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November 19, 2012

Five Great Gifts for Teachers (and #1 is FREE!)

 I posted this quite awhile ago, but the season of shopping is upon us and it bears repeating.  One of the hardest people to choose a gift for besides your mother-in-law is your child's teacher so here is a repost of "Five Great Gifts for Teachers (and #1 is FREE!):

If you're looking to get your child's teacher a gift, you may not know where to start.  Whether it's for the holidays, teacher appreciation week, or as an end-of-the-year "thank you", here are some great gift ideas for you to consider- and the first one won't cost you a cent!

#1: A Heart-Felt "Thank You" Note.
    Teachers can often feel under-appreciated for all the hard work they put in on a daily basis. Being a teacher is not easy, and being a great teacher is even harder. So let your child's teacher know how much you appreciate his or her investment in your child's future by writing a sincere letter of gratitude.  If you need help getting started, try finishing these sentences:
  • Before [insert child's name] started in your class (s)he __________, but now (s)he __________.
  • My child loves how you __________.
  • I appreciate how you __________.
  • You are a great role model because __________. 
#2: A Gift Card
     There is a good chance that your child's teacher is not a millionaire. Even if it feels like you're paying millions of dollars in tuition, they're probably not making much.  Easing money woes is a great gift idea for almost anyone and who doesn't love a little money off the tab at their favorite restaurant?  You don't need to get them a $50 gift card to the nicest restaurant in town.  Five dollars to McDonald's will buy a lunch and five dollars to Starbucks can buy some much-needed coffee.

#3:  A Spa Certificate
    Teachers are often under a lot of stress.  You know how wonderful -and -how terrible your child can be at times.  Now multiply that by the number of kids in the class and you have what teachers work with on a daily basis.  That's not even including all the paperwork, staff meetings, grading, parent-teacher conferences, and keeping up with required continuing education.  Teachers could definitely use some time to relax at a spa.  While a free massage would be wonderful, a nice pedicure can be just as relaxing.

#4:  Something For The Classroom (Ask first!)
    New stuff is always great, and new stuff for the classroom can be just as wonderful as a new stuff for ourselves.  You may want to ask the principal or management staff first before you buy anything.  Some schools have strict policies on what goes into a classroom and where it comes from, but usually a donation of a children's book or a set of pencils will be warmly welcomed.

#5:  Know Your Teacher/Be Creative
    If you know your child's teacher well enough, you can get something that specifically fits that teacher.  For instance, if you happen to know that the teacher is gluten-intolerant, you can give him or her a great tasting gluten-free cookie recipe.  Another great give idea comes from you.  Don't be afraid to get creative.  One amazing gift I got from a mom was a poem using the letters of my name for adjectives that describe me.  Another wonderfully unique gift I got from a parent was a donation made in my name to provide desks for a school in rural China.  So don't be afraid to think outside the box and try getting to know your child's teacher.  You'll get a plethora of great gift ideas!  

November 16, 2012

Do I Dare?: What Christians REALLY Think About Homosexuality

    One of my greatest fears involves the metaphorical stepping on of toes and the actuality of offending decent people.  Today I face the very real possibility of that fear coming to light as I tread on eggshells approaching a topic that has been building up inside me ready to explode.

     Perhaps the largest battle of American society today seems to be Christians versus Homosexuals.  What really bothers me though is how grossly misinformed each side is on the other's viewpoint.  If there is one thing I have learned about getting along with others and trying to get them to see your point of view, you first need to understand THEIR point of view.  So today, I will do my best to examine BOTH viewpoints in order to enlighten anyone interested in this heavy topic.

      I will start by admitting that my knowledge is limited on one side, however I invite those who may enlighten me to help me understand these issues further as long as you do so politely and reasonably. 

So here is the argument for homosexuality to the best of my knowledge:

     Homosexuality is as much of a choice as skin color.  You don't just wake up one morning and decide who you will be attracted to.  You are just born that way.  Science suggests that some fetuses are exposed to more estrogen or testosterone and that has a determining factor as to what sex they will be attracted to later in life.  Children at a young age start noticing that they are "different" and those in Christian communities may even pray that God will take these feelings away, but it doesn't happen.  While the bible says that homosexuality is a sin it also says 
'Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed.  Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material." (Leviticus 19:19)  Also, the bible speaks more about loving one another.  Why should that change just because the love is between a man and a man or a woman and a woman?  Put you religion where your mouth is and love thy gay neighbor!

The view every "real" christian I know has:

    Homosexuals do not have control over their sexual desires any more than we do.  I am born with a sinful lust towards men that I'm not married to.  My sin may be more socially acceptable, but it is still a sin.  It is only by the grace of God by the blood of Jesus through the Holy Spirit that my mind is free from lustful thoughts.  I may not fully understand homosexuality, but I know what it is like to be freed from sinful desires (more than just sexual desires) and it was not an easy path.  I can imagine it would be even harder for someone born with a lean towards homosexuality, but it has been done.

Some "extra-info" from my life:

    When I was in college, one of the chapel speakers gave his testimony about how God changed his life and brought him out of homosexuality and into celibacy.  This sounded a lot like the story of my mother's coworker that had stated he was attracted to men, but as a Christian he believed it was a sin and thus he practiced celibacy.  However both of these stories are not nearly as memorable as the other ex-gay chapel speaker we had.

    The college I went to was a very conservative Christian university.  So much so that when a professor published a book about how God guided the process of evolution, many parents called the university to request his termination.  So imagine the shock that rippled through the students in chapel when a very effeminate man stepped up on stage to talk about homosexuality.  This man was Sy Rogers, who is happily married to a woman and has one daughter.  His testimony can be easily found online along with a few other "ex-gays."

    There is no question that the church has often done more harm than good when trying to lead people to the right path, especially homosexuals.  Many programs now days are reevaluating what has helped and what has harmed when it comes to ministering to homosexuals.
    For anyone who would like to read more, I've added a few links below that seem to follow the testimonies I've heard.  I haven't had a chance to review them thoroughly, but they seem alright at the very least.

     I hope I have enlightened a few people, and I will say again: If you would like to share more information or another viewpoint I welcome it.  I will be polite if you will and I hope I have not offended anyone.  I apologize if I have.

My fear has been faced, the eggshells tread upon, I voyage into an unknown future.

November 7, 2012


    Hello my fellow insecure writers!  As I have written in my previous posts, I have been on hiatus from my blog and I have discovered deeper reasons for my need of a leave of absence.  I was trying to run before I could walk.  I am still working on my first draft of my first book AND trying to keep a blog and social networking.  That and I added a few things to my plate. 
      So here is my advice for my fellow insecure writers:  don't be afraid to start slow, but don't be afraid to take off running.  Do what works for you.  If writing is what you love than just write.  If your getting your name out there, great!  Keep it up!  You can probably do it better than me.
     So am I still writing?  YES! Just not on my blog.  I have been self-critiquing my current draft of The Mythical Male and when I don't have my computer (or when the dam breaks and I NEED to write the latest story in my head) I've been writing a story I'm calling Princess Knights
       One thing I've been looking for in my minimal spare time is advice on how to create characters when you already have a plot in mind.  I've come to learn that when it comes to writers there are plotters and character stalkers.  One sets out the plot from start to finish then writes.  The other makes a character and something that character wants more than anything, then writes about everything that can keep the character from his/her goal.  I'm somewhere in between.  I think "What if...[a girl switched bodies with her crush's dog/a guy inadvertently saves the life of someone evil/ect.] and then write what happens, but my weakness is creating characters for these stories.  Any advice?
      Thanks again to my the fellow IWSG members and especially its creator.  Click the icon at the top of the post to see more.  I hope my few words of encouragement helped someone out there.