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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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Is Catawampus Fun to Say?

My life as a writing center director can easily become mundane. As my staff and I look at academic essay after research paper after class project, we quickly drown in correct grammar, active voice, and other aspects of formal writing for judging eyes that will ultimately grade the work with which we assist. Sometimes, though, we want to avoid the highfaluting, perfection sought in scholastic endeavors. We let our hair down and guffaw over words that tickle the tongue, cheer the ear, and satisfy our sensibilities. Are you ever like that? Do you, too, seek words that challenge your tongue and cause your brain to do a double take? Recently, I composed a list of words to share with a particular Writing Consultant who savors words as a chef does an exquisite dish of tempting flavors. Without further ado, let’s explore four tongue pleasing, ear thrilling words.

When is the last time someone in your presence uttered “walloped”? Has it been so long that even the meaning escapes your conscience? Perhaps the following context will help: Ellie May told a whopper (lie), and Daddy walloped her for it. Now, you and I might think he spanked her, but others might see a walloping more as a beating. You decide, but know this is a term and an action we hope has died. However, if two boys are duking it out and one wallops the other, you know there was a clear winner.

I’m as old as dirt, and only recently I discovered the word foofaraw. What a great word! Say it loud and clear: FOO-FAR-ALL! Now, wasn’t that satisfying? What does it mean? Who cares; it’s so much fun to say! Oh, wait. You do care? Well, it means much attention given to a minor matter: The students created a foofaraw when the professor announced they’d have an extra day to study. Now, don’t you feel smarter already? Or are you laughing, as am I?

My partner in seeking eccentric words giggles with me over hubbub. Say hubbub fast three times. It’s almost impossible, isn’t it? Say it loud enough and with enough laughter, and you’ll BE the hubbub, which is a loud hullabaloo. How’s that for an explanation? You say that using an obsolete word to define an archaic word doesn’t work for you? Well, fine. Hubbub is a noisy situation caused by loud talking and laughter. A hullabaloo is similar but may be more negative – less laughter more irritation.

Friends, those are four words that cause much laughter, hubbub, and even foofaraw in your favorite Writing Center. We love language, and we enjoy unusual, uncommon terms. In fact, we like them so much that we just might share a few more outdated, amusing words in another blog. Share your favorite funny words in the comment section; we could always use more laughter.

Written by Kā

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New Year…Old Traditions

Happy New Year! Wow, another decade has flown by. Yes, 2020 marks the third decade of the 2000s. Wild. By this time, many people have specific traditions reserved for the changing of the year. Ironically, people celebrate something new, the year, with old celebration habits.

My family does not go all out for New Year’s Eve, by any means. We keep it simple, yet memorable. My parents order Indian food, which I am not a fan of, so I always get Thai food. After eating our traditional New Year’s feast, we begin the festivities. Growing up, New Year’s Eve was the annual Lord of The Rings marathon, before the Hobbit trilogy. Recently, my immediate family began throwing a game night. We play games until midnight and then go to bed. The next day we start off the New Year by serving together at Mission Arlington.

It dawned on me that I celebrate New Year’s Day the same way each year. Thus, I became curious as to how the people in my office (Dallas Baptist University Writing Center) celebrate this unique holiday. It is fascinating to compare festivities that are all occurring simultaneously, yet so differently.

Director Kā Riley

Sherlock, Kā’s dog, is terrified of fireworks. Unfortunately for Sherlock, her neighborhood cannot have New Year’s celebrations without them. Thus, Kā spends her New Year’s Eve lovingly taking care of Sherlock and protecting her from the big bad loud noises. While being on doggie duty, Kā and her husband enjoy a smorgasbord of summer sausage, cheese, crackers, and other condiments. There is a toast made at midnight, with sparkling grape juice. On New Year’s Day, after Sherlock survives the night, lunch is had at Black Eyed Peas, which consists of black-eyed peas and cornbread, a nod to the traditional southern good-luck practice.

Consultant Coordinator Trisha Gracy

Trisha spends her New Year’s Eve back home in rural Texas and has a mini-reunion with her high school friends. They participate in an annual sleepover.

Office Manager Ashley Green

Ashley keeps New Year’s Eve simple and partakes in an annual toast to the New Year with her family.

Consultant Kenean Bekele

Kenean spends the evening with her entire extended family. The family cooks and feasts together. They catch up while watching the New York ball drop on TV. After the ball drops, their celebration continues outside while enjoying fireworks together.

Consultant Meredith Rose

Meredith’s family spends the New Year together and with close family friends, who host the celebration. The group spends the evening eating and playing cards. There is a toast to the New Year as they watch the ball drop on TV. The party for Meredith’s family does not end at midnight. No, they queue up a movie at midnight as the conclusion to the festivities.

Consultant Amanda Soderberg

Amanda spends the New Year with her friends and family. They eat food, play games, and enjoy each other’s company. Of course, the grand New York ball drop is watched. Amanda’s family also prays together thanking God for the year they were blessed with and to ask for guidance for the year to come.

Consultant Ryan Thompson

If Ryan’s family stays up until midnight, they play board games or watch movies. At midnight, the New York ball drop is viewed while toasting with sparkling grape juice. However, it would not be unusual if the Thompsons decided to be in bed by 10:30.

Consultant-In-training Karina Baganz

Karina has a unique New Year’s Eve tradition. She does not stay awake to wait for the year to begin. No, on New Year’s Eve she is in bed, asleep, by 10 pm. Her philosophy is that she will get to wake up refreshed and ready to start the new year. She celebrates New Year’s Day with a traditional big plate of pancakes.

Consultant-In-Training Deneen Sanchez

Deneen’s family watches the ball drop while sipping eggnog. Her mom counts out twelve grapes, symbolizing the twelve months. Her family eats the grapes as a tradition of good luck for the upcoming year. Her family marks an end to the festivities by watching fireworks.

Consultant-In-Training Jordan Dockery

Jordan chooses not to drink soda 364 days out of the year, but on New Year’s Day, she indulges. Her family toasts their coke bottles high to the sky, while the song Albanza plays in the background.

Receptionist Robyn Key

Robyn hangs out with friends on New Year’s Eve. However, the catch is that she must be on the road heading home by midnight. Since she is on the road, she does not get to watch the ball drop.

Receptionist Princess Adeya

Princess anxiously awaits the ball drop, because then she is able to leave the house and go hang out with friends.

To sum up, in no particular order, here are 10 ingredients to a successful New Year:

**** God ****

  1. Friends
  2. Family
  3. Food
  4. Games
  5. Movies
  6. Dogs
  7. Fireworks
  8. Rest
  9. The Ball Drop
  10. Toast to the New Year

Written by Jordan

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Lessons from the Writing Center

As I approach graduation and my two-year anniversary of working in the Dallas Baptist University Writing Center (UWC), I have begun to reflect on the lessons this wonderful office has taught me. When I submitted my application, I thought I knew everything there was to know about writing – academic or otherwise. Little did I know that, while I had many foundational writing skills, the UWC had much more to teach me. If you have ever wondered what being in a community of writers like this could do for you, the following lessons are worth perusing.

There is always more to learn

One of my greatest regrets is that I didn’t visit the UWC before I applied to be a consultant. As I said, I thought I already knew it all. Well, it didn’t take long after applying for me to figure out that nothing could be further from the truth. No matter how great a writer we think we are, there is always more to learn.

Any good writing center staff knows this and is trained and eager to help students at any skill level. In the collaborative model, such as my office uses, consultants help students become stronger writers rather than editing their papers for them. Students are encouraged to continually return with their papers, read them out loud to a consultant, make edits as they go, and apply the concepts discussed throughout the rest of the paper.

Believe it or not, this model is most beneficial to students who are already strong writers or, at the very least, are dedicated to developing their writing skills. This knowledge and passion for writing enables them to better engage with consultants during sessions. I didn’t understand this before applying.

For those of you who love words, this means that visiting your campus’ writing center might take some humility. But if you ever visit, I promise, your session will be so effective. For those of you who aren’t writers, there’s still good news: the perfect writer doesn’t exist. It might feel like you have an endless amount to learn, but even the most experienced writer is right there with you.

Writing is a group effort

Before I joined the UWC, I thought that writing a stellar essay, or anything for that matter, required staying cooped up in my room and grinding out page after page until my eyes crossed and my fingers ached. Research, outline, draft, edit, rewrite, repeat. Research, outline, draft, edit, rewrite, repeat. That was my model because I selfishly thought, “Without completing this tedious process on my own, how can I consider the masterpiece created truly mine?”

Then I came to the UWC and learned that masterpieces are not often created by hermits. Unlike some might have us think, the greatest writers are not brooding geniuses who lock themselves up in the mountains or on an island, searching for inspiration and the ability to say, “Look at what I created, and all by myself!” No, the most successful writers understand what I had to learn in the UWC, that we must all swallow our pride and accept that truly good writing – whether an essay, a poem, a short story, or anything – is more often the result of wonderful collaborations.

For those of you out there who love words and wish to weave them on your own, this is potentially bad news. The way I see it, you’ve got your work cut out for you. However, for those of you who hate words and wish nothing to do with them, this might come as a breath of fresh air. You don’t have to figure writing out on your own! If your school, or your job, or your own ambition requires you to understand writing – and you can bet one of them will sooner or later – then find a community of people to surround yourself with who can help you figure out writing, one page at a time. I will forever be grateful for my friends in the UWC who helped me figure out my essays, my blogs, my emails, my cover letters, one page at a time.

These are just two of the many lessons the UWC has taught me. In short, I cannot recommend highly enough that you learn the joy of writing. If you are a college student, take a leap of faith and visit your university’s writing center. If you are in any other chapter of life, find a group of people who can encourage you as you write, just like all my friends in the UWC have done for me.

Written by Meredith

 

The Mysterious Creature

In Lenape, Deleware, the native people believe that if they dream of an owl it means it will become their guardian. The Dakota Hidatsa Indians believe the owls are protectors; even in Greek mythology, owls symbolized wisdom. These theories aren’t true, but owls have something very special and unique about them.

Owls can be found in all parts of the world, including North America, which is home to almost 20 different owl species. The only place you will not find one of these beloved creatures is in Antarctica because the climate is simply too cold. These creatures are unique in many ways: one being that they have 14 cervical vertebrae. Which means they can rotate their necks 270 degrees! An owl’s eyes are completely immobile, giving it binocular vision to focus in on its prey. Did you know they hunt each other? Great horned owls are at the top of the species’ food chain and prey on smaller barn owls.

Owls and humans have been friends for a long time. Hieroglyphs in Ancient Egypt show our relationship with these stunning creatures going back over 30,000 years ago. However, we can’t get too friendly with these birds; it is illegal to keep an owl as a pet in the United States. This is for a good reason though; they attack humans if they feel threatened anyway.  The relation between owls and writing centers is that Purdue OWL was the first-ever writing center to create an online writing lab and email services. Ever since then, owls have been the face of writing centers across the nation.

Written by Princess

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Thoughts from England

My sister, Nicole, had the opportunity to become a missionary in Preston, England right after she graduated from DBU a little over two years ago. While she was over there, she eventually fell in love with a British lad named Adam, and they got engaged on March 2nd of this year, which also happened to be Nicole’s 24th birthday. So, my family and I were gifted the opportunity to go over to England to celebrate my sister’s marriage, and my parents thought, “Well, if we’re going to Preston, we may as well spend some extra time touring England.” Fortunately, the date of the wedding aligned very nicely with my fall break, so I was able to join my parents on their British excursions around the country and take some notes along the way.

Note: Keep in mind that this is all from the perspective of an American that has never left North America and doesn’t travel that much in general. Everything written here is solely from what I remember from the trip. I don’t want this to just be a history lesson about stuff in England, but rather a detailing of what I experienced while in the country. Also, I’m not a history teacher, so just Google this stuff if you want real detail.

1-2 Oct. 2019

One of the most exhausting days of my life, even though it was technically two days. My dad, my aunt, and I pulled out of our driveway in Denton, Texas at 4:15 pm CST, and we got to the DFW airport around an hour later. From there, my aunt dropped me and my dad off, and we did all the normal, uneventful things that happen at airports. We had Chick-Fil-A for dinner, and I realized I wouldn’t have Chick-Fil-A for another two weeks (a crushing revelation). Our 8 and a half hour flight from Dallas to London left at around 7:40 pm CST, and the plane served us dinner at around 11 pm CST (eating pasta at 560 miles an hour while 39,000 feet in the air was a huge item checked off of my bucket list, thank you American Airlines). Our plane landed in London at 4:15 am CST, by which time my body was thoroughly confused, as it was 10:15 in London with the sun beaming on my stupid, tired face. We got to chill in the airport at Heathrow for about four hours until we boarded our plane to Manchester. The hour flight from London to Manchester was literally the shortest hour of my life, and we left the Manchester airport in a rental car at 4:45 pm LT (10:45 am CST), only to get stuck in ridiculous rush hour traffic for about two hours. We made it to our house in Preston (Hollowforth House in Woodplumpton) close to 7:15 pm LT and almost immediately turned around to have dinner with Adam and many of his friends and family at Guy’s Thatched Lodge and Tavern. I set my mouth on fire with some Lasagne al Forno and had a good time chatting with the boys.

3 Oct. 2019

Wedding Day Eve. I got to see the stunning venue we would be using for the reception, which was the Inn at Whitewell, several miles outside of Preston. The property itself is actually owned by the Queen, so you could basically say I’m related to royalty. We did a good chunk of preparation at the inn, then moved over to Crossgate Church back in Preston where the ceremony would be held and did some setting up there. Then, we celebrated with some dinner at a pub called The Continental. The soup and chicken I had was pretty good, but then came the peanut butter and Belgian white chocolate cheesecake. Here’s the deal: I will die before I have to live another 21 years of life without having this cheesecake again. It weighs about 100 pounds when it’s inside your body because it’s so rich; it could weigh 100 tons for all I care. Just incredible.

4 Oct. 2019

Wedding Day! Honestly, the whole day was a blur, but it was such a sweet celebration. Some of my extended family came in right before the ceremony began, and I got to chat quite a bit with them through the reception, which is always nice. There was some incredible worship incorporated in the ceremony courtesy of the Crossgate Worship Team, and everything went about as smoothly as it could have. I look like a pack of flimsy spaghetti noodles blowing in the wind when I dance, but there was dancing indeed. I am now a proud brother of two married sisters.

5 Oct. 2019

To start the day, we went to an inn called Derby Arms for some lunch with the bride, groom, and some other friends and family. Afterward, my parents and I officially said our goodbyes to everyone, and we ventured east. Our first stop was at the ruins of Priory Church in the Bolton Abbey. This is the location of a large cathedral that was mostly burned down as a result of King Henry VIII’s establishment of the Church of England. A smaller section of the church was somehow preserved, and there are still weekly services held even 850 years after the church’s conception. After some time on the road, we arrived in York for the night. We had dinner at a pub called Hole in the Wall, and I had the Chicken Tikki Masala (don’t know what that means but it was delicious and spicy).

6 Oct. 2019

York! I had beans with my breakfast (beanfast), and we met up with a tour guide in the Museum Gardens right in the middle of town. He gave a really engaging overview of the history of York before showing us the ruins of St. Mary’s Abbey, the Roman wall, and other smaller landmarks in the town. St. Mary’s Abbey was similar to Priory Church in both its size and circumstance; however, much less of St. Mary’s Abbey remained in comparison to Priory, as there are just a few walls and frames to observe.

The Roman wall doesn’t seem like much until you understand the context of the city. The Romans established the city of York in 71 AD and built a massive wall around 300 AD that surrounds what is now the very center of the city. The top third of the wall was added later in the 1300s during the Medieval period, but there is still a wall in the city that has been standing for around 1,700 years. How do you even begin to wrap your mind around that? The short answer is you don’t (at least I don’t). That one idiot that loves goofing with his boys at Whataburger and local DFW parks (me) walked along the same wall that Roman soldiers walked along in the 4th century, not even 300 years after Christ himself walked the Earth. So yeah, good luck trying to process that one.

After our guide finished his tour, we took a tour of our own into the York Minster, an absolute unit of a cathedral. There’s so much that could be said about the minster, but I’ll just say this: I’m blown away at how a building can be so overwhelming in its history and size while simultaneously maintaining such a peaceful aura. You would think that the colossal structure would lend itself to a more chaotic atmosphere, but somehow there’s an incredibly soothing presence throughout the cathedral.

7 Oct. 2019

We began the day climbing the hills of the Peak District near Castleton, and we were welcomed with quite the view. The wind was blowing at about 40 mph, but overlooking the hills of England was worth the endurance. After grabbing lunch at Three Roofs Cafe in Castleton, we made a short trip over to the church in Tideswell. While the site is not as imposing as the York Minster, it’s still crazy to think that people have been actively worshipping in the church since the 14th century. It’s also funny to me how aspects of the modern church merge together with more ancient sites like Tideswell. “We’ve been an active congregation for over 600 years; anyway, follow us on Twitter to keep up with our announcements.” After Tideswell, we made a lengthy trek down to Warwick, and I tried a popular English dish called Fish and Chips for the first time in England. I’m not a huge fan, but I also regularly consume and enjoy Taco Bell, so take that opinion with a grain of salt.

8 Oct. 2019

Warwick Castle! This castle began as a wooden fort in 1068 and was established by William the Conqueror. Fun fact: I am a very distant relative to William the Conqueror. I have no idea how, but my family has done some research, and our lineage is indeed connected to his. I guess what I’m saying is I should own and run Warwick Castle. Originally, the castle was owned by the Earls of Warwick, serving as a symbol of power and for good reason. The castle was rebuilt with stone in the 12th century, and other towers were formed to add to its intimidating presence. While there’s a very tough and domineering exterior, you can find an incredibly glamorous and polished interior when you enter the castle. There’s a very distinct medieval aesthetic in its dining room, living space, chapel, and other rooms throughout the castle. I always wonder if the families living in the castle 300 years ago thought about who would be walking through their castle in the future. I feel like they would be pretty disappointed to see a bunch of goofy Americans ogling at all their shiny stuff. Anyway, we then saw some gorgeous flowers in a garden outside the castle, got rained on super hard, and ventured south from there.

9 Oct. 2019

We took a trip to Blenheim Palace, about 20 minutes from Oxford. If that name doesn’t mean anything to you, it was the birthplace of Winston Churchill. If that name doesn’t mean anything to you, go read about World War II or something. In 1704, John Churchill, the first Duke of Marlborough, played a key role in a decisive military victory for England against the French in the Battle of Blenheim. As a gift, the Queen awarded Churchill with the land, as well as £240,000, which would eventually become the behemoth that is Blenheim Palace. Presently, the 12th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough reside in the Palace. We looked through all the major rooms inside the palace, which included a neat exhibition specifically dedicated to Churchill. What I found more impressive was the land surrounding it. There were some beautifully crafted gardens right outside the palace, and there was so much more to explore beyond that. The square footage of this place is insane. We stopped in the rose garden, walked alongside the river, and took a gander at an actual waterfall on the property. Imagine just having a waterfall outside your house (and also your house is literally a palace). From there, we scurried down to London, and good Lord, driving in London is bonker billies.

10 Oct. 2019

London Tour! We had a guide walk us around some pretty monumental landmarks in downtown London, such as Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Parliament Square, and Trafalgar Square. A bonus aspect of the tour was the Extinction Rebellion, which was a climate change protest that had been going on in London for about a week. This mainly took place in Trafalgar Square in the heart of the city, but protesters were walking and camping out all over the city. Buckingham Palace is where the Queen of England resides, so obviously, we couldn’t get too close, but it was quite a site to behold. They have a flag on the roof of the palace that indicates whether the Queen is in the palace or not, and she happened to be there while we were, which was neat. God save the Queen, you know what I mean? Parliament Square is in a cool part of town with significant structures surrounding all of its borders. There is the Treasury to the north, Westminster Abbey to the South, Elizabeth Tower (commonly mistaken as Big Ben when Big Ben really refers to the bell inside the tower) to the east, and the Supreme Court building to the west. There are also statues of individuals deemed significant to British history here, such as Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela, and even Abraham Lincoln. Trafalgar Square would have seemed much bigger if it wasn’t packed to the brim with protesters, but it was still really neat. There is a crazy tall monument of King Charles right in the middle of the square that is apparently equidistant from Oxford and Cambridge (don’t know if that’s true but it’s a neat architectural detail).

We saw and did so much more in the city that I don’t have time to write about here, but I will say that London is such a fascinating place. One thing our tour guide noted about the city that I think is true is that London has such a strange mixture of traditional and progressive characteristics that make it really unique. The history is so incredibly rich in just about every part of town, but there are so many modern features that can be seen in just about every other contemporary city in the world. It sometimes feels like I could be walking in downtown Dallas, which is 45 minutes from where I grew up, but then I’m reminded of the history that spans over hundreds of years. There’s a feeling of familiarity merged with antiquity, and I’ve never experienced anything quite like it.

11 Oct. 2019

Our last full day in England was a full day indeed. We started off the day at St. Paul’s cathedral, and this may have been my favorite part of the entire trip (besides my sister getting married, duh). The grandness that I experienced in the York Minster was also present in St. Paul’s, but the amount of detail in every single aspect of the cathedral is just astounding. Not a single square inch of space is wasted here. The original site of the church was in 604 AD, but the cathedral has burned down a couple times since then. The current structure was completed in the 17th century and miraculously survived German bombings in World War II. Fittingly, there are many references to the Second World War inside the cathedral, including a chapel dedicated specifically to British and American soldiers who died in the war. Additionally, there are some breathtaking views from the cathedral that overlook the city of London that you can see if you’re insane enough to walk up over 500 stairs. I am indeed insane enough, and the view was stunning. It had just rained for a bit, so the clouds looked absolutely incredible. Yep, I think St. Paul’s Cathedral was my favorite thing in England and is pretty much at the top of my list of recommendations if you ever happen to visit England.

There was so much more that we saw and did in England that I couldn’t include here. I wasn’t too interested in making this journal 20 pages long, but these were certainly the highlights. I will conclude with this: go visit places that you haven’t been to before. It doesn’t have to be England. It doesn’t even have to be outside your own state. There are just so many cool things in this world that we don’t know about, and it’s so interesting to experience them for yourself instead of listening to a dumb American like me tell you about them.

Written by Ryan

Work Like a Dog Day

According to the website, National Today, Work like a Dog Day is “inspired by the strong work ethic of canines, especially service dogs, [but] is meant to honor people who put in that extra bit of hard work.” It is essentially a cooler version of Labor Day inspired by our canine companions! There are a few ways to celebrate this glorious holiday listed below:

Work Like a Dog

One of the best ways to honor Work Like a Dog Day is, well, by working like a dog. Every day, our dogs are happy and eager to serve us; try emulating that. Arrive early to work and stay late. Take initiative on projects and assignments. Ask your boss if you can offer extra help around the office and have a positive attitude.

Give a Dog a Bone

Whether a child, companion, coworker, or canine, we all know someone who works harder than most; reward them for all that they do. Dogs are encouraged to behave and complete tasks through praise, treats, and love. Similarly, we humans need validation and appreciation to motivate our work behavior. For instance, treat your boss to a free lunch, do a chore for a sibling, offer to take a shift a coworker doesn’t want. Even a simple thank-you card and a heartfelt message from you would suffice.

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie 

In celebration of Work Like a Dog Day, you could take the day off! After a long day of work, dogs need plenty of rest so they can continue serving their owners. In the same way, humans must rest and reset, so we can function properly and efficiently. Take the day to snooze on the couch with a furry friend nearby, or stop by an animal shelter and play with puppies. Do things that will free your mind of work worries for the entire evening. Let sleeping dogs lie and laissez les bons temps rouler (let the good times roll)!

Thanks for reading, and enjoy an image of my dog Sweeti, a ten-month-old Swedish-Danish Farmdog!sweeti

Written by Ashley

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