Published by the Taylor University PWR Lounge
2. Prefer the familiar to the unfamiliar.
When choosing your words, never use a fancy word when a plain word will work just as well. For example, if someone is “loquacious”, say they are “talkative”. If something is “humongous”, call it “large”.
This may seem to contradict the previous method, but hear me out. If your nouns and verbs are strong enough, you won’t need extravagant adjectives and adverbs. In fact, the more precise your noun or verb, the fewer adjectives and adverbs you will need.
3. Vary the lengths of your sentences.
Here’s the next tip. Listen to this paragraph. The words are choppy. Everything is the same. It’s boring to read. People don’t like this.
Instead, vary the lengths of your sentences. Listen. Isn’t it beautiful? Don’t be afraid to bend the rules a little to make your words sound melodic. Let sentences flow.
4. Keep your paragraphs short.
Readers don’t like large blocks of text. They may not start reading because the length is intimidating. Start a new paragraph whenever a new topic is introduced or if a new aspect of the topic is addressed.
5. Put your keywords at the beginning or end of the sentence.
Decide which words you want to emphasize and place them strategically. Here’s an example:
“Harry sent me the story in a letter.”
“Harry sent me a letter telling the story.”
“Harry used a letter to tell the story to me.”
In the first sentence, the reader is left hanging with the word “letter”. This emphasizes that the story was not sent via email or delivered directly. Likewise, the second sentence makes sure the reader will remember that the information Harry sent was a story. The third sentence makes it clear that the story was sent to “me”, not anyone else.
6. Use active voice over passive voice.
This one can get a bit tricky. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about.
Passive voice: The spell was cast by Hermione.
Active voice: Hermione cast the spell.
The sentence in active voice is much easier to read. It’s quicker and keeps the reader from slowing down in the middle of the story. Sometimes the passive voice is more effective in context, but consider whether it is really necessary before using it.
7. Cut anything that isn’t vital.
It’s easy to get caught up in writing words that we think are necessary. But as you read through your work, consider the importance of every word, sentence, paragraph, and scene. If it does not give vital information or push the action forward, cut it.
8. Avoid using lingo.
Don’t assume people know what you’re talking about. If you use shop talk or jargon specific to a certain career, community, or culture, be sure that you are publishing specifically for that audience. Don’t alienate part of your audience by using terms they are unfamiliar with.
9. Don’t marry any single punctuation mark.
If a writer uses parentheticals in every other sentence, they stop adding depth; they become distracting. If your reader starts counting the number of exclamation points you’ve used in the paragraph they’re reading, there is a problem. The best illustration of punctuation I’ve heard is this: “Punctuation is the seasoning, not the dish.”
10. Write to be understood, not to impress.
Don’t try to use fancy words and artistic language just to make people think you’re smart. The purpose of writing is communication, not showing off. Yes, there is a time for flowery descriptions, but don’t overload your work with them.
Yes, writers have permission to break the rules every once in a while. But in order to break the rules effectively, a writer must know the rules. A good writer can make creative decisions as long as the writing is clear. Writing was invented as a form of communication. Without a connection between the message creator and the message receiver, a piece of writing means nothing. Modern readers require more clarity than ever. The best thing writers can do is consider their audiences and how to communicate most effectively with them.
Published by The Echo News
Friend looks into many difficult topics in a gentle but jarring way. She discusses ideas that cannot be approached easily, but explains them well. As an adult reader, I found this book lacking in depth at times, but I believe it would approach tween girls right where they are and give them an introduction to the concept of eating disorders. Isabella has a strong, witty tween voice that captures the reader’s attention and connection.
My biggest concern with this book was its lack of resolution. The story ends with Isabelle starting on her path to recovery in light of both her eating disorder and grief. But the story needed to include more of Isabelle’s steps toward health. Recovering from an eating disorder is not a fast or easy process, and this would have been a valuable aspect of her journey to read about. Perfect doesn’t exactly tell the reader what harm an eating disorder can cause, it only shows the actual illness. I worry that this approach gives readers ideas rather than solutions- shows them methods to try rather than inform them of the dangers these methods pose.
Overall, this was a quick read and worth the time investment. But if you give this book to a tween, I would recommend initiating a follow-up conversation to make sure the points came across correctly.
Published by Evangelical Church Library Association
But Clark also views experiences encountered by all humans—such as idolatry, fear, and decision-making—in the context of the feminine experience. Clark is conversational, honest, and witty in her exploration of female identity. Through personal experience and biblical truth, she illuminates the inherent value women have as daughters of the Lord.
Every Piece of Me encourages women to assess their everyday lives and how they reflect their inherent value as daughters of God. Each chapter ends with questions for reflection and discussion as well as recommended reading. The back of the book also includes a collected notes section.
Copyright © 2017 Megan Alms. All rights reserved.
Overall, however, the categories are logical and accurate. Shoebridge’s personality types are realistic, often easily identifiable in real-life social settings. The three defining desires attributed to the personality types are thoroughly explained and applied to everyday life. Becoming familiar with the interactions presented by Getting Around the Humans will be useful for readers in their professional and social environments. This book is suitable for ages 13 and older but most useful for adults/professionals 18 and older. The book also includes a detailed index.
Published by The Odyssey
13. Reading The Polar Express
14. Baking cookies
15. Decorating cookies with frosting and candies
16. Making snowballs without wearing gloves
17. Wearing earmuffs
18. Shortbread cookies
19. Singing The First Noel
20. When the Christmas lights are the only lights in the room
21. Really tacky ornaments
22. Falling off your sled into a pile of snow
23. Driving by a snowman made by kids
24. Watching A Charlie Brown Christmas
25. Fresh, untouched snow
26. When the snow looks like glitter
27. Snow angels
28. Singing Joy to the World
29. Stepping on an ice puddle so it crunches
30. ABC Family's Harry Potter marathon
31. Peppermint crumbles on cookies
32. Glass ball ornaments
33. Singing O Come, All Ye Faithful
34. Cinnamon sticks
35. Reading How the Grinch Stole Christmas
36. Sending Christmas cards
37. Singing O Holy Night
38. Flannel pajamas
39. Red velvet ribbons
40. Cheesy Christmas novels
41. Red and green M&M's
42. A child's handmade ornaments
43. Lighting candles on an advent wreath
44. Handmade stockings hanging from the mantel
45. Reindeer with jingle bells
46. Reading Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol
47. Chocolate fudge
48. Lighting candles
49. Advent calendars
50. Horse-drawn carriages
51. Hanging ornaments
52. Singing We Wish You a Merry Christmas
53. Watching Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
54. Toy trains with metal tracks
55. Golden bells chiming
56. Silver tinsel garlands
57. Peanut butter blossoms
58. Reading Luke Chapter 2, Verses 1-20
59. Watching White Christmas
60. Pretzels with a Hershey's kiss and an M&M in the middle
61. Wreaths on door fronts
62. The smell of gingerbread
63. Singing Away in a Manger
64. Snow that lights up when it floats in front of a street light
65. Carolers wandering the streets
66. Evergreen garlands
67. Shaking a snow globe as hard as you can
68. Watching Home Alone
69. Snowflakes shining under a lamp post
70. Playing Christmas songs on the piano
71. Inflatable Christmas decorations
72. Rolling out cookie dough
73. Bows on everything
74. Singing The Twelve Days of Christmas all the way through
75. The shout-outs children add when singing Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
76. Ice skating
77. The sound of jingle bells
78. Singing Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
80. Driving around and looking at the Christmas lights
81. Snow on evergreens
82. Covering yourself in blankets
83. Sitting by a fireplace
84. Flannel pajamas
85. The anticipation of Christmas Eve
86. Drawing on frosted windows
87. Chocolate-covered pretzels
88. Shortbread cookies
89. Christmas Eve candle light services
90. Singing It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
91. Tacky Santa wrapping paper
92. Silver jingle bells
93. Pine needles stuck to your coat
94. Pillsbury cookies with Christmas shapes in the middle
95. Writing "To" and "From" on a gift tag
96. Listening to Bing Crosby Christmas music
97. Frosted pinecones
98. Choosing your cookie cutters
99. Watching A Christmas Story
100 . Spending time with friends and family
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” Psalm 119:105
One year, my dad received an industrial flashlight for Christmas. It was nearly as big as my head and could completely light up a room. When we walked at night, it could light the path one hundred feet ahead of us.
But in Psalm 119, God does not provide us with an industrial flashlight. He offers us a lamp. Of course, when the Psalms were written, industrial flashlights did not exist. But the Psalmist could have called God’s Word a torch or a blazing fire. Instead, the Psalmist compares the Word to a lamp, which provides limited but sufficient light.
Rather than lighting up the path ten feet in front of us, sometimes God just allows us a lamp, which illuminates only what is immediately in front of it. We don’t always understand God’s plan, but that is because we cannot see the full picture. Sometimes we can only see one step ahead, but that is all that is required. God only asks that we trust Him to guide us one step at a time toward the destination he has planned for us.
Lord, please grant me patience when I feel I cannot see where You are leading me. I will trust You with wherever You guide me. Amen.
Published by Evangelical Church Library Association
Though this book presents a number of crafts and activities, many of them lack depth. For example, one of the suggested crafts was simply to decorate a notebook with cardstock and stickers. Another suggested craft was making bath bombs, but the instructions included seeking out a recipe from the internet. While these crafts aim to make prep time easier, they are also unimpressive in their result. Conversely, many of the activities are complicated or expensive. For example, one of the recipes calls for a trained chef. Some crafts involve upcycling furniture or building a small wooden stool. When planning a large church event, those organizing will prefer the convenience of simpler activities.
Messy Christmas does, however, have heart in the message of Christ. Many of the provided activities inspire thought about the less fortunate during the Christmas season. Some even make an active effort to help those in need, like creating donation boxes. Messy Christmas does not venture from the biblical Christmas story in its effort to make scripture both accessible and entertaining for children.
Published by The Odyssey
I mean, it’s not surprising that nobody knows Taylor exists. It’s basically in the middle of a cornfield. Usually people just awkwardly smile, nod, and say, “Oh, that’s nice.”
2. “Where’s that?”
Some people at least acknowledge that they have no idea what you’re talking about. But when they ask where Taylor is, saying it’s in Upland doesn’t exactly help. It’s safest to just explain that it’s between Muncie and Marion.
3. “Is that like a Christian thing?”
These are the people who have a vague memory of hearing the name before, but really don’t know what it is. But since no one ever talks about it, it must be a private Christian school, right?
4. “Isn’t there that ice cream place?”
Some people have visited Taylor, but the most memorable thing about the university was its proximity to Ivanhoe’s. No one really knows what that’s called either, but at least they know it’s a staple of Upland.
5. “Taylor is great! You’ll love this year.”
The few that actually know of Taylor know it well. Those who have friends or family have attended have heard great things about it. And alumni hold Taylor in a special place in their hearts. Once Taylor becomes a part of you, you treasure it forever.
Although this book achieves its purpose in aesthetic appeal, it does leave a bit to be desired in content. There is some repetition in verses, changed only by the font and the photograph in the background. Most of the selections are from the King James Bible, so the words’ artistry is favored over ease of understanding. The book also could have benefited from reflections upon the verses to provide a new perspective on their promises. However, the goal of this book is not to be a text for biblical analysis, merely for eye appeal and emotional support, and to that end it serves its purpose.
Published by The Echo News
Pick-a-dates. Are they dates? Are they hangouts? They’re an age-old Taylor tradition, yet still no one knows. Pick-a-dates are possibly the most ambiguous events that take place at Taylor, and things can get awkward. Fast.
If you ask someone of a different gender, that sends out all kinds of signals. What if people on your floor think you’re dating? Will your date think you like them? Being asked on a pick-a-date sparks similar questions. Should you dress up, or is it casual? If they didn’t ask you to the Jumping Bean first, is it really a date? And if you ask someone of the same gender, you may feel self-conscious. Will the people on your floor think you’re incapable of finding a date?
I found myself in this conundrum my freshman year. I didn’t understand what a “date” exactly meant. Little did I know, the upperclassmen didn’t have a clue either. Some people said pick-a-dates are completely platonic. Others refused to go with anyone they were not seriously considering dating. And still others liked the idea of pick-a-dates, but didn’t go because their significant others at different colleges didn’t understand the concept. Does anyone really understand pick-a-dates, even at Taylor?
A pick-a-date can say a lot, or very little. Perhaps “pick-a-pal” fixes some of the ambiguity.
That’s when I heard about a movement called “pick-a-pal.” Some students have started to prefer calling their date a “pal” to make everything a little less awkward. When you ask a “pal,” it isn’t tacky if you choose a chick-pick or a . . . different kind of pick. If someone cute asks you to hang out with their floor, you don’t come back to the dorm that night wondering where your relationship now stands.
While pick-a-pal is a tempting option when you’re nervous to branch out, it can also lead to many missed opportunities. Pick-a-pal makes it easy to simply ask your roommate to hang out. This discourages Taylor’s beloved intentional community. So, I would recommend, if you’re hosting your floor’s first “pick-a-pal,” encourage everyone to ask someone living elsewhere. Of course you can’t force anyone to choose an “acceptable” date, but these events were designed to get to know new people. When each person brings a new face along, everyone benefits. Of course you (probably) know your date/pal, but the group setting connects all sorts of people. If one person brings a friend from their major, another brings a friend from their club and another brings some guy that was standing in line for a burger at the Dining Commons, six people are brought together who might never have otherwise met. Each of these people will have had a college experience within Taylor, and the new friends can share their uniqueness with each other.
Whether it’s a “pick-a-date” or a “pick-a-pal,” what matters is that we continue to encourage interactions throughout our entire community. No matter how many jokes we make about it, intentional community is something to treasure at Taylor. Let’s nurture our community so that it may, to quote Jeff Cramer, “flourish.” And let’s start with one of Taylor’s most awkward traditions.
Copyright © 2017 Megan Alms. All rights reserved.