Guest writers

grissom-pat-2016                  Pat Grissom

By guest writer Pat Grissom

I  would like to appeal to Post readers to help me support Bay Area Turning Point, a community-based nonprofit social-service agency providing shelter and other services to families in need in our county and surrounding areas.
On average, an abused woman will enter and leave a shelter seven times in her lifetime. Many women stay in abusive relationships because they are financially dependent on their abuser.
I know about making profoundly stupid mistakes. Now a retired college professor, I am living proof that anyone can make terrible choices, especially about relationships, regardless of age or number of college degrees.
In 2009, I married a man despite numerous warning signs and a deep sense of doubt that plagued me throughout our two-year relationship. Two months after the wedding, I left on a trip with a friend. When I returned, my new husband announced he had fallen madly in love with a previous girlfriend who had contacted him the day I left town. He regaled me with one story after another about their magical relationship – like I would be thrilled for him.
At first, I wanted to write a book depicting him as a sex addict and pedophile and myself as a victim but then I realized I was the one who has made the choices that got me into that mess.
Instead, in 2013, I published Too Much Gold to Flush – The Gift Of Infidelity, which chronicles my painful journey and the lessons I learned in the process. Its message is that none of us needs remain victim of our past. At any time, we can take control of our lives and make positive choices.
I now sell the book to raise money for women’s shelters. One half of the purchase price of every copy is donated to the women’s shelter that the purchaser designates.
Whenever I teach a class in a shelter, I also donate books to its library and I have found that women tend to take them when they move on, so they value them. If women in shelters can learn to make different choices and gain access to job training or education, they’re more likely to break the cycle of abuse.
That’s why I have started a crowdfunding campaign called Empowerment Through Education at tilt.com. One third of every dollar donated goes to a women’s shelter college fund and the other two thirds provide copies of my book for the women.
To donate to Bay Area Turning Point through the campaign, go to tilt.com/tilts/bay-area-turning-point. All of the money donated to the shelter will go towards providing books for its residents and college fund.
To donate to the campaign’s general fund, which will be split among all participating shelters, or to donate to a different shelter, go to try.tilt.com/empowerment.
Clubs, church or civic groups, and consultants for direct-sales organizations like Mary Kay or Scentsy who are interested in doing fundraisers to support this project are welcome to contact me at patgrissom@yahoo.com. The campaign ends on December 15, in time to deliver the books to the shelters as Christmas presents.
Pat Grissom, a Friendswood resident for 26 years, is retired from teaching developmental reading and study skills at San Jacinto College South. Copies of her book can be purchased at patgrissom.com.

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Gracias, Fidel, for new life in Texas City

FORMER Cuban president Fidel Castro’s death on the day after Thanksgiving served to highlight an individual who was a survivor but not a success and a man who left a 57-year legacy of failure.
His actions directly and drastically altered the lives of everyone in Cuba. What he accomplished was to turn our beautiful island nation into an economic and social disaster.
As a brutal dictator, he managed to stay in power not by popular consent but by eliminating all freedoms, imprisoning or executing thousands of opponents and creating an atmosphere of discord and distrust.
He confiscated hard-earned farms, businesses and other personal property and created the comités de Barrio or “neighborhood committees” – a monitoring system to uncover dissidents and ascertain sources of families’ assets.
Thousands died fighting Castro, while untold numbers drowned trying to flee Cuba in the hope of reaching the USA for a new life.
Beyond all that, his death served as a reminder of the words some of us have often uttered: “Gracias, Fidel.” In a peculiar way, because of “him” many Cubans such as I were blessed and fortunate to have been welcomed, accepted and made part of the great Texas City community.
Interestingly and coincidentally, Cubans and Texans seem to be bound by their flags; both display a star. Texas is known as the Lone Star state and the Cuban flag is known as The Solitary Star.
José Boix
Texas City

A season for sharing

SALLY MIGHT be similar to someone Post readers know – she could even be one of your readers.
She has two children and has lived in the same neighborhood her entire life, while working hard to provide for her family. But now it is time for dinner. Her children are doing their homework and she is searching through the pantry, unable to scrounge together an adequate meal. After being the victim of a layoff at work, she faces underemployment at her new job and must decide between paying the electricity bill and buying food.
Today, Sally’s story is reality for thousands of families throughout Galveston County, which has a food insecurity rate of 17.7 per cent, leaving 53,460 residents at times without access to enough healthy food to keep all family members nourished.
The holidays are a time of warm traditions, delicious meals and gathering together with family and loved ones. A generous gift to Galveston County Food Bank this holiday season will help provide positive memories for families in our communities.
Every dollar donated provides three meals to hungry men, women and children who have hit a difficult and often embarrassing time in their lives. A $50 donation provides 150 holiday meals!
With 97 per cent of each cash gift going toward our food distribution programs, donors can be confident that their money truly is making a difference in the lives of Sally and thousands of Galveston County families.
We are grateful for everyone’s support, which allows us to fulfill our mission of providing nutritious food to individuals in need with compassion, dignity and respect. With each Post reader’s generous gift, we can turn hungry holidays into happy holidays.
We ask anyone who can help our cause to send a check to the food bank at 624 Fourth Avenue North, Texas City or visit us in person.
We will be eternally grateful!
Natalie Clarke
Galveston County Food Bank
development director
Texas City

Please give to help transition center students

FRIENDSWOOD independent school district is asking for donations of items for a garage sale in aid of its transition center that’s taking place in February.
The transition center is a program for people from ages 18 to 22 who have special needs. It helps its students learn important skills as they make the transition from school to post-education life.
Proceeds from the garage sale will fund activities for students to learn and practice such skills in real-life settings.
Items can be dropped off at the transition center at 402 Laurel Drive, Friendswood, from 8:00am to 4:00pm on any weekday from Monday to Friday.
For more information, please contact Arielle Downing at adowning@fisdk12.net or call 281-996-6668.
Dayna Owen
Friendswood ISD
communications director
Friendswood

By guest writer Dale Schlundt

‘The older I grow the more apt I am to doubt my own judgment and to pay more respect to the judgment of others’ – Benjamin Franklin

The very last thing anyone enjoys doing is conceding that there is an error in their own beliefs. Feeling that we currently know what is correct and true is important to most individuals.
Despite there being very few absolute truths in life, the greatest fundamental lesson one can learn is the ability to question whether there are fallacies in what we take as the correct answers to the challenges in our society.
In my classes there is a time every semester that I cover the framing of the US constitution and the bill of rights. As elements of those documents are re-interpreted when facing the quandaries of new eras, the possibility of change lends itself well to giving students the opportunity to take a voice in this task.
Thus, I facilitate a debate asking how we stay true to the constitution’s second amendment while creating a safer society under the current daunting context of gun-rights issues. My purpose is to create awareness by my students of their constitutional rights and to hope they will be able to contribute to a dialogue that will lead to improvements in our society.
Every once in a while, a student will comment that the debate is futile as no one seems to change their mind based on the ideas of others. The first time this comment arose, my internal dialogue sought a quick scholarly answer. “It is to create awareness and a more in-depth understanding,” I told the student.
Indeed it is, but that does not address that student’s dilemma. I have thought about this valid point at length, leaving me with an even more significant question – do we live in a culture that promotes the search for errors in our own long-held judgments and for the merits in those of others?
We watch society debate various issues with proposed solutions that many times seem to be slight variations of the status quo, dictated by our political ideology. How many of us place blame for the socio-economic gaps in society on the same sole causes, contributing to the proliferation of narrow-minded policies that do not result in upward mobility?
We often hear the desire for stimulating America’s economy, yet, while arguing this point, we continue as weekly patrons of retail stores that supply primarily imported foreign goods.
As we discuss defeating terrorism, how many of us rightfully advocate military action against those who commit such crimes while failing to acknowledge that the rhetoric portraying all young Muslim Americans as terrorists could lead those individuals to question their loyalty to the USA?
The overarching question: are we a society that can objectively acknowledge all of these and other contradictions that are prevalent in our society? As they are present in every society, is our response to simply justify them or to advocate heightened awareness?
Benjamin Franklin’s thoughts towards the conclusion of the constitutional convention in 1787 were: “For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information or fuller consideration to change opinions even on important subjects which I once thought right but found to be otherwise. It is therefore that the older I grow the more apt I am to doubt my own judgment and to pay more respect to the judgment of others.”
The ability to look in the mirror and objectively look at one’s own beliefs as well as those of others is a rare asset. As someone who places significant weight on gun ownership, I look forward to learning of new proposals for creating a safer society.
As for the concern over the lack of utility in the classroom debates that one or two of my students have voiced, I now offer the same valuable lesson to all of my classes as a whole.
To all my students, I say: “For those who feel no one has considered your proposals, even in the slightest, I ask have you considered someone else’s?”
Let us promote a pragmatic culture now and beyond Tuesday’s general election.
Dale Schlundt is an adjunct professor for Palo Alto Northwest Vista community colleges in San Antonio and an occasional contributor to The Post.

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Split tax deadline looming
Property owners wishing to take advantage of the county tax office’s split-payment option have until November 30 to make the first payment, with the second half due by June 30, 2017. There are no penalties or interest for paying your county property taxes in this way.
All but two of the tax office’s government partners – the city of Dickinson and Dickinson ISD – participate in the payment option.
You can mail your payment but do not wait until November 30 to do so as all local mail is sent to the postal service’s north Houston distribution center for postmarking, typically resulting in a one-day delay.
You may also pay online at galcotax.com but you will incur a $1 fee for an electronic check or a bank charge of 2.5 per cent if using credit card, via telephone with credit card at 1-866-865-1433 for English and 1-866-865-1435 for Spanish or in person. When calling I person, use the convenient yellow drop boxes outside all our full-time offices but be sure to place your payment in an envelope and note the date of the drop.
Full-time offices, in Galveston, League City, Santa Fe and Texas City, are open from 8:00am to 5:00pm each weekday. Call toll free at 1-877-766-2284 for office directions. A satellite office in Crystal Beach is open from 8:00am to 4:30pm on the third Tuesday of each month and another, at Friendswood city hall, is open from 8:00am to 5:00pm on Thursday and Friday each week.  Both satellite offices close from noon to 1:00pm for lunch.
Cheryl Johnson
County tax assessor-collector
Galveston

Homes tour coming up
SINCE 1992, the Pilot Club Christmas homes tour has become a Dickinson community tradition.  This year, as well as five fantastic residential homes decorated for the holidays, we will be showcasing a mini arts-and-crafts fair and museum tour at the city’s historic railroad museum.
The event, set for Sunday, December 11, from 1:00-5:00pm, is the club’s 25th annual tour.
The homes on this year’s tour belong to Charles and Heidi Fenoglio, Mike and Diane Mackey, Jack and Becky Obannon, Chad and Deanna Williams and Gary and Teri McGregor.
Each of the tour homes will be decorated for the holidays according to their owners’ personalities and are sure to inspire the Christmas spirit in everyone. Pilot Club members will be present at each home to welcome guests.
Be sure to stop by the railroad museum to find the perfect item to decorate your home or maybe a Christmas gift.
Funds raised go to support Pilot Club’s Ann Tacquard nursing scholarship, named for the first president of the Dickinson club and given to a Dickinson high-school student in her honor.
You can buy tickets, including tour maps, in advance for $15 at Crowder-Deats flower shop at the corner of FM 517 and FM 646 in Dickinson, from any Pilot Club member, the museum or, on the day of the tour, at any of the tour homes.
Sandy McDermott
Pilot Club president
Dickinson

cheldelin-fell-lynda                     Lynda Cheldelin Fell

By guest writer Lynda Cheldelin Fell

Grief at holiday time can be the most difficult grief of all. Someone mourning the loss of a loved one can struggle to join in the merriment,
be overcome by memories of holidays past or try to block out or avoid the celebrations altogether.
It’s natural that friends and family want to step
in to provide love and support, but just how you do that is important.
Don’t think that you need to fill the person’s every moment with holiday festivities. Grieving can be both physically and emotionally exhausting. They simply may not have the energy
to handle all that celebrating.
I speak from experience. I was inspired to help others through life’s roughest moments after my 15-year-old daughter Aly died in a car accident in 2009. In 2015, I launched Grief Diaries, a 16-volume series of books filled with true stories by people who have experienced loss and heartache and want to offer comfort and hope to folks facing similar challenges.
During the holiday season, you can best provide support to the bereaved if you observe the following five rules.
• Don’t force your agenda on them. Allow the bereaved to set the tone for how they wish to cope with the holidays. Honor their choices. Whether they wish to maintain their normal holiday routine, leave town or ignore the holidays entirely, resist the urge to persuade them to handle the holidays your way.
• Don’t avoid them. Your absence will be noticed more than you think. If a griever asks to be left alone, honor their wishes if it’s safe to do so. Otherwise, include them in the festivities and treat them as you would any other significantly injured guest – with kindness, compassion and gentleness.
• Don’t pretend nothing has happened in their life. That only creates the elephant in the room and invalidates their sorrow. But don’t awkwardly coddle them either. Again, simply treat them with kindness, compassion and gentleness while reminding yourself that you can’t fix their pain.
• Invite them to help you serve meals at a local shelter. Serving those who are less fortunate is a wonderful reminder that we aren’t alone in our struggles.
• Remember to take care of yourself. If you live or work with the bereaved, their sorrow can quickly deplete your own happiness. Give yourself permission to take time to enjoy the festivities. If you live with a griever, carve out ways that allow you to celebrate in private. Even small ways can help, such as indulging in a favorite holiday treat or enjoying
a night out with friends.
If you think you can’t make much of a difference, I always like to remind people how the power of one moment can change someone’s world. One smile can change a person’s mood. One hug can change their day. That’s everything to someone in mourning.
Lynda Cheldelin Fell is an emotional healing expert and creator of the Grief Diaries series of books.