Monthly Archives: February 2017

Winning (DeAnna Lockett)

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BANG! All at once, the eight sprinters spring out of the starting blocks into a strong head wind. With their heads low and knees driving forward, they accelerate around the curve. My heart pounds while I stand planted in the exchange zone blocking out the fierce roar of the crowd. I spot Alice nearing the end of her 100 meters ahead of the pack. I shift my weight back and forth on my balls of my feet. My head dips below my shoulder, and my eyes stay fixed on her cycling feet. It’s time. Adrenaline surges through my body driving one knee forward and the other follows. My elbows swing back and forth until Alice calls, “STICK!”

Without delay, I throw my arm back, palm flat. Alice thrusts the baton into my left hand. I tighten my grip around the baton and dig my spikes into the track. The cheers of my parents, teammates, and coaches are all around me. My body shifts gears. All I feel is the wind carrying me, and to my satisfaction I do not feel the presence of my other competitors catching up with me.

Olivia is less then 20 meters before me, so she pushes her body forward into a sprint. All I can think about is how last year she and I were disqualified at the State Championship at this very point in the race for failing to handoff the baton in the allotted exchange zone.

“Trust your training,” I tell myself, “We’ve got this.”

We are arm’s length apart. I yell “STICK!” She swings her arm back, and I plant the baton in the center of her right hand. I open my mouth to shout encouragement, but my wide smile will not allow my voice to carry very far. I run across the field to meet her on the other side of the track, and my eyes witness the gap stretching between her and the other runners. I reach the 300 meter mark just in time to see Olivia and Hannah execute their hand-off perfectly. A competitor is on Hannah’s heels, but Hannah accelerates.

Alice, Olivia, and I meet Hannah as she crosses the finish line inches in front of our most forceful competitor. With arms outstretched, we pull each other closely and celebrate our first place victory.

Don’t Look Behind You (A Short and Scary Tale by Josie Benson)

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In the darkest shadows, a figure is lurking behind you. The figure is abnormally tall, really skinny, and has many arms. He wears a black and white suit, and he has a featureless face. Don’t look at his face or he will grab you.

You might still have a chance. Run as fast as you can. But beware, he is supernatural and can materialize in front of you when you least expect it. His name is Slender Man.

Most everyone has heard the legend of Slender Man, but what most don’t know is that he is anything but a mere legend. No one can escape his supernatural presence. He can absorb, kill, or merely take you away. If you look at his face, there is no turning back. He lurks behind you in the dark shadows, waiting for the perfect moment to attack.

He only hunts his prey after sunset and in the dark of night. You might think if you find a light source or a shelter to hide in you would be safe, but nothing can scare him away from you. Nothing can stop Slender Man. He is always there waiting to get you when you least expect it.

He might not catch you, but just the thought of him can make you go insane with fear. The fear of Slender Man has caused even innocent children to commit heinous crimes. To tell if someone is under his control, there are signs which are amnesia, bouts of coughing, random nosebleeds, delusions, and paranoid behavior.

Do not be afraid of him. He can sense fear. The more fear and paranoia you have, the more likely he will be to come after you. Whatever you do do not be afraid of him.

The Blessing of Being Overwhelmed (Olivia Clement)

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In an attempt to bring comfort to someone in a difficult situation, you have most likely heard someone say, “God never gives you more than you can handle.” The more I have thought about this statement, the more I’ve realized that it is lacking.

I know from firsthand experience. God gave me more than I felt I could handle when he led me to go to New York City on a mission trip in June 2017. God knows that my response to mission trips has always been fear. I am afraid of planes, the turbulence on the planes, and even the multitude of germs in the planes! I am afraid of approaching a Tibetan Muslim I have never met before to boldly share the gospel of Christ. I am afraid of being uncomfortable.

Nevertheless, I am certain that God is telling me to go, so I am going. Not because I feel like I can easily handle it, but because he is teaching me. Naturally, in my own strength, I sometimes approach God’s plans with fear, hesitancy, or anxiety. Yet I am reminded of one of Paul’s letters in which he encourages Timothy not to be ashamed of the gospel and reminds him of the salvation and calling that God gave him. Paul states, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Tim 2:7). Like Timothy, many of us fall into a spirit of fear. In our own strength, we definitely cannot handle the challenges of life and the often uncomfortable callings God has for us. This is why I believe that God gives us more than we can handle, so that we will realize our need for the Holy Spirit to give us power, love, and self-control.

Consider ways in your own life that you are falling into a spirit of fear. When you feel like you cannot handle something, it is probably because you cannot. But you can with the Holy Spirit, who makes us strong in our weakness. In reality, God does give us overwhelming situations, but only because he wants to remind us that he will never give us more than we can handle…with Him.

PSA: The Consequences of Anemia (Camilla Lemons)

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My breath left me every time I walked up the stairs. Lugging around my backpack was a greater pain than usual. I got plenty of sleep each night but remained exhausted during the day. I dreaded cross country practice. My primary means of relieving stress had become a stress in and of itself. Even though I had been running consistently for several months, my legs still felt like bricks every time I tried to move them. It was not until my first race that I finally admitted something was definitely wrong. My time was over four minutes slower than my previous races, and I had felt miserable every step of the way.

I went to the doctor soon after, hoping and praying that this problem had a simple solution. I discovered that I was low on iron, or in medical terms, anemic. I began taking iron supplements twice a day as prescribed by my doctor to combat this deficiency. After a few short weeks, I felt a tremendous increase in energy with an added bonus of faster times in races.

Anemia often goes undetected even though one in four teenage girls have an iron deficiency. Shortly after I learned of this deficiency, two more girls on the cross country team discovered that they were anemic as well. If I, along with the other two girls, had known earlier about our iron deficiencies, then we could have avoided a painful and discouraging season. Awareness about anemia can help other teenage girls become and feel much healthier. If you have any of the above mentioned symptoms, consider consulting your family physician about possible anemia.