Issue 14.83 | Jan. 23, 2015
LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga., Jan. 23, 2015 -- A lost hand grip for uneven parallel bars, a messy bedroom floor, and mix-matched socks got me thinking about how can I turn these things into a cute story. It would be about my granddaughter, Mayuko Madeline, aka Koko Madeline, that would send a positive message about a young girl cleaning up her room and taking responsibility for misplaced gym equipment.
Looking around my house, and spotting dust balls on my floors, gave me the idea to tell the story about a Dust Bunny that lived in my granddaughter's bedroom. So began the tale of Dust Bunny who steals socks and wears them on his head.
I named him Dust Bunny Sock Monster. After all, what else would you call a dust ball that wears socks like hats. I started the story like most fairy-tales, "Once upon a time," and the story took off. The first draft took me about a month to write. I would re-read and edit what I wrote. If it made me laugh, I would read the re-writing to my best critic, my husband, Jeff. If he chuckled, then I knew I was on to something. After I finished the rough draft, I let my daughter, Heather, and Koko, read the story to get their opinion, as well as their permission to submit it for print. That whole process took about three or four months.
First I looked online for self-publishing groups and found one that would publish my story for around $20,000. I knew I couldn't afford that, so I looked into crowd funding sites. Trying to fund a children's book on KickStarter, I came across a publisher who I emailed for advice on how to get a children's book published. Little did I know that it would snowball into the best and worst part of my life.
What I do know is this: I have a wonderful group of friends and family who supported me throughout this whole process. Without their support, I probably would have left Dust Bunny sitting in my computer forever.
Joe Daniel, of Boulder, Colo., who runs Story Arts Media, gave me a breakdown of what I needed to do. After he read the story, I explained to him I had limited funds, and he suggested we go with crowd funding to raise the money. Joe tried Kick Starter without any success and then another site, but that didn't bring in the money either. We finally put the book out electronically through iBooks.
Eventually Joe went
to CreateSpace, which is part of Amazon.com, and that is how the book
got published. He also found a wonderful lady, Bhavana Bhen, to illustrate
my story. She charged $2,000 for her art work.
There were a few miscellaneous expenses, but nothing big. So I think for a little over $7,000, it was worth it. If I sell just a couple of books to the public, it was well worth the tears, sweat and worry I went through. The book is available on Amazon for $9.99.
Unless you have a long, lost uncle who left you a fortune, it is expensive to get a book in print. However, CreateSpace is a reasonable way to go and get your book out. I plan on going that way in the future.
My book was originally
just going to be for me and my family, but Joe encouraged me to put it
out into the public. I'm glad I did. I want to encourage budding authors
not to give up on their dreams, but to go for it. A children's book shouldn't
cost a leg or arm to produce, so be careful who you get to publish your
JAN. 23, 2015 -- Have you noticed the changes that are taking place at funerals these days?
There are several ways that the funerals are not what they once were.
The first I noticed it was about 15 years ago, when I was at a graveside funeral for a former boss of mine at Riverside Cemetery in Macon. I arrived just as the service began. The funeral home had set perhaps 50 chairs about, and the minister had just started the service.
At first, I didn't realize it. But soon I found that there was no casket present. This may have been the first funeral that I had attended where the remains were to be buried in the graveyard. It was a little unsettling to me.
Certainly the big difference in funerals these days is that so many more people are being cremated. Bill Head of Duluth and Lilburn funeral parlors tells me that 48 percent of his funerals these days are cremations. The rate for cremations in 2012, say the National Funeral Directors, was 43.2 percent. As a comparison, in 1960, national cremations amounted to only 3.56 percent. Nevada leads the nations in cremations, with 74 percent. In Georgia that figure is 31 percent, ninth lowest in the nation. (2012 figures.)
One reason cremations are growing is because of the cost of funerals. The average funeral cost in 2012 was $7,045, with a vault adding another $1,298. Cremations on average cost $1,100, the Cremation Research Council says.
There are other changes about the American way of death.
Have you noticed how fewer people are being buried out of churches, with either a service at a funeral home chapel, or graveside service, even at country clubs! or (we shudder at this), with no service at all?
Some churches expect their members to be buried out of the church itself. The more traditional of churches, Catholic, Episcopal and Presbyterians, encourage funerals in church sanctuaries. But these days so many people are either un-churched, or don't go to church that much, so that church for the funeral at the church seems no longer as important as it once was. Newcomers to an area also tend to have fewer formal services.
Others feel that the service at the funeral home chapel is so much easier on the family, rather than having it at church. "I don't want to put my family through that," one person said recently.
Another change we've seen: in obituaries in the newspaper. Look at how many of the obituaries are very, very short these days. One funeral director told us it had to do with the relatively high cost of family-paid newspaper obituaries. "A medium size obit in the big-city paper might cost you $500 or even more," he said. To save money, the funeral director will put the full obituary on his own site and send a short death notice to the newspaper. "For the obituary on our site, we don't charge for that," the director told us. "It saves them money." A full one column paid obituary in the AJC will cost $2,500.
Now understand, I don't anticipate my funeral anytime soon. But when it comes, expect a full-throated funeral according to the Book of Common Prayer. Yep, got my funeral planned, even down to the songs for congregation singing. And I've got my obit written. The funeral will certainly be at my church in Norcross. Later, the burial will be at Walnut Creek Baptist Church, near Allentown, Ga. Already got my tombstone, too. That's another story.
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Editor, the Forum:
Jihadists are the ultimate bullies. To tie them to moderate Muslims is like tying Christians to Timothy McVeigh. I empathize with peaceful Muslims because I know how it feels to have my religion maligned. I am an evangelical Christian whose faith is regularly distorted by the left.
The president made a distortion in 2008. He said that when jobs are scarce, those who cling to guns and religion blame those who are different. I don't like guns and believe God alone guides my fate. Liberals take aim at us because we don't play the political correctness game or support their agenda. Then they portray us as the common enemy.
Evangelicals are the only social group left in America that anything can be said against. Yet we cringe at calling ourselves victims because it goes against our grain and we know we have it great compared to Christians worldwide. In fact, World Watch Monitor reports that 4,344 Christians were killed for their faith in 2014, twice the number of 2013, triple that of 2012. Unreported killings might have pushed the number over a hundred thousand.
I'm not going touchy-feely on how to love one's neighbor, but I'd no more categorize moderate Muslims as terrorists than mock the Prophet Mohammed in a crude cartoon. It hurts beyond words to see artists and writers mock Christ, but I don't run out and kill people. I also believe in free speech, even when the words hurt my feelings.
Speaking of touchy-feely, former Secretary of State Clinton said we should show respect for our enemies. Jihadists are our enemies, they deserve zero respect, and they mock Islam through their own murderous actions.
The Hudgens Center
for the Arts in Duluth current exhibition, Artists as Friends: A Celebration
of Self-Expression, Creativity and Friendships, is on view through March
21. Curated by local collector, James W. Jackson, the exhibit features
works from 12 Georgia artists, among them Amalia Amaki, Lucinda Bunnen,
Tina Dunkley, Stefanie Jackson, Mario Petrirena, Phyllis Stephens and
A member's only preview
of the exhibit and artist's talks will be on Saturday January 24 at 6
p.m. The opening reception, free and open to the public, for the exhibit
will follow from 7-9 p.m.
Kudzu Art Zone in Norcross is offering several opportunities to learn and expand creativity this year in the next few weeks. The Kudzu Art Zone is located at 16 Carlyle Street in downtown Norcross. Call for more details at 770-840-9844.
Among the classes offered:
The Georgia Campus - Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (GA-PCOM) will recognize osteopathic medicine student and Atlanta native Lauren E. Smith (DO'16) with the Mason W. Pressly Memorial Medal for her outstanding achievement and service to the College, the community and the osteopathic profession. The presentation will take place this Friday, January 23, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the College's Founders Day. Students, faculty and staff will assemble in the campus atrium to attend a live video-broadcast of the ceremony as it takes place at the College's campus in Philadelphia, Penn. Recipients are selected by representatives of the overall College community. Ms. Smith is joined in this honor by Valerie Moore (DO '15), for the Philadelphia campus.
Though she began her undergraduate career as a biology major at Agnes Scott College, Smith was quickly drawn to anthropology, leading her to switch majors and conduct research abroad. She spent a summer working as an intern with the Ministry of Health in Belize while also volunteering regularly at a rural hospital during a severe outbreak of dengue fever. Seeing how the outbreak was addressed from both public health and clinical standpoints, and spotting the lack of communication between the two sectors, Smith worked with both to create a more effective prevention/treatment plan against dengue fever. Here, she found a passion in understanding and assisting underserved communities.
Seeing the impact that medicine can have on a community, Smith was inspired to pursue medicine as a career, and after learning about osteopathic medicine, it seemed like a natural fit. After three years at the CDC, she enrolled at GA-PCOM in 2011.
Smith plans to pursue a residency and career in general surgery and to continue her passion for helping and educating those around her. "I see a strong need for Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine to be incorporated into the field of surgery," she emphasizes. "In terms of pre-op and post-op care, I think it could really improve outcomes."
Jackson EMC Foundation awards grants to several local co-ops
The Jackson EMC Foundation Board of Directors awarded a total of $113,540 in grants to organizations during their December meeting, including $90,000 to organizations serving Gwinnett County residents. Many of the grants were to food co-ops, to help in buying supplies. Among them:
Jackson EMC Foundation has put more than $9.3 million back into local communities since it was founded in 2005, funding 928 grants to organizations and 305 grants to individuals. Cooperative members participating in Operation Round Up have their monthly electric bills rounded up to the next dollar amount, with the "spare change" going to the Foundation.
Grayson wins challenge as co-op gets donation of 22,000 items
The cities of Grayson and Snellville were challenged to stock the shelves of the Southeast Gwinnett Cooperative Ministry, and Grayson has won the challenge.
The Grayson community responded to Mayor Allison Wilkerson's call to make a difference in the communities served by the ministry. Grayson can claim victory for the 2015 challenge with a count of 15,157 items for donations! The two cities collected more than 22,000 items in recent weeks to stock the shelves at the ministry. The combined donations were delivered on January 19th to be counted by volunteers.
Mayor Wilkerson says: "We're giving hunger the boot in Grayson, but we couldn't do it without the support of our community partners! Champion Self Storage provided a truck to collect and store food at Grayson City Hall and Perry Eidson with Stone Mountain Twice the Ice provided transportation for collection. The Grayson Coffee House, Precision Planning, The Hail Mary Sports Pub, McDonald's, Brand Bank and Creative Insurance all opened their doors as collections sites - giving our small city the edge. Our secret weapon, though, was the significant participation of our schools, our churches and our neighbors."
Citizens and members of the administrations from both cities spent the day in service at the Co-Op in honor of Dr. King's birthday assisting volunteers with sorting and shelving.
Come up with logo for Suwanee Fest and win $500
Create the winning logo for the 2015 Suwanee Fest and win $500. The winning 2015 Suwanee Fest theme logo will be used on official festival t-shirts and marketing posters. The theme for the 2015 festival, to be celebrated September 19-20, is "For the love of Suwanee."
The competition is open to professional and amateur designers of all ages. Designs may be hand-drawn or computer-generated. Entries should be submitted in printed and electronic format. The deadline for submissions is May 1. See suwaneefest.com for additional guidelines and an entry form.
Suwanee Fest is the City of Suwanee's annual two-day fall celebration. The award-winning festival includes arts and crafts exhibitors, children's rides and activities, and on-stage entertainment. Last year, approximately 55,000 people attended the festival at Town Center Park.
In Faye Gibbons' novel, Halley, Halley Owenby, a 14-year-old girl from north Georgia, lives a comfortable life. When her beloved father dies, Halley's mother is forced to sell the family farm and move her two children into her parents' home. As the story unfolds, Gibbons introduces us to a host of interesting characters, including Halley's grandfather, a fire-and-brimstone preacher who has no tolerance for Halley's happiness and her dreams. During a time when women had few options, Halley yearns for an education and a chance to live life on her own terms. The book shows that encouragement can come from unexpected sources. Although I didn't live through the Depression, Halley gave me a glimpse into the harsh realities of life during that time. This young adult novel is suitable for readers of any age.
Episcopalians are American members of the Christian denomination known broadly as Anglican, and the Episcopal Church is a member of the worldwide Anglican Communion. Before the American Revolution (1775-83) members of the Anglican Church, or Church of England, composed the largest and most influential religious group in Georgia, having been instrumental in the founding of the colony. In 1789 American Anglicans, including those in Georgia, formally reconstituted themselves as the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America. As of 2003, the state's 165 Episcopal congregations were divided into two administrative sections, known as dioceses, with a total of 72,637 baptized members.
Despite their strength prior to the American Revolution, Georgia's Episcopalians struggled during and after the war. Understandably, the former members of the official British denomination were divided on many issues, ranging from attitudes about the war itself to elements of liturgical expression in their revised prayer book. When British authorities were expelled from the colony after the war, Georgians scrabbled to find clergy. They also had to battle non-Episcopalians' lingering suspicions of the group's loyalty to England. These factors led to a period of dormancy for all of Georgia's Episcopal congregations except for Christ Church in Savannah, the oldest and largest congregation in Georgia.
In the rest of the state a small number of determined Episcopalians worked steadily to rebuild their membership, and by 1823 there were three parish churches: Christ Church, Savannah; Christ Church, St. Simons Island; and St. Paul's Church, Augusta (pictured, at right). These churches formed the first diocese in the state, which gave them voting rights at the national church's general convention.
Initially, the young diocese did not have enough members to qualify for its own bishop, but steady growth allowed for a bishop by 1841. To the three original parishes were added Christ Church, Macon; Trinity Church, Columbus; and Grace Church, Clarkesville. Also added were a number of missions, or congregations supported at the diocesan level, whose members hoped to achieve parish status. It is estimated that the state's Episcopalians numbered about 300 by 1840.
The first bishop in Georgia was Stephen Elliott Jr., a South Carolina native. Educated at Harvard University, he had been a member of the Charleston bar before studying for the priesthood. Elliott's peers, recognizing his talents, elevated him to the episcopate in 1841, just five years after his ordination. As bishop, Elliott founded missions and new parishes across the state. He also founded a number of schools for the religious education of slave children. Twenty years after he took office, the Episcopal Church in Georgia had grown from 6 to 28 parishes and from 300 to 2,000 communicants, becoming the fifth-largest denomination in the state.
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"When the politicians complain that TV turns the proceedings into a circus, it should be made clear that the circus was already there, and that TV has merely demonstrated that not all the performers are well trained."
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(NEW) Gwinnett Home Fire Campaign, Friday and Saturday, January 23-24, is being offered by the American Red Cross. In partnership with the Gwinnett County Fire Department and the Lawrenceville Housing Authority, the American Red Cross will install smoke detectors in eight housing sites, and educate residents about fire safety. Volunteers will be divided into four-person teams and assigned a number of houses to install smoke detectors and conduct home fire safety plans with residents. For more info, call 404-575-3177 or via email.
Sports Expo at Lucky Shoals Park, 4651 Britt Road, Norcross, Saturday, January 24, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. The largest in the state, it will have as the keynote speaker sports personality Brian Finneran of Radio 680. The expo is free to attend and will include special activities and entertainment for kids five years and older. Educational sessions will range from volunteer recruitment, athlete nutrition, sports injuries, marketing, park safety, challenges in sports and concessions and tournaments. Registration is encouraged as space is limited. Visit www.gwinnettparks.com for more information or call (678) 277-0850
Georgia Cares Presentation, Monday, January 26 at 10:30 a.m. at the Gwinnett Council for Seniors office, 196 East Pike Street, Lawrenceville. Learn more about health insurance information, counseling and assistance for senior adults, and their families as well as other eligible individuals when they need help understanding Medicare. Call 770 822 5247 to make a 45 minute appointment.
(NEW) New exhibit, Centuries of Childhood: An American Story, opens January 26 at the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center and continues through April 30. Visitors connect the stories of American history to their own experiences by learning about the lives of five historical children and their families. A supplementary exhibit is titled Georgia's Sacred Soils. This exhibit blends science and history through the exploration of Georgia's geology and its colonial history. Both exhibits are included in the price of admission to the EHC. For more information, visit www.gwinnettEHC.org.
the Roof, the musical will be presented at Greater Atlanta Christian
School on January 29, 30 and 31 at 7:30 p.m. at the Williams Fine
Arts Center. Read
MORE EEB PERSPECTIVE
Gwinnett Forum publisher Elliott Brack suggests that Gwinnett County needs a long-range list of continuing objectives for improving the county. Read more.
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