LET THEM EAT CAKE & other tasty treats!

click It was a love of baking instilled in her from her own mother that started it all. And from that little spark, Italian Mama’s Bake Shop was born.

Lauren Costley lives in Mt. Juliet with her husband Brandon, their sons, Collin, Luke, daughter Tessa, and their fourth child, Barrett, just arrived on May 6th. When she isn’t mothering or working in the family hardware store and mechanical business with her father, then you’ll find Lauren in her kitchen – baking.

source site “I was very fortunate and blessed to grow up with a Mom (Sharon Caputo) who was always cooking and baking. So, naturally I have always loved to cook and bake, whether it to be for my family or my friends,” notes Lauren. “After my Mom passed away in 2008, I really started to cook more and more because it reminded me of our time together.”

enter site A love of family and a love of cooking are an integral part of Lauren’s life these days. “When Brandon and I started our family I began to have an interest in baking even more. I loved to make my kids birthday cakes and cookies. My friends started asking to buy cakes and desserts from me and at first, I was reluctant but gave it a shot. From there I started doing a little advertising online with my sister-in-law and it’s now taken off! Everything I’ve done has been something I learned from my own mother or just getting in the kitchen and giving it a try.”

But Lauren readily agrees she could not have done this alone. While her husband isn’t one to bake, he will help her when needed running to the grocery for necessary ingredients or cleaning up behind her. Her boys, on the other hand, don’t mind pitching in when its Pizza night, but it’s little Tessa who loves to put on an apron and help mom out in the kitchen.

“My sister-in-law Gina will also help me out with larger cakes or large events like parties or weddings. She is very talented herself and that’s how our name came about. We are both full blooded Italian so we thought it fitting to be known as “Italian Mama’s” Bake Shop.

go to site Italian Mama’s offers all sorts of different treats from Italian cookies, decorated buttercream iced sugar cookies, different flavors of scones and breakfast/brunch desserts, cupcakes, cakes, cake pops, and brownies. They also are becoming very well-known for their gorgeous wedding cakes. “

The wedding cake trends I see and just love are the simpler one tiered cakes,” comments Lauren. “It’s a more affordable way to have multiple cakes with different flavors and designs for your wedding. Also, the semi-naked cake with gold drip and the two-tiered fresh flower cake with gold brushed paint, are both very popular right now and those are the ones we did for the Wilson Living Magazine wedding photo shoot.”

Lauren still considers her baking more of a hobby than a full-time business but her select few clients are keeping her very busy these days and no doubt, with her talent, we will all be hearing more and more about this Italian Mama!

If you are interested in any of her tasty treats then you can reach her at (615) 306-6355 or at 2italianmamasbakery@gmail.com. You can also check her work out on Instagram or Facebook at @italianmamasbakery.

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A lesson on loss from my friend’s mom…

By Becky Andrews

I sat in the passenger seat and made small talk with Sylvia. It was the morning after a sleepover at my friend Paula’s house. At 15 years-old that meant Paula’s mom Sylvia, had to take me home. First, we had to make a detour. Sylvia made a right turn into the closest entrance of the local cemetery. After parking, she opened her handbag and grabbed a greeting card, a piece of pink saran wrap and a plastic fork.

While she fussed with the greeting card and saran wrap, the small talk drifted, and the car became very quiet. I didn’t have a cell phone or iPad to keep my eyes and mind distracted. Nope. It was just me, Sylvia, and the rustling sound of plastic wrap.

It felt like we had been sitting in silence for at least 30 minutes, but my blue faced Swatch indicated it had only been two. Before I could let out a teenage, “why can’t we leave already, I’m so inconvenienced” sigh, Sylvia piped up and said, “This is the hardest day for me.”

She wasn’t saying it to me as much as she was giving herself a pep talk or maybe a short affirmation to let her mind know, “hey, it’s me. This is supposed to feel rotten. You just go through it, girl. We’ll get through this like we always do. Until then, don’t be too hard on yourself.”

When she finished wrapping the card in saran wrap, Sylvia exited the car and walked to a nearby tombstone. She knelt then secured the plastic wrapped greeting card with the plastic fork at the foot of a grey-flecked stone.

She stood there for no more than a minute. When the cloudy sky started spitting out a slow drizzle, she walked back to the car. After plugging in her seat belt, Sylvia turned to look at me. “It’s hard losing your mom, kid. It’s hard losing your mom.” Paying no mind to the clouds, she put on her sunglasses, and we drove away.

I didn’t know what to say or IF I should say something. I just looked at my friend’s mom and studied her tear stained cheeks.

She didn’t know how to celebrate the day made exclusively for the person who brought her into this world. She was feeling Mother’s Day like she had never felt it before. It didn’t matter that she was a grown woman and a mom herself. It mattered that her person-her mom-wasn’t here. She wasn’t just “Paula’s mom” that morning. She was a daughter.

The small talk picked up shortly after pulling away from the cemetery. Fifteen minutes later, we pulled into my driveway. I said thank you and jumped out. Before reaching the front door, Sylvia shouted, “See ya later, Kiddo!” Just like she always did.

I knew then that I wouldn’t forget this otherwise unmemorable trip home from a sleepover. And I never have.

In August of 2004, nearly 15 years after that morning car ride with Sylvia, I became a card-carrying member of the Motherless Child Club. Since then, the heaviness inside me cracks open every year around this time. I also think about that car ride. I think about how at 15 years-old, I witnessed a daughter delicately navigating her way through the grief of losing her mom. I think about how that short drive home on a dreary Saturday taught me that it’s ok to cry. It’s ok to not understand the timing of grief or know how to deal with the waves.  It’s even ok to give side-eye to all the mother/daughter duos eating at the table next to you on Mother’s Day. Just deal and don’t hide from it. Because hiding from uncomfortable feelings is as productive and enjoyable as taking a one-year-old to a Mother’s Day Brunch.

So, no matter what your day looks like this year, enjoy it on your terms (even if it includes giving side-eye to anyone). Your mom would want it that way.

Comments? Email becky@wilsonlivingmagazine.com

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What ever happened to Betty Crocker?

By Andrea Hagan

Forget the birthday cake made from a box mix and the waxy primary colored candles of our youth.  Imagine now an event that takes months of planning, countless hours combing Pinterest, Instagram and Etsy in search of the perfect themed event followed by countless hours executing said themed event.  Lots of cash spent, the house wrecked, mom and dad needing to take to bed, and what’s to show for it?  Pictures to prove to your child years down the road that you went insane one day a year? 

Parents, why do we fall into this trap?  While I did not go completely insane, I did go bigger than I intended to for my oldest daughter’s first birthday party.  Surprisingly, my husband was a terrible enabler.  I set out initially to have a mini cake, made by me, with the grandparents over to watch the time-honored ritual of a one-year old smearing icing everywhere.  And that would be that.  

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Except that it wasn’t that.  My husband really pushed for a big party, that it was our first child’s first, after all.  I caved, allowing what should have been simple and stress free to turn into anything but.  Extended family, friends, a buffet of homemade finger foods and treats, two dozen homemade cupcakes, not including the homemade smash cake, a helium tank purchased for the balloons, the perfect birthday girl outfit, monogrammed birthday bib, I could go on here, but you get the picture.  And looking back, this party was low key and modest compared to other parties we’ve attended. 

Who’s to blame for this epidemic?  Perhaps the blame lies with event planners in LA who celebrity moms hire to throw lavish parties for children with “quirky” names such as Apple, Blue Ivy, or Zuma.  

Maybe it’s MTV’s fault (remember MTV?!) for the strangely addictive, train wreck of a television show “My Super Sweet Sixteen”, where bratty teenage girls get their overindulgent parents to drop 10 grand on an over the top birthday extravaganza.  Think red carpet and designer gowns, the hottest band of the moment, security guards at the door, all the while documenting how low we- as a society, have fallen. 

Or it could boil down to the fact that when you become a parent you are suddenly in a secret competition that your child is/has the best, and this competitive nature includes having the “best” birthday party.  And biggest is best.  Add gasoline to this fire, i.e. social media, and it’s the perfect storm for a one upper birthday bash blowout.  (Or we could just stick with blaming celebrities and MTV).

My youngest daughter’s first birthday is a few months away.  Already the debate begins.  I want cake and grandparents.  Now my husband is using a different tact:  Well, since we threw a big party for Emeline’s first, shouldn’t we throw a big one for Natalie, too?  Sneaky.  I’m a middle child and so of course this argument resonates with me.  (Ah, but middle child angst stories are for another day…).  

Will I go insane this time around?  Place your bets here.  Do you go all out for your child/children’s birthday parties or did your own mother know best with her box mix birthday cake set atop a tinfoil covered piece of cardboard? 

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Town Square Social

Whether you’re looking for date night ambiance, award-worthy wings, or just a local place to have a brew – Town Square Social welcomes you.

Lebanon’s latest and coolest restaurant and bar, nested downtown next to The Arcade, is the brain-child of longtime friends-turned-business partners, Kyle Shaffer and Cody McCray.

  • Town Square Social owners, Kyle Shaffer and Cody McCray

Both men have a lengthy resume in the restaurant business. Shaffer, a graduate of Lebanon High School, spent 13 years with Corner Pub, while McCray, a graduate of Friendship Christian School, worked at Nashville’s historic Broadway honkytonk, Tootsies.

On their Sundays off, the guys would talk about someday opening their own place. Then they noticed the spot on the Lebanon Public Square.

In recent years, the Square has been more visible and vibrant than ever – thanks to the many businesses, including multiuse facilities like The Arcade and Capi-tol Theatre for example, who call it “home.” Lined with law offices, boutiques, antiques, hair salons and a coffee shop – the Square still lacked a sit-down restaurant.

“We saw the building and knew it was what we wanted. We wanted to keep the original design and not take away from the history of it. When it came together and the menu came together, we finally found our stride,” explained McCray.

Renovating the space took more than a year. The guys were careful to keep it true to its roots with exposed brick and hardwood floors which created a vibe that is both classic and cool.

They restored the front façade of the building to the original storefront and took part in the Main Street Façade Grant from the state of Tennessee.

Town Square Social officially opened for business on September 28, 2018. They said things are going very well in their first four months.

“We are selling a lot of food and a lot of drinks. The community has supported us. We couldn’t be happier, honestly,” said Shaffer.

Three of their most popular menu items are the burger, wings and fish and chips.

“Our wings are a best seller. People love them,” Shaffer added. “They are smoked, low and slow for six hours.

Most places fry their wings and are done in 15 minutes. Ours takes a long time to taste the way they do.”

Prior to smoking, the wings marinate for about 12 hours. Shaffer manages the restaurant during the day and McCray takes over at night.

“I hear a lot of comments about the food. ‘Those are the best wings I’ve ever had,’ is something I hear multiple times,” Shaffer said. “Shawn Smith (owner of The Jewelers in Lebanon) heard someone say their only complaint was it was so much food they needed a to-go box!”


McCray said one of the best reviews he’s gotten came from a producer out of Nashville.

“He was passing through town and someone told him to check out (our restaurant) on the Square. He liked it so much that he brought his girlfriend back on their fourth date here instead of someplace in Nashville,” McCray recalled. “I thought it was really cool.”

The gentleman is now in talks with Town Square Social to shoot a music video in their location.

Both men take pride in their work – and are very hands-on in managing the restaurant, working the floor and checking on guests.

“If there is an issue, (our guests) can reach out to us and we will do our best to make it right,” McCray said. Their latest addition is a drink menu.

“We have 10 cocktails that we have come up with. Those menus are getting printed right now. When you don’t have a menu, people are more apt to order a drink like Jack Daniels – because they recognize the name. Having a drink menu is a way to get those other great liquors and wines out there,” McCray explained. “We are looking to do off-site catering eventually.”

There is also some mystery surrounding the top loft space in the building. McCray and Shaffer teased that it could be used for live music and event space; however, remained mum for the mo-ment.

As Shaffer put it: “We are still working out some kinks.”

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BILL LEE, Tennessee’s 50th Governor

  • Pamela Garrett with the 50th Governor of Tennessee, Bill Lee, Dalena Berrett, and Dr. Cristy Stumb at Boots on Broadway - an event prior to inauguration at Acme Feed & Seed.

More than two years ago, businessman Bill Lee, founder of the Lee Company, em-barked on a new adventure. He would run as a republican candidate in the Aug. 2, 2018 gubernatorial primary.

He knew the process wouldn’t be easy. He was an outsider to the political process – running against seasoned politicians from both parties.
His company employs 1,200 skilled tradesmen al-ready, but Lee longed to make a difference on a larger scale.
Lee and his wife, Maria, prayed about their decision for a year before he entered the race and were pleased when he won the Republican primary to face-off against Democratic candidate, former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean.
“I am a person who gets asked all the time why I would want to run for governor,” Lee remarked during a final campaign stop at Cumberland University in October 2018. “I have a private life that is blessed, indeed, but I found myself on a journey. God puts us on journeys that lead us places unplanned.”
The polls on November 6, 2018, showed Tennesseans had voted Lee to be their next governor – and on Satur-day, January 19, 2019, he was sworn in.
Bill Lee is the 50th Governor of Tennessee.
A series of celebrations were held over the weekend, beginning with a Boots on Broadway party at Acme Feed & Seed on Friday, January 18.
An inaugural worship service kicked-off events on Saturday. The ceremony was held at Legislative Plaza, followed by a tour of the Tennessee State Capitol for supporters who signed-up.
Two balls were held that evening at the Music City Center – the First Couple’s Dinner and Ball and the Believe in Tennessee Ball.
Gov. Lee thanked the ticketholders in attendance.
“I am a little overwhelmed but so encouraged, so grateful, so humbled and so honored. So many people in this room have been responsible for where we are today and I just thank you … I certainly hoped (to be elected) but in some ways never imagined we would be standing here doing this,” he spoke to the crowd, with Maria by his side. “The Lord has been very good to us for our entire lives and through so many ups and downs, and certainly has been good to us in this last season of life. We are grateful to Him for what He has done and the spot He put us in.”
Lee next introduced special guests for the evening – which delighted the crowd at the Inaugural Ball. They were four-time CMA Entertainer of the Year, Luke Bryan, and outspoken country songstress, Wynonna.

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Bryan said it was an honor for a “kid from Georgia” to play the governor’s inaugural ball.
He sang several of his hit songs and dedicated “Here’s to the Farmer” to the Lees as the couple had their first dance.
Lee concluded by reiterating his commitment to his posi-tion.
“We will live our lives in the fullest capacity we can to serve every single one of you and the 6.5 million people that live in our great state of Tennessee,” he said. “We are deeply indebted. We count it a true honor to be in the spot that you have put us in. We will work to serve you – thank you very, very much.”

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Wilson County’s Newest Judge

  • Judge Ensley Hagan and Andrea Hagan with retiring Judge John Gwin

On December 31st, 2018, Ensley Hagan was sworn in as the new Wilson County General Sessions Judge, Division III following Judge John Gwin’s retirement.

Family and friends gathered for the swearing-in, held the day before Judge Hagan’s official start date of January 1st. Judge Hagan began practicing law in 2007 with his father, Tony Hagan, and wife, Andrea. He is a third generation lawyer and a second generation judge. His grandmother, who was married to the late Judge Willard Ensley “Buck” Hagan was on hand to watch her grandson being sworn in. A native of Wilson County, Judge Hagan, and his wife live in Lebanon with their three children.

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Got joint pain?

By Angel Kane

As 2018 year comes to a close, many of us are starting to read up on new and innovative technologies available to us all in the new year. One such medical field that is at the frontier of present-day advancements is the ability to harness and enhance the body’s own innate response to heal and defend itself. To those that have experienced the miraculous power of what is known as regenerative medicine, they are true believers in this new therapy.

Sounds impressive but confusing, right? In layman’s terms, it means our bodies were designed to heal themselves! Makes sense…you cut yourself, it heals.

What would life be like if pain medication were not needed or surgical procedures were no longer necessary? By way of new technologies in the field of regenerative medicine, there are now treatments available to the general public that may enhance your own body’s natural ability to heal without the need for harmful drugs and surgeries. What seemed impossible only a few decades ago, is now not only possible but is our new reality.

Regenerative medicine is a rapidly advancing area of health care that works to repair the injury, not just mask the pain. Unlike treatments that simply address the symptoms, regenerative cell therapy promotes the natural process of repair in the body assisting in restoring degenerated tissue. As we age our bodies degenerate due to cellular death.

By taking cells recovered from completely healthy umbilical tissue, medical practitioners can now treat arthritis, alleviate chronic pain and even combat the natural effects of aging. The field holds the promise of re-engineering damaged tissues and organs by stimulating the body’s own repair mechanisms to functionally heal previously irreparable tissues or organs.

At Inspire Medical & Wellness located in Mt. Juliet, owner and founder Dr. Jason Burchard, supervising physician Dr. Gary Adams and Zack Benner PA-C, are at the forefront of this emerging medical practice. As we know, umbilical cord blood is blood that remains in the placenta and in the attached umbilical cord after childbirth. This cord blood contains stem cells, which can be used to treat a number of disorders and has been for over two decades now. Inspire Medical & Wellness obtains their mesenchymal stem cells from the Wharton’s jelly inside the umbilical tissue from New Life, a multi-state and FDA approved cord bank that screens donors and extracts the cells from the umbilical cord. New Life is registered with the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB).

Therapies utilizing this umbilical tissue are countless – from regenerating damaged skin, accelerate healing and alleviating pain. At Inspire Medical & Wellness, patients can find safe and effective treatments for knee, shoulders, hips, elbows, wrists and even neuropathy available without the harmful side-effects or pain.

Their treatments can be used as a stand-alone therapy or in conjunction with other available medical treatments. Inspire also specializes in medical weight loss and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. So, if you are tired of living with chronic pain, now is the time to take control! Contact Inspire Medical & Wellness today at 615-453-8999 and receive a complimentary consultation until December 15th and visit their website at www. weightlossmtjuliet.com for more information.

The new year is almost upon us, isn’t it time you took that first step into a whole new and pain-free you!
Inspire Medical & Wellness is located at 151 Adams Ln, Suite #18, Mt. Juliet, TN 37122.

 

What are stem cells?

Stem cells are the basic building blocks of human tissue and have the ability to repair, rebuild, and rejuvenate tissues in the body. When a disease or injury strikes, stem cells respond to specific signals and set about to facilitate the healing process by stimulating your own body to repair itself.

How do stem cells work?

Stem cells that come from perinatal tissue(healthy post-natal C-sections) have distinct functional properties including immunomodulation and anti-inflammation which support the repair and regeneration of damaged tissue associated with disease and injury.

When do we use the body’s stem cells?

We tap into our body’s stem cell reserve daily to repair and replace damaged or diseased tissue. When the body’s reserve is limited and as it becomes depleted, the regenerative power of our body decreases and we succumb to disease and injury.

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Compassionate Hands

By Jill Waggoner

Six years ago, a dozen ministers and local church members, led by those from Cross Style Church, decided to investigate what they had been told — that a small homeless community was growing in Wilson County. On a winter day, they went into the “woods” of Lebanon behind one of our busiest thoroughfares and found evidence of a homeless camp, including tents, groceries and diapers. Troubled and burdened by this discovery, the small group decided on one simple goal: No one would freeze to death in Wilson County. This goal ultimately lead to the formation of Compassionate Hands, a ministry to the homeless population with a vision “that the Wilson County community of faith be Christ’s hands and feet to our neighbors in need.”

Wilson County is buzzing with new growth — economic and population — creating wonderful opportunities and experiences for its people, but with that growth has come an unintended consequence. As property values rise and rent payments go up, many families and individuals are having trouble finding or keeping affordable housing. In addition, as word spreads about the job creation happening in Middle Tennessee, people from all over the country have arrived on a search for opportunity, but without much of a plan. These factors, along with the inescapable difficulties of life, have left a small portion of our population without a home.

  • L to R Front row: Dawn Bradford, Fairview Church and Coordinator; Michelle Wilde, Lebanon First United Methodist Church and Communications Coordinator; Joyce Gaines, Cook’s United Methodist Church and Financial Coordinator; Courtney Bradley, Chili Cook-off Coordinator; Lindsey Godby, New Tribe Church; Steve Wheeley, Salvation Army and Coordinator. L to R Back row: Jeff Loper, Providence UMC; Bill Owen, Leeville UMC; John Grant, College Hills Church of Christ and Executive Director.

In our region, homelessness is assessed by the Homeless Advocacy for Rural Tennessee Continuum of Care, which is organized under the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Their most recent “point-intime” count found 25 homeless individuals in our county on a night in January 2018.

Compassionate Hands provides temporary shelter for men and women in Wilson County every night in the winter months. A large network of volunteers from churches of all sizes keeps the system running each night. Those in need of shelter arrive at Cross Style church for dinner each evening. After a short vetting process, these individuals are taken to three different host sites — two for the men and one for women. A rotating group of churches offer their facilities to house the men and women. The homeless are provided a safe and warm place to sleep, as well as a warm breakfast. Laundry service and the ability to take a shower are also available. In the morning, a bus takes the individuals to various places across the county and leaves them with a sack lunch.

The coordination among so many churches and volunteers requires significant oversight and this October, John Grant, formerly a minister at College Hills Church of Christ, began serving as the full time minister and executive director of Compassionate Hands.

Grant was a part of that original group who visited the homeless camp and began ministering to the homeless in 2013. He is the first full time staff member for Compassionate Hands. Though the decision to leave College Hills was a sad one for Grant, it was in many ways, an easy one, because of his desire to serve the community, his network of friends at churches and his personal giftings.

“I think it was a call from God. This was a ‘John Grant’ shaped role,” he said.

Grant is joined by a board of directors in leading the ministry, each from a different church in the area. They include Dawn Bradford from Fairview Church, Joyce Gaines from Cook’s United Methodist Church, Mark Taylor from The Glade, Michelle Wilde from First United Methodist Church in Lebanon, and Steve Wheeley of the Salvation Army.

All of those involved in the ministry are quick to point out misconceptions about the homeless. They regularly and lovingly refer to them as their “homeless friends.” Many of those in need who have come to Compassionate Hands have full-time jobs and cars. Many are locals who grew up in our community and have fallen on hard times.

In Grant’s experience, he estimates that “one third have an addiction. One third have mental illness and a third have had bad luck.”

“I was scared and concerned about inviting homeless people into our church building,” Grant said describing his church’s first evenings with Compassionate Hands. “What I’ve learned is that the homeless people were also scared of us and skeptical of churches. They’re spending the night with strangers too. Homeless people are really not that different from you and me.”

“The Good Samaritan is one of our key stories,” Grant said, referencing the story found in Luke 10. “We think Jesus is bringing us people who are battered and bruised by life.”

Brandt Waggoner, lead pastor at Fairview Church, said their partnership with Compassionate Hands is important for their church.

“These are people in need right in the middle of our community,” Waggoner said. “We cannot turn a blind eye to that. In addition, it’s remarkable how the churches across our area are seamlessly partnering together to serve this group. We want to be a part of that.” Dawn Bradford has served with the ministry for three years and says Compassionate Hands has “absolutely changed my life.” Bradford continues, “Yes, it’s inconvenient and sometimes a little uncomfortable, but it’s not about me, it’s about living out the biblical principle of thinking of others before your own needs.” John Ashman, a member of Faith Lutheran Church, is a volunteer with Compassionate Hands, along with his wife Bonnie. Their experience serving has made a profound impact on their lives. “Often when we see homeless people on the street, we may see them as lazy, dirty, and not worthy of respect. But when we sit by them during the evening or morning and talk with them about their lives, we see that they are usually people who have had a some bad breaks,” Ashman said. One of the most emotional moments for Ashman came last Christmas. “Due to the generosity of our church members, we were able to put together backpacks with a number of food items, personal care products and some warm hats and gloves,” Ashman said. “Church members wrapped the items, so that on Christmas morning, they were able to open the presents, just as if they were living with their families. One man said ‘It’s been a long time since anybody gave me a Christmas present.” Every year, the ministry has experienced growth. At the close of last winter, 34 churches from 16 faith traditions had contributed to Compassionate Hands, providing over 5,000 beds and 11,000 meals to 400 homeless individuals since 2013. “Every winter we’ve seen two or three people who go from homeless to established,” Grant said. “They’ve gotten on their feet, into housing and are now volunteering in our ministry.” The leadership of Compassionate Hands desires to meet even more needs of the homeless. Their first objective is to secure an office space, but hope the years to come allow them to be able to provide shelter for families with children, as well as lockers, classroom space, and computer lab. For more information about Compassionate Hands or if you or your church would like to be involved, please visit compassionatehandstn.org, like their Facebook page or email John Grant at jgrant1817@gmail. com.

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Coming Home

By Dr. Adam Tune

Photos by Mary Beth Richerson

 

When I was 12 years old, my family moved from Northern Louisiana to Wilson County. Being the son of a preacher, moving was nothing new, and the place my parents bought on Old Horn Springs Road in Lebanon would be the 4th house that I would call home. Immediately upon our arrival, I felt like I had been missing out on life. The first time we drove around, we saw streets with names like “Stumpy Lane” and “Tater Peeler Road.” The first time we went out for dinner, I learned that I could order off of a breakfast menu. That first week I was introduced to both Country Music and College Football. And on our first Sunday at the new church, I met a 6th grade blond girl with the prettiest green eyes I had ever seen. I remember thinking to myself “I have arrived!”

But that move here also brought with it something else, something I wasn’t ready for. A Community. Most of my new friends had not only lived here their whole life, but their grandparents lived here too. Everyone knew everybody. They didn’t just have homes; they had a homestead. The people here seemed to have found the good life, and I was a little jealous.

As a teenager, I decided that a community was not good at all. Not only did everyone know everybody, but I felt like everyone was concerned about everybody. When I got paddled at school, my mom knew about it before I got home. Once after being pulled over on West Main, my dad paged me while the officer was writing the ticket because someone had passed by and called him. The Mayor would say “Tell your Daddy I said ‘Hey!’” and the ladies at the bank would ask “How’s you momandem?” By the time I graduated, I no longer thought that I had arrived. All I could think was “I’ve got to get out of here!”

My parents moved to Virginia after I graduated High School, and when I started College at MTSU, I was ready to leave too. Only I couldn’t completely leave. I was still in love with that blond green-eyed hometown girl, and after six years Kimberly Carey had finally noticed me. We began dating our senior year, and even though I had moved to Murfreesboro, I made many trips back to Lebanon to be with her and her family. And even after attempting to move to Virginia to be with my parents and work in D.C., I was still in love with Kimberly, and I just couldn’t stay gone. We married in 2001, and her father built our first house one mile down from their home on Coles Ferry Pike.

For the next 8 years we continued to work and live here in Wilson County. During that time our family grew and we moved 3 more times. I was restless. In the back of my mind, I still thought “I got to get out of here!” And in 2009, we did. I became the preacher for a church in Maryland and for the next 7 years I would only return to Wilson County a handful of times. But living up north, I began to miss
being a part of a community.

Kimberly and I wanted to move to a place where we could finally put down roots and create a place for our kids to return when they moved away. We almost moved to North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Memphis. But in 2016, I accepted the job as the minister for the UNA Church of Christ in Nashville, and we moved right back to Wilson County. Shortly after returning, we discovered that we didn’t need to put down roots nor did we have to make a home for ourselves. Our roots were already established. We were returning to the homestead.

Upon our return to Lebanon, I began to feel nostalgic about my surroundings, and soon I wrote my first book—a 25-day Christmas Devotional that celebrates the memories of Holiday tradition and rejoices in the remembrance of the nativity story. It was published in September and released just in time for that season of the year where we celebrate faith, family, and friends. Back to Bethlehem, a 25-day Christmas Devotional, can be purchased through Amazon and locally at Square Market.

But if you are from Wilson County, you are already accustomed to this kind of celebration. Here faith, family and friends don’t just come together once a year. It happens every day. Here we know one another. Here we’re concerned for one another. When you have a community, you don’t have to search for the good life. You live it. You miss it when it’s gone. And you hold it tighter when you get it back.

Now as I drive the streets of Stumpy Lane and Tater Peeler Road, as I watch my kids attend the same school that we attended, as I order my dinner off the breakfast menu, as I watch football with my childhood friends, and as I write this sitting in my new home…back on Coles Ferry Pike… right behind my in-laws, I think to myself “I have arrived!”

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Dental excellence. Compassionate care. Patriot Dental gives Wilson County a reason to smile

By Becky Andrews

2014 was a big year for Dr (Retired USAF Colonel) Paul and Elaine Nawiesniak. After an impressive military dental career that spanned nearly three decades and moves to eight different bases; including one in Japan, Dr. Nawiesniak decided it was time to retire and begin a new adventure right here in Wilson County.

While military service certainly enabled Dr. Nawiesniak and his family to travel many roads, there was one road he had not taken; private practice. “We had visited middle Tennessee several times and fell in love with this area. So, it made sense to concentrate our search for a practice opportunity in Tennessee. We explored several options before deciding to purchase the thriving dental practice of the now retired Dr. Wayne Johnson in Lebanon.” Dr. Nawiesniak continues, “Lebanon has both small-town charm and the potential for growth that made it the perfect choice for us.”

Patriot Dental (the name, an homage to Nawiesniak’s; military background) opened for business on June 14, 2014. His time in the Air Force gave Dr. Nawiesniak training and education that enables him to offer the best possible care to patients. He earned his undergrad in Biology from Loyola in Chicago and completed dental school at Northwestern University in Chicago. While in the Air Force Dr. Nawiesniak was selected to attend their two-year Advanced General Dentistry Residency Program. Upon finishing, he became certified with the American Board of General Dentistry. After more than 1200 hours of continuing education, Dr. Nawiesniak became a Fellow and then a Master of the Academy of General Dentistry. An impressive fete considering only 2% of all dentists carry this designation. In fact, he is the only dentist in Wilson County who is certified by the American Board of General Dentistry.

Dr. Nawiesniak works side by side with his wife of 27 years, Elaine. In addition to her duties as office manager, Elaine is a Registered Nurse and an accomplished photographer.

While Patriot Dental initially started out occupying the same space as Johnson Family Dentistry, as their patient list grew- thanks to word of mouth and the Nawiesniak’s community involvement- it was clear that they needed more room. “Our goal when we purchased the practice was to move to a new office within five years and we were able to do that ahead of schedule.” The Nawiesniak’s renovated an existing retail space located in Signature Place on the west side of Lebanon.

Their new state of the art facility provides patients with a comfortable, modern home-like environment. Elaine says their new space is a win/win. “We upgraded most of our equipment to reflect the digital age and are constantly striving to make changes that both improve our patient experience and make our staff’s jobs easier.”

As the dental industry continues to evolve, along with technology and advanced education, Dr. Nawiesniak says patient focus is essential now more than ever. “Our goal is to meet patient’s where they are in their dental needs and work with them to achieve the best possible outcomes for their oral health.” Dr. Nawiesniak continues, “We recognize that not everyone has always had access to dental care and may be embarrassed to seek care. We find helping these patients to be particularly rewarding. To help those who don’t have dental benefits we offer an in-house discount plan that is focused on preventative care which we emphasize in our office”.

With more than 100 years of experience between them, Dr. Nawiesniak and his staff are eager to meet all your dental needs. Stop by to visit them at their brand-new location, 99 Signature Pl, Lebanon, TN 37087

Our front desk receptionist, Beth Williams, has lived in Lebanon her entire life. She always has a smile on her face and has the best laugh! She has over 20 years’ experience in dealing with the always challenging insurance issues that arise daily and is an amazing multi-tasker! She does her best to help our patients manage their benefits to their maximum. She keeps everyone humming along. We affectionately refer to as our Queen “B”.

Our lead hygienist, Jace Crooks, is the perfect fit for our office. She is originally from Minot ND which was one of Dr. Nawiesniak’s prior duty stations in the Air Force, so he bonded with her instantly over stories of life in freezing weather, ice fishing and her fun North Dakota expressions. She received her hygiene training at Tennessee State University and has been a hygienist for 15 years. Her attention to detail and genuine care for our patients make her an asset to our office. Our other hygienist, Debbie Page, came to us searching for a privately-owned dental practice to work part-time in after she and her husband Mark moved to Lebanon from Ohio. She brings over 20 years of experience. Both of our hygienists have helped us grow our practice thru education that emphasizes preventive care.

Our lead assistant, Andrea Griffin, received her training at Nashville Staff and is an expanded duties assistant with over 20 years of experience. Andrea has a talent for making patients feel comfortable. She and her husband Mark live in Antioch and are planning to eventually relocate to Lebanon. She loves music, craft beer, and fishing. She’s also a die-hard Alabama fan but don’t hold that against her!

Our newest team member is assistant Miranda Walker. Miranda is from Lebanon and is a graduate of Vol State University. She and her husband just purchased their first new house in Hartsville. We call her the Swiss Army Knife of our office. She does whatever needs doing in our office and always with a servant’s heart.

Dr. Nawiesniak›s wife, Elaine, is our office manager and marketing director. Elaine is originally from Louisiana and is an emergency room trained RN. Her military spouse philosophy has always been to «Bloom Where You are Planted» and she has done her best to embrace Wilson County as our forever home. She is a member of the Lebanon Noon Rotary Club where she serves as Sergeant at Arms, she is on the membership committee for the Lebanon Wilson Chamber of Commerce and is the Treasurer for Wilson One, a local woman›s networking group that focuses on community service. She is a graduate of Leadership Wilson Class of 2018.

***Our services include general restorative dentistry using tooth-colored filling material and all ceramic crowns and bridges, cosmetic dentistry including veneers, teeth whitening, root canal therapy, periodontal therapy for treating gum disease, extractions, and implant restoration, as well as partials and dentures.***

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