Friday, 30 March 2012

The Cycle of Life

Life is cyclical; what goes around comes around.  The wise man Solomon said, “There’s nothing new under the sun.”  Somehow though we often seem surprised and overwhelmed by many of the challenges we confront in life.  It is as if something is out of order, and what should otherwise be predictable outcomes often come as great shockers that throw our homeostasis out of whack.  What is wrong, and how can we fix it?

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A natural phenomenon studied in Physics is Centripetal Force.  Centripetal Force is force acting on a moving body at an angle to the direction of motion, tending to make the body follow a circular or curved (predictable) path.   A prime example of centripetal force at work is the Hammer Throw game that involves a metal ball that is attached to a length of wire.  The aim of the game is to throw the apparatus as far as possible.  The execution of the game involves a competitor holding the wire with the metal ball at the end of it; he or she then gets the ball moving in a circular motion above the head.  In order to develop power for a good throw the competitor carries out the circular motion for a while and then releases the apparatus at a specified angle to get it moving in a specific direction.  The noteworthy point here however is that as soon as the competitor releases the apparatus the circular motion ceases. A similar example of centripetal force at work is the revolution earth and the other planets around the sun.  But while for the Hammer Throw game the break of the centripetal force is desirable, that is not the case for our planet system – our very existence is hinged on the stability of this system, for to break away from the sun would instantly plunge us into a dark abyss of certain destruction.

The relationship between the earth and the sun is microcosmic of the universe and its Creator.  Similarly then, what would be true if the earth were to break away from the sun, would be true for other aspect of the universe that breaks away from the structure that the Creator has put in place for it to operate by.  Hence, the misery of life and the notion of death as occasioned by sin.  “For the soul that sinneth shall surly die.” Sin, it is said, is the transgression of the law.  Whose law?  The Creator God’s law.

Death defies the cyclical nature of life, because at death the cycle ceases…but for Grace.  Grace is the repair kit to correct the malfunction caused by sin.  In the end sin will be destroyed, death will cease, and life as God intended will follow its intended course, and it will not cease.  Praise the Lord.

In the Potter’s Hands

Have you ever observed the manner in which pottery is being shaped? Countries belonging to the far eastern region of the world have coined the invention of pottery making. Pottery making dates back to the new Stone Age era. Pottery is made by forming a clay body into objects of a required shape and heating them to high temperatures in a kiln which removes all water from the clay, as well as induce the reactions that lead to permanent changes including increasing their strength and hardening and setting their shape. Let us explore the different physical stages and the methods of reshaping that clay undergoes before it becomes pottery.

At the first physical stage, clay is considered a green ware. Here clay is soft and malleable. It can be easily deformed by handling. The second physical stage is leather-hard. At this stage it is very firm, possesses little water content and is only slightly pliable. Biscuit, the third physical stage of clay, represents the clay shaped into the desired form which has been fired in the kiln for the first. This firing changes the clay’s body in several ways. The fourth and final stage is called “glost fired”. During this stage decorations are added to the biscuit form of clay and no water content is present. The absence of water from the clay is categorized as “bone-dry”.

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Similarly as Christians there are several stages that we go through. At the beginning of our journey we are excited and ready to take on the world. We question the foundation and principles of our belief. At this stage we are easily swayed; others have the opportunity to positively or negatively influence our beliefs and practices. It is at this stage that God will begin to shape us.

Before clay can become pottery, it first has to go through a range of methods. Clay can be shaped through three methods: hand building, granulate pressing, and pressure casting. Hand building involves utilisation of the hand to form the clay wares. This is the earliest forming method. A combination of flat slabs of clay or pinching solids balls of clay are used to construct the ware. During the process of shaping the clay, a potter’s wheel is often used to offer a high degree of control over the size and shapes of wares. This process of “throwing” creates a rotational symmetry on a vertical axis while the clay is pressed, squeezed, pulled upwards and outwards into a hollow shape. A potter sometimes uses more than one method of shaping depending on the nature of the clay.

Granulate pressing, the operation of shaping pottery, is done through pressing clay in a semi-dry and granulated condition in a mould. The clay is pressed into the mould by a porous die through which water is pumped at high pressure. The granulated clay is prepared by spray-drying to produce a fine and free-flowing material having a moisture content of between about 5 and 6%. Not all clays are the same; some require additional pressure to mould the ware. This forces the potter to employ pressure casting.

Pressure casting involves the application of high external air pressures of up to 4.0 MPa. This high pressure leads to a much faster casting rate and production cycle. Furthermore, the application of high pressure air through the polymeric moulds upon demoulding the cast means a new casting cycle can be started immediately in the same mould, unlike plaster moulds which require lengthy drying times.

Conversely, travelling on the road of our Christian pathway, we experience roadblocks and sometimes fall into ditches. Our front ends get dented and sometimes chipped. 

However, it is at this stage that we learn to openly put our lives in God’s hands. He seemingly break us down before He begins to reshape our lives. Though in His hands, we are liable to cuts and bruises. He will then use this opportunity to gently smooth out the rough edges, pulling us upwards and outwards adding a thick protective outer covering, while at the same time, He trims the edges to smooth out past roughage that have been acquired throughout the journey. Even through the process of reshaping moulding, we will still meet in accidents. We may acquire some dents and chips, but it is here that the potter begins to add more pressure. Some may be fatal while others serve to increase trust and faith in God. This added pressure serves to strengthen the trust and faith we have in God. 

Thursday, 29 March 2012

The Importance of Light

No one enjoys being in the dark. At least I hope not. In the Caribbean, power outages are experienced quite often. A few minutes after a power outage, most persons search for candles, lanterns, and flashlights. Some people unplug their appliances; some may scream and cower in fear by calling out to friends or relatives in close proximity, while others remain still, unable to move. Without the presence of light human eyes are unable to sense what is around them. So the question is: What do you do when the lights go out?

Light is the very essence of sight. Without light, there would be no sight. Our visual ability is the result of the complex interaction of light, our eyes and our brain. We are able to see because light from an object can move through space and reach our eyes. Once the light reaches our eyes, signals are then sent to our brain, and our brain deciphers the information to detect the appearance, location and movement of the objects we are perceiving.

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Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”(Matthew 5:16) Our light was not given for our own use, but so that we may show others the way to Christ. Our lifestyle and practices should depict what we preach. As Christians we should be ardent followers of God, but we should also lead by example allowing others to be blessed by our daily actions and words.

he Bible emphatically describes Christians as “... the light of the world.” As the sun peeps over the mountains each day illuminating all that is below and around, and distributes its warmth to the dew laden vegetation, similarly, all Christians should allow their Christ-like attributes to evidence the presence of God within their hearts. The verse continues to liken our light to “a city that is set on a hill which cannot be hid” (Matthew 5:14). A hill is a landform that rises above the surrounding terrain. A hill stands above the rest, just high enough to be seen from afar off. So too as Christians our light should illumine those around. It should help those who have gone astray to find their way back to the source of light: the ‘Sonlight’ of Christ, who is the light of the world.

Northern Caribbean University is a tertiary institution situated high above the town of Mandeville. Come join us and enjoy the warmth and illumination of the light of knowledge and the presence of Christian values. Don’t curse the dark, let’s light your candle. 

Mikki Clarke 

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

The many ways to say 'I love you'

HUMANS are social beings, we have love needs and these needs must be met. In fact, in order to survive, our love cups must have a consistent source from which love flows. The fuller the cup, the better it will be for our souls, our sanity, and our survival. A love cup that is empty can lead to frustration, depression and temptation.
Although we were created to love and to be loved, many persons, both married and single, are love starved; longing for a tender touch, a fond look, or a warm embrace. Some are pining for that special someone to have and to hold, that someone to make them feel alive, needed, wanted, cherished, special and loved.
Let me gently remind you all, our men in particular, that spouses never grow tired of hearing those three little words repeated -- 'I love you'. Ask any of your lady friends and she will tell you that ladies never get tired of hearing the men in their lives whisper in their ear or even say it out loud. It means the world to a woman to hear her man say 'I love you'.
Dear fellows, please note that expressing your love will not make you less of man. Nothing is wrong if you take the time to verbalise how you are feeling. Telling the lady in your life that you love her will help to build her confidence and her self-esteem, it will contribute to her overall happiness, and can put her in the mood to love you more.
Since women are more emotional than men, it is always much easier for them to express their feelings. Most men will stifle their feelings or find it much more difficult to say 'I love you'. So then fellows, while we ladies try to be patient and try to understand that you might be struggling to repeat those three little words, permit me to take the audacity, on behalf of us ladies, to remind you men out there that there are many ways to say I love you.

* Say 'I love you' with flowers: Even if you can't afford to buy your woman a dozen red roses, just buy her one red rose, she will still appreciate it and will see it for the romantic gesture that it is.
* Say 'I love you' with compliments: When you compliment you spouse what you are really doing is saying, 'I love you and that is why I took the time to notice that particular thing about you and to compliment you on it'.
* Say 'I love you' with gifts: Actions speak louder than words, no wonder, one of the easiest ways to say I love you, is through the giving of gifts.
* Say 'I love you' with a warm embrace: Silence is golden. There are times when all that is needed is a warm embrace. Practice to hug your spouse very often and communicate love through hugging.
* Say 'I love you' with your support: When you support your spouse he/she will not have to question your love, your support speaks volumes, sometimes more than you know.
* Say 'I love you' with communication: It is hard to love a person with whom there is little or no communication. When you spend time in communication, what you are saying is this, 'because I love you I want to talk with you'.

Jacqueline Champier is a counselling psychologist.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Information Technology and Communication

What a nightmare it would be if you woke up, from a peaceful dream, in the Stone Age. Can you imagine your world without all the knowledge mankind has amassed and the many devices that make life easier?  Information and communication technology (ICT) has become, within a very short time, one of the basic building blocks of modern society. Many countries now regard understanding ICT and mastering the basic skills and concepts of ICT as part of the core of education, alongside reading, writing and numeracy. How has technology changed the way in which information is managed, stored, and disseminated?

Information is easily accessible nowadays. People can gain access to the internet or other networks via mobile devices such as phones, tablet s, and e-readers. The internet has provided a right of entry to information outside of the classroom and other traditional learning environments. The post-modern era scholar can choose to do classes online rather than to sit in the actually classroom, no longer labours with heavy books, and hardly ever visits a physical library.

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Technology has also changed the manner in which people communicate, from the electronic versions of traditional media such as mail to video chat and conference. Persons, for example, spend hours communicating via Skype to family and friends thousands of miles away. Social networking sites offers the option of IM (instant messaging), and multinational corporations such as apple provides its users with the option of face time chat.

The Internet is a driving force for much development and innovation in both developed and developing countries. Information Technology and Communication permeates the business environment, it underpins the success of modern corporations, and it provides governments with an efficient infrastructure. At the same time, it adds value to the processes of teaching and learning, and in the organization and management of learning institutions.

Countries must be able to benefit from technological developments. Northern Caribbean University (NCU) is among one of the prestigious tertiary institutions that utilize technology to boost the country’s economy. The university recently opened an agriculture research centre which facilitates guidelines for increased crop yield, laboratory services and consultation for farmers. The agricultural centre is also equipped with state-of-the art technology to test soil, water quality, combat diseases, and improve the level of nutrients in the soil.

Technological developments have led to changes in work, and in the organization of work. These changes have also influenced the manner in which teachers disseminate information. Teachers no longer use a black board and a chalk. Instead, projectors, power point presentations, and eco-friendly white boards with erasable markers are now used. In some classrooms portable computers are used to enhance the learning process for the students. Students are provided with an interactive environment in which they can take notes directly on lecture slides, and ask the instructor for clarifications through a chat window during class.

Here at Northern Caribbean University, the Aeorion Learning Management Software allows students to submit assignments online thus reducing the amount of paper that has to be used. Lectures are given the opportunity to upload course outlines, reading material, assignments and lectures to students so that they can download the lessons at their own time. The use of information and communication technology has greatly enhanced the education experience at NCU.

Mikki Clarke 

No last kiss

AMIDST the sounds of chirping birds and tiny, noisy insects came the constant and annoying beep that pleaded for my immediate attention. Scantily dressed in a red and white negligee that I received at my recent wedding shower, I hesitantly crawled from under the covers and sleepwalked towards the alarm clock; the culprit that invaded my private moments and interfered with my slumber. It was 5:00 am but still my head pounded from too little sleep. I was exhausted from the activities of the night before and really preferred to be undisturbed.

Turning off the alarm, I lay flat on my back in the middle of the king size waterbed and listened to the soothing sounds of the waves splashing just moments from the back door; kicking up the ocean against the seashore. I inhaled the fresh summer scent of the morning dew and was captivated by the melodious love songs being chirped out by the nightingales.

This is all thanks to my cousin Barry who graciously invited Kevon and I to honeymoon in his beachfront bungalow, nestled on a tropical island off the coastal shores. Hiding away in our private rendezvous, we enjoyed each other for 14 days, undisturbed by the rest of the world, experiencing the true meaning of oneness.

With the sun now peeping through the make-believe stained glass windows, reflecting its rays on the chandelier replica above my head, I became fully conscious and smiled to myself as my eyes caught the remnants from the night before. I could still smell the sweet aroma of the dainty lavender candles that burnt throughout the night. I glanced at the empty champagne bottles, the stained long-stemmed wine glasses and the little cherry stems. I viewed the empty ice cream plastic containers, the chocolate wrappers, the half-eaten strawberries, the whip cream that melted on the floor, the fading red roses and the red and white comforter that was still crumbled in a corner, to the left on the floor. Oh, what a night it had been.

Lying beside me was the man with whom I enjoyed the pleasures of the night, he planned the whole thing. He called it Episode One. I lay there admiring every inch of his six feet two inches, one hundred and eighty-two pounds. His complexion was that of olives, and the hairs on his chest, arms and legs could not hide his toned biceps, triceps and other muscles which bulged from all angles. "When you are blessed you are blessed", I thought, laughing. In that instant I remembered my youthful wishes about what my husband to be would look like. I prayed that he would be well proportioned, well endowed -- my dream was now my reality.

As I watched him fast asleep, my heart palpitated with the movements of his chest as he breathed. My mind raced back to the wedding when he stood tall and proud waiting for me at the altar. Hundreds of invited guests and curious onlookers lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the bride and her entourage. Though it felt like I was in a daze, I can still remember the stretches of white limousines, the bright lights of the camera flashing in my face, bottles of exquisite champagne, the gold and white decoration that seemed to be everywhere, the milky white wedding gown with the never ending trail. I can still picture the polite pilot in the gold and white private jet that eventually carried us away, across the deep blue Caribbean Sea.

We got fully acclimatised to the tropical island of Bermuda, and soon we were jetting back across the ocean to Jamaica. Though I enjoyed every moment of the honeymoon, I was excited that any minute now I would be home. Gazing through the plane window, the familiar landmarks caused me to forget the knots in my stomach that I usually experienced when preparing for landing. As the pilot guided the plane to a touch down, I silently thanked God for a safe flight, a safe landing and a splendid honeymoon.

Our chauffeur was already waiting to meet us and he spotted us quickly in the crowded airport. Within twenty-two minutes I was turning the keys to our front door. After collecting our suitcases and thanking our chauffeur, we hastily went upstairs, showered and changed in matching blood-red, skimpy night clothes. After a long night of Episode Two, sleep was still eluding me. Maybe because I was overly anxious for the morning to break, so that I could be reunited with my family and riends.

I tried to hide my exhaustion as I went downstairs at the break of dawn and headed to the kitchen to fix Kevon's favourite breakfast. For the heavy eater that he was, I was surprised when he only picked at the food, complimented me for the sumptuous meal and excused himself from the table.

Within minutes he was dressed and ready. He prepared to leave and I was devastated and disappointed that he did not kiss me. How could he think of leaving home without kissing me at the door, without a peck on the cheek, without giving me something to take me through the day? I gathered the courage to bar him at the door and begged one last time for a goodbye kiss. He did not oblige. This has never happened. Although we were so close, almost touching at the door, he said time was going and he did not want to be late on the first day back at work.

All the ladies surrounded me at work; they wanted to hear all the juicy details. They wanted to see the wedding pictures and find out how I was coping. I laughed at their jokes, I appreciated their thoughtfulness and read their welcome notes that were placed on my office door. At about 9:00 am I settled down in my comfort zone.

The phone on my desk rang. From reflex, I took up the receiver, and in my sweetest 'just-married' voice I said "Hello". The caller said he was sorry that he had to call. He said he just got the news and he wanted me to know. It was my cousin Barry and his voice was very low. He said it was an accident, no one saw how it happened but Kevon's car got out of control. His car went over a cliff, and turned over. The car was engulfed in flames. He said he was not sure if Kevon escaped, but most people thought so. They searched the scene but his body could not be found. Some eyewitnesses said he should still be alive as they were almost sure that they saw a man escape through the car's back door, just as it overturned. Between his sobs and tears, Barry asked if I could get a ride and come down to the police station.

My head swirled, as Barry's voice faded into a distant whisper. Flashbacks of Episode One and Episode Two flooded my mind and the picture of our last kiss grew hazy, as nausea and darkness engulfed me, I took a deep breath and fell to the floor.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Prayer: The Original Wireless Connection

What is your BB pin? This request has become a worldwide norm, rivalling that of ‘What’s your number?’ and ‘What’s your name on Facebook?’. Research In Motion (RIM), makers of the popular Blackberry smartphone, has boldly taken the world by storm with its global ‘BB appeal’ predominantly because of its blackberry messenger. Blackberry messenger allows its users to communicate in real time throughsending and receiving messages within seconds, build their own network by scanning barcodes, and swap PINs to add BBM friends quickly and easily. Have you ever paused and pondered who invented this idea of communicating wirelessly and what is the original wireless connection?

It was Alexander Graham Bell and  Charles Summer Tainter who invented and patented the photo-phone, a telephone that conducted audio conversations wirelessly, through modulated light beams which are narrow projections of  electromagnetic waves. The photo-phone required a clear line of sight between its transmitter and its receiver. It took several decades before this invention was utilized by the military and fibre-optic communications.

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NCU Associate vice-president of Academic Administration Dr. Vincent Peterkin (left) shares some information with NCU President Dr. Trevor Gardner on his IPad

The original wireless connection is prayer. Prayer is the unrestricted, no strings attached, conversation with God. It is an avenue through which people can solemnly request for help and forgiveness. God desires that we communicate with Him, like a person-to-person phone call. Cell phones and other devices have become a necessity for communication in today’s society; prayer however predates such technology and serves an even grander purpose.
This wireless connection first began in the Garden of Eden. God did not require a blackberry messenger to communicate with Adam and Eve. Nor did he need the internet to speak to Moses. He wirelessly communicated with them without technology. Technology may have bridged the cap across the globe to enable communication, but it can never take the place of just speaking with God.

Communication with God is simple. A few words of thanksgiving, a verse from the bible, or even the chorus of a song can be considered as communication with God. When words cannot be found, tears are a language that he understands. There is no special place to pray. It can be done just about anywhere, anytime, in reverence.
Here at Northern Caribbean University students are encouraged to communicate with God regularly. Communication with God does not require a wireless modem, the internet, or the latest technology. He only requires our time. Take time to Talk to God today; its free of charge.

Mikki Clarke

Clinching that Scholarship

Would you appreciate a scholarship to attend the university of your dreams? Unfortunately scholarships do not exist at a dime a dozen.  They are like rare gold that must be mine with meticulous attention to details that determine the success or failure of ones efforts to secure that illusive prize.  Is there anything that individuals can do to stack things in their favour when seeking a scholarship?

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A group of scholarship awardees pose with NCU Administrators and philanthropist Dr. Byron Robinson (centre seated) 
Here are a few tips to improve your chances of securing that slippery scholarship:

1.    Always apply.  Ever heard the saying, “if you don’t have a ticket, you don’t have a chance?”  Well, if you don’t have an application in you don’t stand a chance.  And if it is a scholarship that is given at the pleasure of a principal, a dean or a chair of a college or department, and not via an application process, make sure that you do the things that would qualify you and that person making the decision knows who you are.  You’re not going to be overt and smothering, but you’re going to be diligent in your work, and you’re going to network.
2.    Apply even if you don’t fully qualify.  It is not a crime to do this.  Persons have been known to win scholarships for which they did not initially qualify.  This could be as a result of those who would qualify failing to apply.  Or, maybe you could make such a convincing case that they feel obliged to bend the rules to accommodate you and make a one off disbursement.
3.    Apply on time.  Too often do individuals find themselves running against the clock.  This usually means that some bases are not going to be covered and you will not be as prepared as you should be for the interview.  Many times too persons hear about scholarships after they have been disbursed, which leads to the other tip.
4.    Be alert to when scholarships become available.  Read notice boards, check your emails, read newspapers, stay in touch with the scholarships office, attend and pay attention in assemblies.  These are typical places and means through which scholarships are advertised.
5.    Get good grades.  The better your grades, the better your chances of securing the scholarships
6.    Carry sufficient credit load.  Some scholarships criteria require that a minimum number of credits be done in the period being evaluated.  And if the deliberations of the panel comes down to the matter of credit, the person carrying the most credits on average will be the one most favoured.
7.    Be involved in extracurricular activities.  There are clear limits to attainable grades and credit loads, and creating a difference between two contenders will sometimes come down to the number of extracurricular activities that one is involved in.  The individual who is involved in extracurricular activities is the one most likely to be a responsible citizen, who values a good quality of life and will thereby, be most likely to give back to society.  This is also the individual whom donating organizations will want to be identified with to enhance their corporate image.

8.    Be prepared for the interview.  There are a number of things to be concerned with when preparing for an interview

a.    Sharpen your interviewing skills.  Find a coach to expose you to different interviewing styles and techniques.  Practice on your own in front of a mirror.
b.    Learn as much as you can about the scholarship donor.  Understanding your donor will help you understand your obligations, once you’ve gotten a scholarship.  Questions will likely be posed to test your knowledge about the donor, especially if it is a corporate entity.  They may want you to be an ambassador for them, or to hire you upon graduating.
c.    Be prepared to articulate how you will give back.  Persons who offer scholarships want value for money; they want to know that the person they are helping is one who will add value to society – through their extracurricular activities, and through their professional contributions once they are fully trained.
d.    Demonstrate loyalty to your alma mater.  There is nothing cute about bashing your alma mater, because the fact that the scholarship is available where you are, means that the donor respects your alma mater.  Accordingly you must know about your school, and be prepared to answer reasonable general knowledge questions about it.
e.    Keep abreast with current affairs.  This quality again demonstrates your interest the world around you, and indicates the likelihood that you will want to contribute to the quality of life.  One important rationale why individuals and corporations contribute to a scholarship fund is that they are interested in the creation of an ideal society.  You must therefore demonstrate care for and an inclination to contribute to the establishment of that society.

A scholarship is a partnership between the donor, the facilitator (the school), and the recipient.  The goal is to create a legacy of giving back so that the quality of life within the society can be achieved.  If you are to succeed you must demonstrate the aptitude and attitude that will offer value for money.  Success to you.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Givers and takers in relationships

ELIZABETH and George Knight in their book, Compatibility Code: An Intelligent Woman's Guide to Dating and Marriage, write that, "there are givers and takers in every relationship". The giver is the person who is always giving; the one who is always going the extra mile, and as you might guess, the taker is the one who does nothing but takes what the giver has to offer.
When there are two takers in a relationship, the relationship is doomed to fail, and will tend to end at a very early stage. When there is a giver and a taker in a relationship, the relationship may last for a longer period but the giver suffers in silence; sometimes for many years. Usually, after many years of suffering the giver may decide to quit. When there are two givers in a relationship, the relationship is poised for success as both partners take the time to give and to nourish each other.
Because there is more blessing in giving than receiving, I implore you to commit to being a giver for the rest of your relationship; aim to become a giver rather than a taker. Just in case you are a taker, wondering where to begin or what to give, here is a short list of inexpensive items that your partner should be sure to enjoy.
Foot massage or back rub No cost
One hour of listening ear No cost
Quality time No cost
Three little wishes No cost
Stroll in the park No cost
Setting the bath No cost
Little love notes No cost
Helping with house work No cost
Since it is better to give than to receive, no wonder, successful relationships are those where both partners are givers. Show your appreciation by getting creative or giving something special. Remember to give according to your budget and the taste of your partner.
Jacqueline Champier is a counselling psychologist from Mandeville.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

10 reasons not to search his cellphone

US ladies should sign a pact that we will NOT search the cellphones of our significant others neither to confirm nor deny a suspicion or out of mere curiosity. Searching of cellphones has wreaked havoc in many homes and caused destruction of many relationships.
I believe that cell phone searching can cause irreparable upset from the mental shock received after reading text messages and listening to voice mails that you were not prepared mentally to deal with. The mental energy that is required to determine who really is Pamela, Angela or Sheila, to decipher who is Karen One, Karen Two or Karen Three, to determine why Jackie's name is stored only as Jack, or to memorise phone numbers, is just not worth the effort.
I do not condone dishonesty in relationships but it is a fact that what you don't know can't hurt you. Some of the hardest wounds to heal and some of the hottest pains to endure are those that are self-inflicted. You can opt not to search or you can opt to search and run the risk of living in emotional torment. The choice is yours. I have listed below 10 reasons why it is beneficial to opt NOT to search.
1 Cellphone searching hurts the 'searcher' more than the 'searchee'. Also, you run the risk of biting off more than you can chew.
2 When you search his phone, you are sending a message that says, "I do not trust you". Lack of trust can cause incalculable damages to relationships.
3 Cellphone searching can be a sign of insecurity; it may reveal an inferiority complex or lack of confidence on the part of the searcher. This can be a turn-off to your mate.
4 The practice is unethical and hits below the belt. The messages going out or coming in were not meant for you.
5 The searching of a partner's cellphone can ruin a beautiful relationship. This searcher might overreact and this can lead to quarrelling and fighting that can end the relationship.
6 It can wreck homes and marriages and cause innocent children to suffer.
7 It can strain the relationship and cause your partner not to feel relaxed in your presence. In other words, it robs him of his freedom and joy of being with you, since he may not be sure what else you might be searching or where else you might be snooping.
8 If he feels you do not trust him, neither might he trust you.
9 The time and energy that is used to search can be employed in a more productive fashion that can build the relationship rather than wreck it.
10 If you would not like your phone to be searched then don't search another person's phone.
Jacqueline Champier is a counselling psychologist from Mandeville.

For the Joy of Service: not for Votes

“And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant.” Matthew 20:27

Have we somehow allowed the greed and the hunger for power, as is characteristic of the world ruled by the Devil, to infiltrate the Church and its institutions?  How else then would a debate between contending parties who often berate one another, albeit sometimes in euphemistic terms, in an effort to make themselves appear appealing to the voting masses.  Isn’t this the way of the Devil, “the accuser of the brethren?” Rev. 12:10.

If you are a diligent Bible student then you’d say, ‘Hold up! Didn’t Jesus make efforts to expose the Devil; berate him in John 8: 44?’  And I’d have to say…’Yes.  He did.’   But we must get to the heart of why He did that.  Did he do it for His gain, or for the gain of those who were disenfranchised, being born in sin (Ps. 51: 5); born to die (Rom 6: 23), and having no choice in the matter?  But thank God, by the intervention of Jesus Christ, I now can choose my preferred destiny – whether to live or whether to die.

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Student leaders at NCU - file

The power and authority of Christ was not so challenged as to warrant His coming to earth to recover His losses to the Devil, for He had power sufficient to but speak the word and all His enemies would fall, and every survivor’s will bent to strict obedience to Himself.  He came on a mission to recover lost human beings; to offer us hope and a future. Jer. 29: 11.  And here is the mark of the true leader that Christ is: He came not to be served to but to serve. Matt 20: 28.  Mind you, doubtlessly being accustomed to being in obvious and absolute authority, He was tempted to go for power when he faced the Devil in the wilderness, following His baptism. Matt. 4: 8-10.  But He was certain of whom He was and what He had to offer.  So He stood His ground, and resisted the Devil, who later fled.  

Those who would be deemed great in Heaven are those who, not for the praise of man, nor for the vote of the gullible, would make themselves available for humble use in the service of their fellowmen. Oh for leaders who are more interested to serve than to secure power, and position, fame and fortune; who serve for the joy therein and not for votes.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

The Awesome Wonders of God

From the tranquil hills of Manchester we awake from our sleep and hear the melodious sounds of birds chirping, we see the trees dancing in the wind, and we visualize the sun awakening in the sky. A new day has dawned. A day filled with exciting opportunities to seize, new memories to create, and a chance to make a mark in society.

Have you ever stopped and noticed the birds in the sky?  Do you observe how they spread their wings and glide with the wind? Scientists became baffled by this and so the airplane was invented. The Wright brothersconcluded that birds changed its angle with the ends of their wings to make their bodies roll to the right or to the left. From this theory, they decided that it would be a good way for a flying machine to turn just like a bird or like a person riding a bicycle; an experience with which they were thoroughly familiar. As brilliant as their idea was, the intelligence of the Wright brothers is just a portion of the vast knowledge that our God possesses.
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God never seizes to amaze us. He created woman from the rib of man. He orchestrated the wonders of this Earth. Scientists to this day cannot comprehend the wondrous works of God. They have formulated theories and concepts to try to explain the habitual behaviours of plants and animals. It was Charles Darwin whom concocted the theory that all species of life descended from a common ancestry. But never forget that it was God who created man in His image.

Everyday new plants and animal species are found. Man will never seize to fulfil their thirst for knowledge.  From the very beginning of mankind, the discoveries made by our race have shaped our futures forever. We have always wanted to know why things happen, and we have always dared to push the boundaries of the impossible.

Here at Northern Caribbean University we boast accomplishments acquired by the Department of Biology and Chemistry in benefits of drinking sorrel. God has enabled this University to groom its Computer and Information Sciences students to think outside the box. The lecturers from these departments have displayed that their techniques used to mould their students are successful. 

Mikki Clarke

The man hunt - where there's a will, there's a way

ASK anyone, and they will tell you without having to think for even a mere second, that they can readily identify a Jane Doe who is desperately in search of a Mr Right. Some Janes say that 'good man short', while others say 'man plentiful, but a great number of them are either married, incarcerated, or eyeing the same sex'.
I don't know about you, but I've seen that there are many good-looking, educated women who are presently waiting for an eligible bachelor. I don't usually volunteer to be match-maker, but I know the signs of desperation and frustration, so when I'm asked to help with the search I don't usually hesitate.
The quests are always long, wearisome, and sometimes unproductive. The last time one woman checked with me to find out what had surfaced, I told her not to hold her breath, but that 'where there is a will, there is a way'. She agreed and reminded me that 'tree not growing in her face', and she would patiently wait.
That has been over three years, and the search is still ongoing.
We have tried everything in the books. Because of her specifications, we have looked in the pulpit and we have looked in the pews ... jokingly she suggested that she will have to wear a sign that reads, 'ROOM FOR RENT, APPLY WITHIN'. But I reminded her that God is interested in every aspect of our lives, and we should ask and wait to receive, seek and find, knock and wait for the door to be opened, and he will come.
It dawned on me recently that the unavailability of men is not the only factor contributing to the problems encountered by the Janes of today. After all, Granny always says that 'every hoe have dem 'tick a bush'. It is a fact that eligible men are a rarity, but, some Janes find Mr Right and chase him away because of poor 'holding' techniques and insufficient dating skills. Finding the ''tick' is already a task and a half. How you treat it after it has been found determines whether it stays with you and the quality of the service you get from it. Note that:
1.Possessiveness is a major turn-off. Don't be one of the sisters who make the mistake of holding on too tightly to their prized possessions. You will suffocate the man! Allow him a bit of freedom instead of having him steal it every chance he gets! Sometimes when he says that he is 'liming' with his friends he really is, believe him! Display a little trust sometimes. It goes a long way.
2. Respect begets respect. Even if the man is small in stature he is a man nonetheless. All women should know that 'respect due', every time. There should be no shouting, scolding, or name-calling. If you prefer to address him by a name other than that which is on his birth certificate, try using 'honey' or 'sugar' or some other sweet thing, but, never call him 'baby'. I can tell you from experience that not every man appreciates it.
3.Next thing, men hate naggers. Some women know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, how to nag a man into leaving a relationship. Remember at all times that no one is perfect - don't expect perfection from the man. At times we need not only let sleeping dogs lie - sometimes we need to kill them and then let them stay dead!
4.Super-woman or no super-woman, accept the fact that the man is the head of the woman! Isn't that biblical? So, why not give him a chance to manifest his manliness? The last woman I know of who found a man and decided to build them both a mansion got the shock of her life when the man just upped and left. Today she is looking up to the sky asking why? Instead of boasting that you have been there and done that, big up the man, let him feel like the superhero.
5.Love and pamper yourself. When you do this it will be easier for others to love and pamper you. This also builds confidence and self-esteem which will make you more attractive. Men don't ever want to feel like they are married to their grannies. You don't have to be the next hottie-hottie, but at least try to look good at all times.
Jacqueline Champier, NCU.

Monday, 19 March 2012

When shop lock

MANY sisters have boasted in my presence of how often they have had to 'lock shop' early, or how they lock shop for weeks, sometimes months, in order to teach hubby a lesson or just to spite him. These sisters are of the impression that they can do as they please, because they have the shop keys. As a result, they lock shop for every little thing, without giving consideration to the 'shopper'.
There are exceptions to every rule, and opinions will sometimes differ. However, where shop-locking is concerned, my philosophy is that shop should remain open at all times. I agree that teeth and tongue will meet, but shop-locking should never be used as a weapon or tool in conflict resolution. Couples should find suitable ways to solve problems.
It is a fact that not all 'shops' have a common closing time. As a matter of fact when one shop door closes, another is usually right around the corner with a big neon sign that blinks 'OPEN FOR BUSINESS'. Be wary of shops that are open late! The goods they stock are usually illegal, contaminated or expired. Ladies, if you or hubby should get sick or go to an early grave, let it not be due to consumption of tainted goods from another woman's shop.
Shop-locking adds fuel to fire in most cases. Women should never be fooled into believing that by putting up a 'CLOSED' sign on the shop door they are on their way to problem solving. Women, a hungry man will not allow himself to starve to death. Some will stop at nothing in their quest to satisfy their seemingly insatiable hunger. They will accept anything, whether hot and spicy or cold and icy. Some men will eat food not for taste, but for mere survival. They eat to live, to satisfy a need. That, my friends, is the nature of man.
When shop locks, who suffers more? In reality isn't it the shopkeeper more than the shopper? Sisters, please, I implore you, learn from the immigrants who come and set up shop on our soil, and keep shop open. Stop closing shop for every little thing. Open shop in shop seasons. Open shop on holidays. Open shop late at nights. Open shop during storm and hurricane. Open shop when shop should be open.
Even the well-bred man who eats out and scrupulously cleans his hands and mouth will bring home even a morsel from his street meal. Visualise what could happen when shop reopens for business as usual and some of his contaminated crumbs fall onto your plate. Imagine that you would have contributed to this scenario by locking shop. A word to the wise is sufficient!
Jacqueline Champier has an MSc in counselling and psychology and writes from Mandeville.

Friday, 16 March 2012

The benefits of pre-marital counselling

OVER the years, one thing that has proven to help couples remain married is pre-marital counselling. Pre-marital counselling can help people to get in touch with their true selves and understand themselves better. It helps one to better understand the person they hope to marry and prepares the couple for what is to come with marriage.
It is unfortunate, however, that many persons set the date of the wedding even before beginning counselling. This should never be. Pre-marital counselling is to help the couple to objectively evaluate the decision to get married. It is a vital part of the preparation for marriage and therefore should be taken seriously.
It is during pre-marital counselling that issues such as roles and responsibilities, finance, sex, communication, and conflict resolution are discussed and masks are removed. Couples are encouraged to share their hopes and dreams, fears and anxieties, habits and practices and to look at the strengths and weaknesses in their relationships. This is in an effort to rightly evaluate their readiness for the marriage and the possibilities for its success. Much heartache could be prevented if more couples took the time to engage in pre-marital counselling.
Note that if you are already married and did not engage in pre-marital counselling, it can still prove beneficial to get counselling afterwards. Also, if you are thinking about getting married, I implore you to think seriously about engaging in pre-marital counselling because it can greatly increase the possibilities for success in marriage.
Jacqueline Champier is a counselling psychologist.