Feb 15, 2013 8808 commented on Poetic Justice.
http://www.poets.org/page.php/prmID/197 Check out the list of poetic forms -- click on the name of an example.

Rev Tap and Avast -- you have made the day of many English teachers. Keep up the good work!

And what did poor Mr. Hater get for his work? A lovely discussion of poetry.
Thanks Dan
Sep 16, 2012 8808 commented on Savage Love.
Dear WTT,
If you're still reading the comments: I think your intentions are good, but your approach might not give you the result you're after.

When my siblings were in high school and I lived far away, I sent them a copy of Changing Bodies, Changing Lives, which was the teenage version of OBOS, and the best book on the market at the time. I heard later that they all read it -- one of them openly, and two of them secretly. I didn't offer to discuss it with them, but I felt sending the book also sent the message that I would talk to them if they wanted to talk. [I didn't even find out that they'd read the book until my sisters were in their twenties]

And I think that's enough. I would give a book to her (wrapped or in an envelope) and just say "I read a book like this when I was your age, and I found it helpful."

A young adult librarian can help you figure out what's the best book on the market today, or you can look through them in the library and see which ones you like best. Most of them will have web sites listed in the book.

Your niece is growing up in an environment where there is a lot more information available about sex and sexuality, but good quality information is always helpful.

You want to help her experience be better than yours, which is admirable. You can't assume your needs are hers, though. She could be lesbian, or asexual, or not ready to think about sex just yet. Letting her control how she uses the information and who she asks for help is a way of respecting her -- and having good healthy self respect will help her in the wide world of dating and sex as she grows into it.

Buy the book. Say one sentence about it. Or say two -- "I remember being confused about a lot of things when I was your age. You know you can always talk to your Mom or me if you need help figuring stuff out." Don't wait for a response.

Then leave the subject strictly alone unless she brings it up. Teens want to think they know things already, and they want to figure things out themselves.

Good luck.

Other good web sites:
Medline Plus:

Internet Public Library:
Aug 5, 2012 8808 commented on Chicken and Bigotry.

Maybe you shouldn't 'unfriend' the bigots, since change usually comes by one to one dialogue, not even by well written essays, and certainly not by name calling.

The supporters of gay rights (an organized group called the Chicago Consultation) not only drafted legislation for the convention and created educational materials for the delegates -- they traveled to Africa to begin a dialogue with the priests and bishops of Africa. It made a difference.
Jun 1, 2012 8808 commented on SL Letter of the Day: John Shore's Advice to a Young Christian.
I like Mr. Shore's ideas, but I think the letter writer should reply to the pastor's email with the copy of the essay and a link to the video that Dan posted awhile ago where a teenager examined the Bible and homosexuality.

Then I think he should make an appointment for the three of them -- the pastor, his mother, and himself. Though if he is a confirmed member of the congregation, he has the right to resign his membership, it is not that likely that the pastor will treat him as the adult he is under church law.

I know this sounds a little paranoid, BUT I would be afraid not only of bullying but of sexual harassment (or worse) if the pastor assumes the young man is gay himself.

He might be able to avoid the whole thing by giving the essay to his Mother and talking to her about the future -- and his right to make this decision on his own. He might also want to find a more liberal church, so he can explain to her that he is not giving up God or even church for politics. It depends on where his mother is coming from, of course.

For an example of people working for change within a church community, check out http://www.chicagoconsultation.org/

Good luck to the letter writer.

May 19, 2012 8808 joined My Stranger Face
May 18, 2012 8808 commented on SL Letter of the Day: Show This Woman Some Love.
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." (Philippians 4:8)

Your actions are worthy of praise in a big way.

You have done an amazing thing, not just in taking in your nephew, but in how you have chosen to live your life. Your father gave you a Bible -- well, ideas are dangerous things. You seem to have read it and learned what Jesus was really about in terms of love and sacrifice. [see Matthew 25]

Your sister at least trusted you enough to ask you for help, although she didn't phrase it quite that way, and it was brave of her to let your nephew have a chance at a good life, though it will be awhile before you two can see it that way.

May you have the grace to come to see these things as gifts and not only as sources of pain.

Of course you are hurt, and your nephew surely is as well -- grieve for your loss, then focus on making your new life together. While it is your birth family who have lost amazing people through their misguided beliefs, you are entitled to be sad, and to grieve, and to know that you may feel hurt for a long time -- but you are strong enough to work through it.

You are amazingly strong. Be proud of that.

I agree with the people who said:

*Get a lawyer
*Get a therapist
*Find a church
*Ask your friends for help

Just because you are doing the right thing and truly walking in the way of the cross, doesn't mean it will be easy, and you and your nephew need to surround yourselves with help, support, and love. It's hard to ask for help, and sometimes hard to accept love and help. That may be especially hard for your nephew. Do it anyway.

Print out all the comments to read on bad days. Know that lots and lots of people are thinking of you or praying for you.

For a completely different look at religion and single parenthood, you might want to read Annie Lamott's Plan B. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/56615739 It might not offer practical advice, but much of it is funny, and her ideas are interesting.

God bless you, and your nephew, and keep you strong.