The Purge

By Angel Kane

 

This weekend we did something that all families dread.

I had put it off long enough, but finally marched up those stairs.

It had to be done!

I knew it and they knew it.

And it was going to be horrible.

My pitiful children followed behind me with garbage bags in hand. We were going to be at this for hours, days even.

Yes…the time had come to clean out their closets. Oh, the horror!

The annual cleaning out of the closets is a precursor to school clothes shopping. And with only one weekend left before school started, and three closets to purge, I was cutting it close.

How my children accumulate masses of clothes is beyond me. But they do. And by the end of summer, these clothes can be found stuffed in random drawers, under their bed, on top of the armoire, in each other’s rooms, on the floor and sometimes, just sometimes, in their actual closets.

Hundreds of socks in all sizes and colors are dumped in the hall as we try to find pairs. Jeans and skirts they forgot they bought are found. And usually I’ll find at least five items belonging to my husband and I.

“So that’s where my yoga pants are! In Neill’s closet, why of course!”

We toil for hours and with each passing hour I become more and more irritable.

“This still has the tag on it! Why do you have five of the same blue polo? This is my belt!”

“No, I’m not giving this away because it’s ugly. When you asked me to spend $30.00 on it, it wasn’t ugly!”

“Yes, if it doesn’t fit Madison, then it moves to your closet. That’s the role of the younger sister. She wears hand me downs. Look it up.”

Back and forth. Back and forth. We carry on for hours.

Sometimes they try to escape and I’ll turn to find one gone. I wouldn’t notice but for the fact their sibling immediately outs them.

“Bring me more garbage bags,” I yell to the one now hiding downstairs.

Drawer by drawer, closet by closet, we fill bags to the brim with too short pajama pants, mustard stained polos, out-of-style cargo shorts and shoes whose match is long gone.

We also reorganize, color code and finally see the bottom of everyone’s closet.

Why yes…the carpet is still there!

And at the end of the day we drag bag after bag downstairs and then proceed to pass out from exhaustion.

Rest up. Tomorrow we shop for school supplies.

Oh, the horror!

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How I doubled my body weight in 3 months

…without really trying!

Name: Norah Dillehay

Age: 3 ½ months

Occupation: Full time stay-at-home baby

Starting weight: 7 lbs, 11 oz

Current weight: 16 lbs and climbing!

 

Let me share with you my incredible weight gain journey. Without diet or exercise, I gained over 9 lbs in just three and a half months… and I have kept it on!

 

When did you become unhappy with your weight?

About 3 ½ months ago. I woke up one day outside the womb and was like, ‘what? What has happened to me?’ I was lethargic. I couldn’t even sit up, it was so bad. My arms and legs didn’t have full motor function; my head could barely support itself. It was embarrassing—all I ever really did was lie around and watch any bright colors or faces that happened to pass within a couple feet of my eyeline. People stared at me a lot.

What changed for you?

Well, I distinctly remember this—one day, they put clothes on me for the first time and they were embarrassingly large. I saw the way they sleeves were just hanging off and I thought ‘this is it. I have to do something different.’ And it just so happened that around that time, somebody introduced me to The Boob.

What is that?

It’s a multi-purpose feeding apparatus that is uniquely designed for fast, easy weight gain. The meals come conveniently pre-packaged and are served warm, with little or no inconvenience to myself.

I have a busy life. I don’t have time to cook. I really don’t need to be messing around with ‘pots’ and ‘cutting boards’ and ‘spoons’. With The Boob, none of that was necessary—I had the nutrition I needed without all the hassle. And portion control? Easy. The Boob knows what you need and gives it to you right when you need it.

Sounds too good to be true? I know! But trust me—it is as easy to use as it sounds.

And what were your results?

Results were immediate. Within a few days, I was up a pant size. A few weeks after that and I was at the top of my weight class. I had gained 3 lbs by my 4 week appointment. I’m not a math person, but that’s almost a pound a week! And here I am, 3 ½ months into this— I’m already busting out of my size 2 diaper.

Even better, my health has obviously improved. I can now grab things with my hands. I smile now, socially… I sleep better at night. My eyesight is vastly improved—I can see people across the room now and sunlight doesn’t bother me the way it used to. I’m able to basically support my head now, and if I had the balance, my legs are so strong I could pretty much stand up. I’m on my way to sitting unassisted—something I wouldn’t have even dreamed of when I began this journey.

How affordable is The Boob?

I don’t understand the question.

What would you say to others considering weight gain measures?

I would say this: you owe it to yourself. Take control of your health with The Boob. It worked for me and it’s worked for literally millions of others. Order today at www.theboobworks.com or by throwing back your head and letting out a good howl.

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I’m just not a TV person…

By Tilly Dillehay

Two weeks ago, I had a crisis of boredom. Lying in bed chatting with my husband before sleep, I confessed my problem.

“I’m bored,” I said. “I’m just… not excited about anything. I can’t get into any projects; I feel unproductive and sort of blah.”

“Well,” he said, kindly (but, I noticed, without even a pause to think about it), “I think you need to stop watching so much TV.”

I mentally reviewed the previous few weeks. Well, Netflix was charging me only $7.99 a month. I meant to have the membership only for the few weeks before I gave birth—to help me through, you know—and then for the first few weeks of nursing and not being able to move around much. But then I got into The Office. It’s true—I nursed my way right through almost every season.

But I put it all aside for a while—after all, we don’t own a TV. I’m awfully proud of that fact—I wave it around in front of people whenever I can. We’re just not TV people. We don’t own a TV because we’re too busy reading; we’re too busy getting out into the great outdoors. We don’t want our living room to be dominated by a great big Screen of Intellectual Laziness and Relational Suicide. Come on over, check out our living room—nothing but couches and cheap art.

We read through good fiction together, aloud, in the evenings. Not for hours or anything. Just about 30 minutes at a time. We’ve read Dickens, Austen, Lewis. But besides that, he has his reading and I have mine—although I’ve had bad luck with my book choices lately. (Vanity Fair was supposed to be a classic, right? Well, I hated it.)

Then, last month, I remembered about 30 Rock. That was a pleasant show. Maybe I could watch an episode during the afternoon feeding, when both baby and I are tired and a little bit fussy. One episode really should get me through a whole feeding—but what if I just rock a little while longer and let her fall asleep?

What about the midmorning feeding? Would it be so bad to watch one then? I’m just sitting here.

A few nights later, my husband and I watched our first episode of Sherlock. It hit us like a shot—are all suspenseful TV shows this good??

Soon, it was an episode every night that we weren’t out. A few days after that, I found myself on the verge of inviting someone for dinner… and paused. Do I really want to deal with sitting around talking to people… Instead of watching Sherlock?

And a few days after that: Game night? LAME. Sherlock wouldn’t go to some dumb game night…

And finally, the last stage of the descent: my husband, home from work, sat and read a book in the same room with me while I watched a show on my laptop with headphones.

This is what we swore we’d never do. When we watch something, we watch it together—none of this Your Movie, My Movie stuff. The pattern has been to take turns choosing what our weekend movie would be. This way, each of us see things we wouldn’t otherwise see… and no one is lumbering off to their own screen.

But here I was, sitting in the same room, vegging out and tuning out like nobody’s business. He saw it.

And that was why, laying bed two weeks ago, he was able to diagnose me in two seconds. And after about a second of reviewing my recent habits, I had to admit: he was right.

“Well, my goodness,” I said. “I’m going to go on a weeklong TV fast! Starting now!” “Okay babe” he said.

The next day, I was forcing myself to read through my nursings.

The day after that, I was deep-cleaning the house… and kind of enjoying it.

The day after that, I woke up early and went for a walk with friends. Then I called somebody up to invite them to dinner.

The day after that, I found that I could understand what I was reading… and actually liked it.

When Sunday came, I got home from church and instead of unwinding in front of a screen, I took a nap. I loved that nap.

The day after that, Justin and I bought this book of conversation starter questions and started working through them over dinner.

I organized a spa day in my house. I cooked a totally fancy-looking new dish for supper. I sewed my daughter a little dress.

Here we are, two weeks later, and I think the deadpan expression is starting to leave my eyes. But you know… my baby is sort of fussy today. I need to think of something to do while I sit around holding her during the long afternoons.

That documentary series about chefs looks really good…

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16 things…

By Becky Andrews

I had a terrible dream last night. You were leaving for a trip. A trip alone. A trip without us; your parents and little brother. We were getting ready to check bags when the attendant asked for your passport. We forgot it. I panic, offering to pay whatever in order to get a “quickie passport” printed at the gate.

*Quickie passports are readily available in dreamland, duh!

While waiting for the life size duck to print your “quickie passport,” I notice the calendar. July 11, 2015. Two days after your 16th birthday. We forgot your passport AND one of the most important birthdays of your life. I woke up gasping, covered in sweat. Which could mean I’ve either had a premenopausal hot flash or that duck was more frightening than I thought. This time I think the sweat meant there’s a few things you need to know before heading out into that big, scary and awesomely unpredictable world. ((This would also be a good time to let you know you will not be going on a trip where you’ll need a passport without your parents anytime soon.))

Because you’re 16 now and know-it-all about pretty much everything-except cleaning your room- I won’t bore you with my little nuggets of wisdom. Instead, I’d like tell you what you’ve taught me since that warm July afternoon 192 months ago.

  1. The torture of sleep deprivation is forgotten the moment your 10 day-old finally learns to latch on OR when a teenager gives you a hug for no reason.
  2. You really load the dishwasher better than anyone I know, including myself. If I could only get you to wipe the counters!
  3. Taking photos with live animals is a bit overrated and potentially harmful to the animal.
  4. One can never watch or hear Toy Story too many times. I’ll go ahead and add Monsters, Inc., Cars, Lilo and Stitch, Homeward Bound and Finding Nemo too.
  5. Uncomfortable conversations must be had. One day, I promise you will be glad your dad and I have talked to you about everything. I also promise that these conversations are just as uncomfortable for us.
  6. I’M GLAD TWITTER, SNAPCHAT AND INSTAGRAM DIDN’T EXIST WHEN I WAS YOUR AGE!!! However, Social media has made it easier for you to tell on yourself so I’m glad it’s around now!
  7. It’s normal for a 16 year-old boy to think his mom is uncool.
  8. Kids remember moments (vacations, tickets to a cool concert, an expensive improv class), more vividly than things (the newest iPhone, designer sunglasses)
  9. Kids will rat you out…in front of people.
  10. Alzheimer’s can be funny even when it’s not. Like that day I was feeling particularly low about Papa and you said, “Did I tell you that he told me that you and Aunt Christy were a**holes when you were my age? Then he said, ‘don’t be an a**hole, Jacob. Your mother can beat you at that game. Just like we beat your mother at that when she was your age.’ He said I could tell you.”
  11. Adults dressed as Santa, the Easter Bunny, Captain America, etc. are creepy.
  12. It’s imperative that you learn some lessons the hard way.
  13. You didn’t cause the stretchmarks. Ben and Jerry did.
  14. When it comes to the character of adults, always trust the instincts of a three year old.
  15. You can’t be friends with your teenager. Because they can be assholes. Eventually we will be friends. Lucky you.
  16. There is a God. Believe me or Him, rather.

 

So Happy Birthday to my firstborn. Thank you for EVERYTHING…even the stretchmarks.

-Mom

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this is how we live

Bountiful Acres Naturals uses every single resource on this Watertown, TN farm

 

By Tilly Dillehay

Photos by Autumn McDowell

 

Nothing is wasted.

The farm produces almost everything that goes into every product: bees are kept for the beeswax, honey, pollen, and royal jelly, goats raised for the milk, and sheep for the wool (which is sold raw, single-washed, or hand-spun into yarn that is dyed with berries grown on the farm). Various plants are grown wild on the property to be used in the herbal products: catnip, hyssop, plantain, peppermint, marshmallow, Echinacea, rubekia, lavender, rosemary, loofah, roses, and many more.

For Sue Dickhaus, who works the farm and makes the product by hand with her husband and sister, Bountiful Acres Farm is a dream come true. It’s a dream that’s been literally thirty years in the making.

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“I’ve been making herb products since I was 19 years old, 1984,” says Sue. “I started because my mom had multiple sclerosis, and we were seeing sores that would develop from sitting in a wheelchair—the pressure sores—and the doctors couldn’t do anything. And I started reading about garlic and honey and how those were supposed to help. So I started trying it, and it started helping.

“And that just really piqued my interest. So I studied more and more, and I was just sure. Yep! I want to be a farmer.” She laughs. “I’ll do it all, and live off the land, you know! Well, that didn’t happen for a while.”

Sue lived in Chicago for most of her life; she met and married her husband in Florida, and it wasn’t until 2005 that they moved to Tennessee and bought the farm in Watertown.

Their product line, Bountiful Acres Naturals, started with soap. But it has progressed far past that.

“Right now it seems like everybody is making soap when you go to craft shows and farmer’s markets,” explains Sue, “and I would never trash another soap maker, but we started to realize that that can’t be our main focus like it was for a long time. So we started really coming back strong into the herbs, and concentrating more on that.”

Now, in a list of their most popular items, soap gets completely lost. There is the Stop Buggin’ Me spray, with catnip as its active ingredient (clinically proven to be 10x more effective than DEET). There’s the soothing Lemongrass & White Thyme Crème Deodorant (also in a roll-on), with probiotics among the ingredients to improve armpit health and odor naturally over time. There are various skin masks, and a lip balm made from olive oil, beeswax, and cocoa butter.

Then there are the salves: Bye-bye Pain salve (for general aches and pains—the active ingredient is basil!), Sittin’ Pretty salve (for hemorrhoids), You’re So Vein salve (for varicose veins), the Drawing salve (which draws toxins and splinters out of skin), and Skin Soothe salve (exactly what it sounds like). Then, of course, there are soaps. These products all range from $3 to $10.50.

Most of the product is sold at barn sales, craft fairs, and the like, but there are also a handful of wholesale providers in Tennessee (the closest spot for Wilson County residents would be Heaven Scent in Lebanon).

If buying them isn’t enough for you and you want to get your hands dirty, classes are regularly held at Bountiful Acres Farm. You can take a few hours and learn soap making, or you can take the full day and learn it all: how to make salves, lip balms, lotions, scrubs, deodorants, and more.

“This is how we live,” says Sue. “I’m from Chicago… if I can do it, anybody can do it.”

For more information on products or to sign up for a class, visit www.bountifulacresfarm.com.

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The Bee Team

Wilson County beekeepers pass along the art to another generation

 

By Tilly Dillehay

Photos by Heather Graviss Photography

 

They don’t have Mr. T with them, but they’ve got a few other memorable characters. They aren’t ex-military. They aren’t really interested in forming weaponry out of old car parts, but they have a passion for one of the most important recycling processes that nature has to offer.

Meet The Bee Team.

The Bee Team is made up of five individuals—Jerry McFarland, Mike Belcher, Jim Murff, Danielle Druid, and W.T. Nolan. Not only are they beekeepers and honey producers in their own right, but together, they’re on a two-fold mission: 1) Educate locals about the importance of the honeybee 2) Do their part to help support the pollination process.

IMG_5873smallThe five of them serve as adjunct teachers, taking turns leading a class on beekeeping one day a week. They work with Sarah Prater, Agricultural Education teacher at Wilson Central High School. For one day of every week, semester in and semester out, she allows them to descend on her classroom, getting a generation of high school students up to speed on the importance of the honey bee.

They keep bees on school property as well, and in a corner of the classroom, there are lockers with full sets of beekeeping gear: hats and veils, suits, and gloves. In May, June, and July, actual bee work is being done by supervised students, and honey is collected and sold by the agriculture program—much like the thousands of plants sold from the school greenhouse each year.

“It’s a cooperative,” says Jim Murff, with class time just about to begin. “Mike Belcher sort of heads it up. He’s the professor, we all take turns, and just say ‘who’s going to take the lead today?’ And then the others will just add little things here and there from their experience.”

“Jerry McFarland is the one that got it all started [with the school],” says Belcher of the Wilson County Commissioner and bee enthusiast. “He met with the school superintendent, who is another beekeeper, and they talked it over and had the idea. He’s the one who pursued it with the school board and got the funds going. And we ordered the equipment and got the bees, and it’s been going ever since. That’s been least three years ago.”

Today, W.T. Nolen gets up and starts talking about the life cycle of the honey bee.  He describes the process of honey making bees regurgitating pollen.

“Don’t make that face,” he tells the teens, who are groaning. “We’re going to practice this in a minute—I got Oreos back there.” The kids laugh.

Belcher later comments on the real reason why these men are so passionate about bees. “It’s all about pollination,” he says. “Hey, if you don’t learn about pollination, you better learn to eat about three vegetables—that’s all you’re going to get. You’ll get corn, and that’s about it.”

Pollination is actually a vital step in the growing of most of the crops IMG_5832smallproduced in the U.S. in a given year. Bees are the only ones who can do it. Moreover, they are no longer able to do it alone.

“Bees have to be kept today, because they can’t survive on their own,” says Nolen. “What with diseases, and pesticides, and GMOs, they just die out there.”

Some beekeepers have trailers of beehives, which they rent or sell to farmers. The hives are wheeled into the fields that need pollination, and left to do their work—calculations can be done to determine how many bees are needed to pollinate the requisite number of plants.

Belcher himself keeps about 50-60 hives, each housing some 20,000-50,000 bees.  He also raises and sells queens locally. Queens are the ones who lay all the eggs, so they’re vital to the survival of a hive. Moreover, Belcher explains, they lay more eggs when they’re young than when they’re old—so it’s a good idea to re-queen a hive every two years or so.

He raises queens by simply feeding extra royal jelly to a young bee in early life—royal jelly is the stuff they’re all fed from the time they are young, but give one of them super doses, and it becomes a super bee. A queen bee.

“You can make a million dollars beekeeping—if you start with two million,” jokes Nolen, an 86-year-old who only got into beekeeping after his retirement. “Beekeeping is a neat thing—a colony just decides what it wants to do. If a queen dies, they re-queen; if they get too big, they’ll split. Nobody really knows how they decide it, but they decide it.

IMG_0251small“Have you ever heard of the waggle dance? So you have all these bees in a hive. And a bee goes out and finds a source of pollen, nectar, sugar-water, whatever. And they’ll go back to the hive and do a figure-eight dance. So studies have shown that part of the dance is about what direction the source is, and how far it is to it, and another part is about how large the source is. So they’re just amazing creatures.

“Bees have been around since time immemorial. People have found honey at the base of pyramids, and it’s still edible. Honey doesn’t go bad, if it’s properly cured.”

“Honey is anti-bacterial,” chimes in Murff. “Bacteria can’t live in honey, so if you have a cut, you can put honey on it.”

“Another thing,” says Belcher. “You don’t give honey to a child younger than a year. It’s because the enzymes in their system have not developed to the point that they can digest it properly.”

You can guess, listening to them, just how the Bee Team operates—under a shared and genuine love of bees.

And they’re not alone. Although theirs was the first beekeeping class offered to high school students, they mentioned that White House has started one. And there are currently 267 members in the Wilson County Beekeepers Association—including our Bee Team, of course.

To support the Bee Team, honey can be purchased from the Wilson Central High School Agriculture Program or from their own brand, Possum Town Bees all year round. Just email Sarah Prater at praters@wcschools.edu or call 615-453-4600 ext 3069.

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fill your basket

Farmhouse Delivery CSA gives members access to health itself… in the form of a half bushel

 

By Laurie Everett

Photos by Jeremy Polzel

 

Twice a week Stephanie Bradshaw transports herself back in time to Mennonite country where the air is clear, things are simple and the soil is rich and fertile – and free of chemicals.

However, it’s not a sightseeing respite to simpler times.

She has a mission.

CSA (28 of 41)The farmers there are her friends and partners in their goal to get fresh, affordable fruits and veggies in the hands of others in our area.  This wife of a Watertown High School coach and teacher and mother of four makes weekly visits to Mennonite-operated Golden Rule Farm and Rolling Acres Farm in Scottsville, Kentucky and comes back several hours (and many miles) later to Wilson County.

Her hearty Ford Excursion (she ruined her minivan with the weight of all the greens), trailer attached, is loaded with dozens and dozens of half bushel boxes. They’re filled to the brim with what people far and wide consider the gold standard, or we should say “green standard,” of the freshest, most affordable, nutrient-dense produce found around these parts.

A trip to these rare farms brings people back in time, with Purple Martin gourds strung on a wire, simple garments flapping on a clothes line, open windows, no electricity or plumbing, and dozens of children simply playing catch. Many of the charming people to be found here are also picking and packing boxes of fresh veggies for Stephanie to bring to Wilson County and beyond.

Around this time of summer, those bushels are filled with berries, peppers, tomatoes, beans, summer squashes, broccoli, sweet potatoes, carrots and melons.

CSA (32 of 41)These fresh commodities are then dispersed to some 400 families across middle Tennessee (200 in Wilson County alone) who are members of Farmhouse Delivery CSA. For those new to all this, CSA stands for “community supported agriculture,” which is a huge green and organic movement sweeping the country and beefing up farmers who choose the organic route. Stephanie is a facilitator in our area for one of these distribution systems.

CSA (8 of 41)She happened upon her current mission in an unusual and heartbreaking way.

It all started when her best friend, Kristina Schlegel, faced her biggest challenge of stage four breast cancer at the young age of 33. She was a wife with two young daughters. This was in 2006.

Stephanie did what she could to support her friend throughout the next year. In 2007, Kristina lost her battle. This affected, and ignited, Stephanie.

“I realized how our bodies are so dependent on healthy food,” Stephanie said.

Already a proponent of juicing as a healing method, she began to research the benefit of raw milk and eventually started a popular raw milk co op. That’s when she met the Brubaker family in Scottville, Kentucky.  At first she was infatuated with their fresh, pastured eggs, and the relationship grew.

As a wife of a coach and teacher, and homeschool teacher  to her children, she knew she wanted to give them fresh, chemical-free veggies and fruits, but could not afford “an arm and a leg” to buy them locally.

She found them CSA (7 of 41)in Kentucky and wanted to share the bounty with others. It was a Bible verse that led her—specifically, Proverbs 31, which talks about a woman gathering food from afar.

She’s partnered with two Mennonite farmers in Kentucky who grow their food in an organic manner and now offers people the ability to purchase a membership at menial cost that provides regular access to these wares, by the half bushel. Stephanie goes to Kentucky and picks up the fresh produce bringing it back to families eager to share in support and harvest of their farmer.  Members pick up at  local drop-off locations on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Drop off spots include the ESC Lab in Mt. Juliet, south Mt. Juliet’s Center Chapel Church of Christ on Central Pike, Blackwell Real Estate and the Corn Crib in Lebanon, and the Rutherford County YMCA in Murfreesboro.  On Thursdays she delivers to Spring Hill, Franklin, Smyrna and Nashville, as well as East Nashville.

“We’ve been wanting to eat local, organic foods, but it is hard to get those at the grocery without it costing a fortune,” said member Nicole.  “This was so much better, and affordable. We’ve learned how to use some new ingredients and
CSA (33 of 41)some recipes that feature the produce instead of reducing it to a side dish. We highly recommend joining Farmhouse Delivery CSA. It is cost effective in the long run and it feels good to eat healthy and support a local farmer!”

One of those farmers is Thomas Brubaker. He helps Stephanie load up his chemical-free produce to be taken to Wilson County and beyond each week. In the partnership, he’s been able to set aside some of the profits to buy back land, restoring the farm to its original size. With his older children reaching adulthood, this will provide opportunity for future growth. The other farmer is Nelson Gingerich, pictured on these pages, who in accordance with Mennonite tradition doesn’t allow his face to be photographed but was gracious to allow the photographer to get a few from the side.

CSA (38 of 41)Farmhouse Delivery has grown from 40 to 400 families in a very short time period.

“I’m passionate about seeing both sides of this endeavor,” Stephanie said. “I see the farmers, so hard working, honest, ethical and dedicated to growing nutrient dense food; they are beautiful people.  And also seeing so many families being nourished with healthy, healing produce. It’s fulfilling, all the way around.”

To learn more, www.farmhousedeliverycsa.com email farmhousedeliverytn@gmail.com or call 615.693.2519.

 

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July/August issue is out now!

Introducing our HEALTH AND WELL BEING issue… you’ll find the following articles in these pages:

 

IN EVERY ISSUE

4 Notes from the Editor

8 Sabrina Out on the Town

9 Upcoming Events

46 One Last Thing

 

FEATURES

12 Fill Your Basket: Farmhouse Delivery CSA

22 Music City $trings: Nashville’s instrument expert Christie Carter

35 The Nashville Jam Café: new restaurant opens across from the lake

30 The Bee Team: teaching the next generation about our yellow friends

 

GOOD LIFE

10 10 tips for clean eating this summer

18 This is How We Live: Bountiful Acres Farm

38 Relax and Renew: Body Kneads

40 Holistic Health: The Corn Crib

44 Sonny Warmath’s Good Life

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The high cost of low living

Sonny Warmath’s 20-year trek through addiction and back… and the Good Life he found on the other side

 

By Sonny Warmath

The place was Vanderbilt University’s baseball field. It was around October of 1990.

I was in the batters’ box, hitting against one of Vanderbilt University’s pitchers.  The football field was towering above me—it was right next to us, along the third baseline. The SEC!  I was playing baseball for Cumberland University against an SEC team as a true freshman!  Four months before, I was playing baseball at Lebanon High School, where I had been honored as “Most Athletic” my senior year.  I ripped the next pitch over the third baseman’s head into the outfield.  A single!  One for one against Vanderbilt.  I thought my dreams were coming true.  The possibilities were endless.  I had arrived at my destiny, I thought.  Life, however, had other plans.

I was married in my senior year of high school, and we had a child in October, 1990.  Shortly after that came my “Vanderbilt experience.”  My life had been all about playing ball and winning.  I knew nothing about how to live away from the ball field.  My whole identity was wrapped up in being an athlete.  I did not know God.  My small little family at that time was secondary to what I was doing on the field, and so was school work.

I’ll never forget the day Coach Hunt called me on a December morning, and said that I was no longer eligible to play baseball.  I was going to have to sit the season out.  I was absolutely crushed.  I wanted to die.  Instead of regrouping and getting my priorities straight, and getting through this minor setback and concentrating on my family and newborn child, I turned to alcohol and drugs.  I found a way to temporarily escape the pain, a way to escape the reality I was in—at least I thought I did.  That was the catch, living with the consequences.

A few months later I was divorced, and my child went with her mother.  I was living out of my car and on people’s couches.  College and baseball were far from my mind.  Oblivion is where I wanted to be.  The pain of failure was just too great.

I barely remember the 1990’s, except for a short period when I thought discipline and willpower would do the trick.  So I joined the Marine Corps.  Off to Parris Island I went.  I thought the Marines could teach me the discipline and willpower I needed to control my drinking.  Five and a half weeks later, a drug test from the day after I joined came back positive, and I was packing up for home. I knew what I was going back to—misery, alcohol, and a lot of drugs.  And so I did.

My addiction took me farther than I ever thought of going, and kept me way longer than I ever wanted to stay.  It took me places I never thought I’d go, and I did things I never thought I’d do!  Sin owned me.  I had met my match for sure.  I slept in cars and under numerous bridges in towns and states across America.  Violence in the world I was living in was a constant possibility.  There is no job more demanding than that of an alcoholic/addict in full blown addiction.  It’s the high cost of low living, as they say.

About the year 2000, my life of drinking and doing drugs switched gears.  After a decade or so, I finally started trying to get sober.  The problem was, I could get sober; I just couldn’t stay sober.  I tried, I really did.  I was in seven rehab facilities, and around 30 or so halfway houses.  I had no power to stay sober.  I knew the power had to come from somewhere besides me.  Then on March 19, 2000, I came to know Jesus.  I didn’t know how to let totally go of my life back then, so that He could lead it.  I relapsed and went another ten years in the same state.

Until I reached “the end” five years ago.  Brought to my knees, I begged God to take me, to let me die unless He removed addiction totally from my life.  I gave Him total control.  At that point, I didn’t care which one God chose (death or sobriety) as long as He chose!

And the Lord did—it was sobriety.

That very day he removed a 20-year addiction to alcohol, drugs, and even nicotine too!  Yes, the day He delivered me and broke the chains, He broke them all.  I not only have never drank or done drugs since that day, I also haven’t smoked one cigarette or taken one dip of snuff.  Nothing!  And with no withdrawals or anything… talk about AMAZING GRACE.  Since that day, the Lord has led me to start my own business, Warmath Construction, LLC, where we do everything from landscaping and lawn care, to building decks and home remodeling, etc.

A few years ago, God also led me to start Celebrate Recovery here in Lebanon at Fairview Church.  It is a Christ-centered, 12 step recovery group.  We meet on Thursday nights at 7 p.m., and the meetings are open to everyone!  I also teach an adult Bible study class there on Sunday mornings.  I have been in college accredited seminary classes through Equip there also, preparing me to lead a church someday soon.  I also started a recovery house for men (imagine that), which can hold up to ten individuals, and we are expanding.  God has been busy with me!

I give all the glory to God.  However, many, many people have helped me along the way, too numerous to mention.  For those struggling with life, not feeling like you deserve a relationship with God or others, and you feel like you’re going nowhere fast, I have been there.  I know the WAY out.  Contact me, I’m on Facebook.  My life was spared so I could point the way to others.  I always felt like I wasn’t good enough.  This verse gave me hope: 1 Corinthians 1:27-29. “But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise. God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong. God chose what is low and despised in the world, even the things that are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, so that human beings might boast in the presence of God.”  Amen!

I would not be where I am, with the life I now have, without my wife and best friend, Tabatha Warmath, and our two children, Sonny (age 4) and Jadan (age 5), and our other children Carly, Makaylah, Issak and Gia, and most importantly, through the blood of Jesus Christ!

To contact me, you can also reach me through my website, www.warmathconstruction.com.  I will also speak anywhere, anytime.  There is a lot more to my story!

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…one last thing July August 2015

What does healthy living look like to you?

Becky Andrews

Whether you subscribe to the practices of Western or Eastern medicine, to experience healing creates an awareness and appreciation once absent. Summer seems to be the optimal time to heal; physically or emotionally. When you choose to live a healthier life, you are healing. A healthy lifestyle doesn’t always look the same for everyone. Some farm honeybees, create environmentally safe soaps or preserve the timeless sound of vintage guitars as a way of sustaining the world for the next generation.

At one point or another, we all need healing. The word healing comes from the Anglo-Saxon word haelen, which means to make whole, creating the harmony of mind, body, and spirit. One common effect of healing is a reduction in stress and anxiety, which in turn positively impacts our bodies in many ways.

Speaking of stress… three years ago my dad started requiring more care. My siblings and I adjusted to a new normal. We soldiered on, often ending conversations discussing dad’s latest health report with, “Love you. Remember, it could be worse.” (((I think it’s called survival mode.)))

One day a few months ago, I’d had it. Not with dad, with myself.  I can’t control his illness or how well my son does on his college entrance exam or the weather. I can, however, change my reaction to stress- inducing situations. For too long I relied on the power of Ben and Jerry’s Chunky Monkey to find my Zen. So I started researching the practice of transcendental meditation. A few months after that first inquiry into TM, I’m making the effort to meditate daily.

Taking the time to meditate has also served as the catalyst for a few changes we’ve made as a family. With two active boys participating in a variety of sports, school and church activities, I see the importance of keeping them involved and the impact it has on them. However, hectic schedules mean very little uninterrupted family time. So in the spirit of getting healthy we’ve adopted another habit that’s made a huge impact. Family dinners at the table twice a week. Sounds simple and I’m sure some would say two nights isn’t a big deal. This is just a start. We may go up from there.

The articles in this issue are all written by people who have in some way engaged themselves in a cause—their cause to usher in a new way of living a healthier lifestyle. They freely share their viewpoint and passion. I encourage you to do the same. Whether it’s the food you and your family use to nourish your bodies or the political climate of your state and our nation or making time for daily prayer or meditation, there is room for each person to define their position, contribute to their cause and make a difference. And the end result is positive because it makes life better for all. Be Involved. You’ll be glad you did.

Until next time, keep reading!

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