A L Cockerill

It Takes A Village to find the Good Life

When Becky and I first envisioned Wilson Living Magazine, we decided to end each issue with a first person narrative written bysomeone who we thought had found the good life. The “good life” doesn’t mean the biggest house or the fanciest job, what it means is that in some way that person has found purpose, contentment and gratitude, right here at home.

Each issue, choosing whom to ask to write our favorite piece is a difficult task. When deciding upon our friend Anna-Lee to write this issue’s piece, we chose her because in a myriad of ways she embodies “the good life.” She is a working mother who not only is known for her exceptional business skills but also for her amazing talents that have helped various non-profitts throughout our community. She also happens to be one heck of an involved Mom to three children and a dedicated wife to a busy husband. All the while, Anna-Lee presents herself to all those she meets as poised, polite and a perfect example of someone who certainly has figured out what the “good life” is all about.

So, you can imagine our surprise, when she turned in her piece and we realized Anna-Lee had not written about herself. And then Becky and I laughed, typical Anna-Lee!

Only Anna-Lee would find her piece of the good life, by honoring those who have made our community – a place where we all can find the good life. Only Anna-Lee would take this platform and use it to inspire us all to do more, so that others can have a better life.

Only Anna-Lee would make “Finding Your Piece of the Good Life” better than it has ever been before.


One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching.

As I write this, the Middle Tennessee landscape is bursting with dogwood trees and fresh buttercups. This is God’s country. He has hand decorated this small southern town with beautiful rolling hills and deep rich foliage. The landscape is reason enough to seek out a life here and may be a small part of what attracts newcomers. It is the people though that you meet along the way that make it worth staying. In Wilson County, we are blessed with folks who are storing up treasures in heaven – thanks to their selfless efforts that challenge us to make a positive impact in our community.

In preparing for “The Good Life” article, I kept coming back to the people who surround us every day. Those people who touch others with their unselfish determination to be servant leaders. Do you know the ones? Those people behind the scenes who exhibit strong, enduring work ethics? The ones who take the tasks of many and just do the work? The ones who, without complaining or seeking praise for their success, seem to make it look easy?

Those are the people who make me pause. They lead by example; and, quietly and humbly inspire others, including myself, to see how I can look for opportunities to make a difference.

Good LifeCoaching for more than 30 seasons as Cumberland University’s head baseball coach, Woody Hunt continues to mentor champions. Because life is more than just a game.

There is an extremely humble man whose successes one might think lie within his accomplishments – which are many. I’m speaking of Cumberland University’s legendary Hall of Fame head baseball coach Woody Hunt – known as one of only six coaches in history to register 1,000 career victories in the NAIA. The accolades go on and on yet his impact is felt even stronger off the field. He instills a strong Christian-centered work ethic as he mentors those around him – fostering morals, values and hard work.

He’s not just coaching ball players – he’s forging character into these young men. Many of his former players have settled into lives after baseball and are impacting the lives of others by passing along those life-lessons through coaching, ministering and giving back. He serves as a real inspiration.

Making a difference can bring a lot of people together for one cause.Sherry'sThe Tenth Annual Sherry’s Run is slated for September 14, 2013 – inspiring hope. (www.SherrysRun.org)

Sherry’s Run helps those locally who are suffering with cancer. Cancer is an enemy of humanity – taking what is healthy and beautiful and causing physical destruction. It strikes when you least expect it. It does not discriminate. Some of our neighbors who are faced with cancer find themselves in desperate need at the worst possible time.

Sherry’s Run helps. That’s what neighbors do – and that is one of the many reasons that Sherry’s Run is so important. What started as a love for one woman, Sherry, has turned into a fight for all the Sherry’s. You can’t buy hope…but you sure can give it. Hope comes in the reflections of the many faces – 3,842 this past year – that participated in the annual 5K Run.

Although the harder path to follow, the funds are distributed locally to those who qualify rather than giving it to a national cancer organization.

AlexGabryelle Conklin and an Empower Me Day Camp counselor enjoy water play – simple joys are sometimes the best. (EmpowerMeDay- Camp.com)Making a difference can join the forces of the most unlikely of pairs.

Alex Johnson is a Friendship Christian School first grader with a rare form of skeletal dysplasia that limits him to a wheelchair.

Greg Armstrong is a high school teacher at FCS who teaches Biology, Bible, Environmental Science, Anatomy and Physiology. Last summer, Alex told Greg, an ultramarathon runner and iron-man tri-athlete, “Coach Armstrong, I’m going to race you one of these days.” Greg took him up on the challenge and helped Alex train for four weeks to walk, with the aid of his walker, the last 45 yards ofSherry’s Run.

Your hero doesn’t have to be a famous person, it can be a child who through his motto “Never complain” (Philippians 2:14) “And never give up,” inspired over 600 to join his team – “Team AleX.” Alex met his goal to finish the race and along the way raised $2,404 to help Sherry’s Run patients. Alex is a difference maker!

Impossibilities vanish when you dedicate yourself to a dream.

What started out in a Lebanon garage in 1999 through the efforts of a group of pediatric therapists now impacts children with disabilities in our area. Empower Me Day Camp was born to fill a need to enhance the quality of lives of children with disabilities. The dreams of the children they help are being fulfilled through the many camps and year-round recreational programs offered, allowing access and opportunity for children to play and enjoy being a child.

Showing strangers love.FriendFriendship Christian School students show love to a stranger. (FCSCommanders. wordpress.com/page/8; Run4Water.net; www.facebook.com/PossomtownOutreach)

The Possum Town Outreach began making mission trips to Sneedville, Tennessee in the late ’90’s. In collaboration with this outreach, Friendship Christian School students and faculty visited a man named Mr. Jimmy Booth in his small shed that he called home. Mr. Booth was in desperate need of warm shelter and food; however, he always said to go help someone else who needed it more. He had no water and the winter months were leaving him cold and hungry. The FCS students, in partnership with the Run4Water team, started raising money to buy Mr. Booth a trailer. The trailer was purchased along with food, blankets, kitchen supplies, and Christmas decorations.

JimmyMr. Jimmy Booth’s former homeThe students prayed blessings over the trailer and made the trip to Sneedville to personally deliver it. Mr. Booth was overwhelmed by the generosity of those he had never met. Those who are loved are not poor.

Finding the Good Life by ensuring others find it as well.

When you think of “the good life” here, recognize that it takes all of us to make a positive difference…neighbors helping neighbors. Everyday acts of kindness, compassion and hard work are making an impact right here at home. Challenge yourself to redefine what the notion of riches and success and value is. The materialistic more-better-faster culture may not be the answer. Ask yourself what you can do today – then act.

Working for God on earth doesn’t pay much…but, His retirement plan is out of this world.

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Get Involved

The Three C’s of Politics


Writing about politics roughly two months before the column is to be published is tough. Issues that are hot today have either been shoved aside, moved to the bottom of the priority list, killed, or hopefully, solved. That’s why this column version of Down Home Politics deals with issues in a broader context, while the blog at www.wilsonlivingmagazine.com deals with those more timely issues. So be sure and check it out each week.

So what’s the topic this issue? It’s the failure of politicians to be effective in their jobs, and it’s been happening for the last several years all the way up the political ladder – from cities to counties to states to the nation.

But, there is an answer, something I call The Three Cs of Politics: Communication, Compromise and Clarification = Effectiveness. Just as a diamond’s four Cs – clarity, cut, color and carat weight – determine its worth, so can The Three Cs of Politics determine the effectiveness of a politician.

The first C is Communication, and this is one is critical. An effective politician must be able to communicate his message clearly and precisely to all parties – constituents, other office holders, staff and the media. He must be able to express himself in such a way that the message remains consistent no matter who he is talking to and how little time he may have. In other words, he needs to have an elevator pitch that is as effective in 2 minutes as an hour-long presentation complete with charts and graphs.

In addition, the communication cannot be all passion; it must have facts and/or figures to back the message. Passionate pleas have their place, but they are much more effective when backed by hard proof.

For example, if a government entity needs to raise revenue through an increase in taxes or fees, the members of that body had better have a solid plan in place as to how that money will be spent and why it is critical that the tax or fee be raised.

By the same token, those who oppose tax increases or fees need to have evidence to back their claim that the additional increase is not needed and why. He had better be prepared to show precisely where he could do a better job with the funds at hand than by raising taxes or fees.

Being able to offer specifics – not generalities – is a critical for any politician, which is why many of them fail to be effective once in office. During the campaign, they present beautiful pictures with their words, and they often get elected. But once they are in office, and they need to know how to paint that picture, many couldn’t if their lives depended on it.

The other critical aspect of communication is to not surprise anyone. To be effective, especially once a person is in office, he needs to communicate his initiatives, visions and plans with every single stakeholder as soon as possible.

There’s an old saying, “Never surprise your boss.” Well, that same philosophy can be said about politicians. They should never surprise their constituents, other office holders or staff. Doing so is asking for failure.

Which leads us to the second C of Politics – Compromise. Today, more and more politicians appear to think that compromise is a bad word. They think that if they give a little, they will somehow dilute their power, or the other side will want to take that inch and stretch it into a mile. I contend that neither are true and that the lack of compromise is what is causing the current stalemate in our nation’s capital. I also believe it’s the cause of the growing division between the two parties, as well as the fragmentation inside them, in Washington, in Nashville, and even in local government bodies.

Personally, I’m tired of watching one side or the other dig their heels in and refuse to budge – often times simply because they hold the majority of votes and know they don’t need the other side to pass whatever initiatives they may have. Just because one party or another holds the power by being the majority doesn’t mean they always have to use that power. Sometimes having the power doesn’t mean using it as a sledgehammer just because you can. Sometimes it means truly listening to the other side and compromising for the good of the people who elected you.

Which brings us to the last C – Clarification. After applying the first two Cs – communication and compromise – a politician had better be able to explain or clearly justify his position.

Throughout the years, voters have shown they have no problem with politicians who either stand their ground or who change positions on an issue – as long as they explain the reasoning behind it. As long as a politician can explain the “why” behind their decisions – which is more often than not the most important W in the five Ws of who, what, when, where and why – then the voters will view him or her as being effective, and that’s what we want and need from our elected officials.

A politician who is effective is one who can make us understand his ideas, produce results, and explain why his actions best represent us. And isn’t this what we want from those we elect to office?

Amelia Morrison Hipps is a local freelance writer and political consultant. She may be reached at (615) 442-8667 or via email at amhipps@ downhomepolitics.com. Follow her on Twitter @DwnHomePolitics.

Be sure to read her weekly political blogs at www.wilsonlivingmagazinecom.

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Rome Ferry

Remembering Rome Ferry

Rome FerryCirca 1980, the Jere Mitchell awaits business. Note the wood sternwheel at left and the dinner bell atop the boat. The vessel was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1987. Photo courtesy of Andy Reid III

Friends still mourn loss of river crossing, while kinfolk recollect pilot Ike Napier and his beloved boat, the ‘Jere Mitchell’


ROME, TENN. — For close to two centuries a Cumberland River ferry transported passengers, vehicles, livestock and supplies between the Smith County communities of Rome and Riddleton. That day in 1992 when the Jere Mitchell was permanently grounded not only left a melancholy pang in the hearts of its regular riders, but severed strong bonds between neighbors, put a dent in small businesses, reduced church membership rolls and robbed travelers of a precious shortcut.

“It’s been said all roads lead to Rome except for ours,” said George W. Draper, 90, who lives on his family farm on Rome Road in Beasleys Bend, north of the river.

Before the ferry ceased running, Draper was but a 4-minute drive and a breezy 3-minute river crossing from Rome. Today, it’s a 21-mile, 40-minute meandering trip by car to reach the far side of the river.

Rome ferryBettye Richardson and George W. Draper, residents of Beasleys Bend, reminisce at the site of the old Rome Ferry, while John Whitehead, left, and Bill Napier, the grandson and nephew, respectively, of legendary river man Ike Napier, who piloted passengers to and fro across the Cumberland from 1925 to 1972, stand on the deck of the beached Jere Mitchell“Terrible, terrible” is how Bettye Richardson, who with Draper and Linda Hensley founded Friends of the Rome Ferry in 2001, describes her feelings of the day the ferry died. “We needed it. We always went that way to Lebanon, and if you needed to go to Nashville, it cut off all kinds of miles and all kinds of time. Besides that, it had been promised to us,” said Richardson, whose grandfather, Comer Haley, the last private owner of the ferry, sold his interests to Smith County in 1929.

“My grandfather sold it to the county for $1 and consideration that there be a free ferry sunup to sundown or until a bridge was built,” said Richardson, who grew up in Lebanon but has been a resident of Beasleys Bend, where her grandparents farmed, for decades.

Draper also bemoans the loss of the ferry but puts things into perspective, saying, “The ferry was facing enormous problems, governmental among them.. It got to the point where you considered what the transport of each person was costing with two men and all expenses. It was not really practical anymore to operate the ferry.”

Old Rome Ferry sits 2½ miles past the Wilson County line into Smith County, where Round Lick Creek flows into the Cumberland River at mile 292.5. About 75 yards south, Highway 70 crosses above the creek on James L. Fisher Bridge.

Today, the 64-year-old hulk of the Jere Mitchell continues its lazy slumber to a rusty death less than 25 yards from the shore of the river. Poison ivy and other vines creep up along its edges. Spray-painted graffiti mars the front of the pilothouse, and the lichen-covered wooden landing aprons show decay and rot. Worse than Mother Nature, thieves have ripped away metal pieces of the historic boat, a war memorial, and likely peddled them as scrap to salvage yards.

“The bell that was on there was a big dinner bell from our house,” said Richardson. “Sam [Andrews, her late first husband] took it and put in on that ferry and it was stolen off. It’s just been cannibalized, that’s all you can say.”

The disregard shown to the ferryboat, named in memory of Jere B. (Bowen) Mitchell, a graduate of Castle Heights Military Academy in Lebanon who gave hisRomeThe Jere Mitchell ferries two pickup trucks, a car and passengers from one side of the Cumberland River to the other in the 1950s. Photo Submitted life in World War II, proves most regrettable to Draper, a first cousin.

“Jere was like a brother to me. He died when he was 22. He was killed in France on the streets of Cherbourg on June 26, 1944, the very same day that the city of Cherbourg was taken by the Allied Forces. His body is in our family plot at a cemetery in Dixon Springs,” said Draper, whose memories are not all melancholy.

When the steel-hulled, sternwheel paddleboat launched in 1949, Draper and 100 or so other locals, highway officials and politicians took the first joy ride.

Built by Rogers Manufacturing Company in Nashville, the Jere Mitchell cost Smith County $11,000 and could carry four cars, whereas the previous wooden ferryboat, Rome’s Friend, took on but three vehicles.

With its six-cylinder, 235-horsepower engine, the Jere Mitchell had a capacity for 50 tons. Weighing 27½ tons, stretching 60 feet long by 20 feet wide and 3 feet deep, it had a draught of 10 inches.

“It was a festive occasion, and the people of the territory all got on the boat, and we rode up the river and down the river and back,” reminisced Draper of the inaugural cruise. “Everyone in the area here was on the boat.”

That was over 60 years ago when 33 ferries plowed Volunteer State waters. (There were hundreds of ferries in Tennessee in the 1800s.) Today the state operates but two: The Benton-Houston ferry runs across the Tennessee River between Benton and Houston Counties, and the Cumberland City Ferry operates across the Cumberland River in Stewart County. Like the river it crossed, the 200-year history of Rome Ferry flows long and runs deep with rich stories too numerous to document.

Rome FerryIke and Bessie Napier are seen here with three of their six children, circa 1920s, on this wooden boat used at Rome Ferry. The vessel was powered by a blind horse or mule, seen at far right, which walked on a circular treadmill. Photo Submitted“In 1798, I took a lease on both banks of the Cumberland River. … Here I erected a small cabin, constructed a flatboat and began to keep a ferry at a point on the river,” wrote Joseph Bishop, perhaps the original Rome ferryman, in his biography.

Major A. Beasley, son of Isham Beasley, from whom Beasleys Bend derived its name, operated a ferry here in the 1830s, and in 1862, Confederate General John Hunt Morgan ferried the river near here in flight from Union soldiers after the Battle of Lebanon.

In the early 1920s, when a blind mule or horse named John powered the ferryboat by walking in circles and turning a gear box that churned the paddle, fees ran $1 for a round trip for a car, 20 cents for a horse and buggy, 10 cents for a horse and rider and 5 cents for a person on foot. It was about 1919 when the Napier family became associated with Rome Ferry, and for the next 70-plus years only a Napier would serve as pilot. From Dec.13, 1924, until January 1972, “Uncle” Ike Napier stood his ground as Rome Ferry’s “Iron Man.”

Ike literally grew up on the Cumberland River. His father ran a ferry in Celina for 14 years, and Ike’s brother Frank ran the Rome Ferry five years before he took the helm. As a youth, Ike rafted logs from Celina to Nashville. “The river was just a highway back then,” he told reporters decades ago. He came to Rome around 1913 when it was a vibrant river town that supported three doctors, a bank, hotel and several stores.

“The first four years I hauled for pay. The ferry was privately owned, first by Dora Rutland and then by Comer Haley. There was a lot of traffic back then, but there was only three automobiles in the area,” said Ike.

“It cost 40 cents each way for an automobile. It was 40 cents round trip for a horse and buggy. It was a dime round trip on foot. Sheep and hogs could cross for 3 cents. Cattle were 5 cents,” said the pilot, who for many years lived in a “ferry house” furnished by the county.

“The river would get in the house every winter back before the dams. Chickens, dogs, everything would be floating round. I remember once we put everything on the table. It still floated off. We would put the chickens, dog and everything on the ferry, and we would take it up the creek to wait for the river to go down. We lived on the boat for two weeks. That included six children (sons Joe, Bill and Baxter and daughters Margie, Gladys and Annie) my wife and myself along with a number of chickens, cats and dogs.”

One day in the 1930s, Ike ferried a traveling circus across the river, pachyderms and all. “I was a little apprehensive about the elephants, but they made it fine,” he recalled.

Over the years, 11 drownings were recorded at the river crossing, including a horrific accident in 1963 that took the lives of six members of one family whenRome FerryBill Napier, left, and John Whitehead grip the steering wheel of the Jere Mitchell. The pilot house was where the late Ike Napier, their uncle and grandfather, respectively, felt most at home. In 1949, Ike took control of the then-new ferryboat, as he was about halfway through his 47-year career as pilot of the Rome Ferry. their car rushed down the road to the river and crashed through a steel cable. Only one woman escaped death, plucked from the water by Ike from his canoe. Afterward, the Coast Guard reportedly pressed for more stringent safety precautions although the calamity had no connection to the ferryboat or its skipper.

For most of his tenure, Ike labored from sunup to sundown seven days a week and rarely took a vacation. “I bet I have missed less than three months work,” said the pilot, who was making $60 a week when he retired in 1972. “It was just a job. I had to take them from one side to the other.”

Upon yielding the helm to his son Joe and nephew Carl Napier, Ike bought a house on a bluff above the river, so he could keep an eye on his beloved ferryboat.

“If the weather was becoming bad, he didn’t worry about that house, he worried about that boat. He loved the Jere Mitchell. He loved that boat and wanted to make sure it wouldn’t sink,” said Ike’s grandson, John Whitehead of Watertown.

The grandson recollected that Ike was a lifelong fisherman who always wore overalls and chewed King Bee or Hornet chewing tobacco, and adds the fact that “Grandpa never drove an automobile in his life.”

Another grandchild, Raylene Napier King, who grew up in Rome and now lives in Bardstown, Ky., remembers, “When I was little girl on Sunday afternoons, my daddy took me down by the ferry, and we would ride back and forth as the cars came. I was always amazed by it. Grandpa would go back into the little wheelhouse. He didn’t really talk a whole lot.

Bill Napier, 83, a nephew, recalled, “Uncle Ike was a fine old gentleman. A friendly person, friends with anybody and everybody. If you asked him how long he was a pilot, he would always say, ‘Son, I run her 47 years and 20 days.’”

Of the forlorn state of the Jere Mitchell, Bill, who lives less than a quarter mile away, says, “They just drug it up with a bulldozer. It’s a shame. They could have done something with it. That boat was never supposed to have been shut down.

“They asked me to be the pilot (in the 1990s after Joe Napier died). I had a house beside the river. They assumed I had a license. I had a pilot’s license but not for boats,” said Bill Napier, who flew planes.

Carol Andrews, Bettye Richardson’s daughter, was raised in Beasleys Bend and holds to fond memories of the late riverboat pilot. Ike Napier died July 17, 1989, at 91 years of age and was laid to rest in Lebanon’s Wilson County Memorial Garden.

“I spent a lot of time with Ike on that ferry, especially in the summer when I would ride my bike down there and ride back and forth for a while. Sometimes he shared his snacks with me,” Andrews said.

“I stayed with a friend in Rome a lot and sometimes missed the boat. It was closed. So Ike would kindly just take me over in the canoe. Or maybe the river was too high from the rains for the ferry, but he would take me over, dodging debris. I don’t think we even wore life jackets or worried about it. He knew that river and her nuances. There were no problems. . . .

“When traffic was slow, he sat on a large rock beneath a tree on the Rome side. Sometimes I sat with him and listened to his stories if he chose to share. When he laughed, the twinkle in his eye was priceless.

After he retired, he attended Rome Church of Christ with us. My dad tried to fix him up with some of the widows. He never took the bait,” reminisced Andrews.

Her mother reflects that some commuters were scared to ride the ferry, but she had complete faith in Ike, who at times used his canoe as a river taxi. She recalls when a flood rose almost up to Highway 70, leaving her stranded at her grandparents’ in Beasleys Bend.

“My sister and I were homesick. My daddy got Ike, and they got in a canoe over at end of the Fisher Bridge, and they came over by Paul Caplenor’s barn. We walked through that barn, got in that canoe, and my sister, father and I and Ike and went across that river, and there were things floating all in that river. We got across and got on that highway and went home. It never did enter my mind that anything could happen. Ike would take care of it,” said Richardson.

Rome ferryThis photo captures river pilot Ike Lee Napier around 1980 aboard the Jere Mitchell, about a decade after he retired from his job of ferrying passengers, cars, trucks, cattle and crops between the Smith County communities of Rome and Riddleton. Napier is holding the wheel to the cable-raised landing apron. Photo courtesy of Andy Reid IIIAfter Ike retired, his nephew Carl ran the ferry a bit, but his son Joe, who had been a deckhand for Ike for 17 years, became the main pilot for the next 20 years. Between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., Joe made 10 or 12 crossings a day, carrying a maximum of six passengers because that was how many lifejackets were aboard the boat.

After Joe’s death in 1992, the ferry closed with the reason being given that they could not find a pilot. Friends of the Rome Ferry put up a good fight for years to have the county and state renovate the Jere Mitchell and get the ferry back on the river. Cost estimates to make that happen in the early 1990s totaled $300,000. Thus the ferry loyalists have given up hope but cling to one final dream.

“We know that it’s not gonna run, but the county mayor asked me what could be done down there, and I suggested a little park with picnic benches and that we clean up and paint the ferry and put it on a pedestal with a ramp so that tourists could walk up safely and enjoy it,” said Richardson. John Whitehead remembers how hard it was for his grandfather to say goodbye to the calling he clung to from age 27 to 74. 

“You could see the sadness in Grandpa. Seven days a week from daylight to dark that was his entire life,” said Whitehead.

“He loved that boat I’d say more than he loved his family. He thought the world of it. When a man leaves his own home because of storms, to protect that boat, shows how much he loved that boat. He would have died behind that steering wheel (had he not had to retire).

“All during the 1920s, ’30s, ’40s, ’50s and ’60s, the generations that farmed over there, they depended on that ferry. When their generation is gone, just word of mouth is gonna exist for those who hear the stories. For those people the stories are being told to, they will never realize the importance the Jere Mitchell was to their families. It’s just gonna be a piece of iron. That’s what’s sitting over there now.”

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Roy Harris

Keeping IT Together

By ROY HARRISroy-harris

Have you ever found yourself torn between family responsibilities and a job?

Have you heard it said that if you want something done, give it to the busiest person in the room and then you seem to end up being that person?

Have you gotten a little irritable and maybe lost your patience or temper when others failed to act or perform the way you felt they should; only later realizing that you misread the situation or overreacted because of the stress you were under? Unfortunately, this happens to some of the nicest people. Personal needs, family life, and job responsibilities… how in the world can we keep it all together?

I’ve been in some form of management or leadership role, with all the pressures that go with it, most of my adult life. I’m certainly no expert and each person’s situation is unique, but there are some basic principles which seem to help and hold true in most situations.


If we are to keep IT together, then we should remember what IT is. IT is our lives as a whole. Our lives are made up of a combination of relationships and each one requires a certain amount of our time, talent and even treasure.

How we manage these relationships directly impacts our health and happiness. I once heard a man make a redundant statement which really is true: “Always keep the main thing the main thing.” Keeping the main thing the main thing requires a balancing act of sorts and requires making choices. How do we make good choices? By deciding what is most important to us.

Our personal lives could be divided into two areas; our private and public lives. If we are going to keep it all together we must find a way to balance these two.

Private Life

ReflectionsOur private lives bring fulfillment and happiness which can never come from anywhere else. This is a very important principle to remember. Our private lives are made up of three key relationships; our relationship with ourselves, our family and our maker. Happiness and contentment begins with being at peace with one’s self. Finding personal time on a regular basis to do something you enjoy must be done on purpose and usually doesn’t happen by accident. Good emotional and physical health directly impacts our other relationships. Sacrificing for others is noble, but failing to attend to one’s personal needs will eventually have a negative impact on both our private and public lives. Our family relationships must trump our public lives. Unhappiness at home will translate into less effectiveness outside the home.

Our families must know and believe that they are more important than anything in our public lives. They would much rather spend time with us than to have us spend money on them. Instead of talking about the things we bought for them as kids, my grown children mention far more often the times we took them fishing, bowling or to Chucky Cheese.

Public Life

Our public lives are made up of a number of key relationships also; our friends, our jobs, church family and others. More often than not, our public lives complicate our private lives. If we make our private lives a priority then it will help us better manage our public lives. If we are employed outside the home, there are certain demands which come with the job. We expect a certain amount of our time and talent to be devoted to the job. The Bible reminds us that we have a responsibility to take care of our family’s needs. Adam actually had the first human job of dressing & keeping the Garden of Eden. So work is an honorable thing, but we must be careful not to allow work to become the dominant thing. Molding children and growing with a mate are far more important than making money.

We are created with a built-in need for social interaction with others. Friends, church family, community involvement are all important. They fulfill a need to be with people, contribute to society and make a difference in the lives of others. Involvement with others outside the home, however, must be governed by what we realistically have time to do.

That is also another great principle to remember. It’s OK to say NO! No is sometimes the appropriate answer in some situations. One thing about it, you can never please all the people all the time so do what you feel in your heart is the best thing each time.

Practical Principles for Keeping IT Together

Planning for work and play should be focused through the lens of personal priorities. Our personal peace and contentment directly impacts other relationships.

Private life commitments should be considered first and take priority over our public life. Remember your children will be all grown up before you know it. Do NOW what you will wish you had done later.

The greatest thing you can do for your children is to love your spouse. Make time for and work hard on making that a high priority. The Scriptures remind us that one’s close relationship with our heavenly Father has a positive, direct impact on our personal peace and contentment.

The Bible has a great book called Proverbs written by a wise King named Solomon. It’s one of the most practical works on keeping IT all together that I’ve read. The book has 31 chapters and provides practical principles for private and public relationships. A great suggestion is to read one chapter each day using the day of the month as a guide and reading an extra chapter or two on the last day of the month, with months which have less than 31 days. You might be surprised how much practical wisdom you’ll find in just 31 short days.

Sometimes trying to keep IT all together seems impossible! However, if you do your best to keep the main thing the main thing, you will be amazed how the other things fall into place.

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Elizabeth Scruggs

Sweet Summertime


Ah…it’s finally here- summer!

Sweet SummertimeFor those of us this with children it means no more alarms, no more accelerated reader, no more rushed schedules. No more lunches to pack, homework to do, or projects to complete. Simply time to enjoy our children and the beautiful time off.

Until we hear those words that are sure to come, and most likely will come about 2.5 minutes after you wake up on the first day of summer. “I’m BOOOORRRRREEEEDDDD!!”

So in anticipation of this, I’ve been preparing. A lover of lists and all things creative, I’ve recently become intrigued by the Summer Bucket Lists popping up on the Internet and Pinterest. And so it began – THE creation of the Scruggs’ Summer Bucket List.

If you’re not familiar with the term, a bucket list is a list of things you want to accomplish before you “kick the bucket.” So a Summer Bucket List is a list of things to complete before summer’s end. With the help of my girls, we began to create our list of things we want to do. (We did ask Max what he wanted to put on the list, and he said, “run!”) That boy of mine!

A few of the items that top our list are:

• A Sounds baseball game

• Lying underneath the stars and finding constellations

• Participate in the summer reading program at the library

• Picking berries and making jam

• Ride the train

• Flashlight tag

• Craft entries for the fair

Our activities will be at little or no cost. This is Scruggs Summer – Old School!!

It really is the little things about summer that we all remember, like catching lightning bugs, watching fireworks and buying Popsicles from the ice cream man. With that in mind, here are some more low cost or free things you can add to your own Summer Bucket List.

• Fishing

• Blowing bubbles

• Scavenger hunt

• Making ice cream

• Drive-in movies

• Running in the sprinklers

• Camping in the backyard

• Visiting a museum

• Flying a kite

• Building indoor forts

• Making your own finger paint and Play-Dough

• Learning a new craft like sewing, canning, or planting a garden

• Writing a story and making your own book

• Rainy day movie day with popcorn

A quick search of the Internet and you will find tons of lists of other summer activities like this cute and free printable on www. Remarkablehome.net. I loveSweet Summertime the idea of having a theme for each day of the week! There are so many ways to get creative with your Summer Bucket List. I decided to make ours using an idea I found on www.Makoodle.com. Using her free printables and following her tutorial, I made our Summer Activity Board.

By using an old frame, string, library pockets, mini-clothes pins, ribbon and scrapbook paper, this came together fairly easily. I had all the supplies on hand except for the library pockets which were found on Amazon and the mini-clothes pins, found at JoAnne’s. I printed the colorful pocket covers and adhered them to the library pockets. I then clipped them on the string which attached with small nails and voila! The Scruggs Summer Bucket List is born! Inside the library pockets are cards with activities printed on them. You can also print blank ones and fill in your own ideas.

And remember, being young is not required in order to partake in the activities found on your children’s Summer Bucket List! So take some time to soak in the summer and it’s lazy pace, and join in on the activities found on the List, before both the summer and the kids are gone!

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Mom Jeans No More

Mom Jeans No More

Dropping off the Kids at School Doesn’t Have to Be Brutal on Your Look…and who wants to wear stuffy clothes at 7 a.m.? Good news: There are cute, comfy clothes that will take you easily from bed to carpool and to (hopefully) the gym, without the minivan drive of shame.

Mom Jeans No More

Purple Dayglo Transparent Rain Jacket $49.99, 

Purple Heathered Tee, $19.99,

Grey Knee Skimming Leggings, $19.99, 

Dayglo Purple Shoe, $34.99, 

Nike Outlet, Lebanon

Mom Jeans No More

Under Armour Black Zip Jacket, $69.99, Academy Sports, Mt. Juliet.

Pink Marika Tec Racerback Tank, $22, Black Marika Tec Skinny Pants, $40,

Dreams Boutique, Lebanon.

Nike Pink LunarGlide 3 Shoes, $110,

Nordstrom, Nashville

Mom Jeans no more

Sky Blue Abiance Apparel Short sleeved cardi, $18, 

Blue Marika Tec Racerback Tank, $20, 

Grey Marika Balance Collection stretchy pants, $42, 

Dreams Boutique, Lebanon.

Black Havaianas Flip Flops, $24,


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Mario Bedescu drying lotion

Skincare for Teens

When pimples strike, fight back! Here’s what our local experts from The Lett Center and Beauty Boutique recommend:

Mario Bedescu drying lotion

Mario Bedescu Drying Lotion

For: A pimple crisis. Zap it!

Cost: $17

What it does: Heals and prevents spreading of acne, as well as shrinks pesky facial or back whiteheads overnight. Beauty Boutique

Jane Iredale Concealer

Jane Iredale Disappear Concealer

For: Masking unsightly pimples.

Cost: $24

What it does: It’s a concealer that has green tea extract to soothe your skin and also has a greenish undertone to hide any redness. Beauty Boutique

ZoAcne Kit

ZO Acne Kit

For: Healing, prevention &


Cost: $125 for kit.

What it does: This five-piece system clears acne and also minimizes the chance of future breakouts when used regularly. Beauty Boutique

Obagi Skincare

Obagi Skincare Regimen

Clenziderm M.D. Foaming Cleanser, Therapeutic

Lotion and Pore Therapy

For: Daily Care and Maintenance.

What it does: This three-piece system clears existing acne and also minimizes the chance of future breakouts when used regularly.

Cost: Foaming Cleanser $36, Pore Therapy $36, Therapeutic Lotion $74. We recommend that you purchase all three as a kit. The Lett Center


Candela VBeam Acne Laser

For: A pimple crisis. Zap it!

Cost: Special procedure price for WLM Readers, $50 for up to 3 pimples! (All you have to do, is let them know beforehand you heard about it from WLM)

What it does: Kills bacteria, fights redness, and reduces swelling of the pimple. All of this will minimize the appearance of the blemish. The Lett Center

*Parent signature required

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Erin Brown

Summer Style – Sunglasses Styles


Happy summer!

With the kiddos on their way back to school, I thought it would be fun to focus the style section on moms and teens this issue.

For Moms: what to wear when you’re dropping the kids off to look “together” with minimal earlymorning effort, as well as the shades to wear to protect your peepers (or simply mask them if it’s waaay too early for makeup)!

Teens will find inside the top products for adolescent skin found locally should any dreaded breakouts occur. These products, recommended by our experts, are excellent products to have on hand when you need to quell that blemish quickly!

Hope you enjoy this issue and the rest of the season!




Summer Sunglasses


Eyes Are a Window of the Soul. But Sometimes A Window Needs Quality Venetian Blinds.

July is National UV Awareness month. Try on all these stylish shades at Lebanon’s Vanderbilt Eye Institute.

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Real housewives

The Real Housewives Of Middle Tennessee

Real housewives


Claire Huxtible, Edith Bunker, Morticia Adams, even Roseanne Connor would gasp in disbelief at any episode of “The Real Housewives” franchise. Most of you reading this right now have probably fallen under the dysfunctional spell of at least one of those big city cast members. If not, you are way smarter than me.

So let me prepare you for our take on the term, “REAL.” Unlike the housewives featured on Bravo, the women you are being introduced to don’t throw punches at cocktail parties and they actually have jobs. Which is why we thought it would be fun to take a look at six local (and real) women, who somehow managed to find the time to talk about what the life of a “housewife” looks like today and how they prepare for the new school year.

Special thanks to the following people and businesses for their assistance: Dreams Boutique, The Crystal Couture, kate spade new york-The Mall at Green Hills, Belk-Mt. Juliet, Nicole with The Beauty Boutique, Jana Pastors-Kindred Moments Photography, Erin Brown, Sam Fernandez (kate spade new york), Shannon Hargis, Zack Owensby, and Goodall Homes Stone Bridge Community.


Ansrea LambersonAndrea Lamberson and children – $35 Dress Dreams Boutique $39.99 Necklace, Crystal Couture

Between raising four daughters, assisting her husband with their thriving business (Randy’s Heating & Air), and keeping up with everyone’s extra-curricular activities, it’s safe to say, Watertown resident, Andrea Lamberson knows a thing or two about balancing work and family. Even though she doesn’t always succeed with keeping the pendulum steady, Andrea wouldn’t trade her super busy schedule for the world.

WLM: Four girls?

Andrea: Yes! Autumn is 14, Avery is 10 and our twins, Hadlee and Preslee are 7. My husband doesn’t stand a chance, even our dog is a girl.

WLM: What’s one thing/person you can’t live without during the school year?

Andrea: My mother….without a doubt!! Not just during the school year, but always. She’s an amazing woman and is my “Go To” when I’m stressed, overwhelmed or just need to talk.

WLM: When you were little what did you want to be when you grew up?

Andrea: I wanted to be a phlebotomist. I’m not sure why with my fear of needles. I am a Master Barber by trade and fill in when needed at a local shop in town.

WLM: What is the greatest gift you have ever received?

Andrea: My children! Being a Mother is a treasure.

WLM: What television show best depicts your life?

Andrea: I don’t watch a lot of television, however, my children say it is “Good Luck Charlie” but with a lot of girls.

WLM: Your biggest splurge?

Andrea: It would have to be redecorating my home….I am addicted! It’s really hard for me to walk away from a “good deal.”

WLM: What is your secret shame or silly indulgence?

Andrea: This would have to be my “BUNCO” group. There are 12 of us that get together once a month for a much needed girls night. We have so much fun and it’s something that I always look forward to.

WLM: Your leadership style?

Andrea: I try not to expect more of others than I am willing to give of myself.

WLM: My Motto?

Andrea: “Life is too short not to be happy”

WLM: What does MOM mean in 2013?

Andrea: I feel that MOM means the same today as it always has-loving your children unconditionally.

WLM: What helps you prepare for the new school year with the girls?

Andrea: Maintaining a schedule to an extent helps with the transition. Adding in a trip to the nail salon is always good with a house full of girls.

WLM: What keeps you on task?

Andrea: My friends! I have a fantastic group of friends. We are together a lot and help each other out all of the time. Whether it is grocery shopping, cleaning each other’s houses, shampooing carpets or planting flowers, it is always more fun with friends…and mine are amazing!


Angela HollandAngela Holland with 2 of her children – $24 Earrings, Belk $36 Necklace, Belk $26 White tank, Belk $68 Pants, Ann Taylor $49 Wrap Top, Belk

Her oldest child is a recent MTSU graduate and her two youngest are completing their undergraduate studies at Tennessee Tech in Cookeville. With all the kids out of the house, some may refer to Angela Holland of Trousdale County as an “empty nester.” But that doesn’t mean she’s sitting at home wondering what to do with her spare time. These days Angela has very little free time since she and her husband decided to take advantage of this time to open a business both had dreamed about.  In 2011, the Holland’s opened Creekbank Restaurant in Hartsville, Tennessee. Creekbank is a traditional meat and 3 restaurant that’s quickly become a town favorite.

While she enjoys this stage of her life, Angela still makes time for her children, and has learned that you are never too old to learn about balance.

WLM: How old are your children?

Angela: Mitch 26, Kyle 21, Shelby 19.

WLM: Where do they go to school?

Angela: Mitch graduated from MTSU. Kyle and Shelby attend TN TECH.

WLM: What is the one person/thing you can’t live without during the school year?

Angela: Cell phone, being able to pick up the phone at any time and talk to one of my kids makes keeping up with them a lot easier.

WLM: What TV show best depicts your life?

Angela: Modern day Brady Bunch.

WLM: If you wrote a newspaper column about your adventure as a working mom, what would you call it?

Angela: Out of the frying pan, and into the fire! As a mother of three you go from one adventure right into the next.

WLM: What is your leadership style?

Angela: I like being involved with the process. I also work better under pressure.

WLM: What is your motto?

Angela: Family, Friends and Food (my three favorite things).

WLM: What does MOM mean in 2013?

Angela: Being a mom in 2013 means being involved, knowing what your kids are up to, who they are running around with. Children today have a lot more to deal with than when I was in school, so as a mom we need to be able to listen and be involved.

WLM: What keeps you on task?

Angela: To keep me on task you have to have a goal and a deadline.


Heather Vallett and daughter MorganHeather Vallett and daughter Morgan – Heather $28 Necklace, Belk $428 Dress, Kate Spade $38 Bracelet, Belk Morgan (daughter) $10 Scarf, Dreams Boutique

While Lebanon resident, Heather Vallett is adamant about classroom achievement, she values the role of organized sports. In fact, on any given day or night you will likely find her cheering on 14 year-old daughter, Morgan at a volleyball match or softball game or taking her to and from practices. When they are not busy with homework and sports, Heather, her husband, Jeff and Morgan make family time a priority. With Morgan entering her first year of high school in just a few weeks, setting a predictable schedule is what helps Heather keep the whole family on track and helps her enjoy every minute with her “growing up way too fast,” daughter .

WLM: Where does Morgan go to school?

Heather: She will be a freshman at Friendship Christian School, sniff!

WLM: What’s the one person/thing you can’t live without during the school year?

Heather: Anyone with kids would say GOOGLE!

WLM: When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up? 

Heather: A teacher.

WLM: What is the greatest gift you have received?

Heather: My daughter.

WLM: What television show best depicts your life?

Heather: The Middle….Patricia Heaton…no explanation needed if you’ve seen the show!

WLM: If you wrote a newspaper column about your adventures as a working mom, what would you call it?

Heather: Still crazy after all these years!

WLM: What is your secret shame or silly indulgence? 

Heather: It wouldn’t be a secret if I told you!

WLM: Your leadership style?

Heather: Pure and simple; honesty.

WLM: What is your motto? 

Heather: Do as I say, not as I do:)

WLM: Most embarrassing moment?

Heather: Too many to mention 

WLM: What does “mom” mean in 2013?

Heather: Being a parent these days you have to be involved in your kids’ lives, and their friends. Parenting comes first but you also have to be a friend by listening to your kids and giving them advice to point them in the right direction. It’s a juggling act but one that can be your greatest accomplishment.

WLM: What helps you prepare for the new school year with your daughter?

Heather: I think a couple of new outfits helps get the school year off to a good start with the kids. For parents, a little alcohol helps you deal with them being another year older. FRESHMAN… really?! Not ready for this! Thanks for making me think about it, Becky!

WLM: What keeps you on task?

Heather: My calendar on my iPhone. As many alerts I put in there for appointments, if I forget then I’m just plain stupid


Penny AustermillerPenny Austermiller and daughters – $248 Top, Kate Spade $98 Pants, Ann Taylor

It’s 7am and Penny has Joslin and Julia, ages six and four, out of bed and at the breakfast table. After breakfast, Penny takes the girls to school and she heads to Austermiller Roofing where she oversees the business her husband, Roger started more than a decade ago.

Growing up in Dickson, Tennessee, Penny fondly recalls a childhood that included organized sports, waterskiing and blistering in the hot summer sun. A few years after graduating from MTSU, Penny met Roger and they set up housekeeping in Mt Juliet. With their home a stone’s throw from Old Hickory Lake, you can find Penny, Roger and their girls most weekends aboard their boat.

WLM: Where do your children go to school/preschool?

Penny: Friendship Christian School

WLM: What’s the one person/thing you can’t live without during the school year?

Penny: My mom

WLM: What television show best depicts your life?

Penny: I don’t think there is one. Besides, if it’s not a cartoon I’ve probably not seen it.

WLM: If you wrote a newspaper column about your adventures as a working mom, what would you call it?

Penny: Where’s my iPhone? My two children are always playing with it.

WLM: Your biggest splurge?

Penny: Personal trainer

WLM: Your leadership style?

Penny: Direct

WLM: What is your motto?

Penny: Think positive

WLM: What does “mom” mean in 2013?

Penny: Being a mom is the most magical & rewarding experience in the world but it’s also the most demanding. I grew up with three brothers so I was told I couldn’t do some things because I was a girl. I want my girls to know they can be or do anything.


Adrienne KelleyAdrienne Kelley and children – $398 Dress, Kate Spade $16 Earrings, Belk Cool Springs Mall

As a fulltime Nurse Anesthetist, with a six year-old son, Nolan and four year-old daughter, Maggie Kate, you would think Adrienne Kelley would be running in circles to make things happen. Luckily, she has mastered the art of stress relief (oh yes, she and her husband also competes in obstacle races across the country) and has come to expect the unexpected.

Like just last month when she and her husband, Jamie and their kids were trying to pose for a family portrait and Maggie Kate, found a mud puddle and decided to decorate her new outfit into a nice muddy work of art.

Today, when the going gets a little rough, Adrienne simply channels her mom who taught her to always be real.

WLM:What’s the one thing you can’t live without during the school year?

Adrienne: My iPhone

WLM: What television show best depicts your life?

Adrienne: I don’t watch a lot of television outside of Disney or Nick Jr.

WLM: If you wrote a newspaper column about your adventures as a working mom, what would you call it?

Adrienne: Don’t make me pull this car over!

WLM: Your biggest splurge?

Adrienne: Clothes. For me and the kids. But especially me.

WLM: What is your secret shame or silly indulgence?

Adrienne: Napping. Seriously, it never happens but every once in a while I’ll get home from a late night at the hospital and everyone is still in school. Even if it’s just 20 minutes, it’s like heaven!

WLM: Your leadership style?

Adrienne: Direct

WLM: What is your motto?

Adrienne: I have to have a motto?

WLM: Most embarrassing moment?

Adrienne: I usually mentally block out any moment where I look bad.

WLM: What does “mom” mean in 2013?

Adrienne: It means the same thing now as it has for generations… underappreciated!

WLM: What helps you prepare for the new school year?

Adrienne: My husband, Jamie! He’s an Assistant Principal at Carthage Middle School and he keeps me in the loop on everything.

WLM: What keeps you on task?

Adrienne: My husband!


Julie ClementJulie Clement and daughter Shelby – Shelby (daughter) $33.99 Necklace, Crystal Couture 

For more than two decades, Julie Clement has homeschooled her four children. The oldest two, Meagan and Hannah recently graduated from college and her son, Holland will be entering his third year at Trevecca Nazarene University. That leaves 14 year old, Jessie as Julie’s final student at home. When she’s not busy shuttling Jessie to and from the recording studio, sporting events and of course, teaching, Julie tutors an English writing class, spends one day a week as an elderly caregiver and works from home as a media rep for Triple 1070. It’s safe to say that Julie knows a thing or two about handling the stress of a new school year.

WLM: What’s the one person/ thing you can’t live without during the school year?

Julie: Internet access! I am an information gatherer and greatly appreciate having the world at my fingertips.

WLM: When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Julie: Either an actress or a businesswoman. 🙂

WLM: What is the greatest gift you have received?

Julie: My children!

WLM: If you wrote a newspaper column about your adventures as a working mom, what would you call it?

Julie: The Great Adventure OR Never a Boring Moment.

WLM: Your biggest splurge?

Julie: Paying for Classical Conversations Challenge program can seem quite pricey for homeschooling but certainly not compared to private school tuition.

WLM: What is your secret shame or silly indulgence?

Julie: Well, I wouldn’t really call it secret or silly, but some might consider it indulgent. In certain cases, I “bribe” my children with “big bucks” to accomplish a goa or to participate in something that they wouldn’t naturally want to be involved in.

WLM: Your leadership style?

Julie: I hate to admit this, but I’m often in “drill sergeant” mode.

WLM: What is your motto?

Julie: Work before play.

WLM: What does “mom” mean in 2013?

Julie: Well, for me, it definitely does not mean “Made of Money” 🙂 but rather “Mother on a Mission.”

WLM: What helps you prepare for the new school year with your daughter?

Julie: Having the summer off and reading good literature!

 WLM: What keeps you on task?

 Julie: To be honest, I’m not always on task, but I find that ROUTINE is my treasured friend during the school year.

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Summer in the South



1. Popsicles – Everyone has a favorite popsicle flavor and I suspect that most of us determined our favorite by the age of 5. I’m absolutely torn between my childhood favorites – bomb pops and Mayfield’s Brown Cows. Every now and then when I’m in Nashville during the summer I swing by Las Paletas on 12th South for a creamy coconut bar.


2. Lemonade. – Hot and humid summer days are perfect for a thirst-quenching glass of lemonade. Mix up my homemade lemonade recipe in under a minute.

Homemade Lemonade

½ cup lemon juice

½ cup sugar (or stevia in the raw for a skinny version)

3 ¼ cups of water

Lemonade is also a great mixer for cocktails. Try these refreshing concoctions at your next get together.Summer Fruit

Lemonade Margarita

Mix 2 1/2 cups lemonade and ¾ cup tequila in a pitcher. Garnish with lemon slices and rim glasses with lemon juice and sugar.

Lemonade Spritzer

Mix 1 cup lemonade, 2 cups sparkling wine, and ¼ cup cranberry juice cocktail in a pitcher. Garnish with lemon twists.


3. BBQ’s. – Summer wouldn’t be summer without firing up the grill, bringing out the sprinkler and enjoying lazy days with friends and family. Try this recipe for a quick weeknight dinner or a hassle-free patio party.


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Mesquite BBQ seasoning

Your favorite BBQ sauce

Liberally season both sides of each chicken breast with BBQ seasoning. Baste the top side of the chicken with BBQ sauce. Grill chicken over medium heat 6 to 7 minutes per side or until cooked through, turning occasionally. When you turn the chicken, baste the chicken. Serve extra BBQ sauce on the side for dipping.

4. Drive-in Movies. – In many parts of the country, drive-in movies are things of summer’s past. Luckily, Middle Tennesseans are a short drive from the nostalgia of the drive-in movie experience. Be sure to check out Macon Drive-In in Lafayette or the Stardust Drive-In in Watertown. Shows start at dusk. 

For features and more information: www.macondrive-in. com or www.stardustdrivein.com.

Wilson Bank and Trust’s Free Family Entertainment series returns to the West Lawn of the Main Office in Lebanon this summer. For dates and more information, please call 444-BANK.

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