A.C Flora In A Nutt Shell;

It has been two weeks since I propelled myself into a new school, new people, new rules, new expectations, new everything. (okay if you STILL don’t know by now I was recently forced to leave the best school ever to go to something…well less awesome.) There are certain “rumors” we will call them about Richland One schools, and I’m not going to lie, they are true for the most part. The first day was very awkward as to I didn’t know anymore, but I walked up to the first people I saw and said some simple words to them, “Ummm?!? Where am I suppose to go?” This couple was John and his girlfriend lacy, whom helped me around the school, tell me about the people there, which teachers to push buttons with, which to avoid, to NOT make eye contact with the cafeteria food (it’s been said to take souls) and all that good stuff. Getting back into a A day and B day schedule was difficult since I haven’t had one of those since 7th grade, but for the most part I enjoy and love all my teachers, they are so snarky and sarcastic which is the environment I work best in. I have made some new friends, all of them very chill. One in particular is Kianna, who is a sophomore like myself, but she moved to South Carolina from Connecticut a couple months ago, so was brand new like me. She new just what I was going through/feeling and she quickly became my best friend. It’s been said all the cute guys go to Richland One, I believe this now. They guys are VERY bold though; I couldn’t tell you how many asked for my number or asked me out within two minutes of knowing me. Yes, I’m having fun with this. I’m not going to lie, I honestly miss RNE and if I could go back there, I would do it in a heart beat, but A.C Flora isn’t as bad as people made it out to be, in the end the people are amazingly awesome, and the classes/teachers are amazing as well (that was one run on sentence and I’m to lazy to fix it.) I’m sure I will have more to blog about once the school year goes on, But just to let ya’ll know so far so good.


The Scarlet Ibis By James Hurst

Summer was dead, but autumn had not yet been born when the ibis came to the bleeding tree. It's strange that all this is so clear to me, now that time has had its way. But sometimes (like right now) I sit in the cool green parlor, and I remember Doodle. Doodle was about the craziest brother a boy ever had. Doodle was born when I was seven and was, from the start, a disappointment. He seemed all head, with a tiny body that was red and shriveled like an old man's. Everybody thought he was going to die. Daddy had the carpenter build a little coffin, and when he was three months old, Mama and Daddy named him William Armstrong. Such a name sounds good only on a tombstone. When he crawled on the rug, he crawled backward, as if he were in reverse and couldn't change gears. This made him look like a doodlebug, so I began calling him 'Doodle.' Renaming my brother was probably the kindest thing I ever did for him, because nobody expects much from someone called Doodle. Daddy built him a cart and I had to pull him around. If I so much as picked up my hat, he'd start crying to go with me; and Mama would call from wherever she was, "Take Doodle with you." So I dragged him across the cotton field to share the beauty of Old Woman Swamp. I lifted him out and sat him down in the soft grass. He began to cry. "What's the matter?" "It's so pretty, Brother, so pretty." After that, Doodle and I often went down to Old Woman Swamp. There is inside me (and with sadness I have seen it in others) a knot of cruelty borne by the stream of love. And at times I was mean to Doodle. One time I showed him his casket, telling him how we all believed he would die. When I made him touch the casket, he screamed. And even when we were outside in the bright sunshine he clung to me, crying, "Don't leave me, Brother! Don't leave me!" Doodle was five years old when I turned 13. I was embarrassed at having a brother of that age who couldn't walk, so I set out to teach him. We were down in Old Woman Swamp. "I'm going to teach you to walk, Doodle," I said. "Why?" "So I won't have to haul you around all the time." "I can't walk, Brother." "Who says so?" "Mama, the doctor–everybody.""Oh, you can walk." I took him by the arms and stood him up. He collapsed on to the grass like a half-empty flour sack. It was as if his little legs had no bones. "Don't hurt me, Brother." "Shut up. I'm not going to hurt you. I'm going to teach you to walk." I heaved him up again, and he collapsed. "I just can't do it." "Oh, yes, you can, Doodle. All you got to do is try. Now come on," and I hauled him up once more. It seemed so hopeless that it's a miracle I didn't give up. But all of us must have something to be proud of, and Doodle had become my something. Finally one day he stood alone for a few seconds. When he fell, I grabbed him in my arms and hugged him, our laughter ringing through the swamp like a bell. Now we knew it could be done. We decided not to tell anyone until he was actually walking. At breakfast on our chosen day I brought Doodle to the door in the cart. I helped Doodle up; and when he was standing alone, I let them look. There wasn't a sound as Doodle walked slowly across the room and sat down at the table. Then Mama began to cry and ran over to him, hugging him and kissing him. Daddy hugged him, too. Doodle told them it was I who had taught him to walk, so they wanted to hug me, and I began to cry. "What are you crying for?" asked Daddy, but I couldn't answer. They didn't know that I did it just for myself, that Doodle walked only because I was ashamed of having a crippled brother. Within a few months, Doodle had learned to walk well. Since I had succeeded in teaching Doodle to walk, I began to believe in my own infallibility. I decided to teach him to run, to row, to swim, to climb trees, and to fight. Now he, too, believed in me; so, we set a deadline when Doodle could start school. But Doodle couldn't keep up with the plan. Once, he collapsed on the ground and began to cry. "Aw, come on, Doodle. You can do it. Do you want to be different from everybody else when you start school?" "Does that make any difference?" "It certainly does. Now, come on." And so we came to those days when summer was dead but autumn had not yet been born. It was Saturday noon, just a few days before the start of school. Daddy, Mama, Doodle, and I were seated at the dining room table, having lunch. Suddenly from out in the yard came a strange croaking noise. Doodle stopped eating. "What's that?" He slipped out into the yard, and looked up into the bleeding tree. "It's a big red bird!" Mama and Daddy came out. On the topmost branch perched a bird the size of a chicken, with scarlet feathers and long legs. At that moment, the bird began to flutter. It tumbled down through the bleeding tree and landed at our feet with a thud. Its graceful neck jerked twice and then straightened out, and the bird was still. It lay on the earth like a broken vase of red flowers, and even death could not mar its beauty. "What is it?" Doodle asked. "It's a scarlet ibis," Daddy said. Sadly, we all looked at the bird. How many miles had it traveled to die like this, in our yard, beneath the bleeding tree? Doodle knelt beside the ibis. "I'm going to bury him." As soon as I had finished eating, Doodle and I hurried off to Horsehead Landing. It was time for a swimming lesson, but Doodle said he was too tired. When we reached Horsehead landing, lightning was flashing across half the sky, and thunder was drowning out the sound of the sea. Doodle was both tired and frightened. He slipped on the mud and fell. I helped him up, and he smiled at me ashamedly. He had failed and we both knew it. He would never be like the other boys at school. We started home, trying to beat the storm. The lightning was near now. The faster I walked, the faster he walked, so I began to run. The rain came, roaring through the pines. And then, like a bursting Roman candle, a gum tree ahead of us was shattered by a bolt of lightning. When the deafening thunder had died, I heard Doodle cry out, "Brother, Brother, don't leave me! Don't leave me!" The knowledge that our plans had come to nothing was bitter, and that streak of cruelty within me awakened. I ran as fast as I could, leaving him far behind with a wall of rain dividing us. Soon I could hear his voice no more. I stopped and waited for Doodle. The sound of rain was everywhere, but the wind had died and it fell straight down like ropes hanging from the sky. I peered through the downpour, but no one came. Finally I went back and found him huddled beneath a red nightshade bush beside the road. He was sitting on the ground, his face buried in his arms, which were resting on drawn-up knees. "Let's go, Doodle." He didn't answer so I gently lifted his head. He toppled backward onto the earth. He had been bleeding from the mouth, and his neck and the front of his shirt were stained a brilliant red. "Doodle, Doodle." There was no answer but the ropy rain. I began to weep, and the tear-blurred vision in red before me looked very familiar. "Doodle!" I screamed above the pounding storm and threw my body to the earth above his. For a long time, it seemed forever, I lay there crying, sheltering my fallen scarlet ibis


Bites Of Wisdom:

One: Love is grand; divorce is a hundred grand.

Two: I am in shape. Round is a shape.

Three: Time may be a great healer, but it's a lousy beautician.

Four: Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark, professionals built the Titanic.

Five: Five: Conscience is what hurts when everything else feels so good.

Six: Talk is cheap because supply exceeds demand.

Seven: Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.

Eight: Politicians and diapers have one thing in common. They should both be changed regularly and for the same reason.

Nine: An optimist thinks that this is the best possible world. A pessimist fears that this is true.

Ten: There will always be death and taxes; however, death doesn't get worse every year.

Eleven: In just two days, tomorrow will be yesterday.

Twelve: I am a nutritional overachiever.

Thirteen: I am having an out of money experience.

Fourteen: I plan on living forever. So far, so good.

Fifteen: A day without sunshine is like night.

Sixteen: If marriage were outlawed, only outlaws would have in-laws.

Seventeen: It's frustrating when you know all the answers, but nobody bothers to ask you the questions.


Guest Post: Stacey Rippy "I'm going to Haiti." someone replies "You're going to Hades?...Why?"...

(this is a pic of one of the walls in a Voodoo witch doctor's house that some toured while in Haiti)
Most Haitians practice a combination of Catholicism and Voodoo
It has been said that Haiti was dedicated to satan in 1791 and rededicated in 1991 to the same.
Regardless it was my observance that God still owns it...
He owns everything and satan will meet his sure end.

I've never been asked to guest blog before, this is a first for me and I want to first thank Shannon for inviting me.....Thanks Shannon! Ok...this is what I experienced in Haiti...

I am not what I would consider a very daring, adventurous person. I'm not usually a risk taker either. I like to keep my life within arms reach and not get too far outside of my own comfort level when it comes to my adventurous side. So, this trip for me was a new experience for sure. When I found out there was an opportunity for me to go on a mission trip through my church, my initial reaction was, sign me up. Then I thought about it. I quickly changed my own mind and decided I would stay in the good ole USA and pray for the ones who were going. I felt completely at peace with my decision.
A few weeks later,while dining with some ladies from several churches in North and South Carolina at the Pastor's Wives and Women Minister's retreat, God told me I had to go. Now let me tell you I was not happy about this AT ALL and He said "write a check for your deposit to hold your spot". I wish I could say I'm one of those obedient children who jump when their father speaks. On the contrary I like to argue my case and so I did...at the dinner table. He won the arguement and I, with shaking hands, wrote out my check for $100.00 to secure my spot along with the 36 other people who ended up going to Haiti with me.
Needless to saw I made it out alive and lived to tell about my experience there. It was more traumatic for me than it had to be. I along with others who were going took precautionary measures to prevent Malaria by taking medications.The medication I happened to have prescribed to me was Mefloquin. My Pastor's wife started it a week before I did and had a very bad reaction from it and had to switch medications. I should have switched but didn't and the side effect I experienced from it was Paranoid Schizophrenia. It was listed as one of the many abnormal side effects this drug is known for. I didn't realize until the end of my trip that I was experiencing symptoms from the drug reaction. Instead I lived a delusion for the last half of my time in Haiti and thought I would never make it out of there alive. I even wondered why God would send me there to be hacked to death by a machete....or stabbed in the back of the neck by some voodoo practicing Haitian who didn't want me there.
My Delusions started the first night I was there. When it was time for bed I found myself scared to go to sleep. Every time I would close my eyes I would see distorted and scary Haitian faces flash before my eyes and I would immediately open them back up. I think the first two nights I slept a total of 2 hours tops. During the day I was fine and did everything I needed to as far a service goes to be an effective missionary on my trip. Nights were scary in Haiti. The second night we were there we took a walk (on the compound grounds that was fenced in) and during the middle of the adventure, the Missionary that lives there pointed out to us that all along the path we were walking on were giant tarantula holes with tarantulas either in them or close by. I saw 4 that night. I hate spiders....especially big blackish grey furry ones that could cover my entire face! The guy told us it's best to sleep with the beds away from the walls (this did not help me sleep I tell ya!).
Several Haitians worked on the compound where we were staying. Some were in charge of driving the vehicles, others were in charge of security, still others were translators/teachers and all of them worked together doing things around the compound to keep things going the way they needed to. I was convinced by the end of the week that three of the translators were planning to take over the compound and kill us all. Then I found out that Amber the resident missionary's wife (they are both missionaries) had a death in her family and so they had to fly out unexpectedly for the funneral a day before we were scheduled to leave. I felt sure that this would be the perfect opportunity for the Haitian take over and one night as I was going up to the main house I saw one of the Haitians sharpening his machete and it invoked an anxiety attack.
Our last night there we had dinner at a resort and had to ride back to the compound after dark. A lot of the Haitians are afraid of the dark and with good reason. It's a scary place. Traveling in the daytime is scary enough in Haiti. There are no traffic laws and when you have 6 people in the back of a pick up truck driving at speeds unknown but fast, playing chicken with oncoming vehicles of every size to see who owns the road, it terrifies you. Doing that at night with machete holding Haitians walking the streets makes you put your head between your legs and say with eyes squitched shut "there's no place like home" over and over again with tears streaming down your face. Then you realize with your head in that position your neck is an open target for a knife in the back. (Can someone say paranoia?) When we got to the village that night we were riding through and people were shouting things at us in Creole that we couldn't understand and they were hitting the sides of the trucks. The interpreter that rode with us at one point while we were slowing down in an area to keep from hitting people in the road was screaming at the driver "Don't Stop! Keep Going!" I was never so happy to hear the sound of the iron gate shut behind us and lock as we entered the compound that night.
I know this is probably not the perspective of a mission trip that most would expect to hear. I'm just being real about some of what I experienced while I was there. I decided once I got home to quit taking the Malaria preventative and just pray that the one mosquito that bit me in Haiti wasn't infected with the parasite that causes Malaria.
Other than my state of mind in Haiti I got a lot out of the trip. I blogged daily of the things I experienced beyond my delusions at staceyrippy.blogspot.com if you're interrested. Thanks for letting me share...and if you plan to go on a mission trip where your are required to take Malaria medication, opt for the ones with less mind altering effects like Chloroquine or Doxycycline.
Now that my head is clearing up, I do not think the interpreters were planning a take over. They were all very nice guys and I hate that my fears kept me away from them more than near them. God Bless them all at Childrens Lifeline International in La Digue,Haiti! I will especially miss my friend Renel who in my last few minutes on the compound presented me with a small picture of himself with his hand over his heart. He wrote his name on the back of it and though I didn't understand him because of translation, He was telling me not to forget him and his music will forever play in my mind.


Sunday Secrets


It's not just here that we need to believe, not just in this city. Because everyone's tested, everywhere.

How much pressure can we handle before we crack? What will it take to piece us back together? Because whether You sent us angels or not, the only real hope we have is each other.

We get lost, we're afraid...and You know what it's like for the lost and the frightened. They lose faith in You, in themselves, in each other.

So maybe You've sent us those angels, or maybe...maybe You just need us to believe in them. But for me, I need You.

This time my faith, my belief, even in the angels You might've sent my way...they're not enough. They're not enough, not this time.

Please, please help me. Don't let this happen again.

(The Cleaner)

*Original Post: Favorite Mistakes


I Shouldn't Hate This School Already!

So today we went to register myself into A.C. Flora high school. The way they run their school so far, is making me feel disorganized, and frustrated. The women who was doing our registration not only was about to get on my last nerves, and from the look of the other parents faces that where in there with us, it already looked like she crossed that line. Richland two will always be the better school district, and Richland Northeast will ALWAYS be my favorite school. Anyway, the air-headed women who even admitted she didn’t know what she was doing, after thirty minutes of us saying the same freaking thing to her and her being to incompetent to comprehend anything that came from my/my mom’s mouth, she finally gave me a map of the school. The way the school is laid out I just have a feeling like I’m gonna be spending most of my time looking for my classes then actually being in them. Unlike Richland two, Richland one doesn’t give you schedules, on the first day of school at A.C. Flora, there will be papers posted up at the front of the school with EVERYONE’S names on it and a class room, from there you go find your class room and eventually you will get your class schedule. Maybe it’s just me, but that is the most unorganized way to give a bunch of teenagers who will be wondering around campus looking like idiots, there class schedules, like is it really that hard to give everyone a print out early so we can at least know where we are going and what classes we have? Also, there is NO LATE START, I hope these people are prepared to see my pissy side, because late start was the day for me to regain some of the sleep that I didn’t have that week. This is especially gonna suck if my sleeping disorder starts back up again, which I know it will because it happens every time I’m stressed out. So getting five hours of sleep a week, is not gonna be working for me. School starts at 8:00 and ends at 3:15. And they have those stupid A Days, And B Days, which is what I’m sure a lot of people had to deal with in middle school, which also are stupid and a waste of my flipping time! Anyway, that is all….for now.

P.S. School Starts Monday The 17th. Wa!


Just A Thought:

Today I saw two soldiers praying while I was out and about. This is something you don’t see very often. Why is it that in a country where we are free to worship whatever we choose, we rarely do it? People in foreign countries would kill for freedom like this, and yet we throw it away like it’s nothing? Why are people afraid to let others know about God, but they are quick to give someone a piece of their mind? Are our lives so busy that we can’t take two seconds to sit down and think/pray to God, but we can take those two seconds to answer that text from your crush? I myself am guilty of this too, but it made me think if soldiers can take time out of defending our country to pray, even if it was a short, heartfelt one, why can’t we take time to do the same and take advantage of those freedoms we are given, just a thought.


It's those moments when you drive around in a car full of friends around a town too small for you. Where you gasp for breath between each laugh. It's those moments where you get high off just breathing in so deep, you feel your lungs getting cold. For a second, that split second, you don't care. You don't care about school, about parents, about money, about rules, or broken hearts. Who you care about are the kids sitting next to you. Cause it's all we really need isn't it? Those kids next to you. Yeah, the ones who make you feel invincible, even at your weakest points.


Miserable At Best Lyrics By Mayday Parade:

Katie, don't cry, I know
You're trying your hardest
And the hardest part is letting go
The nights we shared
Ocala is calling and you know it's haunting
But compared to your eyes, nothing shines quite as bright
And when we look to the sky, it's not mine, but I want it so

Let's not pretend like you're alone tonight
(I know he's there and)
You're probably hanging out and making eyes
(While across the room he stares)
I bet he gets the nerve to walk the floor
And ask my girl to dance, she'll say yes

Because these words were never easier for me to say
Or her to second guess
But I guess
That I can live without you but
Without you I'll be miserable at best

You're all that I hoped to find
In every single way
And everything I would give
Is everything you couldn't take
Cause nothing feels like home, you're a thousand miles away
And the hardest part of living
Is just taking breaths to stay

Cause I know I'm good for something
I just haven't found it yet
And I need it

So, let's not pretend like you're alone tonight
(I know he's there and)
You're probably hanging out and making eyes
(While across the room he stares)
I bet he gets the nerve to walk the floor
And ask my girl to dance, she'll say yes

Because these words were never easier for me to say
Or her to second guess
But I guess
That I can live without you but
Without you I'll be miserable at best

Ladada ladada ladadaoh ohhh

And this will be the first time in a week
That I'll talk to you
And I can't speak
It's been three whole days since I've had sleep
Cause I dream of his lips on your cheek
And I got the point that I should leave you alone
But we both know that I'm not that strong
And I miss the lips that made me fly

So, let's not pretend like you're alone tonight
(I know he's there and)
You're probably hanging out and making eyes
(While across the room he stares)
I bet he gets the nerve to walk the floor
And ask my girl to dance, she'll say yes

Because these words were never easier for me to say
Or her to second guess
But I guess
That I can live without you but
Without you I'll be miserable
And I can live without you but
Without you I'll be miserable
And I can live without you but
Oh, without you I'll be miserable at best.