Daily Struggles

October 1, 2013
 Sometimes in life we get so wrapped up in our busy, chaotic lives that we forget there are others out there who are suffering and need a friend to confide in. I, myself, have been guilty of being negligent to other’s misery many times, although I try really hard to be a good friend, sometimes it slips by me. Until God intervenes in his own special way to remove my blinders and show me that I need to spend my time more wisely and focus on the things that really matter in life….
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I talked to a good friend the other day who was grieving over the sudden death of her son. I tried my best to console her but you could just see the heartache in her eyes that seemed to reach inside to the very soul of her. I felt her pain and left her with a heavy heart because I could not remove this despair from her life.
The next day I talked to friend I hadn’t seen in sometime. We chit-chatted about everyday topics, and after some time the conversation deepened into our personal lives. She confided to me that she was a chronic worrier, and suffered from some mystery illness that plagued her everyday with different symptoms. She said there were some days she had to struggle just to get out of bed.  I felt helpless to her problems that made mine seem so small, but I did all I could do and that was listen. 
That very same evening, I spent an hour on the phone with another friend who was undergoing a very nasty divorce that seemed to be consuming him.  Again, I tried to cheer him up and tell him things would get better, but he seemed desolate. Again, I felt his pain because I had been where he is before and even though I had overcame these feelings with time, I still remembered what it was like to be where he was…
Being a good friend and listener  is important to me, because sometimes that all people needs is a good ear,  a strong shoulder to cry on and maybe even a few laughs along the way. And then sometimes your presence is all that is required. You never really know what a person may need to get them through the day so it’s best to handle everyone you come in contact with kindness and compassion. You may feel you never gain anything by extending this courtesy to strangers, but you don’t know what struggles they are facing in their life, so your kind words and smiles may be a positive turning point of their lives.
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They say out of every life situation you should learn a valuable lesson. In my line of work, I have seen many heartaches and sorrow; People who had lost loved ones, had all of their worldly possessions destroyed by storm and/or fire, battled diseases and lost the good fight, had their lives turned upside down through tragic circumstances beyond their control, just to name a few. You see in life, tragedy does not discriminate, so you never know when those close to you may be affected.
 My lesson in all of these struggles I’ve witnessed are that life is precious and in the end, your family and friends are all that matters. Everything else is replaceable. You can sit and worry about your bills all you want to, but it’s not going to change anything. All you are doing is wasting precious energy you could be using in different areas. There’s not one person who can look you in the eye and tell you that helping someone in life is like food to your soul. It can give you a satisfaction like nothing you have ever known. All you have to do is take the time to make it happen.
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Those of us who are struggle with money issues all dream about being rich and famous so we can fix all of our problems. Those of us who are fortunate to have financial wealth in their lives have problems that money can’t fix. The grass is always seems to be greener on the other side….
Replace your struggle with effort. It takes effort for our human journey. It takes effort to get up in the morning and choose to be happy. Everyday upon awakening I thank God for allowing me live to see another sun rise and I try to make a conscious choice to be happy, healthy and abundant . Because I’m not perfect, I may fail in this mission on some days, but when I lay down at night I say a prayer to be a better person if I am allowed another day. Life is not meant to be a struggle. We are here to make experience life fully and live in peace, harmony and joy. Anything less than that should not be acceptable. It is always about choice. If you choose each moment well, you will find real freedom and a life free of struggle.
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Bottom line here is, we are all battling our demons in life and we always will be until you let go and let God take control.  And even then, you will still have your share of problems, but you can’t let them consume you. God never said it would be easy, but He said it would be worth it. Your daily struggles are futile and that’s not the way God intended that it be. He gave us everything we needed in life to get by, so simplify your life. You don’t NEED everything you think you do, all you really need is love.Make a Difference
  So, be that friend, be that person who extends a hand in times of need, be that stranger who makes polite conversation in public places. By reaching out to others who need it, you can enrich your life in  ways you could never even begin to imagine. Just make the effort…it could change your life

A Way of Life

September 24, 2013

Rejoice in the day the Lord hath made…Well, that’s what I did this last Sunday. And what a beautiful day it was! Brilliant blue skies with cotton clouds and an abundance of sunshine. The afternoon may have gotten a little warm, but even still a pretty much perfect day.

On Sunday afternoon, my family had the wonderful opportunity to visit the Burrell family at their home near the Mellow Valley community. The picturesque setting they call Sheperd’s Hill immediately gives you a feeling of warmth upon arrival. But I knew I was going to be something special when I saw that it sets just off of Roll Tide Lane.

We were greeted warmly by all and given a personal tour of the grounds. From the herb garden to the livestock to the blacksmithing, it was a very informative, educational, and refreshing tour.

If you’re not familiar with the Burrell family, then you are truly missing out. This family is incredible. Just being around them makes you say “Now, this is a family who has got it all together”. And family is everything to them. They have six children, and will soon welcome their ninth grandchild into this world. Their home captures the true essence of what everyone pictures in their mind and the perfect family atmosphere. Lots of love and laughter in a warm, welcoming environment.

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If you met the Burrell’s on the street, then you would probably just take one look at their attire and think to yourself “Oh, they’re just Amish people.” Which is untrue, by the way. They call themselves Plain Christians, although slightly modified.

People seem to draw their own conclusions about people who choose this lifestyle. It just seems cut and dry to them, you just live off the land and you can’t straddle the fence. They never even seem to try to grasp why people may even choose to live this way. Well, the Burrell family will be more than glad to tell you about their way of life and why they chose it…

About 15 years ago, the Burrell family would not have stood out in a crowd. They were your average family, her husband held down a full-time job, she was a homemaker and were raising their children to the best of their ability. But there were not happy with given family and church situations, so they began searching for answers. They tirelessly studied their Bible, without any footnotes or commentaries that so many people rely on in their quest for newfound happiness and inner peace.

When their extensive research led them to the possibility of adopting an alternative lifestyle, they did not want to be right. Reluctantly, they slowly they began making the transition to a Plain Christian lifestyle, all the while asking God to send them a sign that they were headed down the right path.

The first time the ladies of the family dared to venture out in public with head coverings, they were shocked at the positive attention they received when they approached by many people who were curious as to their beliefs. And as their transition into this lifestyle deepened, they were convinced that God was slowly leading them in the right direction. It never failed to amaze them how strangers would approach them out of sheer curiosity and lead to a full-blown conversation. Some would leave them in tears and thank them for being bold enough to follow God’s word.

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No, they are not Amish, Mennonites, or even fall under the category of full-blown Plain Christians. “We just want to serve God and live a life that we feel is pleasing to him.” But they have decided that there are some means of modern technology that has its advantages, and actually benefits their daily existence.

For instance, when you walk into their home, you will find the air to be quite pleasant, if not a little cool because Angie keeps the thermostat turned down low due to a heat exhaustion incident she suffered several years ago. They drive cars; they hold down full-time jobs, have internet access and a TV. However, I think it is important to point out they do not watch broadcast television, only carefully chosen movies every now and then. Angie even has a Jacuzzi in her bathroom. Paul works in the IT department at Alabama Power, a position he has held for almost 25 years. They don’t apologize for any of these luxuries either because they are happy with every aspect of their life now.

They use the internet as a tool to reach out to others with their lifestyle. Their website: www.sheperdshillhomestead.com has a vast amount of knowledge about their daily journeys, heritage skills, sermons, etc. They have home church services in their living room where anyone who wants to attend is invited, with crowds from 10-50 people present. Their services are streamed through their website where they have had people as far as Scotland tune in. There is no love offering taken up, in fact if people want to give a donation, the Burrell’s tell them of a local charity they can give to.

They even have homesteading weekends where people sign up for a three-day experience in heritage skills. They give demonstrations and exhibitions at local events. And it is not a money-making scheme; in fact they barely break even on many of these activities they oversee. “Our goal is to share our heritage skills to teach others, not to profit from.”black

What changes did their new lifestyle bring to them and was it worth it to them? Well, Angie says sometimes Paul tells her he will hear her laughing out loud in her sleep, not that she remembers any of it. “I can remember a time when there was little sleep, because I was just afraid all the time”, says Angie emotionally “ To think that I have progressed to a point that I have found such peace and joy in my life that I can laugh in my sub-conscious state amazes me everyday”.

“Blacksmithing, candle-making, balm mixtures, wool spinning, basket-weaving, quilting, all of these heritage skills that we partake in everyday just reaches into the soul and brings a type of satisfaction that modern life can never even begin to touch. There’s something in a lifestyle like this that truly connects you to a creator that loves you” says Angie. “It’s a kind of peace that money can’t buy, says Angie as she points to her simple frock that drapes her body and says “ This is just a little wrapping, it’s what’s on the inside that really matters”

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“God created us to be creators. He gave us everything we needed to live off the land. We just had to work for it. When you go to work to a job where you don’t produce anything, it leaves a void inside that can never be filled” daughter Sarah says. “It’s about finding a balance in your life in seeking to lead a life that is pleasing to God and to find fulfillment. If most people aren’t producing something with their hands, then they are probably not going to be a very happy person”

To say that I was very impressed with this family would be putting it mildly. I left this visit feeling a sense of renewal of life. With all the bad things happening in this world, this family had seemed to find something that others were desperately seeking; a harmonic balance of happiness, peace, and best of all, they found God. They walk with him every day in every aspect of their life and it shows on their faces. Is their life perfect? Why no, but whose life is? But they have enough faith in God that they know as long as they follow Him, He will provide a way. They know because they live it everyday.

It takes a special kind of courage to take the leap of faith they did and change your entire existence the way this family did. I have the utmost a respect and admiration for them.

The Burrell family have been a feature attraction at Lineville Heritage Day with their heritage exhibitions and we are proud to welcome them back this year. Please join us on this day and look them up. Take the time to talk to them and see for yourself what great people these are. I promise you…you won’t be disappointed…

What A Ride…

September 16, 2013
For those of you who watch CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, or any other major news network on a regular basis, you may be surprised (or not) to learn that one of the most patriotic displays of a 9/11 memorial tribute was sadly overlooked on this day. It was an amazing event that has restored faith in our American citizens and has given us hope that maybe, just maybe if we all band together, we can begin to take our nation back from a government that is leaning more toward communism everyday…
All they wanted to do was honor the victims of 9/11 terrorist attacks in their own way…seems pretty cut and dry, doesn’t it? But when a group of bikers were turned down for a permit by the NPS in Washington D.C., they decided to exercise their 1st amendment and do it anyway, permit or not. “ We’re riding,we don’t need no stinking permit, we pay our taxes!” they said. And ride they did…
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It was called 2 Million Bikers Ride to D.C., although it fell a little short of that number, but still a very impressive turnout. Many of the bikers were veterans, but mostly just everyday ordinary people who took time off their jobs because they wanted to pay their respects to the fallen of the 9/11 attacks.
Bikers from all across the country made their way to D.C. travelling through Arizona, Florida, Maine, Tennessee, Texas and other states to participate in this extraordinary event. Imagine what a beautiful sight it must have been to see a 55-mile stretch of highway, four lanes wide coming out of Los Angeles, Ca. packed with bikes as far as the eye could see.
Had they been issued a permit, they would have just went through with their patriotic ride with very little inconvenience to traffic, but it was the latter that happened. They were told the reasons for being denied a permit were due to traffic control, road closures, and lack of police escorts to manage an event of that size. Sounds reasonable enough, doesn’t it?
However, a second, more controversial reason for the ride was  to protest a permit that had already been issued for an event called Million American March (previously known as Million Muslim March) on the day of September 11th,  the 12th anniversary of the worst terrorist act in our nation. A group of Muslims who call themselves the American Muslim Political Action Committee were holding a rally to protest public backlash against the Muslims since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Their claim is they have been treated differently since these attacks occurred.
After all was said and done, only a handful of Muslims showed up at their rally
After all was said and done, only a handful of Muslims showed up at their rally
The massive number of bikers began rolling into D.C.  early that day, each bike draped with some type of patriotic display from an American flag to red, white and blue apparel or accessories. Some law enforcement had even came along for the ride with a police escort from different states. You could hear the rumble in the background of the 9/11 memorial tribute that took place on the White House lawn that day. It was a sound that screamed “We’re here, you can’t stop me, this is my country and I’m taking it back!” They paid their respects by gathering to sing the Star-Spangled Banner followed by moments of silence marked by the times when the twin towers were hit on that fateful day.  It was a very peaceful ride that spoke volumes to the American people.
Maybe not 2 million, but pretty close
Maybe not 2 million, but pretty close
This one single event has managed to revive our nation in a way that nothing else has ever even came close to in a very long time. These courageous men and women should be applauded for their patriotism and for showing us that there are just some things in life that are worth taking a chance for. I hold the utmost respect for all of these brave souls. It just goes to show you that people who dare to take a stand for something that they believe makes an impression on others, and they will soon follow. And all it takes is one person to get the ball rolling…
The thing that really makes me mad is why on Earth would Muslims be allowed to protest on a day that should remain sacred to all of those whose lives were lost. Any other day would have been fine, but they chose this particular day??  It’s a very selfish act on their part to take this day and turn it around to make it all about them. Even more sad that our government allowed it to take place. Their little plan backfired though when only dozens of protesters armed with rude signs were lost in a sea of motorcyclists. The very thought just makes me smile…
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There are many who give bikers a bad name and I am unsure why. I mean, I’m sure there are some bad ones out there, but have you ever actually talked to one? These are some of the best people you will ever meet. They are very friendly, fiercely loyal, hardworking, respectful and true to their beliefs. Not to mention very obviously patriotic. They are the kind of people who will give you their word by a handshake and you can bank on it. Truthfully, they make the world a better place.
My hats off to these incredible riders for their memorable display of patriotism and for restoring our faith in humanity. It just makes your heart swell with pride at the thought of just how great it is to be a true American. I hear this is going to be an annual event from now on and I’m willing to bet these numbers will only continue to grow.
 Maybe we can convince one of them to run for President…ya think??

War and rumors of war…

 

Sep 10, 2013

September 11, 2001…A day that no one will ever forget as the world watched the horror unfold on live television. Two hijacked planes flew into the World Trade Center and thousands of innocent lives were lost. One heinous act of terrorism that would change existence as we know it.  In total, almost 3,000 people died in these attacks, including the 227 civilians and 19 hijackers aboard the four planes. It also was the deadliest incident for firefighters in the history of the United States.
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Everyone can still recall exactly what they were doing on that fateful day. There was not one person who was not terrified. No one knew how far the terrorism was going to go. Were we all in danger? Everyone got on the phone and tried to call their loved ones to make sure they were alright. All flight activity ceased around the world. There were Americans trapped overseas and would not be able to fly home for another week. It was the shot heard round the world…
I can remember that day in vivid detail. I was out taking my morning walk and had my headphones on with my radio blasting. My walk usually lasted about an hour. About twenty minutes in, the station interrupted a song to say there had been a freak accident in New York at the World Trade Center. They reported a plane had flown into the building, but there were no details as to why. About 10-15 minutes later, the same deejay broke yet another song with a much more somber tone as he reported yet another plane had struck the other WTC tower. They also began talking about two more planes that they assumed were hijacked, one headed to the Pentagon. My walk turned into a run at that point. I ran as hard as I could back to my house.
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 The every first thing I did was call Clay County High School, where my daughter was a student. I wanted to check her out and bring her home where I could have her close just in case things got bad. I was actually wondering in my mind if this was going to be the end of the world. The secretary spoke very calmly to me as she told me not to come get Angela, that it would only make things worse. She assured me that she was fine and they were all watching it on live TV. “We are trying to keep them as calm as possible and if you come get her, it’s going to terrify her,” She told me. So, I finally relented and decided to let her stay. But I knew if one more thing happened, I was going to get her.
My oldest daughter was going to Jacksonville State University at the time, and I tried to call her repeatedly. It would be hours before she called me back. I was an emotional wreck and not ashamed to say that I cried like a baby as both towers collapsed into a pile of rubble. All I could think of was “ All of those people”.
New York City Commemorates 10th Anniversary Of 9-11 Terror Attacks
For the next two days, I was glued to the screen. I think the worst thing I remember was seeing all those family members of the missing the next morning with posters and pictures of their loved ones frantically searching for them. It was if I knew them personally. I felt their pain as I watched many of them break down in tears while trying to talk to the news anchor. Ninety percent of these missing persons would eventually be named as deceased, some of them never even found. I can’t even imagine living this nightmare.
So, now as approach the 12th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks, you would have thought we, as a country, would have learned something from this senseless loss of lives. But here we are, on the brink of war yet again but this time for different reasons. At the time of 9-11 attacks, we had a President that was a leader and all of our nation was ready to go to war to avenge their fellow Americans deaths. We were all scared at the thought of where this war might take us, but we had a purpose.
 Now, we just have a President who is by no means a leader, in fact I don’t even think he knows what the word means.
Obama wants to bomb Syria because they used chemical weapons to kill 1400 people, some children. Is that a heinous crime? Yes, it is, but things like that have been happening over there for thousands of years and it’s never going to stop. Fighting is a way of life in these third world countries and our country cannot afford to lose anymore loss of life in wars that we have no place in. How many of these countries do you see rushing to our aid?
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 Only 19% of Americans support going to war with Syria and all of these are probably just idiots anyway. This time we have no say in it and that’s not fair to the American people.
And to top it all off, Obama can’t seem to keep his lies straight with his “red line”. The United States used to be the strongest nation and now, because of our “leader”, we have lost all credibility. So, to all of you people who voted for him, I hope you’re happy with your “change”.
Ground Zero...where the twin towers once stood
Ground Zero…where the twin towers once stood
If he pulls this off, it will go down in history as the ultimate terrorist attack. I mean, what better way to destroy a nation than reign as the top governing body, cripple them financially and then finally destroy their people as a whole with blood shed?
War and rumors of war people…are you ready?

#JustTrust

September 2, 2013
Well, Labor Day has passed and Fall will soon be upon us. It seems weird to think of Fall since Summer finally decided to make a very late appearance this year. The heat was almost unbearable this weekend. But soon the leaves will begin changing and we can look forward to some relief from the heat…
So, how ‘bout the Tide Rolling this weekend?! It may not have been a perfect win, but a win is a win and you take the good with the bad. I got a little aggravated listening to the commentators while watching the game critiquing Bama’s every move.
 Here’s my thoughts on it: This is a TEAM of humans, not MACHINES and there is always room for improvements. There was only one perfect man who walked this Earth so don’t expect there to be any repeats. These commentators can’t stand the fact that an SEC team is ruling the roost right now, so they seem to take every opportunity to knock them. So, our offense needs some work…well, now we know and we’ll grow from that…I promise you Saban is on it already.
Good ole’ Johnny Football must’ve been furious over that little wrist slap he got that made him sit out the whole first half of their season opener against Rice. That punishment was nothing more than a joke. He should be sitting on the sideline throughout at least the first half of the season, if you ask me. This a classic case of fame going to your head and Johnny Manziel needs to be put in his place. His inexcusable antics on the field Saturday earned him a much deserved unsportsmanlike conduct with his gestures of money,  pointing and taunting. His fellow players should have been allowed to put him over their knee and spank him just like a child. This dude’s head is so big I don’t see how he gets a helmet over it.
Manziel taunts the crowd with signs of money
Manziel taunts the crowd with signs of money
 The sad thing is this is one talented individual on the field. He is an amazing player, but his leadership qualities suck. Manziel needs to learn that your talents do not define you as a person. Just because God gave you that particular skill does not mean he can’t take it away from you in a heartbeat. Earn your title, Johnny Football and be the leader you were chosen to be. It’s not just how you play the game…being a true athlete comes from the heart. You should approach each game with raw, eager determination to prevail as a team displaying class and integrity. And that’s something you just can’t buy…
And while Mr. Manziel was showing his lack of class on the field, another quarterback was showing his abundance of class off the field. Alabama Quarterback AJ McCarron was featured in ESPN College Gameday Profile this week. The profile by ESPN reporter Tom Rinaldi tells the tale of a wave runner accident that left McCarron severely injured when he was just five years old. The left side of his face was crushed almost to the back of his head. His parents were told their son would not survive these injuries, and if he did he would be nothing more than a vegetable. But through the grace of God, AJ would prove them wrong and recovered from his injuries over time, leaving the doctors in awe of his progress.
Twenty years later, he would come back to Children’s Hospital, the same hospital where he almost lost his life as a child, on an entirely different mission. He would meet  four year old Cancer survivor Starla Chapman, a very special little girl who would change his life on Christmas Eve 2011, a day for miracles itself.
AJ and little Starla
AJ and little Starla
 McCarron was delivering Christmas presents on this day, when little Starla, a huge Alabama fan,  inspired him to wear a rubber bracelet labeled with a quote: #JustTrust, along with another bracelet with the words Team Starla. Just a couple of days later, her situation would turn grave. By December 27, 2011, the chemo had damaged Starla’s heart to the point that she was admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.
On January 3, 2012, Starla suffered a seizure and died. Medical personnel successfully revived her after two minutes of chest compressions, but her heart was functioning at only 6%; Starla’s doctors placed her in a medically induced coma. The reality facing this little girl was that her cancer and her cure were both killing her, and a heart transplant wasn’t an option due to the cancer. The doctors wanted to move her to Birmingham or Atlanta, but feared that she wouldn’t survive the trip. But survive she did… and by April 2011, her body was no longer racked with cancer…
 McCarron told how he and Starla formed a bond because he felt  they were both miracles. “We’ve both been through tough times,” McCarron explains in the video. “The doctors both told our families we were supposed to die. To me, we’re both miracles.”
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AJ first wore the bracelet in the 2011 Championship game and has become a permanent fixture on his arm, even though Starla has since been declared cancer-free. He also has since been named the child’s Godfather. Their relationship has only deepened over time. Two miracles bonding together….
McCarron wears Starla's bracelet at BCS
McCarron wears Starla’s bracelet at BCS
McCarron is still wearing the bracelet as the Crimson Tide prepares to chase a third straight national championship. His show of support for this child is very endearing. And maybe you could even say it serves as a good luck charm for him as well. Two back-to-back championships ain’t too shabby.
This heartwarming story that has captured the hearts of millions shows that McCarron is a champion off the field, much as he is on. He is a true leader to his fellow players and displays a heart of gold. Isn’t it amazing how all it takes sometimes is just one little person to give you faith.
My hat’s off to AJ McCarron, because even if he does lose, he’ll still be a winner in my book….
 

What happened to Hannah Montana?

August 26, 2013
Random things at any given time set off my thought process and you poor people are the ones who reap the rewards. Hey, at least I don’t have to pay a therapist, right?
This weekend was rather uneventful for me, but in a good way. I got to spend some time with my twin granddaughters Saturday night, which is always fun. Being a twin must be great because you always have a friend to play with. It always makes me smile to hear them in the next room playing, because they have their own little language. They don’t like for anyone to be in the room with them when they play either.  I asked them both if they had made any friends in kindergarten, to which they quickly replied “ Yes”. When then they both named all of their new friends, each of them said the other’s name first. Such sweet little girls!
These girls are a trip :)
These girls are a trip 🙂
I had to make a quick trip to the grocery store late Saturday evening. As I had just pulled up the red light, I heard sirens and saw a fire truck coming up on the intersection. No one was stopping!!! Cars were still going through the intersection just like nothing was going on!
Folks, this is a HUGE pet peeve of mine. When you see an emergency vehicle approaching you, please pull to the side of the road, or stop and let them go around you. I don’t care where you are going, it can’t be nearly as important as where they are headed. There’s a reason they use lights and sirens. When you do not yield to an emergency vehicle as you should, then you are putting yourself and responding rescue personnel in danger, not to mention, the person(s) of the call they are responding to. So, please use your head and don’t place additional dangers to the situation.
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 I found out later it was a young girl who was having multiple seizures. Now, what if that was your child? Wouldn’t you want someone there as quickly as possible? Please be courteous to all responding rescue personnel. It could be you that needs them one day…
I read a horrifying article about an eight-year old boy who intentionally killed his 87 year-old caregiver in Louisana last week. Just walked up behind her and shot her in the back of the head as she was watching television. The boy claimed it was an accident, but after further investigation, authorities concluded the boy had been playing the video game “Grand Theft Auto IV”, a realistic game that encourages violence and awards points to players for killing people, just minutes before the homicide occurred.  This goes back to why you shouldn’t allow your child to play violent video games and why you also restrict their time on gaming devices.
The scene where the boy killed his caregiver blamed on video game
The scene where the boy killed his caregiver blamed on video game
Video games are fun, I mean I play them myself. But if you child begins playing them at an early age for hours at a time, they lose themselves in them and over a period of time, can begin to think that real life works like the games. Almost every present day mass shooting that has taken place has been linked to some type of violent video game. Now, every child is different and some it may not affect. But I believe this is the number one reason kids are committing more violent crimes these days. It seems that somehow in their minds, they can no longer decipher the difference between reality and fantasy and value of life seems to be lost. For instance, did this boy think that maybe he didn’t really kill caregiver and maybe she would just regenerate lives as you would in the video game?  It’s a strong possibility.
People, please turn off your TV’s and make your child go outside for some fresh air and create his own fun. I promise you, it won’t hurt them at all.
Did anyone happen to catch Miley Cyrus’s very inappropriate performance on the VMA’s Sunday night? If you missed it, be glad…it was disgusting. All I could do was sit there with my mouth open and believe me, it takes a lot to shock me. I think the reaction of Will Smith and his family caught on the audience cam said it all. This is a classic case of good girl gone bad and the sad thing about it is, that’s the reaction she wanted from everyone.
the look on their face says it all
the look on their face says it all
Ninety percent of your Disney or Nickelodeon childhood stars cannot handle the fame they achieve at such an early age, and they seem to lose their mind as they get older. Example: Britney Spears, Amanda Bynes and let’s not forget the train wreck that is Lindsay Lohan. The Disney Channel should be changed to “Celebrity Pre-Hab” if you ask me. The sad thing is there were little children watching their childhood idol, Hannah Montana perform that night.
I can’t help but wonder if maybe Miley Cyrus woke up the next morning in a “slightly altered” state of mind when she suddenly realized she had committed career suicide on live television the night before and began to calculate in her head if her Hannah Montana royalties were going to get her through her retirement. I haven’t heard one single good comment about that performance as of yet.
Miley's raunchy VMA performance
Miley’s raunchy VMA performance
So, did she achieve the shock factor she was looking for? Most definitely, Yes, and much more. She also gained a great deal of disrespect from a tremendous amount from her once huge fan base. I know I will never endorse her again in any way. Thank God, Justin Timberlake came in and saved the day…
This weekend marks the beginning of college football season, which to me means enjoying some Bama football! I hope you all have a safe and Happy Labor Day!

It’s that time of year again….

August 21, 2013
With the children starting back to school this week, it seems our little town has been brought back to life. These precious little beings headed off to their first day back to school with excited smiles at the prospect of a new year, all of them clad in the new outfits, hairstyles, and shoes.
My twin granddaughters, Crimson and Clover, started kindergarten this year. They were so excited they barely slept Sunday night. I am anxious to see how school takes to these two little amusing characters, because there is never a dull moment around them. These two do not meet any strangers. I have seen many faces light up at the sight of them because they are always smiling and talking to people. They are a blessing to our family. All five of my beautiful granddaughters are in school now. It’s kind of sad actually.
My grandkids all dressed up for the first day of school
My grandkids all dressed up for the first day of school
 The even more excited faces on the first day of school were those of the mothers who have endured a “very eventful” summer at home with their children , one of which they enjoyed for about 2 weeks, before the complaints of boredom and fighting began. I’m sure the first day back was one of leisure for these mothers…until all the homework and school functions begin anyway. There’s always repercussions either way you look at it…
I look forward to the Fall for a different reason….college football. I live for it. When the days get shorter and the nights get cooler, all I wanna do is be sitting in front of a TV or at a football game. There is nothing better I like than a great football game. My husband and I plan our outings around football season. Actually during this time, an outing usually includes a football game, either by gathering with friends to watch  or attending them.
For those of you who know me personally or just through facebook, then you know how I am already. But for those of you who don’t let me just tell you, I am the biggest, most obnoxious Alabama fan you will ever find. Can I get a Roll Tide on that one?
Every year around this time, I go through my wardrobe and round up all of my Alabama gear and place them in their different categories:
     1. Formal         2. Casual       3. Lounging around the house
I have different shirts for every game week, a lucky jersey that I wear when every game is on, several hats, jewelry, scarves, purses, etc. I am a houndstooth queen. From my Bear Bryant houndstooth fedora to my Alabama pajamas, I have them all and I never pass up the opportunity to purchase even more. If it’s crimson, houndstooth, or marked with the Alabama logo, it is welcome in my closet. I can always make room for more.
me in houndstooth
Every year on facebook, I always give my Auburn friends an advance warning to block me for the season, because I talk a lot of smack. I dish out a lot, but I am not afraid to take the heat too. I love my Auburn friends and most of what I say is all in fun, but it’s just what I do and I’m not going to change this for anyone. It’s not a personal thing aimed towards anyone, I’ve always been like that. Even in the bad years… It doesn’t matter to me whether we’re have a winning or a losing season, my true colors will never change. I will always bleed crimson and white. I have seen some people change sides every few years just because their team is having a bad year. This is not what a true fan is supposed to act, regardless of what team you pull for. It’s called loyalty.
I am not your average girlie fan, I know exactly how the game is played. So, if you come to talk crap to me, you better know what you’re talking about, because I might just surprise you. Bama football is encoded into my DNA. My daddy taught me to love Bama football at an early age, although he is much more reserved than I am. I am most likely the loudest one in the room when the game is on. I yell when things are going right, and I scream even louder when things are going wrong. I’ve called the refs everything in the book, and even created a few new ones. I love to win, but I hate bad calls, especially ones that are game changers. I don’t like to win by a technicality.  I also don’t like it when Auburn has a bad season, because even though I enjoy beating them, I want it to be on a level playing field.
Me and one of my best friends, Rachel.
Me and one of my best friends, Rachel.
Much like your typical Alabama fan, my other favorite teams are whoever is playing Auburn that week. The only time I struggle with this is when Auburn plays LSU. I dislike them worse than I do Auburn. I consider LSU to be a disgrace to the SEC because of their lack of class. You will never see more personal fouls than in an LSU game.
Do I enjoy being on top of the college football chain? Yes, I do, but that may not last forever. The only way to go when you’re on top is back down and nothing ever lasts forever.  And if and when it ends, I’ll still be there on the couch watching every game in my lucky jersey and Bear Bryant knockoff hat pulling for my team until the very end. That’s what you are supposed to do. I am a graceful loser after about two hours. This is standard mourning time for me.  If you try to contact me during this two-hour allowance  period, I cannot be held responsible for my actions so don’t say I didn’t warn you…
In my game gear ready for some Bama football at the Hoggnutt
In my game gear ready for some Bama football at the Hoggnutt
Let me tell you, I have suffered through the bad years and had fingers pointed in my direction laughing because we weren’t what we used to be when Bear was there. But I don’t hear any laughing anymore. You can say what you want to about Nick Saban, but you can’t deny he’s an excellent coach. The smartest thing Alabama University ever did was hire him. Yes, they paid dearly for him, but look how it has paid off. Saban’s coaching skills produce champions, because he demands perfection and he doesn’t let anything go to his head. You will see him on the sidelines frowning when one of his team members makes a careless mistake even if they are ahead by four touchdowns. His demeanor is always respectful and shows class. Pretty much the only bad thing you can say about him is the fact that he’s not coaching for your team. And you can’t have him….
So, let’s get this party started now…Only ten more days and counting! Roll Tide Ya’ll!!

The Many Different Faces of Co-Workers

August 14, 2013
In every work force, you have a wide variety of personalities among your co-workers, but honestly, it is the same everywhere you go. Different faces, same personalities. I’m going to try to define some of these personalities, and you can silently put a name to them in your head. Have fun!
The Pessimist– This is the annoying person that can never seem to see all the colors in the rainbow. But if they do, they complain about every single one of them. It doesn’t matter what plan of action you come up with, to them it’s never going to work. They will attempt to shoot down every idea you have with their ever present negativity.  In fact, they don’t even want to try it for fear of failure. This person will most likely be sitting at this same desk until their retirement comes along and they will be happy doing so.
The Optimist– This is the person that seems to have found the pot at the end of the rainbow and is attempting to spread their sunshine everywhere. This person is as equally annoying as the pessimist but in a different light. Because sometimes you just don’t want to be happy go lucky, or perhaps you are having a bad morning and you literally can’t stand the sight of their big teeth smile so early in the day. Some days, you will find yourself taking the long route to the cafeteria just to avoid their chipper attitude. However, the optimist can be more useful than the pessimist in the event of extremely bad times when you need a good pick-me-up.
The Bully– This person is the one you only like on their day off. They have a tendency to pull down the entire work force, and they enjoy wreaking havoc on everyone they encounter.  They never seem to have one thing good to say. They create a very stressful, tension-filled work atmosphere. They will criticize your clothing, hairstyle, and your work ethic. They are especially jealous of any new item you may have just purchased,  such as apparel, house, or maybe a new vehicle. Sometimes they will not even acknowledge this item and you are better off if they don’t. Because if they do, you will find yourself listening to every negative thing about it. Everyone talks about this co-worker behind their back. If someone is not talking about the bully to you in confidence, then it is you.
The Klepto– This is the person who will steal any little thing they can find from you. From your pencils to your wallet, no items are safe. They will show up to work wearing the same missing shirt you just bought two weeks ago and swear they liked yours so much they went and bought one for themself.  If you find them lurking around your desk or workplace, you will quickly do an inventory count of all your possessions the minute they are out of sight. The problem is, many times you will find a specific item missing, you know they did it but cannot prove it. So the first chance you get, you make some sort of distinctive mark on your possessions, just so you can keep up with them. Beware the klepto!
The Borrower– This person will ask to borrow your false teeth if you will allow them. Nothing is sacred to them! From work items to personal possessions, they will attempt to borrow everything you have. The even bigger problem is they will borrow and they won’t return it. Once it is in their possession, you will never get it back. The funny thing about this person is if you try to flip the script on them and ask to borrow something from them, you will get a sad story every time. The borrower is also best friends with the klepto and they are always together.  This is mostly due to convenience for the klepto because they will throw the borrower under the bus every time by pointing a finger in their direction when something goes missing.
The Over-Achiever– This is a person who will literally kill themselves to finish their work before you do. They take an obnoxious amount of pride in everything they do. From personal life to work matters, their life is always better than yours. They make more money, their cars are faster, and they make sure they have every hot new item on the market before you do. The wheels in their head are spinning all the time trying to think of ways to be the top dog in every field. If you do happen to beat them at something, they always have an excuse to offer.  These people will go to great lengths to impress you. Being an over- achiever is exhausting and results in a short life span.
The Gossiper– This is the person that will pretend to be a very compassionate friend in pretenses to get every amount of dirt you can dish out. They will come to you and whisper “Now, you’re the only one I’m telling this to, so don’t say anything to anybody”. The problem is…they do that ALL DAY LONG!!! No secret is safe with this person, so in a weak moment, don’t even think about it! Telling this person your secret is the equivalent of renting a billboard on Hwy 9.
The Know It All– It doesn’t matter what subject gets brought up, this person has seen it, done it, or invented it. Attempting to hold a conversation with this person will result in a migraine.
The Chameleon– This is a person who shows no originality and will mimic everything you do. They change their personality to fit whoever they are around in a sad attempt to blend in. Sometimes you will feel pity for this person and sometimes you will just feel annoyance.
 The Control Freak– this person always wants to head up every single thing that is going on, just so you can be their puppet. From extracurricular activities at work to surprise birthday parties, they want to organize every event. They will turn a deaf ear to your ideas, offering excuses as to why they won’t work, then turn around and present them as their own with a slight adjustment, just so they can say they’re not EXACTLY like yours. They will often take credit for ideas they never came up with if these same ideas prove to be successful.
 The drama queen– Sadly, every work place has one of these. This person will make a mountain out of a molehill in every single situation. From a broken nail to a fight with their significant other, the end results are always the same. Tears shed, threats of suicide and nervous breakdowns seem to be a part of their every day life. And they always want to share every little detail with you. It is always all about them. But if you really want to get rid of them quickly, start talking about your problems. This has a 100% success rate.
The Flirt– This one is usually, but not always a woman. All women hate her.  She is very attractive and she loves to flaunt it. She will wear seductive clothing that cling to her curves because she knows everyone is watching her. She loves the power this gives her, but inside she is a hollow, insecure person begging for attention. Twenty years down the road, she will gain 50 pounds and avoid you at all cost.
The Martyr– This person is the one who claims to do EVERYTHING and not get credit for it. They will sit and complain to you about having to pick up everyone’s slack while never getting recognized for it but will continue to do it. No hope for this person.
The Slacker– Sometimes you will multiple ones in this area and they migrate towards each other. Most of them are smokers who always want to take a smoke break at a very inappropriate time. They take long bathroom breaks and even longer smoke breaks. Sometimes they even start smoking just so they can have a reason to take more breaks. They spend more time in their work day trying to look busy, than actually doing something productive.
The Single One– This is the person that all of the old married people flock to on Monday morning just so they can hear how they spent their weekends. These married people listen intently as they listen to the wild tales of the late night, partying weekend of their ever so lucky co-worker. Sometimes it gives them hope that maybe they can recall their carefree youthful days, so they go home and try on that old cheerleader or football uniform, which always ends badly. You will not rest until this single person is married with children and are singing the same woes as you are.
The Quiet One– This is the invisible person that no one sees until you hear about them being placed under arrest for finding dead bodies in their freezer. Then you always stand around and say “But they were always nice and quiet”. This is the person you don’t want to mess with. If you make them mad, they will go home and poke long needles through your voodoo doll. They have one made for every co-worker…but you will never know it unless you are one of the ones they find in the freezer!

Helping your Parents through the Golden Years

August 4, 2013
When you’re little, your parents are the ones who take care of you. They feed you, clothe you, kiss your boo-boos, and try to protect you from any harm. As you get older, it is not uncommon for these roles to reverse in their golden years. Sometimes it is heartbreaking to watch as the years take a toll on their bodies, leaving you with a sad, helpless feeling.
The first time I truly experienced this reversal of roles was two years ago, when my mother underwent a triple bypass open heart surgery and suffered serious complications. She lost two weeks of her life when her blood oxygen level bottomed out and had to be put back on a vent. Even when she was able to be taken off, her recovery was a long, slow process, with many setbacks and bumps in the road along the way. I watched this woman of strength who once enjoyed her independence change during the difficult period of time to someone who was unsure of herself and her physical capabilities. For a long time, she was scared to be alone, and although she did make a full recovery, she never quite got back to that person she once was.
Her poor body underwent so much during this time, and there were many nights I would cry myself to sleep because I couldn’t help her. All I could do was be there for her as much as possible. Even now after all this time, her health continues to decline, and it is hard on both of us. For her, because she is the one who has to hurt so much and gets frustrated because her body won’t cooperate with her and me because I know how much she hates to ask for help in any way.
My father has always been a very healthy man, with the exception of some eye problems in the past few years. The only regular medication he takes on a daily basis is vitamins. That’s quite an accomplishment for a man who is 66 years old.
 Last Friday, he had surgery of his right eye to remove scar tissue from a previous laser surgery six years ago. It was a textbook procedure and everything went beautifully. I took him home Saturday and he was delighted and seemed so relieved that everything had went so well. He was looking forward to being able to see properly again in that eye. He even drove himself home from my house.
When he called me later that evening, I had a hunch something was wrong. He said he could no longer see in that eye at all and was experiencing what he thought was a sinus headache. We were told to return to the Birmingham ER at UAB, so we got there as quickly as possible. Daddy was in so much pain by the time we got there that it scared me. He rarely complains with anything at all, so I knew it was very serious. His condition just seemed to be deteriorating, and it was hard for me to remain calm for him.
His Dr. told us his eye was terribly infected and he would have to undergo surgery to remove the infection. He seemed baffled as to how this could have happened so quickly, because it has never happened to any of his patients before. Just another reason not to panic, right?
After the surgery, when he came to talk to me, the good Dr told me the infection was moving so rapidly, that if we had waited until the next morning to come, he would have been permanently blind. The source of the infection turned out to be strep, most likely coming from an underlying sinus problem he was not even aware of that had gotten into his tear duct and then in his eye.
Daddy was admitted into UAB hospital where he treated very aggressively, with the strongest antibiotics you can find. The Dr. is not quite confident that he will regain his vision in that eye. It is still a work in progress. The infection is under control now and his pain is at a minimal but it will be weeks before we know the outcome. He has begun to see just a little light, but mostly still experiencing darkness.
I’ve seen some kids get agitated at the thought of having to tend to their parents as their age grows in numbers and their health begins to decline, and it makes me angry. These are people that have loved you since birth and have been there for you every step of the way. Had they not cared for your well-being, your existence would not even be a factor.
Put yourself in their shoes and think about it from their perspective. When one’s health takes a downward spiral, they lose a great deal of their independence and dignity. Just the smallest things they have always been able to do for themselves is no longer possible and they become frustrated, having to rely on others to help them. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard my mother and father say to me “ I’m sorry you’re having to do this for me” when it doesn’t bother me in the least. I am just glad to be able to do it for them.
Remember, your parents aren’t going to be here forever, so love them while you still can and do everything in your power to let them know you are there for them. Because, when they pass, you will miss even the smallest of times with them. These precious beings were a gift from God, chosen as your special caretakers for life. Be kind, respectful, and courteous of their needs. They are still human beings who have feelings, not just someone who requires your time. One day, if God is willing, you will be in that same position and you wouldn’t want harsh treatment from anyone, especially not your children.
And one last bit of advice, remember to teach your kids respect, but be nice to them because they will be the ones choosing your nursing home one day. Have a good week!

Teaching our Youth…

July 29, 2013
I would like to give props to a local organization that some don’t even know exists around in these parts: The SIFAT Organization(Servants in Faith & Technology). This organization is located in a very rural area that spans over 167 acres just a few miles past the Randolph County line and I can’t say enough about all of the good they do. We are so fortunate to have an amazing place like this so close to home that is filled with such caring people.
Earlier in the summer, my 16 year old stepson, Michael was given the opportunity to attend The Learn& Serve (L&S) summer training experience at SIFAT. This 5-day, 6- night program in a Christian-based atmosphere helps educate your child on the hardships of poverty-stricken third world countries through simulations and demonstrations on an interactive level. Every day of this program brought about new adventures for this youth group, and they rose to the challenge of each one of them.
The education they received may not sound like something they will ever use, but it taught them much invaluable information on to use every natural resource they could find if needed. They learned what plants were high in nutritional value in the event they were ever faced with a situation where nourishment was an issue. They learned to build sack gardens, a method used in countries when they don’t have enough land to plant a big garden and they learned how to build a small fire stove with rocks and/or bricks. These are just a few of the things they learned.
They endured a real life “48 hour slum experience” in global villages and urban slum. Some of these countries they “traveled” to were Uganda, Zimbabwe, and Nigeria. The sobering experience began with their basic necessities and all means of communication being taken by “smugglers”, leaving them no way to rely on the modern technology they have become so accustomed to. They were taught how to work for their food and to pay rent. The guys would dig ditches or make mud bricks and the girls would sew to pay their way. They learned about food rations during their time at the refugee camp, having to share a bowl of rice with nine people at one point. Michael still talks about this, because that boy loves to eat!
On their “Community Day”, the two youth groups did their part to help their communities in need. Michael’s group was taken to Clay County Christian Academy to pick blueberries to be sold at the Blueberry Festival the next day. The other group was taken to a local trailer park to assist with whatever was needed and play with the children that lived there. They enjoyed a cookout afterwards and a game of soccer with the children from the trailer park.
Throughout their stay, there was not one conflict between anyone this youth group at all. It was a peaceful trip that every child who attended fully enjoyed to the fullest extent. It’s very rare that a child is fortunate enough to be in the company of such a positive environment. Each morning started out with a worship service and each night ended with one.
When I went to pick up Michael on Friday, I was greeted by these very enthusiastic children along with their counselors. Everyone was just so nice… It was very refreshing!
To say that I was impressed with this program would be putting it mildly I would recommend it to anyone. I was worried that Michael would be bored and want to come home, but he had a wonderful time. He made several new friends from different states that he still keeps in contact with them.
When I asked him what he learned from this experience, he said he learned to appreciate everything more, his food, freedom, etc. He said he also learned that some people have it a lot worse than we do.
I applaud Tom Corson and everyone is the SIFAT family for the wonderful job they do with this program and I encourage you to learn more about this establishment. It is simply amazing! This program is just a fraction of what they have to offer at this facility.
For those of you who are not familiar with SIFAT, visit their website: www.sifat.org or their facebook page: :https://www.facebook.com/sifatbook
Hope everyone has a great week! I will be working in refreshments at this Thursday night’s Summer Sizzle. Be sure to stop by and see me. You can’t miss this one! It’s your very last chance to check out some great local talent. Clay County’s favorite boys will be there rocking the stage: Kevin Moon & The Outlaw Justice Band. They never disappoint!
Also, for all you Elvis lovers out there. World Famous Elvis Impersonator David Lee will be performing at The Historical Ashland Theatre August 3rd and it’s almost sold out! Get them before they are gone! Seats are limited and it’s going to be a great show!
Shout out to Robin Steele Thornhill and the cast of FAME Jr. for their outstanding performances last weekend also at The Ashland Theatre. It is so wonderful to see such great young talent within our county and Robin does such an amazing job helping them develop it. I wish we had more programs like this out there for our youth.
Until next time…