FAITH IS RESTORED IN GOD

Jessica Wilbanks

Journalism academician Jessica Wilbanks is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and creative nonfiction awards from Ninth LetterSycamore Review, Redivider, and the Ruminate magazine. In 2014, she was selected as a finalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Award in Journalism. Jessica received her MFA in creative nonfiction from University of Houston where she served as nonfiction editor for Gulf Coast. She lives in Houston Texas with husband and son. Jessica Wilbanks is a third-year M.F.A. student in creative nonfiction at the University of Houston, where she serves as Nonfiction Editor at Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and the Arts. Her essays and creative nonfiction have appeared in theBulletin of Atomic Scientists, The PuritanSojourners, The Normal School, and Relevant Magazine. She was recently awarded Pre-Doctoral Fellowship from West Africa Research Association to conduct research for her thesis, an essay collection focusing on the history and practice of Christianity in West Africa. Jessica is the winner of a Pushcart Prize for essay writing, debuts the captivating story of how she turned away from God. She eloquently explores her long journey from being Pentecostal Christian who spoke in tongues to being an atheist. Drawn away from a Church after writing a ‘talisman’ in her pocket to abandon faith. She kept a façade by attending church pretending to take notes of sermons. But led a worldly life to escape the cage that seemed more boring compared to exciting lifestyle of two free spirit wild girls she admired and later copied. Eventually it was time to experience that side of life first by escaping to an institution where she gained freedom to practice her freewill. After a few years manages to restore her faith by travelling to West Africa, Nigeria to explore Pentecostal Christianity. Whether writing of scars, her dad’s rusty pickup trucks, massive Pentecostal revivals in Lagos, Wilbanks captures scenes beautifully. Wilbanks’s slow deconstruction of her family-given religiosity is the evocative inversion of average spiritual journey in her book. What impressed me most about this is a personal journey of faith story crossed path with academics who keep the faith matters private in an academic setting. This is a testimony of courage, a family reunion, forgiveness in situations that lead others on the journey of no return. Thank God for HIS LOVE, Mercy, Grace and restoration of faith in Jesus to give hope to people lost in wilderness of atheism. WHEN I SPOKE IN TONGUES is a memoir of profound destabilization that comes from losing one’s faith, as a young woman’s journey to reconcile her lack of belief with her love for her deeply religious family. Growing up in poverty in the rural backwoods of southern Maryland, Pentecostal church was at the core of Jessica Wilbanks’ family life. At sixteen, driven by a desire to discover the world, Jessica walked away from the Church. Trading her faith for freedom and driving a wedge between her and her deeply religious family. Fundamentalist faiths haunt the adherents long after belief fades former believers often live in limbo straddling two world views and trying to reconcile their past and present. Ten years later, struggling with guilt and shame, Jessica began a quest to recover her faith. It led her to West Africa, where she explored Yorùbá roots of Pentecostal faith, and was once again swept up by promises and power of Church. After a terrifying car crash, she finally began the difficult work of forgiving herself for leaving the church and her family and finding her own path. When I Spoke in Tongues is a story of the painful and complicated process of losing one’s faith and moving across class divides. And in the end, it’s a story of how a family splintered by dogmatic faith can eventually be knit together again through love.

Wondering about as belief fades former believers live in limbo of the two world views. Jesssica, trying to reconcile her past with the present, ten years later, struggling with guilt and shame, Jessica began a quest to recover her faith. It led her to West Africa, where she explored Yorùbá roots of Pentecostal faith, and was once again swept up by promises and power of Church. After a terrifying car crash, she finally began the difficult work of forgiving herself for leaving the church and her family and finding her own path. When I Spoke in Tongues is the story of the painful and complicated process of losing one’s faith and moving across class divides. And in the end, it’s a story of Jessica’s family reconciliation, after splintered by dogmatic faith is knit together through love restored in God. 

 CHIBUNDU ONUZO

Welcome to Lagos_cvr_300dpi print res (1)nterview:Chibundu Onuzo interview in new book Welcome to Lagos published, Houston Chronicle. Jessica Wilbank’s Teaching Philosophy: As writers, we are dependent on two streams to nourish our writing. First, is the stream of inspiration or mysterious and spiritual force that wakes us in the middle of the night with words singing in our heads. Then there is the realm of craft and technique, the editor and the workhorse. As creative writing teacher, I do my best to both equip my students with craft advice, structural templates that have best served my own writing, while also honoring and feeding my students’ original sources of inspiration. PAST WRITEFEST May 5, 2017

Writespace

Participating in the first workshop took place in May 2017. This was first year participating in Writefest–an amazing new writer’s conference in Houston sponsored by Houston Writers’ Guild and Writespace. Participation in panel called “How to Get Published in Literary Journals”and moderated panel with Andrew Sullivan, CP Heiser, Michael J. DeLuca, Holly Walrath, and Karen Bovenmyer. I was especially excited to meet CP Heiser, since Unnamed Press published Jessie Chaffee’s terrific new book Florence in Ecstasy. I never worked with Tony Hoagland in my graduate program but my weekend course with him several years ago was aimed at helping high school teachers better understand or appreciate poetry. That course was beginning of a massive shift in the way I approached imagery and detail in my work. I remember coming home from class at 5 pm on a Saturday night and writing for hours at kitchen table. His love for poetry was just so infectious, and he was so passionate about helping people see how alive and energetic poetry could be. I’ll never forget him telling us “I do a lot of things in my life…write poems, teach grad students, give lectures…but teaching community workshops is the thing I love doing more than anything else.” This beautiful excerpt is from “A Color of the Sky” in What Narcissism Means to Me.

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Jessica Wilbanks

The Honors College Faculty Jessica Wilbanks

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“There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside of you.” —Maya Angelou

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DO TOYS DISTRACT FOCUS?

Children become distracted when they are surrounded by toys Too many toys are bad for children as a study suggests that the children become distracted when they are surrounded by too many toys. This is what the parents have suspected all along. Children who have too many toys are more also easily distracted so do not enjoy that quality playtime with other children as the new study suggest. Researchers at University of Toledo in Ohio, US, recruited some 36 toddlers and invited them to play in a room for half an hour, with either four toys, or 16 toys. They found youngsters were far more creative when they had fewer toys to play with. And they played with each for twice as long, thinking up more uses for each toy and lengthening and expanding their games. The authors conclude parents, schools and nurseries should pack away most of their toys and just rotate a small number regularly, to help encourage the children to become more creative to improve the attention spans of the children. This study sought to determine if the number of toys in a toddlers’ environments influences their quality of play,” said the lead author Dr Carly Dauch in journalInfant Behaviour and Development.“The higher number of incidences of play in 16 toy condition did interfere with duration and depth of play. Other toys present created their external distractions. “During toddler years, children develop but not master, higher levels of control over attention. And their attention plus their play was disrupted by factors in an environment present with distractions. The results of the present study suggest an abundance of toys create distractions. But provided with fewer toys in their environments the toddlers engaged in longer periods of play with single toy allowing better focus to explore, play more creatively.”Getting rid of toys encourages children to read more or paint, say researchers Getting rid of toys encourages children to read more or paint, says researchers. Britons spend more than £3 billion each year on toys and surveys shows that a typical child owns 238 toys in total but parents think they play with just the 12 ‘favourites’ on a daily basis making up just five per cent of their toys. It is not the first time research suggested that too many toys distract children. In the 1990s the German researchers, Elke Schubert and Rainer Strick conducted experiment where the toys were taken away from Munich nursery for three months. After a few weeks, the children re-adjusted and their play became far more creative and social. The published research of their findings in their book, called, The Toy-free Nursery. In another book, ClutterFree with Kids the author, Joshua Becker also argued fewer toys are better for children because a sparse playroom encourages creativity to help children develop attention span and to teach youngsters about taking care of their possessions. “A child will rarely learn to fully appreciate the toy in front of them when there countless options are still remaining on the shelf behind them,” he said. “When children have too many toys, they will naturally take less care of them. And they will not learn to value them if there is their replacement ready at hand. “Fewer toys causes these children to become more resourceful by solving problems with only materials at hand. And resourcefulness is a gift with unlimited practical uses in their futures.

The research is published in the journal Infant Behaviour and Development. The conflict of interest of the toy companies advertising children playing with many latest toys makes parents feel obliged to buy them for the children not to feel left out. Children display their toys online on social media to compare with each other including the addictive games that stop children learning, doing homework assignments later in college, university or focus at work. Lack attention span or focus from childhood affects the adults today unable concentrate for few hours to complete tasks at hand. Christmas is around and parents must not let a child manipulate them emotionally to buy a toy without teaching them first value of essential basic reading at level. Children can get a few educational toy to reward them to do exceptionally well in a field of academic achievement at school. The development steared towards a specific direction of any future career requires relevant toys to influence natural gifts, talents and abilities. Otherwise parents unintentionally make children victim of success by their ability to buy too many toys they can afford. Just because it is possible to buy things seen on the TV in adverts does not mean it enhances their specific development. Parent knows the children best, whether they are trained experts or not must help child learn not to depend only on school to learn. Early learning through practical play is now rapidly eroded by virtual reality keep children cocooned online. So important to carefully reflect before Christmas on piling up toys to “prove” your “love” of your children to the world overloading them with too many toys. Experience shows most children are just so happy playing with the box, not expensive toys boosting their parents ego. Millennium children are suffering from the lack of a social understanding or interaction due to isolated attachment to toys valued as more precious than engaging with each other. Time consumed worrying about their toy possessions makes them miss out on appreciating fellow human being as adults due to learned behaviour. The competition among children, teenagers over toys leads further to threats of the perceived anger of friends loving them only for their material possessions. The toys must not take over to babysit their children without adult supervision and input. One of the best ways to bond with children is play with them sometimes to help them value the adults in their lives.

CATFISH SCAMS UNMASKED

Alex Hobern on The CircleThe Circle’s TV social experiment shows Alex Hobern became ‘Kate’ and won the £75.000 reward. Three weeks indoors so contacts others by an instant messaging only.   to be themselves or catfish to pretend to be someone else to test the theory of how people see others online through social media. The circle tenants lived in close proximity on same tower block but not allowed to physically meet until after blocked elimination. And the docudrama reality TV was watched by the public who voted to select a winner. The media project highlights the online conundrum of people pretending to be a picture of another person to impress a potential date to love them. The admirer genuinely thinks the person is who they claim to be and falls in love with them. It leads to game playing with a victim’s emotions who trusts the photo image so much they invest their love, passion and interest to marry them. Once the victim is ” hooked” it leads to constant requests from catfish to provide the needs of the virtual partner in love with. So genuine desire of unsuspecting victim’s emotion played on by virtual partner influences them into deeper commitment and the urgent need to meet physically. The one duping the victims makes up stories to trick the innocent person truly in love with them. People are tricked to think they are speaking to a female or a man if its a woman. Scammer requests bank details, address, pin number pretending to share multi million inheritance with their victim. Another person revealed himself to be a man, blackmailed and threatened to kill parents coerced Ben to send sexual images performing sex acts live over video chat. Felt helplessfrom a man for three weeks pretending to be a girl, finds out information about every part of his life,” Ben’s father told Victoria Derbyshire programme, knew his family, nans, brothers, sisters and the school Ben went to. Everything they find used as information to manipulate him. The images and videos sent by Ben to the man was shared with five other men, who bombarded Ben with further demands. He felt so helpless and didn’t know what to do his father said. He is a different child now but did not know why. After two years meeting demands, Ben attempted to take his life leading the abuse to be uncovered. The main perpetrator was later jailed for four-and-a-half years so be warned and alert.

Alex Hobern on The CircleCHANNEL 4 constructed a whole new personality participants complete with a new face and new gender to show the viewers how this unfolds in real life. So  try to pretend to be another person for whole three weeks to group of strangers only met through an app. Every move is filmed and broadcast to the nation as a developed concept of big brother. Well that’s what Alex Hobern did on Channel 4 reality show The Circle won himself £50,000 in the process voted the winner by fellow contestants, and winning an extra £25,000 in the public vote. A brief recap for those who didn’t watch is the contestants were asked to create social media profile complete with biography and profile pictures and could either be themselves or massage the truth. Of the original six contestants, one woman knocked a few years off her age and one gay man pretended to be straight, but only Alex chose to take on a completely new identity. Some people criticised The Circle, saying it promoted the catfishing creating false persona to trick others online especially as Alex as “Kate” built up a close friendship with fellow finalist Dan Mosaku. A social media comedian Alex, 26, used girlfriend Millie’s picture to pose as Kate, told the BBC that wasn’t how he saw it. So in his own words, he explains his “rollercoaster” experience.

Alex/Kate’s story

I decided to detach myself from looks and my personality to create popular person I could. I could have been a guy, but I thought ‘let’s explore something different.’ I thought it will be interesting to be a woman on social media and look at the issues that brings. First of all I was going to use a model’s picture, but my girlfriend pointed out I’d need to talk about picture with conviction. Its completely her idea to use the picture. It helped me to have a more compelling story. It started off that I was trying to create the most popular person, but it developed into wanting to raise the awareness of social media fake identity. My audience is young, impressionable and so I thought The Circle was a safe environment to explore as we were told there would be people saying they are something they’re not. But when I was in there, that idea got lost quite quickly.Alex/ KateAlex use girlfriend’s photo to pretend to be Kate because when you’re stuck in a room for three weeks and you’ve only got eight people to talk to, you build up relationships with people. You forget they might be fake. After a while it does not matter because you’re interested in their personality. I was really wishing Christopher, actually 22-year-old called Sinead who used granddad’s photo, into existence. I think people felt that way about Kate. The personality was initially made up. I wrote myself a bio and tried to stick to it but I realised I was woefully underprepared. Like for example when Aiden a female contestant talked about snatching her eyebrows, I had no clue what she meant. And then we had to debate certain topics, like Brexit. I had my own views, and I’ve got a degree in politics, but I didn’t want to be belittling or patronising, so I played it safe.Alex Hobern and girlfriend Millie LoganAlex with his girlfriend Millie whose pictures provided the face of made-up character Kate. The same happened with some of the questions about sexual stuff. I thought ‘I built boring character, she can’t have a sexy side’ but everyone else thought I was just on the fence. So I found the whole situation mentally draining. I lost my appetite, ended up second-guessing everything I was writing on the app. I realised everything I said counted towards my rating. There were a few times I thought ‘I’ve had enough now, I’m going home to my family’. And it was difficult thinking the UK public might be against me, and Millie might have been exposed to the hype and the criticism. So I just thought ‘stuff it, I’m going to be myself now.’ I started having fun and I went up in the ratings against contestants to give each other marks out of five. Towards the end I think people figured something out and realised Kate’s personality had changed but they can’t have known the extent of it. I never wanted to glorify catfishing. In a safe environment we’d been told people might be fake. To me, catfishing is emotional manipulation but I played a fake character. I’ve been catfished myself before and I wanted to raise awareness of it in a controlled, social experiment. I had tried to protect Dan by friend-zoning him but I had to try to protect my game plan too. He may be a woman himself, for all I knew.Dan, a contestant on The Circle.Dan found himself getting closer to Kate who was really Alex. I was so nervous to meet him at the end of the series and was almost desperate for him to be my friend. We had to sit together in a small room alone for 35 minutes, which was one of the most challenging things I’ve had to do. The pair since met up for lunch and smoothed over the situation. It’s still not sunk in I won. I went into the final, thinking fellow finalist Sian had been top of the table to win. And when it came to public vote, I thought ‘I’m playing someone fake’ so I thought I had no chance. But winning showed me my personality as me after four weeks of being fake had been noticed.

Show’s psychologist says:

The TV psychologist Honey Langcaster-James worked with Channel 4 on the series as it was aired and on The Circle Uncovered, being broadcast on Tuesday at 10.25pm. She said the series showed those who weren’t being truthful ended up feeling guilty “when they realised a real human being was on the other end of the screen.”Finalists on Channel 4's The CircleContestants Dan, Sian, Alex and Freddie react to the news there will be a public vote during the final. “There was a real inner tension for Alex, between playing the game and grappling with the moral dilemma of doing that as he got closer to players,” she said. “But interestingly, Alex’s popularity as a player grew when he started being himself more. “I think it shows that as much as you set out to show this version of yourself on social media, people connect with you more when they know the real you that you think and feel.” She said, public voted for Alex to win because they saw the “journey” he went on during the show, and realised his deception “wasn’t being done maliciously in The Circle as Alex Hobern became ‘Kate.’ This experiment teaches people don’t depend on words from online “doctored characters” who con trusting innocent people linked to organised crime human trafficking. Do not give money to catfish scammers who dupe victims badly and disappear with money so learn from TV Circle.Alex Hobern on The CircleMany people lost millions dollars through manipulations of catfish so necessary to learn from TV Circle how social media affects lives. It’s interesting the older woman who pretended to be a young had a gut feeling about Kate and warned Dan in vain. Dan preferred to alert Kate of his suspicion but Kate reassured him there was no problem. This classic mistake gives feedback to catfish to convince victim harder and to dupe them more. Kate won’t have won without the emotional investment of Dan who truly trusted Kate’s words. This goes on daily online with scam letters, catfish photos used to deceive people to lure them to part with money to ‘help meet up’ and consolidate the relationship. Sadly damaged reputation of some online dating that hurt people badly who lost their lifetime savings. They lost trust in genuine people who date them later, as effects and scars of their loses is often projected onto them. Be careful and be aware not to make life commitment by the virtual photo of catfish. Dan learned the hard way just as many realised they were conned by men pretending to be women to dupe them. Some insecure about their size, weight, shape also use catfish to pretend to be a model or use a photo of another famous person online to deceive victim. Scam is revealed after they physically meet and see they do not look like photo used online. Others never find catfish scammer changing identity daily like chameleon to dupe people. Tell friends about potential relationships and listen to gut feelings of friends. Do not wear a love goggle blinded by manipulations to refuse to see sense to save yourself from online scam pain and hardships. 

More on this story

  • The Circle’s Dan: ‘I was furious about TV catfishing’
    10 October 2018
  • The Circle: Alex/Kate wins Channel 4’s reality show 9 October 2018

MONEY CHARMS TO BE RICH

 

Money charms to become rich is the trend some people use to get quick gratification in life. Love of money for vanity to buy material things is concept sold by capitalist as source of happiness and status. This idea affects people’s ego to compete so seen with latest gadgets, latest fashion, latest clothes, cars even if unemployed. Bondage yoke materialism puts some people under pressure to conform so accepted by peers in clicks or gangs. Mistake material possession is equal to value of life so lack of material things, “dehumanize” them so acquire it through dubious mean at cost of others. Its bizarre the least hard-working wants most expensive things due to jealousy and envy, laugh at those living humbly within their means. People perish for lack of knowledge. So paradigm shift to acquire wealth by any means necessary causes brilliant people to lose focus, not concentrate on skills, talents, abilities, to earn genuine honest income. Love of money for lust misguides some to look for such money sources instantly to fit into constantly changing trends. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “people be judged by CONTENTS OF THEIR CHARACTER” not by skin tone, class, race or fashion labels, price tags left on garments to show off brand. Martin Luther’s points out damage done to people not treated fairly. Some actively involved in money charm scams, due to pride, arrogance of entitled generation seeing themselves above “working class” reject physical normal jobs involving sweating or toil. So impatient want everything yesterday without knowing or understanding of principles of how long things take to be made and costs. Live in the moment, to be permanently high, enjoying life seen from their perspective as having fun. Its unrealistic pressure to own only latest constantly in fashion, cars, gadgets that lead to evil lifestyle bondage conscience obsessed to impress others to get Street credit. School textbook topics teach the capitalist model influencing young minds advertising sales contents shops calculate maths and English lessons etc. Compare old textbooks with classrooms disguised market generation shoppers. Money spending preoccupation has no ethics to save money, wait, earn enough to buy things NEEDED without instant loans or credit cards. Free access to money creates debt for people deluded by things of the world, grass is greener keeping up with Jones. Live this lifestyle for years but still empty because of void in heart. Look for fulfilment in wrong places, vulnerable to wiles of deception and entrapment into bondage. People struggling with self-worth taught to get self-worth from how much money they earn equals power. Grow up see others getting self-esteem from earning money. With lack of money, face life of struggle, end up feeling ashamed and humiliated for not enjoying the glamorous luxury lifestyle of others flaunted on TV and in newspapers. So see sophisticated luxury lifestyle of slavery and colonial masters enjoying wealth resources usurped copy lifestyle they cannot afford. Others feel they deserve to take back what the devil stole from them by exploitation resort to such methods. All wealth belongs to God so people are stewards entrusted with God’s wealth to provide for all. Do not seek vengeance on capitalists who dupe, hide billions, reward themselves in luxury. God owns all wealth so God’s business to deal with them, leave it for God Jehovah Jireh to provide for you in Jesus Name. Wealth will not save people as Jesus returns to judge they will throw wealth in caves trying to hide from God.  

The Bible says in last days people will go to and fro in wrong places looking for happiness and enjoyment to feel good about themselves. People want an unrealistic virtual lifestyle not real life existence within God’s will and plans or purpose. Love of money is root of ALL evil as Bible says leading these innocent people to sell souls to spiritualists, witch doctors to get instant money. Money has conditions attached, destroy themselves or others initiated. Innocent people are victims in bondage as the devil comes to steal, kill and destroy. So naive, greedy children lured into dark forces by a love of money not realising they get into evil satanism too late. So devil goes for best people’s destiny to destroy and disgrace the family. Ironically, families sacrifice to provide needs so lack nothing from a good home with loving parents, orphan, divorced, widows, poor given all family has. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is met beyond basic necessity so live in luxury but bored, restless seek illusion to have fun in wrong places, entangle lives with the forces beyond control. accompanied by nightmares, evil spirits follow them daily to torment them. Seek deliverance since they got more than they bargained for. Money charms continue working by demanding human sacrifice blood to keep potency or lose everything. They do not become rich or established with charmed money, spend it recklessly as instructed to buy clothes, shoes, drink, smoke, do drugs live a lustful lifestyle. Gain the whole world but lose their soul to devil tormenting them changing rules demand to control them gets worse and deeper in marine initiation meeting satan who gives assignment to kill loved ones and relatives for money. So money contaminates real money causing loss to genuine money mixed with money in bank saving through purchases. So evil spirit money in shops changed sends original money back into evil wallet. So empty coffers of hard-earned money people have. Necessary for good success by entrusting money into God’s HANDS to protect your finances in Jesus Name. Jesus warned there will be lawlessness lack of respect for parents, family in-laws without fear of offending people. The witchdoctor initiation controls their minds secret life is hidden from family members. Loved ones from good family targeted by friends who recruit initiate them. Quantification of the value of life lures people under pressure to destroy others to make satan happy with their pain. As pawns, realise their mistake so run to God for help after coming to their senses. Go down a destructive path, lose friends who died recognise they are next unless urgently delivered in Jesus Name. This time evil spirits fights and struggles with them not to seek help because evil spirits will be cast out. To denounce evil spirit seek deliverance from a deliverance church. Jesus came to destroy all works of devil to DELIVER people from all destruction. Find pastors who deliver you without charging money. Give thanks and Glory to God, Jesus Christ through Holy Spirit. Change sim card, delete online contacts porn sites, bad friends and live actively under deliverance pastor’s anointing. Divine cover of Spiritual father in Christ in church, read to study Bible, maintain deliverance living according to word of God in Jesus Christ Name. Praise God.

TRAIN CHILD FOR LIFESKILL

The Bible says train a child in the way they should go so when they grow they will not depart from it. Especially boys are struggling because they do not express their real feelings for fear of being judged weak. This program is wonderful so must continue through teenage years into adulthood. Limited resources must not stop mentoring them at the most critical times in their lives. Like other Science projects of Professor Robert Wilson among others this program must continue for the next few more years so their hard work will not be in vain. This men are doing a great job and need sponsors to extend it further beyond childhood. It will be good to follow up throughout their teenage and adult years so they retain their knowledge and manners. Other peers and friends that come into their lives later without similar training can influence the vulnerable ones. So need help and support of well wishers to continue this program into teenage years, university, training for skills, careers to transition into adult life. Programmes like First University of the Child and Connections in the Secondary Schools enable children to get the right guidance required. In the past projects were limited to 4 years funding if run by government and then changed into another project for the sake of funding conditions. This is not sufficient long term to help them fully grasp life goals for good success. Their contemporaries often get private fundings to develop practical life skills to continue into business men or the chief executives of corporate bodies. While this program is highly valued and appreciated, please let it not be another statistics of 1% success years later because others drifted off. Coach Carter stood by his basketball playing students in their teenage years despite challenges faced. Please continue this hard work into the future so we look forward to more success from this story. Please ask for more help if you need it to support this program. If you can help please do not wait to be asked first because this good success impacts the community and nation as a whole. Well done and God bless you for your sacrifices and precious times devoted to helping these priceless children. Please encourage their reading skills and academic studies too like Coach Carter. EYE CONTACT IS CRUCIAL BECAUSE OTHER CULTURES TEACH CHILDREN OUT OF RESPECT NOT TO LOOK DIRECTLY INTO EYES OF ELDERS. Misunderstood by Western Countries as “lying” unable to keep eye contact, picked on needlessly, harrassed by law enforcement, lacking important knowledge to understand the difference in the upbringing of children by other cultures. This Instagram photo by @bayouredd

PLASTIC FREE PARTY CHOICE

Lindsay and Glen

Lindsay, 36, a writer from Kent, and her Australian husband Glen, 38, first tried living without plastic in 2012. It started out as a month-long challenge so turned into a way of life for the pair who live in Perth, Western Australia. “I’m more the driver than him but we got involved at the same time,” she says. “I’m the one that puts in more work but he agrees with all the values.” So going plastic free for their wedding, in 2014, was a no-brainer.Table decorationsPlastic finds way into weddings in many forms of food storage, drink packaging, decorations, flower delivery – that’s just the start. For Lindsay, who blogs about living without waste, trying to make her special day plastic free came first ahead of any other wishes. “We said we want to be plastic free ‘how can we do that,’ rather than saying, ‘We want roses, we want to have canapes, can we do plastic free memorable but not break the bank. Simplicity was key. To me simple means no fuss and devoting whole weekends to projects was out, says Lindsay.Food menuInvolving suppliers from outset was the most effective way of making a plastic-free event happen, she says. “It’s really about having conversations with people and explaining why you want to do it. People are willing.” But its about taking matters into you own hands. “If you get stuff delivered to you, that’s when it comes in packaging. It was making sure on the day we went to all the deli, the bakery et cetera so we could guarantee there was no packaging.” Eco Wedding Styles done includes recycled materials.Wedding decorations

  • Invitations: electronic, sent via email or Facebook
  • Flowers: freshly picked by family and friends from their gardens, arranged in old jam-jars
  • Decorations: borrowed lace bunting from old tablecloths and curtains • tins fished out of recycling bins and wrapped in twine and in hessian ribbon, which was also used for table runners • hired tablecloths and tea cups • bought beeswax candles in jars
  • Food: local businesses focused on locally sourced produce • hired pizza oven • cakes from a bakery that didn’t use plastic packaging • Indian snacks donated by a friend as a wedding gift
  • Drink: tap beer and cider • local wine • pre-made soft drinks served in jugs • loose tea and coffee • no straws
  • Tableware: venue’s own crockery and cutlery (although having pizza minimised amount needed) • borrowed glasses
  • Gifts: guests told not to buy presents – to avoid any waste and wrapping
  • Dress: rather than spend hours trawling charity shops, the bride bought a High-Street dress she wore again and then sold on eBay
  • Hair and make-up: used make-up bride had • washed hair with bicarbonate of soda and vinegar
  • Favours/confetti: did without it

Lindsay and Glen's weddingLindsay and Glen married local bowling club in Perth Lindsay accepts achieving a 100% plastic-free wedding also meant relying on other people. For wedding, they hired a pizza oven and used a local deli to provide fresh ingredients without plastic packaging but did they know what went on behind the scenes? “It’s possible some plastic that I didn’t see… whether he got a packet of salad in a plastic bag, I don’t know were counterbalanced by air miles required to fly her family albeit just four people to Australia. “In hindsight, I should have fallen in love with the guy in the village – but I didn’t,” Lindsay jokes. “I fell in love with a guy in Australia, so it’s one of those things you have to compromise. My parents, my sister and brother flying out for a wedding – it’s a one-off.” They did decide to have the wedding as local as possible in the city of Perth, rather than the countryside, to reduce driving distances. How difficult for Eugenie to achieve? Wedding planner Katrina Otter says working with the right people is key, as some of the more “old-school suppliers” are less keen to adapt. “Make sure you have the right team on board, work with a team willing to do it or one where it’s already part of their ethos.” She adds: Bride and groom might not know plastic involved cutlery wrapped in cling film. No royal wedding is complete without a vibrant floral display.The Duke and Duchess of Sussex leaving the chapelFlowers were a big part of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s wedding day And, traditionally, a key part of those has been the floral foam – the bricks of green, spongy foam that provide a foundation for floral arrangements, as well as a water source. Katrina says finding an alternative to the non-biodegradable plastic material has become a big issue for the industry and many florists are looking to do it another way. The florist who created the displays for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s wedding, Philippa Craddock, says she didn’t use any floral foam for their big day. The number of couples requesting plastic-free weddings is on the rise, says Katrina, although it remains a small proportion. Another issue to consider for any bride having live TV coverage is the hair and make-up. Kate Arnell, who blogged about her zero-waste wedding, in 2014, says she found it tricky to find plastic-free make-up and hair products. There are a lot more available and since swapped to plastic-free alternatives she says. Whether Princess Eugenie opts for Lindsay’s bicarbonate of soda, vinegar concoction on hair yet to be confirmed. Eugenie wedding wants plastic free on big day. In addition to venue, food and drink, music, the dress, hair and make-up, a bride’s checklist goes on. And also Princess Eugenie added another factor into equation her wedding to be plastic free. The Queen’s granddaughter, who is marrying Jack Brooksbank on 12 October, told British Vogue the couple’s house was anti-plastic and want our wedding to be like that as well.” So how realistic is it? Lindsay Miles discovered, there are quite a few things to take into consideration. If it is just one day, why bother? “A wedding is such a significant day that it’s even more important to be true to your values than on any other day,” says Lindsay. “You can’t go back on your values just because you’re getting married.”

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