Cajun Time

Christmas Eve is only three days away, which only means one thing for my family.  It means it is time for all of my family to gather around the living room and listen to Gram’s Cajun Night Before Christmas reading.

21569_103382296352858_1837629_nEven though the children and grandchildren are older, the excitement from the reading will never change.  Everyone still laughs at Gram reading, “Mo’ fas’er an’ fas’er de’ gator dey came. He whistle an’ holler an’ call dem by name: “Ha, Gaston! Ha, Tiboy! Ha, Pierre an’ Alcee’! Gee, Ninette! Gee, Suzette! Celeste an’Renee’! To de top o’ de porch to de top o’ de wall, Make crawl, alligator, an’ be sho’ you don’ fall.””  There is never a face in the room that isn’t smiling as Gram narrates while showing each picture.

Over the years, we have tried reading other versions of the Night Before Christmas, but there isn’t one that will ever compare to The Cajun Night Before Christmas.  Let this be the year you start a new tradition whether it be making ornaments, waking the children up with a Christmas bell before they can go see gifts from Santa Claus, or even the reading of The Night Before Christmas.



Never Give Up. Never Give Up; Keep Strong.

10406865_912868985404181_6853601644672863495_nOn December 6, 2014, Min Hampshire was able to mark something off of his bucket list.  Min has been bravely fighting brain cancer for over a year now.  Being a former resident of Jenkins Kentucky,  one thing he wanted more than anything was to attend the Jenkins Christmas Parade and see all of his old friends.  Sadly the weather forecast brought some concerns to members in the city and led to the devastating news that the parade would be cancelled.  After arranging a special ride in the parade for Min, Karen and Rick Corbett as well as the rest of the Jenkins Fire Department knew that something had to be done.  They all knew that there had to be something they could do to still help the dream come true.  Karen and Rick started thinking and the idea of a “Min Parade” came to mind; even though the city parade was cancelled, there was no reason there couldn’t be a check off of his bucket list.  People came together and made sure that Mother Nature didn’t “rain on their parade” and helped make a memorable day for a very special young man.


Min has always been the kind of person that makes you realize just how special life is.  He is a kind hearted soul that has made a huge impact on everyone’s life.  As teacher, Sonya Breeding, stated, “He just makes it an honor to be around him, and it just makes you realize how precious life really is, and how we should enjoy every moment, and live to the fullest just like Min does.”  In an interview with WYMT, Min addressed that his situation wasn’t easy at first but he made peace with what the future holds for him and that he hopes people take away a message from his story. “Before I was really mad about it, but now I’m just calm. [I want to say something to] all those people out there right now: Never give up. Never give up; keep strong.”


People came together and helped make this day happen.  The fire department pulled out every fire truck and 10689490_912866415404438_3959523582217741656_nrescue vehicle in the station, WYMT came, people came to the library to celebrate with Min while others lined up in their cars, even the police joined in their cruisers; this was a parade many can never forget.  There was not a dry eye when Min seen all of the trucks lined up for him and that he would be escorted in a truck by the one and only Santa Claus, proving that “Santa is real!”

Everyone needs to take a few lessons from this young man: never give up no matter the obstacle, always stay strong, and never lose sight of your dreams!


What if Christmas, Perhaps, Means a Little More?

16594_726296977394717_1139137757_nAs Christmas approaches, people rush 1620669_726297250728023_91737345_nstore to store in fear of not getting enough presents for their loved ones.  Many individuals place focus on gifts, however, Christmas is about so much more.  Decorations, food, traditions, memories, music, religion are after all the reason for the season. 155855_174613919229695_685159_n

There are numerous recorded events that show that the tradition of giving and receiving gifts date back to at least the 4th century; a Christian Bishop, St. Nicholas, was known for giving to all children as well as those less fortunate than he.  This generosity of giving gifts quickly spread all over the world.  There are st-nicholasvarious stories about St. Nicholas, however, the most known story is the one about the hanging of stockings: “A recently widowed man and father of three girls were having a tough time making ends meet.  Even though his daughters were beautiful, he was worried that their impoverished status would make it impossible for them to marry.  St. Nicholas was wandering through the town where the man lived and heard villagers discussing that family’s plight.  He wanted to help but knew the man would refuse any kind of charity directly.  Instead, one night he slid down the chimney of the family’s house and filled the girls’ recently laundered stockings, which happened to be drying by the fire, with gold coins and then he disappeared.  The girls awoke in the morning, overjoyed upon discovering the bounty.  Because of St. Nick’s generosity, the daughters were now eligible to wed and their father could rest easy that they wouldn’t fall into lonely despair.”  The tradition of hanging a stockings and gift giving has continued through today.

As time went on, the main focus of the season became the gifts.  Many people sit and stress over what to get others for Christmas, but gifts are not the reason for the season.  People need to stop and think about what Christmas really is about.  In the book, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Dr. Suess wrote, “What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store?  What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little more?”  Christmas is the time for giving, but why is the giving always gifts that are bought from a store?  Don’t spend your Christmas stressing over presents, instead remember why we celebrate such a wonderful holiday.  Give a little of your time and your heart and you can still have a wonderful holiday. christmas-carolers-1wtnat.2RMS_MIA123-outdoor-Christmas-lights-decorations_s4x3_lgbeautiful-christmas-tree-ideas


Day In The Life Of A Fire Chief

Richard Corbett, also known as Rick, is the current fire chief at the Jenkins Fire Department, with the responsibility of keeping the community safe.  10271371_822464504444630_790341175036380894_oAfter graduating from Eastern Kentucky University with a degree in fire science, he earned a living working as a fireman in Gatlinburg, Tennessee while his wife, Karen,  worked as the band director in the Jenkins school system in Jenkins, Kentucky.  Two years later after the birth of their second child, Rick moved back to Jenkins, Kentucky, giving up something he loved doing to better his family.  Rick then attended the University of Kentucky, Hazard Community College and earned a degree in Medical Laboratory Technology.  After earning his second degree, Rick made a living working as the laboratory technician at Whitesburg Appalachian Regional Hospital while also volunteering at the Jenkins Fire Department.226337_425547067497410_606239329_n

Rick always knew that he wanted to be a fireman and make a difference in the world.  When asking Rick what inspired him to be a fireman, he laughed and stated that he always enjoyed the big red trucks and could imagine himself driving one to a call.  When he was five years old his neighbor was a volunteer fireman and he would always take Rick to the fire station.  While he always knew he wanted to be a fireman, being at the station inspired him to reach for this dream.

Rick has had several people in his fire career that have made a large impact on his life.  Richard Bogart (also known as Bogie); Fred Brandenburg, Captain in Richmond, Kentucky; Rodger Ogle, fireman in Gatlinburg, Tennessee; and James Shults, Captain in Gatlinburg, Tennessee are some of the few individuals that have made the largest impact on his life.  Each person he has met during his life of fighting fires has made an impact in different ways, however, each have helped him become the firefighter that he is to this day.

During his fire career, Rick has had numerous runs that have changed his life.  Out of the countless runs he has made there are only a select few that still haunt him to this day.  One run that changed his life was the time that his Cub Scout’s mother’s home caught on fire leading to her death, Rick was the one that had to go into the fire and bring her lifeless body out.  Rick also remembers the time that there was a forest fire in Neon, Kentucky and two people died in it, this event hit home and is something he can never forget.  The most 531471_417104088341708_2066471237_nmemorable run he has ever went on, however, was the Rebel Corner Fire in 1992; he is proud to tell people that he helped fight such a fire in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

In 2009 Rick was honored by the City of Jenkins with the Outstanding Citizen Award.
When Rick accepted his award, he spoke more about the people around him that made this award possible instead of making it about himself.  As Mayor Charles Dixon stated, “Our city has traditionally been a group of proud people who work hard and come together to face adversity.  We garner our strength by joining together in a spirit of volunteerism with a determination to make our community better.  Rick is a shining example of being an unselfish community servant.”  Rick is a kind hearted soul that will always put others before himself which shows when he risks his life everyday for the safety of others.

Rick has been the fire chief of the Jenkins Volunteer Fire Department for twenty-five plus years and is still strongly active.  He inspires numerous young men to follow his footsteps and become firemen as well, including his son Matthew Corbett.  He has made a huge impact not only on the fire department but in the city as well; he is instrumental in updating the department and works tirelessly to support the City of Jenkins.  All of his hard work shows at the department as well as in the city, as insurance rates have dropped.  When Rick first became fire chief, the station consisted of two trucks and was located below City Hall; now there are two stations as well as a large fleet of fire trucks and other rescue vehicles.  Rick spends many of his nights at the station filling out reports or figuring out ways to better the department, his work is never complete.


Be Who You Want To Be

If there is one thing I love about internet, it’s that I have the ability to keep up with the most recent “Trending” topics.  Throughout the day, I am constantly watching the trending topics on both Facebook and Twitter.  On November 19, I found that none other than Barbie was trending; being a huge Barbie girl growing up I wanted to see what the deal was.  I skimmed through various things when I noticed they all had two words in common, “Normal Barbie.”

Barbie was manufactured by Mattel, Inc. and launched in 1959.  Many young girls grew up with Barbie, myself included.  Barbie was originally a teen model, but as years passed she had countless careers (over 150).  With the countless outfits, accessories, homes, forms of transportation, etc. Barbie had the ability to be whatever you desired her to be.  Barbie also came with slogans to inspire young girls, “We girls can do anything.” “The fate of the world is in the hands of daone beautiful girl.” “Be who you want to be.”


I was the girl that had more Barbie’s than she knew what to do with.  The girl who received countless Barbie’s for any occasion, because she was obsessed.  I will admit I may have had too many Barbie’s but as it turned out they all served for a purpose.  When I was younger and playing with my Barbie, I didn’t realize I was also learning a valuable lesson every female should learn.  As I changed her outfits, switched forms of transportation, alternated her accessories, sent her on various excursion , and even changed careers I was learning that anything is possible.  To me Barbie wasn’t just a blonde or brunette doll that I wanted to look like, but she was a doll I wanted to be like.  Barbie stands for a strong meaning, not to make girls that don’t look like her feel ugly.  From experience, girls do want to be like Barbie but not look wise, they want to be the girl that can do anything she wants to do.  My parents’ taught me that beauty lies within the eyes of the beholder therefore, I never wished I could be as skinny or as pretty as Barbie.
829420150_1371948989 2012-brunette-holiday-barbie

So what exactly is this “Normal Barbie?”  The new Barbie is a brunette doll with movable elbows, hands, knees, and feet that has the average body proportions of a 19-year old female based on data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention The “Normal Barbie” has a sticker-extension pack that includes cellulite, stretch marks, freckles, acne, glasses, tattoos, scratches, moles, bruises, dirt stains, etc.


I’m not saying that the “Normal Barbie” is a bad thing, but when did Barbie’s looks become the huge factor.  The original Barbie showed girls that anything is possible, to me this “Normal Barbie” is showing young girls that looks are what will get you through.  Society today puts the main focus on looks when truth is, looks can only get you so far.  As for Barbie, stop focusing on her looks and realize what she really stands for.


The Rest of The Story

The other day I heard someone ask, “What school around here got the death penalty?” and I felt my body tighten up.  One thing I absolutely cannot stand is hearing people talk about something they do not know about.  This person went on to say, “They received it for breaking the rules of recruiting or something like that.” and that’s when I found myself speaking up.khsaa basketball
The school this person was referring to is Cordia High School in Eastern Kentucky.  The school did indeed have to face some consequences for their actions, but many do not know what these actions truly were.  Being from a school in the 53rd District (same as Cordia), I knew more about the situation than the person I heard making these remarks.  As USA High School Sports said in their article, Cordia was proven to be guilty of “allowing a staff member to lease housing to the family of a student-athlete without ever receiving payment. Providing plane tickets on two occasions to a student-athlete so he could travel out of state. Facilitating housing for a student-athlete at no cost to him or his family. Providing money and clothes to student-athletes.”  These violations led to a ban on Cordia’s play; it was ruled that Cordia is not allowed to compete in the 2014-2015 season as well as the 2015-2016 post season.  Cordia also had to forfeit wins from last season (23 total).  There was also a probation on the school’s athletic program up until the 2018-2019 school year, as well as an aggregate fine of $25,980.

V0rxK.AuSt.79KHSAA  adds that among the penalties imposed by the Commissioner are:

  • Suspension of the Cordia HS boys’ basketball team from playing scrimmages or contests during the 2014-15 regular and postseason, as well as the 2016 postseason. During its suspension, the school would be permitted to conduct regular season practices from October 15 until the first allowable day for district tournament play. Included in this penalty is a stipulation that representatives of the boys’ basketball team with eligibility remaining may transfer to specific KHSAA member schools without penalty;
  • Forfeiture of all boys’ basketball games from the 2013-14 season for the use of at least one ineligible player in all games. The score will be recorded as 2-0 for all games which Cordia won, and the game score will remain the same for losses but will be noted as forfeits;
  • Probation for Cordia’s interscholastic athletic program through the 2018-19 season. With this probation, Cordia will be placed on conditional membership, with its membership status to be reviewed at the end of the 2014-15 school year to determine whether its membership should continue to be recommended for approval by the Board of Control beginning with the 2015-16 season. Also as part of its probation, all Cordia coaches and athletic administrators shall be required to attend an in-service workshop in Lexington, conducted by the KHSAA staff concerning Association Bylaws and Kentucky law that affects interscholastic athletics during the 2014-15 school year. Additionally, an Assistant Commissioner will also be assigned to work directly with the Superintendent of schools and the Principal of Cordia to ensure development of policies, procedures and best practices to be implemented in the athletic program;
  • Suspension of two members of the Cordia HS boys’ basketball coaching staff from the 2014-15 postseason boys’ basketball tournaments sanctioned by KHSAA.
  • An aggregate fine of $25,980 for various infractions per the fine schedule in Bylaw 27.

IMG_6661Two days ago, I read that Cordia was proven guilty of 17 of the 27 violations, but the board voted to uphold most of the penalties that the school faced.  The five-year probation as well as the fine were lifted and the school is allowed to play a maximum of 15 regular-season games, however, Cordia was banned from post season playing for the next two years.  As it turned out, the board was split when it came to banning Cordia for the entire 2014-2015 season.  Floyd County Superintendent, Henry Webb, stated, “I sympathize with the students in this situation.  I would encourage us to think about not punishing the kids for the adults’ mistakes.”

As Paul Harvey would say, “Now you know the rest of the story.”

07/28/14 – Cordia High School Receives Sanctions From KHSAA; Boys’ Basketball Team Suspended From Play in 2014-15,ky)/basketball-winter-13-14/schedule.htm
Kentucky prep basketball program hit with death penalty for violations

Is It Worth It?

When going through my Facebook news feed today, I came across a post that caught my attention.  I am not usually one to read the articles/stories that my friends share, however, this story was different.  I read, “This Grieving Dad’s Facebook Picture Is So Incredibly Chilling That It May Just Save Someone’s Life.”  As I read this title, I looked at the image of two men and a little baby, and I wanted to know just what might save someone’s life.

I started reading the post by Caroline Schaeffer, “Mike Stollings’ son Jeramie was 20 years old when he passed away earlier this week. Jeramie was a new father to a 10-month-old son named Asher, and he had recently gotten a new job.”

As I got farther into the post I started getting chills, then came the picture.   1897881_10203518563577964_3861817250910406228_nI’m not sure if it was the fact that this man took a picture of his son or if it was the fact that this 20 year old was laying there lifeless, but I couldn’t look away.  I started to read Mike Stollings’ post with this picture and I found myself crying. “lets take another look at how fun drugs are…………… this is my son about an hour after the funeral home got him late monday afternoon. when he died he had been bleeding out of his ears and had blood in his hair and foam in his mouth. they were kind enough to clean him before we got there. his body was ice cold from being kept in a refrigerator. my cold dead son.” I continued to read, “many of you know jeramie was pretty open about his relationship with LSD. he was a little more quiet about his love for Dextromethorphan. despite the begging and pleading from me and many others in his family he craved the trip and was obsessed about it.”
You can see the full post with the image below.

After reading this this father’s post, I was inspired.  I always knew how serious drugs were, but his post did in fact open my eyes even more.  Don’t choose the path of death.  If you are doing drugs just for fun, stop and think.  Is a moment of fun really worth the lifetime of hurt you will leave the ones you love?  Is the moment of fun worth harming yourself?  Is the moment of fun worth any of it?

I promise you that help is always available; if you don’t want to go to your loved ones look into other options.
If you aren’t the one taking drugs, chances are you know someone who is.  Be the safe place that they need.  It is never too late!