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Last post, I promised to give you some "behind the scenes shots" of our column's photo shoot for the September/ October issue.  

We styled three beautiful fall tables and I wanted to share them with you in a bit more detail.  


My photos are too large to post to the blog....and with computer technology NOT being my strong suit, I am unable to resize them correctly.

As soon as I'm able to do that, I will post them.

Until then, I thought I'd share a little before and after of a paint project we completed a couple of months ago.  (If you follow me on Facebook, you've already seen this, so you can stop reading here, LOL!)

I never get to complete things in my own home, but it had really gotten past time for new paint.  Along with the walls, ceiling, and trim, I wanted to paint my brick fireplace and hearth.  

Hubby was against it.  

Forgiveness/ Permission.

I will go for forgiveness every time.  (You can do that after 23+ years.)

Just ask him next time you see him about the morning he woke up and there was a hole in the roof.  A BIG hole.

(Being married to a contractor has it's drawbacks perks!)

We REALLY needed some dormer windows. 

But that's another story.

So- I decided to paint the brick after long thought.  

Here is the after.


I also carried the color over to my french doors. It helps define the space better, and lets you know that they are part of this room, and not the kitchen.

That's the beauty of paint.  

A huge difference for a small cost.  

And if you tire of it, it's easy to change.

Just be sure you know the undertones of the colors you are considering, and be sure they compliment (and not contrast) with the fixed elements of the room.  And if you need help deciding, give me a call...

Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Houzz!

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Posted by on in Easily Pleased


You’ve probably noticed those pink Yes on 1 and blue No on 1 signs on the side of the road by now. Still wondering what they mean?

Here’s a brief rundown of this hotly debated amendment to the Tennessee constitution, which will be on the ballot in this November 4 election (early voting starts today). We originally gathered this information for a piece in Wilson Living Magazine, but the timing of publication was so close to the end of voting that we decided against the print version. Here it is for you, at a more convenient time!

If you already know the basics, skip this and scroll down to hear what the No on 1 and Yes on 1 camps have to say.

  • 1973: With Roe v. Wade, abortion was made legal throughout the U.S.
  • 1973-2000: Tennessee passed multiple guidelines for the abortion industry. These included provisions for informed consent, a two day waiting period between first office visits and the performance of abortions, and second trimester abortions being performed at a hospital.
  • 2000: In Planned Parenthood v. Sundquist, the TN Supreme Court struck down most of these abortion regulations, saying that the constitution contained a fundamental right to privacy, and that all abortion procedures fall under this umbrella. Because of that, they said, Tennessee could only pass very narrow restrictions on abortions.
  • 2000: One member of the Supreme Court, William Barker, wrote a long dissent to the ruling, which he had voted against. He told NPR recently that “the majority had invented a law that wasn’t there.” In the document, he said that the only way to reverse the ruling would be to amend the wording of the constitution to make it explicit that the stated fundamental right to privacy does not refer to abortion practices.
  • 2000-2014: Tennessee has the most relaxed abortion regulations in this region of the US. 1 in 4 abortions performed here are on women from other states.
  • 2011: The proposed Amendment 1 passes in TN Legislature, 11 years after a version of it is first drafted by a TN Senator. It has to wait for the next governor election to be passed or rejected by the people of Tennessee.
  • Wording is added to the amendment that explicitly addresses cases of rape and incest, ostensibly to ensure that the constitution will revert to complete neutrality. The amendment does not make abortion illegal in these or any other cases—and cannot, because of Roe v. Wade. However, it does make it possible for elected representatives to pass legislation regarding abortion.
  • 2014: The amendment is on the ballot for the November 4 election.

Here is the full wording of Amendment 1:

Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion. The people retain the right through their elected state representatives and state senators to enact, amend, or repeal statutes regarding abortion, including, but not limited to, circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest or when necessary to save the life of the mother.

Note: The amendment is one of four that will be on the ballot. In order to pass, it will require a majority of those voting on the amendment, as well as a majority of all the total votes cast in the governor’s race (for example, if 2,000,000 people vote for any candidate in governor election, at least 1,000,0001 ‘yes’ votes would be needed to pass an amendment).

Op-ed pieces provided by opposing campaigns

Vote No on Amendment 1

-Provided by the ‘No on 1’ Campaign

On Election Day, Tennesseans will vote on Amendment 1, a ballot initiative that would grant state legislators the ability to pass unlimited restrictions on abortion. Passage of this amendment would open the door to burdensome, medically unnecessary barriers to access. Amendment 1 is a dangerous proposition that is purposely confusing to trick voters and disguise the true intent.

At its core, Amendment 1 is about privacy. It would take away our right to make medical decisions free from government interference. When we make medical decisions, we consult our doctors, our family, and our faith. Not our government. No government has the right to make your healthcare decisions for you. Keep government out of the exam room.

Amendment 1 would not just impact access to abortion. It would open the floodgates to government interference in our other parts of our private lives—like marriage and child rearing. Amendment 1 is an assault on Tennessee families’ privacy rights with far reaching consequences on thousands of laws. If we give government an inch, they’ll take everything. Amendment 1 just goes too far.

Politicians in support of Amendment 1 argue that it gives them power to regulate abortions and keep women safe. But the language currently in the constitution does nothing to stop medically necessary regulation. While these politicians have claimed they were powerless to pass abortion laws, they actually passed several over the past decade—including one requiring doctors who provide abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital.

Amendment 1 does not come down to being pro-life or pro-choice. It comes down to protecting our rights. Even if you do not agree with abortion, we can all agree that government interference in our private medical decisions is wrong. Amendment 1 is government overreach at its worst. You do not have to be pro-choice to agree that Amendment 1 goes too far.

This is why people all over Tennessee oppose Amendment 1. We all have to make difficult decisions during our life—some of them right and some of them wrong—and we live with the consequences of those decisions. We make these choices with our families and our faith, and we do the best we can. We were all given the ability to make decisions and it is not for us to judge others. These decisions are not for government to make on our behalf.   

This dangerous amendment is wrong for Tennessee women and their families. Whether it is to protect exceptions in devastating circumstances, stop government interference, or keep our privacy rights, we all have a reason to vote against Amendment 1. Please vote “No” when you go to the polls.


Vote Yes on Amendment 1

-Provided by the ‘Yes on 1’ Campaign

By State Senator Mae Beavers

As a state legislator who is proud to represent our great state each and every day, there is one label synonymous with Tennessee of which I am not proud: abortion destination.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control, Tennessee currently ranks 3rd in the nation in of out-of-state abortions, with one in every four abortions being sought by an out-of-state female. 

Yet, I am part of an overwhelming majority of Tennesseans who believe in the dignity and sanctity of human life, and who support policies to protect abortion-vulnerable girls and women, such as providing them with practical support and resources.

I was also proud to serve as the prime sponsor of the legislation placing Amendment 1 on the ballot for public vote this November.  Amendment 1 was brought out of deep concern that common sense protections for women in Tennessee have been stripped away by an activist judiciary without the consent of the people.

In a 2000 ruling, the Tennessee Supreme Court claimed abortion to be a fundamental right, elevating it to the same level as other rights such as the right to assemble, worship, or bear arms.  As a result, our protections for abortion are even greater than those proscribed by the United States Supreme Court, and have caused common sense safeguards to be struck down by state courts.  Those previous safeguards included ensuring that those considering abortion have more information about the gestational age, development and characteristics of their unborn child, knowledge of the potential physical and psychological risks of the abortion, and resources available to assist them during pregnancy.

A 48-hour waiting period was also struck down which allowed women and girls to consider all the information available and to protect against coerced abortions. Similarly, requirements that later-term abortions be performed in regulated hospital environments were struck down, and abortion facilities were made exempt from certain licensure and inspection requirements.

Unless Amendment 1 is passed, it is possible that Tennessee tax-payers could be required to fund abortions, as they are in some states. The argument is made that a so-called ‘fundamental right’ is meaningless if a woman is unable to pay the cost to exercise it. 

In essence, Tennessee has become an abortion-on-demand state and an abortion destination.

Yet, contrary to the claims of pro-abortion activists, Amendment 1 will not ban any abortion under any circumstance. According to federal rulings under Roe v Wade, there is no state which can ban abortion. In reality, passage of Amendment 1 does not enact any particular policy or law except to restore our Tennessee Constitution to neutrality as it relates to abortion.

This is a historic opportunity for Tennessee voters to make their voices heard and I encourage visiting www.yeson1.org to educate yourself and your family on this issue. Please vote YES on Amendment 1 so that the people – and not the courts – can again have the final say to “enact, amend, or repeal statutes regarding abortion” in our great state.


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Posted by on in Telling Tales

swearEverybody has their favorite. Be it, heck, darn, or &^%$#, there is something to be said about being able to express yourself with just one word.

One fabulous, mind blowing, descriptive word that tells the world how you... REALLY, REALLY FEEL.

I, for one, have no problem with almost any word. As I explain to all who take issue with my word usage...'I was an English major, with a concentration in British Literature. I'm classically trained to use the English language in all sorts of ways.'

A line I first used on my dad after he had just paid for four years of college. Boy, you should have heard the words he used... and he wasn't even classically trained like I was!

But most everybody also has that invisible line in their bad word lexicon that they won't cross.

Mine is *&(^%.

No matter how mad I might be, I don't ever use THAT word.

Becky uses it.  A bunch.

She knows I don't. Ever.

A fact that brings her perverse pleasure, often using the word over and over until I crack!

For whatever reason, to me, that word sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard. I cringe, wince and look physically pained when anyone uses it. Which is odd, considering very little else offends me.

But like many things, sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. This is a point I may have finally reached.  My 14 year old reminds me daily now that "Hello?? There are children in the room."

My co-workers are at that point as well, instituting a potty-mouth jar requiring anyone who uses an offensive word to pay up. Upon being told about the jar, I proceeded to inform them what they could do with their silly jar but didn't use the word "silly," instead I came up with a much more flowery word... which promptly cost me $2.00!

"Who made you the *&*^% police?" I asked.

That one cost me $5.00.

And now even my husband has chimed in, informing me that my expert use of the English language is bordering on verbal abuse.

So from this point forward, I'm going on a bad word fast. Instead I'll be limiting myself to 'gosh darn', 'for pete's sake' or 'fudge'.

Just knowing this, however, causes me extreme anxiety.

I fear without 'my words' I won't be able to fully explain how that driver cut me off, how that supermom wears me out or how very, very badly my toe hurts.

Just listen...

'Gosh darn, my toe hurts', doesn't quite depict the excruciating pain I feel whenever Neill nails my pinkie toe while wearing his soccer cleats. Whereas '&%$#!!!  my toe!' succinctly encapsulates all that I am feeling and more.

But for the sake of all those I live and work with, I'm going to give this fast a shot.

One question, do 'flowery' words in a foreign language count? I only ask because Spanish was my minor, so technically, I'm trained in those words too.

To read more of Telling Tales or other Wilson Living Magazine blogs by our other writers go to www.wilsonlivingmagazine.com


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Posted by on in Telling Tales

As of Thursday, September 25th I’ve been on this earth four decades. That day usually gives me the opportunity to reflect. 40 seems so grown up. 40 is the deadline for having your life in order. Over the years I’ve looked to friends in their 40’s as my own personal Dalai Lama; full of wisdom and experts at living a life full of intent. But the closer I inched to this decade the more I began to realize it wasn’t that all of my Dalai Lama’s were given the wisdom gene much like someone born with red hair or freckles. Instead they embraced the “what is” and tossed the “never will be.” They didn’t, like I assumed, wake up on the first day of their 40th year with a brand new perspective that was delivered while they slept. They learned through trial and error, just like me and eventually my children will. Sometimes it takes a 40 something’s opinion or insight to make people realize that just because Sarah Jessica Parker is wearing it doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for you. And while there’s plenty of mistakes in my future, I wanted to share a list of a few of the lessons I’ve learned as a helpful guide for my children.

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Posted by on in Easily Pleased

Just in case I ever get the money to open an offbeat little boutique, I've got the name ready: Sackcloth & Sashes.

The only problem is this is also on my short list for indie band names. So I’ve come up with a backup list:

Feather & Twine (substitute the words 'pocket', 'paper', ‘bone’, 'wire', ‘willow’, 'door', 'silk', 'lace', ‘rag’, or 'plank' for either of those). 
Dust & Denim (men's clothing). 
RE:claimed (doubles as name for young adult church ministry). 
Brick & Mortar (sort of cheeky name for a physical store that used to be an online store). 
Velvet Brick (nope, too late; that's actually a church name already).
The Painted Brick (housewares).

nettle twine

The Coal Lump (classy stocking stuffers and hostess gifts).
Brick & Wire (housewares and jewelry, obviously).
Feather & Egg (can never have too many bird references).
Egg & Bean (pregnancy and baby clothes).
Linen & Plate (maybe a little too... prosaic).

And then there’s my restaurant list. These are all one-word titles.

Picked (all farm-to-table vegetables, all the time).

Fired (either this is a pizza place, or everything is grilled—even the dessert kebabs).

Tossed (nothing but salads—wait, that’s already a thing; I’ve seen it in Cool Springs).

Frozen (gourmet shaved ice—although any one with this restaurant is really in bad shape now that Disney is on the one-word title shtick too).

Creamed (ice cream—what else?).

Root (this is a serious business that I would totally open: a restaurant that serves nothing but potatoes. Potatoes are the most wonderful of all the starches; you can do anything with them. I love twice-baked potatoes, mashed potatoes with the skin, fried potatoes, potato wedges, potato au-gratin, rosemary potatoes, loaded baked potatoes, and parmesan broiled potatoes. I love Yukons, Idahos, red-skinned, mini, and sweet potatoes. If necessary, this restaurant would also provide steak and salad—but the potatoes would be the main thing.)

Fare (this means food in fancy-talk; you could serve anything).

Bite (this is another evocative way of saying ‘we serve food’)

Spork (maybe outdated; but you could serve items that really need a spork, such as chili and cornbread or French onion soup, or brownies and ice cream).


See, I’ve got the marketing thing DOWN. Not. A. Problem.

Now all I’ve got to do is go online and make sure I’m not violating a copyright already. These names are bound to already exist out there—somebody has already got a photography business, boutique, café, design firm, eatery, or marketing website under each of those titles.

There just aren’t enough evocative nouns and adjectives to go around!

If marketing is no longer about ideas, but about feelings, impressions, and subconscious motivation, then our current system of naming businesses makes perfect sense. You don’t need to tell anybody anything about the store: just create an image in their mind:

Some kind of textured thing, juxtaposed against some other textured thing. Color, muted. A vague impression of something handcarved by a farmer in Wisconsin. A passing vision of skinny people wearing wispy clothes. A brief craving for the sweater you had as a child, or a sweater Gregory Peck wore in Roman Holiday.

That’s all it takes, folks! A little mood lighting and some twine. I don’t know what’s stopping me (unless it’s the overhead, lack of business expertise, lack of motivation, and general unwillingness to commit to a product genre).

I’m practically an entrepreneur—anyone want to invest?

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pregnant sabrinaI gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby boy named J.R. in February of this year.

Becoming a mother has changed my life completely and I'm sure there will be many more blog entries inspired by my new little guy. However, this blog was inspired by the things that people said to me when I was pregnant -- things that didn't sit quite right with me.

I would advise you to not utter these common statements if you encounter a pregnant woman.

Statement 1: “I don’t like that name.”

Well maybe I don’t like your name! Have you ever thought about that? Totally joking. This is not a positive way to respond when someone expresses their disapproval of the baby name you have selected. But guess what? It isn’t their baby to name. This person likely has their own children, animals and plants to name. It is NOT their choice.

You are the one who is pregnant, carrying the baby around for 40 weeks, losing sleep and mourning the loss of your skinny jeans. You have the right to name your child. If you ask someone for their opinion on your name choice, then be prepared for an honest response. But never, ever, ever should someone offer it without you first asking.

Statement 2: “I can’t believe you aren’t breastfeeding.”

Breastfeeding is a touchy subject for most women. Those who have had positive experiences and know all of the health benefits (for both mom and baby) are very pro-breastfeeding. Those who have had a negative experience or who have chosen not to breastfeed will tell you about their struggles.

I find it unfair that society paints women who breastfeed children publicly as exhibitionists who need to hide in a closet -- and then condemns women who bottle-feed as too career-oriented, selfish or unnatural.

My pediatrician shared with me a motto which I will now re-share: “Whatever works for you, works for you.” We are all aware that "breast is best" and there is a ton of research out there proving this – but sometimes due to health reasons, work schedules or personal preference formula is chosen. Provide helpful information, if you have it – but don’t push.

The last thing a pregnant lady needs is for you to be stressing her out about how she has decided to feed her child.

Statement 3: “Wow, you are huge.”

You should have gone with, “Wow, you are glowing!” That is a much safer statement to make to a pregnant woman. We are pregnant, not overweight. We have a miracle growing inside of us and that should be celebrated. Even if you aren’t trying to be mean, talking about how large and in charge someone is isn’t cool.

I didn’t hear this until after I had the baby. People would say to me, “You looked miserable and ready to pop those last couple of months" -- which I interpreted as "Five months ago you looked like a whale/M&M candy hybrid, but today you're looking foxy."

Statement 4: “I loved being pregnant.”

It is my personal belief that out of the 10 women who tell you this, five of them are lying.

Pregnancy has a lot of incredible moments – like the first time you feel a kick or see your sweet baby during an ultrasound – but I wouldn’t want to live in my pregnant state. I had severe morning sickness for the first four months. Once my belly popped out and people could see I was pregnant I thought it was super cute; however, the big belly made it hard to sleep comfortably, walk or sit. I remember one day I got down on the floor to do some stretches and I couldn’t get up. I was laid out like a cockroach trying to roll from side to side trying to gain momentum.

My favorite awkward pregnancy story involves my mother. She gained 60 pounds with me and got stuck behind the driver’s seat of her sports car. She had to roll down her window at the grocery store and wait for someone to pass by and ask for help.

The point is, a lot of women don’t “love” being pregnant because it is hard on their bodies. By month 8 I was ready for it to be over and for the baby fun to begin. When I heard someone gush about how they could “be pregnant all the time” it made me feel like I was doing pregnancy wrong.

Statement 5: “Being a working mom is so hard.” Both working moms and stay-at-home moms work. If you work a 9-5, your work is never over. Because once you pick up Junior from daycare or Granny’s house, you are on your next shift as “Mommy” from 5-9. Your downtime is filled with bottles to wash, diapers to change, tummy time, snuggle time and laundry. You are really lucky if you get a chance to do something frivolous like cook a meal for yourself or workout.

And if you do not work a 9-5, you work a 24-hour shift as “Mommy.”I was blessed to have a mother who had time to be a PTO member, Girl Scout Leader and carpooling cheer mom. She was at all of my games when I was a cheerleader and at all of my concerts when I was in choir. Even though she didn’t have to go “into the office” daily, her time was filled up with other obligations – which mostly involved me and my activities. For me, being a “stay-at-home” mom is just as hard because you don’t have the option to clock- out for lunch.

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Posted by on in Easily Pleased


My husband and I celebrated an anniversary last week. Two years (not bragging but that’s over 730 days). Even though it’s only been two short years, our anniversary tradition is pretty much established. Here’s what we do.

One: Go out to eat. Doesn’t matter where. (But if you really want to know, it’s always going to be Carrabba’s.)

Two: Watch You’ve Got Mail. This step is actually the most crucial; step one is only for appearance’s sake. You’ve Got Mail, which is—if you’ve never seen it—the paragon of perfect romantic comedy, is also OUR MOVIE.

I will now try to explain why this is our movie. Even as I do this, I recognize that I am perhaps ruining our reputations as responsible adult professionals somewhat. But honesty compels me to tell you this story.

Before I begin, I should explain one more important point: Justin is really and truly a man, and a man’s man kind of man.

Not in a hunting/fishing kind of way, and not a football kind of way, but a man’s man nonetheless. He’s manly in a loves-economic-theory-and-good-beer kind of way—those are guy things, right? And he likes the other traditional man things—eating, for instance, and giving his lady a gentle smack on the… lips.

Still, despite these manly attributes, Justin made no bones about explaining to me at great length, within just a few minutes of our first meeting each other (at a Super Bowl party, no less), that he loved the 2008 BBC version of Jane Austen’s Emma better than any other version.

“Although,” he graciously admitted, “there have been two others that were not bad at all. The 1978 BBC, for instance.”

It took me almost a year to get over this first impression.

But it was a year later, around the time we finally got together, that I found out about another movie love of his, and this one was almost as hard to believe: You’ve Got Mail. Fortunately, this just so happens to be in my Top 10. (Note: this is another relentlessly nerdy thing about Justin; he considers a Top 10 list to be very personally revealing. He keeps Top 10 lists—especially books and movies—in a Word document on his computer. He has mine on there too.)

So here it is: this is the part where it gets actually embarrassing.  One night, when we were friends and just getting to the point of considering dating—we sat up one night online and actually quoted an entire scene of You’ve Got Mail to one another in one time-wastey message feed.

It’s the scene (for those of you that love this movie; there must be some of you out there) where Kathleen is in the café waiting to meet her mystery writer and Joe Fox finds out it’s her and comes in. She asks him to leave, and they have an adorable fight. It’s the Nora Ephron-est fight you ever heard.

And why, you ask, did one fully employed adult sit up to a late hour chatting out an entire scene of a rom-com with another fully employed adult?

I really don’t know what to say. I don’t know how it happened—it was over before I could even get my head around what we were doing. One thing just led to another… and we were there. One of us dropped a veiled reference to the scene; the other picked it up. Suddenly we were both running full speed ahead and Joe had already moved to the other table and Kathleen was monologuing about 22-year-old cocktail waitresses.

So in honor of this historic event in our relational history—quite possibly the nerdiest case of flirtation on record in the internet age—we’ve agreed to watch this movie together every year during the season of our anniversary.

And reminisce about old days.

I really think this is the best thing about anniversaries. Through the years, I’m sure there will be a tidy little stockpile of roses built up. There may be little bed and breakfasts, and white tablecloths and babysitters. But it’s the remembering that makes an anniversary really worthwhile; otherwise it’s just another exhausting version of Valentine’s.

Remembering the early days, when the two of you were just feeling your awkward way towards romance, trying to understand some little thing about this stranger and wondering if it would make any sense to…?

So for the married ones among you—go for it. Remember. Reminisce. Drag out the old letters and pull up the old email records. Try to find pictures of the first date, the first trip, the first day as man and wife. See if it doesn’t give you just a little jolt of gratefulness—that you’re married to him now. That no matter how bad things get, you’ll never have to go on a first date with her again. Because she’s not a stranger any more. She’s your wife. He’s your husband.

And for the singles among you, go ahead! Throw caution to the wind. Drop that movie quote. Throw out that obscure, nerd-tastic, nervous reference. You never know—she just may bite.

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Posted by on in Coming Home

We are beginning our blog postings again, and I'm tickled pink!

This is just a short post to say hello, and welcome back.  I'm so glad you found your way here!

In case you've not been here before, I'm Elizabeth, and I write a column for the magazine entitled "Coming Home," where I discuss all things "home."

My business, Superior Construction and Design, is located here in Lebanon.  My projects range from organizing a kitchen cabinet all the way up to building your dream home, and anything in between.  

So send me your questions!  

Have a decorating dilemma?  Unsure of a paint color?  Have a building question?  Send it on....

Who knows?  I may just pick your issue to come over and take a look at and blog about!

You can email me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or post your question in the comment section below.  Oh and don't forget to subscribe to the blog so you don't miss anything!

Below is the cover of the last issue of the magazine.  We had so much fun creating the tablescapes for this issue.  Later this week I will post some pics of the full shots of the tables not shown in the magazine.....  some "behind the scenes" shots!


Again, welcome back....and thanks for Coming Home!

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Posted by on in Telling Tales

By Angel Kane

Wilson Living Magazine

A few weeks before school ended, the kids started a countdown. "I can't wait until Granny gets here,"  was their mantra all of May, as I would hand them a slightly bruised banana while at the same time screaming at them to "get in the car," as one more tardy and we were all going to Saturday school.

"She's going to make us eggs and biscuits and not make us iron our own clothes in the morning," mumbled my middle one. "We won't have to get our clean towels from the dryer," commented the youngest. "It's going to be heaven," noted our oldest who apparently has suffered the longest under our parentage.

And as I completely expected, Granny arrived on Memorial Day and things have not been the same!

Other than taking trips together or long holidays spent with my family, this is the first time all three of my children have experienced Granny much the way I did growing up. Which brings a huge smile to my face as there is a big difference between "Holiday Granny" and "I'm Coming To Stay For a Month Granny."

Such a difference that my kids have now started another countdown.

When Granny first got here, it was just as they imagined. Eggs and biscuits in the morning, casseroles and cobbler in the evening and in between she would tell them how smart and pretty they were.

That was week one - while she was still on vacation.

Slowly, however, Granny has emerged from holiday mode to the mother I fondly remember. 

Week two - she started cleaning. 

And when I say cleaning, I don't mean vacuuming. My mother cleans with buckets and dish rags - the on your knees - scrubbing down walls - type of cleaning. And when she is done she takes trash bags, the big black garden variety, and cleans out drawers, closets and cupboards.

Only after that, do we really start to clean.

And while Granny will certainly get down on her hands and knees with you, she much prefers to use young children to do her dirty work. Think the musical "Annie" where all the orphans are scrubbing the bathroom floor and you'll then have a glimpse of how my brother and I spent our Saturdays.

Another treasured memory is Granny's way of teaching you how "to do something the right way." She lives to show you how to fold a fitted sheet, mend a hem or sew a button. And nothing makes Granny madder than opening the linen closet to find a big, wadded up ball of fitted sheets.

"Kids, come here and let me show you something!" has become her favorite line. 

It's funny how in less than 3 weeks the May mantra has now turned into hushed whispers the moment I get home.

"She made me try on all my clothes in the closet, every single one and then refold the ones that fit and put them up neatly," relays my middle one, aghast at how the tides have turned against her.

Brody and I, on the other hand, are quite enjoying Granny's extended stay.

Our floors are clean enough to eat off of, our perfectly folded towels smell like a dewy meadow, our home cooked meals are just divine and our children...well, let's just say, the next time I throw a brown banana their way and call it breakfast...the words "thank you sweet Mother" will be flowing from their lips.

To read more of Angel and Becky's column, go to www.wilsonpost.com or www.wilsonlivingmagazine.com.  

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Posted by on in Telling Tales

madisonBy Angel Kane

Wilson Living Magazine

So the text message went something like this:

Brody: "we're going to miss the first quarter of the Titan's game because of Zoe! I had to stop at the ATM which caused us to lose 20 minutes. We're now sitting in traffic that's at a complete standstill!"

Uh-oh, someone is going to be in big trouble was my first thought. One I shared with our resident, teen-age, middle child who rolled her eyes, mouthed "Not. My. Fault." and carried on looking at the latest fashions on Instagram.

The last time I can remember having cash, on a regular basis, was when fast food chains did not take credit cards. But once that barrier was finally overcome, now the only time I carry cash is when my grandmother sends me a newly minted, one hundred dollar bill for my birthday or when our resident banker deems me credit worthy to receive an allotment.

And if you think banking regulations have become tougher, I can assure you the Federal Government has nothing on the Kane Kids Bank & Trust.

Our kids don't get an allowance per se, but I find they are much more likely to  accomplish a big task like cleaning out the chicken coop or washing our cars, if I offer them the promise of monetary compensation.

And I can assure you, once the task it complete, they take whoever made the promise on a hostage-bank run and quickly pocket the cold hard cash.

And by pocket, I mean... their cash... goes on complete lock down.

Our eldest usually goes from our bank straight to hers where she promptly deposits it.

Our youngest has a piggy bank with a numeric combination that only he and his maker know.

And then there is our middle child, too young for a bank account, too old for a piggy bank.

Just right for the picking.

"Zoe, give your brother some lunch money and I'll pay you back."

"Zoe, your cross country uniform money is due today, pay for it and I'll pay you back."

"Zoe, I don't have money for a tip, let me borrow a few dollars."

Each time, our personal banker grumbles and threatens to cut us off but ultimately folds to the global economic pressures of living with parents who fully embrace a cashless society.

That is, until last Sunday, right as Brody and Neill were leaving for the Titan's game.

"Zoe, give your Dad some cash for parking and he'll pay you back."

"No, I'm not. No one ever pays me back. Madison keeps her money in the bank and Neill keeps his in a booby trapped vault. You and Daddy are the worst! I'm tired of letting everyone in this family borrow money and never being paid back!"

It's seems our not-so international monetary fund had cut us off!

Two hours later Brody and Neill were missing their all-time favorite teams, the Cowboys and the Titans, play because instead of their usual bailout, the boys were forced to head to the ATM.

Later that evening, the aftermath of the Kane financial crisis reached global proportions as fingers were pointed, financial bubbles were burst and key players refused to take the blame.

This Recovery... may take a while.

To read more of Angel & Becky's columns go to www.wilsonpost.com or www.wilsonlivingmagazine.com

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Posted by on in Telling Tales

By Angel Kane

Wilson Living Magazine

"Have you thought about living in Chicago? I had a friend from high school who went to University of Chicago and she loved it. Or what about Baylor, my cousin's daughter went there."

I try not to make eye contact with Brody when I bring up far away colleges, because if looks could kill, his would be stoning me to death, one eyeball at a time.

"Stop telling Madi to move a million miles away from us. She may never come back!" he whispers (in his loud voice) anytime I bring up any college where she can't come home for dinner. 

I, on the other hand, think college is the perfect time to spread your wings, experience new places and meet new people...well, that's what I like to say to the other mothers ...sounds very grown up, don't you think?

But as we drove through the college gates for our first official college visit, four hours away from home, I almost burst out crying. And I don't cry. Ever. So I was a little confused as to that suspicious lump in my throat followed by my blurred vision.

'Am I having a stroke?' was my first thought.

And then I went from a stroke to hearing voices in my head. Voices that sounded just like my own, shouting out..."but I'm not finished! My time is up with her? How can that be, we just got started!"

Don't get me wrong, I don't doubt for a minute that she is ready. Having seen her in action this summer, campaigning side by side with her Dad, from one end of Gainesboro, to the other end of Westmoreland and back to Mt. Juliet, I know she will be fine. More than fine.

But at this point, her going away to college has become about me.

As we went on the tour from one building to the other, I thought about all the things I meant to do, meant to say...

I don't think I've ever played an entire game of Monopoly with her. I've racked my brain  and can't think of any game, in fact, that I've ever finished with her. I hate to play games and she really loves them. She is so like her Dad in that way. Does that make me a bad Mom? 

And there are all those dinners around the kitchen table I envisioned... there were too few of those, especially as life got busier with work and two younger siblings. From now on, I'm cooking every night until she moves away! Note to self, start going to the grocery again.

We did go prom dress shopping, twice in fact, but she found both her dresses at the first shop we went to, within the first half hour, so it was so quick I barely remember it. She was always such an easy child. Made my job effortless.

Do you think it's too late for me to let her be messy? I was one of those Moms who never liked a mess in the house. If she wanted to finger paint or play with play dough, it was always on the back porch. Is that why she isn't interested in the arts and considers being outside to be a form of torture?

I did teach her what make-up you can buy at your local drugstore and what types are best to splurge on, but did I tell her that less is more? I think I did, or maybe she just figured it out on her own.

Fix-a-Flat. Does she know about that? Maybe I should buy her a taser. She knows to always have her keys out as she walks to her car, but have I told her that if someone abducts you, to never let them take you to a second location? And definitely always punch them in the throat and run. We should practice that before she leaves.

"Your will shall decide your destiny" is one of my favorite quotes but so is, "Awesome things will happen today if you choose not to be a miserable cow" - I wonder which will work better embroidered on a pillow for her dorm room?

Does she remember those times we baked Christmas cookies? I never could get the icing to harden but the white snowman cookies were still the bomb. And that Halloween ghost cake, we made that at least three years in a row. Hopefully I've taught her that icing can cover a number of baking sins.

There are just so many things that I meant to say, meant to teach her, meant to do with her and instead, here I am on a tour that is taking my Madi away.

I looked at Brody as he was watching Madi peruse the t-shirts in the college bookstore. When she found one she liked and handed it to him, he blurted out "You want to buy one with this school's name on it? That's such a big commitment! We just started looking at colleges! Why don't you buy a magnet or something like that?"

Geez... he seriously needs to get a grip!

To read more of Angel's and Becky's columns go to www.wilsonpost.com or www.wilsonlivingmagazine.com

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Posted by on in Telling Tales

By Angel Kane

Wilson Living Magazine


I remember, like it was yesterday, the day Madi started kindergarden.

At the time, I couldn't believe she was old enough for school... real school. Dressed in her prettiest sundress, new lunch box in hand, a big bow atop her little blond head, she and I were thrilled about her new adventure. I took hundreds of photos... but that was before Facebook...so until I can find them, scan them and post to FB, you'll have to take my word for it, she was just adorable!

And then, in a blink of an eye... she is about to be a Senior.

Every day now when I open the mailbox, flyer after flyer from one college or another is all that ever arrives. I watch as she examines the mail piece, googles the school and adds it to the places she wants to visit. Right about then, I usually scream out, "Why you want to leave me?" doing my best Greek accent as I repeat my favorite line from 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding.'

To which she rolls her eyes and reminds me, "please stop, you don't sound anything like him!"

In two weeks, Madi starts her final year of high school. That means in two weeks, we also begin the Year Of Madison.

Three months ago, as we sat down for dinner, Madi informed us that as this was her final year to be with us, she fully expected the entire year to revolve around her. That meant, no new home purchases, no remodels, no work changes, no trips without her, no travel soccer leagues for her little brother or cross country meets for her sister and certainly no new dogs, chickens or pets of any sort that required attention. This was her year, and we were to do nothing, go nowhere, talk about anything... that didn't pertain to Madison.

Of course, Zoe and Neill immediately took offense. And after much discussion, it was agreed that the Year Of Madison would sometimes "feature" Zoe and Neill...but not that much, and only if Madison has pre-approved their guest spot appearance.

And slowly the idea of the Year Of Madison has taken hold. Although I do think it's funny that Madi believes that after one year, she will be gone forever.

"You do know college has breaks, don't you?" I query of her, but I don't think she is listening any more... nor is anyone else.

Her brother has already laid claim to her room, while her sister has laid claim to her furniture. And to be honest, I've laid claim to a couple pairs of shoes and belts that were mine to begin with and will not be making any journey out of state.

This past Sunday, we got a preview of the Year Of Madison as she took her Senior pictures. The house with abuzz as we readied her hair and make up and decided between her two prettiest sundresses. And as she stood in the field of sunflowers while the photographer and she did their thing, Brody and I soaked up every minute of the opening credits to the Year Of Madison.

The only thing missing was her new lunch box and a big bow atop her little blond head... other than that... it was just yesterday.

To read more of Angel and Becky's columns go to www.wilsonlivingmagazine.com or www.wilsonpost.com

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Taste a wine, or meet a person. Each wine is different as each person is different. Wines are so varied that they can be, and often are, compared to the human personality types. Wines can be matched with friends, relatives and recent acquaintances. Some of these folks are in your life by chance, while others have the bond of family. The characteristics expressed by grapes are as complex as people, and our impressions of wine can be compared to our perceptions of people. You meet wines as often you meet people: dinner at a friend's houses, restaurants, cocktail parties or at your favorite tailgate party.

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Posted by on in Easily Pleased

I’m a super lucky mommy-to-be.

Here’s why: my schedule of baby-baking is timed exactly so that just as the weather grows colder, the belly will be expanding proportionally. Bingo. Extra layer. This means that throughout the entire progress of this winter, I’ll have a perfectly sized personal heater at my disposal.

Do you know how exciting this is?

cold belly

I don’t know if you remember last winter, but I do. I remember it the way we all remember trauma in our lives: a haze of gray, a chill right down into my shoulders, something about a polar vortex, school out (again) and cars stranded in driveways.  Not even Starbucks would have saved us last winter (although I have to admit, something about the Starbucks arriving in Lebanon has made me feel armed for the season in a new way; it’s like I just bought a pair of winter boots).

So here I am, facing the cold season again with a heightened sense of excitement and invincibility. It’s not just that we’re staring down the hallway of autumn into the season of all the best holidays (we are). Not only that, but I’ll be ready to take everything in stride, warmed to the core by the tiny human in my belly.

This pregnancy business is a win-win. Convenient heating system now, new family member later.

But in the meantime, with the weather still in its mildest stages, I am in the middle of apparently life-altering decisions about how to have this baby. It should be a simple decision. In fact, I always naively assumed it was a simple decision: pick a doctor/midwife, pick a hospital, try to get there before the baby comes out, and presto! Baby.

But I underestimated the crushing weight of peer pressure.

Here’s the problem. My mother is a superhuman. She gave birth to seven children without pain medication of any kind; six of them were at home with a midwife. I just read some stats about home births today: apparently only 1 in 75 births are done at home in the western world. My mother did this six times; this means that she is in, at minimum, a 1 in 450 minority (I know, statisticians, I did that wrong; so sue me).

She did all this in the 80s and 90s, before it was cool. But today, with the advent of the organic-food-eating, attachment-parenting soccer mom guilt trip, a home birth is a badge of honor in many circles. What could be more ‘authentic’ than birthing your baby at home with the help of something called a ‘doula’? What, indeed? Except for maybe hosting a dinner party and serving up your own hand pressed guinea hen crostini with free-range mushroom granita and locally sourced wildberry compote? Or adopting a child from an obscure country?

Three of my sisters are young and married, and I can only imagine the game of obstetrical How Low Can You Go? we might get into if we aren’t careful.

One of us may choose to give birth in a hospital with just a little laughing gas, and breast feed for six months; another will go in for the full natural experience, and breast feed for a year. The next will make the proud leap and do a homebirth with a midwife, serving nine-months time on a completely organic diet, upping the ante for us all.

Finally, somebody will fall into this thing that I only heard of for the first time last week when one of my sisters mentioned it at a family gathering: Unassisted Home Birth.

Unassisted Home Birth (UHB) takes it all to the next level. With this jaw-dropping and unbeatably authentic option, a woman gives birth at home without any trained professional nearby. Her husband, if unlucky enough to be present, catches the baby. Or she goes into a quiet place and catches the child herself. Proponents say that this is the best way, because only a woman really knows her body, and she’ll know when it’s time and exactly what to do when it happens.

Today I read stories online about women in the 50s who used to toss back two whiskey highballs, shut themselves in a bedroom for an hour, catch the child, clean the child, cut the umbilical cord, introduce the child to other siblings, and then get immediately back to dusting.

My sister (an artist, so she can get away with this kind of talk) blithely tried to convince her husband that this was a good idea. The rest of us told her flatly that it was not, and then uncomfortably tried to explain why, at the lunch table. Finally, her husband (who’d listened fairly politely, considering) flatly shut her down.

“No, babe,” he said. And that was that. We breathed a sigh of relief.

I just so happen to be the first pregnancy on this side of the family, so I’ll be sort of testing the waters for us all (or breaking the waters, if you will). But something tells me that I’ll have to be careful to set a good mommy-talk example.  If the internet is a fierce attacker of women’s parenting decisions, real women in real life can be even worse—though more subtle. I have very dear friends who feed, dress, sleep, train, teeth, and love their children in very different ways, and I have respect for each of them. They are also all (or almost all) extremely gracious in the way they talk about their decisions. No crowing. No guilt-tripping. No back-biting. No(t much) unasked-for-advising.

If motherhood is a competition, I want out. I was never very good at How Low Can You Go anyway. I don’t bend over backwards very well. 

Nope... the 2015 Pregnancy Show-off Winter Olympics will have to count me out.

Because parenting isn't really a competition at all, is it? It’s something much better—and if you want to do so, shoot us a comment below or send me a line in the next few weeks ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ). How is parenting better than a competition? 

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Posted by on in Daily Political Blog

Nothing says small town America like a good ole’ fashioned parade. And on the 4th of July many of the candidates gathered in Watertown for a parade on Main Street and through the town square. If you haven’t ventured out to Watertown for their parade, then I suggest next year you make plans to attend because theirs is like no other.  

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Drive down Main Street these days and it's as if someone threw up politicians.  As a card carrying member (by marriage) of these folks running for office, I think it's my civic duty to share the lessons I've learned ...thus far.  

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Posted by on in Telling Tales

By Becky Andrews

Most adults have repeated the same phrase when referring to the younger generation, “What is this world coming to?” From the boomers to millennials, we’ve all been on the receiving end of criticism about our taste in music, movies, politics, and work ethic. My own parents had little patience for my taste in music, refusing to believe it was anything but noise. While there are many things I find annoying about the younger generation…texting a person sitting next to them, neck jerking to keep the hair out of their eyes, the constant mumbling, The Harlem Shake and on and on and on, in spite of it all, I still feel like we adults, the future retirees, are going to be just fine in their hands. Here’s why:

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Posted by on in Telling Tales

By Angel Kane

“Do not be a baby!”

Those were the words I read, via text, after parking my car at the Lebanon Police Station last Tuesday night. Twenty minutes before I’d met Brody in our driveway as he was pulling in and I was pulling out. We had both forgotten I was supposed to go on a police ride as part of my Leadership Wilson program. And I was not happy about it! I complained for about five minutes, via my open window to his, with all the reasons I should not have to do this. 

“They better not drive fast!”, were my parting words to him as I drove furiously out of the driveway. 

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Posted by on in Telling Tales

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Posted by on in Telling Tales

Have you ever been involved in a verbal confrontation and, after it was settled, thought about the perfect comeback? Of course, we don’t ever do that because that would be stupid. If we counter with the best comeback one day or even one hour after said confrontation, that person would now think you were even more inept than before. Not to mention, “crazy.” I’m the worst at comebacks. But afterwards, I. AM. AWESOME. I keep these little snappy retorts on file just in case the need to use them in the future ever arises.

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