Category Archives: Love

No Substitute For Experience

There is one candidate that deeply concerns me; Marco Rubio. His extreme hostility toward gay Americans saddens me. Not only does he want our community to continually be treated like second-class citizens but if he had it his way he would do whatever it took to eradicate us completely.

He has vowed to use tax-payers money (and his precious time as President) to overturn any law(s) that treat us equally. I find it terribly upsetting that he vowed to work hard overturning DADT. Thousands of gay Americans fight for his rights and freedom every day and he wants to strip those soldiers from their careers – how despicable.

He strongly opposes loving same-gender families from adopting and even helped raise money for conversion therapy. Believing that being gay is a choice clearly shows his lack of understanding/education on who we are, and our community.

I’ll end here for now but how hypocritical must one be to enjoy all the freedoms and equal treatment that his parents came to America searching for to gain citizenship and then turn around and use our system to take away freedoms and equal treatment from other Americans!?!

Because there is no substitute for experience I  wonder his reaction if he were the one in this video clip?

 

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Filed under Bashing, Bullying, Christian, Civil Rights, Discrimination, Diversity, Education, Equality, Families, Gay, Home, Homophobia, Homophobic, Hypocrite, Intolerance, Lessons, Life, Love, Marriage, Marriage Equality, parents, Rights, School, Uncategorized, Youth

40 Years Young

40

 

This month I turn 40. I completely embrace age. Life offers many wonderful moments that often lead to lessons. Lessons often bring wisdom and wisdom presents limitless possibilities!

Along with this post I wanted to include some of my favorite quotes about life;                                                                                                                              
“Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.” Unknown
 
“The days are long, but the years are short.” Gretchen Rubin
 
“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” Abraham Lincoln

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September 8, 2014 · 4:14 am

No Child Left Behind

Loved1

 

Our local paper wrote a story on my book; I thought I would share it on my blog (source) http://www.eaglebulletin.com/news/2014/jul/23/no-child-left-behind/

“During his more than 20 years of teaching in elementary schools in Brooklyn, Atlanta and Washington DC, Jason Galvez taught many different classes, several subjects and hundreds of students. And during his time working in Washington, DC, only one of his students came from a home with a mother and a father.

Galvez would spend hours searching through the school libraries for books that depicted all different kinds of family dynamics, and usually came up empty handed.  “I would either have to lie to my students and change the pronouns, or try to order special books that cover diverse families,” said Galvez, who now resides in Manlius. “And instead of continuing to try to find more, I decided to write one.”

On Feb. 25, Galvez’s first book, titled “I Am Loved Right Where I Am,” was released on Amazon.com and on Barnes & Noble’s website. The book follows a little girl named Sylvia who lives with her grandmother in Washington, DC. She takes the reader on a journey to meet all of her friends, who all come from different family dynamics: children who are raised by foster parents, same-sex parents, stepparents, an older sibling, a single parent and even a family with a mother and father.

“For children not just to survive but to thrive in life, your foundation, which is your home, needs to be relatively solid,” he said. “I remember seeing fellow teachers teaching a lesson on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, and you would see some kids sort of slump in their chair a little because they didn’t feel belonged. And if we’re going to arm our children for success, it needs to start at home and we need to give them a solid foundation [by enforcing the idea that] where they are is precisely where they belong and that they’re loved.”

Galvez, a self-proclaimed psychology enthusiast, said the bare-bones idea for the book came from psychologist Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which states that love and belonging are among the basic human fundamental needs in life.

He began writing the book when he was still living in Washington, DC as a way to help students who may not fit the traditional family dynamic feel that they do belong, and for children who come from homes with a mom and dad to realize that the world they live in is much bigger than what they may see or are used to.  And he’s noticed a real need for the book – since Galvez began working in public schools 20 years ago, he said it’s becoming more and more common to see children coming from untraditional households.

“Even statistically, if you look at the divorce rate ten years ago compared to now it has changed,” he said. “And family dynamics have changed, and we need our media and books to keep up with those changes if we want our children to survive.”

On the last page of the book, Sylvia asks the reader, “What kind of special family do you have?” Galvez hopes the book will be used as a catalyst for family discussion about family dynamics, a topic that’s as uncomfortable to many parents as sex.  A lot of times, for whatever reason, parents don’t want to say, ‘Do you know that so-and-so doesn’t have a dad?’ Or that ‘So-and-so is raised by their sister?’ And I don’t know why that’s such a taboo topic when it’s around us everywhere.”

Proceeds from “I Am Loved Right Where I Am” go directly to charities, Galvez said. Although he wrote the book for a third-grade audience, he’s received emails from parents with toddlers to eighth-graders who have enjoyed the book. To order the book, visit amazon.com/Am-Loved-Right-Where/dp/1630633038. “If I can help one child walk out of their house in the morning feeling a little more confident, my job is done,” he said.”

 

Please share this post as my book has helped many children and families, and I would love to see it help many more.  For a list of all ordering options;

 Amazon http://tinyurl.com/oyjmzxu

Barnes & Noble http://tinyurl.com/p822wrz

Signed Copy http://jasonj.biz/author.php

Youtube Video http://tinyurl.com/ocupldl

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Filed under Books, Education, Esteem, Families, Gods love, Library, Life, Love, Marriage, Media, parents, School, Youth

I Am Loved Right Where I Am

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Amazon http://tinyurl.com/oyjmzxu

Barnes & Noble http://tinyurl.com/p822wrz

Signed Copy http://jasonj.biz/author.php

Youtube Video http://tinyurl.com/ocupldl

I recall my first grade teacher (Ms. Martin) talking about a fun craft project which included the use of scissors.  I was beyond excited and could not wait to begin.  Ms. Martin placed the scissor rack in the center table and off we all dashed with anticipation. To my disappointment however the only options were right-handed scissors.  Being left-handed I did not know how to cut with right-handed scissors but seeing all my classmates I desperately tried.  Try as I may my cut-outs were looking nothing like those of my classmates.  Frustrated I secretly asked myself why I was different.  Ensuring the rack included a pair of left-handed scissors would have prevented the feeling of isolation I experienced.  It was there in elementary school I first experienced the feeling of being dissimilar and not belonging.

Fast forward twenty five years I became a teacher myself (obtained my Masters in Arts and Teaching at Trinity University in Washington, D.C.).  I taught various grades and subjects in Syracuse, N.Y., Brooklyn, N.Y., Atlanta, GA and Washington, DC.  Prior to teaching I was a youth counselor for many years – working with youth diagnosed from moderate to severe intellectual disabilities, behavioral and emotional challenges, those diagnosed with autism/Asperger’s syndrome and even including eating disorders.  While working with children I have noticed a disheartening truth over the years.  Regardless of the therapeutic setting, classroom or child population, one thing that became abundantly clear to me is that children who do not fit the “traditional family” mold at times face a tremendous sense of feeling alone and uncomfortable – especially because every book in their homes, schools and libraries mention a mom and dad. It is certainly no fault of the families involved but more so the fact that, as a whole, society caters to the commonly advertised mom and dad family.

According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs the feeling of belonging is one of our basic needs, and one in which many successes are based on.  Students, who do not feel belonged, long for understanding, yearn for relatability and, at times, struggle with isolation.  We live in a society where our books, music, conversations, holidays etc. are geared exclusively to families made up of a mom and dad.  While I think that we need to embrace and celebrate the mom and dad family dynamic, we also need to embrace and celebrate ALL family dynamics just the same.

When I worked with elementary students I was always careful with my pronouns during story time.  I would try and use “parents” or “family” instead of the usual “Mom and Dad.”  The reality is that there are many different family dynamics.  Children often come from a home with a step-parent, foster-parent, same-gender parents, single parent, grandparents etc., and sadly our books and language often (yet unintentionally) overlook this rapidly growing reality.  In order to thrive and succeed children need to feel affirmed and belonged regardless of where they come from, and with whom they happen to live.

Frustrated over the constant lack of children’s books on family diversity that spoke directly to a child’s self-esteem I decided to do something about it so I wrote and illustrated my own easy to read children’s book, “I Am Loved Right Where I Am” http://tinyurl.com/oyjmzxu

This book is a phenomenal educational tool for every child, and every home in America.  If the child reading I Am Loved Right Where I Am comes from a home with a Mom and Dad than they will not only relate to one of the characters in my book, but also learn that many of their friends and classmates may come from different family dynamics.  Children that come from other family dynamics (foster, step-parent, same-gender parents, single parent etc.) will also relate to some of the characters in my book and have a sense of family equality.  The goal of my book is quite simple; after browsing this easy to read children’s book the reader will walk away feeling belonged, loved, as well as, have a stronger sense of universal connection.

If we want our children to succeed in life it starts early, and especially in school where pressures of all types are constantly bombarding our children from every direction.  At the same token my book is just as educational for those that are home-schooled or children out of school.  Even such children are not safeguarded from the media, their (good-intentioned) friends and society.  We must ensure our youth feel safe, comfortable and belonged.  If a child is constantly on mental guard from friends, extended family members, society, the media etc., he or she cannot be fully focused on learning, or be able to reach self-actualization in life.

Please take a look at the wonderful reviews from those that have read my book http://tinyurl.com/oyjmzxu and treat that special or someone to a copy.  You have the option of ordering from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and even a signed copy via paypal.  This book is a great addition to your personal book collection, home library and most certainly gift to that special child or family.  Happy reading

 Amazon http://tinyurl.com/oyjmzxu

Barnes & Noble http://tinyurl.com/p822wrz

Signed Copy http://jasonj.biz/author.php

Youtube Video http://tinyurl.com/ocupldl

* Please share (links above) as proceeds of my book go directly to charities *

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Filed under Bullying, Discrimination, Education, Equality, Love, Media, parents, School, Youth

Our Life, A Mere Vapor

Our life, a mere vapor

Recently my father turned 63. While celebrating I watched the family interact and socialize. It was one of those “aha” life moments seeing three generations (my father, my siblings, and my children) at one table. It was not too long ago that I was talking with my grandfather who is no longer with us. At some point in our lives we face the realization that we all, even our parents, are just tall children trying to navigate this perplexing and often challenging world the best we/they know with the tools given (or not) in childhood.

Although the relationship with my father growing up was far from ideal, we both have matured and are learning healthy father/son dynamics as adults. I do not necessarily think any parent has bad intentions for their children; we are all simply a product of our childhood – the good and the bad – as are all generations before us. When I view my parents as tall children – who are a product of their own childhood – it helps me understand them, forgive them, and love them.

It won’t be long before my toddler will be playing with his grandchildren. Reminds me of a trip I once took to Arlington cemetery in Washington, DC. Our tour guide stated, “On every gravestone there are two dates – one in which you came in the world, and the other in which you left. Although you have little say on those dates, you have all the say on what happens in between them.” Days may be long but the years short. Are you pleased with the decisions you are making in life? Like it states in James 4 “life is but a vapor. Here today, gone tomorrow.”

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June 2, 2014 · 4:32 pm

Commitment

Thurs

Today I celebrate my 11th anniversary. I have been with the same wonderful person for four thousand and fifteen days – and counting. The majority of these days have been filled with pure enjoyment. On many occasions I have found myself on the verge of tears asking God why He blessed me so abundantly.  Other days, however, have been incredibly challenging. On these days, where love and bliss feels distant, I hold on to my commitment.

We live in a microwave society. Everything we want from fast-food to research is at our finger-tips and attainable in minutes. Marriage, however, is very much the opposite. Like anything of worth and value, marriage takes hard work, time, effort, and a conscious decision to recommit; day after day, year after year.

I’m never too surprised when I hear new lovers say, “I’ve never felt this way before” or “this person makes me feel alive.” What usually follows a short time after, unfortunately, is “they just didn’t make me feel special anymore” or “I wasn’t happy with her/him.”  While I would never advocate staying in a loveless or emotionless relationship what I do know however is that we far too easily give up on relationships, and our commitment to stay in love.

Yes, love is an emotion, a feeling of butterflies and rainbows at times.  Much more than that though love is a verb.  Love takes work, a lot of hard work.  A large part of that work is making the decision to commit and recommit daily.  Recommit your vows, recommit your dedication, and recommit your decision to support your spouse, encourage and forgive your spouse, elevate your spouse and continually find ways that keep your marriage alive.  When this is the focus, happiness overflows.

An anniversary is a medal.  A marital medal is a souvenir born from the most difficult task there is; to lay your life down for another – for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.  And that takes commitment.

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November 14, 2013 · 5:12 am

I (Insert your name) Cherry-pick the Bible

Our family recently moved back to my home town of upstate of New York.  After the long, exhausting and tedious process of unpacking we discovered a few items that we could part with so I placed an ad in one of our local papers.  A few days passed when I received an email asking if we still had the humidifier for sale.  I replied that yes in fact we did and would be happy to let it go for next to nothing.  The next day a gentleman came and shortly thereafter both he and our humidifier were on the road to his place.  I thought little of our transaction and immediately went on with my day caring for our toddler, dinner prep, laundry, vacuuming etc.

Later that evening I decided to log on to the computer and respond to a few pending emails.  Upon opening my account found, to my surprise, several emails from “Bob”, the gentleman who bought our humidifier.   Was he ok, I thought? Was something wrong with the humidifier (though I checked if it worked and it did just fine)?  Did he leave something at our house etc.?  Concern and curiosity ran through my mind as I clicked his first email.

Leviticus 18:22 “Thou shalt not lie with man-kind, as with womankind; it is abomination” was his first email followed by a lecture about Gods word and how His word does not change.  I scanned his very long and drawn out interpretations of the five presumed anti-gay verses, and clicked delete.  The next email started with Romans 1:27 “And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of women….”  His almost four-page email went on and on and of course ended with exactly why God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.  Apparently during his visit Bob noticed that our household’s marriage dynamic were that of same gender spouses and he had to make it his mission and duty to inform us that we were spiritually in wrong standing.  I pondered, for a moment, about responding with a litany of Bible verses (starting with Ezekiel 16:49 which negates the Sodom and Gomorrah gay theory) however due to my pending emails and demanding toddler, I simply thanked him for his time and for sharing his interpretation of the sacred text.

Bobs email got me thinking however.  Not only do I strongly disagree with his literal interpretation of the five clobber verses but why do so many conveniently finger-point and cherry-pick the Bible (as well as Qur’an/Torah/book of Mormon etc.)?  Does it make people feel better about themselves?  Do people feel as if they are in good spiritual standing by picking and choosing verses in an attempt to condemn others?  Does cherry-picking make some feel enlightened or knowledgeable?  Does cherry-picking and pointing the finger make some feel authoritative? Although I do not have the answer, I do know we ALL cherry-pick the Bible.  I decided that I could either spend my energy being bothered by Bob’s attacks, or use his inappropriate emails as an opportunity to motivate this blog entry.

When I was a teenager I remember talking with my friends after they had an upsetting squabble with their parents and without fail would hear, “doesn’t it say somewhere in the Bible that parents should not put their children to wrath” (Ephesians 6:4)? I also recall my own parents on many an occasion reciting “The Bible clearly says you must honor your mother and father” (Exodus 20:12).

Recently I was speaking with my aunt, whose husband is a minister, and she shared with me that any time she would disagree with my uncle he would remind her that, “woman should submit to their husbands” (Colossians 3:18).  To this she would respond, “if you loved me like Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25) we wouldn’t be having this disagreement.”

Fact is we ALL can throw around Bible verses to prove any point we want to make.  Whether you are a male and want women “checked” married and want to keep your spouse “checked”, white and want to keep blacks “checked”, straight and want to keep gays “checked”, or a parent and want to keep your kids “checked.” Whether you are circumcised or not, Christian or not, choose to masturbate, marry or stay celibate we can all cherry-pick the Bible and “check” one another. We can either forgive others’ wrong-doings using the Bible (Matthew 6:14) or justify our vengeful behavior with an eye for an eye (Exodus 21:24) – the examples are endless.  But when we “check” one another aren’t we (allow me to cherry-pick now) judging one another (Matthew 7:1-2) and the Bible clearly states that we should not. That being said are we, as Christians, supposed to keep our voice and light under the metaphoric bushel? Absolutely not, but opinions not asked for are nothing less than intrusion.  I do not recall intrusion being a virtue of Christ and we are called to, at least work on, becoming more Christ-like (John 3:30).

In my almost thirty years of walking with the Father I have come to the conclusion that the Bible must be taken all seriously, however not all literally.  If we were to take all Bible verses literally, out of context, and without the historical perspectives in which they were written, we would all be walking around with one eye (Mark 9:47).

Romans 3:23 states, “For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  Imagine this world if instead of using our energy to intrude, cherry-pick and finger-point, we used it to love and pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ, and let God handle the rest (1 John 4:7-8).

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