BRCLM Lagniappe, June 2015

Finding True Wealth and Happiness Through Memories

2ec45ccAdapted from Bic Media Solutions Update, May 2015 by Earl Heard, with excerpts by McKenzie Moffett

I recently received an email from my daughter that said, “Thanks for helping create memories. Love, Dane.” There was an article attached to the email written by Chris Riotta, a writer for Elite Daily, explaining how people who invest in making memories are happier than those who focus on buying material possessions. Thankfully, my siblings and I learned this decades ago when our parents, who did not have a lot of material wealth, took us on family outings. We took at least one summer vacation each year, and we went to picture shows regularly. This quality time spent together making memories strengthened our relationships with one another.

In today’s world where instant gratification is promoted by advertising and social media, it is easy to be lured into believing acquiring things will make us and those we care about happiest, but this is untrue. Research has proven time and again that investing our money toward travel, sharing life experiences and making memories pays off. Research conducted by San Francisco State University found people do in fact understand life is about the memories we create.

Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University who has looked at the connection between money and success, said, “New things may make us happy, but only for a while. We are excited at first, but then we lose this excitement and search for something new.” One important thing I have learned over the years is even when we invest in something material for ourselves, a loved one, a co-worker or friend, it seems to be much more appreciated when it is connected to a milestone or a memorable event such as an anniversary or birthday.

Dr. Gilovich told Fast Company Magazine, “Our experiences are a bigger part of our lives than material things.” Possessions come and go, but experiences are parts of us that last for- ever. In fact, I believe we are the sum total of our experiences. There are 79 million millennials in the United States, which is about 3 million more than there are baby boomers. Most baby boomers have already learned the priceless advantage of investing hard-earned money into travel, education, memorable events and helping others.

It can be easy for families to get caught up in the many distractions faced each day, especially while trying to keep up with the Joneses. We can quickly lose touch with each other and often take for granted spending the kind of time together that creates meaningful experiences and lasting memories. Jesus warned us about this struggle in Luke 12:15 when He said, “Be careful and guard against all kinds of greed. People do not get life from the many things they own.” Our challenge is to find the balance between the two, both enjoying the material things we’ve been blessed with, and using those things, no matter how big or small, to make our time count with those we care about most!

Faith Life, June 2015

Homeless to Hopeful

How the Christian Outreach Center is helping rebuild lives 

through the power of the Gospel

by Susan Brown

DSCN5074 (1)Jamal Hunter takes life one day at a time. And today has been a good one. She holds up the key to her new apartment, flashes a smile, and explains that after decades of living “here and there,” battling addiction and mental illness, she has found hope and purpose through her new “family,” at The Christian Outreach Center.

“I started out with nothing and all of a sudden I’ve accomplished a whole lot. I didn’t do it. God did it,” she says.

“Our vision,” explains COC Executive Director, the Rev. Brian Sleeth, “is to tackle the barriers of homelessness and get traction in people’s lives – in a very real sense to take people from square one to self-sufficiency.” The COC meets immediate needs by providing one-time financial assistance, meal packages, hygiene kits and clothes. But the heart of the program is a commitment to life change through mentoring, addiction recovery groups and Bible studies. They serve a diverse clientele including single mothers, the elderly, the disabled and those who are homeless. As many as 10,000 requests for assistance have been met through the Main Street location.

The Christian Outreach Center is funded primarily through the Purple Cow thrift stores on Jones Creek Road and Perkins Road at Acadian Thruway. Support also comes from churches committed to investing in the downtown area: First Baptist Church, First Presbyterian Church, First United Methodist Church and St. Joseph’s Cathedral.

The comprehensive work provided by the COC makes the difference, according to Sleeth. Rather than piecemeal solutions that can falter in the face of overwhelming difficulties, the COC staff engages in life coaching for the total person – physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Keeping Jesus and the Bible at the center of their work is critical. “Unless he renews the mind then people are going to remain trapped,” Sleeth explains. “I’ve seen many times, people get something good going on and they’ll either fall back or they’ll sabotage it on purpose because they’re scared of the change or they’re more comfortable – out of fear – with what they have, as dysfunctional as it is.”

DSCN5077For Hunter, it hasn’t been easy. By her calculation she spent at least two decades in the haze of drug addiction, a quick fix for the lingering pain of abuse, rape and rejection she endured early in life. The downward spiral of drugs and instability left her with damaged family relationships and health concerns. Jamal explains that she still carries a bullet close to her spine, the result of a street encounter with a teenaged assailant that resulted in the loss of her unborn child.

After detox, she spent 6 months in Alliance House, a program for those recovering from substance abuse and other co-existing disorders. A Bible-based addition recovery group offered by the COC opened her eyes to the real possibility of making a break with her past.

“I got to the point where I just cried out, told God to give me the desire of my heart,” Hunter explains. “And He said this is what I give you. You’ve got to continue it.”

Since taking over the program in 2013, Sleeth has expanded the staff and begun a two-pronged approach to meeting needs. The COC began the first local “Jobs for Life” class that meets twice a week to teach participants how to find – and keep – a job. The COC connects people with existing jobs, including construction, landscaping and work at Tiger Stadium. A big break came last fall when a substantial number of workers were hired to set up the new Belk department store in Denham Springs.

To overcome the transportation barrier, Sleeth set up Christian Outreach Transitional Employment Services that now provides a van to take workers to job sites daily. Their 2015 wish list includes at least one more 15-passenger van.

DSCN5083While meeting the immediate need for stability and temporary work, the COC begins the transition to long-term employment. The staff – two case workers and a counseling intern – helps clients construct long-term goals and take steps to accomplish them.

Hunter is currently working as a dietary assistant and is setting her sights on becoming a Certified Nurse Assistant. She wants to be close to those who can’t help themselves and hopes her story will reveal a path for people in similar situations.

“The Christian Outreach Center helps you along your way,” Hunter explains. “If you still want to continue your recovery they would be there for you. Totally. Everything.” For Hunter, that includes continued weekly counseling and even dental work through a connection with Owens Family Dentistry in Zachary.

“What we were powerless to do, only the gospel can do,” Sleeth says. “Despite all these things that have happened – abuse and losing children and being the victim of a violent crime – she stays hopeful and she just keeps her eyes fixed on Christ. And she has a smile on her face.”

Faith Life, June 2015

Recharge and Refocus

Bethany Church’s weekly businessmen’s luncheon seeks to unify local business leaders

through fellowship and a focus on biblical business principles

 by Susan Brown

IMG_0929“Life is a hurdles race. You run, hurdle, run, hurdle…you’ve got to get over every day – there are going to be trials.” But meeting together strengthens and recharges men to face the stress, the temptations and the cultural onslaught they face daily, according to Bethany Church Associate Pastor Hank Henagan. The church draws up to 150 men each Wednesday at noon for a businessmen’s luncheon at the South Baton Rouge campus off Siegen Lane and I-10. And it’s growing.

“Ninety percent of the men who come to this do not go to Bethany,” explains Henagan. “They’re from all denominations. It’s the men around the table, the relationships that they have bonded with over the years.” Bethany pastors teach a business lesson based on biblical principles. Discussion follows around each table with a chance for men to work on practical applications to their own situations.

A key principle is ordering priorities according to biblical standards: “God, Christ, you, your family and your vocation,” says Henagan. “If you aren’t right, nothing below you is going to be right. Your family isn’t going to be right, your vocation isn’t going to be right. And the world flips it. My vocation, my vocation, my vocation.”

Instead, Henagan says, spiritual commitment should guide a man’s life and work. He encourages men to be faithful in their churches and to be light to their communities and workplaces. He has a special interest in mentoring those without fathers in the home. Henagan believes that keeping families intact and in church is part of rebuilding the spiritual strength of America in the same way that God prompted Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. A spiritually strong family and nation needs fathers who are strong in faith and lead with God’s Word rather than the opinions of the prevailing culture.

IMG_0969Henagan encourages men to be open to what God is doing in their lives even when it is not what they expected. As part of his ministry at Bethany, he helps young people decide what they want to do in life by identifying the things they most enjoy. He encourages men to take their interests and skills seriously instead of suffering through a vocation for which they have no enthusiasm. Sometimes, that can mean a career change. “Put God first and follow your heart. What He’s put on your heart to do, go do. Follow your passion, not your pension.”

As part of his mentoring ministry, Henagan wants to pass along what he’s learned to those exploring their career options. After earning a degree in marketing he went to work for a bank – and hated it. “I said there’s got to be more to life than this.” At a downtown bookstore, he came across a self-help book, The Magic of Thinking Big by Dr. David Schwartz (1959). “Other than the Bible, that book changed my life,” he says.

The book teaches that those who have great expectations and a positive attitude tend to accomplish more by visualizing things not as they currently are – but as they could become. Henagan went on to start and sell three businesses, run political campaigns and work for Mayor Tom Ed McHugh. Now, he uses those life lessons to invest holistically in the work and lives of young men and businessmen, following a prompting he received from God as a teenager to serve in the ministry.

IMG_0994Sitting in the back of a church in Singapore in 1993 with Pastor Larry Stockstill and others, he first heard about the concept of cell groups – small groups that foster Christian community through discussion and accountability. He sensed God’s direction to start a cell group in his home. The group was multiplied eight times. By April 1995, he was on staff at Bethany where he helps men write business plans, engage in addiction recovery and train to mentor others through Bethany College.

The midweek break provides a time to replenish and refresh men in Christian community, Henagan says. “Food, fun, fellowship. Teach a lesson.” And they learn to help each other. “The world beats you down but they can come in and just be an encourager. That’s anybody.”

Family Life, High School Perspective, June 2015

Bridging the Gap

The critical role of communication between teens and families

11149422_388752624630535_7988127740119689027_nby Julia Summers

Often when people hear the word summer, thoughts of sunshine, the beach and freedom enter their mind. High school students can be stereotyped by others who assume that during summer the mind of a teenager revolves entirely around having fun. However, this is not always the case, as thousands of teenagers around the world struggle with anxiety and depression even in this typically happy season.

A few summers ago when I was around thirteen years old, I faced a difficult period in my life. My best friend at the time had moved on to another friend group, and I emerged into a period of extreme loneliness. I faced depression and began to think of all the things that I could have done differently that might have made her stay friends with me. I mentally beat myself down, causing even more pain, and I shut my family out when I needed them most.

Although the majority of that summer was hard, it was also the summer I grew closer to God than I had ever been before. I formed a deep relationship with my youth leader, Rebecca Blair, who helped me to develop an even stronger relationship with the Lord. God was my comfort during that hardship. One verse that stood out to me during that time was Isaiah 41:10. God said, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Not all teenagers lose friends, but nearly everyone goes through something difficult. Katie Clark, a rising senior at The Dunham School, explained how connecting with family during a tough time in life helped steer her in the right direction.

“During my parent’s divorce I grew closer to my mom and my sister, Holly. My sister really helped lead me to God,” she explained. “My faith was tested throughout the divorce, but it forced me to rely on God. My mom and my sister supported me, and we were all there for each other.”

Brooks Jones, a rising sophomore at The Dunham School, also commented on the importance of his family’s support during severe stomach issues in his early childhood. While the illness has since gone away, he said he knows the role that family played was vital.

“I realized how significant that time of my life was,” Jones said. “My family’s support got me through it, and I believe that one of the main roles of your family is to be your support team.”

As the summer season nears, I would advise teenagers who are struggling to talk to their family. Having a connection and relationship with your parents and your siblings is vital. I did not have healthy communication with my family when I was struggling, which only made things harder. Communication is key; learning how to talk to your family is an awesome start to a trusting relationship.

Also, challenge yourself to think about what God has planned for you this summer, and how he can use you. Keep Jeremiah 29:11 in your heart: the Lord said, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Family Life, June 2015

Faced with Family

Picutureby Tonya Woodridge-Jarvis

 In high school, I remember my friend Katie’s family being the modern day “Leave it to Beaver” type. Her mother and father had been married for 20 years and had three daughters. They were always having family time and involved in each other’s lives. The older girls would sit and braid each other’s hair and share stories, and I truly desired to have that.

My family on the other hand was a bit dysfunctional. My mother and father were divorced by the time I was 13 after having two daughters and a son. Mom worked all the time, and my father lived in another city out of my reach. My sister and I were always on opposite ends of the universe, and my brother was off somewhere playing with dirt and bugs. I didn’t quite have the same as what Katie had.

The word Family in the Webster’s Dictionary is defined as: A basic social unit consisting of parents and their children, considered as a group, whether dwelling together or not. It was later in life that I learned the following phrase, “we don’t choose our families we are born into them.”

This means that in life, you have to play the instrument that you’ve been issued. Your family may not look or act like a “TV” family, but you still have great one. Families will have issues until the return of Jesus, but it is how you overcome those issues that will keep your family thriving.

I know that this is sometimes a hard concept to abide by, so here are a few tips to help you do so:

  • Do not hold grudges! Sometimes you just have to agree to disagree. Remember that they are still your family, and you love them no matter what.
  • Love them as Christ loved the church.
  • Don’t discuss things while you’re angry. Take a moment to Listen, Process and then React. You will find that if you stick to this method some things won’t warrant an emotion or response.
Family Life, June 2015

What Families Teach Us About God

VickyBenton.FamilyLife.Headshotby Vicky Benton

God is sometimes hard to figure out. Like why didn’t God have His image bearers create families the same way He created in the very beginning? You know, have a man and a woman somehow breathe life into a pile of dirt: Voilà! An adult child with an already completed debt-free college degree!

But He did the baby thing. Creating little creatures that need total care, utterly helpless and in need of caring, capable adults.

A lot could be said about this but maybe one reason was to make some points about Himself. Consider what we learn about Him with the various familial metaphors we see in Scripture.

Although God is always described in the Bible as male, He borrows from the masculine and the feminine roles to reveal Himself.

  • Male Metaphors – God picked words like “Father, Bridegroom, Husband” to give us a picture of His relationship with us.
  • “Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. . . .” Mt. 6:9 (NLT). He has eternally been the Father to the Son. Jesus makes clear He is ours as well!
  • “For your Maker is your husband-the LORD Almighty is his name. . . .” Is. 54:5 (NIV)
  • “. . . God will rejoice over you as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride.” Is. 62:5b (NLT)

It grieves Him when we do not relate to Him these ways. “I looked forward to your calling me ‘Father,’ and I wanted you never to turn from me.” Jer. 3:19b (NLT).

  • Female Metaphors – God is never described as female but the Scriptures do use motherly metaphors to help us grasp His role with us.
  • “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you. . . .” Is. 66:13 (NIV)
  • “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” Words of Christ in Luke. 13:31 (ESV)
  • “He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.” James 1:18 (NLT).
  • Child Metaphors – Christ is eternally the Son. We, by our faith in Christ, get adopted into the family.
  • “So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, ‘Abba, Father.’” Rom. 8:15. (NLT)
  • “See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children. . .” 1 Jn. 3:1 (NLT)
  • “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.” Eph. 5:1 (ESV)

Although God is sometimes hard to understand, He has made clear that He wants to be known. Earthly family relationships, though always imperfectly experienced by us, give us a glimpse of how He intends to be known by us. He gives us loving care in both “masculine” and “feminine” ways, and we are the dependent, and deeply loved children.

[one_half]Vicky Benton is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Baton Rouge. Her practice is with adults – college and beyond – in individual therapy. She recently wrote a Bible study, The Emotions of God: the foundation for understanding our own and keeps threatening to write one on her favorite Biblical metaphors. She can be reached at 225-273-0106 or via email[/one_half]

Healthy Life, June 2015

What Our Shape Indicates About Our Health

by Stephanie Ryan Malin

When it comes to health, the number you see on the scale does not always have the last word. New research is showing that your body shape may have a bigger impact than your weight on overall health.

Take a moment to assess your body’s natural shape—does your extra weight tend to collect around your hips, thighs and buttocks? If so, you fall into the pear-shaped category. If your extra weight finds a home in your abdomen and around your waist, then you can consider yourself apple-shaped.

In large part, we can thank our parents for the body shape we inherited, since our genes predispose us to store fat in different parts of our bodies.

While health comes in all shapes and sizes, studies have shown that people who carry the majority of their weight around their waist have a much higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome and related diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. These apple-shaped physiques often have significant amounts of fat surrounding vital organs, which can be dangerous. Fat accumulation in other tissues and organs that are not meant for fat storage—such as the heart, liver or muscle—often results in negative health consequences.

What about pear-shaped people?

“Individuals with more fat below the waist have a much lower risk of developing obesity-related diseases,” explained Dr. Ursula White, a researcher at Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

Why exactly is the pear-shape healthier?

“When the hip and thigh regions can effectively store fat, this may prevent it from going to the abdomen and other unhealthy places, like the heart and liver,” said Dr. White. “We also know that fat cells from different areas of the body do not behave the same way, and the reasons for these differences require more research.”

Now, White and her colleagues at Pennington Biomedical are in search of answers about why fat cells from various regions of the body are different. In a pioneering research study called “Apple & Pear,” they are exploring differences in the formation of new fat cells between belly fat and thigh fat and how this may influence health.

“Ultimately, we want to use this information to develop new therapies for people who struggle with extra weight around their waists. One day, perhaps, our sons and daughters will have better treatments for excess weight that can be hazardous to health,” White said.

White is looking for women who may be interested in learning more about their health through participation in the Apple & Pear study.

“We are really excited because we have the opportunity to share this world-class research with people in our own backyard,” said White, adding that women who qualify for the study are not only contributing to innovative research, but also have the opportunity to learn more about their fat distribution and health. Additionally, they will receive weight loss and nutritional counseling at no cost to them.

To see if you are eligible to participate in the Apple & Pear study, call Pennington Biomedical at 225-763-2862 or visit

Healthy Life, June 2015

Father’s Day Began at the YMCA!

by Kristen Hogan

senoraMore than a century ago, Sonora Louis Smart Dodd aspired to create a holiday to honor fathers. Dodd, the daughter of a single father and Civil War veteran, was inspired by a Mother’s Day sermon and wondered why there was no holiday for fathers. After securing support from ministers in Spokane, Washington, her idea came to fruition with the first Father’s Day celebration at the Spokane YMCA on June 19, 1910.

On Sunday, June 15, the YMCA of the Capital Area joins the nation in celebrating Father’s Day and recognizing the impact fathers and adult male role models make in children’s lives. Nationally, one out of three children lives in a home without their biological father, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Societal factors such as unemployment, work-life balance or a lack of resources can affect a father’s ability to seek support in strengthening their parenting skills and more fully engaging in the lives of their children. A leading nonprofit in fostering positive youth development, the Y remains dedicated to providing resources and opportunities for fathers to further involve themselves in the well-being and development of their children.

“One way to improve child well-being is to increase the proportion of children growing up with involved, responsible, and committed fathers and adult male role models,” said Kristen Hogan, Marketing Director, YMCA of the Capital Area. “Father’s Day reminds us why it’s important to provide fathers with the support they need to be the best parents and caregivers they can be.”


Studies show that children with close relationships with their fathers and other adult male role models have more self-confidence and exhibit less depression, perform better academically and engage in significantly less drug and alcohol use.

The Y provides many opportunities for families to spend quality time together. Parents can volunteer as a coach and coach their child’s sports team. Families can participate in several of our family wellness classes such as family yoga, family Zumba®, family aqua and more. The Y also offers splash nights, flick and floats, family nights and other activities to bring families together. The Y encourages families to live a healthier lifestyle. The Y provides many tools, tips and resources on their website; visit for tips on how you can create a healthy family home.

In communities across the country, the Y is committed to ensuring that the 9 million children and teens in YMCA programs reach their full potential by helping them grow—physically, mentally and socially—from young children into active, engaged members of their communities. To learn more about programs and activities available visit

June 2015, Learning For Life

Rachel Seidel: Living in the Fullness of Youth and Faith

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” – 1 Timothy 4:12

by Krista Bordelon

219_seidel 2A large part of the battle for parents, mentors, pastors and teachers when it comes to raising up the next generation is how easy it is for the older generations to discount the younger ones, to lump them all under a label that is “less than” what we once were ourselves because of the challenges they are facing.

Perhaps that’s the way it’s been since the beginning of time, but losing sight of what this next generation is capable of, choosing to see them all as “lost” rather than seeing what it is they are actually doing, is the biggest mistake we could make.

For every horror story we see when we turn on the news or open a paper, there are many more stories of young, godly teenagers willing to be a light in their world. When we take the time to listen, their stories and experiences truly are exceptional witnesses. In fact, they are the generation that will be raising up the next. So the question we should all be asking is: What can we do to encourage them in their faith?

Rachel Seidel, a graduating senior at Central High School and Central’s Student of the Year, is one of those girls who has always exuded strength, grace, and godliness. Born and raised in Baton Rouge, she has been a lifelong member of Istrouma Baptist Church. She describes her life as one in which God was always a major aspect; so becoming saved at the age of seven was not really a surprise. However in 2007, Rachel’s youngest brother, Sam, suffered a near fatal drowning accident in the family pool that left him unable to walk or talk.

“That was when I realized it wasn’t going to be easy, that Christianity wasn’t going to be about how I was when things were good, but how I was when things were really, really hard,” she explained. A couple of years later while attending camp with her church youth group during her 6th grade year, Rachel was baptized in the ocean at Panama where she decided to rededicate her life.

“It wasn’t that the first time didn’t matter, but there was something so powerful about this [second] time,” she said. “It was a decision that I had made completely for myself, not because someone told me I should, or because that’s what everyone was doing. I was growing up, and it became my decision.”

_MG_0459Rachel had attended private school at St. Luke’s until her freshmen year, when she made the difficult decision to switch to the Central Public School System where her mother, Kahne Seidel, is a teacher.

“I was really nervous, I had no idea what to expect. All of my friends that I had grown up with were going to be continuing in private schools. I was going to a public school, and I wasn’t going to know anyone.” Rachel continued, “I knew it was going to be overwhelming, I was coming from a class of 17 people. To say moving to Central was just a transition is an understatement for sure.”

In fact, Rachel was really nervous about how she was even going to make the transition, so she spoke with her youth minister, Mark Cole.

“I told him that I was really scared to even share my faith in this new environment,” Rachel said. “His advice to me was, ‘The more you do it, the more comfortable you will be.’”

Rachel’s number one piece of advice for students is, “Be wise with whom you choose to hang out with. Find the right group of people because they determine if your experience will be positive or if it will be negative.” As simple as it sounds, she explains how that had the biggest impact on her life and her witness throughout high school.

“I chose to hang around with people who would go to people’s houses to swim instead of going to people’s houses to drink,” Rachel explained. She was also involved in soccer, cheer and continued to remain heavily involved in her church’s youth ministry. She had many good, strong mentors in place, as well as a good relationship with her parents to help keep her strong in her walk even if she was now attending a school without the Christian influence she had once had.

“I can see how it would have been very easy for me to stray away without all of that,” she said. “I had to have people holding me accountable.”

“Teachers may not be able to tell you with their words about Jesus, but it was easy to tell who is a Christian, and that was comforting,” she shared. In fact, it’s something Rachel has talked about a lot with her mom since Kahne teaches 11th grade.

“You just show them through your actions instead of being able to stand up and share your testimony. You give them grace and help when they need it,” her mom said. Rachel said teachers would sponsor Bible Studies with local pastors, so you always knew who would be supportive of you in your Christian walk.

Something as small as buying donuts for a before school meeting left a big impact. Even if they couldn’t talk to you about it, it was nice having them there, but it was still a hard transition when coming from a setting with weekly chapel and standard Bible classes.

“It was good though, I found that I was able to grow up.” There is a mutual respect among those with different beliefs,” she said. “You learn to appreciate other beliefs but learn to stay strong in your own. In fact, it taught me a lot about why I believe what I believe by seeing what it is others believe. It was more like the real world.”

FullSizeRenderRachel’s biggest “faith tester” came when her grandmother, Peggy Kendrick, was hit by a car while walking to a Central High football game during Rachel’s senior year.

“That was definitely a major curveball for my life. I was super close to my grandmother, she was my spiritual role model,” she explained. “It’s so difficult to wrap my head around why. She had such a strong faith, and it was hard to understand why God would allow that to happen to her.”

Rachel continued, “There are times in life where it is very hard to be thankful, but I am thankful that I don’t have to go through these times alone. God has provided us with the most incredible support system. My friends, my teachers, my church, the whole community has been so supportive.” In fact, Rachel’s senior prom was a bitter sweet moment as it was both a celebration of what was to come and also a remembrance of her beloved MiMi who passed away early that morning.

Rachel’s support system was in full force, wearing ribbons on their wrists in honor of their friend’s family. It’s proof that Rachel truly took her own advice to heart and found the right group of people.

Navigating the school setting in a godly manner is becoming more and more difficult for teens in today’s world, and we need to be aware of the challenges they are facing, but perhaps we don’t give them enough credit in how they will be able to handle it all and still remain strong. All-in-all Rachel says she is ready to begin her new season of life as an LSU Tiger in the fall.

IMG_2071“I feel very prepared. It doesn’t feel nearly as overwhelming to me as the transition did my
freshman year of high school.”
She added, “My prayer continues to be that I can be in this world, but not of it, and I feel like I will be able to continue to do that thanks to all of those who have shown me how.