I am a big fan of TOMS shoes. History- In 2006, TOMS founder, Blake Mycoskie (Not Tom), travelled to Argentina. Upon realizing many of the children had no shoes, he founded TOMS. For every pair of shoes they sell, TOMS gives a pair to a child in need. It’s called One for One.
Originally you could only buy TOMS online, but many shoe stores now carry them as well. I love the concept. I buy a pair of shoes for myself and am socially responsible by providing a child in need with a pair of shoes. TOMS is now doing the same with eyewear. You can purchase a pair of sunglasses and provide a child with a pair of prescription glasses or sight saving surgery.
A strange trend is happening, however. Other companies are attempting to exploit this TOMS. TOMS shoes are based on a traditional Argentine style known as an alpargata. After the shoes became famous, other shoe companies started producing alpargata style shoes. Sketchers even came up in a shoe in 2010 called BOBS. They also contribute a shoe for every shoe sold, but since the shoe is an exact knock-off of TOMS, they have received mixed criticism. There are other shoe companies making shoes that look very similar to TOMS all the way down to the tag on the side These companies, however, are not providing shoes to children in need. There are also illegal companies making fake TOMS. I find it sad that the whole purpose of TOMS is to help children in need and yet companies want to use the same concept to make money for themselves.
What if TOMS wasn’t TOMS? Let’s assume that Blake wanted to create a shoe company, but didn’t want to use an original idea. He didn’t develop the concept of giving a shoe away for every shoe sold and he didn’t develop a unique shoe. He just made a Converse knock off and kept all the profits for himself. Where would he be today? How many children would still not have shoes? Blake decided not to do what everyone else was doing. As of September 2010, 1,000,000 new pairs of shoes were given to children in need. That is the type of thing that can happen when you aspire to fulfill your purpose in life.
Too many of us, myself included, try to be someone else. We want to be Ryan Reynolds or Blake Lively. (Ok, I borrowed from the Green Lantern, but you get the point.) We try to be someone else, like BOBS trying to be TOMS. We all have a purpose in life and we are all important. Stop comparing yourself to everyone else and be who you were created to be. - Tim
To learn more about TOMS, check out their website. http://www.toms.com/
Congratulations to Alissa Sanderson for providing an answer to the question: Where does the name TOMS come from.
The answer: It's an ancronym for "Shoes for a Better Tomorrow." Translation TOMorrow's Shoes - TOMS.
Ok, I admit it; I am addicted to Angry Birds
. I’m not saying I’m proud about it, but I am addicted none the less. For those Ornithologists out there, don’t get your hopes up. I am not talking about getting out my Nikon
binoculars and watching a Blue Jay simultaneously fighting a Finch and Barn Swallow. I am talking about catapulting an angry cardinal into an elaborate fortress built by savage egg stealing pigs. It’s an app you can download on your Apple
device or smart phone. It’s a very simple game, but it’s stinking addictive. I initially thought it seemed ridiculous until my son talked me into playing it. Now I can’t stop. I am thinking about Angry Birds
all the time. Well, that may be an exaggeration, but you get the point.
Since I am opening myself up, let me make another confession. I am also addicted to Coke
. No, I don’t mean the white powdery stuff. I am talking about the brown liquid gold that is dispensed from my local gas station fountain machine each morning on my way to work. For those who say it’s an unhealthy addiction, I assure you it’s healthy. I mean my Styrofoam cup actually says, “100% Filtered Water.” I never knew filtered water could taste so good. Styrofoam? Now I know what you are thinking, but it’s also an environment friendly cup. Really it assures me it is because it says, “Polystyrene foam food service products constitute less than 1%, both by weight and volume of landfill waste.” I mean, that’s good, right? I am so comforted by that statement.
Anyway, we all have addictions in our lives. Almost everyone in the US has some type of technology addiction. If you don’t believe me, try to function for a day without any type of technological device. Yeah, that’s what I thought. There are all types of addictions: making money, spending money, clothing, cars, alcohol, drugs, chemicals, and others I won’t mention in this blog.
With that said, do you know who I admire? It’s the guy who is addicted to using his vacation time to go to Africa and build a well, the girl who is addicted to helping build homes in Haiti, the young couple who are addicted to spending their weekends at the local soup kitchen feeding the homeless and the elderly lady who dedicates her time at her local hospital as a greeter. People who are addicted to helping others are awesome. If I saved the roughly $300 a year I waste on my Coke
addiction and added another $100, I could give clean drinking water to an entire village in Africa. Did you hear me? For not much more than I spend on soda in a year, I could give clean water to approximately 150 people for the rest of their lives. That’s the kind of addiction I want. I want to get radical about using what I have to help those less fortunate.
Do you want to change your addiction? Join me. I am going to start saving money by drinking less Coke
and saving that money to provide water for those who don’t even know what a Coke
is. If you want to change your addiction, check out Marion Medical Mission.
This organization is truly saving lives. You can learn more at http://marionmedical.org/
. If this isn’t something that interests you, I encourage you to find something you can do to help others who are in need. This is an addiction worth having and is much more fulfilling than catapulting birds at fortresses built by pigs – although that still is fun. Tim.
Romeo and Juliet live! I wonder if this scenario ever went through Billy Shakespeare’s mind. I imagine it did. I can just see Bill debating how the story would end. I can see him sitting at his desk and thinking to himself, “Should I have Romeo find Juliet, contemplate taking his own life and Juliet awaken just as he is about to take the poison? This would leave a happily ever after message, but I am writing a tragedy. ..” Of course there would be plenty of thee’s and thou’s in his thought process. For some reason, he decided a double suicide was the best way to essentially end the romance of Romeo and Juliet. Whether you agree or not, Romeo and Juliet did become a historical work of art.
When one writes a novel, he or she creates a world. That world may be on earth or something totally unexpected. The place, characters, weather, vehicles, etc. are all at the mercy of the writer. The writer decides what will happen to the characters. The writer decides the tone. You get the idea… The thing is, this is not always easy. Whatever you write, someone will criticize it. They will say you should have had Harry die in the end. That’s the thing. Your readers are your critics. They connect with your characters and have their own perceptions of what will become of the character. When you are creating your world, whether it is Narnia, Middle Earth or 18th Century France, you are bringing the reader into that world. They can smell the fresh croissants baking across the street or feel the rain as if cascades from the sky. They see the masked assailant approaching from behind the terrified victim.
This can make crafting a novel a difficult process. As a writer, I see my characters in a different light than my readers. I want them to connect with the characters, but I also want them to realize that just as in real life, things don’t always go as you expect or want. Sometimes, the hero is not such a good person after all. Sometimes a major character dies, is tortured or doesn’t end up with the girl. It is all what makes the story. Not knowing what will happen next is truly why we read novels. We want to know more. I guess I wrote all of these words to make one point: When you write a work of art, make sure you keep the readers guessing. Keep it interesting and don’t make it too predictable. Romeo and Juliet may die instead of living happily ever after. - Tim
Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me!! Most of us who endured childhood are familiar with this phrase and quite possibly used it ourselves. I did and to be honest, I think I believed it for awhile. I would always ask myself why I felt so bad if words didn’t hurt. Finally, I realized they can and often do hurt. The very phrase itself is nothing but outright deception and serves as proof that words really do hold power. A popular Biblical paraphrase known as The Message makes the following statement in James 2:5-6: “It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.” This is so true. Words can build people up or tear them down. Think of the countless people who were accused of things which were later proven to be wrong. The truth no longer mattered, what mattered was the perception gained by the words spoken or written about them. I am often reminded about this with all of the negative political speech. I won’t breach that topic.
I will talk about something else, however. Recently I watched a video filmed by a couple comedians. I wish not to bring them negative publicity so I won’t mention their names. The video was of them supposedly going to a haunted house and attempting to stay the night. I expected humor, but it mainly appeared they were terrified of this house. They gave a back story including the name of the town, family that disappeared from the house and so on. Taking into consideration they were comedians, I googled the name of the family that supposedly disappeared. I found a website giving all the details about the suspected murder and subsequent disappearance of the family. It corroborated the back story. Being a writer with a focus on suspense, I was interested. I did some research on the names, places, etc. I finally discovered the whole thing was an elaborate hoax. The entire story was made up, I assume to add credibility to the comedians’ video. My point is that despite their intent, the comedians went to great lengths to create a deception. They deceived their viewers. I won’t assume why. With increased access to communication comes increased deception. People often believe what they read or hear, whether in an email, on a website or on television. We are often very trusting and swallow a message hook, line and sinker. It’s sad really. It’s sad that people are constantly trying to deceive us and sad we believe it.
I would like to end with another passage from the Bible, also from The Message, 1 John 3:18-20: “My dear children, let's not just talk about love; let's practice real love. This is the only way we'll know we're living truly, living in God's reality. It's also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves.” Friends, whatever form of communication you use, whether it be writing, speaking, acting, etc; please be honest and build up others. Don’t misuse this great gift by destroying others and misleading them. Thanks. Tim.
When scribing lexis for the common populace, one must contemplate the addressees for which he is originating the composition. To put it differently, when you write something, think about who is going to read it. You really need to invest some thought into how legible (readable) your story is. When you are writing to the general population, you are reaching out to a large group of people. You have some who do not have strong grasp on the English language and others who will know words you never realized existed. You must write something that an average reader can understand, but is still intellectually stimulating for an avid reader. The point is, the more a person reads, the greater their understanding of the written word.
You don’t want to complicate your work and yet you don’t want to oversimplify it. You need to be somewhere in the middle. There is nothing wrong with using some words that people may need to look up or will need to define based on the context of the sentence. This is the great thing about reading; it’s a tool for learning. Don’t shy away from using some difficult words – just be sure that you actually know what they mean before you use them. You may get pretty embarrassed if you write: “Little Timmy could not wait to eat the excrement on his plate” instead of “Little Timmy could not wait to eat the Eggs Benedict on his plate.” Know or learn the meaning of a word. Just because you have heard someone utilize it in a specific manner does not mean it was configured in the sentence correctly. When writing fiction, you often include dialogue.
When writing dialogue, think about how your character would talk. This is one time when you can break some grammar rules. You may need to use wordage that identifies the characters culture. You may want to make use of slang and improper sentence structure. This gives the character color and life. It also separates one character from another. Otherwise, it may seem you have written a book about robots instead of human beings.
That wraps up my advice for today. Tune in again on Thursday to see what other nuggets of excremen… umm exculpatory matter I have to share. -Tim.
John: Check out that girl, she is sick.
Bob: Oh, that’s bad. Is it anything contagious?
John: What? You don’t understand; she’s hot!
Bob: She has a fever. It may very well be contagious then.
John: Let me put this in old terminology. She is PHAT.
Bob: Now John, you are just crazy. For starters, that girl is not obese. Even if she were, it is not very polite for you to refer to her as fat. I don’t know what is wrong with you; she seems pretty attractive to me.
John: That’s what I am saying!
Bob: No, you said she is fat and looks sick and feverish. You never mentioned that she looks pretty.
John: Well that’s what I meant.
Bob: Oh, I guess I didn’t understand. She is pretty though; you might even say that dame is radiant!
Language is an interesting thing. Depending on all types of criteria, two people can have a difficult time conversing. People can be separated by age, ethnicity, cultural background, religious background, educational demographics and location. Sometimes it is difficult for two people who speak the same language, but are from different parts of the world (or even the same country) to communicate. This is extremely evident when you cross into other languages. For a writer, this can be very crippling. If you don’t take your target audience into consideration prior to writing, you may fail at reaching them at all.
My wife and I have hosted foreign exchange students. The purpose of the program is essentially to help the students obtain a better grasp of the English language. It has always been interesting because the students come to the U.S. with a large amount of head knowledge and often feel they have a good grip on the English language. One thing they have not learned, however, is slang. What we consider simple communication can often baffle people whose primary language is not English. I have learned many things by exposing myself to other cultures and one of the main concepts is that we need to be better communicators.
When you are writing, you must be an effective communicator. You would not utilize the same terminology in writing a panel of scientists as you would for a group of high school students. Both use very different terminology. It is critical to write in a way your audience will understand. One of the most difficult parts of writing is when that audience is broad. I will cover this in more detail in my next blog.
If anyone ever tells you it’s easy to get published, they are lying. I mean I guess if you have enough money and really don’t care what your work looks like, it can be easy. That is not an option for someone serious about having his/her work read, however. I don’t have enough space in this blog to go through all the details of getting a book published, but I will give you a snapshot of how confusing it can be. First, you must have something to write about. Next, you need to educate yourself on how to properly write a book. Every writer needs to do some good studying prior to writing. You need to read other books and get an idea about how you want your book to flow. Next, you must write the book, which can take much quite a bit of time – even years for some. I’ve found the best way find time to write is to create a writing plan and stick to it. If you plan ahead, you can get an idea of how long your book will take to complete. When getting ready to publish, you have an array of decisions. Each has pros and cons. There is traditional publishing, true self publishing – doing everything yourself, and companies that will publish your work for a fee. When paying for the service, you still have options: Vanity Publishing, Subsidy Publishing, POD (Print-on-Demand) Publishing (which is more about how quickly copies the book are printed than a specific service), Partnership Publishing and Independent Publishing. Once you decide how you will publish, you must decide what process you will go through to refine your book – unless you go with a traditional publisher – they make many of the decisions for you. There are a variety of options for editing. Editing can be very costly, depending on what process you choose. You must have it edited, however, if you want it taken seriously. Most recently, I have discovered critiquing. This is similar to editing except you send a sample of your writing to a professional writer/critic. They tell you everything that is wrong with your work. They essentially slice and dice every detail. It’s humbling, but helps take the work up a few notches. When the book is finally ready, then you go through the process of negotiating how everything will be laid out with the publisher. All said and done, it is a long process, but if you are a writer, it’s worth it. It’s an investment.
Ok. I don’t know if it is good to write a blog that essentially complains about complaining, but that is what I am doing. We all complain from time to time. If you don’t believe me, just ask someone about the weather. It will be too hot and dry today. Depending on when you ask it could be too hot, too cold, too dry, too wet, too cloudy, etc. It’s almost never just right. We all complain, that is just a fact of life. Even optimists complain about pessimists, they just may camouflage it by saying they see the glass as half full, implying you see it as half empty and that drives them crazy. So, from time to time we all complain and I am o.k. with that. What I want to harp on today, however, are chronic complainers. You know these people. Nothing is ever good enough. It may be a family member complaining about you being too skinny, too fat, too loud, not visiting enough, not controlling your children, being too hard on your children, etc. Nothing you ever do will be good enough. One place that never seems remiss of chronic complainers is the local church. For those of you who are church goers, have you ever noticed this? They will complain that the music is too loud or too soft, it’s too modern or too old, and the pastor teaches too much or preaches too much, the room is too cold or too hot, the ushers passed them by again, and they can’t believe what John wore to church today. You get the idea. They are NEVER happy with church. They have a special Bible with only one commandment: Be Happy with Nothing. I find it amazing how one person can make a pastor look like the most selfish, careless, angry person on the planet or the worship team/leader appear to be the most insensitive person/people on the planet. Don’t get them started about the Sunday school teacher or the youth pastor. That person can become so focused on what he or she wants that they totally miss the point of attending church in the first place. It’s not about being entertained or comfortable; it’s about growing as a Christian. Complaining about everything just shows a lack of maturity. The next time you hear someone complain about church, gently remind them that it is more important to be concerned about how we can reach out to others than how well we were entertained. Thanks for your time.
For some time now I have been subscribed to several blogs. There is one common thread I have noticed in all blogs… they don’t have a common thread. Believe me this is true, at least when it comes to a schedule. Some blogs are written daily, some are written on weekends, some once a week, some are just plain sporadic, some… well you get the point. This has produced quite a quandary for me. I know I can’t write a daily blog. I don’t have enough material or time to do so. A weekly blog seems too little. A sporadic blog really has no true followers. So, here is what I have come up with. I will submit a blog on Tuesdays and Thursdays. When you think of it, these two days are overlooked and I feel quite sad for them. Everyone loves Friday, that’s where TGIF came from. Saturday and Sunday are the heroes of the entire week. Everyone hates Monday and with good reason. Wednesday even gets some recognition because it is midweek. Tuesday and Thursday, however, are just plain ignored. You never hear anyone say TGIT or I hate Tuesdays and Thursdays. Actually, no one ever mentions them at all. They are the black sheep of the week. I feel great remorse for this unfair treatment of such splendid days and because of that remorse I have decided to embrace them and show my appreciation for their contribution to the week. O.k. you are right, it was really a random decision that I didn’t put much time into, but it’s Tuesday and I needed something to write about. Have a great week and check back on Thursday.