Join the Cause

Show your support for your community members, friends and family battling cancer at the 14th Annual Sherry’s Run, which will be Sept. 9 on West Main Street in Lebanon. Sherry’s Run raises money to help cancer patients throughout the community.

The event kicks off Saturday at 5:30 a.m. with a time for prayer, registration opens at 6:30 a.m. and the shotgun start is at 8 a.m. Online registration is open until tonight (Sept. 8) at 7 p.m.

The organization is named after Sharon “Sherry” Patterson Whitaker, who lost her battle with colon cancer in 2004. Her friends and family wanted to fight this disease and make a difference for others with color cancer after losing Sherry. That desire led them to hold a 5K/walk that would support cancer research, which would become the first Sherry’s Run.

There were a few hundred people at the first 5K/walk in 2004: Now, there are close to 4,000 participants and volunteers involved with the run.

“It’s not just a run: It’s an experience,” says Alisa Van Dyke, marketing director of Sherry’s Run. “It’s inspiring just to be there that day. The entire community comes together to support each other. I feel like it’s a very hopeful and exciting experience.”

The uplifting day also includes live music, a survivor tent and other activities for the whole family. “It’s not about what cancer has done but about how we’re overcoming and providing hope,” says Van Dyke, who started working with the group in 2014.

Both individuals and teams can participate in Sherry’s Run. “It’s a fun, pressure-free event,” Van Dyke says.

This event is for anyone impacted by cancer. They also set up a tent at the event for survivors where they get to experience an outpouring of love and support.

“I’ve never seen a patient come who hasn’t been blown away by the community support,” Van Dyke says. “A lot of patients come back and volunteer because they want to give back.”

This year’s run is in memorial of Charles Tomlinson and Mackey Bentley, and it is in honor or Cindy Thorne and Denise Moore, who is a member of the Wilson Living Magazine team.

Moore was a good friend of Sherry’s and was instrumental in getting support and donations for Sherry’s Run through the years, says Tamara Lampsa, who has been friends with Moore for about 14 years and is Sherry’s Run co-chair.

Lampsa put together Team Mimi so Moore’s friends and family can show their support for her during the event. She’s expecting hundreds to join the team and honor their good friend.

“Denise has made a big impact in many people’s lives. She’s a true friend. She gives her support and time for her friends and community,” Lampsa says. “It’s time for us to give back to Denise.”

There will be several teams at the 5K/walk cheering on their friends and family, but providing that supportive environment isn’t confined to the annual event.

While the group originally was focused on raising money for research, they saw a bigger need after receiving requests from local people battling cancer who needed a little extra help.

So, Sherry’s Run became an organization and developed a patient assistance program. They’ve seen helped countless community members with cancer ever since.

“We still believe in preventing cancer, but what about the people who already have it and are struggling to take care of their families?” Van Dyke asks.

The majority of the people they help are referred to Sherry’s Run, and they supported 185 patients last year. They provide financial support for medical, lighting, grocery, gas and treatment costs — in addition to meeting their counseling needs.

“The money raised helps people struggling with cancer every day of the year — and the money stays here locally,” Lampsa says. “I can’t even put into words to describe the amount of people that we’ve helped. It really touches my heart.”

Van Dyke says her favorite part about working with Sherry’s Run is meeting the patients and getting to know them. “They inspire me,” she says. “I love seeing their courage and hearing the stories of the people who have helped them.”

Van Dyke encourages people to consider donating monthly or when possible to Sherry’s Run “because we’re helping them throughout the year.”

“People are diagnosed every day around us, so the need doesn’t get any less,” Van Dyke says. “The community rallied around it because everyone knows someone who has been affected.”

They also receive support from the Macon County Day of Hope and a Mardi Gras fundraising event at the Capitol.

“The No. 1 thing we want people to understand is that the money benefits their neighbors,” she says. “It benefits cancer patients here.”

Van Dyke encourages people who know someone with a cancer diagnosis to refer them to the organization and also support the group year-round.

For more information about Sherry’s Run, follow them on Facebook and Twitter, and visit

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Say ‘I Do’ to a More Sculpted You

How brides can slim down without surgery and downtime

All eyes are on the bride on her wedding day. So, it’s no surprise most spend months preparing to walk down the aisle. That could include everything from teeth whitening and tanning to focusing on healthy eating habits.

For those looking to get rid of some unwanted abdominal fat before the big day, there’s an option that can get rid of those love handles without surgery or downtime: SculpSure.

Mt. Juliet’s Inspire Medical Weight Loss & Wellness team offers this service as part of their customizable treatment plans. SculpSure’s body contouring technology destroys targeted fat cells in 25 minutes, without damaging the skin.

Patients can expect to feel a cooling sensation, which helps keep their skin comfortable, followed by a deep warming, tingling sensation. The heat raises the temperature of the fat cells, which in return, damages their structural integrity. During the next three months, the damaged fat cells are then eliminated by the body’s lymphatic system, giving patients a leaner look.

Like with their other weight-loss solutions, Inspire performs an initial consultation with patients to figure out their specific goals and challenges. They also perform preliminary tests to figure out the best treatment approach.

In addition to SculpSure, they can also use fat-burning hormones, cleanses, B12 injections and other options to help patients reach their goals. They do weekly counseling with patients to help address the eating habits behind their health problems.

“We literally hold their hand and keep them accountable and keep asking the question of, ‘Why?’” explains Dr. Jason Burchard, president and CEO of Inspire Medical Weight Loss and Wellness. “‘Why do you want to change? Why are you eating?’”

Their programs can help brides or anyone looking to feel better, lose weight and become a healthier version of themselves.

Inspire is located just off of the interstate in Adams Lane Plaza at Providence (behind Cracker Barrel). For more information, visit


source link The first 20 callers who mention this article will get a free consultation and $100 off any treatment protocol. Call 615-453-8999 to schedule your consultation today.

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Family Practice

Newman Dental Associates creates a welcoming atmosphere for all ages

When most people think about going to the dentist, they probably imagine a sterile, intimidating environment. But one local dentist is looking to change that mindset with his new dental office — and it’s worth checking out.

Dr. Jim Newman, DDS, opened Newman Dental Associates in Lebanon last October on South Cumberland Street. After several months of renovation and even more of planning, he’s transformed the office into an inviting, modern space that’s sure to catch people’s attention for all the right reasons.

From the moment people walk pass the outdoor water feature and through the double doors, it’s clear it isn’t a typical dentist office.

They’re welcomed by a stunning chandelier, dark flooring, beautifully exposed ceilings and, of course, smiling faces. In the waiting room, they’ll relax in contemporary chairs next to a cozy fireplace and TV. Yes, these really are all things in a dental office.

“We wanted to create a comforting, quiet environment,” Newman says. That’s the theme throughout, including the entrance area, exam rooms, hallways and even the sterilization center. It makes patients feel like they are visiting their friend’s (well-designed) home.

But what really sets this practice apart is the local, family-oriented team — and that starts with Newman, who is a 2008 Lebanon High School graduate. His family has lived here for at least the past five generations, making it even more special for him to have a business here now.

After going away to Lipscomb University for undergrad and the University of Tennessee for his doctoral degree in dental surgery, Newman says he knew he wanted to come back home to open his practice.

“We’re from here, and we’ll always be here. Being able to open a dental office in my hometown is a dream come true,” says Newman, son of Randy and Lisa Newman. He also wanted to open his office in the heart of Lebanon, making it convenient for people to stop by.

His caring, dedicated staff includes Ashlie Johnson Gallaher, RDH; Tammy Pritchett, RDA; Jamie Johnson, his grandmother, and Lisa Newman, his mother. It’s easy to see how much they all enjoy working together, something that patients and anyone who visits are quick to notice.

“We’re a service-oriented family. We love people and what we do,” he says. “We’re just hometown people who focus on family-friendly care at affordable prices.”

He starts out by asking patients what they want from their dental care, instead of pushing services on them.

“He’s really fair and good at going over options with them,” Gallaher says. “I can’t say enough good things about him.”

They offer a full list of dental services like family dentistry, oral surgery, cosmetic dentistry, Botox, whitening and removable and fixed prosthodontics — making them the one-stop family dentistry.

This local practice has a lot to offer residents, from their renovated décor and advanced technologies to their dedicated staff.

“We want people to feel at home,” Newman explains. “Yes, you’re going to the dentist, but you’re also going to see friends.”

follow url Newman Dental Associates is located at 337 South Cumberland in Lebanon. They are open Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Friday by request. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 615-470-8550.

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Pass the Salt, Please

Third Coast Salt takes a halotherapeutic approach to the spa healing experience


By Laurie Everett

Photos by Shari Hart


You might detect a bit of a Louisiana twang in her accent. Though born in that grooving hot-melt state, Shari Arnold spent her growing years in “Hotlanta” and ended up in Tennessee 11 years ago.

No, she’s not a rebel, but an intensely independent woman who has brought a unique, European respite, healing aspect to the heart of Mt. Juliet. It’s not like anything found anywhere around.

It’s Third Coast Salt.

“Well, we know there’s an East Coast and a West Coast, and now Nashville is dubbed the ‘Third Coast,’” said Shari Arnold, who is a single businesswoman, and mom to Maggie, 10, and Jack Ryman (yes, after the auditorium), age 9.

She targeted ‘Third Coast Nashville’, and went a little east to Mt. Juliet to open a happening, emerging business that beckons those who want to be in the loop with an emerging therapy that is hot in Europe and on the cusp here in the states.

2016sharihartphotographer 42Just say she’s one of the first to offer this service here.  It’s the “best, hippest coast out here! Discover the benefits of salt therapy,” Arnold enthused.

The health-conscious embrace this latest trend in pampering; it’s a ‘salt spa,’ right here in Mt. Juliet.

The technique has been used thousands of years in Europe and the Middle East. Rather than ingesting salt, spa patrons relax in rooms made of it and breathe in misty, salty vapors to clear their lungs and purify their skin.

All come out of a sessions espousing the virtues of the treatment and how much better they feel; mentally and physically.

“It’s known as halotherapy, after the Greek word halo, meaning salt,” Arnold said

“Breathing in salt can help cure a lot of modern ailments that come from pollution and stress,” said Matt Walsh, co-owner of Salt Sanctuary in Johnson City, New York. “It is especially good for helping chronic respiratory illnesses like asthma, allergies and bronchitis.”

And for people not suffering from allergies, it’s simply relaxing and meditative, said Arnold.

She said visitors can experience the ultimate in mind, body, and soul cleansing, while relaxing in comfy leather lounge chairs.

“Escape the pervasive lure of everyday technology in our relaxing salt therapy room,” she said.  “Micro particles of salt are dispersed throughout the room, creating a rejuvenating negative-ion environment. Following the 40-minute session, you’ll breathe easier and leave feeling wonderfully relaxed.”


Arnold’s history; southern girl in California and back


The journey to a holistic salt therapy business in Mt. Juliet began when Shari spent almost a decade in Los Angeles in the film and television industry.

arnold3 11-2015“I would say I was trained in my craft, a member of the Screen Actor’s Guild,” she said. “I love comedy and was cast in anything I could get a role. I survived the major strike and then was told if I didn’t get into the Reality TV aspect I had no work. That true actors didn’t have a chance. That was predicted to last ten years.”

She eventually made her way to Nashville and got a job at Gaylord Entertainment (Opryland). Her job was in their training and development department. This was 11 years ago.  She’s since had her children.

“They are my everything, my whole focal point, they are incredible people,” she said.

Soon she got a job as Lifestyles Director at Del Webb in Mt. Juliet. She loved it. She left last summer. She started with 200 residents and ended with 2,000. She created programs, built relationships, and secured the brand.

“I knew I did what I was supposed to do,” she said. “I knew my work was done, I had perfected everything. It was my time to move on.”

Because health and nutrition were her calling, Arnold went back to school with a “hunger for knowledge.”

She joined a prestigious institute and attained a degree in Integrated Nutrition. She graduated in March 2016.

“I learned a lot,” she said. “It really was for selfish reasons, I wanted to learn about better health and nutrition from a very credible school.”

She resigned her job at Del Webb to pursue further education in the health field and ended up a certified health coach from a prestigious program, besides becoming a state board aesthetician.

It was the springboard to Third Coast Salt.


Mid life crises?


“No way,” said Arnold. “Many people could say that. I simply wanted to do what I wanted to do. I wanted to heal and care for people. And be on the cusp of the health industry.”

For years, Arnold wanted to have a day spa. But she didn’t think Mt. Juliet was ready for it. So she segued to a place where residents “could heal, relax and heal themselves.”

She rented several suites in the Smoothie King (former bank building on N. Mt. Juliet Road) to offer salt therapy for young and adults. She shares the suites with like-minded businesses, such as two aestheticians, a chiropractor and professional hair stylists.


follow url She explains her Salt Therapy
2016sharihartphotographer 15“We are all familiar with salt therapy, whether it’s exfoliation scrubs, smelling salts and more,” she said. “They are good for our veins, we use saline salt in our eyes, we gargle salt, spoon it in our bath, we use Epsom salt. Salt is restorative. Rejuvenating.”

At Third Coast Salt, Arnold has two halogenerators that heat pharmaceutical grade salt, then grind it and disperse into the air. She has both youth and adult rooms for therapy.

The therapy helps the lungs and people with respiratory problems such as allergies, asthma, bronchitis, COPD and other illnesses. But, she stresses it’s meditative and helpful for healthy people eager to renew and restore and meditate.

“You know how you feel when you go to the beach,” she said. “You think it’s the sand and wind, but really it’s the salt from the sea in the air.”

Her “adult” room is 400 square feet with a huge “wow” wall of salt blocks in their natural shape. They set the mood and she can change the color when asked. There are ten leather recliners and plush blankets and reflective music for meditation. All electronics are off, people can read or meditate. It’s a 40-minute session.

2016sharihartphotographer 1There’s also a youth room where children can get therapy with a parent to supervise (free of charge).

“It’s a totally different atmosphere with upbeat music and a salt box for them to play,” Arnold said.

Whitney Simpson is an advocate for the therapy.  Her son Drew was struggling with allergies. He had a long undiagnosed nut allergy.

“This therapy helped with the pressure and pain,” Simpson said.

The grand opening was Aug. 7, when Arnold had an open house and tour, plus gave attendees free smoothies.

Arnold’s dream is for salt therapy to catch on and she hopes to open multiple salt facilities. She’ll soon have a retail element with salt lamps, scrubs and more.

“I’m excited to touch the lives of people,” she said. “I want to touch the heart and soul and make people feel better. This excites me. I’m so grateful and thankful to tell the community about salt therapy.”

Cost is $30 per session, or you can purchase a monthly membership. For the youth room it’s $30 per child and a parent escorts free. Mention Wilson Living during the month of September and purchase one session at full price to get 50% savings on your second visit!

For more information, go to

1283 North Mt. Juliet Road 615.200.6365

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Recipe: Creamy Almond-Coconut Chowder

By Tilly Dillehay

Gluten free, dairy free, low-glycemic, paleo

This chowder is absolutely my favorite soup in the world. I discovered this way of making chowder a few years ago, when I was trying to cut down on dairy in my life, and wanted a healthy lunch to make in large batches and eat throughout the week at the office.

Boy, did this fit the bill! Even now, I often get cravings for this soup, although for some reason it feels most appropriate in the summertime.



  • 1-2 large onions
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 4 ears corn on the cob, baked in the husk until tender
  • 1 lb. raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (or a favorite, cheaper fish like tilapia, salmon, or cod)
  • 4-5 tomatoes on the vine or Romas
  • 1 quart plain unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 can coconut milk, regular or lite (find in the Asian section of grocery store)
  • salt, pepper, and Cajun seasoning (I use Tony’s)



  1. Chop the onion and sauté in the bottom of a large stock pot until just becoming tender. (I love to use my enameled cast iron pot for this, because it’s the only dish I need for the whole cooking process.)
  2. Add the garlic and and the shrimp and sauté together for five minutes or so. Slice the kernels from cobs and add. (Optional: throw in an extra veggie… I put some sliced cabbage in the batch pictured, just because I had it on hand.)
  3. Pour in your can of coconut milk, and about 1/2 to 3/4 your cardboard container of almond milk. You want to just cover your other ingredients with a little extra. Add salt, pepper, and Cajun seasoning to taste. Lightly simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Add your tomatoes and simmer for another five minutes and then turn heat off and cover. Be careful not to overcook because onions and tomatoes both become a little mealy.





Here, I’ve used thawed cod fillets instead of shrimp. I grilled the cod in a separate pan and then flaked and added it at this point.



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I love Juice Bar

Detox and rebuild with the rich nutrition of produce in a cup

follow link By Tilly Dillehay

Photos by Jana Pastors (Kindred Moments Photography)

Beet red. Technicolor orange. Kelly green.

These aren’t paint colors we’re talking about. These are the bright shades you get out of nature, in a glass, when you juice produce.
25575951203_f84838eb8a_zPeople have long been aware of the benefits of juicing. It’s a way of injecting a pure shot of nutrition into our bodies: you can get the nutritive value of several pounds of power-packed vegetables into a single glass. Juice lovers talk about the vitality, energy, weight loss, and immunity benefits that come in these glasses. But if you talk about juicing at any length, you’ll also learn about the time investment. Buying vegetables in bulk, washing, dicing, and running them through a machine—not to mention the initial investment that comes with purchasing a juicer—and many people find that it’s just more of a hassle than they’re willing to commit to.

Historic Mt. Juliet can now help you with that. As of February 1, Mt. Juliet residents can swing by a new neighborhood spot to pick up their veggies freshly juiced and ready to go.

Sitting in the I Love Juice Bar on Mt. Juliet Road, looking around the clean, woodsy interior and sipping on their “Sweet Greens” concoction, I watched the glass doors swing open again and again. A steady stream of health conscious locals were lining up for the smoothies, salads, vegan baked goods, and juice blends.

25573844634_abc43369f1_zThere are two main categories on the juice menu: ‘Greens’ and ‘Roots’. The green options include ingredients like kale, celery, spinach, cucumber, and ginger, and the root options include ingredients like beet, carrot, garlic, and apple. You can mix your own combinations, too. The juice can be purchased in two standard sizes, or you can bring in your own container—jar, growler, whatever—and they’ll fill it up. You’ll pay by the ounce.

Then there’s a menu of smoothies, with another lineup of fresh ingredients in flavorful combinations. The baked goods are purchased from a local small business, and in a display case there is a boxed kale/quinoa salad, a vegan wrap, and a whole raw coconut that can be cracked open in front of you by staff on request.

25575945643_91fd7b40ec_zKeith and Heather Harned opened I Love Juice Bar after becoming fans of the franchise during a chance trip to one of the Nashville area locations. Heather had actually been a McDonald’s franchisee for six years, selling her store in 2006 and serving with a nonprofit until she met and married her best friend and moved to Tennessee. With all of their children grown and out of the home, she and Keith decided it was time to think about a new business opportunity for Heather, and they started looking around.

“So we’d been eating clean for a while already, and really had changed our lifestyle habits,” said Heather. She’s an energetic, positive woman who had to tell me twice that she was 43 before I could believe it. “And I walked into this juice bar, and had an amazing, really exceptional experience. I told Keith about it, came back a few days later and had the same great experience. So I asked he guy behind the counter—‘do you own this place?’ and he said ‘No, but we’re empowered to treat it like we do.’…So we got online, we read about them, we read about their history.”

They began conversations with the founders of the company, John and Vui Hunt, also of Nashville. The franchise began locally in Brentwood, but is now in 13 states. The Hunts recommended that they watch the documentary that inspired them—Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead—about the ways that Americans mistreat their bodies. The documentary also extolled the value of juice cleansing.

26178601155_1dddfd82a1_zHeather and Keith spent a lot of time praying, and entered into several lease negotiations before finding their current fabulous spot on Mt. Juliet Road.  They now have 18 employees, not counting their two industrial juicers, which have been dubbed “Ruby” and “Nancy.”  One is a Ruby brand and the other is a Nutrifaster, and they both are used for specific ingredients, based on their individual strengths.

Juicing and juice cleanses are the cornerstone of what I Love Juice Bar offers to customers.

There are three main juice cleanse options: The “Essential Cleanse” includes six jars of green and root juices—one “Orange You Glad,” two “Sweet Greens,” one “We Got the Beet,” one “Ginger Greens,” and one “Fresh Greens”. For the length of the cleanse (1-3 days is most normal), cleanse participants drink a full glass of liquid every hour—alternating between the juices provided, and water. The “Juice to Dinner” includes many of the same juices as the Essential, and involves the same liquids regimen throughout the day, but a kale/quinoa salad is provided to finish the day on. The “Core Cleanse” is perhaps the most advanced option of the three—heavy on greener juice with less fruit juice to sweeten things up, and a coconut/hemp/probiotics drink to finish the day on.
26112246651_6c3c4497f3_z“We do a really good job of making every juice consistent,” says Heather. “It’s a team effort; every time we finish a juice, two or three people have to taste it. Because what I taste strong may not be what you taste strong, and vice versa. So our people almost become juice sommeliers, like a wine sommelier. We get every level of flavor. So the ginger isn’t too hot, so it’s not too earthy with the beets, or it’s not too strong with the kale or spinach… we really want to know that every time a customer comes in for the Sweet Green, they’re getting the same juice. And that is such a good team building opportunity… That’s why everyone in here seems so engaged; it’s because they’re really taking ownership of the product we put out.”

Readers are invited to come and do a juice tour at the bar, where they’ll get to sample the top four juices and get information about the ingredients. I Love Juice Bar is located at 2726 N. Mount Juliet Road. Check them out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.




Cleanse 101 With Heather Harned


26178604485_8184605cdc_zWhy Should I Cleanse?

The goal of cleansing is to flood your body with nutrients. Nutrients allow your blood, liver, and organs to clean themselves. It allows them to rest and rejuvenate. It will also aid in any nutrient deficiencies and ease the constant craving for the “next food” you are going to feed it. This craving is usually exaggerated by a trigger food like sugar, gluten, soy, salt, etc. Eliminating those triggers during a cleanse helps take the cravings away. It also helps your digestive tract in that it does not have to work so hard yet still gets nourishment.


How Often Should I Cleanse?

This is very much dependent on the individual. If someone is super toxic with eating a primarily processed food diet, perhaps once per month, according to Sarah Moore, I Love Juice Bar nutrition specialist. Some people do cleanses once a quarter, once a year, or just when they are ready for an overall feeling of wellness.  It is common for folks to do a one to three day cleanse, with some doing seven or more days. It is all about a person’s own journey, and what they are attempting to treat or uncover during the process.


26112256111_c263e6c1fd_z (1)How Should I Feel On a Cleanse?

Every person is different. Depending on the length of the cleanse, clients have reported increased alertness, higher levels of energy, “rested” feelings, increased clarity of thought, and sensations of overall well-being.


What Types of Cleanses are Available?

We have three cleanses available: Juice To Dinner, Essential Cleanse, and The Core Cleanse. See more information at


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kicking it up a notch

Taekwondo kids get serious about their favorite sport

Story by Ken Beck

Photos by Jana Pastors (Kindred Moments Photography)


It’s midafternoon Thursday at Success Martial Arts studio on the west side of Lebanon, and in a big room carpeted with blue and black mats, three barefooted youngsters make like whirling dervishes.

Lebanon’s Jacob Besse, 14, the Pro-Am RSKC 13-under Black Belt CMX champion for 2015, prepares to spring into action with kamas. “You’ve got to psych yourself up and zero in and focus on what you’re doing,” he says of NASKA events.” Photo submitted

Thirteen-year-old Dawson Holt twists and turns his body while he slashes, thrusts, jabs and twirls a shiny (and dull) sword through the air.

Averi Presley, 8, twists and spins nimbly as she brandishes a 3-foot-long bo stick, a martial-arts weapon that resembles a pool cue.

Standing and then from his knees, Jacob Besse, 14, grips kamas, similar to a scythe, and chops, punches and makes rapid seven-cuts in the space before him.

The trio makes up three of the seven youngsters on the Lebanon-based Competitive Edge where the average age is 11½, but when it comes to their maturity level, well, take it up a bit.

The squad competes in NASKA (the North American Sport Karate Association), and four of the youths claim Middle Tennessee as their home. Every member is ranked No. 1 in multiple categories in their region, and each is among the top 10 for their age group in the nation.

Youngest member Averi is already a grand champion. She began taking martial arts classes at age 4, but with three elder brothers immersed in the action, she confesses she really had no choice but to follow in their path.

“The more I did it, I liked it,” grinned Averi, a second-grader, who trains 10 hours a week and cannot stand to miss or be late for a class. “My brothers are a little bit tough on me sometimes but not that much.”

Her brothers, Reid, 20, Cole, 17, and Jake, 13, along with Jackson Rudolph, 17, of Paducah, Ky., and Jason Warren, who co-owns Success Martial Arts Center, coach the squad of youth black belt competitors. For the most part they practice Taekwondo, a Korean martial art that emphasizes high kicks, jumping and spinning kicks and fast kicking techniques.

Coaches and members of Lebanon’s Competitive Edge, which competes in the North American Sport Karate Association, include, clockwise from bottom left, Averi Presley, Dawson Holt, Jason Warren, Jacob Besse, Reid Presley, Jake Presley, Zach McBroom and Cole Presley. The two giant trophies are Warrior Cups that Reid and Jake won at the 2014 AKA Grand National in Chicago. The gold belt is the U.S. Open World Championship belt for synchronized weapons that Reid and Cole won in Orlando, Fla., in 2014.

The Presley brothers have trained in competitive martial arts since they were tots and have received worldwide recognition for their multiple skills. Displayed in the studio are the Warrior Cups that Reid and Jake won on the same day at the 2014 AKA Grand National in Chicago.

Averi, who most enjoys flipping, an extremely creative category that combines gymnastics and martial arts, takes her lessons from Warren. She entered her first national event in St. Paul, Minn., late last year and confesses, “I was a little nervous. I loved it. I wanted to keep doing it. My goal is to be on stage at a bigger tournament.”

Her teammate, Zach McBroom, 11, a fifth-grader at Browns Chapel Elementary in Murfreesboro, entered the sport at 7 and last year was the triple-crown winner in the Pro-Am RSKC Circuit for forms, weapons and creative musical extreme.

“I was nervous but once it was all over it wasn’t that scary,” recalled Zach, who said he got into the sport because, “I liked superheroes and the Karate Kid and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I wanted to be like them.

“I like that that it’s a different sport than football, basketball, baseball and soccer,” said the athlete, who found wonderful fringe benefits in the sport. He met his current best friend, who lives in Jonesboro, Ark., at a tournament.

Competitive Edge team member Zach McBroom, 11, of Murfreesboro, shows his stuff with the bo stick. The triple-crown winner in the Pro-Am RSKC Circuit for forms, weapons and creative musical extreme began taking Taekwondo because he wanted to be like the Karate Kid and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Photo submitted

Zach’s mother, Kristen McBroom, echoes the idea that there are even more rewards to be gained from the regimen. “He was real shy before and reserved, and the competition has given him self-confidence and built respect for others.”

The North American Sport Karate Association is a world martial arts tournament circuit that holds 13 competitions a year. The contests feature athletes competing in traditional forms, fighting and weapons, which include the bo staff, double bo, sword and kamas.

Jacob and Dawson, like Averi, live in Lebanon. Rounding out the team are NASKA National Champion Rebecca Hammond, 8, of Marion, S.C.; first-degree black belt Duncan Lowry, 15, of Loganville, Ga.; and NASKA national champion Esteban Tremblay, 10, of Blainville, Quebec, Canada. Most of the youngsters are home schooled.

The Competitive Edge formed last October, and at the AKA Warrior Cup in Chicago, their first competition with every member together as a team, they proved formidable. Four of the seven qualified for the grand championships in which they competed against all the black belt winners from the other under-18 divisions. Lowry went to the grand championship final show to compete on stage for the ultimate prize—the Warrior Cup.

These three blocks are on view for the young athletes at Success Martial Arts. Coach Jason Warren says that “strength and respect are characteristics that demonstrate the heart and attitude of a martial artist and competitor. The athletes’ journey is a path that doesn’t stop as they continue preparing and training to overcome the mental and physical barriers before them.”

“NASKA is a national circuit for world class athletes,” said Success Martial Arts chief instructor Warren. “These tournaments are the most competitive you’re gonna find. Most of them bring anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 or more, from ages 4 and up. The largest is the U.S. Open, held in Orlando, Fla., which might have competitors from 40 different countries.

“This has turned what’s been considered an art into a sport. We put emphasis on Taekwondo but also teach tumbling, boxing. We’re not a traditional Taekwondo studio, which probably makes our kids a little more unique.”

He began instructing Reid and Cole when they were 5 and 3, respectively.

“They’re world-champion level and now have started helping other people with their training to take them to another level,” Warren said. “The goal of the team is to take up and comers who have a bright future and focus and who won’t quit and help get these kids to that next level.”

“It’s easier to work with this age group. They’re easier motivated,” added Reid, a sophomore business major at Cumberland University, who has been the driving force in the innovation of the double bo and travels around the world teaching and performing this style of weaponry.

“They bring heart and work ethic,” said Cole, whose passion is creating and innovating new techniques with a variety of weapons. “They want to be successful as much as they want to breathe. I kind of like seeing where they go with it and what they can do with what I give them. My goal, no matter what happens, is that they’re having fun and enjoying themselves.”

Meanwhile, seventh-grader Jake, who is a third-degree black belt in Taekwondo and has an ISKA and NASKA world championship like his brothers, said, “I kind of help out and work out with them and train a little like a junior coach.”

This year the Competitive Edge will compete in seven to eight national events and that many more regional competitions. Next up is the Gator Nationals May 7 in Tampa, Fla., followed by tournaments in Atlanta in June and Orlando in July.

Training costs and traveling expenses to tournaments are not cheap.

Said Warren, “This is an expensive financial burden for a lot of these families. We have to be selective. Food, travel, hotels and tournament fees can run $1,000 for a parent and child.”

Jacob, who was named the Pro-Am RSKC 13-under Black Belt CMX champion for 2015, described the experience of a big contest.

“Before you go on you always have butterflies and are nervous. It’s extremely busy and loud with thousands of people in one room. You’ve got to psych yourself up and zero in and focus on what you’re doing,” said Jacob, whose best event is either traditional weapons sword or creative weapons.

Already a grand champion at the age of 8, Lebanon’s Averi Presley strikes a pose at Success Martial Arts. She entered her first NASKA tournament less than a year ago in St. Paul, Minn., and recalled of the experience, “I was a little nervous. I loved it. I wanted to keep doing it.”

“I started when I was 5. I wanted to be like my big brother who was doing martial arts,” he said of his entry into the sport.

While the sacrifices on Jacob and his family are great, he said the benefits include the camaraderie with his team, the martial-arts friendships he has made with athletes in 25 states and the fact that “you can carry on for as long as you like; well, probably at 80 you can’t do as much stuff.”

Jacob’s mother, Mary Besse, an instructor at Success Martial Arts who has a black belt, said, “This is so good for him. The discipline involved is outstanding. It centers children. My boys’ work ethic has improved tremendously and has helped with communicative skills and confidence. Competing matures them in a way I don’t think anything else would.”

Sixth-grader Dawson, who is a 2015 NASKA World Top 10 for fighting, forms and weapons in the 10-11 year old black belt division, favors the flipping and sword in traditional form.

He said, “The payoff for me is probably self-defense. The sport is all about self-defense.”
His mother, Christy, noted, “In the second grade he was getting bullied in school. We didn’t bring him here to learn to fight back but for self-confidence, and he carries his head up high now.”

26108869931_5c59f40b4b_z“We really want to get these seven established,” said Warren. “We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves and get the team too big. They all have the goal of becoming the best in the world.

“When you have a team, it’s like a family. We’re really close. But even when you have a team, the other teams, your rivals, pull for you. It’s a sport that builds one another up. That has a lot to say about the discipline of martial arts. When they’re done, they’re high fiving and hugging.”

Not a bad way for kids to get their kicks.

Success Martial Arts

Success Martial Arts offers martial arts classes for ages 4 and up as well as fitness classes and private training. Classes run late afternoon through evening Monday-Thursday. Address: 1443 Baddour Parkway. Phone: (615) 443-4783. Web site:

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Lebanon Animal Hospital

Welcoming pets into a no fear zone

By Sue Siens

Photos by Kindred Moments Photography

Lebanon Animal Hospital has a long history of loving and caring for small animals, with primary treatment for dogs and cats.  Founded in 1971 by Dr. Jim Hundley, the practice was purchased by Dr. Allen Craig and Dr. Amanda dsc00708_23172354802_oWesson in 2014.  Located at 1613 West Main Street, the clinic was renovated to enhance the treatment and care of our pets.  The hospital features separate dog and cat lobbies (to lessen kitty’s stress and anxiety), with new treatment, surgery and dental care areas. Dr. Craig, Dr. Wesson, and Dr. Kelley Brown, who joined the practice in July, 2015, and their wonderful employees, recognize that visiting the doctor can be scary for our pets (just like it can be for people).  This team of professionals aims to provide an inviting and comfortable experience for our cats and dogs, and the highest level of treatment and care available.

Their promises to pet owners and their pets are:

  • We will evaluate each individual pet’s stress level.
  • We will assess each patient for pain at every visit.
  • We will be mindful of anxiety triggers within the hospital.
  • We will use appropriate fear-free techniques individualized for your pet.
  • We will use appropriate drug therapy to maintain the safety and well-being of the patient, owner, and staff.
  • We will continually strive to improve the emotional health of your pet at each visit.

One way to create a no fear zone for your pet is to start bringing them to the animal hospital as soon as possible.  Dr. Craig explained, “Our goal is to provide life-long care for your pets.  When pets are brought in young, as puppies and kittens, and then come regularly for veterinary care, they become accustomed to the visits.  They know they are safe, and have less fear and anxiety about coming to see us.  We also send information packets home with tips for pet owners to help them know how to care for their puppies and kittens.”

dsc00661_22653527553_oDr. Craig recommends twice-a-year wellness checks for all dogs and cats.  He said, “We emphasize preventative care, so our pet patients have the healthiest and longest lives possible.  Owners no longer bring their pets in only for vaccinations, but also for overall health screening.”

Dr. Craig noted that regular dental exams along with periodic cleanings and dental x-rays are also very important. This is what we expect for ourselves and it makes a huge difference in the pet’s life.  Regular visits and preventative healthcare are particularly important for our senior pets, age 7 and older.  “Identifying and treating problems early, and ensuring comfort and pain relief for older pets will give them a longer and happier life,” he said.

For our feline pets, the animal hospital takes extra care to help cats feel safe and comfortable.  Dr. Wesson said, “The kitties have their own private lobby, so they aren’t scared by barking dogs.  We use mats on the exam tables so they have something to grip, and we spray a safe hormone in the air, that only cats can detect, which has a calming effect for most cats.”  When pet owners have an appointment to bring their cat in for a visit, they can come by ahead of time and pick up a packet of the calming hormone, to wipe inside their kitty’s pet carrier.  For most of the cats, it soothes and calms them for the trip to the vet.

dsc00744_22912660129_oLebanon Animal Hospital provides the full range of pet healthcare services including diagnostic blood and urine testing, digital x-rays, ultrasound, endoscopy and digital dental x-rays for their teeth.  They also perform laser surgery, dental treatments and complex oral surgery.  They can also assist with behavioral issues, nutrition assessments, pain management, and boarding for pets needing ongoing medical care.

To ensure compliance with the highest standards in pet care, Lebanon Animal Hospital is voluntarily accredited with the American Animal Hospital Association.  They are currently the only facility with this accreditation in Lebanon.  AAHA has stringent quality standards for all aspects of pet care, in nearly 1,000 different areas of quality of care and operation of the animal hospital.  According to the AAHA, only about 12% of veterinary clinics in the U.S. are accredited.

Meet the Doctors

Dr. Allen Craig, Dr. Amanda Wesson, and Dr. Kelley Brown, have dedicated their lives to excellent and loving care and treatment of small animals.  All three of the veterinarians at Lebanon Animal Hospital received their Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of TN.

dsc00684_23172386082_oDr. Allen Craig began working at Lebanon Animal Hospital immediately after graduating from UT in 1999.  He purchased the animal hospital in 2012.  Dr. Craig and his wife Valerie live in Mount Juliet, with three children, and pets Daisy, a Walker Coon Hound, cats Captain Cuddles and Max, and three water turtles.  Dr. Craig enjoys family time, gardening, and playing tennis.  He is also an alumnus of Leadership Wilson.

Dr. Amanda Wesson is a native of Smith County, TN.  She began working at Lebanon Animal Hospital in 2007, and became an owner of the animal hospital in 2014.  Dr. Wesson and her husband Anthony have a daughter named Autumn, a dog named Cricket, and a cat named Festus.  Her hobbies are spending time with family, church, and cycling.

L-R: Dr. Wesson, Dr. Craig, and Dr. Brown

Dr. Kelley Brown joined the team at Lebanon Animal Hospital in July, 2015.  She and her boyfriend Nathaniel reside in Hendersonville.  Dr. Brown has a dog named Cade, and two cats, Alli and Layla.  In addition to working at LAH, she is an emergency vet for Nashville Pet Emergency Center.

Drs. Craig, Wesson, and Brown regularly answer pet questions for our Wilson Living Magazine readers.  To submit a question that may be featured in an upcoming issue, send them to:

For more information about Lebanon Animal Hospital and their pet care services, visit their website at, or call (615) 444-4422.

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House Rules

Fellowship House, a halfway house and recovery program in Lebanon, prepares for a major fundraiser after 26 years of turning lives around

By Laurie Everett

Photos by Autumn McDowell Photography


To look at Justin Hodges you would never guess he was on the brink eight years ago. He was living out of his car, drinking whatever booze he could get his hands on 24/7, and did not have a friend in this world.

He was broken, beaten down and knew he was going to die.

For three years running, Lebanon resident Justin Hodges has qualified in his weight class in the Mr. Tennessee body building contest. Eight years ago he hit rock bottom, but with the help of Fellowship House found recovery from alcoholism (submitted photo).

Sooner – rather than later.

“I guess I was already dead really,” Justin, 36, recalled. “I had no life. Nobody wanted to be around me. I was lonely, sad and miserable.”

Somehow – he said it was divine intervention – after some time in jail for a DUI, he made his way to a nondescript little house tucked in Lebanon, Tenn.

And while Fellowship House doesn’t necessarily stand out superficially, within its walls some major transformations take place, like Justin’s.  The people here save lives.

Some, like Director Kris Warmath, have been there, done that. He knows what it’s like to be an addict, and knows the joy of recovery.  He and others reach deep down and pull people like Justin from the abyss, helping to guide, restore and support them so they can live full lives free from alcohol and drugs.

Justin was one of those lost souls eight years ago. But things have been different for a while now. Just recently, he won his weight class and qualified for the finals in the Mr. Tennessee bodybuilding contest. Actually, three years running he’s reached this almost surreal pinnacle.

Talk about a transformation.

He attributes his heIMG_8895althy physique, spirit and mind to Fellowship House.

“Living at Fellowship House for a year helped save my life and I was able to get closer to God,” he said. “For the first time in a long time there were people who actually cared about me. They told me I was special. They taught me how to get by day by day. If not for that place, I swear, I would not be here.”

It hasn’t been an especially easy ride to his current success, but it’s been steady. He’s sober eight years.

“Feb. 15, 6:30 a.m.,” he’s quick to note.

Justin still attends weekly meetings at Fellowship House and mentors those who are where he was eight years ago.

“It was an act of God I found this place,” Justin said. “Now I have over 100 close friends, a good job and my own place.”


In the beginning


Ralph Denny, along with Eddie Evins, helped found Fellowship House (submitted photo).

Lebanon attorney Gloria Jean Evins is very aware of Fellowship House. Her husband, the late Eddie Evins of Cracker Barrel fame, was instrumental in the start of Fellowship House.

“He was in recovery,” recalled Gloria. “We were married and involved in the initial Bible class.”

The first Sunday in January 1989, a group of twelve met for the first time in a house on East Spring Street for a Bible class. Eddie attended as well. The group called itself the Community Bible Class.

Former (now part time) College Street Church of Christ Pastor Larry Locke explained that the church began as an “offsite” Bible class for those perhaps intimidated by a church setting.

“It was an outreach,” he said. “When I was involved it started with twelve people. Many had backgrounds, and tough experiences and addictions. We also needed a place for the local AA groups to meet.”

After meeting on East Spring Street several months, the house sold and the group initially rented the house at 206 S. College Street. It was then that Eddie rounded up some contributions from family members and friends. They gave $2,500 for a down payment on the house and started renovations.

On April 24, 1992, the College Street Fellowship House was turned into a 501-C-3. Since that time Fellowship House has been used as a “half-way house” for those in recovery from additions to alcohol and other drugs. Four men can live in the house, and along with daily Bible studies, 22 recovery meetings are held each week, said Gloria.

“Those who have struggled with addictions attend the meetings to talk about their struggles,” she said.


You never have to be alone again


Kris, the director, became sober Feb. 2, 1989.

“I had a 25-year drinking career,” he said quietly. “Everyday I told myself I was going to quit tomorrow. At first I had some good times. Then there were no good times.”

He started to drink “full time” at 15 years old in France.

“I realized it was a problem at age 19,” he said. “I spent 20 more years hurting a lot of people, including myself. It was an escape. I didn’t want to deal with life and hid behind a bottle.”

And while he was a “functional drunk,” – didn’t miss a mortgage payment or a bill – he was miserable.  Finally, he went cold sober and found his way to Fellowship.  He went to Bible class, and, simply, found the “the power of the Lord.”

The house was so instrumental to Kris that in 2002 he started directing the activities there. He collects rents, performs periodic drug tests, leads classes and encourages those who live there, and those who drop by to visit.


The basics

A modest rent is charged to those who come to live just out of treatment or jail. They have access to a kitchen, living room, shower and their own bed. They are required to attend daily recovery meetings, stay clean and sober, and get a job. Kris explained residents can’t spend the night away for 90 days and must be back at 10 p.m. weeknights, and midnight weekends.

There are now two houses, one at 206 S. College Street with three beds and one at 205 East Spring Street where there are eight beds.

“Some may live here a few weeks, and some several months,” Kris said. “Justin lived here a year.”

Fellowship House Director Kris, who has been sober since 1989, still enjoys his coffee.

“When I came to the Fellowship House I was just out of the hospital,” said Chuck K. “I had been trying to get sober since 1983. With the help of morning Bible Studies and the Sunday Community Bible Study I’ve been able to find God in a recovery program and find a way to stay sober.”

Kris said Justin is one of his favorite success stories.

Fellowship House is now separate from College Street Church of Christ.



A huge fundraiser is slated for Thursday, Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. at the Wilson County Fairgrounds. Kris said it’s in the East Building where for a $25 donation people can get a plate of catfish, slaw and “taters.”

People are encouraged to drop by the House during the day to get a cup of coffee, visit and share with one another.

“It’s a place of refuge where people feel acceptance, rather than judgment,” said Kris.

Justin said he’ll be at the fundraiser.  People say he’s a “poster child” for Fellowship and an example of how anyone can turn themselves around from within the walls of a place founded by locals who wanted to make a difference.

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Rainbows Guides Children Through Life’s Storms

By Sue Siens

 “Mother Teresa once said, ‘If you can’t do great things, do little things with great love,’ and that is what this program is doing.”- Brenda Gill, Rainbows Volunteer Coordinator

When a family experiences death, divorce, or other traumatic loss, the central focus is often on the adults involved, but the children in the family are profoundly affected too.  Often because of their age and limited life experiences, they find it difficult to express their feelings of grief.

Lebanon resident Brenda Gill established the local Rainbows children’s grief support group here in Wilson County, to help them express their feelings, and work through their painful experiences. Brenda is assisted by David Hesson, First United Methodist Church associate pastor, and Teresa LaFevor, director of children’s ministry, and several trained volunteer facilitators. Brenda serves as the volunteer coordinator. She helps facilitators get trained, orders materials, sets the schedule, and spreads the word in the community.

The 12-week Rainbows program is free of charge, and not affiliated with a specific religious group.  It is divided into four age groups, for ages 5-6, 7-8, 9-11 and 12-14, and covers 18 topics, including self-esteem, trust, family issues, anger, moving forward, etc.

Brenda Gill

Gill said, “The outreach for this program has been a blessing in my life. The Rainbows program is to help children cope with grief, but a satellite group of adults has also formed. The bravery and spirit of parents, grandparents, and guardians have helped me to appreciate people trying to hold a family together in a crisis. Every parent is struggling to protect their child, affirm his feelings, and allow grief to surface and not destroy. We have laughed, shared, talked, and cried in the adult group and I have prayed for all.”


Brenda expressed her gratitude for the volunteer facilitators, adding, “The facilitators are dedicated ladies who I really admire. They give time and love and effort each week to these kids. It takes a lot of planning and praying for the program to work.” The volunteer facilitators are Nancy Polley, Marty Young, Pam Tate, Cori Bradley, Melissa Dabbs, Kay Turner, and Pauline Satterfield.

Pauline Satterfield, a volunteer facilitator, said, “I absolutely love helping these children deal with their grief issues, to let them understand they are not alone and that things will get better. Having gone through divorce myself, I wish a program like this had been available to help my own children. Rainbows help the children have a smoother transition through the process.”

The local Rainbows group is part of an international mission to help children who have experienced death, divorce, separation due to military deployment, or other significant loss.  The organization was formed by Suzy Yehl Marta, a divorced mother of three boys, who in the mid-1970’s searched unsuccessfully for a support group for her own children. She and other parents worked on a curriculum to help children share their feelings of grief and loss, and Rainbows for All Children was formed in the 1980’s. Today, the 32 yr. old program is in 16 countries and serves more than 3 million youth. The organization’s Executive Director and CEO, Bob Thomas, noted on Rainbows website that “more than 40 million children in the U.S. will experience the pain of death or divorce this year.”

When Myra (“Mike”) Willey’s husband died in 2013, Brenda Gill recommended the Rainbows program for their three grandsons. “I had a wonderful experience with the program during its first year and was so thankful that it was available,” said Mike. “My husband had died that summer and my grandsons were very close to him. They seemed to handle his death fairly well, but that same summer also lost a great grandmother.”

After hearing more about the purpose and programs, Mike asked her grandsons if they would like to try it. “They were curious but not too sure,” she said. “After the first session they were sold! They found the leaders very kind and enjoyed the entire experience. They also learned a lot from other group members about grief issues. From then on they were excited to attend each session and didn’t want to miss any.”

“I can’t recommend it enough to anyone who experiences a loss in his or her family,” Willey said. One never knows truly what these children are thinking, and this is such a terrific way to let them learn to deal with grief in a secure and caring environment.”

Rainbows is enrolling for the upcoming sessions, which begin Aug. 25 through Nov. 24, 2015. The sessions are held on Tues. evening, 6:30 p.m., in the Spain House, 415 W. Main Street in Lebanon.  For more information about enrollment and the program, call Brenda Gill at (615) 306-0441 or (615) 444-7321; or David Hesson and Teresa LaFevor at First United Methodist Church, (615) 444-3315.

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