‘Here’s to Strong Women – May we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.’

Written by Amanda Crowell

Once upon a time in the last year of the last century, there were two moms of two little girls, both of whom
were two years old. Both moms were fairly new lawyers who had ended up in Wilson County after marrying Wilson County boys whom they met while attending school in their own hometowns.

The moms first met at their local Bar Association luncheon in Lebanon. After a brief conversation, they learned that they were both practicing law with part-time schedules, and their little girls were attending the same daycare on the same three days each week. It didn’t take long to discover that Angel was the mom
of little Madison that my Maggie was always talking about –our little girls were best friends!

Top photo:  Amanda’s daughter, Maggie (left) and Angel’s daughter, Madison at their kindergarten graduation in 2003. 

Bottom photo: Maggie and Madison shortly after Madison’s high school graduation in 2015.

Fast forward twenty plus years, and Angel and I are engaged in something we never dreamed of that day when we first met. After more children and many years of practice, three years ago we joined forces to create our own law firm, Kane & Crowell Family Law Center.

Housed in a historic Victorian building built in the late 1800’s, the office has been transformed over the last century from a family home to a doctor’s office, to a dress shop, to a church building and finally into our law office. Today each room is filled with the everyday hubbub of lawyers, paralegals and law clerks taking care of clients and running to the courthouse, conveniently located right across the street.

 

Back when we first started practicing law, like many women we were determined to have it all. Raising children, working in a demanding field and trying to find a balance between the two. We laugh now because back then, we were known as the “part-time” lawyers because we often worked around our children’s school schedules. It sure didn’t feel like part-time when we were sitting at our dining room tables preparing for
court after putting the kids to bed! But at the time, very few others were doing it our way so it was nice to have someone as a sounding board who was facing similar struggles.

As the years passed, we went from part-time lawyers to each managing our own large, family law practices. And as Madison and Maggie graduated from high-school and our other children seemed to need us less, the decision was made to come together and build a different type of law firm.

The office of Kane & Crowell is family oriented, both in our areas of practice as well as how we choose to
manage our team. A team that now consists of another attorney with three children of her own, three paralegals, a law clerk, receptionist, and bookkeeper.

And plans are in the works for more growth. We practice what we preach in that family comes first. We chose to distinguish our practice as a family law center because family law is what we know and
what we do best. Every family is likely to find itself in need of legal services in the area of family law at some point.

Our practice encompasses beginning of life issues such as parentage and adoption actions to mid-life issues such as divorce, custody, and child support, to end of life issues such as probate and elder law. Along the way, everyone needs a good Last Will and Testament and the appropriate powers of attorney. We take care of these family needs on a daily basis.

People often ask if we represent more men or women, and it is impossible to say. We represent our clients,
whoever they may be, and we strive to represent them with excellence. We have a wonderful, experienced staff who are crucial to the success of our business. The staff can empathize with our clients in that they or their children have often been in the same need of legal services as our clients find themselves.
We are a small office – predominantly of women–and we strive to maintain a family atmosphere. Angel and I know the importance of balancing work and family, and we try to accommodate the family needs of our employees just as our prior employers did for us. Many of our staff members leave early to pick up kids or attend school events and every Friday one team member takes a half-day. Practicing law can be demanding
and we are mindful of that so we strive to ensure our team likes coming to work– spa days, office lunches and holiday parties to enjoy a good laugh are a must!

A business partnership is a lot like a marriage—you need to share the same values and goals, but it is best if
you bring different strengths to bear in the operating of the business. Angel and I took a series of personality tests when we first joined forces to work on this new business model and found that
although we had thought we were a lot alike, our strengths were actually different from each other and were complementary to each other. Being aware of this and understanding our different personality types helps us work better together. I could paint a rosy picture of two friends going into business together
and living happily ever after, but truth be told, business relationships require lots of communication and compromise.

At the end of the day, friendship and shared goals can be the glue that holds it all together. The practice of law is stressful. Family law is especially stressful for all involved. Having a business partner who is equally experienced and who walks the same legal paths as I do allows us to bounce ideas off of each other and
commiserate when things get difficult. Two heads are definitely better than one.
In a couple more decades, I hope that we can look back and say that we accomplished something good together and that families in Middle Tennessee were better for our having put our heads together to build a family law practice. For these two moms, there have been many blessings along the way.
Our little girls are now in their third year of college and becoming strong young women in their own right. And yes, they are still close friends despite having gone to different schools since first grade.
Last year, Madison visited Maggie on campus for a weekend despite the seven-hour drive. Our husbands are also good friends. The Kane and Crowell bonds of friendship, whether formed in daycare or over a professional luncheon, are sure to endure.

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Teams to remember, play in December

Written by Jeff and Stacey Cherry

Photos by Stacey Cherry

Champions are made at Tucker Stadium on the Tennessee Tech campus in Cookeville, Tennessee. High school football state championships are the dream and pre-season goal of every successful high school
football team. It takes a desire and commitment to excellence, day in and day out, to be able to board that bus to Cookeville come December. It takes a belief in oneself and a commitment to fight for the man beside you.

The Commanders’ 2016 season ended in Jackson, Tennessee with a 42-14 loss to the University School of Jackson. The long bus ride home left the boys with a feeling they could not forget. The following Monday the work began to prepare for the historic season ahead. This Commander Squad was led by twelve seniors known as the “Dirty Dozen.” This group defined their leadership during their off-season preparation followed by their play on the field.

They genuinely love each other and that love and mutual respect for each other and the game was contagious. Stonewall Solutions, LLC, owned by retired Navy SEAL Jason Kuhn, came to the campus in July and put the team through three classroom hours of training followed by a full afternoon of “drills” designed to develop a selfless effort and relentless desire to succeed. After the telephone polls were hoisted, the tractor tires flipped and the water training was concluded, it was clear to see that this Commander squad believed that they had what it took to be Champs.

They began to define their roles with positive thoughts like Relentless Effort; Aggressive Action; Everything Earned; Thrive on Adversity, and It Pays to be a Winner.

After a come from behind win on the Creekbank in Trousdale County in week two and another come from behind win at DCA in week five, Commander fans became excited at the prospects of running the table. After trailing the entire semi-final game against Nashville Christian School, the resilient Commanders imposed their will in a dramatic finish, punching their ticket to the championship game. The 2017 Commanders will always be known for their perfect season. A season achieved because they worked together as a complete team. Every man stepped up and did his job for the betterment of the team – Teamwork makes the Dreamwork. They have etched their legacy on FCS football with a dream season, culminating by hoisting the coveted gold ball. They will not be soon forgotten. After all, “teams to remember play in December.”

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Festive Feast

Sweet and savory smells coming from the kitchen, quality time with family, chilly temperatures outside. Those are just a few of the best things about the holidays. Make mouths water at your next gathering with these tasty recipes from Wildberry Café and Catering.

Lemon and thyme roasted chicken

Ingredients

1 5- to 6-lb. whole chicken

I pack of thyme

4 lemons, halved

2 heads of garlic, peeled and cut in half

1/2 lb. of carrots, peeled and cut

Kosher salt

Black pepper

2 Tbsp. of butter

4 onions, peeled and quartered

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 425. Remove the chicken giblets, and rinse the chicken and pat dry inside and out. Place the chicken in a large roasting pan or casserole dish, and generously salt the inside with salt and pepper. Stuff two lemons, two portions of garlic, a bunch of thyme and two onions inside the cavity of the chicken. Lay the carrots and remaining onions, lemons and garlic around the chicken. Brush the melted butter on the outside of the chicken, and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast the chicken for about 1 1/2 hours or until the juices run clear.

 

Roasted brussel sprouts with dried cranberries and balsamic glaze

Ingredients

2 pounds of brussel sprouts

2 Tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt

Pepper

1 cup of dried cranberries

2 Tbsp. of balsamic vinegar

Instructions

Preheat oven to 425. Trim off ends of brussel sprouts, and any leaves that look discolored. Toss them with the olive oil, salt and pepper and spread onto a baking sheet. Roast for about 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and drizzle balsamic over the sprouts. Return to the oven for about 5 minutes. Remove from oven, and toss with cranberries.

 

Macaroni and cheese with bacon

Ingredients

1 lb. of macaroni

4 cups of whole milk

1/2 stick of butter, melted

2 cups of sharp cheddar cheese, grated

2 cup of Colby/Monterey jack cheese, grated

2 cups of mild cheddar cheese

½ block of Velveeta cheese, melted

1 cup of sour cream

8 to 12 pieces of cooked crumbled bacon (depending on how much you want crumbled on top)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Salt generously. Drop in the macaroni, and cook for about 8 minutes or until al dente. When macaroni is cooked, drain and put into a bowl to mix in the milk, cheeses (reserving half a cup of sharp cheddar cheese for topping), butter and sour cream. The macaroni should look very creamy — if not creamy add more milk and/or Velveeta. Pour into casserole dish, and top with cheddar cheese and crumbled bacon. Bake for about 15 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and bacon is crisped.

 

Blackberry Dijon glazed salmon

Ingredients

One whole salmon

Kosher salt, pepper

Blackberries and lemon for garnish

½ jar of blackberry jelly

2 tabs of Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons of olive oil

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400. Mix the jelly and Dijon together and set aside. Lay salmon on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle salmon with olive oil, and top with salt and pepper. Roast the fish for about 15 minutes or until firm but slightly underdone in the middle. Take out of oven, and brush with the glaze. Return to the oven for about 5 to 7 minutes or until salmon is just about cooked through. Cover with foil and let rest for about 5 minutes. Garnish with blackberries and lemon and serve!

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Dancing from LA to TN

Mileles bring their love for dance back home

When you grow up in a small town, it’s hard to dream big. Your vision can be tunneled and sectioned off, and all you can see is what that small town in Tennessee wants you to see. Your biggest dreams can be reduced to simply making ends meet while you pack away all childhood hopes of becoming a rock star. Or an actress. Or a professional dancer.

Meet Justin and Marissa Milele. Wilson County natives, Mount Juliet High School alumnus and living proof that it does not matter where you come from or what obstacles stand in your way, but that hard work and putting your mind to something is a lot of what it takes to make your dreams a reality.

Just like their parents, Mark and Jamie Milele, the siblings had the perfect Southern small-town life. Their parents were high school sweethearts before they settled down in the same town they met, their son was the hometown football star and their daughter happily cheered on the sidelines. William Faulkner would have been proud.

But small-town life isn’t for everyone, and at a young age, you could see that it wasn’t enough for the Milele siblings. So they threw themselves into what they loved doing — dance — and they worked, strived and accomplished turning what they loved into a career.

And now, at the ripe young ages of 22 and 24, with roughly 15-plus dance credits in music videos under their belts, a position on Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass” tour, multiple guest spots on the show “Nashville,” a “So You Think You Can Dance” season and 70-city tour, a highlighted position in Ricky Martin’s current Vegas residency and faculty memberships with Revel Dance Convention, the Milele siblings have made it a mission to share their message of hard work and passion, along with all of the lessons they have learned in their respective careers, with the young dancers in the greater Nashville area.

Established in 2016, the Milele siblings, along with their parents, founded and created their own dance studio, appropriately named the Milele Academy. They have only been in the competitive dance circuit for a year now, but in that year, they have won countless titles — both nationally and at state level, more than 17 choreography awards and scholarships and major recognition from the dance community as a whole.

With the academy’s motto of, “Bringing LA to Nashville,” it is the Milele’s hope to bring all of their industry knowledge and talent to the local youth who are passionate about dance.

“I like to think that we can inspire young dreamers to do what makes them happy and to work hard to make it happen,” Marissa says. “Teaching has always been a passion of mine, and I feel I’m able to inspire young kids — especially in a small town — that you can do what you love for a career.”

Giving their dancers a competitive edge is what draws most students to the academy. Not only because both Justin and Marissa are established names with well-established careers in the industry, but because both Marissa and Justin are still incredibly involved in it.

The pair are constantly working toward their dreams, auditioning and training, with no signs of them slowing down anytime soon. They are constantly traveling all across the United States — sometimes together, sometimes solo — to set choreography for other studios, participate in the Revel Dance Convention as faculty, and take professional jobs — most recently with Marissa being a featured dancer performing beside Demi Lovato on “Good Morning America” — all with the promise to bring their lessons back home to their dancers.

It should be noted that while Marissa and Justin are absent, the learning, training and growth for the students is not put on pause for even a second. Their parents, Jamie and Mark, step up to the plate to tie off any loose ends while a scheduled round of professional dancers, choreographers, Tennessee Titans Cheerleaders, members of the Nashville Ballet, additional contestants from “So You Think You Can Dance,” personal trainers, motivators, up and coming performers such as Bobby Newberry and talent agents from Bloc Talent Agency visit the academy to coach, prepare and counsel the students for their future careers.

This type of training is completely new for most people in the area. While there are students in the academy who view dance as a hobby and there are classes associated with it, the main purpose of the academy is to give the students the foundation for success in what they love doing.

But even with all of this success with the academy in its first year, owning and establishing their own business wasn’t always on the Milele sibling’s radar. Understandably, this wasn’t their original goal.

Justin had plans to take his love for football to the college level, while Marissa wanted to focus on her own career as a professional dancer. But flexibility and answering the door when opportunity knocks is one of many lessons the Milele siblings pride themselves in.

“I had thought I was going to head to college first and play football, but then I decided at 19 that I would use my dance training to pursue what I felt I needed to do,” Justin says. “We knew we wanted to do something good for the community, and of course, once we started the academy and saw that our vision was working, it became an even bigger dream to help so many dancers pursue their own dreams.”

“It has meant absolutely everything to me to see young dancers gaining confidence,” Marissa adds. “I used to struggle a little with being myself, but in time, I’ve learned to become who I want to be. So when I see so many of our dancers come into themselves and believe that they have accomplished something, it is truly life-changing.”

Most of Milele Academy’s classes are held in and around the Nashville area, with a permanent dance studio soon to be located downtown on Church St. currently in the works. But wherever these young dancers are training, there is no denying the magic and growth that is taking place in each and every class.

And if there is any singular lesson that comes out of the Milele Academy, it’s that dreams are not indigenous to any location. They are no longer secluded to only New York City and Los Angeles. You can start anywhere, even in a small area like Wilson County. You can make a difference anywhere, even if it is only within yourself. And that is enough.

Milele Academy is located at 805 Woodland St. in Nashville. For more information, visit Mileleacademy.com.

Written By Isabella Roy

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Modern Country

How to make this dream farmhouse yours

Finding the perfect house can sometimes feel like an impossible task. But if you’re looking for a renovated farmhouse retreat to call home, I know of the perfect one that just hit the market. It’s one I fell in love with, and I’m sure you will too as you learn the backstory and see the stunning photos.

Being a city girl, I never had a strong reference for what a country farmhouse truly was. During my childhood, my mother was able to regal about the white house, chickens and fresh vegetables of her childhood home.

When we first moved to Wilson County, we quickly realized why it was so special — from the beautiful countryside with ample opportunities to have a home with 2 to 20 acres to the ability to live quietly in the home of your dreams.

For us, this dream started just about six years ago when we started looking for a new home. Robert, my husband, and I set out to find a home with the characteristics that would suit our personalities. I tend to think of Donny and Marie Osmond: She’s a little country, and he’s a little rock and roll. Our tastes are eclectic and genuinely unique.

The thought of a 200-year-old farmhouse was exactly what I was targeting — from the large kitchen and farm sink to the large quantities of windows that would brighten the dream home and provide cross ventilation in the summer. I knew a white farm house, with character and personality, was exactly what we were going to find.

Fast forward several months later: no farmhouse, no new home with character, the dream was fading away. Until one day, I stumbled upon a beautiful sprawling home on Coles Ferry Pike. As with all of the homes we were looking at, I called my partner in the house-hunting venture, Cathy, so we could go together and check it off the list.

This time was different. Completely different. We were waiting at the front gate, anticipation building while entering the front gate code, I could see this home was different. This house has character, from the 10-inch baseboards to the tongue and groove whitewashed ceilings throughout the home. I was already feeling at home and had only stepped in the front door.

We looked at each other and excitement took over. We felt as if we were two young girls running around their grandmother’s farmhouse going from room to room yelling at each other. Did you notice the hickory flooring? Did you see the quilt closets? Then it hit me, this was home.

I called my husband, and he had to see this house, this was the house.  (I determined at that point, I should see the rest of the home.)

Fast forward to 2017, and we have been asked many times what did we fall in love with when it comes to this home. There are too many attributes to mention, but the legacy of the home is what makes this house a home.

We continue to refer to the Country Farm House on Coles Ferry Pike as The Bay House. When we are asked where we live, the answer is always the same: We live one mile west of Friendship Christian in the white farmhouse, the Bay House, and the response is always the same, “We always wondered who lived there.”

Mr. and Mrs. Bay lovingly built this farmhouse, a replica of the farmhouse her grandmother raised her family in. So many of the details were included in the structure and design. With more than 37 windows in the home, you have natural light from all angles. When swinging open the French doors on the back side of the house, you will enjoy the serenity of Barton’s Creek.

I remember the first time I stepped into the kitchen, my thoughts were in anticipation of the family meals, the entertaining and the time we would be spent in this warm space. This is when I knew whoever originally designed this home must have a love of family and food, too.

This is a dream kitchen, from the double farm sinks (every country kitchen needs a vegetable sink!) to the custom cabinetry in wood, yellow or red to the Corian counter tops. But we cannot forget the modern appliances, the heartbeat of the gathering place, including the Viking Professional Series kitchen and vintage-designed eight-burner gas Viking Stove, customized with four burners, a griddle and a grill.

There’s also the double Viking Professional refrigerators, lovingly referred to as His and Hers, as well as the Fisher Paykel double dishwashers. This kitchen has seen many gatherings in its time.

After being giddy from seeing the kitchen, eat-in kitchen and den with a gas fireplace, we decided to explore the rest of the home. If the open-concept living area was this wonderful, what else would we discover?

In true adult fashion, we found our next toy! Why was there a key in the wall? Of course, we needed to find out, and it was the chandelier lift. The wagon-wheel inspired, multi-tiered, wrought iron chandelier had a lift to lower for decoration, cleaning or general light bulb maintenance.

On to the master suite, and yes, this is a suite. With a master bedroom larger than most couples’ apartments, the windows and natural light are amazing. It has a walk-in his and hers master closet, double vanities with Corian counters (a theme in the house) and large, open-tile shower. This truly is a place of relaxation and reflection.

Meandering through the home, we found all three bedrooms, bathrooms, oversized laundry room and then rooms no one ever expected: the game room, craft room and a room that has since been named Peggy’s Piddlin’ Room. This room was made for crafting, art, sewing, games and family fun. This is the room where all of the creative fun and family time happens.

Beyond the master, there are two additional full baths, which have unique designs and cabinets. Each has a sink built into furniture, recessed lighting — as with the entire home — and tiled floors. Not to mention, the additional two half baths. Plumbing was well designed down to the utility sink in the oversized laundry room with enough space for ironing and hanging your clothing.

The home’s main living space has decorator shelving with plugs every few feet to display your collectibles. I can only imagine how Christmas Village would have looked up there meandering around the den, living room, into the hall and wrapping around. A child’s dream, or any adults dream!

You’ll also find recessed lighting with the details of many individual switches to accent specific spaces in the home. Timers are set for the exterior lights, motion sensors for the drive lights and a light on the keypad for the main gate entrance shows how important lighting is when looking at every detail of the home.

There is plenty of exterior space to enjoy, as well. The front porch has double benches you will find yourself relaxing on and watching the world go by. The side porch is just perfect for iced tea and conversation.

But the back porch and back deck are the areas of great pride. From the custom-laid flagstone patio, walkway and fire pit, you will enjoy any time of day overlooking the water and listening to the sounds of nature.

The smallest exterior details, but with the biggest impact, are the inconspicuous holes in the driveway. These holes are there for the family that plans for large-scale reunions, parties and in general fun. Each hole is spaced for the exact width of a large event tent to be set up in the driveway.

And the best part about this inviting home is that it’s for sale.

While I’ve definitely fallen in love with this home, it’s time for a change. But I know whoever buys it will build just as many — if not more — great memories in this timeless home.

This country farmhouse at 6495 Coles Ferry Pike has all of the details, alcoves and special nuances of your grandmother’s farmhouse with modern amenities. This 4,800-square foot home has three bedrooms, three full and two half baths, four-bay garage and additional space to build out.

It has two walk-in attics, an estimated 1,500 square feet of framed-in space for expansion, an irrigation system, gated front entry with solar-powered entrance, Trane CleanEffects whole-house filtration system, tankless hot water heater, three Trane HVAC units and sits on just under 2 acres on Point Barton: You’ll want to call this home.

To view this farmhouse retreat, contact Michael Ezsol at Century 21 West Main Realty. Michael has lived in Lebanon for the past 15 years and says he enjoys working with families to find their perfect home. He makes the entire process as easy as possible for his clients, surrounding himself with industry professionals who can help solve any issue that comes up.

Michael Ezsol is a full-time, dedicated agent who provides clients with all of the facts and information they need to make a decision about what’s best for them. Contact Michael to learn more about this custom farmhouse before it sells, or schedule a private showing. Visit Cfpfarmhouse.com for more information and video tour.

Written By Helene Singer Cash
Photos By Jana Pastors and HouseLens

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Changing Lives

How a trip to Central America taught family invaluable lessons

A funny thing happens when you set out to help someone in need: They normally end up having an even bigger impact on your life. That’s something I experienced firsthand when I visited the beautiful country of Nicaragua in Central America with my dad and sister.

We went as part of a mission group from Friendship Christian School and spent a week working on various projects. But the trip wasn’t just about working on projects; we also got to spend time with the locals, listening to all of their stories. Moments like those were where we built true friendships and learned valuable lessons.

It would have been easy for us to complain on our trip, considering the cold showers, humid weather and having to sleep in hostels and hammocks — but that just wasn’t the case.

As soon as we landed in Managua, we left our comfort zones and realized the trip was about helping people. This trip gave me such a great perspective on how I go through life here at home and how I could change it for the better by just deciding to be positive.

I was also blown away by how welcoming everyone was there, even though they had only just met us. They invited us into their homes for coffee, let us hold and play with their children and treated us like we had been friends for years.

They helped us learn their language, laughing with us over our broken Spanish. And while they faced so many difficulties, that didn’t stop them from showing us kindness and making us feel at home.

We went to Nicaragua to help people, but we ended up learning even more from the people we went to help. I learned that a good attitude isn’t based on what you have or what conditions you live in. It’s a conscious decision to be kind to strangers and friends alike.

This trip was also special because I got to spend it with my dad and sister. We saw each other outside of our comfort zones and learned to appreciate all we have here at home. We also made memories that will last a lifetime — like sledding down an active volcano together.

It was a week I will never forget, and I am so glad I got to spend it with two of my favorite people!

Zoe Kane, daughter of Wilson Living Magazine co-founder Angel Kane, will be a senior at Friendship Christian School.

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Discovering the Spanish Life

How studying abroad became the adventure of a lifetime

Narrow cobblestone streets and tile-adorned buildings exuded the rich history deeply rooted in the breathtaking city.

Citrus aromas danced through the air radiating from orange trees that lined the streets, while vibrant hues of pinks, oranges, purples and yellows exploded from the flowers blooming on terraces and down sidewalks.

Gelato shops marked the most-visited areas of the city, inviting tourists and locals alike with masterfully crafted rose-shaped delicacies situated in crunchy cones. The sounds of Spanish voices rang from the doors of every shop and home filling not only Seville, Spain, but also my heart with the lilting syllables of the gorgeous language I longed to learn.

For three spectacular months, these sights, smells and sounds flooded my senses as I lived and participated in the Spanish culture as a full-time student.

I had not originally intended to spend the spring of 2017 studying in another country. However, as former plans fell through, with a leap of faith, I dove into what I can only call a God-orchestrated adventure.

The daunting idea of spending months away from my family transformed into the most spectacular journey of my life, resulting in profound personal growth.

My usual tendencies to stay within the safety of a comfort zone close to home were quickly challenged as I discovered studying abroad would require of me a boldness that I was unaccustomed to.

Hours wandering lost in the city thanks to my directionally challenged mind developed outstanding navigational skills. Comfort-stretching conversations were rewarded with beautiful, encouraging friendships and weeks stumbling over attempted conversations in Spanish resulted in the shattering of a language barrier.

Many of the most important aspects of my wonderful adventure happened outside the classroom in other areas of my life in Seville. By living in the home of a Spanish family, I was able to form relationships with both of my “parents” and my two little host brothers.

Their presence and our daily meals together quickly became an integral part of my weekly routine. Additionally, I met regularly with a Spanish student by the name of Ana to improve my Spanish and her English skills.

What began as a meeting for mutual advancement quickly blossomed into a friendship as our conversations were filled with shared interests and many fits of laughter.

These relationships and other encounters with people from various cultures opened my mind to better understand those around me with different ways of thinking and living.

Some of my best memories come from the moments I took to explore my temporary home on my own. The historic city came alive as I ventured into the winding streets, using the soaring towers of the Cathedral of Seville and Maria Luisa Park as my compasses to navigate.

Half way through my stay, I even had the chance to share my new home with my family as they visited Spain during their spring break. I fell so in love with Seville that by the end of my journey, I dreaded saying “goodbye.”

My story would not be complete without mentioning the continuous fulfillment of one of my greatest passions: traveling. One of the richest and most exciting aspects of my life in Spain was the almost weekly exploration of a new city or country.

From the desert sands of the African Sahara to the breathtakingly blue waters of the Tenerife Sea, the unimaginable beauty captured in the distant corners of the world still continues to astound my mind.

I have now traversed the cities and sites of Spain, beheld the magical aura surrounding the colorful Pena Palace in Portugal, explored the treasures of London, experienced the wonder of the snow-dusted mountains of the Swiss Alps, ridden a camel through the Sahara Desert and kayaked with dolphins in an unforgettable turquoise sea.

Time and time again, I have marveled at the blessing of being able to see so much of the world, and because of this, I have the courage to dream of the places my next adventure will take me.

For those marvelous three months, I discovered an amazing life in Seville, Spain, learning, growing and maturing. Many times, I would reflect on my life as if I was living a dream too unbelievable to be true. Countless interactions with people and living in the midst of an alternate culture greatly expanded my cultural view and acceptance as well as my ability to interact in Spanish.

I was blessed by an unmatched opportunity to traverse Europe to dream destinations, exponentially growing my confidence and independence. Ultimately, I credit this remarkable experience to the fact that it was situated right in the middle of God’s perfect plan for my life.

Through this journey abroad, I developed a deeper dependence on the Lord and His provision, which has prepared me to expectantly await whatever new and exciting adventures lie ahead.

Until my exploration of the world resumes, I am content to find the joys of life situated back home in Tennessee.

Rachel Pettross, a graduate Friendship Christian School, is currently a student at Tennessee Tech University. She enjoys traveling, reading and being with family. She plans to teach elementary school after graduation and continue exploring the world.

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Kid-Friendly Recipes

Just because the kids are back in school doesn’t mean the fun times have to end. Bring the whole family together in the kitchen with something everyone will enjoy.

Check out these three tasty recipes that Brandi Lindsey, owner and cook of WIldberry Café and Catering, loves to make (and eat) with her children.

Cheesy Chicken Dip with Tortilla Chips
Looking for an easy-to-make snack you can share with the whole family? Combine favorites like chicken and cheese to create a dip to enjoy after school. This is a great way to sneak in some avocado and beans for those picky eaters, as well.

Ingredients
3 cups of cooked chicken (you can use rotisserie from the store to save time)

1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese

1 8 oz. container of cream cheese, softened

8 oz. of sour cream

½ cup of black beans or pinto beans, drained and rinsed and gently mashed

1 tablespoon of cilantro, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

½ avocado, finely diced

Tortilla chips

Directions
Mix all ingredients together except the avocado and chips. Place in a bowl for serving, and gently mix in the avocado. Serve the dip alongside the chips. Brandi’s girls also love this mixture rolled into a tortilla! 

Poppy Seed Chicken (Sadie’s Chicken with “Black Stuff”)
Brandi’s niece, Sadie, loves this easy-to-make dinner. Every time she comes for a visit or they all go on vacation at the beach, they make her favorite, what she calls, “chicken with black stuff” (the black stuff is the poppy seeds). Brandi’s girls also love to have this. It is a very easy meal to do after school and one the kids can help with too. They usually serve it with some green beans and carrots with ranch. What kid doesn’t love that?

Ingredients
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

2 10.75 oz. cans of cream of chicken soup (or one large can)

16 oz. sour cream

Pinch of celery salt, salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons of poppy seeds

2 sleeves of Ritz crackers, crushed

½ cup of butter, melted

Directions
Place chicken in a stockpot and season with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Bring it to a boil until no longer pink (this will take about 20 minutes). Remove chicken from pot and let cool slightly and then cut chicken into medium-sized cubes. Mix the chicken with the sour cream, cream of chicken and seasonings until well combined and creamy. Add the poppy seeds. Preheat the oven to 350 and place the chicken mixture into a casserole dish. Mix the crackers and butter together and top the casserole with it, and bake for about 30 to 40 minutes until bubbly. Serve on top of white rice and enjoy!

Ice Cream Cake Sandwich
Looking for a sweet treat that’s as fun to make as it is to eat?

Ingredients
1 pound cake

1 cup of vanilla ice cream or whichever your family likes

½ cup of mini chocolate chips or other candies

1 cup chocolate ice cream

½ cup of M&M’S roughly chopped

1 cup of strawberry ice cream or any flavor your family likes

Chocolate magic shell ice cream sauce

Rainbow sprinkles, of course

Directions
Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap. Cut the pound cake into three pieces horizontally. Put the first slice of cake into the loaf pan and then cover it with one of the ice cream flavors. Place some of the mini chocolate chips on top of the ice cream. Add another layer of cake and then cover with the second flavor of ice cream. Top this layer with the M&M’S. Place the final layer of cake on top of the ice cream, and top with the third ice cream choice. Top this layer with your Magic Shell and then the extra candies and sprinkles. Fold over the plastic wrap once the sauce has set, and put it in the freezer for four hours until frozen, Brandi’s girls can never wait that long! When you are ready to eat, unmold it from the plastic wrap, and slice it for serving.

Recipes By Brandi Lindsey, Wildberry Café and Catering

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Life’s Adventures

He helped America redeem itself in the Space Race, and she’s lived in two countries and six states. But they found a new piece of the good life, and each other, in Wilson County, perhaps when they least expected it.

Charlie Bradshaw, the rocket scientist next door (more on that later), and his charming wife Loyce call Geers Place home now. And if you ask them how they got there, they’ll tell you about one amazing adventure after another, each of which brought them closer to “home,” landing them right where they belong.

Starting another chapter
Married now for two decades, Charlie and Loyce weren’t looking for love after their spouses died. He was considering a move to Florida, where his Lebanon friends feared he was destined to become a drunken beach bum. And after a lifetime spent moving from city to city with her military husband, she was reconnecting with a sister who’d settled in Lebanon.

That sister, Joyce Badger, was the common denominator.

Joyce and her husband, dentist Bob Badger, had come to know and love Charlie as a neighbor and had for months pleaded with him not to move from his farm on Cedar Grove Road. Instead, they, along with a bevy of friends encouraged him to find a companion after his wife died.

Loyce recalls how her sister and brother-in-law were always having Charlie over for dinner, begging him not to move and telling him he needed to find “a nice lady to go out to eat with.”

One night at a dinner party an exasperated Joyce said to Charlie, “well if ever you were going to date someone, what kind of woman would you like her to be?” And just to shut her up, Charlie said, “I’d like her to be just like you.” He didn’t expect her to call his bluff. He didn’t know she had an identical twin.

Naturally, Loyce was invited to the next dinner party, and she says Charlie was willing to see her again because she had ties to somewhere he’d never visited — Alaska.

“He latched on to me because I’d lived in Alaska for nine years. He’d never been there, and he was fascinated by it.” The scientist in him couldn’t resist hearing about continuous daylight and what life was like for this widow who spent nearly a decade there with her late husband of 31 years.  Turns out, he couldn’t resist her either. The rest, as they say, is history. And Charlie finally made it to Alaska, several times in fact. Two of Loyce’s children still live there.

The couple is grateful for the good life they’ve found and the new chapters of life they’ve written together since that dinner party. They’re also thankful their families blended well. Both had grown children when they met, and Loyce remarks, “So many times marriages with grown children are tough, but his children loved me and mine loved him from the very beginning. We’re one of the lucky ones. We’ve been married nearly 22 years, and it’s been a great marriage, even though I didn’t want to get married.”

For two people who didn’t want to get married again, they surely make it look like it’s worth the trouble.

The rocket scientist next door
Before meeting Loyce, Charlie had plenty of adventures of his own.

He had enlisted in the Navy and entered the V-12 program for training and was taking Calculus at Sewanee. In a meeting with a professor, the professor began by going over the details of Charlie’s C average but quickly put his grade book aside. This was not a meeting of condemnation. Rather, it was a meeting of encouragement. He saw Charlie’s talent and encouraged him to think about mathematics as a career.

With that nudge, a lifelong love of mathematics began.

Charlie finished the V-12 program and was shipped to the Pacific Theater of World War II to prepare for the invasion of Japan. He saw action at Okinawa but, like thousands of America’s enlisted men, was spared the dangers of invasion when President Harry Truman ordered the use of two atomic bombs. Six weeks later, Charlie found himself walking through Hiroshima, the first city hit with an atomic bomb. Asked what he thought as he took pictures of the carnage, Charlie recalls, “we can’t have another war with these weapons.”

After the war, Charlie completed school and joined the faculty at Tennessee Polytechnic Institute and settled his family in Cookeville. In 1951, a new opportunity arose in Huntsville, Ala., that took Charlie into the world of Wernher von Braun, the German rocket scientist who surrendered to American forces at the end of World War II — and whom Charlie describes as “the greatest person I ever met.” While von Braun and his German colleagues built rockets, Charlie’s team calculated their flight times and trajectories with a “slide rule and desk calculator.”

In 1953, they launched Redstone, America’s first guided missile, and it followed the path that Charlie’s team had calculated. However, the days of the “slide rule and desk calculator” were coming to an end. The Oak Ridge National Laboratory received the first computer in the South, and Charlie transferred to east Tennessee to oversee its installation.

In 1955, Charlie returned to Huntsville as the Deputy Director of Computation and installed the first computer at that location. By this time, there was an international competition to put something into orbit.

“We had the capability to put the Redstone in orbit before the Russians succeeded, but Eisenhower didn’t want to use a military missile,” he says. “That’s when they (the U.S. Navy) started Vanguard, and it was a tremendous failure. Vanguard never made it. So the Russians beat us. Then 85 days later, we were in orbit. Redstone was ready, and the calculations were all done. We could have beaten them, but we weren’t allowed to.”

With a string of successful launches, the Mercury program was established to take people into space. Now, Charlie’s calculations did more than determine the trajectory of a rocket. They determined where to have ships waiting to pick up returning astronauts.

In 1962, the stakes were raised when John F. Kennedy announced the goal of putting a person on the moon. According to Charlie, this had always been von Braun’s goal, but concerns remained.

“We always knew sending people to space would happen, but we still had questions about whether man could survive on the moon,” he explains.

At one point, President Kennedy toured the Huntsville facility and met the administrative staff. He was introduced to von Braun and other German scientists. After meeting a line of people with German names, he was introduced to someone named Charlie Bradshaw. The president immediately responded, “How did you get in here?” Charlie remembers, “I thought since he was the president I better not laugh, but everyone else did.”

Charlie “got in” there by being one of the best mathematicians in the nation and stayed through the Apollo 11 mission that put the first men on the moon.

In 1970, Charlie left the space program to direct the installation of the first computer at Vanderbilt University and oversee its operation.

Charlie remained at Vanderbilt until his retirement and then he taught classes at Cumberland University. Looking back on his career, Charlie says sending rockets into space made him more interested in the universe, and that interest led him to become a stronger believer in God. In fact, he declares, “I become more of a believer the more I learn.” Without a doubt, Charlie has learned a great deal.

Written By Rick Bell and Jessica Fain

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The Outskirts of Town

Rick Bell remembers life before west Lebanon boomed

 

By Rick Bell   

A few months ago, my family moved into the house where I grew up. For my wife Necole and my stepdaughter Isabella, it created more space while we build a new home. For me, it brought memories of my youth.

When I walk through the kitchen, I can visualize my mom Elaine cooking dinner while talking with my grandmother on the telephone. In the days before cordless phones, the cord could stretch across the room.

When I take the trash to the driveway, I remember my dad Charles beating me at H-O-R-S-E. He only shot free throws, and he never missed. I also remember my sixteenth birthday when my dad and I returned from a Tennessee football game to find my new car sitting under the carport. It was wrapped in a giant ribbon and bow.

rick-senior-prom-1987
Headed to senior prom

When I am allowed in Isabella’s room, memories from two time periods come rushing back. When that room belonged to my older brother, I wanted to hang out with him and his high school friends while they listened to music. When the room belonged to me, I listened to music and played video games.

When I walk through the backyard, I can still see the bell-shaped swimming pool that was there for decades. That is where my mom taught me how to swim and where Vacation Bible School always spent one day out of the week.

When I pull into the driveway, I remember a Halloween party from my elementary school days. My parents covered the yard with scary props. On a foggy night, my brother saw them in his headlights and was too scared to get out of the car. The props probably scared him more than they scared my elementary school friends. I also remember pulling into the driveway after a weekend night out with my friends. The T-Tops were out, and the radio was blasting.

The house creates a ton of memories of everyday events, but it also brings forth memories of the way things used to be. A few years before my birth, my parents bought some acreage along a two-lane highway on the outskirts of town, and my grandfather J.W. Vanhook built the house with his father Will Vanhook doing some of the carpentry work. Being outside the realm of city services, they also had to dig a well for water and put in a septic tank. We did not even have a street address. Instead, we lived on a rural route.

home-rick-bellDespite the mail listing, we did not live in the countryside. There was a country store with a couple of gas pumps across the road. Next to the store sat Bethlehem Methodist Church. When I was small, I always wondered why we drove to the other side of town to First Baptist Church instead of going to the one across the street, which seemed to be the easiest thing to do.

Several homes were scattered along the highway, and I believe that our neighbors thought the same thing that we did when we got into the car and headed east. We were “going to town.” Of course, that meant driving some miles. Along the way, we passed Snow White Drive-In, Maple Hill Church of Christ and a few businesses. However, we were not officially in town until we got to Dick’s Food Market, which was in the strip mall where CVS now stands.

As I grew, the area around our house also grew. My grandfather, my dad and others developed the farm across the

rick-playing-basketball-dad-in-picture
Playing basketball with Dad

road into the neighborhood of Shenandoah before creating Horn Springs Estates. As the years passed, there came Richmond Hills. Then, my aunt Nancy Eubank built Southfork, and my aunt Peggy Keel developed Geer’s Place.

With a scattering of houses along the highway turning into neighborhoods filled with hundreds of homes, businesses expanded our way. Kroger moved into a complex that also contained K-Mart and the Martin Triple, Lebanon’s first multi-screen theater where I spent many Friday and Saturday nights. Eventually, Kroger moved across the road and created space into which more businesses moved. It also made a great turning point for those of us who liked to “Cruise the Main” in high school.

Suddenly, our house was no longer on the outskirts of town. The City of Lebanon annexed the land and brought services into the area. With convenient commerce and sewer, the situation changed. We no longer had to “go to town.” We were in town, and a lot of other people, who lived in places like Five Oaks, were in town, as well.

When we moved back into the house, we moved into a different world than the one where I grew up. Although I still listen to the same music, I am no longer the kid playing video games. My wife and I are the adults with all of the responsibilities. However, the differences are also on a larger scale.

rick-bell-and-mom-christmas-tree
Decorating the tree with Mom

The two-lane highway is now a five-lane road. Bethlehem Methodist Church does not sit next to a country store. It sits next to an office building and the neighborhood of Waters Hill. One of the houses in which my grandparents lived is now Cumberland Animal Hospital. Maple Hill Church of Christ is still located across from Snow White Drive-In, but it is also between Sports Village and Publix. When we “go to town,” we pass a continuous line of businesses that include Beauty Boutique Salon and Spa, which is owned by my wife.

The area where I grew up is now the City of Lebanon’s Ward 6, and I am proud to serve that ward on the city council. For years, it has been a prime location for development, and land values have steadily risen. To continue that trend, we need to insure that this area continues to develop responsibly, with neighborhoods like Iroquois, which was developed by Mark Brown and my brother Jack, and Hamilton Springs, a transit-oriented neighborhood being my developed by my brother and me.

When I was a kid, the outskirts on the west side of Lebanon was a great place to grow up. As more people moved into the area and it became part of the city, it continued to be a great place to live. With more growth on the horizon, I want the children of the future to be as happy living here as I was living on that rural route on the outskirts of town.

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