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Put holiday emotions into perspective

Sometimes all the hustle-and-bustle of the holiday season takes a toll on teens. But it helps to keep in mind the “real reason for the season” — the birth of Jesus. / Photo illustration by Sarah Jones / Times-News correspondent

Commentary by Sarah Jones
Times-News correspondent

Christmas lights, brightly colored packages, and familiar carols all seemed wonderful when life wasn’t so complicated.

Family issues, school pressure and new responsibilities can diminish the Christmas spirit in teenagers.

Through all of the future college plans or the sadness caused by older siblings moving out, it is rather understandable that teens become quite nonchalant about the holiday season.

Christmas comes with an air of magic, whimsy and hope, otherwise known as the Christmas spirit.

Sometimes, it’s hard to remember all of the magical childhood memories of Christmas and easy to become so negative or even angry about the holiday. Drinking hot cocoa while watching a Christmas movie or wrapping a carefully chosen gift for a loved one are both wonderful.

But maybe teens feel like Christmas is being shoved in their faces. Over-commercialism can really take the delight out of the holiday.

Maybe if teens realized the bigger meaning of Christmas, they’d be more positive about it. There is more to Christmas than gifts and Santa. Love, family, and giving are the lovely non-material aspects of Christmas, but not everyone has those lovely things.

The true meaning of Christmas is simply in the name of the holiday. Christmas was, is, and always will be about Jesus Christ and the hope He brings. Not everyone can have the luxury of a holiday feast with family, but everyone can have Jesus and His love.

It’s possible that if teens would just take time to remember how it felt to be filled with innocence, wonder and belief, then they might find that the Christmas spirit never actually left them.

Sarah M. Jones is a homeschooled high-school junior and a Teens & Twenties writer.


Skydiving: Face your fears and jump!

Michaela King and her tandem jumper, Greg Eastridge, enjoy a recent skydiving excursion high above North Carolina. / Photo submitted

Commentary by Michaela King
Times-News correspondent

LOUISBURG — If you’re looking for some excitement, an adrenaline rush or a way to conquer a fear, Triangle Skydiving Center is the place to go.

This past week I had the opportunity to go skydiving in celebration of turning 18. I had never been on a plane before and, to be honest, had a fear of flying. I decided it was time for me to step out of my comfort zone and conquer a fear of mine. I had never really dreamt of doing something like this before, but it was definitely worth it.

For your first jump, you have to do a tandem jump, meaning an experienced jumper has to be attached to you when diving. However, it is required that you be at least 18 years of age to jump due to safety precautions and the fact that you have to sign a waiver. You watch a video and go through steps of training with your tandem jumper before stepping on to the plane.

The hour and minutes leading up to the jump were filled with anxiety, excitement and a little fear. I had no idea what to expect. Once I got on the plane and went through all of my training it was time to step onto the edge of the plane and dive. This to me was the scariest part.

However, once I jumped and began to free-fall, all of the fear went away. It doesn’t feel like you are falling. You don’t get that feeling you do when you go on a rollercoaster. The free-fall was the best part.

You spin around, do flips and enjoy the rush. Once you pull the parachute though, it’s a peaceful journey back down to the ground.

All in all, the skydiving experience was amazing and taught me to get out of my comfort zone and enjoy the things in life. I encourage everyone to step out of their comfort zone and take a risk.

Michaela King is a senior at Burlington Christian Academy and a Teens & Twenties writer.


Author’s unique debut brings readers into a ‘World of Magic’

“When it Rains,” by Rosetta M. Overman. Copyright 2014, CreateSpace (197 pages, $9.80)

Reviewed by Christian Hornaday
Times-News correspondent

A surprisingly unique debut, “When it Rains” is the opening story to the “World of Magic” series by local author Rosetta M. Overman.

Presenting a fresh perspective regarding the classic elements (fire, water, wind/air, earth, and spirit/soul), Overman gives each element a human-like body and personality, which allows her readers to identify with these elements on a more relatable level.

River, the water element, begins the story living in a secluded area apart from the human world with only her element siblings and their current guardian. As the characters are introduced, the family of elements must accept the retirement of their current guardian followed by the placement of a new guardian.

Getting to know this new protector proves dangerous for the elements as he allows them to be taken in to the human world. While in the human world, trust is both gained and lost, family is brought closer together, inner struggles are dealt with and the thoughts of romance build from page to page.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and its genuine characters, giving both a very personal side as well as the ability to capture the mystic feel of an element in flesh. The romance surrounding River kept me turning pages and has since left me satisfied in how the idea of love is portrayed throughout this first installment.

After getting a taste of the “World of Magic” in “When it Rains,” I am anxious to read Overman’s upcoming sequel, “Firestorm.”

Christian Hornaday is a freshman at Campbell University and a Teens & Twenties writer.

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    Teens & Twenties is produced by high school and college writers and photographers throughout Alamance County. The print edition appears on Mondays in the Times-News and is distributed throughout the local schools. On the website, you’ll find some of our stories, photos and more. Feel free to browse around and give us comments, too. We’d love to hear from you!

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