#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.”
ncf_mccarron3_300
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.
Give-way-to-ambulance
 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…

And in the news this week…

July 23, 2013
Good day to all! I hope you all are having a great week. I don’t really have one particular subject to talk to you about today. I usually pick a topic that is on my mind and go with that. But this week, I have several. So, I guess this will be considered more of a rant. It would probably be easier on everyone if I just sought out a therapist.
Well, the first subject that just pops up, and I do mean literally is McAfee Anti-Virus software. No, I am not interested in extending my time with you. In fact, I grow very tired of seeing your little box pop up every time I log on begging me to renew my subscription. Your presence exists only because of the free trial that came with my purchase of this computer. Please go away.
Last week, Obama shared his personal feelings in a very informal press conference about the death of Trayvon Martin that infuriated me. This anger had nothing to do with the senseless death of this young man, but had everything to do with our sad excuse of a leader. I say this because he is the one who inflamed this nation in the very beginning with the  proposed racial tendencies of this case, which has resulted in a mountain of controversy that threatens our unity. How dare he single out one particular murder when there are countless murders of innocent children every day all over the country of ALL races, some that far worse than this one. If you are going to speak for one, you need to speak for them all.
This is not how a true leader is supposed to operate. A true leader is supposed to stand before us and calm our fears in times of strife and speak in a positive fashion in order to avoid any future conflict, NOT to stir the pot. And then he is going to end his little speech by telling us to do some soul searching. Really?! Can search for a new President too?
My dislike of this man has nothing to do with race, but has everything to do with his leadership skills. He may not have created our nation’s problems, but he has certainly done nothing to even remotely begin to fix them. He seems to spend more time in other countries than he does here. Let me just clarify here that I do not dislike African-Americans, or any other race for that matter, unless they give me a reason. I don’t judge a person by their skin color, I base my feelings for them on their character. The only people I really dislike are hypocrites and liars.
 I am sorry this young man lost his life, but you can’t keep him alive. I think I speak for most people of all races when I say this just needs to go away. It has been hashed and re-hashed and the outcome is still the same. There will be no new developments in this case. It just needs to be laid to rest. Anytime there is loss of life, it is unfortunate, especially with our children. But you take the circumstances that surrounded that loss and you grow from it. There is a lesson to be learned in every case. And if you find yourself focusing more on the negative aspects from it, then you will find grass growing around your feet because you are going nowhere.
The only people here who seem to be holding onto this so hard, are not in it for the right reasons. It seems to have become more about press that anything and everybody wants to cash in on it. Celebrities are releasing statements and attending protests in order to be seen and because it just seems to be the thing to do . Politicians are putting their two cents in to gain popularity and the civil right leaders are eating it up. Does anybody really care about Trayvon or is his name simply being used as a pawn here?
On a more positive note, it seems that George Zimmerman may not be the cold-blooded killer he is portrayed to be by some. Just last week, he rescued a family of four who were trapped in their overturned vehicle after a single-car accident. I give credit where credit is due …
And while the media was so busy focusing on Trayvon Martin, they overlooked a very touching display to a fallen hero. Recently, the  pregnant wife of Arizona firefighter, Sean Misner, was transporting her husband’s ashes back to their hometown. Her journey was recognized by emergency personnel of various communities at almost every overpass for over 500 miles, as rescue personnel stood on their fire trucks/ambulances, etc. to salute this fallen hero for invaluable service to our country. Misner was among the 19 elite firefighters who perished in a tremendous wildfire last week. It very sad to me the media never took the time to acknowledge these remarkable young men.
 In case you missed it, “Glee” actor Corey Monteith passed away from a drug overdose last week. His autopsy reports revealed a lethal combination of heroin and alcohol in his system. I have seen more disrespectful comments on this than I care to mention. I wasn’t a follower of the show, but that doesn’t matter. What does matter is that this man’s life was snuffed out by an addiction that has become too common in the Hollywood scene. He was more than just a popular TV character, he was someone’s child, friend, and idol. He leaves behind family who will miss him terribly. Remember, this type of addiction could affect your life at any given time. Please show some respect…
Oh yeah, and the “royal” baby was born. Does anyone care? Not me…moving right along….
Last, on a more local note, the city of Ashland and surrounding communities seem to be dealing with a rash of burglaries. One suspect has been caught, but the police are still looking for another, and possibly even more. I understand it is your God-given right to exercise the second amendment to protect your property and I support it fully, but please make sure you do it wisely. I would also like to take this opportunity to plead with these burglars to stop what you are doing now. Most of the residents in these communities are armed. They do not provide warning shots. They will shoot and ask questions later. So, if you value your life, you will stop this nonsense and go out and get a real job.

Let Trayvon rest in peace

July 16, 2013
So, the hot topic of the week seems to be the George Zimmerman verdict that came back as Not Guilty of the murder of Trayvon Martin. What is my opinion of this ruling? Relief that it is over. Simply put. I never cared enough about the case to form an opinion to either side. People are murdered everyday all over the world in a much worse fashion, but the media picked this particular case to showboat. I have a tendency to try to stay away from media-sensationalized subjects because quite frankly, it requires too much of my time. This goes back to how I think the media hype is killing us.
Here is my bottom line on it though: not just one, but two lives were lost here, although in very different ways. One was a  very young male who had his entire life ahead of him. He will never have the chance to go to college, get married, and have children. Trayvon Martin was struck down in the prime of his youth. His mother and father will never hear his voice or see their beloved son again. If indeed he was straying down the wrong path, he will never get the chance to correct this. To me, it’s a tragic situation that no parent should ever be faced with. My heart breaks for these people.
And even though George Zimmerman was found innocent, he too, also lost his life for the most part. He will never be able to be in public again without looking over his shoulder to make sure he’s not a target. He is a marked man. He will also never be able to pay the mountain of legal fees for his defense. He will spend the rest of his days knowing that he took another human being’s life. So, even though he is a free man by verdict, his mind will be held prisoner for the remainder of his days if he has a conscience. I think I would rather be in jail. I’m sure if they had it all to do over again, both Martin and Zimmerman would have done things different.
George Zimmerman was acquitted by a jury of his peers that were hand-picked for their ability to use unbiased judgement. These individuals based their verdict strictly on facts presented in this case. He may be guilty as sin, who knows? ‘Not guilty’ does not necessarily mean he’s innocent. It just means that the prosecution didn’t prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. It’s out of our hands now. If he is indeed guilty, he will have to answer to much higher authority.
The really sad thing about Trayvon’s murder is that is has been used as a tool to increase racial tensions among us. The biggest motive that brought this case into light is the same as the Sandy Hook massacre, to disarm the public. One little push from our  nation’s “leader”,  and you have people at each other’s throats because a white man killed a black boy,  all for his political gain. The ironic thing is the man isn’t even white, he’s Hispanic. The only thing that should matter here is a boy lost his life…it shouldn’t matter what color he was. In God’s eyes, we are all the same.
So now, we have pickets, petitions, and protests. How is this going to help anything? And I won’t even get into the whole hoodie thing. I think it’s ridiculous. No amount of protesting is going to bring this young man  back. Somehow along the way, justice for Trayvon got lost in translation. Now, it just seems to be about dividing our nation as a whole. As if we didn’t have enough problems already…
 How are we ever going to remain the strongest country in the world if we can’t stand together and fight? “United we stand, divided we fall”. Right?  The best thing that we could do to avenge Trayvon’s death is to ignore the parasites that threaten to weaken our unity and seek out ways that tragedies like this one can be avoided. A very wise man, Martin Luther King Jr. once said “ We must all live together as brothers or we will perish together as fools.”
  We as a nation should move forward together in a spirit of togetherness and equality. It is our duty as parents to see that future generations have the best opportunity at thriving in an equal world.
 In order to let Trayvon rest in peace, we must first be peaceful.

A Good Snake is a Dead Snake

July 8, 2013

Well, I hope everyone had a great 4th of July holiday, even though it was a wet one. I know we’re supposed to be grateful for all the rain we can get, but even the ducks have begun to complain. Just kidding…it was the frogs.

Lately, I’ve been seeing several pictures posted on Facebook of snakes that people have taken from around their homes. I even saw a video of one crawling down someone’s front door after hanging on a wreath from right here in Clay County. I also heard a story at church the other day about a lady finding three of them in her house. It’s very scary to me.

Anyone who has known me for a long time knows that snakes are my worst fear. Yes, I know there are good snakes that are supposed to kill the bad ones, but I don’t care. I hate them all. It’s just not natural for a creature to have no legs and still be able to hurt you. They make my skin crawl…even the good ones. The definition of a good snake to me would be a dead one.

My fear of snakes goes way back to my younger days. Many children are scared of snakes, but mine went beyond that. I was flat out terrified. I used to have recurring nightmares about being bitten by one. They were always so vivid that it would take days to get over them too. They say that dreams can come true, and for me,  it did, and not in a good way.

The year was 1992. It was about 8:30 one Sunday night in early June and I had just finished clearing the table when I realized I had movies that needed to be returned by 9:00 pm to the local video store. So, I quickly grabbed the movies and left with my youngest daughter, Angela, who was only four at the time. I left in such a hurry that I didn’t even put on any shoes. BIG mistake…

When we returned home, Angela and I were climbing up the outside steps to our house when I felt something on the inside of my right foot that felt like a sharp prick. I couldn’t see anything because it was so dark, but I remember feeling a sense of alarm immediately that this was going to be bad. With that thought in mind, I quickly picked up Angela and started running. To this day, I thank God it was me that was bitten and not her. It would have probably killed her.

My husband was on the phone when I burst in the door and told him that something had bitten me. He didn’t seem very concerned when he looked at the area. He thought maybe I had stepped on a stick the wrong way and it had jabbed into my foot. By now, the affected area had two little splotches of blood and had started to burn. I told him there was no way it was a stick, or briar, or anything like that because it was burning too bad.

Because I was so adamant, he went outside and shined a flashlight down the steps. It was only a few seconds when I heard him say “Uh Oh”. I knew instantly what that meant. I said “Please don’t tell me that it’s a snake”. He said that it was. A small copperhead still lay there at the bottom of the steps. He told me to call the hospital and let them know we were coming while he went to find something to kill it with. I learned later that when a snake bites you, It requires a lot of their energy, and you will find it within 10 feet of where it bit you.

I was in a state of complete panic. I did as he said, and then sat down to gather my wits. My heart was racing and the slow burn that had started in my foot was now traveling up my leg that felt like a liquid fire. My mind struggled to remember everything I had heard about treating a snake bite. I recalled  reading somewhere that in the event you were bitten, you should try to remain calm because the more panicked you were, the quicker the venom would spread through your body. Upon recalling this, I remember saying aloud “Yeah, right”. But somehow I did. I began to pray for God to help me calm down. After a few minutes, I felt a calm wash over me like nothing I had ever felt before. My neighbor told me she couldn’t believe how relaxed I was because she was freaking out.

After he had killed the snake, my husband came back in the house to get me. I remember thinking “This is it, this is how I’m going to die, I’m never going to get to see my kids again.” I hugged them and kissed them both and told them how much I loved them, trying not to cry. I remember looking back at them trying to form a mental picture of them in my mind.

The ride to the hospital from our home was usually about 8 minutes, but I think we made it there in five. I remember telling my husband I didn’t want to die in a car accident in the same vehicle with the dead snake. When we arrived at the ER, they quickly began working on me. I was given two skin tests in each arm, a tetanus shot, and had an IV ran. I remember telling the nurses the actual snakebite itself didn’t hurt as bad as having all those needles stuck in me. My leg turned a bright shade of blue and had begun to jump, as if the central nervous system had been affected. The liquid fire I felt was now all the way up into my hip.

People were coming in and out of the open room because in a small town, bad news travels like a brush fire. Everyone wanted to see what a snake bite looked like. At one point, the housekeeper stepped in the door timidly and said “Are you the one who got snake bit?” I replied “ Yes” and she moved closer cautiously,  pointed to my foot and said “Is that where it bit you?”. I said “ Yes”. She then backed up a little and said “Where’s the snake?”. I said “ Behind you, in that sink”. She quickly turned around and let out a little scream when she saw the bag with the snake in it and ran out of the room. Guess there is someone out there who hates snakes more than me. It was hilarious.

Now, we have always heard to get to a hospital immediately when you are snake bitten, that minutes count. But I arrived at the ER a little after 9:00 pm, and I was not given anti-venin until the next morning. The reason explained to me was that over 90% of the people who are given the anti-venin experience such a strong allergic reaction, that is sometimes worse than the actual snake bite itself. Some even die.

I was admitted into Intensive Care and was not given anything for pain until after midnight. They lay a small measuring tape under my calf and would come in every 15 minutes to measure the swelling. They would mark it with an ink pen and I would scream every time they did this. It was a long restless night and the pain was excruciating.

Finally around 5:00 that morning, Dr. Rush came in and said they were going to have to give me the anti-venin because my leg was still swelling. He stayed by my bedside the entire time the anti-venin was being distributed through my IV. The only allergic reaction I had was my leg breaking out into bed red splotches. Dr. Rush was thrilled that it had went that well and told them to give me some Benadryl to take care of it.

I spent the next four days in the hospital. I had lots of visitors because everyone wanted to see what a snake bite looked like. I heard many horror stories about how my foot was going to rot off. But it wasn’t that bad. My leg did bruise, turning from blue, to purple and then yellow. It was a long time before I could put any pressure on that foot again. I walked with crutches for about three weeks. For about a year after that, I could predict the weather from that leg. I barely have a scar there now. So, don’t believe everything you hear.

Bottom line is, you can live through a poisonous snake bite. I remember someone telling me “Well, you were lucky it was a small snake that bit you.” Another myth. The younger the snake, the more pure the venom. It’s actually worse on you. Does it hurt worse than childbirth? In my opinion, yes it does. But the pain you feel during childbirth has a purpose with a beautiful end result. The pain I felt from the bite served no purpose, other than to remind me to watch where I was walking and always wear shoes.

On the plus side, I stopped having nightmares about snakes…Go figure…

Just Let the Woman Cook…

July 1, 2013

Paul Deen seems to be taking a serious hit by the media and I’m sure I am bound to offend somebody when I offer my opinion on this matter, but I have never been one to hold my tongue, so here goes…

Recently, Paula Deen’s empire began to crumble after her deposition in a discrimination lawsuit was leaked to the news media. I guess someone in the media decided they wanted to be famous by ruining someone’s career. I hope it was worth it to them. Let me just add I have zero respect for these people trying to make something of themselves in the media field. There’s plenty of real news out there to report without making a mountain out of a molehill.

The way this woman is being shunned in the business world is appalling to me. This woman is taking the beating of her life, shoved in the public eye to be eaten alive by a media frenzy. This poor woman has apologized more than once and every time she speaks, her words get taken out of context. It seems she can do no right.

Since the leaked deposition, Deen has lost major endorsements, been fired from Food Network, a channel that she practically made with her cooking shows, and twelve companies have severed ties with her. To say this is a bit drastic would be putting it mildly. It’s a monkey see, monkey do act on these companies. Can’t anyone think for themselves anymore?

Is no one brave enough to stand up and say “Give this woman a break”?  It’s a shame this woman’s entire career is being seriously threatened in this manner. It’s is the most senseless act of exploitation I have ever witnessed.  And all for something she said 27 years ago?? I can’t even see the reasoning in this.

I’m not saying that calling someone the “N” word is acceptable, but c’mon, this was 27 years ago. Society has changed a thousandfold since then. Racial slurs are no longer acceptable or tolerated for that matter. But this was a different day and time. The world was evolving every day concerning discrimination. Evolution is not just for society either, as people we also evolve. If someone told you that you had something offensive 27 years ago, could you even remember it? I’m sure you can’t because that was almost three decades ago. Most people don’t even have the same views they held that long ago.  Besides, isn’t an apology the only thing you can do to make something right?

What really kills me about Deen’s situation is that while she is apologizing for such a trivial act, you have much, much worse acts of social behavior out there that is being pushed under the rug. Recently while filming his music video “God Bless Amerika”,  Rapper Lil’ Wayne appears to be trampling on the American Flag. Some lyrics in this song include “My country ‘his of thee,  Sweet land of kill ’em all and let ’em die,  God bless Amerika,  This ole’ godless Amerika.” Offensive, right?  Of course, Lil’ Wayne defends his actions, but you don’t see him under fire the way Deen is.

Just last week, Actor Alec Baldwin unleashed a profanic rant aimed at a Journalist who accused his wife of tweeting at a funeral. Not much said there either. It just seems to be kind of accepted where both these guys are concerned.

Last but not least, you have rappers who seem to spit racial slurs full of offensive words, where the “N” word is used quite frequently. Sometimes you can hear these same offensive tunes blaring from some moron’s radio in several public places. I think the most ironic part about this is to watch these “artists” receive some sort of music award, the first one they dedicate the award to is God. Really?? You think he didn’t hear your blasphemy? Why not also remove all the these same CD’s with racial slurs from all music stores if it’s so socially unacceptable? Should we also boycott these stores?  This is a serious double standard that goes way beyond making Paula Deen the flavor of the week. It is doing irrepairable damage to her career.

As for the off color jokes, we’ve all told them or laughed at them at some point in our lives. Don’t even try to kid yourself by saying you haven’t. Rev. Jesse Jackson himself came to Deen’s defense, saying there was no need to make her a “sacrificial lamb.”

I am happy to say that the support Deen has received from the public has been overwhelming. Not that it seems to be helping her get out of the limelight. But it is refreshing to see.

Bottom line here is, we have much bigger fish to fry in this world than to worry about something someone said 27 years ago. I say we put the Paula Deen controversy to rest and tackle some real issues out there. Just let the woman cook….

The Nitty Gritty – Clay County News and Events