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Amy Julia Becker
29 followers -
Author, Blogger, Speaker on Faith, Family, and Disability
Author, Blogger, Speaker on Faith, Family, and Disability

29 followers
About
Amy Julia's posts

Dear Friends,

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending my 5th Festival of Faith and Writing at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I spoke on a panel about my decision to stop blogging, and I talked about how I am aiming for “organic” growth as a writer. Just as an organic farmer doesn’t throw seed into the woods and see what happens, I don’t write whatever I feel like it and throw it out into the world. Similarly, an organic farmer refuses to use pesticides, and insists upon things like crop rotation, and sometimes thinks that smaller and slower is the better way to go. When I stopped blogging, I gave up some opportunities for quick growth of my “platform,” but I hope the result will nevertheless lead to lasting and sustainable growth for deep and life-giving ideas.

One way I'm cultivating my field, so to speak, is by writing for a variety of media outlets. I have essays in the works for The Atlantic and The New York Times, which I will share soon via Facebook and on Twitter. And I just had an article for Christianity Today: "Your Kids Don't Need a Megachurch" (http://ow.ly/CKjU300prFQ) about the unexpected blessing our small rural congregation has been to our whole family.

I’ve also recently launched a redesigned website.(http://amyjuliabecker.com) This beautiful site is the re-creation of Marc Miller of Big Ocean Studios, and Jaclyn Grasso, my indomitable assistant, to whom I am eternally grateful. Not only does it look even better than the old site, but it hopefully provides content in an easier-to-navigate format. I’ve collected small groups of what I consider my best essays about Down syndrome in one place, family in another, and spirituality in a third. We’ve also put together a page with our family’s book recommendations. There’s a page with questions for discussion and excerpts from both Small Talk and A Good and Perfect Gift. And there’s also information on speaking topics and upcoming events. I’d love to know what you think of it!

My job as an “organic writer” is to write good stuff and place it carefully in the world. There’s one part of this “organic writing” that relies upon your help. If you taste it, so to speak, and it nourishes you, would you tell some other people about it? Share the website, the CT article, or invite a friend to subscribe to this newsletter. I’d love your help in creating slow, sustainable growth that nourishes the soul.

Blessings,
Amy Julia

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"Perhaps the things I thought were our church’s deficiencies are really gifts." - From "Your Kids Don’t Need a Megachurch," my latest piece for Christianity Today

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Dear Friends,  

When Penny was about to turn one, my younger sister Elly was taking a documentary film class in college. Elly decided to film Penny. There’s a scene where Elly is interviewing me and I say, “I really don’t think about Down syndrome very much.” The next shot in the film is the stack of twenty books from my study with titles related to Down syndrome. Elly and I watched the film together recently (and of course I melted while seeing Penny nearly a decade ago—those cheeks, that smile, those eyes!), and we both laughed at the incongruity between my words and the image. Clearly, I thought about Down syndrome all the time.

But as the years passed, Down syndrome faded into the background of our lives. It came up on occasional doctors’ visits. We had little reminders when we met with Penny’s school team to discuss her learning goals. But our focus shifted from the diagnosis to Penny herself.  

Our focus remains on Penny, but in the past month I’ve thought more about Down syndrome than usual for a couple of reasons. One, Penny decided to research her condition for a project in school. Two, I was asked to report for Parents.com and TheAtlantic.com about new research pointing out the differences between the brains of people with Down syndrome and people who are typically developing. Three, I’m working on a proposal for a new book (more on that soon, I hope) that considers what it is like to grow up with privilege, and I’m realizing how grateful I am to our daughter for opening my eyes to the beauty, richness, and interconnectedness of all of humanity. Finally, March 21 is World Down Syndrome Day, which always reminds me of the reasons we have to celebrate life with Down syndrome.  

So please join me in pausing for a moment to consider Down Syndrome today. Look at 21 Pictures of Beautiful People with Down Syndrome. Read the articles mentioned above, or visit my website for more articles I’ve written on this topic. Or give a copy of A Good and Perfect Gift to a friend and start a conversation about who we value and how it might change us for the better if we became a society not only where everyone was included, but where everyone belonged.
  
Thanks,
Amy Julia  

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Please join me in pausing for a moment to consider #DownSyndrome today #WDSD amzn.to/1PmYJZE
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"Are we forming [our children] into the people they want to be, or asking them to conform to a narrow social notion of who they ought to be?"

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30 Inspiring Books on Girls & Women of the
Civil Rights Movement 

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Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice — and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.

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Penny's 10th birthday gave me a chance to think about all the ways I've grown up because of having her in my life, and the many things I've learned. My latest piece for Parents.com: 

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"It's possible that new parents reading this book will experience the same reaction I did way back when, but I suspect that the many compassionate and positive stories within The Parents' Guide to Down Syndrome will break down barriers while also providing invaluable information along the way." My latest piece for Parents.com:  http://ow.ly/YbQF9 
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