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These nutritious bars are perfect for grab-n-go treats. Packed with fiber and antioxidants, these mouthwatering morsels are a healthy treat.

What you need:

1 cup dates 1/2 cup hot water 1/4 cup walnuts 1/4 cup almonds 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds 2 tbsp sunflower seeds 1 tbsp flax seeds 1 cup rolled oats 1/3 cup dried cranberries 3 tbsp honey 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder 1/4 tsp salt


First, soak 1 cup of dates in 1/2 cup of hot water until they become soft. After around 30 minutes transfer dates to a blender and blend until a smooth paste is formed. While the dates are soaking, dry roast almonds and walnuts until the nuts get slightly browned. Add pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and flax seeds and cook for 2 minutes. Transfer seeds and nuts to a bowl and keep aside. Add dates paste to a saucepan and cook until the paste thickens. While the paste is cooking, roast 1 cup rolled oats over low heat. Transfer oats to dates paste. Then add honey and mix well and turn off the heat. Next, combine roasted nuts, seeds, cinnamon powder and salt and mix well. Lastly, add in dried cranberries and stir until all the ingredients are mixed. Transfer the prepared mixture to a lined baking pan and firmly press. Cover and put in the freezer for two hours. Remove granola bars and cut into equal portions.

Photograph by Kelly Moore Clark Styling by Taylor Bennett

Ihave been writing my “Fishing with Kenny” articles for Bayou Life for almost ten years now. The time has flown by and whenever I go back and read my previous month’s article, or any article for that matter, I always see things I could have explained better or give more detail to. This month, I would like to share with you some information I have shared before, only this time I want to make it more user friendly. When I started seriously fishing for bass, I was in my teenage years. Back then, the only information sources I had were fishing magazines or the “dock” talk heard while hanging out at the local tackle stores. Becoming a better angler has been a lifetime quest of mine and today I am no different than I was when I was a teenager, I am always researching and studying the sport, trying to get better.

One of the benefits of spending all my time on the water, fishing tournaments or just fishing for fun, is it has allowed me to establish a system of “rules” or ideas that I believe will help anyone become a better angler, no matter if you are fishing for bass, crappie or catfish. These simple “rules” will help you more than you could ever imagine. My first “rule” is straight forward. “Go fishing.” In order to become good at anything, be it golf, hunting, bowling or whatever the sport, you must spend time doing it. You will learn more being on the water with a rod and reel in your hands than you ever will listening to someone talk about fishing or watching a fishing video. In this sport, trial and error are your best teachers. My next rule, which some people aren’t uncomfortable with, is “Ask the right questions.” If you ask the right questions instead of asking random questions, the information you will get in return is more valuable and easier to understand. Instead of asking someone what color spinnerbait they were using, ask them what kind of blades they were using. Instead of asking what part of the lake they fished, ask them why they think they caught the fish the way they did and what kind of cover the fish were using. My third rule is my favorite, “Be comfortable with your equipment.” I spend a lot of time in my boat experimenting with rod/reels/line and bait combinations. To some this might seem like overkill, to me it is one of the keys to my being a successful angler. Before I ever use a lure on any rod/reel combination I have, I will make a few casts in the yard or even at a local pond to see how it feels. Our fish are hard to make bite, so I want to put the odds in my favor of catching the fish when they do bite. The wrong rod/reel/line setup, even if you are using the correct lure, can cost you dearly. My next rule should be called “rule 3-B” because it is like the previous one we discussed. “Tinkering with tackle is a must.” Rarely, if ever, do I buy a lure, tie it on and fish it straight out of the package. I might change the hooks on a topwater, swap out blades on

a spinnerbait, or maybe add color to a jig skirt. Whatever changes I think will make a lure a better fish catcher, I will do it. This is another time where trial and error will become a great teacher. One thing to remember about “tinkering”, no detail can be too small. Rule number five is “Success breeds confidence”. There is no substitute for having a positive attitude. I can’t preach this enough, especially to young anglers. The more confidence you gain in your abilities to find and catch fish, the better angler you will become. That is just a fact. Success breeds confidence is not just a motto, it is true in any sport you would care to master. I have seen very good anglers become defeated before they ever leave the boat ramp. The wind, weather, full moon, no moon, cold front, boat pressure, whatever the excuse you can think of, I have heard anglers complain about before the tournament even begins, leaving them defeated before the first cast. My philosophy has always been “Someone will catch them, they always do, why can’t that someone be me?” I have always been known as a confident angler. Mind you I said confident, I didn’t say arrogant or cocky. In competitions, in reality, it is me against the fish, the other anglers have nothing to do with my success. However, most of the time, no matter how good of an angler you believe you are, the Fishing With Kenny fish are going to win. My last rule, which may come as a surprise to those of you who know me, “Embrace BECOMING A BETTER FISHERMAN technology.” While I am still article by KENNY COVINGTON not an advocate of LiveScope and the other popular brands of fish finders, I have begun using some of the more basic technological concepts with encouraging success. I use my graphs and side imaging to locate potential areas, as well to measure depth and water temperatures and I have learned to incorporate this technology into my own way of doing things. Techniques and map study that took me years to learn, through the magic of modern technology, beginning fishermen can learn the basics of, in a matter of hours. Google Earth and YouTube have opened a whole new world to all anglers. Don’t depend on technology to the point where it becomes the reason you aren’t successful on the water. Take the time to develop your style and ways of doing things. Explore new areas, fish new lakes, compete in tournaments, whatever it takes to become a better angler, is what you should do. Never stop learning and always remember, there are no short-cuts to success. Well, it looks like we have run out of space and time again for another month. I sure hope we were able to share with you some things that will make your next trip to the lake more productive and make you a better fisherman. It’s a new year so it’s time to create a new you and positive attitude. Go fishing! And make sure you catch one for me! See you next month!

When The Doctor Gets Sick

Promoting Personal Health…Wellness 2023


HAPPY NEW YEAR! IT IS MY HOPE THE HOLIDAY WAS meaningful, and the new year has started off positively with all things merry and bright for everyone. Hopefully, your physical health and mental wellness is in place and if not plans are being made to intentionally address them. For many the new year has indeed been great, and the future feels promising, for others their reality is different. Through my work I am reminded each year that the holidays and the new year are met with mixed emotions, varied experiences, and consequently different reactions. Last month I wrote about savoring the magic qualities of the holiday and holding on to them throughout the coming year. I urged individuals to let joyous thoughts, interactions, and experiences outweigh negative actions, encounters, and occurrences. The new year is associated with great expectations, goal setting, resolutions, vision boards and wonderment. This is the time of year when many people resolve to eat healthier, exercise more, reconnect with others and sleep better to gain an improved lifestyle. The start of the year is a period when we reflect on the past as we ready ourselves to embrace the future. Celebrating on the eve of the new year allows us to briefly put aside the difficulties of the past and welcome the future with hope, enthusiasm, and optimism.

Like many, I find myself wondering what the new year will bring. I believe what happens the previous year helps to shape what happens in the new year. While some express feeling hopeful about 2023 memories of 2022 linger resulting in feelings of uncertainty. When I reflect on the past year, I think of lessons learned and the impact the lessons have had on my life as well as the lives of others. We learned in 2022 to expect the unexpected, to accept the fact tomorrow is not promised to anyone, and the power of resilience when encountering undying challenges. In 2022 society acknowledged the third year of the global pandemic and the outcomes that compromised societies overall wellness pointing to the need for more effective, responsive, and equitable health care. Increasingly, society began to look closer at providers, available resources, and the growing need for not only physical health services but mental health services. On July 26, 2022, at approximately 8:30 am, I recall the doctor walking through the door in which I sat and her reciting the words “Dr. Tatem you tested positive, you have COVID.” I went to a local urgent care facility (no pun intended) urgently that day as I felt run down and as though I had the flu. When hearing the news, I recall thinking “Of all times to get COVID.” Intellectually I know there is no good time to get it but emotionally I felt I have not had it before, why now? I recall the day so well because I was planning to fly out of town the next day to be with my family; family members I had not seen in person since 2019 due to the pandemic. Immediately, I thought of the people I needed to contact. I called my mother, the airline to cancel my flight, my primary physician, my family and then recently seen clients. With each call to a client, I waited for their reaction with hesitancy. Were they sick and if so, had I spread COVID to them? How would they react to their doctor getting sick? I frequently went to the facility to monitor my health. Each time I was told I did not have COVID. I always felt relieved and even more determined to prevent getting it. I was disappointed upon receiving the diagnosis but not surprised as I was experiencing several of the symptoms. My experience with COVID was mild. I attribute this to the sound medical advice I received from doctors who know my medical history and my cousin who is a pulmonologist. I had gotten the vaccine at the encouragement of my doctors because of my own health issues and the fact I was encountering several people on a regular basis in close proximities. To the chagrin of my family and friends I worked in my office throughout the pandemic. While contracting COVID caught me off guard it served as a reminder of the importance of taking care of yourself, for yourself, as well as for others.

It has been almost a decade since I started my private practice, Wellness Initiatives, LLC. The name was born out of my desire to proactively take initiatives towards my wellness. I firmly believe health care professionals are role models for wellness; how we care for our own mental and physical health sends a message to the public. Individuals initiate therapy when they experience a lack of wellness, they continue in therapy in their quest to improve and maintain good mental health. Experiencing COVID while helping others with their experiences with COVID directly as well as vicariously added a dimension to my perspective when the doctor gets sick. It afforded me a greater understanding of others experiences despite the professional health care boundaries that had to be maintained. Being deemed an “essential worker” does not equate health care professionals to super women or men with superpowers who never get sick. When sick, I have the tendency to push through. With COVID I found there was no pushing through for me but a slowing down and really taking note of how I felt. It forced me to practice what I preach to many clients…selfcare. I encourage all in 2023 to protect their personal health by making their mental and physical wellbeing a priority. Savor the good to avoid the bad occupying your being. Embrace the spirit of the new year with a positive mindset of viewing challenges as opportunities; striving to do more than survive but to live well.

For more information on counseling and outreach services contact Dr. Beatrice Tatem at Wellness Initiatives, LLC, 2485 Tower Drive, Suite 10 Monroe, La 71201, 318-410-1555 or at btatem.bt@gmail.com.

New Year, New Possibilities

The Medical Spa by St. Francis Medical Group - Upcoming Specials

WELCOME 2023! IT’S ALWAYS EXCITING TO KICK OFF A new year — a new chapter — that’s full of possibilities. What a better way to start the new year than by investing in yourself? The staff at The Medical Spa by St. Francis Medical Group is ready to help you make this year your best yet with this great special: all treatments will be buy 3, get 1 free the entire month of January!

Renew you this year with our radiofrequency treatments. Radiofrequency is a non-surgical skin tightening treatment. These treatments work by applying controlled heat to the deeper layers of the skin to stimulate collagen and elastin production. Radiofrequency can be applied to areas of laxity on the face and neck as well as larger areas, such as the arms and legs, to reduce the appearance of cellulite.

NEW YEAR, NEW SMOOTHER YOU! Splendor X is laser hair removal for all skin types, and is powered by BLEND X technology, utilizing the ND: YAG and Alexandrite lasers. This technology offers unprecedented power, speed, versatility and coverage rate. Treatments are fast and comfortable with the cryo-cooling system and require no downtime.

NEW YEAR, NEW SKINCARE RESOLUTIONS? Get glowing with OxyGeneo. Geneo works from the inside out to refresh dull skin, reduce fine lines and improve overall skin texture and appearance. Geneo facials are customized based on your skincare needs. The three-step process includes exfoliation, infusion and oxygenation. The Oxypods are made with 100% natural ingredients to deliver natural sources of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to improve your skin’s overall health and appearance.


Radiofrequency micro-needling combats a variety of common skin care concerns, including discoloration, acne scarring, enlarged pores and texture issues along with fine lines and wrinkles. This fast, effective treatment is mildly invasive and requires little downtime!

Be sure to take advantage of the buy 3, get 1 free New Year’s special during the month of January! Whether you are new to these treatments or looking to purchase more, now is the perfect time. Schedule your consultation this month and the staff can discuss treatment options to reach your desired results.


The Medical Spa is now offering the Obagi Blue Peel RADIANCE! Blue Peel RADIANCE improves the appearance of aging skin one layer at a time. Are you concerned with dull skin tone, post-acne discoloration or signs of photoaging? This superficial chemical peel contains glycolic, salicylic and lactic acid. The combination of these three acids strips away dead skin cells from the epidermis to reveal brighter, tighter, more radiant skin. There is little to no downtime with Obagi Blue Peel RADIANCE. After the peel you may experience temporary redness and mild flaking and peeling that typically lasts one to three days. We find a series of three to six peels provides the best overall results. Start the new year off right with any number of our treatments today!


Missy McNabb, FNP-C, earned her master of science in nursing from Grambling State University in 2002. She is a Board Certified family nurse practitioner and a member of the Louisiana Association of Nurse Practitioners. Over the past two decades, Missy has practiced in almost every clinic setting that St. Francis offers. Her vast knowledge and skills are obtained from this variety of settings. Because of her experience, Missy was given the privilege of being the first nurse practitioner to independently operate her own primary care clinic within the St. Francis Medical Group. Missy was instrumental in the opening of the first employee clinic in Northeast Louisiana, the Franciscan Clinic. This clinic successfully operated for nine years, managing healthcare for St. Francis team members and dependents insured through St. Francis. Also, Missy was involved in opening the Pediatric After Hours Clinic, which provided much-needed services for those infants and children whose parents worked and were unable to get their sick children to a provider during normal office hours.

Missy makes it a personal standard to always represent her organization with professionalism and treat all patients with dignity that corresponds with St. Francis’ mission and core values. She is excited about being a part of The Medical Spa team, which will allow her to pursue a lifelong passion in aesthetic medicine. She is excited about helping to make patients look and feel their best!

Be sure to come by The Medical Spa this month to take advantage of our buy 3, get 1 free treatments and to find out more about the medical-grade skincare products offered here! We are in the James R. Wolff Building (also known as the P&S Building) in downtown Monroe. Our address is 312 Grammont St., Suite 406, across from St. Francis Medical Center. Also, be certain to follow The Medical Spa by St. Francis Medical Group on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date on our weekly specials, sales, promotions and giveaways.

Eucalyptus Scrub

When I was growing up the cure for any

illness was a hot bath. If I had a stomach ache my mom would say, “Take a hot bath,” when I had my first kidney stone my mom told me, “You’ll feel better after a hot bath.” There’s no surprise that she barely made it to the hospital to give birth because she was soothing her aches with a hot bath before finally deciding she may be in labor. But, there is truth to some folk remedies and a hot bath with epsom salts has been clinically shown to increase both magnesium and sulfate levels in the body. While you can combine any essential oils with epsom salts, the combination of eucalyptus makes an inviting and refreshing combination – creating a spalike atmosphere.

To get the best benefits, combine 1 cup Epsom salts, 1/2 cup baking soda and 20 drops of essential oils and blend together. Add this mixture to a hot bath and soak for twenty minutes to get your best dose of tub-therapy.

Article by Cassie Livingston Styling by Taylor Bennett Photo by Kelly Moore Clark

Alumni Spotlight

ULM Alumna: Florencetta Gibson

DR. FLORENCETTA GIBSON REALIZED HER PASSION for helping people as a teenager working as a candy striper. At the time in Alexandria, the hospital volunteers were involved with direct inpatient care. After graduating from Peabody High School, Florencetta chose ULM for its esteemed nursing program and received a Presidential Scholarship. While living in the dorms, she appreciated the communal living style, meeting new people and growing together. Some of those women are still Florencetta’s friends today.

The ULM nursing curriculum is thorough and prepares graduates to provide safe, effective nursing care. Faculty instill a mindset of volunteerism and community advocacy. Florencetta learned to identify local health and social resources for patients and worked with nonprofit groups. These experiences promoted the importance of community involvement. While juggling classes, Florencetta worked on campus and as a resident advisor. Two professors had a profound impact on Florencetta. Ms. Bernadine Adams taught obstetrical nursing and exemplified a professional business-minded approach to healthcare, while Ms. Norma Gates Steffenson taught pediatric nursing and demonstrated the power of a gentle touch and strong constitution. Combining the two approaches makes one a powerful force in healthcare, showing professionalism, efficiency and compassion side by side. Communicating with and for patients is essential to providing the level of healthcare people deserve.

As an only child, Florencetta was accustomed to being the focus of her parents’ attention, and they imparted the scripture: “To whom much is given, much is required.” Florencetta understood that in college she needed to get to know her peers, to learn through the experiences of others. After graduating with a BSN from ULM, Florencetta worked at St. Francis Cabrini Hospital back home and then St. Francis and Glenwood in Monroe. Later, she took a position at the Ouachita Parish Health Unit. She soon realized she wanted more education in patient interaction and communication skills. She appreciated the openness of the ULM graduate faculty, as they would often have coffee with students and develop interpersonal relationships. They reinforced the benefits of interdisciplinary studies, as healthcare is about treating the whole patient and not one-dimensional. Dr. Charles Pryor, helped tailor Florencetta’s graduate courses to suit a holistic approach to healthcare. Florencetta earned an M.Ed. in counseling.

Soon, Florencetta was recruited to teach at Louisiana Tech and obtained a MSN from Ole Miss, specializing in teaching with a clinical focus in psychiatric mental health nursing. She started teaching at ULM in 1985 in what became the Kitty Degree School of Nursing. Never one to shy away from challenging herself, Florencetta sought a PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy at ULM. Her PhD class consisted of seven women who called themselves the Magnificent 7. Florencetta brought an awareness of nursing and physical health care interventions to the class. Over the next 20 years, Florencetta taught primarily psychiatric nursing and was active on the ULM campus. Later, Florencetta was promoted to the Director of the School of Nursing and retired in 2011. Awarded Professor Emeritus status, Florencetta is still active in the school, though she now has a behavioral health practice as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse and Marriage and Family Therapist. She works with three other colleagues in a practice called Positive Changes.

Florencetta remains active in the community, holding active roles with United Way, Living Well Foundation, The Wellspring, Kitty Degree School of Nursing Advisory Council, Ouachita teen Family Life, and the Witness Project of Northeast Louisiana. Florencetta is active in her local church. She is an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated, supporting local health initiatives. Her husband Toney is also a ULM graduate, as is her daughter Tonnessa. Her daughter Franchesca began college at ULM and later transferred to Nicholls State to pursue a degree in Culinary Arts. Both daughters work in healthcare settings. .

As a resident of Northeast Louisiana, Florencetta is highly aware of the shortage of healthcare providers in the area as the health needs of residents increase. She is proud of the huge healthcare footprint of the Kitty Degree School of Nursing. Kitty Degree Nursing graduates serve as health care providers and leaders nationally and internationally. The graduates of the College of Health Sciences meet the healthcare needs of their respective communities. ULM’s nursing program is known for excellence. Dr. Gibson is honored to be a graduate and esteemed faculty member of such a viable program and university with an enduring impact on this community and the world beyond.

New Year...New Home

A New Year in Interior Decorating With Jan Strickland

IN HER 12TH YEAR AS AN INTERIOR DECORATOR, JAN HALES Strickland finds herself embracing 2023 with a new motto…“New Year…New Home.” “I love my job, I truly do and my business is my passion…I eat, sleep and breathe it. I love working with clients to help create beautiful and functional interiors.”

And in 12 years, she has certainly had a lot of opportunities to do just that. Says Jan, “I think sometimes when people hear the work ‘interior decorator,’ perhaps they feel they don’t have the budget for one. But the truth is, I love to work with any budget for any sized project. Right now, I am working on three house remodels, but last month I simply did a gallery wall for a client.”

Another example of Jan’s “favorite” way to help is styling bookshelves. “I have clients who give me the opportunity to shop local and completely restyle their bookshelves and I have other clients who simply want me to use what they already have. Either way, I love the way simply restyling your bookshelves gives a fresh look to a room.”

And might you be undecided about a paint color? Laughs Jan, “I have literally walked in a client’s home before and there would be a hundred paint chips on the wall. Picking out a paint color can be very daunting, and very overwhelming, but I like to come in and narrow it down to 3 choices, all of which would work, and help my client decide which of the 3 they like the best. Trust me, I have been hired plenty of times for simply a paint consultation, and I love when I am able to help create another fresh look in someone’s home just by repainting. I just love what I get to do every day.”

Jan’s love affair with interior decorating began at a very young age when she was fortunate enough to travel abroad including when her parents would rent a home in the countryside of England ever summer. This travel helped foster the inspiration for her passion, as did visiting local museums and homes. By the time she was in high school, Jan knew she wanted to be a designer/decorator. She even began her career during this time working on beach condos and homes.

For college Jan received a Bachelor of Science degree in Interior Design from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. The program is CIDA Accredited. Jan was an active student member or the American Society of Interior Designers. She also served on the advisory counsel for CIDA accreditation for the Interior Design program at the University of Alabama.

After college, Jan worked at a kitchen design center in Birmingham, Alabama, a fabric decor store in Montgomery, Alabama, and a nationally recognized antique store in Montgomery, Alabama. But when her husband had the opportunity to practice law with Jan’s father, she was ready to come home.

Since that time, Jan has enjoyed building her interior decorating and consulting clientele, while at the same time she’s been able to give back to her community. In her 6th year as the lead designer for the St. Jude Dream Home, Jan is also passionate about this cause. “Having lost my best friend to cancer makes this cause very personal to me. This summer I was able to attend the St. Jude summit and toured their campus, which made me even more passionate when I saw the far reaching impact our support gives St. Jude. Last year we were able to sell $800,000 worth of tickets, and being able to see the children and the families that these monies support gave me even more motivation to maintain the support we can in our community. I was most honored to receive the Kichler Lighting Award for my work on this project.”

When not focused on her clients or her St. Jude work, Jan enjoys spending time with her husband Josh, son Jey, daughter Evy, and dog Belle. “I’m in a busy season of my life, and getting to spend time with clients, getting to know them and their home brings me such joy. I believe your home can have a great impact on your mental and physical well-being, and I like being a small part of helping my clients create a calm and inspiring environment.”

If you are embracing 2023 the same way as Jan, “New Year… New Home,” then bring her in for a consultation. Whether you need a new coat of paint, restyled bookshelves or you are looking to remodel or build something new, Jan is always ready to lend her years of experience and expertise to make sure you have the home of your dreams within the budget you can afford.

Cooking Up Prosperity

It is said that eating fresh greens - usually collards - for New Year’s helps to usher in a year of

prosperity. The green representing “folding money.” Collards or mustards, winter greens, will bring prosperity in the form of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The peppery bite of fresh local mustards pairs perfectly with a ham or beef bone like oxtail. Start the New Year with all good things green.

2 lbs fresh greens 1/2 qt bone broth (beef or chicken) 1-2 lb stock bone such as oxtail, or ham hock ** substitute with a few slices of bacon if needed Pink Himalayan salt

Tear the leaves from the tough stems. Fill the sink with water. Add greens and submerge. Add broth to a stock pot with the bone or bacon. Season to taste with salt. ** If broth is bland, add cracked pepper, onion and garlic powder. Bring to a boil and then reduce to medium low. Rinse the greens and add to pot. Cover with a lid and allow to simmer until wilted but still retail their color.

Serve in their own broth, a few bits of the meat from the bone, a sprinkle of salt and a dash of pickled pepper sauce.

Photograph and Recipe by Heather Land