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St. Patrick’s Day: A Guide

Tuesday is March 17th; you know what that means, right? Or, like me, you may not. Unless you are Irish or claim the Irish culture, perhaps St. Patrick’s Day is one of those holidays on the calendar that comes and goes without a second glance. However, this year let’s be challenged to not only take a glance, but to celebrate.

Where Did This Holiday Come From?

It is fairly crucial to have some basic understanding of the holiday before diving into the festivities. I must confess that I am not personally a historian, but through some intensive google searching, I found more than I thought I wanted to know about this particular holiday. Lucky for you, pun intended, I am willing to share my newfound knowledge. The holiday falls on the day that “St. Patrick” is thought to have died. Originally, it was intended to celebrate his contributions in helping to Christianize Ireland. Surprisingly, St. Patrick was neither a saint nor a Patrick. The Catholic Church never officially embraced him as a saint, but he did take on the name Patricius, though he was born Maewyn Succat. As the Irish immigrated to America during the 18th century, the holiday was celebrated to commemorate Irish culture among the Irish community. Then as time went on, the holiday grew bigger and bigger.

Bust Out Your Green Because?

Surely you are aware of the tradition that those who choose not to wear green on March 17th are subjected to exposing themselves to receive a pinch. Perhaps this has never affected your life. In that case, you are missing out, because a free day to pinch a sibling or friend can be quite fun. But still the question lingers: why green at all? Apparently during the Irish Rebellion of 1798, the British chose to wear only red and the Irish chose green. The Irish civilians also wore green in support of the rebellion. After the rebellion, the Irish claimed green as a symbol of pride. Ireland, due to its bountiful green landscape is also known as the “Emerald Isle,” which certainly adds to the cementation of Ireland’s claim on green. So of course on the day celebrating all things Irish, the countries claimed color is paraded to the extreme.

The Power Behind the Pinch

The most logical answer I found was that the pinch represents and encourages a boldness in Irish culture. However, what fun is logic? Instead there is also a mythological reasoning behind the mischievous tradition. A one-word summary: leprechauns. As legend goes, the little devils are notorious for pinching those who refuse to wear green. Wearing green provides one an invisibility cloak from their eyes. Now, everyone is welcome to take on the role of the leprechaun in order to carry out their job.

Now that you are caught up on all things St. Patrick’s Day, feel free to share your new-found knowledge with all your friends. Or, keep it to yourself and embrace the mischievous nature of a leprechaun.

Written by Jordan

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Walking Between Mountains: The Importance of Small Actions

From beginning to end, life is full of some pretty amazing moments: taking your first steps, making a new friend, receiving an acceptance letter, landing your first job, marrying the one you love, getting a big promotion, holding your first child or grandchild, settling into retirement, and also – a moment I recently experienced – graduating from college.

But life isn’t always these mountaintop moments, where you’re on top of the world and all possibilities, like the countless stars above, seem within just a fingertip’s reach. No, as my favorite artist, Ben Rector, puts it, “Life is not the mountain tops. It’s the walking in between.”

And what happens during these walking-in-between moments? What happens on all the days leading up that next big accomplishment? Small actions, little habits, basic routines.

These are the things that define us – the things that demonstrate who we really are. Not our finest moments, but the little things we do on the days we spend walking between mountaintops.

It was my commencement speaker Jesse Rincones, executive director of the Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas, who got me thinking about the importance of small actions. Rather than urging the eager crowd of graduates before him to go out and take the world by storm, leave our mark, or change society for the better, Rincones simply asked that we do the little things in life to which many pay no mind.

So what are these small actions, little habits, and basic routines that we’re asked to undertake? I believe they’re different for everyone, and we should seek to discover them sooner rather than later. In the meantime, here is a list of five small actions taken by five amazing people to inspire you on your own journey of discovery.

  1. Exercising – Fred Rogers

Best known as the host of the children’s television series Mister Roger’s Neighborhood, which aired between 1968 to 2001, Fred Rogers was also a musician, puppeteer, writer, producer, and Presbyterian minister. He was a jack of all trades with a passion for creating meaningful, educational television that would personally touch the lives of children across America.

Amid all his production responsibilities, Rogers remained dedicated to one very small daily action: exercise. More specifically, he had a passion for swimming. According to The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers by Maxwell King, “swimming was an important part of the strong sense of self-discipline [Rogers] cultivated” (317).

The concept of self-discipline was also a key theme of Roger’s program, the importance of which he sought to impart through each episode. Rogers truly believed that if children could learn the value of self-discipline and execute it daily, they would lead healthier, happier, safer, and more productive lives. By practicing what he preached during the days Rogers spent walking between mountaintops, he was better poised to communicate lasting messages that changed a generation of young audience members.

  1. Writing – Anne Frank

Well-known throughout the world for her personal documentation of life during the Holocaust, Anne Frank was simply a young, Dutch-Jewish girl who lived through extraordinarily dark times. Without her dedication to the simple, daily action of writing, Frank’s honest depiction of courage in the face of Nazi persecution might never have been compiled to enlighten millions.

On April 4, 1944, Frank wrote passionately, “I want to go on living after death! And therefore I am grateful to God for giving me this gift, this possibility of developing myself and of writing, of expressing all that is in me” (197). Frank did not so much walk in between mountains as she did walk towards mountains in the distance. But being wise beyond her years, she summoned the courage to hope for those mountaintop moments she knew she might never reach and remained dedicated to the simple task of writing along the way.

  1. Reading – Ben Carson

Ben Carson is currently the US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, but he is perhaps better known for his pioneering career as a neurosurgeon at John Hopkins. Before entering politics, Carson became well-known across the world for performing the first successful separation of conjoined twins as well as many other groundbreaking neurological procedures.

Having grown up in a poor neighborhood of Detroit, Michigan, without a father figure and surrounded by racial prejudice, Carson became the successful man he is today because his mother, Sonya Carson, insisted he practice one small habit weekly: reading. According to Carson’s autobiography Gifted Hands, Sonya required that Carson read at least two books a week and turn in official reports to her about what he learned.

This weekly habit began as a requirement but soon developed Carson’s ambition to be the top of his class and make something extraordinary of himself. One small action turned Carson’s life around and paved roads to future mountaintop moments that would never have been possible without his passion for reading.

  1. Praying – Corrie ten Boom

Another inspirational figure from the World War II era, Corrie ten Boom was a Dutch watchmaker who saved the lives of nearly eight hundred Jews by hiding them with the help of her family. Ten Boom and her family were eventually caught and held in a Nazi prison and later concentration camps.

In her autobiography The Hiding Place, ten Boom writes about the many trials she and her family endured, both during their freedom as they worked to hide Jews and during their imprisonment. Despite the difficulties that ten Boom lived through, she was dedicated to daily prayer, which gave her the strength to face each day and ultimately saved her life during her internment.

Without the simple, daily action of prayer, ten Boom most likely would have lost her faith in the Lord like so many others who lived through Nazi occupation. But her willingness to go to God in times of confusion, heartache, fear, and pain sustained her through these dark valleys. Ten Boom is now considered an inspirational champion of humanitarianism revered by people around the world.

  1. Learning – Malala Yousafzai

A joint recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize and the youngest laureate of this award to date, Malala Yousafzai’s name is well-known across the globe. In her memoir I Am Malala, she writes about her life growing up in Swat, Pakistan, where she advocated publicly for females’ right to education and attended school herself despite social pressures against this.

She also recounts the horrifying tale of an attempt on her life – when a member of the Taliban shot her in the head to try to silence her activism – and her determination to survive and overcome the attack.

Clearly, an unwavering determination to learn is the action that drives Yousafzai as she walks between mountains. She has experienced many mountaintop moments, both exciting and terrifying, each of them brought about by her simple but powerful dedication to the ideal that everyone deserves the right to learn.

What will you do as you walk between your mountaintop moments?

Clearly, the above is not an exhaustive list. There are plenty of small actions, little habits, and basic routines worthy of dedicating ourselves too. All we must do is be willing to find them.

Written by Meredith

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Celebrating Dr. Seuss

If you spend any amount of time reminiscing on your childhood, chances are you will remember reading a book authored by Theodor Seuss Geisel, more famously known as Dr. Seuss. Books like The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas! have become iconic works within the realm of children’s literature and pop culture. Today, we are celebrating what would have been Theodor’s 116th birthday, and what better way to celebrate than by looking back at his most memorable works?

Horton Hears a Who! (1954)

Horton the Elephant discovers the microscopic planet of Whoville after hearing what he thought was a talking speck of dust. He places Whoville on a clover and vows to protect the town from all the dangers of the much larger world that surrounds the tiny community. However, Horton is harassed by the other animals of the jungle for caring about people whom they cannot see or hear. This does not stop him from going to great lengths to ensure the safety of Whoville after they are captured by a black-bottomed eagle. When the other animals threaten to destroy the small town, Horton implores Whoville to make as much noise as possible to prove their existence. After the smallest shirker of Whoville cries out, the animals finally hear the town and promise to preserve it.

Considering the time period in which it was written, Horton Hears a Who! is very much reflective of the social conscious Geisel possessed. The 1950s saw the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement in America, as well as a great deal of animosity towards nations of the Axis Powers in the recently resolved World War II. With many of the racial minorities experiencing systematic marginalization, Geisel encourages these oppressed groups of people to speak out against the injustices they encounter. Even while these individuals represented a small portion of the American population (in the same way that the Whos of Whoville were microscopic compared to the animals), Geisel still pushes for them to use their collective voice for good, for “a person’s a person, no matter how small.”

The Cat in the Hat (1957)

Perhaps his most widely celebrated work, Geisel tells the story of two siblings left alone on a boring, rainy day until a cat enters the house with many games and tricks to entertain the children. The children’s fish discourages the cat’s activities, to which the cat responds by balancing the fish on his umbrella. The cat eventually brings out two identical characters, Thing 1 and Thing 2, both of whom wreak havoc throughout the house and create a giant mess just before the children’s mother comes home. After the Things are caught in a net, the cat quickly cleans everything in the house before the children’s mother walks through the door.

Geisel creates an interesting dynamic between the troublesome cat and the paranoid fish to represent the children’s conflicting desires between chaotic entertainment and orderly obedience. Even as the cat brings a fair amount of trouble into the house, his eagerness in attempting to brighten the gloomy day of the kids makes him a jovial and likeable character. On the opposite side, the fish’s longing for order dampens the cheeriness that the cat brings into the house, despite the fish having good intentions. Geisel’s ability to speak to the childish and imaginative nature of older readers while simultaneously simplifying his language for the younger audience makes for a classic story appealing to audiences of all ages.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1957)

The Grinch, who dwells in a cave high above Whoville, is annoyed by the cheery, Christmas spirit of all the Whos below him, so he devises a plan to dress up as Santa and steal the presents, trees, and feasts in Whoville. With his dog dressed as a reindeer, the Grinch flies down to the town and sneaks into the first house to enact his plan when he is interrupted by a little girl, Cindy Lou Who. She asks why he is taking the Christmas tree away, and the Grinch lies about fixing the tree’s lights before sending her back to bed. After he has stolen all the presents, trees, and fire logs from Whoville, the Grinch returns to his cave, only to hear the Whos belt out a joyous Christmas tune. Shocked by the Whos’ unwavering high spirits, the Grinch comes to realize that the meaning of Christmas expands beyond material possessions, and he gives all the belongings back to the Whos, with his heart growing three times its previous size.

Geisel puts a unique twist on the tale of Christmas by shifting the main perspective to an unhappy, yet strangely relatable, pessimistic protagonist. What the Grinch goes through is indicative of Geisel’s belief in people’s ability to change for the better, no matter how far gone they appear. In this sense, Geisel is not only speaking to the Grinches of his audience, but also those who know a Grinch. Obviously, if you’re being a stinky little Grinch, your attitude needs to change. However, if you see someone who is a Grinch, do not berate them. Show them the same kindness you would want to be shown if you were being a Grinch.

Green Eggs and Ham (1960)

Sam-I-Am spends almost the entirety of the book trying to convince his friend, Guy-Am-I, to try a plate of green eggs and ham. Even though Guy-Am-I adamantly refuses his offer multiple times, Sam-I-Am persists in asking, following Guy-Am-I to numerous locations. Finally, Guy-Am-I decides to try the dish just to get Sam-I-Am to leave him alone, and he ends up enjoying green eggs and ham much more than he thought.

Green Eggs and Ham is one of the more interesting works in Geisel’s catalog, as its simplistic vocabulary is not merely a product of writing for young children. After Cat in the Hat employed a total of 236 words, Bennett Cerf, Geisel’s publisher, bet that Geisel couldn’t write a book without exceeding that word count. As a result, Green Eggs and Ham was completed with only 50 words being used. So while he was challenging his young audience to expand their horizons by trying new things, Geisel was challenging himself in his own creative endeavors. He was willing to practice what he preached.

Oh, the Places You’ll Go! (1990)

The narrator speaks directly to the reader while detailing the journey of an unnamed character going through the highs and lows of life. The character, representing the reader, gets to travel down the fun, opportunity-filled roads as well as the low, gloomy valleys. One of these low places is “The Waiting Place,” where everyone is waiting for their situation to improve, but the narrator implores the reader to get up and create a better life for him/herself. The narrator challenges the reader to fight for success despite the roadblocks faced.

One of the most popular graduation gifts, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! was the last book published during Geisel’s lifetime and serves as a challenge to the generations coming after him. Instead of crafting a narrative with specific characters and events like many of his past works, Geisel opts for speaking directly to the reader and uses his own reflection on the ups-and-downs of life to encourage younger generations as they enter new stages of life. The book functions as a wonderful model of Geisel’s youthful optimism which extended through the entirety of his life.

While it’s likely that most of us haven’t thought about Dr. Seuss in a few years, the impact he continues to have on children’s literature with his simplistic language and thoughtful messaging is undeniable.

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

Written by Ryan

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Cover Letter Development

Hearing the words “cover letter” may cause you to break out in a cold sweat because, let’s face it, résumés and the concept of applying for a job or an internship are scary. It is nerve-wracking to think that in just a few pieces of paper, you are meant to use your skills and past work experience to show an employer how you would benefit their company. No need to fret! A cover letter is not as complicated as it may seem. It is more informal, allows you to show some of your personality to a potential employer, and serves as an introduction to your résumé. A cover letter is to a résumé as an appetizer is to a main course; if the appetizer is pleasing enough, it will leave the customer even more excited for the meal to come. Similarly, if your cover letter is intriguing, it will spark an employer’s interest in knowing more about you. Anytime you mail, fax, or email a résumé, a cover letter should be sent with it, and employers are more likely to review a résumé with a cover letter than without it.  Here are some tips on how you can organize your cover letter:

Let’s Get Technical: Format

The cover letter should be no longer than one page, based on a standard-size paper, and it should not be longer than four paragraphs. The margins should measure ½ to ¾ of an inch on all sides, and a professional font should be used such as Times New Roman or Arial in size 10- or 12-point font.

Organizing Your Content

  1. Address the Individual

The beginning of a cover letter is similar to the beginning of a regular letter, meaning the individual you are writing to should be greeted and addressed by name and title. For example, you could start with “Dear Mr. Person-in-Charge” or “Dear Ms. Company Director.” If there is not a name to refer to, address the letter to HR, Personnel Director, or the head of the department where you are applying. It would definitely help you in the long-run to put forth the effort to find out who exactly you are addressing.

  1. Show Off Your Skills

Remember the skills and work experience we were talking about earlier? Here is where you include them. Your main goal is to show how they will contribute to the company’s success. Relevancy is key, so make sure to review the job requirements to connect your expertise with the position for which you are applying.

Paragraph 1: What skills do you have to offer?

This paragraph should give a brief overview of your skills or work experience and affirm that they will benefit the company. Mention the company by name, and if the letter is in response to an advertisement, mention when and where the advertisement was seen.

Paragraphs 2 and 3: How exactly will the skills benefit the company?

These two paragraphs should provide an explanation of your previously stated skills. You should investigate the values and mission statement of the company and match your skills and achievements to them in order to accentuate your usefulness to the employer. You can also use this paragraph to emphasize significant parts of your résumé or add relevant strengths or accomplishments that were not included in it. For example, you can describe a specific situation and how your efforts contributed to a positive outcome.

  1. Conclusion

This is where you tie it all together. Your last paragraph should invite the employer to follow up on your cover letter and résumé. It should be brief and show your optimistic ambition by expressing a desire for an interview. Some statements you can use are “Hope to hear from you soon.” or “Thank you for your time.” You can even take a direct approach and ask, “When can we arrange an interview?” Make sure to repeat your contact information (phone and email) so your potential employer can reach out to you.

You are almost finished! In order to make sure your cover letter is pristine and ready to go, review the format. Your cover letter should follow business letter etiquette:

  1. Return address and phone number are located in the top right or left corner.
  2. The date should be placed underneath the address.
  3. The employer’s full address should be included, flush left margin.
  4. It is unnecessary to indent paragraphs, but double space in between them for clarity.
  5. You should include a salutation, followed by a written signature and your full name typed beneath it. If you are emailing it, you can type your name and make it look like a signature by using a cursive font.
  6. If the cover letter is sent with a résumé, type “Enclosure” or “Encl.”

You have reached the finish line! Developing a cover letter may seem tedious, but taking the time to organize and sort out your content will enhance its quality. Your cover letter is your first introduction to a potential employer and is a complement to your résumé, so you want to provide a professional impression. This means ensuring you are being intentional and making the effort to learn about the company, the position you are applying for, and the person you are addressing. Check for correct grammar and use complete sentences in order to reflect professionalism. Throughout your cover letter, keep brevity in mind. Though elaboration is important, a cover letter should mainly showcase your personality before the employer looks at your résumé. Being concise also helps keep the cover letter within one page. Most importantly, be yourself. You are trying to show your own unique characteristics and capabilities, so you want your cover letter to reflect that. Happy applying!

Sources:

https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/guide/how-to-write-a-cover-letter/

https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-write-a-cover-letter-31-tips-you-need-to-know

Written by Deneen

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For more information on how to write a cover letter, check out our Cover Letter Development handout on the Quick Reference Flyer page of our website!

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Are You at Work?

Today is the third Monday of February, and it’s a national holiday. Some choose to call it Washington’s birthday, but others, especially retailers, prefer the moniker Presidents Day. Many think it’s supposed to be “Presidents’ Day.” Historical events and the fickle nature of Americans caused the confusion. Now, before you get all bent out of shape at the accusation “fickle,” let’s take a short (really short because this writer has no dog in the race) gander at some history. We’ll go way, way back, all the way to 1732.

On February 22, George Washington was born. No doubt his parents wanted good and wonderful things for him, but they could not have foreseen that he would become the President of the United States of America. Heck, the U.S. didn’t exist as an entity when Washington entered the world. I’ll bet they didn’t even give him a toy musket for his birthday or worry that he’d shoot his eye out if he got one!

In the brief history, the next date that counts is 4 July 1776. I’ll bet you all know that epoch and why it matters so much. Yep. That is the day the Second Continental Congress decided that this country should break free from England and her taxes. The Declaration of Independence was actually written two days earlier, but all the t’s were crossed, i’s dotted, and signatures affixed on July 4, so that’s the day we celebrate.

Washington died in 1799, and the entire country grieved. It was decided, by the power of Congress or the People, that his birthday should become a day of remembrance. In 1879, that honoring became a real holiday through the stroke of President Rutherford B. Hayes’ pen, but only the District of Columbia got the benefit of the law. Finally, the entire country was extended the same pleasure in 1885.

Of course, you’d have to have lived your entire life under a rock not to know that good old George Washington was elected in the first presidential race that soon followed. But this story isn’t all about Washington. There is at least one more president important enough to mention by name: Abraham Lincoln. That tall, bearded icon entered the world on 12 February 1809. You all know that he wanted to unite the North and South and that he wrote the Gettysburg Address, and you also know we’ve never (really) stopped arguing since the first president. But that’s another story altogether. Lincoln is certainly important enough to celebrate.

Now we come around to some more disagreements. First of all, not every state thought we should add Lincoln’s day to the official holidays. Though it was observed in some states, it never became a national holiday. Still, school children already knew Lincoln’s birthday, and many people thought it should get stronger recognition. Nevertheless, Congress did nothing to add Lincoln’s birthday to the national roster of holidays.

What Congress did do was listen to labor unions, voices in the private sector, and employers who thought that moving holidays to Mondays and creating some three-day weekends would reduce employee absenteeism. Retailers loved the idea, knowing they could capitalize on it and create targeted sales when people were free to shop. Many suggested that Washington’s birthday be renamed Presidents’ Day to honor both Washington and Lincoln. Congress ignored that request, too. Calling it the Uniform Monday Holiday Bill, Congress passed the measure in 1968, and in 1971, it took effect.

The population, though, preferred Presidents’ Day, and most people see it as an opportunity to honor all men who have served in the White House as the nation’s top executive. In truth, many of us see it as a day to shop. Not all employers add it to the official holidays they honor.

So, what are you doing today? Are you honoring Washington and Lincoln and other presidents? Are you shopping? Or are you, like me, at your desk working? No matter what you’re doing, at least you know why you don’t get any mail today. Some people are off celebrating our presidents.

Sources:

https://nationaltoday.com/presidents-day/

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Presidents-Day

https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/us/washington-birthday

https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/presidents-day

Written by Kā

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Celebrating Love

Ironically, the eldest person in our office is writing about, conceivably, the most romantic day of the year, at least according to Hallmark and retail candy/flower sales. Is Valentines Day really a construct of card companies? What is the history, and why on Earth do we celebrate the idea of love on what sometimes feels like a random day in February? History.com tells us that it’s possible to date the origin of this day all the way back to 6 Century B.C. and a festival called Lupercalia, where dogs and goats became sacrificial devices in fertility blessings. Women bore the brunt of what we’d now see as strange and horrific: they actually lined up to be literally hit with the bloody hides and enter a lottery allowing them to live with a particular man for a year!

As if that isn’t shocking enough, NPR and LifeHacker inform us that Pope Gelasius I desired to stop the pagan rituals. Toward that end, he dubbed the formerly bloody day for two Christian martyrs, Valentine of Rome and Valentine of Terni. The two men coincidentally lost their lives years apart, but on the same date in the 3rd Century A.D. What are the chances?  Perfect apparently!

So, how did we get from the bloody fertility rites to the romantic ideas we entertain today? There are several answers to this question. First, and most simply, some think that the two Valentines were actually one man, who was responsible for performing illegal marriage rites for soldiers.  Others, Reader’s Digest included, point to the Normans and their celebration of Galatin’s Day. Since “galatin” means “lover” or “gallant,” the idea of romance is introduced both from the actions of St. Valentine and the language of the Norse. Geoffrey Chaucer underscored the romantic aspect of the day with his flowery words written to commemorate the engagement of King Richard II to Anne of Bohemia. In any case, people began to pen their own lovelorn notes by 1415. Among those who scribbled notable verses or letters are Duke of Orleans Charles, “A Farewell to Love,” and Shakespeare’s words embedded in “Hamlet.”

The Industrial Revolution brought a new spin on the practice, ushering in machine-made, mass-produced, straight-from-the-factory-to-the-retail-store cards that could be easily mailed. Hallmark Cards got in on the action in 1913, and Valentine’s Day (Keep that apostrophe, please! The day belongs to an actual person.) was reborn as a commercial holiday.

Chances are that if you’ve stuck with me thus far, you’re beyond the days of decorating lunch bags or shoe boxes and being mad that you must give a card to every classmate or none of them. Here’s guessing you might want some ideas for celebrating with your own loved one. Of course, you can always fall back on the standards: heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, store-bought cards, and red roses (Now we know why red ones signify love, don’t we? It harkens back to those pagan practices!). Or, you can stay with me, and I’ll offer you a couple of alternate ideas.

First of all, there is a plethora, well, at least a handful of Dallas excursions that include chocolate. Woohoo! Let’s go! Choose from these tours:

  • My Heart Belongs to Chocolate
  • Chocolate in Your Heart
  • The Vintage Valentine’s
  • Decadent Valentine Dreams Chocolate
  • “My Funny Valentine” Dinner and Comedy Show
  • Winery, Chocolate, Pizza, and Jazz
  • Tacos, Margaritas, and Valentine’s Celebration, or
  • Valentine’s Champagne and Chocolate

Tours not your thing? Got a pocketful of cash? How about a flight over the Dallas skyline at sunset and dusk followed by a fabulous meal for two? Or, consider a hot-air balloon flight at sunrise or sunset that comes complete with champagne and photos for your scrapbook. Flying gives you the jitters? Little to no cash in your tattered jeans? Visit TripSavvy (https://www.tripsavvy.com/unique-valentines-day-ideas-1004736) or the City of Dallas website (http://www.dallascitynews.net/six-ways-celebrate-valentines-day-dallas) for more ideas. Prefer Fort Worth to Dallas? Here are two websites for things to do in Cow Town: Brumbaugh’s, an iconic furniture store for over 50 years, has some ideas, (https://brumbaughs.com/6-unique-places-to-go-on-valentines-day-in-fort-worth/) and so does Eventbrite (https://www.eventbrite.com/d/tx–fort-worth/valentines-day-events/. Whatever you do, be glad that bloody rituals have ended and soldiers are no longer confined to the single life. Have fun and enjoy precious time with your loved one.

Written by Kā

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Let’s Get Personal: Writing a Profile Essay

A profile is a great type of essay to write for many reasons. Profiles focus on a particular person, place, or event, and use vivid description techniques to engage the audience. Furthermore, the subject matter usually holds personal importance to the author, so it differs from a descriptive paper in that the personal meaning is discussed and illustrated.

The Mechanics of the Essay

Mechanically, there are a few basic things to remember when writing a profile. For the introduction, you could begin with an anecdote or give background information, which will help the author give context and meaning to the paper. Following this, the writer can introduce the subject.

The body paragraphs of the profile will contain three to five key characteristics of the subject matter. Each characteristic should examine the most important qualities of the topic. There should not be vague or general statements within this paper. Each characteristic is intentional and has great detail and description involved.

The conclusion should summarize the paper and needs to have the specific characteristics restated. There should not be any new information presented in the conclusion, only things that were specifically discussed within the paper.

Practical Steps to Planning the Paper

The best place to start with this type of essay is to pick the specific person, place, or event that you will be focusing on for the paper. Following this, pick three to five important characteristics and include details. Then, go back and expand on each characteristic in order to explain the importance of each. From here, you can write, revise, and edit. Most importantly, remember to not get stressed out and just take the writing process one step at a time.

Profile Example

spain1

“Yay, they’re here!” shouted the refugee kids in Salt, Spain. Kids of all ages gathered around as my mission’s team pulled out soccer balls, jump ropes, glitter tattoos, and other fun activities. I paused and took a second to soak in the moment. Kids from all backgrounds with different stories were happily playing on the concrete of the plaza, delighted by the games we brought. Serving in Salt and Girona, Spain, was one of the most profound trips I have gone on, and I am grateful for what I experienced: the diversity, culture, and opportunity to spread the Gospel.

The people who live in Spain come from diverse backgrounds and cultures, yet it is a place where anyone can fit in. The people are kind, friendly, and willing to help the tourists, and want them to experience their culture. I was very nervous about going to another country, especially because it was my first time out of America, but I found everyone whom I encountered personable and eager to help me figure out directions and how to pay with Euros. Furthermore, many Spaniards are eager to interact with tourists. It was such a blessing to share Bible stories in Spanish and Catalan, the official languages of Girona, Spain. Many of the Muslims and other refugees took children’s Bibles with them and brought them back to their houses.

In addition, I loved the pace of life in Spain. Every shop closes for lunch each day for an hour, and dinner is an experience in and of itself. Dinner typically begins around eight or nine and lasts until eleven or midnight. Dinnertime is one aspect of how they value family and community while eating, and it was something I came to treasure while I was visiting. Everyone reminisces about his/her day, laughs, and enjoys the community of others. I find that this is something we lack in America where everything in this country is about having fast and convenient meals, which can sometimes take away from the aspect of intentional community.

Spain is an awesome mission field because the faith is dying out there. Beautiful cathedrals are not much more than museums nowadays, and only two percent of Spaniards are Christians. It was very humbling and impactful to serve alongside the missionary family and their partners. We heard from one of the missionary kids that she was the only Christian in her entire school. She described how difficult and lonely her journey has been growing up in Spain. Yet, she was thankful for the opportunity the Lord gave her to share her faith with so many around her.

Spain will always hold a special place in my heart. From the people, the lifestyle, and the opportunity to share the hope and love of Christ, it is a neat place. I hope that I will be able to return there one day in order to serve the people of Spain more and continue the ministry that we started.

Written by Amanda

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