Wildcat Pride

My family moved to Rabun County in the summer of 1964, I was only a few months old when we settled here.

We moved to get closer to family who lived in Toccoa and for my father to become Assistant Football Coach at Rabun County High School.

Since those days in 1964, I have been a Rabun County Wildcat.

Wildcat football has always been a mainstay in our house, Fridays revolved around home or away games and weekday afternoons around practice.

Both of my brothers played football, I didn’t, but the passion for the Wildcats runs deep in my soul.   Even when I moved away, I was still a Wildcat.

I am a Rabun County Wildcat, followed by a Georgia Bulldog, and then no one else.

Over the years we have had some good teams and we have had some really bad teams, but the community has always stood behind our beloved boys in red and white.

Today I see the children, and in some cases, the grandchildren of the boys in red who put it all out on the field when I was in school.

When I moved back to Rabun, I got back into the swing of following the Cats.  Football is a passion in our community and the whole town gets behind the team.

I started attending home games to cheer on the team and to see friends I hadn’t seen in many years.

Rabun County Football is a lot different from it was when I was in high school.

Today it has a college atmosphere with music blaring over the loud speakers, tail gating prior to the game, a student body that is actively involved in the game, a stadium store and awesome tributes to the people who came before and members of the community who have given back.

There have also been a number of new traditions that have been created over the years.  The Wildcat “rock” that every player, coach and student touches entering the stadium.

The “cat walk” where fans, family and young kids greet the players as they enter the field of competition and “ringing the bell” after every Wildcat win.

Over the past several years that bell has been run a lot.

A couple of years before I moved back to God’s Country, one of the stars of my high school years was hired as head coach.

Coach Lee Shaw has brought a whole new attitude to Rabun County High School football.  From day one, Coach Shaw made our team believe they could beat anyone, he instilled discipline, pride and brotherhood into his players and it has paid off.

The players that represent Rabun are undefeated, on track to win their 4th straight Region Championship, they are ranked #4 in the State and are marching towards an historic season.

More than the wins on the field, these student athletes are just plain and simple good kids.  They go out of their way to encourage their teammates, they are role models for the little boys and girls who idolize them in the stands and they respect the history of Rabun County athletics that went before.

The players, coaches and staff that marches onto the field as a brotherhood each week represents us all well.  Their actions on and off the field make us all stand a little prouder.

This year’s Rabun County Widlcats are quickly moving towards a historic run and no matter where the season ends, the 2017 Rabun County Wildcats already hold a special place in the pages of RCHS greatness.

To this year’s Rabun County Wildcats, I say thank you and keep sharpening the sword towards your date with destiny.

 

Thanks to Von Watts for the photo steal.

Dished

These dishes were my grandmothers.  She called them her “evaday” dishes, not everyday, but “evaday”.

When my grandmother passed away my mother took them.

They have been in my parents kitchen since the day my mom took them home.

Last Friday my niece called to tell me she was redoing her kitchen, she said, “do you want these,” before the final word was out of her mouth I said YES!

It’s not that I need the dishes, I have my own.  I have my own “evaday” dishes, two sets in fact, I have my grandmother’s china, I have Christmas dishes, I have more dishes than any one person needs.

I didn’t need the dishes, I needed THOSE dishes.

You see, those dishes represent much more to me than a plate to put food on.  Those dishes represent memories of the two women I loved most in this world, my mother and my grandmother.

The set isn’t perfect, there are some chips and there are six sets of some, four of others and seven or eight of others, but to me, this is a perfect set.

I remember sitting with my grandmother at her kitchen table, mornings when it was just the two of us.  She would drink her coffee and in a matching cup cover the bottom with a few drops of that decaf and fill the rest with Pet milk for me. Over our morning coffee we would talk.

These same plates served our family countless Sunday dinner’s as we crowded around my grandmother’s dining room table.

Fried chicken, chicken casserole, ham, turkey, fresh vegetables from my grandfather’s garden and dessert, my grandmother always made dessert!  But it wasn’t so much about the food, it was more about the family time we shared there.

When my mother took the plates I had already left home, but for years mama would set the table with these plates.

Over the years we have eaten everything on these plates, but the plates really don’t matter, it is about the memories that were created at the tables where they were used.

Memories of family times, times that included laughter, tears, arguments, debates, deep conversation and lots of love.  Like the simple design featured on the plates, we bloomed at those tables where we came together to eat, we grew strong and in our own ways beautiful.

I’ve now washed the plates and will put them in a cabinet in my kitchen.  I don’t plan on using them, it is just comforting to know they are here.

I have a feeling on one of those days when I am desperately missing my mom or craving one of those conversations with my grandmother I will pull one out.

I’ll place my meal on the plate and I will remember and I’ll feel closer to the two women who helped to shape my life and made me appreciate the simplicity of a plate and the incredible gift of the memories they represent.

Sunday Playlist…. His Eye Is On The Sparrow performed by Lauryn Hill and Tanya Blount

Life’s Playlist…. Three Times a Lady by Kenny Rogers

We all have them, people who make a bigger impact on our lives than we can ever describe.

For me, one of those people is Jen Harner Sims.

Jen was one of my pastors when I lived in Florida, but much more than that she became a trusted friend and confidante.

From the first day I met her, I liked her.  We went through a lot over the years she served as one of the Pastors of my Church.  Lots of belly laughs, awesome hugs and more tears than either of us would want to remember.

When I was laid-off from my job she was the one who I called to vent.  The morning my mom died, she was the voice I needed to hear, she is the kind of person who provides comfort just by being there.

It was a sad day when Jen, her husband Michael and their son Luke left our Church to minister in Ocala, but they have continued to thrive there and I know their impact has nurtured that community just like it did ours.

There are many days I could use a good Jen hug, but I hold memories of her close and am thankful she walked across my life.

Today is Jen’s birthday, I hope it is filled with laughter, happiness and amazing hugs!

Happy Birthday friend!

Stepping Out On Faith

The Church I attend is in the early days of a building campaign.  Today was commitment Sunday where the membership made our pledges for the next two years towards the build.

This in not the first building campaign I have been through, they are never easy and sometimes tear churches apart.  I do not believe this Church will have that problem, we are standing together in a place of undeserved privilege towards not just a new building, but a place where lives will be changed and the Kingdom of God will be honored.

Since leaving my job this summer, and dedicating all my efforts to my retail store, my finances have been unpredictable, after all some weeks are better than others, however I have made a commitment to my tithes and continue to see income that allows me to meet my giving.

A commitment for a building campaign is above and beyond tithes, it requires faith that God with honor the commitment and make it happen.

For weeks we have been building towards today’s Commitment Sunday.  I have had conversations with friends, my Pastor and have prayed about what my pledge should be.

Yesterday I settled on my number.  It was a number I felt comfortable with and knew I could make happen.

I filled in my card and took it with me to Church.

As I settled into my pew, I felt content with the number I had come up with and as I looked around the room, I could feel the anticipation of my fellow congregants, eager for the moment we would walk to the front of the sanctuary and place our pledge cards in a basket.

During Pastor Adam’s sermon, I started to get an uneasy feeling about my pledge.  Could I do more?  Should I do more?  Do I have the faith to do more?

I have acted on faith my entire life.  Faith in my abilities, faith in making things work out and faith that God would provide.

Was my pledge what it should be or was I acting on what I knew I could do and not on faith in what I should do?

Just before it was time to walk forward, one of the elderly women of our Church spoke up and asked the Pastor if she could speak.

Being gracious, our Pastor walked towards her as she stood to take the floor.

In the minutes that followed the lady told us about her childhood of poverty, how many days she didn’t have the ten cents to buy a school lunch.

She went on to regale us with a story of her prowess at horseshoes, he childhood passion.  She told us the story of a friend who showed up at her house one day and bet her that he could beat her in horseshoes.

Her father wagered ten cents on her behalf.

She won the match and now had two shiny dimes for lunch in the coming days.

The next morning, as she attended Church, she had those two dimes in her pocket and as the offering plate was passed she placed both in as her offering.

Her lunch money was now gone, she would do without lunch because of her offering.

As she continued her story she spoke about running for the bus the next morning to take her to school and as she ran past the same Church she had made her offering to, she found a dime on the ground.

And then another.

And then another.

She ate that week and her gift was multiplied.  Her faith made this true.

As the lady told her story, my heart swelled, I knew I could do better, I could step out in faith and become uncomfortable with my commitment.

Before walking up to the altar, I changed my card, I doubled my pledge knowing that God would provide and faith would make it happen.

If God would provide a few cents for a little girl of faith, certainly he will honor our commitments to growing the Kingdom.