National Best Friends Day!

With last week being national best friends day, I wrote something special as a shout out to my girls:

What is a best friend?

How do you know?

Do you measure it by the amount of love they show?

Is it sparing feelings or is it telling the truth?

Do you keep them for a lifetime or do you let them go after your youth?

Do you talk about them in a bad way? NO

Do you fight? YES

And if you make up after that, you know you passed the test.

See, friends you make at school will come and go.

And it used to hurt me after every time a friendship wouldn’t work out.

But my “real” friends had been there before and would teach me lessons that I still carry with me today.

“You don’t have to buy friendships”.

“Friends for a reason, a season or a lifetime”.

And “You will soon realize that we are your best friends”.

I said best friends with an S meaning that there is more than one (I have four).

Every time I was in the hospital, they were there.

Every time I had a choir concert, they were there.

They were at every graduation and every award ceremony too.

And the times they all couldn’t be there, they would send one of them in for special events like prom, knowing that it was exactly what I needed.

It took me 19 years to realize that my best friends are my four big sisters, whom I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.

 

 

 

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Suicide Awareness

Last week, the world lost two famous celebrities: fashion designer Kate Spade and Chef Anthony Bourdain. If you’ve looked at the news recently, you know that the topic of mental illness has become very popular. Depression, suicide or any other form of mental illness is more than just an excuse we use for people who have taken the lives of innocent men, women and children. Mental illness has become more serious than ever and needs to be talked about, whether you feel it is uncomfortable or not. Today, I want to give you some statistics, warning signs and other helpful information about mental illness and suicide so that you can help someone in need or get help for yourself.

Suicide is the act of ending your own life and is seen as a way for people to escape pain or suffering. A suicide attempt is when someone has tried to end their life, but did not die.

Suicide Facts from DoSomething.org:

  • Nearly 30,000 Americans commit suicide every year
  • Suicide is the third leading cause in death for people between the ages of 15-24 and the second leading cause of death for people between the ages of 25 and 35
  • On average, one person commits suicide every 16.2 minutes
  • Each suicide intimately affects at least 6 other people
  • Males make up 79% of all suicides, while women are more prone to having suicidal thoughts
  • 1 in 65,000 children ages 10-14 commit suicide each year
  • There are two times as many deaths due to suicide than HIV/AIDS
  • Over 50% of all suicides are completed with a firearm

Common Warning Signs For Mental Health Problems:

  • Feeling like nothing makes you happy anymore
  • Feeling very sad or hopeless for many weeks
  • Feeling like you cannot cope with things that happen in your life
  • Feeling very stressed or scared for many weeks
  • Noticing strange thoughts or strange things that do not go away
  • Sleeping less or more than usual
  • Eating less or more than usual
  • Drinking more alcohol or using more drugs than usual
  • Taking a lot of time off work and school
  • Avoiding family and friends
  • Feeling “run down” or sick often

If you know someone who is having suicidal thoughts or showing some of these symptoms, stay with them (whether by phone or in person) because right now is the time they need you the most. Be that listening ear, reassure them that you are there and that you would be upset if something happened to them. Also, encourage them to get professional help because their life and mental health is most important.

Lastly, if you are having suicidal thoughts, it is important to get help right away. No, I don’t know your story and no, I don’t know exactly what you’re going through. However, I do know that God never makes mistakes and that He knows your start to your finish. Find somebody to talk to that you can trust, whether it be a parent, sibling, close friend, teacher or pastor. Never give up and most importantly, never lose faith in God. You will look back at this test and realize that it was just a setup for your testimony.

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.

National Suicide Prevention Line: 1-800-273-8255

Crisis Text Line: 741741

 

Full Story about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

          It’s April 3, 1968. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. addresses a crowd of civil rights leaders and sanitation workers, calling for an economic boycott. With this in mind, he encourages a protest but that nothing, no matter what the situation may be,turns into violence. King changes tracks in his speech reminding the people that their number one goal is equality and that they are getting closer and closer to reaching the promised land. King said, “Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. But I’m not concerned about that now. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!” The next day, April 4, 1968, King was shot and killed at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee by James Earl Ray. It has been a long, hard fought battle for African Americans since Dr. King’s death, but we have had so many victories. 50 years later, that same fight for equality still exists and a new generation is rising up to take the stand.

          The second of three children, Michael King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929 to parents: Michael King Sr. and Alberta Williams King. King Jr. was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, where his father was the lead pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church. Later on, King Sr. adopted the name Martin Luther King Sr., honoring the German Protestant religious leader, Martin Luther. His son, Michael Jr., later changed his name as well to Martin Luther King Jr. (Bio.com). King attended Morehouse College and Boston University for his post secondary education. While working on his doctorate, Martin Luther King Jr. met an aspiring singer and musician named Coretta Scott. The two married in June of 1953 and had four children together: Yolanda, Martin Luther King III, Dexter Scott and Bernice. By the time King was 25 years old, he had earned his Ph.D and was pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama.

          After Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white man, King met  with other civil rights leaders to plan a citywide bus boycott. He was chosen as the leader because he was young, well trained and very professional. In January 1957, King and sixty other ministers and civil rights activists founded the Southern Christian Leadership conference to “harness the moral authority and organizing power of black churches” (Bio.com). They also promote peaceful, non violent protests. This gave King not only his platform to stand on in the south, but also nationally as well. In 1963, King organized a march in downtown Birmingham, Alabama. Things quickly got ugly when the officers let loose fire hoses and dogs on the protestors. King along with many others were placed in jail because of this. While in jail, King said, “Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community, which has constantly refused to negotiate, is forced to confront the issue.” King and others being jailed, while still standing their ground caused nationwide attention. In the fall of 1963, King delivered his famous, “I Have A Dream” speech in front of 200,000 people in Washington D.C. In this speech, King emphasized his belief that someday everyone would get a long, no matter what ethnic background they came from.

          King organized many more marches and made many more public appearances but was growing weary because of the slow progress of civil rights in America. Even in his weariness, King went on to speak to the sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee. The day after he gave his speech, King, who was standing over a balcony at the Lorraine Motel, was shot and killed by James Earl Ray. Ray, a former convict with a long rap sheet decided to flee to another country, thinking he would be considered a hero somewhere else. After two months of an international manhunt, Ray was later found, apprehended and sentenced to 99 years in prison.

          Fifty years have passed by since Dr. King was killed; and the fight still goes on. Yes, we have had so many victories and yes, our ancestors paved the way so that our lives would be easier. However, because of the recent shootings, it makes me wonder if our country is reverting back into its old ways. When people say “Make America Great Again”, exactly what do they mean by that? While we don’t have to march for our voting rights and be banned from public places because of our race, we still have to protest. Today, we have the Black Lives Matter Movement, which gained national notoriety after huge amounts of Blue on Black shootings and killings. Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, many others and more recently Stephon Clark were all shot and killed for matters that could have been handled a different way. All of these people were unarmed, which is the main reason why many people were infuriated. So to say the least, the fight still goes on; but thanks to Dr. King, we will continue to move forward peacefully, in a non violent protest for towards equality.

Sir Elton John Celebrates Over 50 Years in the Music Business!

Sir Elton Hercules John (born Reginald Kenneth Dwight on 25 March 1947) is an English singer, pianist, and composer. He has worked with lyricist Bernie Taupin as his songwriting partner since 1967; they have collaborated on more than 30 albums to date. In his five-decade career Elton John has sold more than 300 million records, making him one of the best-selling music artists in the world. He has more than fifty Top 40 hits, including seven consecutive No. 1 US albums, 58 Billboard Top 40 singles, 27 Top 10, four No. 2 and nine No. 1. For 31 consecutive years (1970–2000) he had at least one song in the Billboard Hot 100.  He has also composed music, produced records, and has occasionally acted in films. Some of his most well known songs are: “Rocket Man”, “Bennie and the Jets”, “I Guess That’s Why They Call it The Blues” and Lion King’s: “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” and “Circle of Life”.

Elton John: I’m Still Standing-A GRAMMY® Salute aired last night on CBS. Musicians and celebrities from everywhere came to honor both John and his long time song writer, Bernie Taupin. These are the artists that came to pay tribute in song: Alessia Cara, Miley Cyrus, Kesha, Lady Gaga, Miranda Lambert, John Legend, Little Big Town, Chris Martin, Shawn Mendes, Maren Morris, Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, and SZA.

Sir Elton John and the audience shared a special moment of tears when Neil Patrick Harris read aloud the letter that Elton John had wrote to his friend, Ryan White, 20 years after his passing. When John first met White, he was a young boy who had been diagnosed with AIDS due to a blood transfusion. The two had a very close bond and in 1990, White passed away at 18 years old, with his friend Elton John at his bedside. In the letter, John tells Ryan how many breakthroughs there have been with AIDS and how many people’s lives have been saved due to the discoveries, he only wishes that White could have been one of them.  In 1986, he joined with Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder to record the single “That’s What Friends Are For”, with all profits being donated to the American Foundation for AIDS Research. The song won John and the others the Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.

After all of the performances were done, John and Taupin received there are award and thanked everyone. John ended the salute by singing two of three of his songs, the last one being sang with all the musicians that had previously performed.

Image result for elton john tribute

Project 4: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy still lives on!

For my fourth major project in journalism, we have been asked to find a video on the news site NEWSY and write a story on it, using that video and other sources. Because last week marked the 50th year anniversary of Dr. King’s death, I decided to use a video that was published on April 4 by Jay Strubberg about what occurred the day prior to, the day of, and how African Americans are continuing to share this legacy.

Below is the video that I will be using:

https://www.newsy.com/stories/martin-luther-king-jr-a-voice-for-all-americans/

Caption: King’s message of non violence still rings clear as America is faced with the constant struggle for peace and unity.

 

First paragraph of the story: It’s April 3, 1968. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. addresses a crowd of civil rights leaders and sanitation workers, calling for an economic boycott. With this in mind, he encourages a protest but that nothing, no matter what the situation may be,turns into violence. King changes tracks in his speech reminding the people that their number one goal is equality and that they are getting closer and closer to reaching the promise land. King said, “Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. But I’m not concerned about that now. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!” The next day, April 4, 1968, King was shot and killed at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee by James Earl Ray. It has been a long, hard fought battle for African Americans since Dr. King’s death, but we have had so many victories. 50 years later, that same fight for equality still exists and a new generation is rising up to take the stand.

Wishing Everyone a Blessed Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday!

Good Friday is the Friday before Easter Sunday, on which the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ is commemorated in the Christian faith. It is traditionally a day of fasting and penance.

Matthew 27:32-56 New International Version (NIV)
The Crucifixion of Jesus
32 As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. 33 They came to a place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). 34 There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. 35 When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. 36 And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. 37 Above his head they placed the written charge against him: this is jesus, the king of the jews.

38 Two rebels were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads 40 and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” 41 In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. 42 “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44 In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

The Death of Jesus
45 From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. 46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli,[a] lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).[b]

47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”

48 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 49 The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”

50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and[c] went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”

55 Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph,[d] and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.

Resurrection Sunday (not to be confused with Easter) is the holiday that celebrates Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, which occurred three days later after he was crucified on the cross. Easter, on the other hand comes from Eostre, who is a Teutonic goddess of fertility and spring. Where as the Easter bunny, eggs and candies are all nice, let us not forget the real meaning of the holiday, which is to celebrate our Risen Savior.

Matthew 28 New Century Version (NCV)

Jesus Rises from the Dead

28 The day after the Sabbath day was the first day of the week. At dawn on the first day, Mary Magdalene and another woman named Mary went to look at the tomb.

At that time there was a strong earthquake. An angel of the Lord came down from heaven, went to the tomb, and rolled the stone away from the entrance. Then he sat on the stone. He was shining as bright as lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The soldiers guarding the tomb shook with fear because of the angel, and they became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, “Don’t be afraid. I know that you are looking for Jesus, who has been crucified. He is not here. He has risen from the dead as he said he would. Come and see the place where his body was. And go quickly and tell his followers, ‘Jesus has risen from the dead. He is going into Galilee ahead of you, and you will see him there.’” Then the angel said, “Now I have told you.”

The women left the tomb quickly. They were afraid, but they were also very happy. They ran to tell Jesus’ followers what had happened. Suddenly, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings.” The women came up to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Go and tell my followers to go on to Galilee, and they will see me there.”