Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Friday, May 20, 2016

Thoughts On Graduation


I have my fourth of four graduations tonight.  I honestly will be glad for them to be over.  I am tired of the speeches, the little productions, et al.  Yet, I will be there....again.  I will sit in my faculty seat....again....and I will cry when I hear the senior's names called....again.  I love these guys.  I know that this is the end for me.....and an ending for them.  I have graduated once from high school and twice from college.  Each time was a special event for me and for my family.  At my high school graduation we wore white caps and gowns, for both college graduations we wore black ones.  The first college graduation the robe was just like the high school one.  The second graduation, with my Masters degree, my robe was black but had odd sleeves and the stole did not hang forward....it hung to the back with my major in velvet and the school colors in satin in the back.  I felt very professional.  My only regret is that I always had to wear a mortar board and did not get to wear the cool tam topper.  It isn't going to happen....I am now on the countdown for retirement.....but, since this is the beginning of the Graduation Ceremonies I thought I would share some things with you about graduation.  Did you know?  The graduation ceremony is a cultural tradition that is considered a rite of passage. The ceremony marks a transition from one stage in a student's life to another. Arnold van Gennep coined the phrase "Rite of passage" in 1909 and he believed the rite of passage included the following three steps: Separation from Society, Transformation, and Return to Society in the new status.   The graduation commencement ceremonies usually begin with "Pomp and Circumstance as the graduates enter, speeches from faculty or special speakers, which may include the actual students and music. Diplomas are awarded, and Pomp and Circumstance "Pomp and Circumstance" is  played as the students recess.  The Baccalaureate Ceremony is considered the beginning of "Rite of passage."  "Pomp and Circumstance", was composed by Sir Edward Elgar, was first performed on October 19, 1901 in Liverpool, England. As the students commence and recess to and from the auditorium it plays for them.  The Baccalaureate Ceremony origin is said to go back to 1432. The first Baccalaureate Ceremony commenced at Oxford University. At that time each student was required to deliver a sermon in Latin as part of his academic applications.  What we call today a "cap," which is worn by students and faculty in some cases, used to be called a "hood." The "hood" is believed to be dated back to the Celtic Groups. At that time in history only the Druid priests wore capes with hoods, symbolizing their superiority and higher intelligence. Today, the "hood" or "cap" is used to identify the student's academic institution and degree. The tassel that is attached (and sometimes the color of the cap and gown or scarf) is used to signify the student's academic achievement within the academic structure.  Prior to the 1950's the color of the graduation gown was gray. This was practiced only in the U.S. Colors in European countries were used as far back as the 1800s to signify the area of study. Sometime during the 1950's students began to ask for cap and gowns that represented their school colors. Their wish was granted and the emergence of varying colors used for gowns caught on.  During the 12th and 13th centuries the academic dress for graduation was born. At that time the standard dress for faculty or students was clerical dress. It wasn't until 1321 that the University of Coimbra decided that all Doctors, Bachelors, and Licentiates would be required to wear gowns.  It is so very sad when the graduates choose to forgo  their graduation when it's a moment that can't be repeated and you want to have that one moment to shine. It is a very special moment when you walk across the stage and show you did something extraordinary. Graduation is  mom and dad's time to brag about your success since they want to show the world what you accomplished. It's an exciting time that nobody should miss and should always do every moment they get because you only get that one chance to do it and it only comes once in a lifetime.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Graduation Week Hodge Podge

Welcome to Wednesday and  Hodgepodge smack dab in the middle of May. Answer the questions on your own blog, then add your link at the end of Joyce's post. Be sure to leave a comment for the blogger linking before you, because we're all about being neighborly here.

1.  Tell us about a time you found yourself 'in the middle of nowhere'. Was this deliberate? 
The family drove to California....nonstop.  I was driving...it was the middle of the night.....we were in the middle of the dessert....I could SEE the lights of Winslow Arizona.....but the longer I drove the farther away they got.....there was absolutely nothing on the highway.  All the family was sound asleep in the car....so it was just me....and the road. It was kind of scary and I guess it was deliberate.  I was never so glad to see the lights of a city in my life.  We ended up spending the night there.

2. What's something you're in the middle of today or this week?   Final exams and graduations. I have four graduations to attend this week.  Tonight will be my third one.  I have to admit that I am graduation WEAK!
3. At what age do you think 'middle age' begins? What does it mean to be 'middle aged'? 
When I was a child I would have said 30.  Then I hit 30 and thought it was 40.  I think 50 is middle age even though most people don't live to be 100.  I like that number.  I can't read the fine print without assistance. I wake stiff and sound like Rice Krispies (I snap, crackle, and pop). I don't take good health for granted, and I spend a lot of time managing said health.  I find myself looking forward to retirement and slowing down.  I enjoy things more.

4. Ravioli, stuffed peppers, samosas, deviled eggs, steamed dumplings, peirogis, or a jelly donut...your favorite food (from this list!) with something yummy in the middle. Your favorite not on the list?   My least favorite on the list is stuffed peppers.  I truly despise them.  My mom used to make me eat them as a child and even the smell of them makes me gag even today.  I love jelly donuts, steamed dumplings and peirogis.  My favorite not on the list of stuffed goodies would be a cannoli...especially if I am in Italy.  I owuld pick a cannoli over any of the ones on the list.

5. Albert Einstein is quoted as saying,"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." Would you agree? Have you found this to be true in your own life? Feel free to elaborate. 
Oh yes I agree.  I have to agree with Joyce and her daughter... in order to know you can do hard things you have to do hard things.  Sometimes I go ahead and wallow....but other times I succeed in finding the blessing in the difficulty.  
 
6. What's a song you remember loving from your middle school years? Do you love it still? 
Traces by Dennis Yost and The Classics IV, Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In by the 5th Dimension, This Girl Is A Woman Now, by Gary Puckett and The Union Gap, Heard It Through The Grapevine by Marvin Gaye, Galveston by Glen Campbell, Barry Sandler's Ballad of the Green Beret (always made me cry....still does), California Dreamin' by the Mama's and the Papa's, ...and my list goes on.  I still love every single one of these songs.  Several years ago my dear friend, Carol, made me a whole collection of CD's from the 60's and 70's.  This is one of my prized collections.

7. May 18th is National Visit Your Relatives Day. Will you celebrate? Which relative would you visit if time, distance, and expense were not considered?  I wish I could.  I guess Frank will be the relative I will visit with today.  I would visit my daughter in Moldova if I could....but alas...it is not going to happen. 
8. Insert your own random thought here. 
Who out there in blogger land is an NCIS fan?  Did you watch the season finale last night.  What a surprise it was.  If you didn't see it....I won't spoil it for you....but if you love NCIS you need to watch it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Graduation Weak

I am overwhelmed with graduations this week.  Last night kicked it off with the Rock Mills Kindergarten graduation at 6.  Tonight is the Rock Mills 8th grade graduation at 6.  Wednesday is the Wadley High School graduation at 7:00, and Friday is RCHS's graduation at 7.  I could actually go to one on Thursday night if I attended Woodland's graduation...but I am not.  With Baccalaureate on Sunday at RCHS Pomp and Circumstance is stuck permanently in my head.  I live for this time of the year.  I cry as my seniors walk across the stage and begin their next chapter in their lives.  I remember my own graduation.  When my daughter Kathryn graduated in 1998 her Valedictorian read this:

Wear Sunscreen


By Mary Schmich of the Chicago Tribune
                                          Ladies and gentlemen of the class of '98: Wear sunscreen.
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blind side you at 4 PM on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.

Sing.

Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.

Floss.

Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.

Stretch.

Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't.

Get plenty of calcium.

Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone.

Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's.

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions, even if you don't follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good.

Be nice to your siblings. They're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard.

Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.

Travel.

Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble, and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.

Don't mess too much with your hair or by the time you're 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen. 

It applies to every graduate....don't you think?  So, to all the graduates out there....whether it be from Kindergarten or College....remember and wear sunscreen!  God Bless You All!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Strawberry Cheesecake Salad

I had the most awesome of salads/desserts yesterday and I just had to share it with you..  It was almost sinful....and so easy to make.  It is a Strawberry Cheesecake Salad and it goes great with anything.   I have always been a sucker for the fluffly salads and this one definitely appealed to me.  It takes 15 minutes to whip up.  If you are like me and time is valuable then this is the dish you will want to take to your next potluck.  It serves 8-10.  I doubled the recipe.
Served Up With Love: Strawberry Cheesecake Salad

Ingredients:
1 box (3.4 oz) cheesecake or white chocolate pudding mix (1 used the cheesecake one)
12 oz whipped topping
3 (6oz) containers of strawberry yogurt
1 lb of fresh strawberries sliced
3 bananas, sliced (add just before you serve or they will be brown)
3 cups of miniature marshmallows (optional)
Directions:

Place the whipped topping, pudding mix, and yogurt into a large bowl.  Whisk together.  Cover and refrigerate until just beofe servicing (about an hour)
Slice the strawberries and bananas
Remove whipped mix from the refrigerator and gently fold in the strawberries, bananas, and marshmallows.
Serve immediately.

I am telling you ....this is a homerun.  It is great as a side....dessert....AND....it is delicious on top of pound cake. 
Bon Appetit!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Am I Sure?



 

My scripture today comes from Romans 8:14-17



I want to ask you a most profound question as we begin…. What are you sure of?



1. How do you know you are the child of your parents?  This one is hard for me….my parents were both dark haired, dark skinned, with deep brown eyes….just like my brother.  I was a strawberry blonde with blue-grey eyes……



a. How old you are?  Well my birth certificate says I was born on April 15th, 1954….but birth certificates have been known to be wrong….or even altered.



b. How tall you are?  Dr. Peterson’s office measured me in April and I was a whopping 5 feet 5 inches.



c. How much you weigh?...well they did that too…and we will just say….enough.



2. In each case I had a definable witnesses that assure me of the answer to these questions.



DT 19:15 says:  One witness is not enough to convict a man accused of any crime or offense he may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.



Mt. 18:16 says:  But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that `every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’



So….What about salvation?



1. Is there any way of outwardly knowing you are saved?



The New Testament answers with a resounding YES!



After John Wesley had been preaching for some time, someone said to him, "Are you sure, Mr. Wesley, of your salvation?" "Well," he answered, "Jesus Christ died for the whole world." "Yes, we all believe that; but are you sure that you are saved?" Wesley replied that he was sure that provision had been made for his salvation.



"But are you sure, Wesley, that you are saved?" It went like an arrow to his heart, and he had no rest or power until that question was settled. Many men and many women go on month after month, and year after year, without power, because they do not know their standing in Christ; they are not sure of their own footing for eternity. Latimer wrote Ridley once that when he was settled and steadfast about his own salvation he was as bold as a lion, but if that hope became eclipsed he was fearful and afraid and was disqualified for service. Many are disqualified for service because they are continually doubting their own salvation.)



Well today you can definitely know that you are saved.



Our scripture shows us two witnesses that assure us we are saved.



The inward evidence of acceptance with God revealed by the Holy Spirit to our understanding and confirmed by our own conscience resulting in a confident knowledge that we are indeed children of God.



We have The Direct Witness of the Holy Spirit – Let me tell you this is the highest form of witness.  There is no greater witness than God, and the Holy Spirit is God.  Gal. 4:6 Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father." 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir. Just as God is truth, there is no falsehood in the Spirit.



1John 5:6 tells us:   This is the one who came by water and blood--Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.  It precedes any other witness, including our own spirit.  We must live a holy life for our spirit to witness we are saved.  To live a holy life, we must have the Holy spirit to produce holiness in our life.



AND…. It is evidenced by His influence in our lives.  We have a renewed heart.  Titus 3:4 says  But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.



And there is a Production of "fruit" evidenced:  GAL 5:22 tells us:  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.



Our second witness is the Indirect Witness of Our Own Spirit.  It confirms the witness of the Holy Spirit.  Someone asked Melvin Trotter, who was a hopeless alcoholic before his conversion, "How do you know you are a Christian?" Trotter replied, "I was there when it happened!").  It is not subjective, or based on feelings.  Religions of the world are often based on feelings. You know…you have to do certain things to feel you are doing what is required.)  That is not what it is like to be a Christian.  Our faith….Must be based on the objective standard of the Word of God.  There is an Immediate knowledge that our lives are changed.



II Cor. 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!



We will also have a Testimony of a clear conscience.  I Cor. 7:10 says that Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 11 See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter. 12 So even though I wrote to you, it was not on account of the one who did the wrong or of the injured party, but rather that before God you could see for yourselves how devoted to us you are. 13 By all this we are encouraged.  Heb. 10:22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.  Another powerful tool is the Conviction of sin that we experience.  As Christians we want to express the fruit of the Spirit….and show the outward fruit of doing good to all men.  James. 2: 17-18:   In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.  18 But someone will say, " You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.



1John 3:16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 19 This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20 whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.



So, let me ask you…..right now…..are you sure, today, that you are saved?  I am a people watcher and one of my favorite things to do in an airport, is to observe the difference between passengers who hold confirmed tickets and those who are on standby. The ones with confirmed tickets read newspapers, chat with their friends or sleep. The ones on standby hang around the ticket counter, pace and pace. The difference is caused by the confidence factor. If you knew that in fifteen minutes you would stand in judgment before the Holy God and learn your eternal destiny, what would your reaction be? Would you pace? Would you say to yourself, "I don’t know what God’s going to say--will it be ’Welcome home, child,’ or will it be ’Depart from me; I never knew you’?








Saturday, May 14, 2016

The Cardboard Boat Races

What a day....this is how I spent my day.  We hosted the Cardboard Boat Races...and yes...you read that right. . The boats were all made from cardboard and had to be paddled 80 to a buoy and back.  It was hilarious.  If you live on/near water...this would be an awesome fundraiser.

Step one - Boat inspection began at 9:00.  All boats had to be made entirely of cardboard.


Before the races there was sponge/bucket filled with water toss.  Our AD/Head football coach, Pat Prestridge and Assistant Principal, Mrs. Kelly took one for the team and raised a whopping 40.00.  The principals at both RCHS and Wedowee Elementary also took part in the fun.

Mr. Anglin and Mrs. Kelly were ready for the races to begin and put on their official head gear.  I work with some amazing people.
 
This is the group that worked or entered boats with their clubs names on them.  We were a pretty motley crew don't you think.
 
And they were off!
It was a great day to have a boat race and a lot of fun was had by all!
 

Friday, May 13, 2016

Fear Of Friday The 13th: Paraskevidekatriaphobia

 Friday the 13th

I am a teacher.  I can tell you when the moon is full, I can tell you when it is Friday the 13th just based on the behavior of my students.  I am not a scientist....but I can read behavior.  I should be able to, I have been doing it from almost 30 years.  So, I decided today to do a bit of research on Friday the 13th and found out that there is actually a phobia for it.  Imagine that.  Today, May 13, 2016 is a rare day....it is the county Spring Football Jamboree, the beginning of finals, and the close of the school year....and oh Lord are the kids wile.  I have always been fascinated in superstitions and why people believe them.  I know from my relatives that there is some bad karma surrounding any Friday that lands on the 13th day of the month. There’s even a name for the irrational fear of Friday the 13th: paraskevidekatriaphobia. The joke is that if you can pronounce the name, you’re cured of  the phobia.. What a fun word.  I thought I would take a look at what exactly paraskevidekatriaphobia is, why people suffer from it, and if they can be cured.  Thanks to the National Alliance of Mental Illness I discovered that "Paraskevidekatriaphobia goes by another, equally hard to say name, friggatriskaidekaphobia. The origins of friggatriskaidekaphobia can be traced back to Nordic myth. Frigg, the goddess of wisdom, is where we get Friday from. Atriskaideka is derived from Greek meaning three and 10, equaling 13. Paraskevidekatriaphobia, on the other hand, is derived from Greek with the first half, paraskevi, relating to Friday, and dekatria relating to the number 13.  To find out why people suffer from paraskevidekatriaphobia we have to look at phobias themselves. Phobias are irrational fears of any activity, situation, or thing. It’s estimated six million people suffer from different phobias in the United States alone. Phobias can alter a person’s ability to function and enjoy life. Fear of Friday the 13th might have to do with the fear of the number 13, which has been called an unlucky number for hundreds of years. Some point to the number 12 for blame.  The number 12 is a complete number and has various implications: There are 12 months in a year, 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 labors of Hercules, 12 tribes of Israel, and 12 apostles of Jesus. As for Friday, some believe that because Christ was crucified on that day, it is unlucky, and some biblical scholars, according to National Geographic, believe that Eve was tempted by the forbidden fruit on Friday.  These religious and number implications lead many people to do their best to avoid the date whenever it appears on the calendar. This leads to drops in business transactions, flights, hotel bookings, stock market buyings or sellings, and much more.  What I really wanted to know is can people be cured of this....really?  Like the many phobias you have probably heard of arachnophobia, agoraphobia, or claustrophobia(something that plagues me), to name a few — paraskevidekatriaphobia is something that can be treated. Both physical symptoms (panic, terror, rapid or irregular heartbeat, sweating and trembling) and psychological symptoms (being afraid even if you know it’s irrational, doing whatever you can to avoid doing what you’re afraid of, running away from a phobic situation) can all be diagnosed by a medical professional.  With many phobias, desensitization therapy — exposing the person slowly to the thing they’re afraid of until they aren’t anymore — is used, but with Friday the 13th, that’s not really applicable. Instead, one might try cognitive behavioral therapy, which examines and changes thoughts and behaviors that contribute to the phobia symptoms. Doctors might also prescribe selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (antidepressants) or beta-blockers, which slow the production of adrenaline, one of the key components of fear, along with treatment to get you over your phobia."  It is not a laughing matter....especially if you are the one suffering with it.  If you or someone you know is affected by paraskevidekatriaphobia, the National Alliance of Mental Illness  or Mental Health.gov are both valuable resources to learn more about phobias and to find help.