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Spotlight on Website: New Moon Girls June 30, 2013

This is a rather different spotlight than we’ve had previously, but it goes with the theme of inner beauty from my previous post. New Moon is a fun, feminist website where girls pre-teen+ can safely connect and have fun, all while boosting their confidence and sharing their creativity. New Moon also presents a bimonthly magazine  with articles by girls and featuring their artwork and writing. It’s fun, but best of all, it’s activism- New Moon has worked extensively on changing Barbie’s unrealistic figure, which helps promote eating disorders, and de-color-coding Target’s sexist, stereotypical blue-and-pink toy aisles. The website, newmoon.com, requires a paid subscription, but it’s definitely worth it for girls. They’ll make friends, learn to promote feminism and equality, and show their creative side doing it. Plus, there’s nothing better to boost your confidence and happiness than having your work published in the magazine. The message boards have sections for debates, roleplays, condolences for those grieving, and there’s even two whole message boards dedicated to changing the world, which is awesome! New Moon is great and helps promote inner beauty. I’m a member of the Girls Editorial Board (I work on the magazine), and I love the whole thing. If you are a teenage girl, join New Moon today! If you’re not, tell the young females you know. :3

 

Ceej

 

3 Ways You Might Body-Shame Without Realizing It June 24, 2013

When you leave the safety of your house and its wondrous wifi, you’ll see a multitude of people in different shapes and sizes. Some of them will be your friends, and that’s awesome. Some of them you may not know or like. I bet, however, you and a friend have discussed your bodies at some point, or you know somebody who has recently  lost weight. You probably haven’t noticed it, but you may have been insulting their body type when you were trying to compliment them. How?

1) Congratulating someone for losing weight

You may feel like you’re giving them a compliment, but when you say ‘congrats’ about their new size, it has implications that they’re better than they were before, and if they were larger for a long time, they may feel like you didn’t accept their body until now. In most cases, people gain back the weight they lost, which will make your earlier praise feel like an insult now that they’ve grown it back. It doesn’t matter what they look like, so tell them how happy you are that they’ve accomplished a goal rather than how happy you are with their new weight.

2) Mentally adjusting someone’s looks

I’m talking about saying things like, “She would be so pretty if…” and filling in the blank. Noooooo. She is pretty just the way she is. If she changes for what you think she’d look better, that person will no longer be the person they once were. They’ll be a fake. Don’t tell someone what’s wrong with them, because they don’t need to change.

3) Telling people what they ‘need’ to do

I hear people saying sometimes that thin people need to eat more, or looking at someone across the street and commenting that they could stand to lose a few pounds. This goes with Number 2- they don’t need to fit your cultural stereotype. As long as they don’t have a disorder or anything potentially harmful, then they don’t need to change. If they want to exercise, good for them. If they want to stay the weight they are, good for them.

The bottom line? As long as their weight isn’t a dangerous problem, they’re  beautiful. This goes for men and women. Let them be themselves, and they’ll appreciate that you are yourself as well.

Ceej

 

Spotlight on Religion: Zeroastrianism June 22, 2013

Hi everyone! I know it’s been a while since our last Spotlight on Religion, but now it’s time for the next one — Zeroastrianism! (I have no idea how to pronounce that, by the way.)

Religion: Zeroastrianism is considered one of the oldest monotheistic (which means you believe in only one God) religions. It was founded before Islam and Christianity in the sixth century BC, though it holds many of the same beliefs. It was founded by a prophet who, like most prophets, thought he saw visions of God (or, as he called it, Ahura Mazda). His name was Zarathustra. Zeroastrianism used to be a huge religion, one of the largest in the world, but in recent years the number of followers has dwindled down, now at only 140,000.

Where it is Practiced: Zeroastrianism was founded in Persia, but over the years it has made its way down to India, where the religion is called Parsiism and the majority of the followers live. Now, besides India, people practicing Zeroastrianism can be found in Iran, the US, Afghanistan, the UK, Canada, Pakistan, Singapore, Azerbaijan, Australia, and New Zealand.

Beliefs: The core of Zeroastrianism is good and evil. The two representatives of these concepts are Ahura Mazda (good) and Aura Mainyu (evil). If you spend your life doing good and being good, you will go to heaven with Ahura Mazda and you will be guided there by a beautiful woman. If the bad you have done in your life outweighs the good, you will be taken to hell, guided by an ugly old woman. There are many different levels and degrees of hell depending on how good you’ve been during your lifespan. In Zeroastrianism you are given free choice, and you will either be rewarded or punished for what you chose to do. All of these beliefs and more can be found in their sacred texts, the Avesta, which translates to “The Book of Law.”

Practices: Today, the practices of Zeroastrians (or Parsis) have several important practices, including a coming of age ritual, penance, ceremonies, sacred objects, festivals, burial rites, and much more. In the coming of age ritual, children are either 7 or 10 (depending on whether they study the form from either India or Persia). They are initiated into the religion and receive either a shirt and a girdle which they are supposed to wear their whole life. Penance is very much like the Catholic version of confession, where you confess to a priest, but first must recite the patet, whereas Catholics recite the Act of Contrition. The chief ceremony is known as the Yasna, which is basically a sacrifice of sacred liquor and celebrated before the sacred fire (which is left burning at all times), and recitation of large portions of the Avesta. There are six seasonal festivals in Zeroastrianism, the most important of which is the New Years Festival. Lastly, burial rites are very important to Parsis. A “four-eyed” dog (a dog with spots above each eye) is brought before the corpse and brought back five times a day, which goes on for three days. This is thought to expose the dead.

References: I got my information from these places: http://www.religionfacts.com/zoroastrianism/index.htm and http://globalgoodgroup.com/blog/2011/12/17/three-awesome-world-religions-you-didnt-know-existed/

 

New Staff Members June 21, 2013

Filed under: Just Bonsai — mochi @ 1:44 am
Tags: ,

I’d like to give a big welcome to Kat and Ali as new authors of Bonsai. Recently, we’ve undergone a lot of change in the behind-the-scenes time on the blog, and we’re so happy to have them. You may notice that our posting average has changed for every day to once every few days (or, in the case that we’re really busy, once a week) but we do our best to post when we can. From now on, you can look forward to a post from Ali or Kat in addition to the ones from our other staff members! 🙂

Ceej

 

Are You Lazy? You Can Still Be an Environmentalist! June 17, 2013

Filed under: Going Green,Recycling — Mary @ 8:50 am
Tags: , , , ,

In other words, how to be a lazy environmentalist. Being lazy isn’t really a huge problem, according to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B958zcq43ZI (this YouTube video) (apparently those little blue link things don’t really work today or on this YouTube video or something, but . . . anyway . . . too good a reference to go to waste). Anyway, everyone wants to save the environment, but not everybody thinks that they are especially up to it. They go like, “Yeah, I’m waaaaaaay too lazy to do all this stuffs that you’re asking me to do because it’s like waaaaaay too hard…”

The thing is, saving the environment — or at least helping it — isn’t as hard as everyone makes it out to be. In fact, you may only have to alter a bit of your daily life, or take a little bit of time to make a big difference.

  1. Recycle! Recycling isn’t that hard — all you do is sort through your plastic, cardboard, aluminum, and paper and see what is recyclable and what isn’t. After you put all the stuff in the bag that’s recyclable, usually all you have to do is put it in a recycling bin outside your door and people will come up and get it for you. This will only take about ten minutes out of your day if you do it all at once, and if you just look to see whether you can recycle something right when you use it, it will take even less time!
  2. Buy used, not new. We have a decaying environment not because we don’t think about helping it, but because we buy so much stuff. Stuff, stuff, stuff. We “need” it. We go and buy more clothes, more food, more shoes, more video games. More, more, more. There’s nothing wrong with having lots of clothes, or with having lots of shoes — but getting new shoes and new clothes every day? Every week? Can’t you just live with what you have? And we do like to indulge ourselves, even I do it. But when we do need things, sometimes it isn’t the smartest to buy things new — we can, but it’s considerably cheaper and more eco-friendly if you buy a perfectly fine thing used instead of new.
  3.  3. Get rid of bottled water! Is it really so hard to just drink from a tap, or a water fountain, or bring your own reusable water bottle? Not only is it cheaper, but it saves the environment from those icky plastic bottles — do you really know how bad those are? They aren’t recyclable, they swirl around the ocean, they kill animals and sea life. It would help the environment and the money in your bank account if you would take a minute and use a reusable water bottle or get a glass out from the cabinet.

There are lots of other ways to go green while you’re being lazy, but I’m way too lazy to write about them. Just kidding . . . maybe . . . ANYWAY, you’ll have to come up with them yourself. The world would be a better place because of you. Actually, the world has been made a better place because of lazy people, as explained in the YouTube video above. I can also say it like this: Lazy people invent ways that make it easier to do important things, so then other lazy people can take time out of their “packed” schedules to do those things. More people will be helping the environment, and then the environment will get better, all because a lazy person decided to help the environment and say something about it. Don’t worry, fellow lazy people! You ARE valued! 🙂

So, I hope you start going green! The world really will be a better place. ♥

~Mary, Author at Bonsai

 

Romilda the Recycling Robot June 13, 2013

Filed under: Funny Stuff,Stories — Mary @ 8:51 am
Tags: ,

(Please do not judge me because of this awful writing. It isn’t my fault, I swear! It was written last year at like 6 am and I really wanted to write something about a robot who recycled and so I did but I was doing it as fast as possible. Obviously, working on things as fast as possible do not result in the absolute best product. Let this be a lesson to you: never try to write something at 6 am in the morning after a night of very little sleep in a hurry. Well, since I’m actually posting it somewhere where it will be publicly viewable on the internet, I can be that ashamed of it, right? WRONG! But I’m doing it anyway, just so you can laugh at my awful writing from one year ago. *sigh* So anyway, just don’t judge me, ‘kay?)

Once there was a Robot named Romilda. That in itself wasn’t very unusual, because Romilda was a very common name among the robots. Why would you write a story about an unusual robot with an unusual name, let alone start off the story with that sentence? My answer: NO REASON. Because, you know, Romilda wasn’t a very usual robot.

When you think of a robot, you think of something without a mind, without a heart. Something that follows orders, something made of scrap metal. But there was something different about Romilda. Romilda had a heart. And with her heart, Romilda chose to love the earth.

BUT WAIT!! You say, “IF A ROBOT HAD A HEART, IT WOULD BE HUMAN, NOT ROBOTIC!!” Nuh-uh. Untrue. Robots are always things made of metal. Humans are made of cells, genes, and flesh. Some mad scientist just so happened to insert a heart of steel that actually WORKED (don’t ask me how he got it to work – he died ages ago), and so there: Romilda had a heart.

So Romilda loved recycling, right? She would recycle EVERYTHING, and anything that couldn’t be recycled, she would discover how she could recycle it. She found the melting point of candy wrappers, the way to biodegrate cotton, and loads of other stuff. Didn’t you think that everyone adored recycling? Don’t you think that should have made Romilda famous?

Stupid, really, the way humans think these things. Because humans only like their handiwork, not their handiwork’s handiwork, they totally flushed Romilda’s ideas down the toilet. Like, literally, they flushed them down the toilet. That made Romilda really, really, really angry.

So Romilda decided to take revenge on the entire human race. It wasn’t easy, but she broke free from her creator, using toilet paper and kiwis, and decided to throw empty poison bottles at non-recycling people.

Unfortunately, the bottles became run-off and went into the ocean.

“What have I done?” gasped the robotic Romilda.

“You have killed the ocean,” the mayor of recycling said gravely. “I’m sorry we didn’t believe you, Romilda. We really should have listened.”

Romilda cried and fell to her knees.

“Everyone!” I called. “There is a lesson in this!!”

“What is it?” inquired the mayor.

I looked at him gravely and told him.

Moral of the Story: Never ever don’t believe a recycling robot. Or never ever throw poison bottles at someone. Or at least, never do it close to the ocean. Or, to make it simple, never try to get revenge on the human race. Look where it got the do-dos.

THE END

 

Religious Literacy June 12, 2013

You probably know somebody from a different culture or set of beliefs. They may not celebrate the same holidays as you or have the same customs as you. You know the name of their religion, maybe some of the holidays they celebrate, but you probably don’t know the basis of their beliefs, their practices, or what higher being they worship, if they believe in one. And that’s where religious literacy ties in.

While looking for images that showed a diversity of religious standpoints, I found a lot of thought-provoking things that are sometimes tread lightly around, but I think I'll make posts on those later.

While looking for images that showed a diversity of religious standpoints, I found a lot of thought-provoking things that are sometimes tread lightly around, but I think I’ll make posts on those later.

What is religious literacy?

It’s knowledge about the different religions of the world and their practices. This includes the holy text, the laws that they live by, if they believe in a deity or god, and which one or ones they do, as well as other important facts. Someone who is religiously illiterate isn’t culturally enlightened, and may have trouble being open-minded. A lot of religion-based prejudice comes from a lack of understanding, therefore creating a lack of acceptance. Stephen Prothero wrote a book about it’s importance that inspired this post, which I plan to read sometime.

 

Why is it important to be religiously literate?

Not only will you be able to better understand the people around you, you will have a greater acceptance of people who believe different things. It will increase your cultural knowledge, and people will thank you for understanding and accepting their religion. As you learn more about different religions, you can help to erase the misconceptions and narrow-mindedness. You will also be able to get in touch with your own spirituality (or lack thereof) and learn things about your religion’s history that you never knew. Or, you may decide that you do not want to be part of any category. It is an internally rewarding journey as well as one that will help you and others to understand.

 

How can you improve your ‘religious IQ’?

I’m taking a religious study class over the summer because I’m required to. (But seriously, I think it will be a very good opportunity for me to become more religiously literate, and the class is actually very interesting! Yes, though, I am required to by my school.) You can search online about different religions, purchase a book or check one out from your library, ask your friends about their individual customs, or attend a talk or workshop. I promise it will make a difference!

 

And finally, a shout out to the Bonsai ruler of religious literacy…

That’s right, Mary, I’m talking to you! We can’t thank you enough for inventing and taking on the project of Spotlight on Religion. It’s definitely enlightened us and the readers, and we eagerly await all the posts from that category!

 

Ceej

 

 
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