Featured post

Having (Girl)friends While in a Relationship

Now before you get the wrong idea, this is not an article on how to successfully have more than one girlfriend at a time (if such a thing even exists). Instead, I want to talk a little bit about some things I have noticed these last four years of school. I am in a relationship with a wonderful girl by the name of Hannah Chapman, who unfortunately does not go to school here at Toccoa Falls College. We started dating about three months before we graduated high school, and when I left to start college, I was a little confused on whether or not it was okay for me to be friends with girls. I know this probably sounds dumb, but it was true—I could never talk to girls, partly because I am an awkward guy but also because I thought I was not allowed to since I was in a relationship with a girl who did not go to school here. Obviously, this was the wrong way to think about it, and through thinking things over and talking with my girlfriend I have come up with three steps, that while may sound simple, have helped me out over the years.

I. It is okay to be friends with girls.

Alright, I know you must be thinking that I have no idea what I am talking about now, but during the first few months of college I really did think that it was not okay for me to be friends with any of the girls on campus. Sure, I had friends who were girls in high school, but my girlfriend and I graduated in the same class so I never viewed it as being a problem because we were around each other every day. Being at different colleges, it was way different because I was not able to see Hannah on a daily basis, so I felt guilty every time I talked to a girl. I finally realized that I had no reason to feel guilty; just because I became friends with a girl other than Hannah does not mean I was betraying our relationship in any way at all. In fact, I find that I enjoy having a conversation with a girl from time to time, even if it is just to change things up a bit. I have lived in the dorms where it just me and a bunch of guys, and it is nice for me to talk about something other than the typical guy talk, and I know my girlfriend has said much of the same about talking with guys.

II. You have to be committed.

A lot of what I said in the paragraph above comes from this one point right here. When you are in a serious relationship, you have to be completely committed to that relationship. Going back to my first point, it is perfectly fine to be friends with the opposite sex while dating someone, but it would not be okay to hang out with them all the time. Your girlfriend needs to be the most important girl in your life; she should not have to compete with other girls who are just friends. You cannot hang out with a girl if you have any kind of feelings for her either, as that would not be fair to either girl or yourself. As a friend in high school so eloquently used to put it: “Just because you are on a diet, does not mean you ca not look at the menu.” In fact, that is exactly what it means. If you are on a “diet,” then stick to that diet; if you cheat by breaking the diet, you will end up in the place that you started from, which in this case means being single again.

III. You have to trust each other.

Every dating relationship should have a healthy level of trust in it, especially when it comes to a topic such as this. You have to trust both yourself and your partner enough to know that they are fully committed to your relationship. I’m not ashamed to admit that it used to bother me when Hannah would call me and tell me she talked to a guy at work or school or wherever, and vice versa. Now that we have been dating for almost four years and have had time to work at and gain a level of trust with each other, it is not a problem anymore. Trust is not easy to gain; it is something that has to be earned, and that is very easy to lose. But if you are truly committed to one another and prove that to one another, something that seems as simple as being friends with girls will no longer be a problem.

Featured post

Shake Things Up: Ramen Noodles

It is a known fact that the go to meal for a college student is ramen noodles. It is an easy fix, cheap, and tastes pretty good, but it can become pretty boring to continue to eat the same flavor over and over. One might say that it is difficult to find time to make something outside of simply following the ramen package directions, but in reality, it only takes a few extra minutes at most to make something new. Well, my friends…TIME TO SHAKE THINGS UP! Here are three new ways to shake things up with a cheap pack of ramen noodles!

Taco Ramen Noodles: www.tablespoon.com

1 packet Ramen Noodles, beef flavor
1 (15 ounce) can of Fireroasted Diced Tomatoes
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons Taco Seasoning Mix
1/2 cup sweet corn or black beans
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup cilantro

Directions:

In a large pot, bring ramen noodles, half of the ramen beef seasoning packet, diced tomatoes, and water to a boil. Cook until the noodles are softened, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into two serving bowls. Sprinkle remaining ramen beef seasoning over the noodles. Heat corn in a small, microwave safe bowl until warm, about 1 minute. Place on top of ramen in each bowl. Top each bowl with cheddar cheese and cilantro. Serve and enjoy!

Ramen Stir Fry: www.mrsscalesrecipes.blogspot.com

1-2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
1 block of  ramen noodles
1 tsp Soy Sacue
1 tsp Worcestershire
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 c frozen veggie mix
1 egg
1 tsp cooking oil (olive, sesame, vegatable)
seasoning salt, to taste
salt/pepper, to taste

Directions:

On medium heat, put garlic and the tsp of oil in the frying pan and cook chicken. Shred the chicken and toss in the pan with soy sauce, Worcestershire, frozen veggies, a couple dashes of seasoning salt.  Stir with wooden spoon.
While this is cooking and blending flavors, put a bowl of water in the microwave for 3 minutes.  When the 3 minutes is up you’ll have boiling water, while still in the microwave add your block of noodles (break in half if you wish).  Turn microwave back on for another 2.5 min. This method makes the perfect consistency of noodles.. not soggy or puffy.
Back over to the pan – Once the veggies are almost cooked crack in the egg.  Stir again with wooden spoon or spatula to scramble the egg.
Back to the microwave – Your noodles should be done at this point.  Drain all the water from the bowl.  Use an oven mit, the bowl will be HOT.
Add the noodles and ramen seasoning packet to the pan/wok and stir it all up.  Add a little more oil if you need to and a little water (maybe a table spoon).  Serve and Enjoy!

Peanut Chicken Saute: www.bargainbriana.com

2 Packages Chicken Ramen Noodles – noodle only
1 Cup Shredded Chicken
4 Green Onions Sliced Thin
1 Tablespoon Crunchy Peanut Butter
1 Tablespoon Teriyaki Sauce

Cook noodles on stovetop as directed minus the flavor packets.  In large skillet, mix together peanut butter and teriyaki sauce until smooth.  Add in shredded chicken and onions, cooking for 3-4 minutes.  Toss with ramen noodles and serve.

These recipes are simple, tasty, and very inexpensive. Try and shake things up on your own! Enjoy!

Featured post

What Does Rest Look Like?

As college students, rest is a foreign word and a mystical idea that seems unreachable. It is to the point that we are simply unsure of what the word and idea of rest even looks like or means. Let’s start off by finding a basic definition of the word. According to Merriam-Webster, rest is defined as: “a bodily state characterized by minimal functional and metabolic activities.” What does that look like? For someone to be at rest, according to Webster, they must stop their body; just lay down and not move…Does anyone really have time to literally just stop and lay down? It is interesting how each person goes about finding rest. Though Merriam-Webster defined rest as a bodily state, it can easily be looked at as a heart/spiritual state as well.

Matthew 11:28-30:
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light”

Resting is not simply just a position we have to physically lay in, it is a posture of the heart. The Lord calls us to rest and take off the burdens of life, even for just a moment. Matthew 11:28-30 defines rest as something that happens within the physical and spiritual aspect of our beings that only comes from the Lord.  The rest we are called to is the resting of both the physical and spiritual. Because each of us are created uniquely, we all rest differently. For some individuals, resting may be spending the entire day hiking and pushing their physical body to the limit and once all their energy is gone, their heart is able to find rest and peace. On the other hand, some people tend to actually lay around and do nothing and that brings peace and rest to their body. It is important as a community to understand the idea of rest and what it looks like, and what better way to understand that then by asking the community?

A freshman from Toccoa Falls College expressed their idea of what rest is as this: “the moment when you are most confident and comforted in who you are and who the Lord is.” Yet, another student from TFC stated that rest is “letting my mind not have things to do; to slow down and not always have a plan of what is to come next. It is the moment of release from stress and tension and simply allowing yourself to be.” In the same community, a student voiced that by “spending the same amount of time resting as we do working, we will be able to perform with maximum power and efficiency.” It is interesting to see that within a small community like TFC, the ideas of rest are different.

In a community built of many different individuals, we need to become aware of the unique ways in which each individual rests. There is beauty in the differences we share, but we must acknowledge the differences and try to comprehend that because we have different ideas of rest, we will all express the desire for rest differently. Even in a community of different ideas of rest, the foundation is the same: rest is physical and spiritual. One is unable to experience full rest without it being both physical and spiritual.

Featured post

A Look Back on Weekly Chapels

Every Tuesday and Wednesday our student body and faculty comes together at 10 a.m. to worship our God. Chapels this semester had its ups and downs; it was not perfect, but neither was it horrible. Chapels this semester varied in emotion and facts. We had many different speakers come in and share a short sermon that would hopefully spark an interest in our hearts. As a first semester freshman I am glad to say I was mostly pleased with the outcome of Chapel services. There are three  key thoughts my chapel experience reflects upon, and these three things might not be the same three things that someone else has experienced.

1. Stubborn Scanners

A problem I encountered through attending morning chapels was that the scanners were inconsistent. I know for a fact I am not the only one who has had conflicts with the scanners every week. For me I had to email the Spiritual Formation office every week hoping to receive my lost credits. It has been quite an adventure trying to guess if my card will scan properly this week or not. I know I am not the only person who has gone through the three stages of “Chapel Credit Conflict Condition.” These stages include denial, the ‘maybe it was a simple mistake’ stage, frustration, the ‘if this does not scan I will. . .’ stage, and finally desperation, the ‘oh please, oh please just work’ stage. I know these are generalized emotions, but for the most part all of us have felt one way or another about these scanners.

2. True Worship

Chapel credits might have been a downside to chapel, but there are plenty of upsides. For instance one of the greatest parts of chapel is worship. Yes, our chapel bands may not feature Beyonce, Jack Johnson, or Taylor Swift, but they are doing one important thing, they are worshiping God. The only thing that a praise band should be guilty of is this: they must be so focused on worshiping God that they forget what is around them. They present to lead us into a time of corporate worship. These people might not have the whole week to practice, but they have enough courage to go up on stage and praise our God with all they have. It is truly a blessing to watch our school gather and worship in our own way. It is great to just watch how others worship. I love to people-watch and the best place to people watch is in Grace Chapel during chapel, because that is when everyone takes their masks off and truly reveal themselves. Watching the quiet girl in your math class worshipping freely, or seeing the class clown crying out to God, are amazing scenes to witness. You see a new side to people, their true side. We do not always live a life of corporate worship daily, but being able to let down our walls for fifty minutes twice a week with fellow believers is truly an honor. If there is any reason you need to be told to stay at TFC it should be the fact that we are free to worship on campus and we are free to be who we are called to be. Every Tuesday and Wednesday morning I look around and survey the crowd of college students and think to myself that these are no longer just college students, but they are brothers and sisters in Christ. I think about all the public colleges and universities that do not have the opportunity to gather as a body of Christ and worship together twice a week.

3. Sermons

Last, but not least, one of the other greatest things about chapel here at TFC is that we can hear professors speak. It really is a gift  to have professors and staff members that preach the gospel as well as teach. It is an awesome experience to see one of your professors on stage presenting a sermon that sparks a fire in your heart. It is nice to hear different preachers and speakers from other states come and speak, but to hear our own faculty speak is truly touching. Preaching is not an easy thing, and preaching the Word of God can be very difficult at times, and to have our own professors who have busy schedules give a sermon shows true humility. It is a great blessing to be able to witness not only Theology professors, but even science professors talk about God’s miracles and works.

All in all as we look back at the past semester we can all come to the conclusion that chapel, although it had its downfalls, is a great place to come and worship God together.

Featured post

An Open Letter to Stress: Let’s Break Up

Dear Stress,

Let’s break up. I am tired of your constant presence in my life and how you have to tag along with me wherever I go and with whatever I do. As the semester is drawing to a close and as the presentations and essays start piling up, you have begun to suffocate me. I cannot seem to get away from you as you remind me about the length of my to-do list and how finals are quickly approaching. I do not like how you have such a strong grip on me. You always find a way to consume my thoughts, causing me to have stomach aches and headaches, which keep me from getting anything accomplished. So, I will not stand for it anymore. I am removing you from my life to better myself. You will not have power over me any longer! I will claim the words of David over my life, “Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you” (Psalm 55:22). I will listen to the words of the Lord Jesus, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). I will obey the teaching of Paul in Philippians,  “Do not be anxious about anything.” It is time that I declare independence from stress and terminate whatever relationship I have with it. Stress, I am done letting you control my life. Whatever it is that has been going on between us is over.

Phew. I can feel the rush of freedom and the heavy chains falling off of my shoulders! Now that I have claimed the name of the Lord Jesus Christ over the troubling circumstances in my life, I am set free. Stress and anxiety are nasty parasites that have had the ability to work their way into every area of my life…but, only because I have let them. Stress has been a natural reaction for me in so many circumstances that I have forgotten how it feels to be unstressed!

I have never before considered that it saddens the heart of God when I am stressed. He has been waiting with open arms for me to place all of my worries, uncertainties, and to-do lists in His hands. He wants to relieve me from my stress and give me the strength, motivation, and encouragement to make it through the rest of the week or even the rest of today. Yet, I have kept them in my own hands and have acted using my own strength as I struggle with myself and my pride. As a Christian, my immediate reaction during a time of stress should be to run into the arms of God and throw my worries at His feet, having faith that He will sustain me, because He certainly will. I know that this will not be an easy habit to create, but it is a necessary one.

So, as the end of the semester draws near, I am going to break from a lifestyle that is full of stress and draw nearer to the Lord. I will release my worries and anxieties on Him alone. I will trust that He will take care of me and meet my needs. I will keep in mind that I do not have to be stressed because it is something that can easily be avoided by finding comfort in the arms of the Lord. I will carry the words of David with me. “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul” (Psalm 94:19).

Signed,

Relieved College Student

Featured post

Henna Stories: A Night of Prayer, Worship, and Hope

Members of the WIM (Women’s Intentional Ministries) team hold a commitment to serving the women of Toccoa Falls College. They seek to encourage and challenge women to love, serve, and lead. So with much prayer and planning, they organized the Henna Stories event on Saturday, November 15th. The evening provided a chance for the team to love and serve those who attended and, in turn, a chance for TFC women to love and serve victims of human trafficking.

Through the event, WIM partnered with the Justice Campaign to raise money and spread awareness for human trafficking. Erica Patton, chair of WIM, felt inspired to host the event after hearing the mission of the Justice Campaign, the TFC-based organization working to fight social injustice, and seeing a desire in TFC women to be involved in the cause. She wanted to provide them with a chance to participate in the work of the Justice Campaign and Rahab’s Rope, a ministry focused on Indian girls and women threatened by human trafficking. WIM set up a merchandise booth for Rahab’s Rope where purchases directly funded the action projects of the ministry.

At 7PM, the Henna Stories event began. The WIM leaders had prepared a culturally diverse spread of treats and warm drinks. Some of the finger foods included humus and baklava, foods authentic to the Middle East where Rahab’s Rope ministers. With temperatures in the thirties, students gratefully sipped hot cocoa, apple cider, tea, and coffee. After a time of mingling, Erica welcomed everyone and introduced Megan Boylen, a leader in the Justice Campaign and a junior at TFC. Megan shared a few simple yet often unconsidered steps of action for preventing human trafficking. Referencing Philippians 4:8, she reminded her fellow sisters to seek out and focus on what is pure and holy.

While we engage this fight against human trafficking, it is important that we bridge the gap between the brokenness of the oppressed and oppressors and our own brokenness. Before Christ saved us, we lived in the same spiritual darkness that many of these people live in. We must continue to seek out purity in our own lives.

She presented a challenge, asking,

Are we addicted to something impure? Are we seeking Jesus in our personal relationships through sexual purity and our thought life? On the issue of labor trafficking, do we have a healthy view of products? Are we materialistic, forgetting that we can pursue holiness in the way we spend our money?

Overall, while action is important and often seems only like a giving of time and energy, action can also start with our individual lives. As we seek to eradicate this injustice, we must also seek to create a space and lifestyle that is far from it. We must create an individual life that reflects purity and holiness, a lifestyle that does not abuse sex or labor or materials but sees people as people and not products to be purchased.

Students Angie Constante and Dania Morales led a time of worship, singing We Fall Down and None But Jesus.

The students then broke into groups led by WIM leaders. Each group focused on a different country where human trafficking is rampant. The leaders shared specific prayer needs from their assigned countries. After hearing the needs of the enslaved peoples and cultures, the women lifted their voices in prayer for the hurting and broken around the world.

The groups came back together and sang Love Came Down. As the chorus of voices filled the room, the young ladies praised their Heavenly Father. They sang of His passionate love, His care for creation, and His promise to end injustice. Resting in these truth, the women of TFC worshipped His Name.

After singing the final song, Erica directed everyone to the Henna artists. Each artist had a different Henna design and corresponding Bible story which the design illustrated. The stories included Jesus’ feeding of the 5,000, His casting out of the demon legion, and His victory over death at His resurrection. Each story could be told by explaining the symbolism of the intricate designs. For example, in the resurrection story, two flowers represented two key women at the tomb. Each story spoke to the hope and freedom found in Christ.

At the end of the night, the TFC women walked away with a story on their hands and a song of hope in their hearts. They had acted on their concern for the hurting and learned how action can start in how they live their own lives.

Featured post

Light Up the World

On Thursday, November 13th, the Student Missions Fellowship gathered in Woerner Missions 104 for a time of fellowship, worship, and prayer for persecuted Christians throughout the world. Also known as SMF, the Student Missions Fellowship is a student organization that meets on a weekly basis to promote missions work and to inform students about how the Lord is working in other cultures, both on our campus and around the globe.

Charlie Herrera, Fundraiser Coordinator for SMF, and Renee Stoute, SMF President, created the event Light Up the World as a way to raise support for Interns from the World Missions Department, as well as spread awareness for the millions of Christians around the world who are being persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ. Kaitlyn Morrell, Prayer Band Coordinator for SMF, expands on the purpose of this event by sharing, “we acknowledged our freedom to worship and pray together and then we all prayed for the people who have to gather in secret. We prayed for the people who will die this year because they refuse to reject God.”

The event began with a time of fellowship as students gathered to prepare for worship. The SMF Council decided to have international worship, which means that international students led worship and sang in their native languages. Joy Lee, Worship Leader for SMF, gathered Angie Constante, Dania Morales, Baoseng Vang, Josh Vang, Angela Lor, Rosemarie Buzzy, and Jared Gordon to lead worship for the attendees. After the students worshipped together, there was a time for individual prayer where those attending the event were able to pray for different topics, such as the churches and countries where Christians are being persecuted. To wrap up the main event, a time of offering and communion took place. There were also some shirts and bracelets given away from The Voice of the Martyrs, a Christian non-profit organization that is dedicated to assisting persecuted Christians worldwide. Their ministry is based on Hebrews 13:3, “Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.”

Students beginning to gather and fellowship in Woerner Missions 104 before the time of international worship begins.

Students beginning to gather and fellowship in Woerner Missions 104 before the time of international worship begins.

Jenna Drucker and Karissa Glass prepare to set off their lantern during Light Up the World. (Photo Credit: Meredith Ringwalt)

Jenna Drucker and Karissa Glass prepare to set off their lantern during Light Up the World. (Photo Credit: Meredith Ringwalt)

After this time of fellowship, worship, and prayer, the students headed out to Earl Field to light lanterns and send them into the sky in honor of the Christians enduring persecution throughout the world. But before sending the lanterns off, students were encouraged to participate in a personal moment of writing down their prayers on pieces of paper and throwing them into the fire. “We encouraged people to write something they feel is getting in-between them and God, and then let it go as a commitment or reminder of what they need to work on in order to grow with God,” shares Herrera. Morrell also adds that burning these pieces of paper “showed that they were offering their prayers to God with humble and obedient hearts.”

Allison Haywood preparing to set off a lantern during Thursday night's event. (Photos Credits: Jessie Kerr)

Allison Haywood preparing to set off a lantern during Thursday night’s event. (Photos Credit: Jessie Kerr)

After looking back on the event, Herrera shares, “I hope that the students got out of Light Up the World what God wanted them to. I hope that they left with a greater knowledge of persecuted churches and I hope that persecuted churches become a part of their daily prayers.”

To find out more about The Voice of the Martyrs and how to take action, visit www.persecution.com.

Featured post

Staying Alive

It has been over three weeks since Spy Games was officially started and it is expected to last until the week of final exams. Many kills have been made, leaving the dead with crushed dreams, shattered confidence, and reconsidered friendships. However, there is a freedom brought with death. Those still alive are slaves to the game. One foolish decision and they are dead.

If you do not know what Spy Games is, you are probably confused or disturbed right now. For some clarification, Spy Games is an annual game at Toccoa Falls College. Students and faculty are eligible to play. The cost is $1 and in return the player receives a small watergun and a kill card. The kill card has the name and picture of another player on it. It is the player’s objective to kill the person(squirt with their gun) on their kill card and avoid whoever has them. There are various rules about what is an acceptable kill, for example a person cannot get shot inside. There are also immunity periods for chapels, sports practices, work, and other specific campus events. Once they kill their target, the player receives the kill card that person possessed. This continues until there is only one person left and that person is declared winner. The last person alive and the person with the most kills receive a prize of $100 each. It is surprising what people will do when there is $100 on the line.

This year Spy Games was considered a huge success because 225 people signed up to play compared to last year’s 110. No more than 20 people remain in the game. Somehow they have managed to stay alive. It may be a result of luck or it could be that they have serious skills as a spy. Last year’s winner and this year’s Spy Games Commissioner, Dalton Cofer, believes Matthew Thorpe and Daniel Ether to be the biggest threat. This interview was taken on Friday, November 14, and at that time Matt and Daniel were tied for most kills. However, a lot has happened since Friday, including the surprising death of Matt Thorpe. When asked for advice, Dalton suggested teamwork, “As the games go on it is helpful to work with one other spy as a team to last until the end. This has been a strategy by many spies from past years to help them win.” It is a wise strategy and players have been using it this year. Dalton also gave current players some hope, “As the games continue, the spies should look forward to [this week] as some helpful items will be provided in a cornucopia. These things could help them survive longer or make a kill easier than usual.”

Tiffany Rowlett has a lot of experience when it comes to Spy Games; she won during her freshman year! Tiffany has shared 5 tips for those who are still alive:

  1.  It is time to pick a team of people who you absolutely trust. Before this point, it is not safe to trust ANYONE. However, once there is a top ten, people start rooting for people and taking sides. Use this to your advantage and get people to start supporting you with info, protection, rides, etc.
  2.  Remind yourself why you want to win as often as you can.
  3. Do not be a dirtbag. You cannot check your Christianity at the door and be a jerk. Nobody cares to help a jerk, and it is unBiblical. However you put it, there is nothing real to gain from being rude and manipulative.
  4.  Just talk to people, they’re often more open to helping than you think. Some may just give a hint while others may help you the whole rest of the game. Be open to asking for help but not manipulative.
  5. Figure out who has you, but do not make any more alliances. There is only one winner and whoever forgets this is naive.

Staying alive is not easy. It takes skill and strategy. Paranoia can get the best of players if they let it. As the end of the semester is nearing, schoolwork and other commitments have started to ware them down.  It’s becoming increasingly tempting to give up. However, those with the strength, motivation, and heart will continue to persevere. They will dominate this game and two will be victorious.

Remember: watch everyone, trust no one.

 

*The featured photo was designed by Brandan Ritchey.

Featured post

Generosity

I: An Angelic Sense of Desperation

My fingers caressed the new, soft dress in an infatuated manner, and for a moment- one infinite moment that borrowed the all-encompassing embodiment of time- I let the gift be the most beautiful thing in the world.

The sleeves fell delicately at elbow’s length, firm and translucent. With my eyes, I traced the seam toward the shoulders and down to the innocent, wide-U neckline. The top half fit over, ceasing with an elegantly wavy chest seam. The curve of the hips dipped just in time for the fun skirt to wave on perfect tone to the wind. The plump, cotton fabric seemed to melt in my hand. A pastel peach hue drizzled with a creamy white floral print seduced my eyes. I felt myself drift into a daze.

Bringing the cloth to my nose eventuated in the smell of subway perils filling my nostrils. Sweat, mingled with the damp, thin air and the general musk of humanity moving on clockwork wafted through the crevices of the dress. A tinge of the fresh, frigid, upper-Georgian mountain air coexisted reluctantly with the underground odor. Lastly, a hint of dollar-store perfume lingered: the result of my gift giver’s futile attempt to mask all previous smells.

It took my gift giver two hours to get here by bus.

The Atlanta underground system was not a perilous place, a depressive place, or a place prone to leave a girl vulnerable to the judgments and realities of the world. Rather, it was a place where artistic expression displayed itself in everyone’s eyes, and where the most complex of thoughts clouded the brick tunnels. The most fragile emotions and complicated feelings of humanity could be tasted.

My gift giver had made her way through these tunnels earlier today; bag buried under her coated arm, with the gift, my dress, in it. The train system was familiar to her, and there was no longer the residence of fear, worry, or over-the-shoulder peaking. There were only thoughts which added to the intellectual soup. Such that, any other who knew the exact reason she was making a two-hour-long journey would assume her motive was generosity. But a native of the underground system would know that it was something more like desperation, trying to convince itself it was generosity.

To prove it simply: generosity would not travel on the metropolitan system for two hours to travel a thirty-minute driving-distance to my home to assure getting here before the peak of the flurry of the holidays. Nor would generosity venture out, knowing that the system does not come to my neighborhood, because the system wants to keep the homeless out of this area. Generosity would not hop on its bike and trek two icy miles down sidewalks, up hills, and over slush-covered concrete until it reached the front door of my little suburban home and knock, making sure to wipe off the fragile tears from its flower basket before I answered. Only an angelic kind of desperation would do that.

“Cassidy?” I had exclaimed as I answered the door, hair in a lazy heap, very surprised.

“Merry Christmas, Abigail,” her small voice rang as she held out the bag.

It was a small day, or so I assumed. It seemed happy when I unfolded the dress, and let out an involuntary “squeeh”; when I thanked her repeatedly, and her small albino-like cheeks went pink. It seemed small as I twirled it in front of my parents, and they clapped, and petted Cassidy, and asked her how she was, and she lied. It seemed casual as she ate with us what my mom had cooked: a chore which she had neglected to do yesterday, because my mother strives to please guests. All seemed right when she headed back out to complete another two hours back.

A week after that with a week until Christmas, all seemed right, as I sat in room vainly caressing my dress, to go out and give her a visit. I would thank her again for the gift.

Heart

It took me thirty minutes to get there by truck.

The address had been easy enough to find through multiple contacts. The condition of the neighborhood, however, told me that none of the contacts had ever been here.

Within a mile of point-B, I had driven into more of a run-down ghost town than anything else. Several old, rusty cars aligned each driveway. Three or four large, obnoxious dogs, surprised to witness a functioning vehicle, snapped after my tires, running along beside me until I overtook their chain length. Rugged, greasy houses aligned both sides of the uprooted road. Cigarette butts and beer bottles adorned each wet, slimy lawn.

The target of Cassidy’s address was less exciting. A variety of grasses stretched toward the sky, untamed, texturing the concrete above it. The makeshift home floated on top of insecure foundation, pressed against the bough-clouded backdrop in a reluctant state of consent. The textile of the structure displayed an unnatural stain, while its tinted windows denied passage to light.

My car teetered uneasily in the alleged driveway, providing me time to question whether an angel could live in this underground cavern. The engine then quieted just enough for the piano performance of Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee pouring through the windows to reach my ear. Somehow, I was at the right place.

Featured post

Hunger Games Weekend

Almost a year ago, hundreds of TFC students were on the edge of their seats after watching Catching Fire, the second movie in The Hunger Games Trilogy. Viewers were with left with many emotions after the credits ran. There was a sense of relief that Katniss Everdeen made it through her second Hunger Games, a feat that seemed impossible. There was confusion about the revolution that had been brewing, and the lies Katniss had been told to keep it going. There was anguish at the knowledge that Peeta Mellark was unable to escape the Hunger Games, and had been taken by the Capitol. Most of all, there was ancipatoon for the next movie to come out. The audience has to know what happens to the beloved heroes of The Hunger Games. Will the revolution be successful, or will the Capitol stop it in its tracks?

This Saturday, TFC students will have the opportunity to see Mockingjay Part 1, the first part of the final installment of the trilogy. SGA will be providing 150 tickets for free, and 150 tickets at the discounted price of $4.00. The money that the students pay for the discounted tickets will be put towards seeing another movie during the Spring semester. The tickets will be given out on a first-come first-serve basis. When the first 150 tickets are gone, SGA will begin selling the other 150 tickets. Students can receive a ticket by going to the Student Center at 9p.m. on Tuesday Nov. 18. The ticket will be for either the 10:00 p.m. or 10:15 p.m. showing on Saturday Nov. 22. (times are also on a first come first serve basis). The location of the movie is Habersham Hills Cinema.

To add to the Hunger Games excitement, SGA’s Social Life committee will be hosting an outdoor game night this Friday Nov. 21.  The game will be Capitol vs. the Tributes. The game will be similar to the game cops and robbers. The goal of the game will be to get to all the checkpoints without being caught. There will be four rounds, and the winner of each round will win a prize such as a Sonic gift card. SGA will be raffling off the first two Hunger Game movies. They will also be raffling off tickets to the Toccoa Falls vs. La Grange basketball game at Phillips Arena on Dec. 2. This will be a great precursor to watching Mockingjay on Saturday night. Capitol vs. the Tributes will start at 8 p.m. in front of LeTourneau Hall.

Make sure that you get your ticket for Mockingjay part 1 as soon as you can, because they will run out fast. May the odds be ever in your favor.

Featured post

The Winter Wonderland Weekend

For weeks there have been whispers about changes that will be occurring to this year’s Christmas banquet. Questions like “Can I buy my dress?” and “Will it be off-campus?” have been raised in casual conversations throughout campus. While the answers to these questions may shock students, Micah Brewer, head of the Student Government Association’s Special Events committee, is excited to announce that this year’s winter special event – The Winter Wonderland Weekend – is sure to not disappoint!

The Winter Wonderland Weekend seeks to bring a new experience for the students of Toccoa Falls College, while bringing back traditions of the past! The student body will still have the same experiences that have had at previous Christmas banquets. Students will again have the opportunity to dress up, dance, enjoy time with their friends, take pictures, eat a meal, etc. The purpose of this change, is not to take any experience away. On the contrary, it seeks to add a new depth to a beloved special event! The goal of this special event is to focus on the superior qualities of TFC, and to encourage the student body to enjoy the best that TFC has to offer!

Brewer explains that,  “The Point of  the Special Events committee is to offer special events during the most stressful part of the semester. It is to build community, reconnect with friends, and enjoy the final moments of free time given to them.” The purpose of the Winter Wonderland Weekend is to offer more experiences for more people to enjoy. A more traditional Christmas banquet with more traditional things to do.  Brewer states that

“The scales are tipped towards a better event. The Special Events committee will have more resources,  which equates to a more creative experience. More effort will be taken to make this weekend the best it can be, but effort is nothing to be afraid of. The purpose of the change is to emphasize how great TFC actually is. I fully believe that this place can be changed into a Winter Wonderland.”

Here is a tentative schedule of the Winter Wonderland Weekend…

Thursday, December 4th.: A candlelight dinner will be the formal event of weekend. Beginning at 5p.m. a formal dinner will be served in the dining hall. At 7p.m. Aaron Shust will be performing a free Christmas Concert in Grace Chapel. 

Friday, December 5th.: Coffee By the Pound will be hosting live Christmas music. Games will be set-up within the Student Center for the enjoyment of the student body. Keep reading to find out how you can get a free drink for this night!

Saturday, December 6th.: A Christmas Fair begins at 5:30p.m. at the center of campus. The fair will feature: firepits on the field; roasting of chestnuts and marshmallows; fresh popcorn and hot chocolate. Dancing will still occur with a dance-floor being a focal point.There will also be a tacky Christmas sweater contest; a gingerbread house contest; Christmas cookie decoration; games; and more!  The night will culminate with the  annual Christmas tree lighting at 8:00p.m.! Staff and faculty will be encouraged to attend and enjoy the festivities alongside students.

Questions you may have…

Who will be catering the candlelight dinner?
Chartwells will be catering the dinner. Chartwells offers three level of catering services. The Toccoa Falls Dining Services uses the first level currently. Those who attend dinner on Thursday will experience the second level of catering. A menu given typical Christmas meal

Will there be assigned seating at the candlelight dinner?
No, there will not be assigned seating.

Concerning the candlelight dinner, what is the assumed dress code?
Those attending dinner in the dining hall on Thursday, December 4th. will be encouraged to dress formally. This is a special event and so formal dress is expected.

What does that mean for the Junior and Senior banquet?
The annual Junior and Senior banquet will continue to be it’s own event. Nothing is planned to change concerning this event; furthermore, it will continue to be an off-campus banquet.

How will dinner be served on Thursday night?
Dinner is free for all; however, you are encouraged to reserve a ticket ahead of time. If you do not have a ticket, then you must scan you card to enter the dining hall.  By reserving a ticket, your meal will not count  towards your meal plan, and you get a certificate for a FREE BEVERAGE of your choice from Coffee By The Pound at Friday night’s festivities!  To reserve your ticket please message sga@tfc.edu with your name and MSC number, and it will be delivered to you through inter-campus mail.

The Aaron Shust concert free, but it is ticketed. If you plan on going to this concert, indicate in your email, and your ticket will be provided to you upon your admission to dinner. If you do not want to attend the concert, you are not obligated to do so.

For more information about reserving a ticket for the Aaron Shust concert email  music@tfc.edu

Featured post

Publish With the Talon

The Team at The Talon is excited to announce that the Official School Newspaper of Toccoa Falls College is now offering a new Creative Publishing Section. The Talon is in the process of expansion, aiming to make your school newspaper a more informative, diverse, and personal place to interact in. Through this new section, we hope to begin on the road toward a newspaper that covers more aspects of finer journalism and literacy that students may be interested in, giving our community more opportunities to contribute to and interact with one another.

Proposition:

  • Short Creative Prose. We are not accepting any poetry.
  • 3-6 installments
  • 500-800 words per installment

Requirements:

  • Should be your own original work. No fan fiction or skewed versions of other stories.
  • No novel excerpts. Story should be a complete work in and of itself.
  • No vulgarity, explicitness, profanity, or suggestive content.
  • Open to all genres. However, you are advised to keep your audience in mind. Not everyone will be responsive to Lord Toldor: Elf Master of the Dark Underworld & Detective Werewolf of the Mars Space Derby. (Unless, of course, you think they might be. Go for it.)

Submission Guidelines

  • Submit 100 word summary and rough draft of one installment to carmarowlett@tfc.edu.
  • Include name, grade year, major or perspective major, and a few words about yourself.

Somewhere in your mind a little white bulb may start blinking, and you are starting to recall a story that has been nestling in your heart-strings for a while now. Already, you can feel it wriggling inside, awakening from its sleep. The realization that you have something to say and the desire to say it is imminent. Yet, fear, bashfulness, doubt, and weariness make you hesitant to put forth the effort.

In order to motivate you to pull out your blank pages, here are a few words from the elites:

  • There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. Maya Angelou
  • If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you and you’ll never learn. Ray Bradbury
  • I wrote my first novel because I wanted to read it. Toni Morrison
  • If you want to change the world, pick up a pen and write. Martin Luther
  • You can make anything by writing. C.S. Lewis
  • The scariest moment is always just before you start. Stephen King

***

My name is Epiphany M. Hunter, with the M being mandatory- not in that it stands for mandatory, but that my name would lose identity without it. Writing is my life blood. I have always been writing- mostly competitively since the beginning of high school, in which I have had several successful wins. I will be kicking off the Creative Story Section to inspire others to join in with me. The first installment will be Tuesday, November 19th.

The Talon cannot wait to hear from you.