my belief in the power of love and imagination and friendship and community. I hope young readers who are struggling with losses, big or small, will find some hope and wonder and light in them.

You can order THE MIRACULOUS at the bookstore or retailer of your choice or through the Macmillan site.

My website, http://www.JessRedman.com has book trailers, a teacher’s guide, pre-order gift details, and author visit info.

I’m also on Twitter quite a bit at and Instagram (a little bit less) at that same handle, @Jess__Red.

I know that you do workshops for groups, I was looking through the types of workshops you do and the one that stuck out to me was STORY IS HOW WE CREATE THE WORLD – THE POWER OF STORIES. How powerful are stories?

So powerful. I work as a therapist and much of therapy is helping people re-story their lives. I think we are all telling ourselves stories all the time about who we are and what the world is like and what is important. Most of those stories are subconscious, but that doesn’t mean they influence us any less. And what we tell ourselves is our reality. One of things I love about reading is that the book’s story often pulls out our own stories so that we can examine them and learn from them.

I think reading can help readers create more compassionate, open, and hope-filled stories for themselves. Reading can teach us how to face fears, how to ask for help, how to love others, and how to love ourselves.

Not only are you an author, but you are also a therapist and psychology teacher.  How has that affected your writing (or vice versa)?

I think they affect one another quite a lot. Therapy is a profession steeped in the losses and pains of others, and, hopefully, my work has helped me understand and express the emotions of my characters better. Reading, I think, is what made me curious about how people work to begin with.

I’ve actually given a few talks recently to mental health professionals about the value of literature in therapy. Therapy, like writing, is about connection and going on an emotional journey. I know that I have been inspired and challenged and changed by things I’ve read, and that’s what we’re after in therapy too.

What has been the best piece of advice you have been given?

Here is the best advice regarding writing that I’ve ever received: A very lovely author once read an earlier manuscript of THE MIRACULOUS, and she wrote me a letter. “No matter what happens with this story,” she wrote, “you can be proud that you created something beautiful.”

I’ve taken that letter out many times. The message of valuing my creative work—and myself—outside of recognition or reviews or sales has stuck with me throughout the ups and downs of this debut year.

Time for our last question which is usually pretty silly and random?  If you could be best friends with a character in any literary work, who would it be and why?

I do often feel like the characters from stories are my friends, and this was especially true when I was a kid. If I could have a literary character as a real, flesh-and-blood friend, I would pick Harriet M. Welsch. She could take me along on her spy route, and then we would have cake and milk and tomato sandwiches.

Or maybe Bilbo. We could go on adventures and see the world, but be home in time for dinner and a song by the fire.

Or maybe Matilda. We could just sit next to one another and read.

Thank you so much, Jess for coming and talking with us today. Be sure to check out Jess’s website to see more info about her book and Miraculous! Thanks everyone and remember to like this site to see more interesting interviews as we continue to ask Questions to Inspire!

Coloring Sheets – 1 Samuel 2:2

Please enjoy a free craft from Moose Egg Productions.  These coloring sheets are great for children’s church, preschools, or just a fun activity.  If you like them, please feel free to let us know in the comments or send us back a pic of your child’s finish art.

Enjoy!!!

Interview – Voice Over Actor – Asia Mattu

Hey everyone! This week on Questions To Inspire, we have an amazing interview. We are going to talk with Actor – Asia Mattu!

Good morning, Asia.  Let’s start out with you telling us a little bit  about yourself.

Good morning! I’m a drummer, martial artist, I LOVE to travel and most importantly I’m a voice actor! So basically when you watch cartoons, play video games, or hear ads but don’t see a physical person talking to you, that’s voice acting. There are tons of jobs you may not even think as being voice-over related, like: audio books, call waiting prompts, movie/tv promos, toys, technology (Siri), etc.

You are a talented voice actor and have a lot of work credited to you, such as My Little Pony, Plants Vs. Zombies, and Tiny Warriors. Your new show on Disney Jr. is called Gigantosaurus. Tell us about that?

Awww, shucks, thank you! Gigantosaurus is based on a popular kids book written by Jonny Duddle. It’s about four little dinos, Rocky, Mazu, Bill and Tiny, who go on many adventures and through their experiences they learn valuable lessons. It’s a great show for kids, and there’s humor for adults too (while recording I snuck in a movie reference so I hope it made it into the episode, keep an ear out parents!). I’ve seen every episode since it aired, and at the risk of sounding biased, it’s a great show. Visually it’s really colorful and I like how the animation has a storybook feel, which is fitting considering its origins, and it has one heck of a catchy theme song. I know I would have watched it as a kid so I’m extremely excited to be apart of it.

I love it, we have some behind the scene secrets! What would you say is your favorite role you have performed?

It’s really hard to choose! When asked this question most actors will say they can’t choose because we put a lot of work into our characters and to pick a specific one would be like choosing a favorite child. However, Rugo, the character I play on Gigantosaurus, will always hold a special place in my heart because she’s my first recurring role on an animated series. She’s also a character I had an immediate connection with. I saw a lot of myself in her; she’s small, but she can still hold her own with the other dinosaurs. She’s also a little zany and loves to eat, which I can TOTALLY relate to! So when I saw audition sides, I knew exactly how she would act and behave. No joke, when I sent the MP3 off to my agent I literally said, “Rugo is my spirit animal!” I guess I was right!

So one thing I learned about you is that you are also a puppeteer. I trained with two Sesame Street puppeteers. Do you like puppeteering?

Man, I’m a little envious of you! Yes, I do like puppeteering. It’s a really unique skill, and there’s more to it than just moving your hand or pulling strings. There are a lot of physical and technical challenges that go a long with it, such as coordinating your mouth and hand movements to make the puppet talk, knowing the puppets eye line, how the character moves, etc. I have a new found respect for the art.

I had two months to learn how to use a hand and rod puppet before we started filming. So I watched every ‘Learn to Puppeteer’ videos and any behind the scenes footage from the Muppets and Sesame Street on Youtube to help me. I was also lucky enough to have a crash course session with Mauri Bernstein, who has worked on Sabrina, the Teenage Witch and Team America: World Police.

When we were filming Puppet Killer we didn’t have a sound stage like the Muppets or Sesame Street, so the whole film was done on location. This was challenging because, as you may know, on sound stages you’re able to cheat the camera and create ways to hide the puppeteer. Since we were filming at someone’s house of course we couldn’t build anything so we had to get creative. One of the solutions was for me to wear a blue morph suit so the editing team could key me out in post-production. The morph suit was fine until I had to shoot scenes outside. We were filming in Mission, BC during the winter so it was really cold! I had to fill the suit with hot pockets to keep warm…haha. Overall working on Puppet Killer was a great experience. I learned a new skill and had a blast doing it!

What advice would you give someone who wants to learn how to be a voice actor?

The most common advice would be to take an acting class. But besides acting classes I would also recommend improv. Improv will help you breakout of your comfort zone and think on your feet. For example, when I auditioned for Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 2, I wasn’t given an audition script. The clients gave some characteristics and voice references for the characters and the rest was up to me. They would give me scenarios like: “Ok, now you’re getting shot” or “You’re running and you take a HUGE leap off the cliff…GO!”, and I would have to react off of those scenarios. Without improv I don’t think I would’ve gotten the job. It helped me be present, listen, and take direction without over thinking.

Also watch cartoons! Be familiar with different cartoon genera’s and trends. A kid’s show like Gigantosaurus is going to have a different energy and feel than Young Justice. This has helped me navigate many auditions, plus it’s the best kind of homework!

I read that you were a black belt in Mixed Martial Arts. Is that something you still do and what inspired you to keep training?

Yes! I still train, I love it and there is always something new to learn. Being a black belt doesn’t mean I’m a master at MMA (far from it!), it just means I’ve put in the time, but I still have a lot of learning to do. It’s kept me in shape and out of trouble. I was horrible at every other sport that I played haha, but for whatever reason martial arts was the one that stuck.

Another reason I keep training is I love seeing how martial arts transforms a person, and I don’t mean like how young Bruce Wayne becomes Batman kind of transformation, but a mental transformation. I started coaching kids when I was 14 years old and everyone coming through the door had different reasons for joining. But there was always someone who joined because they lacked confidence or they were getting bullied at school. At first it would take them awhile to warm up, but overtime you can see the confidence building and they start to come out of their shell. Seeing that transformation is one of the most rewarding things ever. Martial arts helped me build my confidence and coaching others to build theirs is the best way to give back.

Wow, I love that. Not only do you have a passion for Martial Arts, but you are using it to pour into others and help them build up the skills to better obtain their dreams as well. That is truly inspiring! What would you consider is the hardest part of being a voice actor?

The hardest part are the auditions. You put your heart and soul into an audition and…crickets. And it’s not because you did anything wrong, it’s just the client and/or casting director liked someone else’s acting choices better or the voice they chose was more suited for that particular character. Plus, now a days most auditions are done by recording from home, so unlike live auditions you won’t get any feedback unless you get a callback. Don’t get me wrong I DO get excited when I have an audition. It gives me a chance to create new characters, plus you know working is a good thing too, but it’s easy to get into a weird mental spiral.

To avoid that spiral I try to see every audition opportunity as a win, especially if I get an audition from someone I’ve auditioned for before. It means I’m doing something right, and it’s just a matter of time that THE role will come along. Once you get that phone call that you booked a job, it’s the best feeling in the world and it makes up for all the times you heard nothing.

On Questions to Inspire, we want to know what inspired you in your career choice and in life?

Funny enough I didn’t realize voice acting was a job until I was in high school. I loved cartoons growing up (still do!). I was born in the 90’s so Disney, Cartoon Network, YTV, Teletoon and Nickelodeon had amazing content. I knew I wanted to have a job in making cartoons, but I assumed the only job I could get was to be an animator. Then when I was watching behind the scene footage of Robin Williams recording for the Genie in Aladdin, I was blown away! I was fascinated that all of these characters and impressions were coming out of one person (keep in mind I wasn’t familiar with his stand up or prior works at the time). After that I jumped into the rabbit hole and started to research more about voice over, and I have yet to dig myself out of said hole.

But most importantly my parents and my grandparents are my biggest inspirations. They taught me the value of hard work. Even though acting is a creative job, there’s still a lot of blood, sweat and tears that go into it. Without their guidance and encouragement I don’t know if I would have been tough enough for this industry.

Do you have any inspirational words that were told to you that you would like to share?

If you have a dream or a passion go for it. You never know what will happen if you don’t try. If you succeed great! If not, that’s okay too. Take it as a learning moment and push through or pivot. As far as I know I got one shot in this life and I rather not spend anytime looking back and thinking “what if?”. As Alexander Hamilton once said, “I’m not throwing away my shot!”

Finally, we always ask a silly question for our guests. You get to create your own children’s show. It can be about whatever you want. Tell us about your show?

Oooooo, this is a tough one haha! I have a few ideas for an animated series but I’m not sure if I’m ready to share the full details on that yet ;). But off the top of my head…maybe one about a bunch of ghosts? I’ve always had an interest in ghost stories. I used to watch a lot of shows about ghost sightings and I nabbed a few books from the book fair about them too. Recently I found a podcast called, ‘And That’s Why We Drink’, which covers various ghost and true crime stories from all over the world. So because of them I hopped back on the supernatural train, haha.

Coloring Sheets – Fruits of the Spirit

Peace
Love
Joy
Self-Control
Kindness
Patience
Gentleness
Goodness
Faithfulness

Please enjoy a free craft from Moose Egg Productions.  These coloring sheets are great for children’s church, preschools, or just a fun activity.  If you like them, please feel free to let us know in the comments or send us back a pic of your child’s finish art.

Enjoy!!!

Interview – NASA – Patrick Taylor

Hey everyone! This week on Questions To Inspire, we have an amazing interview. We are going to talk with someone that works at the NASA Langley Research Center – Climate Research Scientist – Patrick Taylor!

Patrick Taylor atmospheric scientist photo by David C Bowman/NASA Langley

Good morning, Patrick.  Let’s start out with you telling us a little bit  about yourself.

I have worked for Langley Research Center in Hampton VA for thirty years now. It has been a great place to work and supported my education, from community college all the way to a PhD. For the last seven years, I have also taught for American Military University’s graduate space program. My name is Patrick Taylor and I am a Climate Research Scientist. I received my Ph. D. in Meteorology from Florida State University in 2009. My job entails designing and performing studies and experiments to better understand how our climate works so that humans can thrive on a changing planet.

Most of my work day is spent at my desk reading climate science papers written by other scientists, doing data analysis to test my own ideas, and then discuss the new ideas with my colleagues in the lab. My laboratory is called NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA and I have been here for 9 years.I have worked for Langley Research Center in Hampton VA for thirty years now. It has been a great place to work and supported my education, from community college all the way to a PhD. For the last seven years, I have also taught for American Military University’s graduate space program.

Let’s talk about you working at NASA, what was your reaction and what did others say when you told them you were working for NASA?

First let me say, working at NASA is awesome. I could not have found a job in a better organization. It is so fulfilling to know that each day the research I do is enabling a better tomorrow for everyone. When I tell people that I work at NASA, most of the time they say, “Wow, that’s cool.” However, I also hear things like, “I didn’t know that NASA is did weather, climate, and clouds.” One thing I like to reminds folks of is that Earth is a planet too. So, NASA studies all of the planets and that we have a keen interest in our home planet.

Many people don’t know how much NASA does for the scientific world and for environmental studies.  I think the consensus is that it is only about space.  Can you talk about your area of NASA and what are the goals that you hope to accomplish?

NASA is much more than space and human exploration. It turns out that the vantage point of space to view the Earth has a lot of advantages. NASA’s preeminence in all things space uniquely positions us to monitor the Earth system including the ocean, atmospheres, land, ice, plants, and animals. All of these areas of the Earth system are pieces of a puzzle that composes our climate system. My specific piece of this puzzle is to better quantify and understand how energy flows and is exchanged within the climate system.

My research focus over the last 10 years has been the many influences that cloud have in these energy flows, from reflecting sunlight back to space, redirecting infrared energy back to the surface, and the key role clouds play in precipitation. Better understanding how clouds modify the flows of energy throughout the climate system is necessary to improve our ability to better predict climate change. The ultimate impetus for this research is to improve life on Earth and help sustain human society. Critical systems that underpin our society, including food, water, energy, and security, are climate vulnerable.

This means that the access to and available of food, clean water, energy and safety is affected by the climate. Improving our ability to predict weather and climate will enable society to better “roll with the punches” associated with climate change, including a more sustainable future.

Patrick Taylor atmospheric scientist photo by David C Bowman/NASA Langley

How important is it for children to learn STEM skills and what was your favorite subject during school?

Education is critical. I would argue that education and STEM education is more important now than ever. Our world is changing fast. Technological advances seem to be move at the speed of light. Think about it, the iPhone is only 10 years old. Can you picture life without a smartphone? In order to cope with and understand the rapidly evolving world that is being thrust upon us, it is critical to have a grasp of STEM subjects. The technologically-driven world is showing no signs of slowing down. In light of this, it is as important for folks pursuing non-STEM careers as it is for those pursuing STEM careers to grasp STEM subjects. My favorite subject was always both science and math. I found them both very interesting. I have used what I have learned in those classes both inside my profession and in everyday life.

You have had an amazing career. What is your greatest accomplishment (so far)?

My greatest accomplishment would be being awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) in 2014. I received the award for my research furthering our understanding of the role that clouds play in Earth’s energy budget. As part of the award I was invited to the White House and got to meet then President Obama. It was a great honor that continues to motivate me today.

Winning the PECASE award is amazing! Any achievement like that though takes others around you inspiring you through your career and life. Let’s talk about inspiration. What was the best piece of advice that was given to you that has really stuck with you through your life?

The best piece of advice that I can give is to say ‘yes’ a lot. This leaves your open to new opportunities. One that you may not have known existed. The word ‘no’ closes doors and ‘yes’ opens them. Second, do not be afraid to tell your story. This will help you connect with people and you will be surprised to learn just how much you have in common with others. In addition, nobody tells your story better than you do. Go tell it!

That is great advice (and something I will probably be borrowing)! Thank you so much Patrick, for talking to us today. I want to end on one last question and it is incredibly serious. If a group of astronauts and a group of cavemen got into a fight, who would win?

Oh, most certainly NASA astronauts would win. Astronauts are some of the most intelligent, fit, and agile Americans—the best of the best. Plus, zero gravity is a physically demanding place and astronauts are trained for that. But, astronauts would only fight as a last resort. They are some of the most outgoing people and would certainly be able to defuse the situation with their wit.

Another point for astronauts! Thanks again for taking the time to answer a few questions for us at Questions To Inspire and thanks everyone for reading. Be sure to check out some of our other interviews and stay tuned for new interviews in the future!

Coloring Sheets – Days of Creation

Day 1 – God made the Light and the Dark
Day 2 – God made the Sky and Water
Day 3 – God made the Land, the Seas, and Plants
Day 4 – God made the Sun, the Moon, and Stars
Day 5 – God made Fish and Birds
Day 6 – God made Man and Animals
Day 7 – God Rested

Please enjoy a free craft from Moose Egg Productions.  These coloring sheets are great for children’s church, preschools, or just a fun activity.  If you like them, please feel free to let us know in the comments or send us back a pic of your child’s finish art.

Enjoy!!!

Interview – Singer / Songwriter – Robynn Shayne

Welcome to Questions To Inspire, where we interview people to find out what has inspired them in their careers and lives. Today, I am really excited to speak with a friend of mine Robynn Shayne. Robynn is a country music singer and has been making quite a name for herself with her music.

Robynn, thank you so much for talking with us today. Can you please start out telling us a little bit about yourself?

Good morning! I am a flight attendant for a major airline and also a singer / songwriter. I am based out of Austin, TX. Later this summer I will be going to Nashville to start a new record, probably July/August.

Let’s talk about what drew you into a music career, I mean other than having a singing voice?

We didn’t have a lot of money, but my parents had saved and saved to take us to Six Flags over Texas, and be able to splurge and let my brother and I do all we could that day at the theme park. I always thought I could sing, but never told anyone. That day, I begged my parents to let me sing at the karaoke recording studio. That was the first time they had ever heard me sing and were quite pleasantly surprised. I felt like a superstar that day! Ha! My senior year in high school I decided to sing at a talent show. In a nutshell, I had never performed in public before and my nerves got the best of me. It sort of scarred me and kept me from pursuing music at that time. A few years later, my brother passed away. I inherited his guitar and as a challenge to myself and a tribute to him, I decided to learn how to play. Once I could play a few songs, I started going to open mic nights. With my mom’s help and encouragement, I started writing songs. I was hooked. I realized music could touch people…maybe even heal them somehow. Maybe one of my light-hearted songs cheered them up on a day they were feeling down? Maybe one of my sad songs let them know they weren’t the only ones going though hard times? Music has a way of doing that. 

So people might not know, but you had a video on YouTube that went viral. It was you singing the song Royals by Lorde while you were on a flight. I remember the day that the video took off. I was in a meeting at my job and people were playing your video of the singing flight attendant. When they finally showed it up on the conference room screen, I was floored. I had to pull up a picture of us hanging out before anyone would believe that I knew you. So tell us what happened and how did it feel when the video went all over the world.

That video going viral was so crazy and exciting! Ha! A co-worker posted that video clip and a couple of days later I woke up to a text message from a friend saying he just saw me on the Today Show! I had no idea what he was talking about! Sure enough I turned on the TV and there I was. Lorde had shared the video saying “Robynn, I love you!” That’s how it got around so fast! I was beside myself. It brought some cool opportunities. For instance, American Airlines asked me to be a part of “Salute to the Troops”, a trip where they take wounded soldiers and their spouse on a trip as a thank you for their service and sacrifice. It was a very humbling experience. That year it was in Las Vegas. I got to open the show for Gary Senise and The Lieutenant Dan Band on Freemont Street in front of thousands of people! To say I’m thankful for that video and the opportunities it brought my way is an understatement! 

That is amazing. I just checked the YouTube and the video has over 1 million views!!! What advice would you give someone who wants a career in the music industry?

Nothing is handed to you in the music business. (or any business!!!) If you want success, you have to work for it…and know your worth!!! Thick skin is a must have! Not everyone will like your music, but don’t let that keep you down. You’re not going to be everyone’s cup of tea and that’s ok. 

Very good advice! What inspiration did you have growing up that has really motivated you through your life and career?

My parents always taught me that if you want something, you work for it! Nothing comes for free! People always tell me how lucky I am, but the truth is, I don’t really believe in luck…I believe in hard work! Sure, you can be in the right place at the right time, but if you aren’t prepared for it, nothing will come of it in the end.

What upcoming shows do you have coming up?

The best place to get the most up today shows are on my website, www.RobynnShayne.com.

And isn’t one of your shows in Ireland later this year?

I am playing the Texas Red Dirt Pub Crawl In Ireland in November and I’m super excited about that one! Ireland is just an absolute dream land! I went there on vacation last year and can’t wait to go back. To be going with lots of my musician friends will make it even that much more fun!

Out of all of the shows and events that you have done, what sticks out as the most amazing?

A few of years back, my husband bought us tickets to see Kacey Musgraves at ACL Moody Theater in Austin, TX. During the show, I told my husband “one day I’m gonna play that stage.” 2 years later, I won an IHeart Radio contest and got to do just that! I got to open for Easton Corbin, Jarrod Neiman, and Bobby Bones and The Raging Idiots. It was such a huge milestone and a magical night! I have also had the opportunity of playing the iconic Bluebird Cafe in Nashville! 

Finally, we have our last silly question. We always ask our guest one random question. So here is yours: You have to switch places with another singer in an established band, but not country music. What band are you now the lead singer in?

Hands down, it would be Guns N Roses! I’d make a killer Axl Rose! Haha!

I would buy that album! Robynn thank you again for taking the time to talk to us about your inspiration. If you haven’t please go check out Robynn Shayne’s music I have one of her album in my phone right now (I love her album Rebel Child)!

Thanks everyone and remember to like this site and share these interviews to see more interesting interviews as we continue to ask Questions to Inspire!