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Summer Bucket List

As the masses descend upon the great sandy shores of unfamiliar beaches or besiege the family dwelling with sleepy eyes and the urge to binge Netflix, the time will pass by faster than one might think. Instead of achieving a state of mindless spontaneity, consider this time a chance to explore the unexplored. Enjoy the unknown, and even reinvent the known. I am writing to all who would like to participate in a new kind of fun, a renewable bucket list. A summer “put drops in the bucket,” instead of kicking it.

The following are some ideas to help the summer become an experience to remember:

  • Disc Golf! Even if you cannot throw the discs far, disc golf can be a great stress reliever spending an hour or two chucking objects toward a goal. As for the discs themselves, a surprising amount of people are getting into the sport, and because of this, discs can be found almost anywhere. The discs on the lower end are only a few dollars and would last long enough to determine whether or not the player wants to put a little more money in. Also, courses are generally free and expansive. It has never been a better time to play a new up and coming sport!
  • Star in your own movie! With a good majority of Americans having access to a smartphone and almost a century worth of film ideas, why not make a small movie? First, grab a phone (most shoot HD video), grab a friend, and spend a couple hours in varying locations making stuff up as you go. Next, upload it onto a computer, download a free editing program, and go to work putting in wacky transitions and anything else that could be fun. Finish the product and show it to friends. Laugh, learn a new skill and love the experience.
  • Host a dinner party! So sports are not your thing. Maybe making a movie is too much work. How about hosting a get together with friends and food? Gotta have a break from the beach every now and then, right? What’s better than food, movies, and AC? (credits to Kinsey Whittet for the idea)
  • Servanthood through recycling knowledge! Have you ever wondered how recycling material works? I mean really, what happens? When we toss our cardboard Triscuit boxes, or our electronics away how can they be reused? Maybe, this summer would be a good time to gather up a bunch of recyclables around the house and set up an appointment with a local recycling plant manager. You could possibly see a tour or at least learn a lesson in understanding how recycling works. Its worth a shot, and I am sure that someone out there would be willing to share the process to an interested college student. You never know, by having the knowledge you could really be making a difference. If not, then at least you recycled!

As the summer continues, take the time to focus on building relationships with those around you and exploring God’s creation. Summer is a wonderful time to make memories with the ones you love. Having the opportunity to share a fun idea with a friend may make their day. Relaxing on your summer vacation is great, but remembering the moments of sitting by a bonfire or fishing with your family are the best of memories. The summer bucket list could become a trend for every summer.

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Faculty Spotlight: Professor Griffin

Well-known and loved by many at Toccoa Falls College, Professor Joyce Griffin has been teaching at TFC for 18 years. The college asked her to become a professor after she had returned from living overseas as a missionary in Argentina. At first, Professor Griffin was an adjunct professor, but she eventually moved into a full-time.

When asked for her favorite passage of Scripture, Griffin had a hard time choosing—because she loves the whole Bible, of course! However, she was able to narrow it down to two passages. Currently, Psalm 23 is very special to her. Throughout this Psalm, God reveals Himself to be a loving shepherd to His people, instead of a harsh judge. God has been using this truth in Griffin’s life lately, as she has been going through a study on the Psalm with the girls in her Barnabas group. The second passage that Griffin chose is Philippians 4:4-9. These verses have been a comfort to her throughout her life, helping with anxiousness, correcting her thinking, and helping her to rejoice in various circumstances.

Next, Griffin gave three interesting facts about herself:

One time when she was riding in a tiny plane, the engine failed. The pilot was forced to crash the plane in a field. Luckily, everyone was ok, but  it has become quite the story to tell!

Second interesting fact, when she was little, she was locked inside a men’s restroom at a campground in Quebec, Canada. The other people in the restroom only spoke French, so it took some time before she was able to escape.

Lastly, she  reveals that she was once a co-star in a three-act Christmas play for a church in Argentina—her office is in the World Missions building, in case you want an autograph.

Griffin says that her favorite part about working at TFC is the students. She loves being able to build relationships through mentoring, teaching, and everything else involved in working with students. Ask her what her least favorite part about teaching is and she instantly answers “grading papers!’. Griffin’s craziest memory at TFC involves some students from her department. One year, the seniors had thrown a Christmas party for the professors in the Global Ministries Department. Legend has it, that the student impersonations of the professors and the White Elephant gifts went a little crazy that night.

Professor GriffinGriffin offers these three pieces of advice for students at TFC:

  1. Take your classes seriously and learn everything that you can. Even if it does not seem applicable now, it will build character and life skills.
  2. Make relationships and invest in them. Learn this now, so you can do it in the post-college world.
  3. Get all kinds of experience while at TFC. Figure out who you are as an individual in God through these experiences.

It can definitely be said that many TFC students  are very grateful for Professor Griffin’s work. Her love for Christ and for students shines in all that she does. She loves to laugh, which is fitting because she makes her students laugh as well. She is a joy to have as a professor, mentor, and friend. Thank you, Professor Griffin, for serving the Lord the way you do! Simply put, you are fantastic, and your ministry at TFC is beyond valued by all!

 

 

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In Honor of Mothers Everywhere

When one thinks of a mother, words such as caring, kind, and wise usually begin to come to mind. Mothers play a huge role in the lives of their children, and this does not stop when the children start to grow up.

College students often find themselves completely flustered by situations faced by adults every day. For some, cooking is a prime example of this. Recently, one TFC student found herself with three large pots of beans, when she only intended to make one small pot for herself. Though stuck in a sticky situation, this college student knew exactly what to do. It was time to call in the expert: her mom. A mother’s advice seems to be able to fix most everything. In the case of the excess beans, this superhero mother’s solution was quite simple: freeze them in Ziploc baggies and save them for later. Good mothers are always there to help out their children, even with the tiniest of crises, such as having cooked enough beans to feed the entire school.

Moms are special people. From day one, many moms are ever-devoted to caring for their children. They give and give, and expect nothing in return. When they do not feel good themselves, they can often be found taking care of others. If something is wrong, a perceptive mom will know right off the bat. Usually, she will also know just what to do to help fix it.

Unfortunately, it is all too easy for people to take their mothers for granted. Sometimes, a mother’s love can be misinterpreted as over-protective or nosy. Instead of shoving a mother’s questions aside as insignificant, it is important to value them and answer them fully.  Mothers desire to be connected with their children, and it is hard for a mother to let her children grow up.

With that in mind, college students should remember that the occasional phone call to keep mom up-to-date can make a huge difference.

It is also important to note that a mom does not have to be a biological mother in order to be a mom. Many of the world’s greatest moms are not the biological mother of their children. These women are very special individuals who deserve just as much honor as any other mother.

In Proverbs, there is a description of what a godly woman looks like. This description is found in the latter half of chapter 31. This chapter is a good reminder of all that goes into motherhood and it shows that the job description is not easy. The Proverbs 31 woman is hard-working and valued by all those around her. Verses 25-26 say, “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” This is an excellent description of what a good mother is for her children; she has much wisdom to impart to them and her words are kind and loving. Verse 28 says, “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also praises her.”

Though it is easy to do this on Mother’s Day each year, it is important to recognize that mothers deserve this year-round.

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Praying for the SMF Interns

Every year, Toccoa Falls College sends out a group of interns who go overseas to do mission work. Often times, these students are cross-cultural majors, but in some cases other majors go overseas as well to fulfill their internship requirement. Every year, these students raise support, they raise awareness. They leave the comfort of home and family. They leave their friends and they go where the Lord is sending them. Every year, they come back with stories of joy, of growth, of pain and trials, of sorrow, of rejoicing, and ultimately stories of the Lord’s goodness in their lives.

This year is no different. The semester is coming to a close and as students are turning in the last of their papers, studying for finals, and preparing to leave this place for another year, there is a group of students who are also preparing to leave for the summer to go and serve where they have felt led to go.

There are over twenty interns this year, and they will be dispersing to go all over the world. Some are headed to the Middle East while others are headed to Thailand and some are going to Bosnia and others to various other locations. Some are going for the summer, and some are going for a semester abroad this coming Fall.

These interns have been working hard all semester to raise money through various Student Mission Fellowship events and sending out their support letters. Many people have given financially to support this group of interns, and the interns are overwhelmed by these people’s generosity. However, the interns still need support, but the support they need now looks a little different. They need people’s prayers and encouraging words. So many people have gathered in prayer for these interns, but it doesn’t need to stop now. The prayers need to continue and overflow throughout the summer and coming semester.

Prayer is powerful. Students are encouraged to commit to praying for an intern this summer and let the intern know that he or she is being prayed for. This is an incredible opportunity for the body of Christ to gather around their very own who are about to go out into the harvest. It is an exciting time, but a scary time as well.

Here are a few prayer requests for the interns:

  1. Strength for the journey.
  2. The Lord’s provision.
  3. Peace and confidence.
  4. Adapting to a new culture.
  5. Building relationships and sharing the love of Christ.

 

If anyone is interested in learning of more specific prayer requests, go and find an intern and ask them how you can be praying for them. There is a wall in Woerner Missions Building where pictures of all the interns have been hung up and each intern is holding a sign of their intended destination. One can take a look at the wall and see where students will be in the coming months.

In addition, next Wednesday, May 4th, is the last SMF of the semester. Dr. Crosby, a cross-cultural professor at Toccoa Falls College, will be speaking and he will be commissioning the interns to go out this summer to serve the Lord. At the end, there will be a time of prayer for the interns. All TFC students are encouraged to attend and be a part of this commissioning service whether it is as a friend to an intern, someone who supports missions, or someone who simply has a heart for people and wants to send the interns off with prayer and a hug. All are welcome. It is sure to be a special night.

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Taste of Toccoa

Taste of Toccoa hosted its 26th anniversary providing an evening of food, fun, and friends on April 28th.

This historical occasion offers different foods from local restaurants for people to enjoy. The event was hosted from 5 to 8 P.M. to bring the community together and share the experience of Toccoa life. The downtown area of Toccoa was closed off to set up booths, rides, and entertainment for both locals and visitors to enjoy the atmosphere of Toccoa. Taste of Toccoa helps advertise for small town business, coffee shops, and restaurants. On a beautiful, sunny day in the Northeast Georgia Mountains, people certainly took pleasure in an evening full of good food and friends.

Taste of Toccoa’s operation is fairly simple. As one walks into the downtown area, booths are set up for people to buy tokens for fifty cents each. After buying tokens, one can use them to buy food, coffee, or dessert at the different catering businesses and restaurants. At the end of the day, the tokens were counted and entered into a competition. The booth that received the most tokens wins a prize and the money is split between the city and the business.

Attendees were able to vote at the WNEG radio tent for their favorite foods. Businesses were challenged to bring their best spring menus. Eight different awards are offered every year to the favored food companies. As the voting was taking place, one of the volunteers at the tokens booth explained that she loved the event every year as she watched people interact and enjoy the different activities.

While walking past young children with funnel cakes and fellow college students curiously looking for food, everyone seemed to delight in the camaraderie that was built around the community.

Faith Newey, who is Toccoa Falls College’s Director of Leadership and Service, was helping with the Rotary table. Rotary is an organization of businesses that help with community needs. Faith explained that she has been coming to Taste of Toccoa since she was a student in the 90’s at Toccoa Falls College. She has enjoyed each year and loves to see all the people interact with each other.

Another table called the Stephens County Food Bank, Inc. provides non-perishable food and canned items for those in need. Also, connected with the Toccoa Soup Kitchen the volunteers explained that the organization has helped feed the hungry for over 25 years. Not only were tables meant to advertise food, but encourage the community to help others in need.

Taste of Toccoa is a fun, historic event that symbolizes the importance of community life. Interacting with one another allows people to grow and experience their culture together. One evening out of each year, people are given the opportunity to observe small town businesses while enjoying one another’s company. Taste of Toccoa truly fulfills a loving community inspired to help one another.

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Meet Martha

Hello there!  I’m Martha Mae, and I’m just tickled that you’re here. It isn’t often that I get visitors this far out. But if they do make it out here, nobody leaves with the bout of melancholy they came in with. You see, I just have that special knack for advice givin’. My mama had it, and so did her mama, and well, here I am with the same skills. I always seem to know just what to say to make a soul feel better.

Oh, but there I go, rambling along, but you don’t know nuttin’ about who I really am. I guess the first thing you oughta know is that I moved here from Savannah, GA. I was the prettiest girl in Savannah… Well, at least that’s what daddy said, but then mama would always shoot him a look that let him know she didn’t ‘ppreciate losing the contest. Anywho…

I make the best dang peach tea and pecan pie that will ever grace your taste buds. My pie has won blue ribbon at county fair for the past three years now. My mama and nana have taught me all their household runnin’ secrets. I’ve been married for nearly 50 years now. I’ve worked with people my whole life in different job endeavors, always following dreams. I love to paint and draw overlookin’ my back crick.  I’m just a regular ole southern gal still looking for adventure.

My kids are all grown now trying to give advice to little kiddos of their own. My husband spends his days fishing and cracking some smart aleck jokes in the rocking chair next to me. I’ve got some life under my belt and I want to share it with you, youngins.  It’s time my advice givin’ skills were put to good use.

I say all of that to let you know a little of who I am and why I can help you. All you have to do is ask; I won’t tell nobody your name or who you are. That’ll all be our little secret. So, come and sit a while with me on my porch and I’ll try to help you the best I can with what the Good Lord gave me. I hope we can learn a little from each other.

If you do decide that you would like to contact me to advise you in your time of need, honey, you can reach me by e-mail at: ComeToMartha@gmail.com.

I would love to help you. After all, these grey hairs aren’t just for show. Where else would you find this much knowledge in one place? Come back soon!

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Owning A Local Business

Victoria Head gave insight into what it is like to own a local business and left advice for aspiring business owners.

Toccoa native, Victoria Head, owns local bakery, Victoria’s Sweet Treats. Started in 2013, “Victoria’s” is relatively new; however, it continues to grow. Running her own business has given Head much experience and insight. In an interview, she explained that it has been both difficult and worthwhile.

Head said that the most difficult aspect of owning and running a local business is the management of both time and resources. While Victoria’s is rapidly increasing in popularity, it has a very limited staff.

“As the business has grown, it has been challenging to keep up with the demand in the space I am currently in with the staff I currently have. It requires long hours just to keep up with the orders and then on top of that, there is the ongoing need to manage the business’s finances and supplies to be able to continue operations.”

Head compared owning a business to having a child in the sense that “the work is never really done.” She said that the list of things needing to be prepared or accomplished seems endless.

Owning and running a local business has been rewarding for Head. “Knowing that a product or service you provide brings joy and happiness to someone else is a great feeling.” While encouraging those who aspire to own a business, she reminded them that it is a commitment. One must be willing to give one hundred percent effort.

Head also advised future business owners to become very familiar with their community and customers. She said, “If you do that, your customers will keep coming back and that is what keeps a business going.” Connections are crucial to businesses, especially in small areas.

Head believes she has followed her calling by opening her own bakery. While owning a small business is not easy, she has found it very gratifying.