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Top 12 Places of 2012

2012 was a year crammed full of activity. I’ve been lots of places and done many things. In thanksgiving for all the good times, here is my list of the top twelve places I’ve enjoyed so much this year. I’ve listed them in alphabetical order so as not to upset any of these fine organizations and establishments.

Allgood Hall

Allgood HallMy office at Augusta State University and most of the classrooms that I teach in  are located in Allgood Hall. I enjoy teaching communication and I am thankful to the Lord for my job. I love my students and I love the faculty and staff at ASU. The building itself is quite attractive. My office furniture is beautiful, my Jaguar and Pittsburgh sports teams décor is fun, and my toys are the best on campus. The classrooms have about $30,000 of technology in them which, believe it or not, I know how to use. There is also a food court in the atrium. Come on over and visit. You are always welcome.

Augusta Christian Schools

My oldeAugusta Christianst daughter, Maggie, is a senior at Augusta Christian High School which is located on Baston Road in Martinez. My son, Andrew, who is home schooled participates in the Fine Arts program, and my husband, John, is a tutor for a home bound student. The faculty, staff, students, and parents at ACS are wonderful people who love each other and work to honor God as they provide an excellent education. This year I was able to see my daughter receive several academic awards (She is a straight A student.), and my son sing in several choral performances and perform in Beauty and the Beast. I am most appreciative of all that school has done for my family. May God continue to bless ACS.

Beaver FallsMy Dad's house in Beaver Falls

I was born and raised in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, and unfortunately, this year I was not able to travel home. Though I didn’t get there, that city will always be one of my favorite places. I miss my family and pray that 2013 will give me opportunity to return for a visit or two.

BiLo

My BiLo grocery store, on the corner of Belair and Columbia Roads, is within waBilolking distance of my house. It was renovated and redecorated a couple of months ago and it looks really nice. The management and staff practice good customer service and the produce department is great. Of course I feed my family from my purchases, but the bonus is the fuel perks. With a family of six, you can rack up a lot of free gas. My best fill up was when I paid only $26.00 for $50.00 worth of gas. I’m carrying around 55 cents off a gallon on my bonus card right now. You just can’t beat that deal. Thank you, BiLo!

Bojangles

Don’t judge me! A neBojanglesw Bojangles moved onto Belair Road on my way to Interstate I-20. I had never really eaten there before, and I’m not exactly a fried chicken fan, but I love those Cajun Filet Biscuits. I have to force myself not to stop every time I drive by. I’ve eaten more than a few this year. Mmm mmm good.

Christenberry FieldhouseChristenberry Fieldhouse

Christenberry Fieldhouse on Wrightsboro Road is the home of the Augusta State University Basketball and Volleyball teams. I am a Jaguars fan. That place has given me hours of sports viewing fun with family and friends. The athletes at Augusta State are some of the nicest young people you’ll know and they won an academic excellence award from the Peach Belt Conference, so they’re smart, too. Go Jags!

Home

The Trigg HomeEven though it’s messy and noisy, my home is an all-time favorite place. It houses the people I love most in the world. Our doors are always open to guests. Stop by and have a bite to eat and watch a movie with us or play a game. If you need to relax or to get away from the craziness of the world let us be your haven. I cannot guarantee any snow on the roof, but there will be warmth inside. There’s no place like home.

Jaguar Softball FieldJaguar Field

I am the faculty Huddle-Up partner for the Augusta State University Softball Team. What a great group of talented and intelligent young women. And their coach, Melissa Mullins, is simply the best. The sun isn’t always shining there, but you’ll find a double header every time and some great plays on the diamond. The season will be upon us soon. Come on over to the field at the Christenberry complex on Wrightsboro Road. Take me out to the ballgame!

La Bonbonniere

La BonbonniereYou’ll never crave mass-produced chocolate again once you’ve tasted the handmade fine Belgian chocolate from the La Bonbonniere chocolatiers, located on the corner of Fury’s Ferry and Riverwatch Parkway. The chocolate makes a wonderful gift, and the store is a great place to take out-of-town visitors. The ladies behind the counter have fabulous customer service and you can schedule tours of the kitchen or attend a chocolate making class. If you have never been, treat yourself to this deliciousness. Your taste buds will thank you. My favorites are the ganache and the amaretto.

Martinez Church of Christ

Martinez Church of ChristThe Martinez Church of Christ is housed at the corner of Belair and Oakley Pirkle Roads. I’ve worshiped with this group of Christians for almost 20 years, and you won’t find a more loving, serving bunch anywhere. My family has been blessed again and again by the generosity and warmth of these people. We assemble Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings, and Wednesday nights. Then we are in and out of each other’s homes throughout the week. If you are looking for a church home where you can grow closer to the Lord, learn His word, and fellowship with His children, please join us.

Panera Bread

Panera BreadOn the second Saturday of each month, you will find my daughter, Maggie, and me gathered with the most wonderful group of knitters, crocheters, and loomers on the planet at the Panera Bread on Robert C. Daniel Parkway in Augusta. We call ourselves GRITS ‘n’ GRINS (Girls Raised In The South and Girls Raised In Northern States) and we make handmade items for charity. This year we made over two thousand items for The Salvation Army, SafeHomes of Augusta, International Seafarers, MCG Cancer Support Group, and more. You’ll GROW (Girls Raised Out West) to love these wonderful women as much as I do and have a great time while doing worthwhile work. If you already do needlework or would like to learn, come on over and join our cause. You’ll find wonderful management and great customer service at Panera, and they encourage us in our work.

The Big MoThe Big Mo

There aren’t many drive-in movie theaters left, but The Big Mo in Moneta, South Carolina is one of the best. My family, our visiting relatives, and our friends from church made several trips to the Big Mo this past summer. I saw The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, Brave, and The Amazing Spider-Man. The price is extremely reasonable (less than one ticket at the indoor theater) and you get to see two movies each time. Maybe I’ll see you there in 2013.

Though I can’t say this next place is one of my favorite, I must give an Honorable Mention to:

University Hospital

University HospitalMy mother-in-law, Vernell Trigg, passed away on December 20th and we spent a good bit of time with her at University Hospital throughout this year. I am thankful for the good doctors, nurses, and staff at the hospital who helped us make Mom’s last year on this earth as comfortable as possible. No disrespect intended, but I hope we don’t need to enter those revolving doors at all this coming year unless it is to visit a new baby.

Well, that’s my Top 12 in 2012. I wonder what new fun place will surface next year so that I can have a Top 13 in 2013?

Kathleen M. Trigg

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Pistorius: What’s in a Name or Label?

What does Oscar Pistorius have to do to be called able-bodied?

If you were not one of the more than 26 million people watching the Olympics (NBC’s weekly viewership average, according to a Washington Post article last week), Pistorius was born without either fibula and before he was a year old, both of his legs were amputated below the knee. He is known as the “Blade Runner” and the “fastest man on no legs”. He ran in the Olympic 400m and the 4 x 400m relay with his South African teammates. He will also compete in the upcoming Paralympics in London.

The NBC announcers covering his events kept contrasting Pistorius with the other “able-bodied” runners. What isn’t able-bodied about Oscar Pistorius?! He is fast enough and strong enough to compete in the most prestigious,  competitive, and historically significant international sporting event on the planet. True, he has carbon fiber lower limbs to walk on, but the training and conditioning he has endured and the balance alone he maintains certainly qualify him to be called able. His dedication through adversity should shame me to tears for my neglect, every time my Wii Fit tells me I am obese and unbalanced as I step on it with the two healthy legs I was blessed with at birth.

I don’t mean to criticize the announcers, because as one who teaches communication, I am having trouble finding appropriate words: partial-bodied vs. full-bodied? Sounds like we are discussing beer. Challenged vs. less challenged? What Olympic athlete isn’t fully challenged? (Let’s leave Usain Bolt out of this discussion.)

Am I being picky about word-choice? You bet I am. Maybe I am hypersensitive these days about names and labels.

The university where I teach is embroiled in turmoil over a recent renaming.  Consolidation with another university in the same city necessitates a new moniker.  An unpopular name has caused students, staff, faculty, alumni, donors, politicians, journalists, broadcasters, and other community members to unite and rise up against the state’s Board of Regents–the body ultimately responsible for making the offending choice.

In an attempt to ease my own feelings over the matter, and to be gracious, I turned to William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliette and posted on facebook: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.” Not that I am qualified to argue with the Bard, but, what may be true about roses isn’t necessarily true about runners or universities and the people who have to wear the names or labels.

We were taught as children that sticks and stones may break our bones, but names can never hurt us. I wish I could find the academic research studies to quote, but if my memory is accurate, broken bones heal more swiftly and completely than the psychological scars inflicted upon people by careless or mean-spirited words.

When I teach my students about word choice, my first rule is accuracy. Call it what it is. If you mean you are looking forward to something, say you are eager, not anxious. Don’t say the professor gave you a grade if you earned it. If you got drunk and got behind the wheel of a car you didn’t have an accident, it was a crash or wreck. NASCAR certainly knows the difference between the two. You’d never hear Darrell say, “Oh no! look at that accident on turn two.”

I don’t know how Oscar Pistorius feels about not being labeled able-bodied or being called handicapped or disabled (literally NOT able–not able to do what?!). I do know that there are a lot of people in and around Augusta, Georgia that are not happy about wearing a name that they feel does not accurately describe them.

The words we choose, the labels we apply, the names we bestow are important. They influence what we think and feel and who we become.  I can understand the intense emotion behind having to be called something you know you are not. Those clothes just don’t fit comfortably, and many times they can make us look bad.

I think Oscar Pistorius can change the way we think and talk about physical abilities. According to his official website, his sports motto is, “You’re not disabled by the disabilities you have, you are able by the abilities you have.”

What’s in a name? As it turns out, a lot of vigorous and vested interest. Who knows how or if the university name controversy will be resolved. Let’s just not say it really doesn’t matter. 

There’s something about the song, Danny Boy

Yesterday, I was the lucky recipient of a four leaf clover that my dear friend, Jim Waid found in his back yard. He and I share an Irish heritage. Both of us have a grandfather who immigrated to this country during a potato famine. We have joked that they may have sailed here on the same boat. I find it amusing that Jim managed to locate a rare “shamrock” so close to our only Irish holiday.

I celebrate every St. Patrick’s Day with my family. We don’t drive to Savannah and get drunk on green beer or attend the parade through downtown Augusta. We do eat corned beef, potatoes, and cabbage cooked to perfection by my non-Irish husband, and we watch an Irish movie. In the past we have viewed The Quiet Man, Finian’s Rainbow, Yankee Doodle Dandy, Darby O’Gill and the Little People, and The Secret of Roan Inish. We haven’t decided yet whether we will seek out a new film or revisit a favorite one this year. I am, however, excited to have discovered the website, www.irishfilm.net, that has the potential to provide years of viewing pleasure.

On March 17th, we also play our DVDs of Celtic Woman and Celtic Thunder, and sometime during the day I will sing Danny Boy to my children. My love of that song runs deep, both for the message it conveys and the part it plays in my own history.

There is something both sentimental and strong about an aging mother lovingly sending her last remaining son off to battle. At least that is the meaning my Irish mother told me. Conveying that poignant moment through a beautiful yet haunting melody is heartrending. Londonderry Air is a folk tune that is so old that no one really even knows who wrote it or how to find out, and so popular that more than one hundred songs are sung to it.

If you aren’t familiar with the lyrics of Danny Boy, here is the version with which my mother sang her nine children to sleep:

Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
From glen to glen, and down the mountain side
The summer’s gone, and all the roses falling
‘Tis you, ’tis you must go and I must bide.
But come ye back when summer’s in the meadow
Or when the valley’s hushed and white with snow
For I’ll be here in sunshine or in shadow
Oh Danny boy, oh Danny boy, I love you so.

And when you come, and all the flowers are dying
And I am dead, as dead I well may be
Ye come and find the place where I am lying
And kneel and say an “Ave” there for me.

And I shall feel, though soft you tread above me
And all my grave will warmer, fairer be
And when you bend and tell me that you love me
Then I shall sleep in peace until you come to me.

Frederic Weatherly, an English man, is credited as the lyricist. Knowing the historically rocky relationship between Ireland and England, I find it amazing that the song has become so near and dear to so many American Irish immigrants and their descendants.

It is also interesting to note how many different people from different genres of music have performed and recorded the song. Some artists just that I am aware of who have recorded it are: Maeve (from Celtic Woman), Conway Twitty, Bing Crosby, Elvis, John Gary (my favorite Irish tenor), Glenn Miller, Judy Garland, Slim Whitman, Sam Cooke, Harry Belafonte, Patti LaBelle, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, Cher, Thin Lizzy, Carly Simon, Harry Connick, Jr., and Eric Clapton. Its appeal spans generations and styles.

Beyond its commercial value, I love it for the memories it evokes. Wherever I am when I hear the tune, my mother comes to mind. She loved the song and sang and whistled it around our home. As I mentioned before, she sang us to sleep with it along with Swinging on a Star and An Irish Lullaby (Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ra).

My youngest brother, Gavan, played the song at my Aunt Ruth Gavan’s funeral mass as the processional. Thirty years ago you could not play a popular song as part of the liturgy, but there was a song in the hymnal set to Londonderry Air, so he was not actually violating Catholic Tradition though he was definitely taking advantage of the coincidence. Gavan also sings the song to perfection.

My own children have heard me sing it plenty of times. When they were little, I followed my mother’s bed time ritual, but now I sing it most often when I am homesick for my family in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

These days, I can rarely make it through the second verse without my voice quivering and tears pouring down my cheeks. My mother passed away from cancer (I hate that disease!) a few years ago. The last time I was home, I went to the cemetery by myself, stood at her grave and sang the song to her, and told her that I love her. I trust that she is sleeping in peace until I go to her someday.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! May the luck of the Irish be with you and do yourself a favor and listen to someone’s version of Danny Boy before the holiday is over. It’s not just a good idea, its tradition.

March 15, 1012

Holy Habits

Be our strength in hours of weakness,
In our wanderings be our guide;
– Love M. Willis –
from the hymn, Father, Hear the Prayer We Offer 

I left my house to visit a friend today and I was halfway to somewhere else before I realized I was going in the wrong direction. I’m afraid to admit how often my car seems to drive itself when I am behind the wheel. If I am not entirely focused on the present task, my body will habitually drive straight for the destination I travel to most often, even if I am not supposed to be going there.

Automatically following a regular routine isn’t the best navigator in an automobile, but in our spiritual life we can benefit from developing and maintaining godly habits. At a very young age, my parents taught me to say thank you, and that expression of gratitude comes so naturally that I even say “thank you” to my vehicle when it beeps to tell me I’ve left the keys in the ignition. From the time I was in my mother’s womb, I have assembled to worship the Lord to begin every new week. Giving thanks before meals and saying my prayers before sleep are also habits formed in childhood.

What habits can I begin to develop for the Lord  today that will carry me through middle age and into my senior years so that I may be found faithful in the end? Lord, help me to have a servant’s heart so that I may without even thinking, live your word.

Thy word is everlasting truth;
How pure is every page!
That holy book shall guide our youth,
And well support our age.
– Isaac Watts –
from the hymn, How Shall the Young Secure Their Hearts?

 

God Bless America

The kingdoms of earth pass away one by one,
But the kingdom of heaven remains;
It is built on a rock and the Lord is its King,
And forever and ever He reigns.
– R.R. Trickett –
from the hymn, The Kingdoms of Earth Pass Away

The United States was born 234 years ago today. Happy Birthday, America! Amidst the cookouts and the patriotic music and the fireworks, I am thankful that the Lord decided to allow me to live in the land of the free and the home of the brave. I am mindful of the men and women who have fought and died to preserve that freedom.

I am also reminded that though I am a citizen of the United States of America on earth, heaven is really my home. And the freedoms of speech, the press, and religion which we Americans hold so dear, diminish when compared to the freedom from sin which cost Jesus His perfect, earthly life and purchased salvation for me– for eternity.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
– Isaac Watts, 1707 –
from the hymn, When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

Divine Display

Lord, how Thy wonders are displayed,
Where’er I turn my eye:
If I survey the ground I tread,
Or gaze upon the sky!
– Isaac Watts, 1715 –
from the hymn, I Sing the Mighty Power of God

Last week, it rained while the sun was shining. A rainbow stretched from one side of the sky to the other and it was so vivid I actually saw every distinct color, even the purple/indigo. I was amazed. I could not stop looking at it.

My cousin, Sue, takes the most beautiful photos of nature. She posts flowers and moonlight and glistening lakes on her facebook page. She has a wonderful perspective on the most hidden away intricacies of God’s handiwork. Her images reveal the artistry of our Creator. I enjoy seeing the world through her camera lens.

I got caught in a storm driving home from work a few days ago. It was frighteningly awesome. The rain was flying sideways– driving flags, traffic lights, and hanging signs horizontal. The thunder was explosive and the lightening split the air like a twenty-one gun salute. I pulled off to the side of the road until tree branches started pelting the car. I moved on, even though I had trouble seeing, because I didn’t want any limbs to fall on my van. Eventually I pulled into a parking lot of a grocery store and watched the rain create a rushing river alongside the cars. It was a little unnerving, but I tried to focus on the storm as a display of just some of God’s power. The One who wields that power is watching over His loved ones day and night.

Be still my soul;
the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them
while He dwelt below.
– Katharina von Schlegel –
from the hymn, Be Still My Soul

 

 

Timely

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun;
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Then when we first begun.
– John Newton –
from the hymn, Amazing Grace

Time is behaving very weirdly with me these days. Some things that happened a year ago seem like they happened last week, and sometimes things that happened last month seem like they happened last year. I understand that the older we get time seems to fly by faster. I also know intellectually that time proceeds at the same pace as it has since God designed it. However, when you are five years old, a year seems like an eternity because it is twenty percent of your entire life. I will turn fifty this year and one year to me is just two percent of my life. It’s a perspective thing.

Numerically I can make sense of time seeming to go faster as we get older. It’s the fact that it can also seem to drag by at the same time that is just odd. Is it because I try to cram so much life into every day that what took place two weeks ago seems like six months ago because I live at such a crazy pace? Well, I just can’t really explain it. Time is unpredictable for me and it isn’t always on my side.

Lord, please help me to live one day at a time (Matthew 6:34). Help me to use my time wisely (Colossians 4:5) while I am here on the earth. Help me to trust you all the time (Psalm 62:8) no matter how slowly or rapidly it seems to move in my life. Help me to regularly set aside time now, by myself as well as with others to give You the praise you deserve (Psalm 34:1) . . .

Till in heaven we take our place,
Till we cast our crowns before Thee,
Lost in wonder, love and praise.
– Charles Wesley –
from the hymn, Love Divine

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