this is how we live

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


By Tilly Dillehay

Photos by Autumn McDowell


Nothing is wasted.

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

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

[slideshow_deploy id=’10444′]


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information on products or to sign up for a class, visit

Share This:

The Bee Team

Wilson County beekeepers pass along the art to another generation


By Tilly Dillehay

Photos by Heather Graviss Photography


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

Meet The Bee Team.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Share This:

fill your basket

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


By Laurie Everett

Photos by Jeremy Polzel


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

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

She has a mission.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To learn more, email or call 615.693.2519.


Share This:

Wedding Ready Fitness

By Summer Vantrees

Photography by Jana Pastors, Kindred Moments Photography

Whether you’re the bride, a bridesmaid, or a happy friend, you certainly want to feel and look your best. To help shed a few pounds or tone in the right places, here are a few fitness tips to help your arms, thighs, and core, all depending on your fitness level and what you have access to at home.


No Equipment:

Nothing is simpler for improving your arms than push-ups. If traditional push-ups are too much, modify by being on your knees rather than toes. Aim for 100, broken into 10 rep sets sprinkled throughout your day.  If you can do more than 10 at a time, go for it!

Some Equipment:

Using a medicine or stability ball for your push-ups will add to the benefit of the exercise. Try putting your feet on the ball and using the incline as an added challenge. Another option is to place your hands on the ball and do your push-ups into it, rather than into the ground.

Full Equipment:

Rather than being restricted to push-ups for arm toning, you can move to pull-ups. If a strict pull-up is too challenging, add a band to the bar to help lift you. Another modification is to add a box under the bar, from which you can jump. With 100 reps three times a week, not only will your arms see a change, but so will your shoulders and back, which is perfect for sleeveless attire.

 fitness 3


No equipment:

Try an air squat. Be sure not to allow your knees to cross over your toes. Get a timer and set it for 3 minutes. In that time, perform as many air squats as possible. As endurance improves, bump up the time.

Some Equipment:

If you have a weightlifting plate or a kettle bell, hold one as you perform lunges. Weighted lunges provide double the impact of a traditional lunge. Hug the weight close to chest and step forward with one leg, while the other knee bends to touch the ground.  As you work, be sure to alternate the lead leg after each rep. Start with 3 rounds of 10 and build up, as able.

Full Equipment:

Front squats with a barbell are a great option for toning your thighs.  For this particular exercise, form is key, so do not attempt to overdo it with weight. Start light and use no weight on the bar, adding as able when strength increases. Try completing 4 rounds of 8, with as much rest between as needed.


No Equipment:

It doesn’t get more basic than the sit-up. Make sure when completing a sit-up that you do not put your hands behind your neck and pull your head forward, for this can cause injury. Always keep your hands crossed in front. Beginners should make a target of 3 reps of 15-20 sit ups, twice a day.

fitness 2

Some Equipment:

Bring back the medicine ball or weighted plate and follow the no equipment plan. If the reps are easy, add a pause midway, holding your abdominal muscles tight while gripping the weight at your chest or keeping the medicine ball above your head. This small moment of being still will amplify the impact of the exercise.

Full Equipment:

An overhead squat is one of the most challenging weightlifting moves, but its difficulty comes paired with big results. When performing an overhead squat, you always want to be confident in your lifting ability. In doing this exercise, thrust the bar overhead, arms spaced at least shoulder width apart. With a steady back and engaged core, squat. So as many reps as able, aiming to end before form is compromised. Rest and repeat.

As with any fitness regimen, if you feel uncomfortable or uncertain of any movements, seek more knowledge from a professional. With some dedication, you will be wedding ready soon!

Share This:


Turning Back Time


2015 resolutions are a ‘cinch’ with help from the Skin Care Clinic

By Tilly Dillehay

Photos by Jana Pastors and Donna Neely


The calendar just made that fateful flip again. It’s 2015—a new year. There’s a spirit of brazen optimism that infects us all in January, and it makes us want to stop the clock for just a moment… or better yet, turn it back.

So we start to make resolutions. Lose weight, quit smoking, spend more time with family…

Well, why not? Why not use this year as an excuse to take some bull by the horns that you’ve never conquered before? All you have to do is pick your bull.

For the ladies at the Skin Care Clinic in Lebanon, there’s no need to pick a bull. The bull is so obvious. You carry it around with you everywhere: your body. The ladies of SCC just ask the obvious question: Shouldn’t you do whatever you can to ensure that you’re living in the best and healthiest version of your physical self?

They’re not asking you to figure it out alone, either. Facilities like SCC offer a wide range of non-invasive treatments for everything from fine lines to weight gain to overactive armpits (yes, really). In the case of SCC, they do it all under the oversight of a board-certified physician—Dr. Kay Mitchell.

So what would a 2015 makeover look like for you? Here are just a few of the possibilities.

Weight Loss Treatment

SCC offers personalized weight loss programs. Owner Shirley Lowe is in charge of these individualized plans, and spends one-on-one time with each client, working with them to overcome their specific struggles. Some of them are aided by natural, injectable weight loss products (such as B-12 or Fat Burner), and others do things entirely with lifestyle changes.

“Each weight loss program is based on the person’s needs. It’s not a diet—that’s the first mistake,” says Lowe. “It’s a lifestyle change. It’s like anything you do, like walking with Christ. It’s a day to day challenge, and you have to wake up and take another step every day.

“Our goal is to help our client to change the way they look at themselves, and give them the tools to change their life for the better.”


What is it? It is a non-surgical injection, designed to reduce fine lines and wrinkles by producing volume and fullness.

At SCC, it is one of three treatments offered by RN Julie Wheeler, who also does the Botox and administers the laser treatments.

What are the benefits? Here’s the short version:

·         Results are immediate

·         Results are smooth and natural

·         No down time

·         Can last up to 1-2 years, depending on type of Juvederm product used


Botox is sort of a wonder product. Famous among the general population for its use (and overuse) among the stars of Hollywood, Botox is generally administered to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. But it can also do a few other wondrous deeds that you probably didn’t know about: give the appearance of fuller lips, ease migraine headaches, and even reduce underarm sweat.

“It is highly addictive because the results are so phenomenal,” SCC’s Julie Wheeler recently told Sabrina Garrett at the Wilson Post. “Not only do you get rid of the wrinkles and crinkles, but skin-wise you get a lifted and more youthful appearance.”

Botox, according to Wheeler, is a “natural, purified protein.” Although the name is short for botulinum toxin, it is not actually toxic. It is an agent that relaxes muscles—and by this means, wrinkles can be not only corrected, but prevented.

Wheeler conducts consultations with her clients at SCC and then gives her opinion, and discusses the units of Botox needed. She calls herself “a conservative injector.”

Areas that can be injected include the forehead, between the eyes, crow’s feet, chin, around the mouth, and the armpits (for excessive sweating).


·         Non-surgical

·         Effective anti-aging

·         Can help delay need for facial cosmetic surgery

·         Can help with migraine headaches

·         Gives youthful, more rested appearance

·         Procedure takes just a few minutes with no down time

·         Results within 3-7 days

Frequency: Allergan, the company that distributes Botox, recommends that injections be performed every three months.

Laser Treatments

SCC also offers laser treatments, administered by Julie Wheeler. A free consultation is needed prior to these treatments being administered. Available treatments:

·         Laser Hair Removal (lip, chin, underarms, bikini, face, legs)

·         Laser Skin Tightening (face and/or neck)

·         Brown Sports/Freckles

·         Leg Vein Treatment

·         Stretch Marks

·         Facial Redness/Veins

·         Acne Scars

Eclipse Micropen (Collagen Induction Therapy)

What is it? Micro Needling is a non-invasive procedure involving hundreds of microscopic pinpricks to the face, with an automated device called a Micropen. Sounds intimidating, but most clients only report feeling a “prickly vibration,” says Marisue Stalker with SCC.

Clients can also go back to their daily routines without interruption, although “they may look slightly swollen, and have some redness as if they had a slight sunburn,” she said.

How does it work? The 45-min procedure stimulates natural collagen production in a person’s skin. After thoroughly cleansing the face and applying a substance that cuts down on sensitivity, Stalker works her way over the entire area with the Micropen, which has 12 microscopic needles.

Complete results take six weeks, but during that time, the tiny invisible pricks heal, stimulating collagen production… and making skin soft, springy, and clear.

For optimum results, many clients do four treatments, spaced six weeks apart. Stalker insists that not everyone needs this many treatments, however: “Consultations are recommended to determine treatment schedule,” she says.

Dermaplaning, Microdermabrasion, Facials

What is Dermaplaning? An exfoliation treatment, also administered by Marisue Stalker. She describes it this way:

“A scalpel is used to gently scrape the face to remove hair and dead skin, leaving the face smooth and soft.”

What is Microdermabrasion? A resurfacing procedure with an implement that sort of ‘sands’ the face.

“It is painless,” says Stalker, “and produces best results with multi treatments, or in combination with other treatments and good at-home skin care.”

SCC also offers a variety of facials and chemical peels, as well as permanent makeup and waxing services.

Massage Therapy

Massage is not something you’d usually think of as a way to ‘turn back time’, but SCC’s in-house massage therapist Angela Wilsdorf begs to differ.

“I have found that my clients find an amazing sense of balance, heightened well-being and overall euphoria when they receive massage on a regular basis,” says Wilsdorf. “I specialize in 90-minute deep tissue massages which accomplish two goals: eliminating knots and stressed muscles while bringing total body into a complete relaxed state.”

Wilsdorf offers deep-tissue Swedish massage, Thai foot massage, Sui-Thai massage, chair massage, and prenatal massage.

Her table can be reserved for an in-home or SCC office session, or special occasion by calling 615-948-6270.

To schedule:

Receptionist Laura Reasonover is the “hub” at Skin Care Clinic, according to owner Shirley Lowe. “She is the one who keeps everything running smoothly,” says Lowe. “As far as I’m concerned, who you have at the front desk makes or breaks a business.”

The Skin Care Clinic is located at 1322 W. Main Street, Lebanon. To book a session or discuss services, talk to Laura at 615-449-3009.

Share This:

America, an Exceptional Nation

By Roy W Harris

If asked what one thing crosses all walks of life and is essential to the success of every endeavor, what one thing would you choose? Some might choose the great inventions of mankind such as the wheel, electricity, the computer etc. Others might choose philosophy and the compiled knowledge and wisdom of mankind gained over thousands of years. Still others might choose great strides gained through medical discovery and the remedy of certain diseases, which plagued mankind since his beginning. All of the above are important and all have one thing in common. That one thing? They are successful because they were built on strong foundations. Foundations are crucial in every walk of life.

The term American Exceptionalism is not new, but in recent days has become the topic of renewed discussion and debate. Ian Tyrrell in his blog defines American Exceptionalism as the special character of the United States as a uniquely free nation based upon democratic ideals and personal liberty. Is America really an exceptional nation? I believe she is. 

Why is America an exceptional nation? 

There are many reasons we could allude to, but all flow from one tremendously important one, America’s foundation. America’s solid foundation consists of three great pillars upon which America was conceived, constructed, and continues to this day.

The first pillar of America’s foundation is the Declaration of Independence, adopted in Congress on July 4, 1776.

Declaration of Independence  When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be selfevident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Our founding fathers believed that God endows all men equally with specific rights. The belief in these rights guided our founding fathers in the creation of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of United States, and the Bill of Rights. 

The Declaration of Independence spells out three God-given rights – life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Another way of saying this is every man should be able to live, be free to live as he chooses, and pursue avenues that he believes will bring him happiness. America is exceptional because it offers every man and woman an opportunity to pursue his or her hopes and dreams. They are not limited because of who their parents are or where they were born.

The second great pillar of America’s foundation is the United States Constitution. 

Preamble to the Constitution

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, Establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America

The third great pillar of America’s foundation is the Bill of Rights.

The ability to amend the Constitution is found in Article 5. It provides a means to change the document as the governed saw the need. The first 10 amendments to the Constitution are affectionately known as the Bill of Rights. These 10 amendments provide safeguards for our individual freedoms, which make this nation different from any other on the face of the earth now and in all of recorded history.

Bill of Rights

First Amendment – Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Second Amendment – A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Third Amendment – No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner; nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Fourth Amendment – The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Fifth Amendment – No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself; nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.

Sixth Amendment – In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed; which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Seventh Amendment – In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of common law.

Eighth Amendment – Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Ninth Amendment – The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Tenth Amendment – The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

But one thing is for sure… Is America an exceptional nation? You bet she is. America may not be perfect, none of us are. One thing is for sure, we should be thankful to live in America where we are afforded life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness guaranteed in writing.

Share This:

Never Lose Sight of Your Shore

By Amber Hurdle

Q Amber, I feel so overwhelmed. I don’t know how I have gotten in this place of running myself to death and not being able to tend to what I really know is important. How do I dig myself out of this hole?

-Layla, Gladeville, TN

So many people get caught up in the busyness of life and obligations they committed to until they suddenly realize they have little time for what matters most. In our constantly connected world, this is so easy to do! 

It reminds me of the time I was at Newport Beach in California and had a very scary moment. 

My dad took us to the beach frequently as we were growing up. I was a strong swimmer and I could handle riding even a ten-foot face wave with ease. I was a total beach bum and body boarding pro for a kid. I’m sure you have a level of experience that gives you a sense that you have a great capacity to take things on, as well.

Like any afternoon at the beach I was one of the furthest out in the ocean. I rode in wave after wave. I was RIPPIN’ it!

I felt so good about the perfect surf conditions of the day and getting nods and accolades from fellow surfers that I started focusing on being competitive and self important.

In doing so, I ignored my dad’s main beach rules:

1. Respect the ocean. It is powerful.

2. If you can’t see me, I can’t see you, and you need to get back in my line of sight.

You see, when you’re in the ocean the tide naturally causes you to drift. With each wave that crashes around or on you, you are taken further from what you are supposed to be focusing on.

And I drifted FAR from my focus.

In fact, I had drifted so far from where our towels and coolers were and I had gone so far out to prove that I could handle it, that when I got into trouble I was past the point of return.

A monster wave was swelling and my adrenaline was rushing.

I jumped on my board and started paddling, ready for the gnarliest ride of the day…until I realized that I miscalculated. I didn’t get into the pocket fast enough and instead of riding the wave in to shore, the wave crashed right on me…far from shore…far from any of the surfers…even farther from my dad.

It was one of the scariest moments of my young life. The wave pushed the nose of my board down, and since the board was connected to my ankle by a cable, my body was thrust downward with it. I felt sand on my face, so I knew I hit the bottom of the ocean, but it was pitch black, so as I floated back up I didn’t know which way was up or down.

Do you ever feel like you have gotten so far off track, that the waves of life are crashing all around you and you don’t know which way is up or down? Have you ever taken on so much that you miscalculate your next steps until you find your life is out of your control?

Fortunately, a strong surfer watched what happened to see me and dragged me out of the water.

Of course, I was an even spunkier redhead then than I am now and I acted like everything was OK. The reality was I could have drowned. Trust me, I downplayed it to my dad, too, when I knew he was already disappointed in me for my poor decisions!

Do you ever downplay just how much you’re drowning to the people you love most so they won’t expect you to change your behavior?

Do you ever negate the fact that the problem isn’t always the ocean of life drifting you away from your focus, but perhaps it’s that you keep saying, “yes” to things that aren’t in line with your life’s focus?

Are you afraid to say “no” because then you won’t look like the expert or feel important and needed?

Now, I’m not picking on you, Layla. I understand where you are coming from and have to take my own medicine regularly. What I want to point out to you and especially to women in general, is that it is easy to get busy trying to be everything to everybody and find personal value in doing so. Before you know it, you find yourself drowning because you veer so far away from what is most important and have taken on more than you can handle. Then the craziest thing is you are determined to prove that you can handle it!

What you need to remember is your own values. Your life’s “beach rules,” if you will.

So I ask you, Layla, what are the most important parts of your life? What values do you personally hold dear?

Now, what are you committed to that doesn’t align with your answers to those two questions?

Eliminate anything that doesn’t support your life’s priorities. That might mean telling someone, “no” or backing out of something you previously committed to. While I know you don’t want to let the people down that you have made commitments to, how much more are you letting the people down you love the most by continuing with the commitment? Eliminating what keeps you from your highest priorities might mean changing jobs or even careers.

I was lucky that day that someone found me struggling and then saved me from drowning; but I challenge you to save yourself before you drift too far away and have to depend on luck, too.

Find your shore and stay close to it. Be sure those who are most important to you are in clear focus, and be sure you are highly visible to them, as well.

When those things are in order, THEN you can finally enjoy the gnarliest ride of your life, too!

Share This:

Spring Cleaning Your Emotional Closet


Amber, I feel so stuck. I want to do more with my life, but I can’t seem to get over some things from my past. How do I overcome the junk in my closet and move forward? -Jennifer, Lebanon


There’s no better time than spring to think about renewal. Congratulations on your willingness to confront what’s holding you back! Here are the tools you will need in your caddy to clean your emotional closet:

Know You’re Not Alone

There’s the old saying that if we all threw our problems, issues or hangups in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d quickly grab ours back. That’s why it is so important to get out of your own head space and be open to the life challenges of others.

Women are especially great at commiserating, so take advantage of that! Find a women’s group, a Bible study, a mastermind or even your own group of girl friends. LISTEN to what their challenges are. HELP them overcome the demons that are holding them back. In doing so you will not only recognize that you aren’t alone in your inner struggles, you will also start to find solutions to your own problems by finding them for others.

Start a New Conversation with Yourself

Negative self-talk is a powerful thing. This is often prompted by scarring words from previous, significant relationships. If your negative self-talk is disabling, I first recommend seeing a licensed mental health professional. Otherwise, here are three steps that can help you start to change the conversation:

1. Journal your thoughts to uncover patterns.  Note when you are having the negative thoughts, what prompted them, how you felt at the time, who was involved, etc…

2. Speak in affirmations. Change the negative to a positive. Try stating things like “I am a beautiful, desirable woman,”or “I am fully prepared to lead with excellence at work,” or my personal favorite, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

3. Lead with “I can.” Become a problem solver. Before you ever allow yourself to think, “I can’t”or “I don’t know” consider all the ways you can figure out how to do what scares or intimidates you.

Accept the Pain and Find Its Purpose

While I have always subscribed to this philosophy, I was reminded of it recently at the New Media Expoin Las Vegas. Chris Brogan had an impromptu keynote alongside Lewis Howes, from the School of Greatness. In that session he said these words, which made me want to shout out a good ol’ southern, “Amen!”:

“No great thing comes without pain.”

And it’s the truth. There is not a bit of my amazing life that I can attribute to a pain-free journey.Everything special that I cherish has come with a whopping dose of challenge and heartbreak. However, the amazing thing is that I now have a story–a purpose. I can help others navigate through their stormy seasons or help elevate their sunny seasons by leveraging the junk in their closet. Not to mention I value those “great things” even more so because of what it took to get them.

Take One Step at a Time

No one wants to trip over your proverbial junk; and stuffing it all back down when you feel overwhelmed dealing with it all will only create more unsettled and insecure thoughts. Instead, select one part that you can commit to explore. One significant fear, memory, negative thought or experience, then you can use the cleaning tools mentioned here to begin to tidy up before moving on to the next thing.

Show Grace… to YOURSELF

Finally, understand this is a journey. There is no quick fix. The emotional closet fairies aren’t going to show up and magically clean it out. Only you can work through whatever is holding you back. And there will be times to celebrate victories, as well as times to take a step back and rest. You will make more mistakes and you will figure out more solutions. That’s why it’s important to not to allow yourself excuses, yet it is important to show yourself grace.

And just like the victorious feeling you have when your hallway closet is clutter-free and well-organized, just imagine the freedom and excitement having a freshly spring cleaned emotional closet will afford you for years to come!


SAVE THE DATE – May 17, 2014 for WLM’s Women’s Day Bash

Join WLM’s Amber Hurdle, along with other notable presenters for an afternoon celebrating all aspect’s of a woman’s life. Bring a friend, your sister or daughter to learn about health, beauty, finances, fashion, motherhood and relationships. Lunch will be served and various exhibitors will also be onsite. Re-energize your spirit as we all come together to support, encourage and empower women in our community.

Share This:


Grieving With Hope



Life was good. The kids were grown and the empty nest was even better than we’d imagined. Then came my wife’s terminal illness followed by her treatments, our times of hope, our setbacks then ultimately the death of my best friend. After thirty-three years of happy marriage, two children and three grandchildren, how could it come to this?

Isn’t it amazing how our lives can be forever changed in a moment? It may arrive like a slow moving shadow or suddenlylike a streak of lightening in the night sky. However it appears, it always brings emptiness and emotional pain. We pray believing that God has the power to heal. God may choose not to heal and our loved ones die. We hurt deep within. Sometimes we become angry. We do not understand why this has happened to us and our loved ones. Then the grief begins. Grieving is not an enjoyable experience, but one that is needed and healthy. 

Grieving is OK

One of the most important things to remember when we lose a loved one is that it’s OK to grieve. As a matter of fact it is more than OK, it is normal and healthy. Some make the mistake of not admitting their pain and hurt and carry the deep wound much longer than God wants us to. That’s a big mistake. There’s no set way one should grieve or time frame of how long. But there is a timeline for grief.

Grief has a beginning and there is an end out there somewhere. Does that mean we should forget those loved ones? Absolutely not! Does it mean we should get over losing them? Not necessarily. It does mean that we have to go on living. We may never completely get over the death of a loved one but we can and must learn to live with it. Understanding that there are periods of grief we pass through and recognizing where you might be in the grieving process.

• Initial shock when you lose a loved one is the first period of grief. This could last from a few minutes after your loved one dies, it may last several hours and it could last for days. There are several emotions you might feel. One is false guilt. Another is false blame, blaming other family members, medical personnel and even God himself for not doing more to help or save your loved one.

• The second period of grief begins with our lives becoming disorganized. This could last for several weeks or months. This is the time when your lifestyle is forced to change. Hasty decisions and rash statements of what you will or won’t do should be avoided. Too many people make the mistake of sacrificing future happiness on an unneeded sense of loyalty to the past. Our loved ones wouldn’t want us to remain unhappy and grieve for them the rest of our lives. Reminders of the past have a way of surfacing and there may be some confessing to God and others because of actions and words spoken in shock or anger.

• The third period of grief begins with a conscious decision to reorganize our lives and move on. I remember clearly about nine months after my wife’s passing, on our anniversary I laid two dozen roses on her grave. I didn’t hear an audible voice but God spoke to my heart as I wept at her graveside. He reminded me that just as he had a plan for my wife’s life he also had one for mine. He had more work for me to do and it was time for me to move forward with his will for my life. I walked away from her grave that day leaving some of the pain and sorrow with a change of heart.

There is Help!

The word of God is a tremendous comfort. Deuteronomy 31:9 reminds us that God is with us at all times. We do not have to bear the burden of grief alone according to Psalm 23:4. According to Psalm 68:19, God feels our pain and bears our sorrow. We should also look to our church family for strength and encouragement. When friends offer help or invite us to be part of their lives, we should see this as one way God is seeking to begin filling an empty void in our own lives. Learn to say yes and thank you.

There is Hope!

Hope begins with recognition of where we are with our grief. We must grieve and others cannot tell us how we should do it or how long our grief should last. One thing’s for sure. Our grief must be a means to an end. Our goal should be to allow God to help us put the pieces back together and move forward with our lives. We must ask the Lord to help us and give us the wisdom and strength to press on.

We should take positive steps to move forward. We shouldn’t preserve our homes as monuments to our deceased loved ones. Consider cleaning out closets, rearranging rooms and donating clothes to Goodwill or passing them along to others who will get use and enjoyment from them. You may want to consider downsizing and moving to a home with less upkeep and maintenance.

It’s time to reorganize.

A Final Word

If you’re in the midst of grieving, I have great news. THERE IS HOPE. I’m a few years removed from the loss of my wife. God’s gentle hand has led me forward. He led a fine Christian lady into my life and the sunshine of happiness has returned. I am a living testimony of the fact that you not only can live through this, but you can live beyond it. God’s plan for you is certain and his will is perfect. There is a great life waiting for you just beyond your grief.

Share This:


The Solution to your Resolutions


Because most, if not all, of you reading this are over-worked, over-volunteered, over-scheduled and stretched to the limit when it comes to just about every aspect of life, we determined the first issue of 2014 would be the perfect time to introduce readers to Life Coach, Amber Hurdle. Each issue Amber will be answering questions you send in, giving tips on how to deal with the everyday stresses of life without “losing it.” If you have a question for Amber, email it to, This month Amber answer’s questions about, what else, New Year’s Resolutions.

ResolutionI always set New Year’s resolutions that I’m excited about, but then never follow through. What can I do to increase my chances of actually achieving my goals? -Claire, Mt. Juliet

Ahhhh, the elusive New Year’s resolution. We get so pumped at the start of the year–we are so hopeful! Unfortunately, statistics show that about 88% of people who make a resolution fail to reach their goals. But don’t worry, I’m going to lay out how to avoid being on the bummer side of that statistic!

First, I highly recommend against simply setting a goal a LONG year away from launching your efforts. In a world of high speed Internet, microwaves and drive-thru meals, waiting for ANYTHING is unlikely. Instead, like any business, set that annual goal, but then break it up into at least quarterly goals to move it closer to you.

You may even find that setting monthly, weekly or even daily goals makes it even more relevant in the here and now. What might feel overwhelming when considering what could and should be done in a year can feel a lot more doable if you just worry about this week!

It’s not enough to merely set goals, you have to actually develop a PLAN to achieve them.

So are you REALLY serious about your goal or are you just going to talk about it and go through the process of setting it out of tradition? It’s important to have a compelling “why.” WHY is it important that you accomplish your goal? What does life look like if you do? What is at risk if you don’t?

Once you have those realities established in your mind, you have to decide HOW you are going to achieve your goal. What values do you need to develop? What skills do you need to learn or improve upon? What type of support do you need?

For example, the number one New Year’s resolution is weight loss. Your “why” could include that you want to be able to run around and play with your kidsResolution without feeling winded. You may have to increase your value for wellness, and you may need to share your goals with your family and perhaps even hire a personal trainer, nutritionist or wellness coach as support to hold you accountable and be your cheerleader. 


A very important and often missed step is looking ahead at what could possibly derail you from achieving your goals. I love J.R.R. Tolkien’s line in The Hobbit, “It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.”

Seriously, we could pretend that we live in constant blue skies, but to go back to our weight loss example I think it would be prudent to factor in extensive travel, limited grocery budgets, long work hours or anything else that could stand in between you and losing weight.

Then, once you have laid out at least three potential threats to realizing your goal, go ahead and pre-bake into your plan solutions to those obstacles. So if you travel a lot, scope your territories for healthy eating options and then pack protein bars for emergencies. If your grocery budget is limited, find a buddy who will buy produce in bulk with you through a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) distributor. You get the idea. You should have three solutions for every possible challenge.


So let’s face it, even the best laid out plans with pre-baked solutions to potential obstacles can derail. The most important response to this situation is to understand why it happened. Is there a pattern of behavior you need to address? Was there a major life event that shifted your priorities? Or did you perhaps set a goal that was simply unrealistic?

You can simply accept failure OR you can decide what you need to do to course correct.

So bunker down, look at the boogie monster under your bed and deal with it. Only then can you move forward after a setback and regain lost ground through a series of good decisions. That’s right, you gotta suck it up, buttercup!


Getting back to the ideas of making short-term goals and building your support team, it is proven that those who have accountability measures built into their goal setting plans are far more successful. So perhaps you have a calendar reminder to weigh yourself and you chart it each week. Or perhaps you hire a coach or join a gym to ensure you are measuring your progress.


So when you DO hit your mini-goals, it is time to CELEBRATE! That’s right, when making your plan, decide ahead of the time what celebration looks like, too. It might be that you plan a beach trip if you hit your weight loss goal. Or if you’re anything like me, there will be ample spa treatments and shoe shopping excursions in the plan. Whatever meaningful carrot you can dangle in your face, do it! It will give you the warm fuzzy you deserve when you hit your mark, giving you that push to go for the next mini-goal with energy and enthusiasm


Ok, now that you have the recipe for resolution success, I urge you to actually sit down, map out your plan, and then schedule appointments with yourself to check in on your progress. You can be the person who talks about winning in theory or you can BE the winner. The choice is yours.

Have a question for Amber? Email and she may answer your question in the next issue.


WLM – Seminar Series

Don’t miss out on our upcoming WLM- Seminar Series, brought to you by Amber and Wilson Living Magazine. Listen and learn from an array of well known professionals who will share their knowledge about business, technology, health, parenting, beauty and many other topics relevent to us all. Look for more details in your next Wilson Living Magazine in April.

Share This: