Memorial Day

It is finally summer time! You no longer have to worry about assignments, tests, or deadlines. Woohoo! A few days after summertime officially begins, your family plans a barbecue and swim party for Memorial Day. You are excited to see your friends and family, but you have some unanswered questions. What is this holiday’s meaning? Is it simply about gathering together on a summer day to relax and celebrate? Is it just a day that the mail does not run? Or, is it a day that has a much greater significance? If you read to the end of this blog, you will no longer have any questions about Memorial Day and its significance.

Everybody can probably recite a few facts about the Civil War that they learned in middle school; however, it was much more than just a few statistics to the people who lived through its trauma. Thousands of young men and a few women valiantly left their families to embark on a journey full of fear, pain, misery, and death. Although some made it out of the war, many were not as fortunate. Mothers and fathers wept over the deaths of their children, who sacrificed their lives for what they believed.

In a time of despair and grieving, Americans united and honored the young individuals who selflessly gave their lives in the Civil War. Throughout the nation, people paid their respects by placing flowers and other objects on the graves of those who died in the war. Because this was occurring in different places around the United States, the exact location where Memorial Day began is unknown. Despite the anonymity, the government declared Waterloo, New York, as the first official city where Memorial Day was recognized because of the festivities held there in honor of the people who perished.

Interestingly, this holiday was originally referred to as Decoration Day because many people would place different decorations on the soldiers’ graves to honor them. Regardless of the name, Memorial Day was designed to take a day out of the year to honor the men and women who perished fighting for what they believed in. Each town might have different traditions for celebrating the holiday, but every festivity boils down to honor and respect. Although this holiday started in honor of those who perished in the Civil War, it eventually became known as a celebration of life for all the people who died fighting in a war.

In 1971, Memorial Day was recognized as a national holiday when governmental offices close to recognize those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for this country. Throughout time, this holiday lost its true meaning. Many suggest it is due to the extended weekend. Perhaps it is because we have become desensitized to the true pain death causes. Whatever the case might be, it is something we can change. Fascinatingly, Congress asked that everything stop at three o’clock for only a minute on Memorial Day in remembrance of the true meaning of this holiday. In the midst of the barbecues and summer festivities, take a moment of silence with the rest of the nation on the last Monday in May to recognize those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. I will take a moment of silence this Memorial Day. Will you?

John 15:13 states, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (New Living Translation). 

Written by Trisha (NEW: Click on author’s name to learn more about him or her!)

Image Credit

Mind Crumbs

Perhaps the most basic definition of a metaphor is a figure of speech that equates two things for the sake of comparison and symbolism. It is a unique tool that helps people describe their feelings and emotions toward a certain person or thing as accurately as possible.

I loved reading and writing poetry growing up, and metaphors were one of my absolute favorite devices. Metaphors are splashes of color that beautify and give life to the words on the page. They cover the nakedness of dull expression with the elegant texture of a silky garment. See what I did there? Metaphors open doors to endless possibilities and invite the creators to explore their imagination freely.

I not only enjoy but have delight in creative writing through metaphors because it allows me to express my thoughts and ideas so clearly and precisely. Here are some of my absolute favorite ones:

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

Pablo Picasso

Picasso is an incredible artist who needs no introduction, and I love this metaphor because it tells us that art offers new and exciting experiences and helps us get through the darker moments of our lives.

“All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind.”

Khalil Gibran

This metaphor reminds me of another metaphor that illustrates the depth of the mind according to Sigmund Freud, who made the distinction between the conscious and unconscious mind. This idea is illustrated by an iceberg. The top (a small surface of ice) is the conscious mind while the bottom (a vast surface of ice under water) is the unconscious mind, also known as the subconscious mind. There is so much that we do not say, yet those thoughts affect our actions and feelings every single day, it is a rather scary thought.

“A good conscience is a continual Christmas.”

Benjamin Franklin

I love this one because it is such a cheerful yet chastening metaphor. When I do not have a lot on my mind or have rectified all my wrongs, I am a happier and a more colorful person—just like Christmas! In other words, the metaphor is telling us, “whatever you have not made right, do so if you want to be happy.”

“Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to me will not hunger, and he who believes in me will never thirst.”

John 6:35

The Bible itself is essentially a poem. There are countless, beautiful examples of metaphors, especially in the Wisdom Books (Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Job). However, I found this metaphor to be one of the most beautiful. Though Jesus compares himself to bread and water, it is clear to see that He is much more than that. Bread makes us full and water quenches our thirst, but we get thirsty and hungry yet again. Jesus, on the other hand, offers nourishment that lasts forever because it is for the soul.

I might not be as brilliant as Picasso or as elegant as Franklin, but I have found that using metaphors to express myself has led to the exploration and discovery of a new writer in myself. It has allowed me to learn from others and develop my own style. It has been a heavenly journey!

Written by Kenean (NEW: Click on author’s name to learn more about him or her!)


Who Ya Gonna Call… and it Ain’t Ghostbusters

What to do when you realize you need help!

Life, without fail, is rough sometimes. As pessimistic as that sentence may seem, you can not deny that there is a hint of truth to it. Yes, inevitably, life will not be perfect. Man, that almost makes you wish that there was someone out there, literally anyone, who could live life alongside you. Someone to help you navigate through all the many trials and tribulations (although, we can hope not too many). (Anywho, it is your lucky day!) I can say with confidence that such a person does indeed exist! *Drumroll…and other introductory sounds* The person that you are searching for is called a mentor! Ok, you were probably hoping for some crazy life hack that you never even knew existed. Alas, the answer really is that simple and not at all far-fetched!


I want a mentor… where are you?

Hmm… honestly, that is not only a great but also a very fair question. The best way to find a mentor is to start asking around. I mean it would be ridiculous to assume that a mentor will just randomly fall out of the sky, with zero effort on your part. Ideally, that would be fantastic! However, unless someone contacts you, or you sign up through some official program, you will have to put some time into finding one yourself. Wait, before you get all panicky, stop and take a breath. Getting rejected is not the end of the world; it is just a nudge to keep on searching. The right mentor is definitely out there!


What are the official mentoring requirements?

Luckily, there are none! Trust me, the lack of specific requirements is to your advantage. Much like life, there is no cookie-cutter mold for a mentor. The mentoring process is designed for the betterment of the mentee. Thus, the two will have the flexibility to work out what best suits them. Yes, if really pressed I can be vaguer, but honestly, each case is unique. Thus, you can confidently seek out a mentoring relationship catered to your needs.

No… please at least provide some idea of who a mentor should be!

Ok, if you insist. I can shed some light on qualities to look for in a mentor:

  1. Someone who is older than you. (Again, the age gap is up to you, but remember you are looking for wisdom, which is usually added with years.)
  2. Someone you look up to. (This should really be a given!)
  3. Someone who either a) has the time or b) will make the time to meet with you regularly.


A parting thought…

After you have experienced the mentoring process for yourself, seriously consider providing it for someone else. Be bold and initiate the mentor/mentee relationship. Remember, it is never a waste to invest in someone else. Besides, they may also choose to pass it along! Basically, you have the potential to start something great, so go for it!

Written by Jordan (NEW: Click on author’s name to learn more about him or her!)

Image Credit