FLICKS: Blade Runner 2049

Posted on 11 October 2017 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

The biggest buzz in science fiction is the two minute, 30 second Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailer that was revealed Monday night. Within hours, viral videos were created, in which detailed frame-by-frame analysis was provided by Star Wars fanatics. Clocking in at nearly three hours, Blade Runner 2049 has created less buzz in the social media.

Released 35 years ago during the summer of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn and Tron, Blade Runner was released to glowing reviews with a tepid box office. Through VHS and various re-releases and director’s cuts, Blade Runner grew into a cult phenomena, in which much attention was given to every nuance and cinematic detail. 

With the release of Blade Runner 2049, history is repeating itself. The new film opened to good, but not great, box office. According to Rotten Tomatoes.com, urban elitist critics rated Blade Runner 2049 better than the ticket buying public. The new film is not likely to make back its production costs during the first run, but Blade Runner 2049 is likely to be a science fiction, cult film for the next 35 years.

The film takes place 35 years after the events of the first film (a deliberate parallel with reality). The environment is still a mess. There was a massive electrical blackout and rogue replicants (cyborg slave labor) are still being terminated by blade runners. The film opens with K (Ryan Gosling) terminating Sapper Morton (Dave Bautista), who claims he witnessed a miracle.

With the help of his superior officer Joshi (Robin Wright), K investigates this “miracle,” which involves carbon life from a cybernetic organism. Through many detours, K’s investigation leads to Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a retired blade runner in exile. 

Harrison Ford’s character does not arrive until the final one third of Blade Runner 2049, which may have strained the patience of the cultists who want answers to the questions that were raised by the first movie. Instead, more ambiguity is served which seems to be the major theme of the Blade Runner movies.

With echoes of a Stanley Kubrick movie, Blade Runner 2049 is too long for its own good. Taking away the Harrison Ford subplot, the detours that blade runner K goes on are interesting and raise questions about individuality, relationships and the meaning of life. Blade Runner 2049 is a film to ponder.

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CLERGY CORNER: 3 compelling ways to stand out in a world obsessed with fitting in

Posted on 11 October 2017 by LeslieM

Whether it’s a name etched in cement or a boot print on the moon, we desire to make our mark — something that says, I was here. And, if we’re lucky, not even death will prevent our name from continuing beyond our physicality.

However, the problem with fitting in with the world is that it’s hard to stand out. We’re called to be “the light of the world — like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden,” like a lamp to be “placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house” living differently “for all to see, so that everyone will praise [our] heavenly Father” (Matthew 5:14-16 NLT).

The following three ideas will help you do more than just leave your mark on Earth, but alter the Kingdom for eternity and bring glory to God — for which there is no greater purpose.

1. Recognize there is a fine line between identifying with the world and being identified by the world. When we attach our identity to anything other than Christ, we risk alienating the very people we are called to love and serve. Whether it’s the kind of vehicle driven or the amount of education achieved, etc., it’s easy to unwittingly project that if you don’t have what I have, you are on the outside, which is the exact opposite message of Christianity.

I never want my lifestyle to make me unapproachable. I might identify with others based on similar interests, but I never want those interests to become my identity. Christ came to invite those on the outside (which includes you and me) to be on the inside where everyone is welcome — yes, even that annoying neighbor you work so diligently to avoid.

2. Accept that being accepted by Christ comes at the expense of being accepted by the world.

If the world hates you, remember that it hated Me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you” (John 15:18-19 NLT).

To put that in context: Somewhere around A.D. 60-120 King Nero had Christians set on fire as a source of illumination and also had them ravaged to death by dogs for entertainment. While many in the Western culture won’t encounter such atrocities — actual persecution, not #FirstWorldPains — those living for Christ will experience push-back for their beliefs. However, be encouraged knowing that you have access to the Holy Spirit’s power when encountering opposition from a world that released Barabbas and crucified Christ.

3. Leave the results to God. Too often, I succumb to the need for instant gratification. It’s tempting to want to sow the seed, water the soil, then watch impatiently for the stem to break the surface. To put that into a modern context: I’ll post a picture on Instagram then immediately check to see if it got any likes. (I know I’m not alone in this). However, living for immediate results leads to burn out. Paul likens faith to a race, and, if I’ve learned anything from Aesop, it’s that “slow and steady wins the race.” Plus, leaving the results up to God not only eliminates feelings of inadequacy (since we often try to use results to bolster our own credibility, acceptance and worth from the world), but it also communicates to God that we trust Him and believe He deserves the glory.

Though the temptation to fit in is real, we cannot stand out while trying to do so. Yet, if we maintain our identity in Christ, accept that there will be opposition and trust God with the outcome, I believe our desire to fit in — be accepted by the world — diminishes and we, instead, become restless to reach a lost and hurting world for Christ, one that is dark and in need of the light we’ve been given. So abandon conformity with this world and leave your mark on eternity by asking God where you are to be different, then get to writing in the wet cement He’s laid before you.

C.J. Wetzler is the NextGen pastor at The Church at Deerfield Beach. Before transitioning into full-time ministry, CJ was a commercial airline captain and high school leadership and science teacher. For questions or comments he can be reached at cj@dfb.church.

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Mendez wins Woodson title; sets sights on state

Posted on 05 October 2017 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Lighthouse Point’s Kevin Mendez is looking for a repeat performance at state.

After sitting out the beginning of this season with an injury, it appears that the eighth-grader at Pine Crest School in Ft. Lauderdale is prepared to defend his Class 1A state diving championship.

Mendez, 14, recently showed he is going to be a state contender after winning the boys 1-meter diving title at the 54th annual Woodson Invitational at the Pine Crest School pool with a total score of 497.95 after sitting the first six weeks of the season with a broken thumb.

This helps a lot confidence-wise because I had the broken thumb and just came back (from the injury,” said Mendez, who had three top 8 finishes, including second in the 1-meter diving event at the national championships this summer, despite a fractured finger. I have only been diving four days, so to do this well was unexpected. It will boost my confidence a lot. I was pretty happy.”

His efforts helped Pine Crest take second in the team race with 229 points at the meet. Perennial Class 1A state champion Jacksonville Bolles, winners of 26 consecutive state titles, won both the boys’ and girls’ titles.

Mendez is hopeful of retaining his gold medal at the state meet at the Sailfish Splash Waterpark, Aquatic Athletics Center in Stuart on Nov. 4.

There is zero pressure on me to win a state title because it is unexpected being young,” Mendez said. “Nobody expects you to win, so you just go in there and do your thing. I am used to it.

I have won a couple of national championships so I am used to the pressure,” Mendez continued. “I would say my favorite board (event) is the 1-meter.”

He got his start in diving when he was taking swimming lessons, spotted the diving board and asked if he could give it a whirl. It was 10 years ago, and Mendez said he has loved diving ever since.

You just adapt to it,” Mendez said. “It is kind of scary at first. Like anything, the more you do it, the more you get used to it.”

Since he won the high school title last year, he knows what to expect.

 “I think I have a chance of winning states again,” Mendez said. “I am going to try my best and do my best. I think I have a good shot.”

Bucks cruise past Taravella

Deerfield Beach High School’s football team grounded out an easy 50-6 victory over visiting Taravella last week. 

The Bucks totaled 507 yards rushing, with three players running for more than 125 yards each – Jakari Norwood (141 yards and two TDs), Jerome Neal (140 yards, TD) and Jaylan Knighton (125 yards). The Bucks (3-1) travel to St. Thomas Aquinas this Friday for a huge non-district game.

Tigers tamed in defeat

Auburn commit Shaun Shivers rushed for 146 yards and two touchdowns, all in the first half, to lead Chaminade-Madonna to a 44-0 win over Blanche Ely in a non-district game, Monday at Blanche Ely.

Shivers scored on two of his five carries for the game with scoring runs of 79 and 55 yards. Quarterback Daelen Menard also accounted for a pair of scores, finishing 4 of 6 for 123 yards. The Lions (3-2) scored on their first three possessions, with their first two scoring drives taking just one play each.

Blanche Ely slipped to 2-3 with the loss.

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FLICKS: Battle of the Sexes nice, but disappointing

Posted on 05 October 2017 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

While IT retained the box office crown, for the most part it was a disappointing weekend. Despite the multimillion dollar marketing campaign and much hype from the recent U.S. Open Tennis Championship, Battle of the Sexes was a major financial disappointment.

Battle of the Sexes reviews the 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) that filled the Houston Astrodome on a Thursday night on Sept. 20, 1973.  The match was a special edition of ABC’s Wide World of Sports and was a ratings winner.

With consultation from Billie Jean King and her longtime companion Ilana Kos, we are presented with the behind-the-scenes drama. While Riggs and King trash-talked each other in the public eye, off camera it appears the couple had a professional relationship with one another. 

It is the relationships away from tennis that fill up most of the running time. While Riggs’ gambling addiction is the core of his domestic woes, it is Billie Jean King’s emotional growth as a lesbian that is given most of the spotlight. It is ironic that so much time is devoted to King’s relationship to her former hairdresser Marilyn Barnett, because eight years later Barnett sued King for palimony. 

As the reigning Best Actress Winner, Emma Stone does a fine job. She mixes Billie Jean King’s public professionalism with silent moments of reflection that is soul searching. As the rude, crude and socially unacceptable (by today’s standards) Bobby Riggs, Steve Carell gives a sympathetic performance. It would have been easy to make Riggs a villain, but Carell’s vulnerability makes one root for him.

Battle of the Sexes is an entertaining slice of history for those who lived in 1973. One is reminded about the fashion trends when hearing the pop music associated with the time. Yet, there is a mechanical feeling to the screenplay for this movie. There is no need to rush out and see it, for it will be played on television during Women’s History Month.

Battle of the Sexes is likely to be forgotten this weekend as the much anticipated Blade Runner 2049 opens, a sequel 35 years in the making. 

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CLERGY CORNER: How did the Mona Lisa become the most famous painting?

Posted on 05 October 2017 by LeslieM

Why is the Mona Lisa the most famous painting in the world? Her enigmatic smile? The mystery surrounding her identity? The fact she was painted by Renaissance pin-up boy Leonardo da Vinci? Sure, all of these things helped boost the popularity of the 16th century masterpiece. But what really catapulted the small, unassuming portrait to international stardom was a daring burglary over 100 years ago.

When Italian handyman Vincenzo Peruggia, who worked as a handy man for the museum, stole the Mona Lisa from the Louvre museum in Paris, in August 1911, he never could have guessed her absence would be the very thing that made her the most recognizable painting on the planet.

Suddenly, images of the artwork were splashed across international newspapers, as the two-year police hunt hit dead-end after dead-end.

It wasn’t until December, 1913, two years after the theft, that Peruggia was finally caught and the Mona Lisa recovered, becoming the best known painting.

It is fascinating to note that when the museum reopened, after being closed for a week following the larceny, throngs of people came to stare at the spot where the Mona Lisa had been. In fact, during those two years, more people came to see the vacant spot, than came to see the Mona Lisa before it was stolen all the years before!

Today, she is the jewel in the Louvre’s crown, helping attract around 10 million visitors to the Paris museum annually.

Had Peruggia instead slipped another artwork under his cloak that fateful day, it could have been a very different story.

If a different one of Leonardo’s works had been stolen, then that would have been the most famous work in the world — not the Mona Lisa,” said Noah Charney, professor of art history and author of The Thefts of the Mona Lisa.“There was nothing that really distinguished it per se, other than it was a very good work by a very famous artist — that’s until it was stolen,” he added. “The theft is what really skyrocketed its appeal and made it a household name.”

So, in a very funny way, the best thing that could ever happen for the Mona Lisa was that it was stolen! “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” Without knowing it, the thief of this painting, trying to hurt the Louvre and restore dignity back to Italy, did her the greatest favor and transformed Mona Lisa into the legend it is.

Friend, you have just grasped the essence and the beauty of Yom Kippur. Each of our souls is a beautiful piece of art — even more beautiful than the Mona Lisa. Each of our lives, carved in the image of the Divine, is unique, dignified and extraordinary.

But we often allow our “art” to get stolen. We allow our souls, our goodness, our holiness, our purity, our inner power to be compromised, to go under cover and become absent from our lives. We search and we search and it is so hard to reclaim!

Yet, if we persist, as we rediscover our inner piece of art, its value becomes infinitely more precious — even more than before the theft! It is precisely due to our challenges, failures, breakdowns, mistakes and frustrations that when our goodness, our inner power, our Neshamah- Soul is recovered through repentance, it is so much more powerful, bright, and brilliant!  

Rabbi Tzvi Dechter is the director of Chabad of North Broward Beaches, located in the Venetian Isle Shopping Center at 2025 E. Sample Rd. in Lighthouse Point. For all upcoming events, please visit www.JewishLHP.com.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Mindfulness

Posted on 05 October 2017 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

Check out mindfulness on Google; and, if you print out the results, you could use your entire ink cartridge. Read Emily’s 600 or so word essay and you can wrap up the whole subject and be on your way to your next life activity — mindfully.

Let me first assure the meditators, and the 30 minute (or 30 second) exercisers in the practice, that I am in hearty approval of whatever helps you live stressless-ly, healthfully and happily.

For me, it all started with the best gift I ever received — my car accident. There I was, “mindlessly” driving in slow traffic, east on Linton Boulevard approaching Federal Highway. My head might have been in Publix, or Paris, on my bicycle, preparing for my next memoir writing class, planning dinner and/or listening to a book on CD. It sure wasn’t on the car creeping in front of me — that is, until I felt the bump. And dear jurors, that’s all it was – a bump. But it caused the hood of my car to fold up like an accordion, stopping just before it hit my windshield. My mechanic told me it was designed to do that to protect the windshield from shattering all over the driver.

Happily, no one was hurt. The three occupants of the car that was bumped did a jack rabbit out of it to inspect the damage, as did I. The usual police report was filed, I was towed to a body shop, my insurance paid the outlandish cost of repair and my premium skyrocketed by more than three-fold.

I eventually sold the car, and bought my dream of a yellow car.

But I will never forget the feelings and thoughts I had as I experienced the “bump.” How I berated myself in language unfamiliar to my own tongue. The curses and the stupidities I hurled as I became so aware of my own culpability. Where, where, where was I?

And in the simplest of terms, that’s how I learned mindfulness. Ever since that incident, my car will always lag a car’s length behind the one in front of me – despite the horns and vulgar expletives of disgruntled drivers who love to tailgate and still believe women belong in the kitchen.

But this kind of mindfulness extends way beyond my driving. As I hear about more and more of my peers, and the children and even grandchildren of my peers falling, tripping, toppling and toe-stubbing, and as I hear about broken ribs, hips, knees and crania, I have become fanatically aware of my surroundings, talking to myself incessantly about all that could happen if I let up on my consciousness.

The ground is uneven, watch your step.”

It’s okay to change that light bulb, but be conscious about it when you do.”

Yes, get back on your bike but be aware of the stones and debris on the ground.”

Hold that knife away from you when you cut – and be aware that your fingers can slip with the force of it and cut your hand.”

If you can’t reach it, yes, use the step stool – but make sure you have places to hold on.”

The parking lot is slippery. Remember that when you take the garbage to the dumpster.”

It’s fine to take a deep breath, and check out your chakras, but when you’ve finished doing that, don’t forget to watch out for the hole in the ground and the unexpected curb on the sidewalk and the throw rug in your living room that you could easily trip over and the frying pan that is still sizzling.

Happy Mindfulness.  

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Tornadoes fall to Hills, 51-27

Posted on 28 September 2017 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Pompano Beach coach Melvin Jones knew it would be a tough road in his first stint as a varsity football head coach, especially with the schedule he’s faced.

Pompano Beach (0-3), which entered the game having been outscored 92-6 this season, kept pace in the early going of its most recent game against Hollywood Hills.

The season obviously hasn’t gone according to plan, but I know what I was getting into,” said Jones, whose team opened with a 53-0 loss to Monarch and a 39-6 defeat at the hands of John Carroll Catholic. “I was just trying to change the culture and get kids to understand football and the fundamentals and to be able to line up and that is what we have been trying to accomplish.”

His team was also part of history on Friday night when Hollywood Hills junior quarterback Holly Neher became the first female quarterback to start a varsity football game in Broward County, and possibly the nation.

Neher started the team’s 51-27 win over Pompano Beach High School at Cooper City High School and was perfect on her first five passes in the first quarter for 126 yards. She led the Spartans to two first half scores, including a 67-yard pitch and catch to senior receiver Alexander Shelton.

The Tornadoes trimmed the early deficit to 13-7 on a 61-yard run from senior Brian Campbell.

Hills freshman Emile Bien-Aime made it 20-7 on a 65-yard scoring toss to Shelton before Pompano Beach’s senior Andrew Putney connected with senior Andre Francis to pull within 20-13. It was the closest Pompano Beach would get the rest of the night.

We are just trying to get better each day,” Jones said. “I expect to get better each day. I expect them to learn more as they watch the film and being with us. They will get an understating about what football is all about.”

There was optimism following the Golden Tornadoes’ kickoff classic game against St. John Paul II Academy – a 36-34 setback – and Jones said the two schools are similar in size and mirror each other.

They are in an independent league and we were in that league, but now we are playing with the big boys.

I knew what we are in for,” Jones said. “We are looking forward to the challenges ahead.”

Jones said he has received strong play this season from Putney, Campbell and Jalal Jean-Charles.

A lot of our guys go both ways,” Jones said, “so they are doing good things on both sides of the ball.”

Tigers notch first victory

Blanche Ely picked up its first victory of the season thanks to a little trickery on the first play from scrimmage in its game against host Boyd Anderson.

On the first play, the Tigers (1-2) lined up two quarterbacks, both Yanez Rogers and James Wallace, in the backfield. Rogers handled the snap from center and pitched the ball to Wallace, who rolled to his left and launched a 73-yard scoring toss to a wide-open Dennis Pete for a 6-0 lead.

Boyd Anderson (1-2) answered on its opening possession as sophomore quarterback Hansy Colas connected with Johnny King on a 15-yard touchdown pass to tie it at 6 on the final play of the first quarter.

Blanche Ely converted a special teams miscue early in the fourth quarter to go up 12-6. Boyd Anderson, facing fourth down, attempted to get off a punt, however, the snap sailed over the punter’s head and the Tigers got the ball on the Cobras’ 14.

Three plays later, Rogers hit Pete for a 10-yard TD pass for a 12-6 lead. After Blanche Ely conceded a safety, the Cobras had one last chance, however, the Tigers picked off Cobras in the final minute to escape with the 12-8 win.

The Tigers opened the season with losses to Stranahan and Plantation.

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Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards & Rebel in the Rye

Posted on 28 September 2017 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

Perhaps it was out of domestic protest from the antics of the NFL, but the motion picture box office had its best weekend since the peak of the summer blockbuster season, with The Kingsman: The Golden Circle, IT and The LEGO Ninjago earning nearly $100 million in revenue. With the much hyped Battle of the Sexes opening this weekend, expect to see more people at a theater near you.

For those considering walking to a theater near you, the documentary Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards opens this weekend. Granted people who wear Manolo shoes are not likely to walk long distances, but are likely to ride limousines to some gala events with red carpets.

Despite the trappings of fame, Manolo Blahnik is a man who sees himself as a simple cobbler. Born in Spain, Manolo was an odd kid who was enraptured by the fairy tales of Hans Christian Anderson and was fascinated by the human foot.

Learning the foundations of ergonomic design, Manolo began making shoes that were more colorful and artistic. Before finding a new home in Bath, England, Manolo became an international superstar on the red carpets in Manhattan and Milano, Italy. Despite luxury of living the upper class life, Manolo is most content working in a shoe factory designing his next product. Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards is very entertaining.

Rebel in the Rye presents the dark side of success. It is the story of J.D. Salinger (Nicholas Hoult — in a fine, understated performance) and the creation of his much revered novel, Catcher in the Rye. Much of the film presents Salinger alone by his typewriter, talking to himself and acting out conversations with his protagonist, Holden Caulfield.

Despite the starkness of these scenes, Rebel in the Rye is a lively motion picture when Salinger interacts with other people. Oona O’Neill (Zoey Deutch) is a charming vision of Salinger’s unrealized dreams. As his creative writing teacher, Whit Burnett, Kevin Spacey provides memorable instruction to his atypical prodigy. The few scenes between Salinger and Burnett are electric.

In less than a month the Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival opens and the much anticipated Blade Runner 2049 will be released soon. Don’t let Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards and Rebel in the Rye get lost in the crowd.

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CLERGY CORNER: Preparing for the storm

Posted on 28 September 2017 by LeslieM

Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria have demonstrated why we must take every precaution whenever a storm threatens. We had scarcely come to terms with the devastating impact of Harvey on areas of Texas and Louisiana, when meteorologists began informing us that another, potentially more powerful hurricane was forging a path towards South Florida. Scenes of wind battered homes, downed powerlines, rising flood waters and boats flung onto shore struck fear in many hearts. State and local officials began warning residents to evacuate the most vulnerable areas, to stock up on water and other supplies, and to secure their properties from possible damage.

Almost immediately water disappeared from store shelves and gas stations were bombarded by long lines of cars. Home supply stores struggled to keep up with the demand for plywood, and contractors began working longer hours to accommodate calls for help in securing homes.

The level of preparation and response was tremendous. It is estimated that well over a million people heeded the advice to evacuate, and the clogged traffic on I-75 North and the Turnpike gave evidence to the concern of the public. There were even power and utility companies from other states making preparation to aid Florida once the storm had passed.

Thankfully, for the most part, Florida avoided the worst of Irma’s fury. Any loss of life is always regrettable, and the destruction in the Keys was heartbreaking to observe. The storm is gone, however, and there is time now to reflect and put things into perspective even as we rebuild, resume and restore. Storms of nature, particularly hurricanes, can be forecast, but they are largely unpredictable. No one can say for certain what path they will take, and what intensity they will arrive with. All we can do, as our governor repeatedly warned, is to expect the best but prepare for the worst. Storms of life (adversity, setback or heartbreak) are also unavoidable and unpredictable, but we should equally take precautions to minimize their impact as well.

While it is easy to secure windows with plywood and shutters, our hearts and emotions cannot be ‘covered’ in the same way. A hard heart and disconnected attitude are antithetical to the normative human experience. We need something more akin to hurricane-impact windows and doors that negate the need to cover-up during an approaching storm. Able to withstand powerful wind forces, they are made to protect while offering the intended function of allowing light in and visibility out.

How does one reinforce the heart and emotions to be able to survive the storms of life? Take time to cultivate and appreciate the relationships that matter most in your life. A devoted spouse, loving family and committed friends are indispensable aids to staying grounded during trying times. A fine house, fancy car, and even money, are unable to comfort the anguish of a bruised spirit. We were designed to fellowship with others and we will need them when the storms come. Proverbs 17:17 tells us, “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”

Faith is also an invaluable asset to the strength of the heart and mind. Despite our knowledge and understanding, there are still things beyond our comprehension and control. Believers have settled on the fact that there is someone greater than ourselves, who holds our lives in His hands. It is comforting to put your trust in a God you cannot see but whose presence you can feel. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, will not we fear, though the earth be removed and carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters therefore roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof… The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.” With this kind of protection in place we can survive the storms of life.

Bishop Patrick L. Kelly is the pastor of Cathedral Church of God, 365 S. Dixie Hwy., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. 954-427-0302.

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Israels nets player of the year honor

Posted on 21 September 2017 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Pompano Beach’s Caroline Israels said her memories from college were “really good.”

My teammates were absolutely awesome!” Israels said. “I had a lot of memories with them. I loved my experience with them and what we were able to accomplish together.”

Israels, 22, closed out her final year at San Diego State University by being named the Golden Coast Conference Player of the Year for the second time. She shared the award when she was a sophomore in 2015.

She was surprised at being named the Player of the Year.

There were a lot of good players that came in from Pacific,” said Israels, who also landed on the all-league first team for the third straight season, led SDSU in goals (60), assists (37), steals (82), multi-goal games (19), hat tricks (8), multi-assist games (11) and multi-steal games (20). “They did an amazing job as well as my own teammates as well as some from other schools. It was a great honor to get that award again.”

I haven’t really focused on the individual award,” she continued. “It obviously meant something to me, but not as much as a championship would have. Being able to go 26-0 in the conference over the course of four years in the regular season was absolutely amazing. Not a lot of people have been able to do that in their careers and I really appreciate that and getting another 7-0 regular season more than the individual accolades.”

Israels said she went out west to “make a name for herself.” She majored in business administration with an emphasis in human resources and is now in San Antonio working at Aerotek staffing agency where she is a recruiter.

It wasn’t all easy, however, as she nearly didn’t go back to school after her freshman season. After graduating from Westminster Academy in 2013 where she was an All-County Player of the Year for both daily newspapers, she battled some homesickness but gutted it out.

Her mother, Denise, a former swimmer at Oklahoma University and the girls’ water polo coach at Fort Lauderdale’s Westminster Academy, had a stroke that nearly killed her and Caroline was out in San Diego.

She had her stroke and of course she has always been there for everything,” Israels said. “She, of course, wanted to come to every tournament, every weekend, everything she could possibly be at and traveling is now obviously harder so having to tell her no and that it wasn’t doable for certain weekends was very hard. So we were trying to motivate her through everything she was going through was and still is very difficult.

I mean she is doing an absolutely amazing job and we couldn’t be more proud of where she is and how far she has come,” Israels continued. “She is still around the pool every single day and she refuses to give that up no matter how many times we have told her. She should probably stop, but the kids keep her going and coming out to meets kept her going. We hope she continues to succeed. She is doing absolutely great and we are really happy about it.”

Looking back over her career, she said “breathtaking” would sum up her time there.

It was kind of a surreal experience,” she said. “I am happy I stayed and made the friendships I made and write our names in history at San Diego State.”

Aztecs coach Carin Crawford gushed about her former player and called her a “once-in-a-generation talent,” and felt privileged to have the opportunity to coach her. Crawford said Israels was a big reason why they won five championships in four seasons during her time at SDSU. Crawford said that Israels’ senior year was her best because she became more of an all-around player.

Caroline is one of the most physically gifted athletes I’ve ever coached,” said Crawford, who just began her 19th year at the helm. “She is smooth and efficient, she was the fastest player on our team and makes it look effortless.

Caroline had a great career at SDSU because she had an opportunity to make a difference here, and I think she really thrives on that,” Crawford added. “She wanted the ball in her hand to take the potential game-winning shot. She has that mentality of embracing the pressure of performing and she was able to do it for four years—game winners, buzzer beaters, half court shots etc. She was our go-to scorer for four years. That’s an incredible legacy.”

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