Wednesday, August 22, 2012

58 Years Later

So, I have officially started my senior year of college, and I have been slacking all summer and not doing near enough on my blog as I had hoped. However, in all fairness, these past few weeks are the longest I have been home all summer. I have been all over the place, and it has been amazing and exhausting at the same time. It is one of those bittersweet feelings where you have had lots of fun, but once you are finally still long enough you realize that you are ready to crash. Now, I am grounded in Mississippi (specifically Cleveland, MS) for the next four months, and it is time to get in school mode. I have been wanting to share all of the cool places I have gone, wonderful people I have met, and interesting things I have experienced. I kept thinking that I would get around to writing about one experience when all of the sudden something else happened, and I just let my assumptions of having plenty of time get the better of me. So, if I ever plan to get back on track, I guess the first place to start would be my first trip: Baton Rouge, LA.

Last fall I was notified that I was chosen as the recipient of the Nell Thomas Teaching Scholarship. This scholarship was named after a high school English teacher from Greenville, MS. The graduating classes of 1954 and 1955 came together to form a scholarship in her honor because they felt the world could use more teachers like Nell Thomas; and where better to give a scholarship than in the teaching program of her alma mater, Delta State University. Nell Thomas was featured in Look magazine and was was a runner up for the National Teacher of the Year in 1964.

Sometime in early Spring, Ann Giger over the scholarships at DSU contacted me and informed me that the class of 1954 was having their 58th reunion in Baton Rouge and wanted me to attend. Of course, I said yes. Little did I know what a huge blessing this time would be. Ann and I left the Friday of finals week and had a great time driving through Louisiana, seeing the sights, and getting to know each other.

Once we arrived, we immediately headed to dinner at a country club. It was an interesting affair as people who had not seen each other in a few years (and some in 58 years) reunited. I heard several stories about good  ole times and  Nell Thomas. I silently watched as there was a special memorial held for deceased classmates. I was struck during the memorial when one of the ladies spoke about how there is no longer any schisms between them. No longer is that person the cool jock, that person the smart nerd, that one the band geek. They were 58 years wiser and come to realize that petty differences, social strata, and dissimilar interests were no longer excuses to not be close friends. They were there to celebrate the fact that they were 58 years past their high school graduation and were still kicking up their heels. Several times, they mentioned the fact that they were glad they still had each other and a unique bond of place, time, and people that they could hold on to when other seemingly important people and things in life had slipped away.

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The outside of the gorgeous country club

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Myself with Billy and his wife who arranged the whole reunion.


The next day we toured the Elliot Breast Cancer Research Center. One of the Greenville graduates started this center after his wife developed cancer, and now it is one of the top three cancer research centers in America. We were allowed to see all of the labs and equipment, and after hearing Dr. Elliot talk, I now understand why doctor bills are so expensive. I was very impressed with the facility and the research going on. Dr. Elliot has said that they are about three years away from finding a cure for a certain type of breast cancer! Is that not amazing? It was crazy to think that this place and this once class clown of Greenville High is shaping and influencing the future.

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The original members of the class (minus their spouses). Let me be the first to tell ya, they rock.

After the research center we ended the festivities by heading to one of the Elliot’s other country clubs in downtown Baton Rouge. It was gorgeous. We had a great dinner, walked down memory lane, did some raffles, and I had to give a speech. All in all it was a pretty grand evening.

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This was one of the items that was auctioned off. One of the members of the class knows screenwriter Robert Mark Kamen who is famous for such movies as Karate Kid, A Walk in the Clouds, and Taken. The class member was able to get three bottles of Mr. Kamen’s wine with a famous quote and signature written on it. These bottles were auctioned off in order to raise money for the scholarship. The picture above features the quote: “I will find you, and I will kill you” from Taken.

Overall, it was a great trip, and I grew to appreciate my scholarship and the people who made it possible even more. I love hanging around older people because in some sense you get a glimpse of the future and possibilities. These people were still loving life and could not be more thrilled to take time and invest in other peoples’ lives who 58 years before they carelessly passed or avoided in the hallways. Oh the lessons to be learned from our elders. It just made me wonder how my former classmates were doing and how I should have done more to be present in different peoples’ lives and not worried about petty differences. I just hope in 58 years time we are doing as well and can embrace each other and life as these people have done.

These people also showed me that a good education is to be valued. I found it amazing that 58 years later they still were talking about the impact Nell Thomas had on their lives. That goes to show you what a good teacher can do: educate, influence, and inspire. In someway or another, every graduate’s life was enriched by her. For Dr. Elliot, she challenged him and told him he had great potential and could do better, and now he is curing cancers. For another lady, she became an English teacher because of Mrs. Thomas’s inspiration. And yet others went on to do great things and be every day citizens who knew all the proper parts and functions of speech as well as the prologue  to The Canterbury Tales in perfect Middle English.

How considerate these people are to try and make a difference in the future of educators. I must say, this college student and hopefully her future students appreciate the fact that others are investing in bettering education rather than only accumulating things or spending it just on themselves. I hope I am a fraction as cool as these people when I am older. Just saying. If that is the case, I have much to look forward to.

Monday, June 25, 2012

A Brief Hiatus

Oh, hello reader-friends! It has been quite a while since I have managed to be present in the blogosphere. Between the end of school craziness, maid of honor duties, traveling, and just life itself, I have been overwhelmed and not had time to write a decent post. My last post promised to be updated in two weeks. Well, that hasn’t happened, obviously. It is just one of those situations where you become so overwhelmed by all you have to do and say, that instead of actually being productive, you just sit and let more things accumulate as you think about actually doing something. You’ve all been there.

To be honest, I have missed blogging. I have missed writing, sharing, and connecting with people. I started this blog to test out a different form of writing from the analytical papers that are required in college, and as a result of my experiment, I have found that I love this form. I love the challenge of writing about personal matters. One would think that writing about yourself and your life would come easy, but it takes a spoonful of courage to be honest and raw. And that is the challenge. I am not making some impersonal, analytical statement about how James Joyce uses setting to better help his readers understand characterization in “Evelyn”. I am not scrutinizing some third person. I am having to analyze and expose myself.

So, in short, I am back from my brief hiatus. However, for the next three weeks I am on a different type of hiatus. I am living in Pennsylvania with my good friends Leah and Sarah Cook. I am working on Leah’s farm, living somewhere different for a little bit, and getting a new experience. So, you all can be expecting posts about life as a farmhand intermingled with posts detailing various trips I have recently taken. This past week as I got home from a trip to Greer’s Ferry with my friend, Laura Beth, my mother in all her profound wisdom quoted a line from Steel Magnolias that is pretty accurate for my current lifestyle: “I love you more than my luggage”. I believe if I ever told anyone that, it would be a sign of true affection. I really feel like my luggage has been my constant companion this summer, but we will talk about that later.

suitcase Anyway, here is a few shots of life so far in PA. More will come soon (this time I mean it).

A two hour delay due to an overbooked flight in Memphis, a broken plane, and unexpected plane swap in Cincinnati. lifesincePA 1251 

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The most welcomed sight of the day: my girls and some of my little Cookies. Please take note of Zeb being a gentleman and getting my bag :)lifesincePA 1261

The flowers Lucas and Zeb got for me when I arrived.lifesincePA 1284

Myself with the famous Duda logo.lifesincePA 1295

My new place of employment.lifesincePA 1272

Myself, Sarah, and Leah (using the Target windows to apply lipstick) after Panera Bread.lifesincePA 1296

Some of the crazy kids. lifesincePA 1294

If you can’t tell by my pictures, I am already loving my time  in PA. I cannot wait to see what blessings are still yet to unfold!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Confessional Friday

  • First and foremost confession: I miss blogging. School is overwhelming and consuming at this present moment.
  • I probably shouldn’t be taking the time to write this post.
  • I have two papers due next Thursday: An eight page paper for Paranormal Philosophy and a critical analysis that will probably be about six pages for American Lit.
  • I am in the middle of my first paragraph on my eight page paper. However, I almost have one page because of this paragraph.
  • I want these papers done before next Wednesday night when Amber and I go and see the Moscow ballet perform Cinderella.
  • I am overly excited to be going to a ballet. Probably has to do with the long lost dream of being a ballerina.
  • I am both excited and saddened that Amber is graduating. I am going to miss having her to keep me sane in classes and while working in the writing center. However, how can I not be excited for her? Homegirl has worked her tail off for four years now and is about to start a new chapter in her journey.
  • I have been working out nearly everyday for a month now and it has been fabulous.
  • I heard the song “For the First Time” by The Script on the way back from my canoeing trip, and I cannot stop listening to it.
  • I have two more weeks of school, and I am so beyond ready for summer.
  • Once summer is here and I have more time to blog, be expected to have an overload of posts and Instagram pictures that I have failed to put up.
  • I bought a hula hoop about three weeks ago. Yes, I know I am 21, but it is tons of fun and good exercise. So, that is that.

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My suitemates Katie and Zara thought I made an excellent purchase. I guess you are never too old for some things. :)

Have a splendid weekend, and I hope everyone else who is swamped by the end of the semester work is not too stressed and does well on their finals. See ya in about two weeks!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter and Behind on Life

Sooooo much blog neglect…..It has been a crazy few weeks, and the next four weeks that stand between me and summer only promise to be even more crazy. I have so much to share with all of you, but as with most things in my life, I will probably be late getting around to it. 

However, today is Easter! I love this holiday, but I have to agree with my pastor that every Sunday we should celebrate the fact that we have a risen Savior, otherwise worship would be in vain. In fact, that is why we even choose Sunday as the day of communal worship, in order to commemorate the fact that He arose on a Sunday. Still, I am thankful that at least at one time a year that many people take time to remember the fact that there is a risen, all powerful Savior who conquered death sitting at the right hand of God, who is reigning in glory. I also like the fact that it is another excuse to get together with the family. Sadly, I missed the get-together with my mom’s side yesterday, but I did get to see some of my dad’s family today.

So, here are some photos to recap my day. Happy Easter, everyone!

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My new favorite photo of these two, so candid.

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Isn’t my sister-in-law the cutest?

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My sweet girls after a long day. Please notice how their feet are crossing over each others in their sleep. So adorable.

I hope you had a blessed Easter!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

My Week, Instagram Style #7

I had a wonderful week. What made it so grand? My weekend, of course. I spent the majority of my weekend with some good friends, and as we all know, the people who are in our lives are what makes it special. One big thing that happened this weekend was that my best friend Sydney Smith came home for her spring break! She has been at the Air Force Academy in Colorado for nine months where she has had to go through hell and back and work hard every day to prove that she can handle the military. Well, guess what! She did it! She was recognized last week and does not have to put up with crap from upperclassmen anymore. I seriously could not be anymore proud of her. She had a dream, gave up securities, and did everything in her power to make her dream happen. I think “persevering” is the word that best describes her, and I am pretty positive the words “giving up” are not in her vocabulary. I didn’t get any pictures from hanging out with her this weekend, but she will hopefully be coming down to Cleveland tomorrow. So, I will make up for lack of pictures then :) Have a lovely week everyone!

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1. This is my favorite page from a book that I bought for 10cents at a library in Uniontown, PA. It is titled There is a Dragon in My Bed, and it tells how to say various silly phrases in French. I gave this book to my French major friend, Nicole, in hopes that it might be of some use when she teaches one day.

2. I stayed late on Thursday to hear a lecture by a Shakespeare professor candidate on the Corpse/Corpus in Hamlet and Hamletmachine. She rocked the presentation, and I would love to sit in on one of her Shakespeare classes.

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3. & 4. Some of my favorite little people representing my favorite local universities! Cooper looks like a true Ole Miss student here: dazed and confused. Carmen is as cute as ever.

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5. Cooper playing his favorite game: throw the ball. Over and over and over again.

6. Anna Kate and my flower collection for our craft. Most of these were gathered from a lady’s yard in Hernando who we meet randomly, started talking to, and became fast friends with. She willing helped us in our endeavor with her beautiful garden.

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7. & 8. The fruits of our labors. Anna Kate found a craft from another blog that was perfect for Spring. You put flowers between paper and thin white cloth and hammer the flowers until they bleed through. It was fun but kind of loud and exhausting.

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9. & 10. Anna Kate and I had some delicious food. We went to the Brick Oven Pizza in Hernando, and featured above is their delicious margherita pizza. Later we made chocolate chip loaves, because loaves are much more fun than muffins. Not only was our food great, but we had a lovely time talking and hanging out. A perfect Friday night.

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11. & 12.  My new favorite nail polish: Mermaid’s Tears. I got a pedicure on Saturday, and I instantly fell in love with this polish. So much so that I bought it. Let me tell ya, no buyer’s remorse here.

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13. Saturday, I spent the afternoon helping Melanie with various wedding preparations. We planned, prepared, talked, laughed, punched out little umbrellas and overall took care of business.

14. Sunday, my family and about 40 other people from my church went and saw October Baby. It was a fantastic movie and story. I highly encourage all to go see it. But be warned, one tissue will not be enough. Trust me.

Friday, March 23, 2012

February Photo Challenge…only a month late

One of my favorite things about the iPhone is that I always have a camera. I take multiple pictures on a daily basis, and thanks to the iPhone app Instagram, you can make your regular iPhone photos look pretty decent. Another thing I love about Instagram is that you take pictures of the everyday things that surround your life and bring to light that they really are the special things. Each month there is a challenge to take pictures of specific things every day. And since this is Friday and I usually make confessions, I will admit that I was not very good about keeping up with the challenge everyday. Many of my pictures were not taken on the exact day they were suppose to. Another confession that I confessed last time is that I am extremely slow about putting pictures up on the Internet, and this post is proof. Have a great Friday everyone.


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1. Your view: Buddha texting at the bar at Hey Joe’s on Trivia Night.

2. Words: Isaiah 26:3

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3. Hands: Carmen, Bailee, and my hands

4. Stranger: Ethan Frome

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5. 10 a.m.: Driving back to Cleveland and getting on the Tunica exit

6. Dinner: Salad in a to-go box from the cafe

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7. Button: My Jane Austen and Shakespeare buttons given by the Fords that currently reside on my backpack.

8. Sun: Sol beer. In Spanish “sol” means sun.

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9. Front door: My door at school.

10. Self-portrait: Myself in my favorite jacket.

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11. Makes you happy: My McArthur Study Bible and Jesus Calling.

12. Closet: My messy closet at home.

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13. Blue: The one blue wall in my dorm.

14. Heart: I am all the time getting invitations to ethnic parties. Obviously, they have heard about my ghetto dancing skills. In this heart it says “no sagging pants,” “no baseball caps,” and '”no handcupping" (whatever that means).

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15. Phone: This is Dr. Ford’s phone. Look at that thing. It is one of the old Nokias that could probably survive an atomic bomb, and you can play “Snake” on it.

16. New: New shampoo that makes me happy for two reasons: 1. I like the exotic smell 2. The blue color and the fact that Moroccan is in the title makes me feel like princess Jasmine.

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17. Time: My favorite time of day simply because that is my birthday.

18. Drink: My National Guard water bottle that is always on my desk in my dorm.

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19. Something you hate to do: Leave these sweet kids on Monday morning.

20. Handwriting: One of my daily note cards for American Lit.

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21. Favorite photo of you: Me in a clown outfit that my Mamaw made and all of the grandkids wore for their first Halloween.

22. Where you work: The Writing Center at Delta State.

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23. Shoes: My new glittery gold shoes

24. Inside bathroom cabinet: Bathroom cabinet at home.

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25. Green: Green notebook made out of papyrus paper that Sydney gave me for Christmas. I absolutely love it!

26. Night: Writing my Ethan Frome book review.

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27. Something you ate: Celery

28. Money: Leftover Mexican currency that will be put to use this year when I go to Mexico.

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29. Something you are listening to: Dandy and (most of) the Lions at the Sadie Hawkins Dance.

Maybe I will be more on top of things with my March photo challenge, but I doubt it. Happy Friday! :)