BRCLM Lagniappe, February 2018

Finding God … When the Unthinkable Happens

Finding God …

Rachele Smith

When the Unthinkable Happens

What does it mean to have an intimate relationship with Christ? Does it mean studying the Bible and developing a deep understanding of scripture, possibly one similar to a biblical scholar? Or is an intimate relationship more personal, one that involves meditation, honesty and prayer from the heart?

Certainly, there is no right or wrong answer as most Christians would agree intimacy happens whenever an action draws you closer to Jesus.

But for one Baton Rouge woman, it took the action of another — the unthinkable and horrendous action of a perfect stranger — to remind her that God is always near and his love is far deeper than ever imagined.

In the late 1990s, Staci Polozola was the victim of a violent crime. She was kidnapped and taken at gunpoint to another state. The ordeal lasted 18 hours yet somehow in those hours, “God’s grace was all over me,” she said.

“I still remember the exact spot on the interstate where I made the decision to make peace with what was happening,” she said, explaining that in her fear, she sought refuge with the only one she knew could help. But as her eyes and heart looked to heaven, her deepest desire wasn’t personal. Instead, the story of the Cross flooded her mind, and as she reflected on Christ’s Passion, she began to see her situation differently.

“I said to God, ‘Father, forgive this man,’ and almost immediately, I felt this calmness come over me,” she said. As she began to “let go” and experience an incredibly intimate and overwhelming sense of God’s love, her feelings of fear and anxiety were removed, she said. “By surrendering, I was able to trust God completely. In that instant, I knew everything was going to be okay.”

Prior to her ordeal, Polozola said she believed in God and always had a faith, but she was focused on getting by on her own. “It was all about me at that time,” she said, explaining that by allowing and accepting God’s plan for her life, even during such an intense and terrified moment, she was able to endure.

And there were other benefits. By trusting God and keeping her high levels of fear and anxiety in check, Polozola was ultimately able to break free from her kidnapper, who was later arrested, convicted and sentenced.

Polozola believes that with God’s grace, she has been able to move forward, but she continues to seek and experience a deep relationship with God through personal prayer and works of faith, which include volunteering in prison ministry.

She said some people who know her story are surprised that she can help those imprisoned, but Polozola understands not only the value of every life, but also the value of releasing bitterness and learning to forgive. “Some people hold on to hate, even with things less tragic, yet it drains the life out of you. You can’t live with that,” she said, offering encouragement for anyone wanting to develop an intimate relationship with Christ.

“It begins by making a conscious decision,” she said. “Every day, it’s a decision you make when you say, ‘I’m going to trust in God, and I want to improve my relationship with him.’”

Baton Rouge Christian Life MAGAZINE

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BRCLM Lagniappe, February 2018

To Everything, there is a Season

To Everything, there is a Season

It’s not certain when, but in the coming months, the Catholic community in Baton Rouge will welcome a new bishop and say goodbye to the beloved Bishop Robert W. Muench. In December, the Bishop announced his plans to retire after 15 years in his current role.

According to Canon Law, bishops must submit their resignation to the Pope when they turn 75. Bishop Muench celebrated his 75th birthday on December 28. Only when he receives a reply from Pope Francis will his resignation become effective, and it’s impossible to predict how long the process will take.

In an article published in The Catholic Commentator, Bishop Muench said his years as bishop have constituted “the richest blessings of ministry I have ever received.” And he added that it will not be sad or difficult to move on. “There is an appointed time for everything under the heavens,” he said. (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

The bishop was born in Louisville, Kentucky, and was raised in New Orleans. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of New Orleans in 1968. His career has included roles as religion teacher, guidance counselor, liturgy director, school chaplain, associate and co-pastor, vocations director, assistant to the Archbishop, Vicar General, Auxiliary Bishop, and Bishop.

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BRCL Image Dale Brown
BRCLM Lagniappe, February 2018

We Need Leaders with Faith and Character

We

with

Need Leaders

Faith and Character

by Dale Brown

If there was ever a moment in our history when leadership was needed, it is now. With all the greed, dishonesty, selfishness, evil, and bad things going on in the world, we need good leaders. A common quality of great leaders through the ages has been their mastery at articulating a vision of the future. They see something that is not yet there and can relay the image to others. In any leadership position, the most important aspect of the job is getting everyone to work together. 

However, working together is only a beginning.  The world needs leaders who find their strength in faith and character. Exceptional leaders will get their team members to feel they’re an integral part of a common goal. How is this done? This may sound odd, but the underlying theme of teamwork is our ability to convey a renewed sense of optimism. Teamwork doesn’t just happen – it takes a captain to steer it in the right direction. The role of the captain – whether it’s a coach, teacher, father or mother – is to give the ship direction, purpose, and ultimately success.

We need to make a difference, but we can do it only through the grace of God. I am convinced that we are capable of solving any problem, whether it is race, crime, poverty, terrorism, pollution, drugs, or whatever plagues humanity. 

“The role of most leaders is to get the people to think more of the leader. But the role of the exceptional leader is to get the people to think more of themselves.” — Booker T Washington

You, with God’s help, are responsible for your future. You’re really free the moment you don’t look outside yourself for someone to solve your problems. You will know that you’re free when you no longer blame anyone or anything, but realize you control your destiny and are capable of changing the world. People can be divided into three groups: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened. We’ve got to decide which group we will be in. 

The most important thing to God is our relationships with one another. He made us in such a way that everybody needs somebody. And God’s idea for success is a community, a group of people who are committed to each other and who strive to follow his will. Communities and nations will be transformed when humanity returns to God and his purposes. Humans have not advanced a centimeter in the history of the world by fighting, hating, killing, and cheating. The only notable advancement humans have ever made is becoming brothers and sisters who labor toward a common goal. You see, the best potential of “me” is “we.” So the question in our life journey is not whether God can bring peace, love and happiness in the world. The question is, can we?

Dalebrown2

Legendary Coach Dale brown spent 25 years leading the LsU Tiger basketball Team. Under his coaching, the team earned Final Four appearances in 1981 and 1986. His full story will be featured in our March issue.

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BRCLM Lagniappe, February 2018

Testimony of the Intimate Heart

Testimony

of the

Intimate Heart

by Pamela Gauthier

Intimacy – a close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person or group.

And He ordained twelve that they should be with him and that he might send them forth to preach… (Mark 3:14).

The story of Jesus’ relationship with his disciples was one of love, pain, betrayal and restoration. and Jesus said to them, “Come and dine.” This was after broken fellowship had taken place before His death, burial and resurrection. These were the men that He’d spent His time on earth building, shaping and preparing to turn the world upside down. They had once enjoyed sweet communion and closeness. They followed Jesus everywhere as He built their faith and taught them His ways. He called these men and chose them for a special purpose. even though they had a great relationship, when He needed their support the most, they all left him.

Many of us have experienced broken relationships in this way. as children of God we are called for a special purpose. When we receive the gift of grace, through our personal relationship with Jesus Christ, we can enjoy sweet communion and fellowship with other believers. The testimony of Jesus and His disciples sets the stage for all of us to glean from, whether it is marriage, business or parenting … there will come a time when all relationships will be challenged.

In the parable of the sower, Jesus explains that the word of God is like seed being sown into the ground. When the seed of the word is properly sown into a heart, it produces the right fruit (Mark 4). Relationships are the main places this principle can be tested. In this parable, you can see the closeness between Jesus and His disciples. Even though He taught the parable to the crowd, He took His disciples apart from the crowd to explain its meaning to them. Jesus wanted them to see how powerful the word is when sown into our hearts and how it exposes our innermost thoughts and desires (Hebrews 4).

Before Jesus’ death on the cross, He told his disciple Peter that he would have to endure an overwhelming temptation that would cause him to deny Jesus. He also encouraged Peter that He had already prayed for him so the temptation would not overtake him (Luke 22:32). Peter did indeed deny Him, as did all of the disciples.

Jesus is the living word and because we can depend on His great love, we have no need to try to impress or hide who we really are. When we’re true to Jesus, we can then be true to ourselves and others to achieve greater intimacy in our relationships.

When it came time for Jesus to restore the relationships with His disciples, He met them right where they were, in a state of confusion and desperation. The disciples felt they had disappointed the Lord and failed Him. The beautiful part about intimacy is that Jesus is always ready to forgive and restore. Jesus extended the invitation to them to come and have breakfast with Him. After they’d partaken of their meal together, He encouraged them, loved on them and restored purpose to their existence once again (John 21).

He extends this very invitation to us all. We have only but to believe, trust and “come and dine!”

ballet04

Pamela Gauthier is a writer, poet, and owner of HearTune Creations Poetry. Pamela is married to Ronnie Gauthier and is the mother of four and grandmother of five. She began her journey writing poetry as a way to lift the spirits of those in nursing homes. Her goal is to touch the hearts and lives of others whenever encouragement is needed

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BRCLM Lagniappe, January 2018

Revelation of the Word

Revelation of the Word

by Sharon Holeman

The year was 1991 and I was a college student in San Antonio, Texas working to support myself and pay for school. I lived much like the other students I knew – weekly beer parties in between responsibilities.

But things were different now. I had been spiritually attacked, and I knew my only help would come from God. I didn’t know what else to do, so I started to read my Bible each night before bed. I started with the first chapter and read straight through. I didn’t understand much of it. The names were hard to pronounce and many of the countries were places that no longer existed. I wasn’t sure how it was helping, but I knew He was my only hope.

One evening after I had done my nightly reading, I felt like I should continue, so I did. I read a little more, but still was not feeling a connection or finding any relevance to my life. I struggled to read more, but my heart wasn’t in it. I decided I was done for the night. As I closed my Bible, I had a very distinctive, yet nonchalant thought: “Oh

well, if God wants me to keep reading He’ll tell me.” At the very millisecond that thought finished in my mind, BOOM! CLASH! Lightning struck and thunder boomed. It shook my entire room. A treasured item from my childhood, a wooden Jesus fish, fell out of my window and onto the floor. I flew off the bed and huddled in the corner of my room, as far away from the window as possible. I was shaking; afraid to move. God had just spoken to me. There was no denying it. This was not coincidence. There was nothing haphazard about the timing of the lightning bolt or the fact the only thing that moved in my room was the representation of Jesus.

I do not remember if it rained that night, but I am certain there were no other room shaking thunder claps or lightning strikes. And I know I desperately needed God during that time of my life. I needed to know He still loved me and that all hope was not lost. Lovingly, in that moment, God was there. His message to me was one I will keep with me all the days of my life: God is real. God is with us. God loves us and wants us to read the Word, His Word. 

“ You were shown these things so that you might know that the Lord is God; besides him there is no other .” – (Deuteronomy 4:35 NIV)

As time passed, I began to feel more secure, more normal again. I continued reading my Bible every night although I rarely prayed. I started to slip back into the ways of the world. The moment I had so clearly experienced with God was left to memory as I grew comfortable, complacent and caught up in life. Eventually I stopped reading all together.

I was silly and foolish just like the Israelites. I forgot. I got caught up in my world — my needs and my desires. I stopped seeking the Lord, stopped reading my Bible, and was unfaithful to Him. Fast forward to April 2006 when my life changed for good.

I re-committed my life to the Lord and I have never looked back. As a newly dedicated Christian, I was exposed to the Scriptures through teachings on Sundays, but in the spring of 2010, a sweet lady entered the store where my husband was working, and as their conversation turned to the Lord, she told him about a resource that has become invaluable in my daily walk with God’s Word.

It’s  called the Daily Audio Bible. It’s a digital app that goes through the One Year Bible, read by Brian Hardin, who lives in the rolling hills of Tennessee. Each morning he reads part of the Old Testament, part of the New Testament, some from Psalms and a portion of Proverbs. After the reading, he gives a short commentary and a prayer. This daily time within the Word has blessed my life so much! I have a greater understanding of the Word because I know more about the context.

2018 will be my seventh consecutive year of going through the Scriptures in a year with the Daily Audio Bible. I have found the sustenance I need is within his Word! I cherish my morning time in it and understand that His Word is alive! It speaks to me in the circumstances of my life. It gives me revelation in times of need, inspiration to believe in miracles, and the faith to walk out my days in collaboration with Christ.

“ Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. ” – (Romans 10:17 NLT)

There are other great resources available too, and I encourage you to fiercely search for the one that works for you. I promise there is no better way to start your day than in the Word of God and with prayer. It is worth the effort to find an extra 30 minutes of alone time each morning. Here’s to a year ahead filled with more of Him!

If you’re interested in the Daily Audio Bible, search your app store or go to dailyaudiobible.com. Look for the red windmill logo.

Sharon-Holeman

Sharon Holeman is a writer and photographer living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She was the project creator, coordinator and co-author of the book Backyard Miracles – 12 American Women, 12 True stories, 1 Miraculous God. Previously published in Her
Glory and inspire Louisiana , she is now penning her first screenplay. Ministry Today
showcased one of her photographs on the cover and several others as article imagery. Sharon is a graduate of the University of Texas at san Antonio and The Art institute of Houston. she is currently attending Bethany College to further her pursuit of the Lord and His Word.

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BRCLM Lagniappe, January 2018

Good News! Dunham School Earns “Distinguished” Recognition

Good News!

Dunham School Earns

 “Distinguished” Recognition

For the sixth time, the Dunham School has been named an Apple Distinguished School, proof that its leaders are producing the next generation of innovators, problem solvers and game changers.

The Apple Distinguished School Award is given to schools that demonstrate technological innovation, leadership and educational excellence that inspire collaboration, creativity and critical thinking. Under the guidance of Nikole Blanchard,

(From left) Dunham Director of innovation and Technology Nikole Blanchard, Head of School Steve Eagleton, Apple Vice President of Education John Couch, and Apple Sales Executive Jana Hart.

Director of Innovation and Technology, the school has created a curriculum that incorporates iPads, MacBooks, BreakoutEDU Boxes, 3D printers, virtual reality, coding, robotics, and explorations in Dunham’s Innovation/STEM Labs.

Apple Vice President of Education John Couch attended a Dunham home football game on November 10 to personally present the award to the school.

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BRCLM Lagniappe, January 2018

Join Our Team Make a difference


Lizzie Copeland, Team Captain

“I started working at Chick-fil-A on College Drive in May of 2015. I had just graduated from high school as a home-schooled student, and it was my very first ‘real’ job. From the beginning as a team member, I have had the opportunity to become a team trainer and eventually a team captain. During my time here, I have learned skills in the areas of customer service, food

safety,  leadership, and communication that will now follow me wherever I go. In addition to working, I have been able to pursue musical endeavors, travel, and be active in my church. I look forward to finishing my college studies online through Lumerit in 2018. My favorite thing about working at Chick-fil-A has definitely been finding ways to use my job to serve others and make people smile. The friendships and memories made with my team will last a lifetime!”

Monturios K. Howard, Assistant Manager

“November 11, 2011 … I shall always remember that day as a very important day in my life. I had been homeless for six months and was sleeping on friends’ couches and floors … anywhere to rest my head for the night. I was out of school because I could no longer afford it and I really had nothing to be proud of or call my own. I remember my first day at Chick-fil-A like no other. I told myself this

fast food thing was just not for me. Who would have guessed that six years later, the former bun toaster boy would be a manager and about to graduate college in May 2018? The growth I have experienced in life started to manifest itself the first day I stepped into the restaurant. Chick-fil-A has given me the confidence to be whom I choose to be, and has taught me life skills that have helped me tremendously. Talking to guests every day at the front counter, meeting new people on a daily basis, and helping my coworkers achieve their goals are all skills that have helped me take leadership roles on campus. From my role in student government or as the LSU NAACP chapter president, I have learned things from Chickfil-A that will last a lifetime.”

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BRCLM Lagniappe, December 2017

Living Beneath the Surface

Pictured are the Bruns children: Palmer, Sutton, Mason and Bennett Bruns.

Living Beneath the Surface

by Krista Bennett-Bruns

Editor’s note: The Christmas season is a joy for us as Christians, but the holiday can also bring painful memories. We are grateful to the author for bringing a heart-felt look at the reality of experiencing loss and new purpose.

” So we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are unseen, for the things which are visible are temporal (just brief and fleeting), but the things which are invisible are everlasting and imperishable.”  (2 Corinthians 4:18 AMP)

Shortly after having five miscarriages between my third and fourth child, I felt God leading me to write a book about the pain I felt in my heart and about the struggles I had to deal with trying to move forward. However, I ignored that gentle tug on my heart. I told God that I was a health care professional and not a writer. I kept thinking about all the mistakes I made in life and told God I was not “good enough” to write about my spiritual journey. I thought about the times I told a lie, was rude to people, used a mean tone, yelled at my children or said a bad word, and I felt very inadequate to write about God. After all, the world acts as if Christians are supposed to be perfect, so I had no desire to be vulnerable. However, God quickly reminded me that we are all sinners, and there was only ONE perfect person in this world, and that person was Jesus. 

The tug on my heart to answer the calling God gave me never went away, so I started writing off and on but never thought I would finish a book. Then, on March 2, 2015, my world was shattered—a parent’s worst nightmare came true. My beautiful, sweet, innocent four-year old, Sutton, died tragically. It felt like someone ripped my heart from my body when I found out Sutton died, and I experienced the most unbearable pain deep down in my soul, a pain that no one should ever have to experience. I suddenly felt alone in a very large world even though there were so many people around me. My phenomenal inner circle of friends, amazing co-workers and my Bible study group from church were so supportive and were always there for me. But the only people I could truly relate to were other parents who lost children. Several moms who lost children took the time and reached out to me. These grieving moms always reminded me I was not alone, and they were always honest with me about their feelings. I appreciated their transparency. 

As I suffered through my heartache and pain, I had no choice but to focus on God. I had three other children who needed me and a business to run. I needed to find a way to make it through each day. I listened to positive, uplifting music, read devotionals, read tons of self-help books, listened to podcasts, went to church, cried, prayed, spent quality time with
Editor’s my inner circle of friends and I sought the help of an amazing Christian grief counselor who also lost a child tragically. 

Sutton Bruns continues to be an inspiration to Krista and his family.
Krista Bennett-Bruns found beauty in the ashes and light in Christ through the darkness of grief
Bruns wrote an account of her journey through pain to show how beautiful life can be even in tragedy and suffering.

It took a lot of hard work, but the more I focused on God, the more I began to see the “big picture” format of life from my little perspective. I realized it was necessary to share my story, and I could no longer ignore the calling to complete the book. I felt God wanted to use me to let people to know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE, just like the grieving moms reminded me!

In Living Beneath the Surface: My Journey through Love, Loss and Forgiveness , I felt led to talk about the things very few people wanted to discuss – the ugly emotions of grief for the days, weeks, and years after Sutton’s death, as well as all the other struggles life brought me. It was so easy for me to put a smile on my face and hide behind my feelings and pretend everything was okay just like the rest of the world did. However, God showed me it was imperative for me to stop wearing a “mask” and understand we are all human, we all make mistakes. He wanted me to grasp the concept that we are all ALIKE in so many ways. God was calling me to “be real.” Although my circumstances may be different from others, we all share the same human emotions. 

Throughout my journey, I realized how we are all interconnected and how beautiful life is/can be, even amidst our pain, tragedy, and suffering. I discovered that there is beauty in the ashes, and the darkness of the world cannot overcome the light of Christ. I saw how important and valuable each person’s life is and how we all can make a positive impact on this world. I wanted each person to truly understand that God has a purpose for each of our lives regardless of the trials we go through along the way.

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BRCLM Lagniappe, December 2017

The First Noel Nativity Collector Enjoys Connection to ‘First Christmas’

The First Noel

Nativity Collector Enjoy Connection to ‘First Christmas’

by Rachel Smith

Mary Oubre shows some of the collectibles in her nativity ensemble.
Mary Oubre’s home is the stage for her passion.


‘Tis the season for collectors. From Santa ornaments and snowmen statues to nutcrackers and even Yuletide dinnerware, Christmas-themed collections seem to appear almost everywhere this time of year.   But while some collectors enjoy the hunt for their next limited-edition or anticipate the moment their collection is complete, Gonzales resident Mary Oubre has a different mindset.  For this active 82-year old, her collection of nativities, displayed every holiday season, invokes memories of special loved ones and brings her closer to the true meaning of Christmas.

“I really didn’t start out to collect nativities.  It just happened,” she said, adding that she received her first nativity as a thank-you gift. “I would help my (husband’s) Aunt Gertrude. They owned a furniture and appliance store. But they also had a gift section, and I just admired this nativity set. Actually, I fell in love with it, and one day she asked if I wanted it,” said Oubre.

That was in 1954, and Oubre and her husband, who were just newlyweds at that time, would later use this nativity set to celebrate their first Christmas together.  Every year after, they would continue to display it, including when they started a family and welcomed their seven children. But through those years and as their children grew, so did Oubre’s nativity collection. Today she counts a total of 133 nativity scenes.

“I just love them,” she said, explaining the connection between the nativities and her Christian faith, and how each scene is a gentle reminder of Jesus’ birth and the moment “the Word became flesh.”

For Oubre, the connection actually goes way back, as she recalled an outdoor nativity set she made as a 10-year-old child. Among other creative tasks, oubre said she drew and painted cardboard portraits of the Holy Family, then decorated her homemade manger with lights.

“Our parish priest saw it as he drove by and mentioned this at Mass saying that this was the true meaning of Christmas. I was a proud little girl,” she said. Today, Oubre’s collection includes nativity scenes of all shapes and sizes. Some feature the Holy Family only while others highlight Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus as well as the three wise men, shepherds and farm animals. In addition, some scenes have a manger while others are etched on various objects, such as ornaments, cookie jars, wreaths, a cross, and even music boxes (and yes, at least one plays “O Little Town of Bethlehem”).

“They’re all different,” explained Oubre, pointing to nativity scenes made of pewter, resin, glass, porcelain, wood, chalk and even cornhusks.

Several weeks ago, Oubre received the newest addition to her collection. The ornament, showcasing an image of the nativity, was a gift from her cousin. “I receive so many from family and friends,” she admitted, adding that she also found several nativity scenes on her own by going to thrift stores.

Once Oubre acquires an addition to her collection, she tries to write information about how she obtained it on the bottom. She shared that she is most fond of that first set given to her more than 60 years ago by her first husband’s aunt, but she also holds dear special gifts from her children, including a Snoopy-inspired set 

purchased by her son, Keith, a larger and more traditional set from her daughter, Alexis, and a portrait of the Holy Family another daughter, Joan, presented to mark Oubre’s 100th addition to her collection. “That one I leave up all year,” she said. 

After Christmas this year, oubre plans to keep other nativity scenes on display as well. Since her collection is getting larger, she is finding it more difficult to take out and put away. Normally, she said, it takes one full day to do both, but this year was different. Oubre’s seven children came together to celebrate her recent birthday – a time to count her blessings.

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BRCLM Lagniappe, December 2017

Good News Around Town

Good News Around Town

Hallowheel 2017

The Hallowheel 2017 charity tennis and pickleball tournaments raised a combined $15,169 to benefit the 2018 Cajun Classic Wheelchair Tennis Tournament, to be held March 19-25, in baton rouge. Pictured, from left, are Hallowheel 2017 Title sponsors Cindy and Tex Morris, Abby Heath, Karen serio, Marilu Major, Lynn serio, Martha Turner, Douglas Burket, Hallowheel Co-Chair emily Greene, Cajun Classic Wheelchair Tennis Tournament Director Jennifer Edmonson, Marsha Jabour, and Hallowheel Co-Chair Rusty Jabour.


The Baton Rouge Wheelchair Tennis Association (BRWTA) announced at its board dinner on Nov. 6 that it raised $15,169 to help support the 2018 Cajun Classic Wheelchair Tennis Tournament, to be held in Baton Rouge, March 19-25, at the Paula G. Manship YMCA.


The BRWTA raised the funds through its Edward Jones Investments / Tex Morris “Hallowheel” charity tennis and pickleball tournaments, held Oct. 27-29, at BREC’s Highland Road Park. The tournaments attracted more than 180 players from Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Alabama, and Florida.

The weekend also featured the Hallowheel Adaptive Tennis Clinic where 15 children and adults with disabilities took to the courts to be introduced to wheelchair tennis. They enjoyed a morning full of tennis instruction, games, and prizes.

Since 2015, the Hallowheel tournament has raised $45,000 for the Cajun Classic. Hallowheel is one of the most unique tournaments in the United states, as it features a main draw of traditional men’s and women’s tennis doubles, a pickleball tournament, and a separate “UpDown” draw where wheelchair tennis players are partnered with able-bodied players for doubles competition. More info at brwta.org.

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BRCLM Lagniappe, November 2017

Spreading the Good News through Social Media

Spreading the Good News through Social Media

by Ellen McDowell

Are you thankful for social media? It’s a question we may struggle with as Christians. I rely on social media for my livelihood, so I have several reasons to be grateful. The important thing is to use social media for good, not evil, and to use it to spread the good news.

Romans 12:2 (NIV) tells us, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world” and the patterns on social media are of the world. When we are on social media, we need to remember John’s prayer… “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.” (John 17:15 NIV) So we need to be “in the world” and demonstrating our faith in God for others to see. We should not be spreading bad news or judging others. We should not be craving everything we see. We should use it to show God’s love for us and how we follow Jesus’ commandment to love one another.

So what should you do if you find someone is so distracting that they make it hard to demonstrate God’s love? Facebook has a wonderful tool – Unfollow. Go to the person’s profile page and click on “Following,” then select “Unfollow.” This way you can preserve the “friendship” but you don’t have to see their posts. They will not get a notification that you have unfollowed their posts. Luckily, I have many friends sharing good things going on in the world (and many whom I have clicked on the “See First” button so they are at the top of my news feed each morning.) Social media gives us a way to connect with old friends who are no longer living near us. I had lost touch with someone after she moved to Australia, and now, through Facebook I am able to watch her kids grow. My best friend growing up now lives in south Texas. We don’t call as often as we should and probably would have lost touch if not for seeing social media posts from each other. I can give thanks each time I see those posts.

Think about these verses from Matthew: “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. in the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
(Matthew 5:14-16 NIV)

Social media gives us a place to be the light of the world and we should take advantage of this gift. The Bible App, for instance, has a share button for a daily Bible verse. One of my friends goes live on Facebook with a morning prayer every school day between 7 and 7:30 a.m. She encourages us to share them so more of the world can be praying together (and I do.)  Many churches broadcast their services each Sunday morning. If your church does that, share it when you get home. Give everyone a chance to watch the video, hear God’s word and the message that your pastor is sharing. Let’s fill our Facebook feeds with prayer and the gospel. We can be thankful that God gives us a way to easily share his message with so many. 

Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine distributes its print edition around the city each month, but social media allows us to share it online so that its reach is beyond south Louisiana. i encourage you to share the articles with your friends online.

We need to share more of what is good in the world on our social media. I believe that as Christians, we can be part of a movement to share more stories about how God is working in our lives and how we see him in the actions of others. We can be the light of the world that God asks us to be. I look forward to seeing your positive posts in my newsfeeds.

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Ellen McDowell is a Baton Rouge native who earned her Bachelor of Interior Design from LSU and her Master of Historic Preservation degree from the University of Georgia. She is a contributing author with Journey to the Stage (volume 2), a certified professional speaker, certified SCORE mentor, a sustainer for the Junior League of Baton Rouge, and proud chapter leader for the Baton Rouge Women’s Prosperity Network. She is also an active Lay Eucharistic Minister at Trinity Episcopal Church.

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BRCLM Lagniappe, November 2017

Cartoonist Draws Other to God

 

Cartoonist Draws Others to God

As a child, Brent Manning spent his Saturday mornings watching cartoons, especially those produced by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. It’s not surprising, then, that he eventually started sketching his favorite characters. His teachers noticed his talent, and by the time he entered high school, “I could draw just about anything,” he says. His mother, Betty Jean, suggested that he create his own cartoons.

Brent Manning is married to Felva Dionne Manning, and they have one son, Israel JeDel. They live in Marion, Louisiana.

But it wasn’t until 1986 when he was serving in the Air Force in Riverside, California, that his talent and his destiny coincided. A sergeant saw him doodling with some of his sketches and told Manning that God would someday use his talent to spread the Gospel and bless other people. “Yeah, right,” Manning thought.

Fast forward about 30 years. Manning has been producing a comic strip series since 1986, and is the founder of Eye of a Child, which produces Christian cartoons. “I like to think of my drawings as a sermon in 60 seconds,” Manning says. “You can teach God’s word in a way that people will enjoy it, and you don’t have to beat them over the head with your message.”





JULY 2015

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BRCLM Lagniappe, October 2017, Uncategorized

This is the day to manifest the fruit of Patience

This is the day to manifest the fruit of Patience

by Joan Rougon

Oh, Lord, help us for this is the fruit That we often pray will always take root, Where people will see, no matter the condition Patience revealed in our disposition.

Though we lose it in a time of trial He always teaches us…with a smile, To become more like Him every day In all our actions; in all we say.

What a loving Father He is to all He gives Patience to the great and the small. So let us daily take His character and forbearance For by it He has given a glorious inheritance To all who will but obey and believe An eternal reward we will receive!

“….but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.” Hebrews 6:12

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BRCLM Lagniappe, October 2017

Make an Impact!

Make an Impact!

by Brandi Harper

Sarah Nogueras is a smart, outgoing, God-fearing 20-year-old, but she hasn’t always been that way. Born in New York, sara is the oldest of six siblings, raised in a vibrant Christian home, and always there to help her mother take care of the family. she was homeschooled during her elementary years and always loved children.

As a young child, sarah was shy and lacked confidence in her ability to share the Gospel with others. But that changed when her mother took the family to a five Day Club (Backyard Bible Club), one of the foundational ministries of Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF). The Bible Club changed the course of sarah’s life, providing her with the opportunity to immerse herself in children’s ministry.

At nine, sarah’s family moved from New York to Louisiana, and sarah learned about another CEF ministry called CYiA (Christian Youth in Action). CYiA is a missionary training program held each summer to teach young people to lead five Day Bible Clubs. Participants present the Gospel to children in their own state and neighborhoods, and experience the joy of leading others to the Lord. it was a perfect fit for sarah, not just because of her love for children but because she lacked the confidence she needed to clearly present the Gospel. At 14, she attended her first CYiA training and felt the calling of God. she attended every summer throughout her high school years and has brought someone new to the program every year.

“The intensity of the program strengthened me intellectually and spiritually,” she said. “CYiA totally prepared me socially, so i could be brave and bold … it was such an encouraging environment and has helped me in so many ways.”

After high school graduation, sarah was selected to attend the next level of CEF training — a 12- week course at Children’s Ministry institute (CMi) located at CEF international Headquarters near st. Louis. After graduating from the CMi training program, she joined the state staff as the CEF Parish Coordinator for st. Tammany Parish and led the efforts there as an extension of the CEF New Orleans chapter.

sarah is currently a junior at New Orleans Baptist Theological seminary focusing on children’s ministry. it is her heart’s desire to help children who are deaf and to be a part of international children’s ministry. she has this advice for others: “Do something that makes an impact. We can sit around doing unproductive things or we can have an impact for the Kingdom! There are kids out there that need to hear about Jesus and we can do that.”

if you would like to know more, email ceflouisiana@gmail.com.

 

 

CEF is a Bible-centered worldwide ministry of born-again believers whose purpose is to evangelize children, disciple them in the Word of God, and establish them in a local church for Christian living. CEF is the largest children’s ministry in the world.

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BRCLM Lagniappe, October 2017

10 Tips to Being Your Best

 

10 TIPS

to Being Your Best

The Lord handcrafts every one of us, and we are all made uniquely beautiful in His image. But developing a personal style that cleanly reflects your individuality isn’t always easy. so here are 10 practical tips from the stylists at i-Catchers Hair & Body spa designed to help you translate your inner charisma and confidence into a fresh look.

1. Dress with confidence

“Love yourself for who you are — starting today,” said Angelle Graham. “To feel your best, i recommend getting dressed and doing your hair no matter what you have planned. Always dress like you’re going somewhere special, even when you aren’t.” Graham has been a stylist for 19 years, and mascara is her go-to beauty accessory. “sometimes, there isn’t enough time to do full makeup,” she said. “But a couple of swipes of mascara can have a huge impact on your overall look.”

2. Use quality hair care products

“Washing your hair can make a big difference in how you look and feel,” said sara Richmond. “After a while, especially in Louisiana, the heat can make your head feel sticky. Find a shampoo and conditioner that works best for you. Products don’t have to be expensive to get the job done.” Richmond has worked as a hairdresser for 12 years, and one of her favorite styling products is heat protectant spray. “it protects your hair when you’re using a hot tool, and keeps it looking and feeling healthy.”

3. Stay on top of split ends

“Get your hair trimmed regularly in order to keep it as healthy as possible. if your ends are in good shape, your whole style will look much fresher,” said Cara spicer, who has been a hair stylist for six years. she recommends using a texturizing spray whenever you’re looking for more volume. “Texturizing spray makes your hair feel less soft and gives it some grit,” she said. “The spray helps a style hold its shape.”

4. Make brave style choices

“Be artistic with your style,” said Brittany Cason. “There’s only one you, so don’t hesitate to express yourself. For example, don’t be afraid to get that pixie cut you’ve always wanted.” Cason has been a hairdresser for four years, and she encourages her clients to use restorative oil as often as possible. “if you like to have fun with your hair, then it probably gets a little brittle,” she said. “Restorative oil helps repair and heal any damage from hot tools or color processing.”

5. Get to know your brows

“Pay attention to every detail of your look,” said Theresa vallery. “For example, your brows should always be properly groomed, whether you pluck them or have them waxed. Work with what you’ve got, and create the best brow shape for your face. And always remember that both of your eyebrows don’t have to look exactly the same. They’re sisters, not twins.” vallery has been an esthetician for 29 years, and to help maintain dewy skin, she suggests using a daily moisturizer. “To keep your skin looking good, everyone should use a moisturizer regardless of age and whether your skin is oily or dry.”

6. Liven up your lips

“Pay attention to your lips,” said victoria Files. “Choose lipstick colors that go with whatever you’re wearing. A bold lip can make an entire look come together — even if you’re just using gloss.” Files has been a hairdresser for two years, and she believes hairspray is the most important product you can have in your beauty arsenal. “Everyone should use it,” she said. “it’s a universal product for every hair type. it produces volume, smoothes frizz, and gives great hold.”

7. Avoid boxed hair dye

“It’s always a good idea to have your hair professionally colored. When people dye their hair at home, the color often comes out too dark or uneven. For the best color results, visit a licensed hairdresser,” said Brian McAndrew. A hair stylist for 30 years, McAndrew’s favorite hair care product, like Files, is hairspray. “Humidity is rough in Louisiana,” he said. “it helps hold down fly-aways and keeps a style in place.”

8. Make time for a manicure

“Nail polish helps a look come together,” said Hanna Faust. “if your nails are done, you’ll always look chic. Faust has been a hairdresser for three years, and she believes using a smoothing serum can make an incredible difference in the overall quality of your hairstyle. “it helps keep your hair smooth and sleek,” she said.

9. Simplify your morning routine

“When you’re getting ready, work smarter not harder,” said Missy Moya. “Make an effort without going overboard. it should only take about an hour to get ready in the morning. Anything longer than that is probably too much.” Moya has been a stylist for 11 years, and she recommends incorporating a cream-based makeup remover into your nightly cleansing routine. “if you have oily skin, a cream-based makeup remover won’t leave your face feeling greasy,” she said. “Plus, it wipes off really easily.”

10. Highlight your natural beauty

“Your goal should always be to look fresh. it’s never good when you go overboard with your makeup,” said Tammy Heard. “The more natural you look, the better. Just accentuate what you have.” Heard has been a hairdresser for 26 years, and for a natural look, she recommends using a tinted moisturizer. “it evens out your complexion,” she said. “A tinted moisturizer doesn’t cover anything up. it just enhances what you already have.”

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