__MAIN_TEXT__

Page 1

FREE

CONNECTIONMO.COM

DECEMBER 2020

CHRISTMAS SHOPPING

Local Fare

KID’S FAVORITE MEMORIES

What They Love Best

JOLLY IN THE MIDDLE KINGDOM

Christmas in China

BRINGING HER HOME

The Irwins’ Story

Loving Local for the

Holidays

AUDRA THE ARTIST

Priceless Portraiture

A MAGAZINE DEDICATED TO SOUTHWEST MISSOURIANS


400 MAIN STREET, CASSVILLE, MO 65625

DINE IN, CARRY OUT or DRIVE - THRU

OPEN 6AM-9PM 7 DAYS TO ORDER ONLINE GO

sunrisefamilyrestaurants.com Or call

(417) 847- 0782 TO PICK UP AT THE DRIVE - THRU

Discounted senior and kids menu available dine in only

2 | December 2020


ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 3


Editorial

Christmas Carols and Old Tyme Cheer

M

ost of you are not aware of the fact that the magazine is written a month in advance, so as I am writing this we have not even celebrated Thanksgiving. I am pointing this out because as we all know,and have discovered this year, our lives and situations can change in a heartbeat. I could hope and pray that the season of miracles would be working in overtime to make this crazy virus totally disappear as quickly as it appeared. To me it seems like it just took over the world overnight. But in case it has not maybe we can get our minds off of it for a bit during a time when our lives are suppose to be experiencing the most magical time of the year. In the past December magazines I have talked of area events and the beautiful lights, etc., but one of the things that I love to do is listen and partake in singing Christmas carols. They have a tendency to make my imagination fill with so many pictures of wonderment and family! Other than the carols that we would sing in church, one of my favorites is “The Christmas Song.” I love to imagine chestnuts roasting on an open fire and there being snow outside with carolers singing, and the idea of children having trouble going to sleep, knowing that Santa is on his way. It has been so long since we have had a good snow, and if we cannot get together, we might as well have a white Christmas since we do not have to worry about traveling! One thing I always thought would be really awesome would be for a community family to line up on both sides of town in the evening with the Christmas lights on and sing carols. Some of us may be a bit off tune but it would be a time of togetherness. I think that is something that is missing in our modern day— togetherness. Perhaps because of what is going on I am just feeling a little weepy, but Christmas has always made me feel like I wanted to get together with people, not just family. Old-fashioned get-togethers, with community.

4 | December 2020

I know we cannot this year; it is too dangerous, (unless that miracle happens) and maybe I just watch too many Hallmark movies. We have small communities around here, think about it. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a community Christmas tree that we decorate and have one specific night to light the tree, (I know just like a movie) and everyone can drink hot chocolate, eat Christmas cookies, sing carols, see people maybe that we have not seen all year, share a laugh, and share a tear. Okay, maybe I carried this a little bit too far, but I sure would love it. So this year will probably not be normal, but share yourself as much as you can. Call someone, meet virtually on the computer, be old-fashioned and write a letter, send a card, mail a care package, stand outside a window and wave if that is all you can do, if children are involved, let them make cards. When you make your meal, if you know someone deliver them a take-out dish to their door. Just make sure you wear a mask and add a little holiday candy to dress up the dish. There really is a lot we can do if we just set our minds to it and do a little homework. In the meantime, I will pray Christmas blessings on all of our readers and communities. I hope everyone is well and can enjoy the holiday season. My prayer this year for the world is, of course peace, and a quick end to this coronavirus. Merry Christmas to all!

Lisa Craft

General Manager, Connection Magazine Lisa Craft is General Manager of Connection Magazine, The Monett Times and Cassville Democrat. She can be reached at monettcommunity@gmail.com or connection@monett-times.com


A MAGAZINE DEDICATED TO SOUTHWEST MISSOURIANS

GENERAL MANAGER Lisa Craft monettcommunity@gmail.com EDITOR Kyle Troutman editor@cassville-democrat.com ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVES James Craig Marion Chrysler CONTRIBUTORS Meagan Ruffing Lisa Ramirez Darlene Wierman Melonie Roberts Susan Funkhouser Pam Wormington Jared Lankford Jordan Troutman Dionne Zebert Jane Severson Verna Fry Christa Stout Cheryl Williams Sierra Gunter Jennifer Conner Annie Lisenby Smith PHOTOGRAPHERS Chuck Nickle Jamie Brownlee Amy Sampson

aurora____________________________ Jeramie Grosenbacher, CFP®

DISTRIBUTION Greg Gilliam Kevin Funcannon TO ADVERTISE 417-847-2610 - Cassville 417-235-3135 - Monett Send email inquiries to connection@monett-times.com Mailing address: P.O. Box 40, Monett, MO 65708 Connection is published monthly and distributed free in Cassville, Monett, Exeter, Washburn, Pierce City, Mt. Vernon, Aurora, Verona, Roaring River, Eagle Rock, Shell Knob, Purdy, Wheaton, Freistatt, Marionville, Seligman, Golden and other surrounding areas. Connection is a publication of the Cassville Democrat, The Monett Times and Rust Communications.

Scott Young Financial Advisor

Financial Advisor

1418 S Elliott 417-678-2102

103 E Olive 417-678-0277

Mt. vernon____ Cassville _______ Kedron Blecha

Shane A Boyd

Financial Advisor

Financial Advisor

304 W Mount Vernon Blvd 417-466-4620

802 West Street 417-847-5238

Monett____________________________ Nicole Weber

Donald E Weber

Jim Haston

100 Chapel Dr Suite B 417-236-2819

603 Dairy St 417-235-7465

7 E Broadway 417-235-8216

Financial Advisor

MKT-9811A-A

Financial Advisor

Financial Advisor

Member SIPC

ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 5


What’s Kasasa ? ®

It’s like we fill your stocking

12 TIMES A YEAR.

Free Kasasa checking rewards you each month. All for doing simple things you’d do anyway. So you have more to be merry about, no matter the season.

www.fsb-purdy.com

Kasasa is a trademark of Kasasa, Ltd., registered in the U.S.A.

Big store with a lot of stuff! Authorized dealer

Family owned and operated since 1971

Race Brothers carries a complete line of farm and home supplies including clothing, lawn and garden, outdoor power equipment, pet supplies, tack and livestock supplies and much more! You will find our service outstanding whether your needs are for home or acreage in the country.

235-7739

210 Hwy 37, Monett

6 | December 2020

862-4378

2310 W Kearney, Springfield

358-3592

2309 Fairlawn Dr., Carthage


F

E

A

T

U

R

E

S

10 | SHOP SOUTHWEST MISSOURI

Take a break from the box store and support local shopping this holiday season

18 | AUDRA THE ARTIST

Cassville painter finds connection with Jesus through artistic expression

24 | KIDS’ CHRISTMAS

There are a few parts about Christmas that stick in a child’s memory. Here’s what a few of our locals remembered

27 | JOY IN 2020

The Irwins pull together to succeed in bringing their first child through NICU and to home

35 | JOLLY TIDINGS OF THE FAR EAST D E C E M B E R 2020

A Christmas story from the Middle Kingdom

ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 7


FREE

Morgan Stanley CONNECTIONMO.COM

DECEMBER 2020

CHRISTMAS SHOPPING

Local Fare

Loving Local

KID’S FAVORITE MEMORIES

What They Love Best

JOLLY IN THE MIDDLE KINGDOM

Christmas in China

BRINGING HER HOME

The Irwins’ Story

for the

Holidays

AUDRA THE ARTIST

Priceless Portraiture

A MAGAZINE DEDICATED TO SOUTHWEST MISSOURIANS

ON THE COVER:

Are you wondering what’s next? Market volatility has become a fact of life. What does this mean for your investments? Are you prepared for the increase risk volatility may have on your portfolio? Should you make changes and adjust your plan? Working with a Morgan Stanley Financial Advisor can help you navigate through these volatile times by helping you review your plan, making adjustments and keeping you informed along the way.

We delight in the season of giving from the heart, thoughts, actions and goods to show we really care. Enjoy this issue of Connection Magazine, published in the spirit of the holidays.

Tisha Trotter Financial Advisor 1535 East Primrose Springfield, MO 65804 417-885-1604 Tisha.Trotter@ morganstanley.com advisor.morganstanley.com/ tisha.trotter MO Insurance Lic. #18620914 NMLS# 1918463

Contact me to see how I can help you or provide a second opinion. Morgan Stanley recommends that investors independently evaluate particular investments and strategies, and encourages investors to seek the advice of a Financial Advisor. The appropriateness of a particular investment or strategy will depend on an investor’s individual circumstances and objectives. © 2020 Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC. Member SIPC.

CONTENTS 31 Parenting Column: Christmas on a Budget 33 Pam Wormington: Along For the Ride

39 Healthy Connection: Alcohol and the Immune System 41 Recipes

44 Cutest Pet

45 Rescued, My Favorite Breed 47 Cutest Kid

49 Familiar Faces 51 Parting Shot

Have an idea for a story you would like to see in Connection Magazine? Email it to connection@monett-times.com Facebook.com/MyConnectionMo

FAS016 CRC3144831 07/20 CS 9870118 07/20

Twitter.com/MyConnection_Mo

8 | December 2020


OUR COMMUNITY

with in The Heart f The Ozarks with continuing care

32 Residential Care Apartments 78 Bed Skilled Nursing Facility

58 Independent Living Homes Fitness Center & RehabCare Group

A Tradition Of Caring Since 1925 Continuing Care Retirement Community

205 S. College  P.O. Box 403  Marionville, MO 65705  (417) 258-2573

SB

SECURITY BANK OF SOUTHWEST MISSOURI

Your Locally Owned Independent Bank

Let us be your HOMEtown bank! • Great Service • Committed To Barry County • Decisions Made Locally Wheaton

Cassville

302 Main Street Jct. 37, 76 & 86 417-652-3204 417-847-4794

Exeter

Front Street 417-835-8111

Bill Pay & Internet Banking at

www.sbswmo.com

ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 9


Monett

Local merchants & offer up best of Pierce City the season

When it comes to holiday gift-giving, break the mass production big-box store habit and search out those special items offered up only by the area’s local merchants.

Firefly Boutique This welcoming display at the Firefly Boutique, MeMa’s Manna cookbooks, towels, table linens and dinnerware, trending separates, Firefly Boutique, inside Friendly Supply in Pierce City.

10 | December 2020


Plymouth Junction Prairie Thyme Raspberry JalapeĂąo Ambrosia, distressed flannels, vintage tees, natural goat milk skin care products from Dionis, Trinity Ranch handbags, Plymouth Junction, Monett.

ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 11


Bruner Pharmacy and Hallmark Store Hallmark Christmas Collectibles, Wildfeast Wreaths, 2021 calendars, Soap to Go pocket packs, Fashion separates, Fuzzy Footies, Hallmark holiday blanket, Bruner Pharmacy and Hallmark Store, Monett.

12 | December 2020


Mitzi’s Holiday home decor, Wind and Willow soup, dips and dessert mixes, Snowmen, Mitzi’s, Monett.

Peppers and Co. Charlie B sweater, Holiday measuring spoons, Winter sweaters, hats and scarves, gloves and (boot) socks, Peppers and Co., Monett.

ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 13


Cassville

Local merchants offer up best of the season

When it comes to holiday gift-giving, break the mass production big-box store habit and search out those special items offered up only by the area’s local merchants.

Forever Yours Embroidery

14 | December 2020

Market totes, small, large and pattern (washable), assorted ornaments, child hooded towels, handprinted washable hand towels, Outlaw soaps, Bogue milk soap Shaving Kits — Forever Yours Embroidery


1

2

3

Banjo Ben’s General Store

4

(1) Eastman MD305 A-style mandolin with case, (2) Morgan Monroe MNB1W bluegrass banjo, (3) Recording King RDH-26 dreadnaught acoustic guitar, (4) Eddy Finn cigar box ukulele with case, (5) Snark ST-8 super tight chromatic all instrument tuner, (6) Paige 6-string acoustic guitar capo – nickel, (7)Bluegrass instrument earrings (choose instrument), (8) Tone-gard for mandolin (standard sized) sunrise style, Banjo Ben’s General Store

5

6 7

8 ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 15


6 5 7

Tomblin’s Jewelry (1) emerald cut 18 karat white gold, (2) synthetic birthstone stacking rings, (3) white gold and diamond band, (4) Santa sleigh lantern, (5) tree wall art, (6) golden rabbit nesting bowls, (7) variety of ornaments — Tomblin’s Jewelry and Gifts

1

4 2

3 16 | December 2020


Shop Local This Holiday Season! We Have:

• The Latest Fashions • Great Gift Selection • Free Gift Wrapping • Friendly and Helpful Staff

Whitley Pharmacy

101 West 8th, Cassville, “on the Square” • 417-847-2722 or 417-847-2717

Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30 am - 5:30 pm Saturday 8:30 - 3:00 pm (until Christmas)

Where every customer is special

Shop Local For Christmas At The Store You Trust! Check our competitive pricing and GREAT service! TOMBLIN JEWELRY

& GI F T S

If You Like To Shop... Come see our extensive inventory. If You Don’t, Then call ahead and we can have things ready to show you!

Jeans, Coats, Sweaters, Fun Jewelry and Much Much More! ALWAYS DEFINING EXCITING & UNIQUE

On The Square - Cassville, MO 417-847-2195

416 Broadway, Downtown Monett

417-235-7622

ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 17


People may see and purchase Audra Barton paintings and art at

Spreading God’s love through hands, voice, prayer

artwanted.com/audrabarton/gallery

Rebirth through Jesus Christ

A

local woman who found joy in art after a lesson from her mother begins a new journey on a path with the Lord. Audra Barton, a Cassville area artist dubbed Audra the Artist, said her first memory about art was when she was two years old. “When I was a child, my mom drew pictures of us one day and made me a homemade story,” she said. I was in awe. “Then, she took me through the house and explained that someone had made all of our things with their own two hands.” Audra’s mother was teaching her a lesson about the world and at that point, Audra knew in her heart what she wanted to do. “The fire in my heart was kindled, and I began drawing as soon as I could

18 | December 2020

master the tools,” she said. “I never talked to her about that memory. But, after that, I tried to draw, of course, I had to learn how to use a pencil and crayon — but I have never stopped.” Audra lives in Cassville and grew up in the area. “Lately, I have been on a journey with the Lord,” she said. “I started my ministry through painting, and I am currently enrolling in school to become a minister.” Audra said she wants to give everything over to the Lord, give Him everything she is and everything she loves. “I noticed in my pre-teen years that I was pretty well advanced in painting, as well as in my academics,” she said. “I began selling my art in high school.” In her sophomore year of high school, she decided to paint a portrait. “I saw this National Geographic

magazine and there was this young tribal girl,” she said. “She had so much emotion in her that I wanted to capture. “After that, the next portrait was an old Indian woman with wrinkles on her hands.” Audra went to college on a presidential scholarship, but she never wanted her mind and her talents to be used for evil. “I thought through art, I could control what I did,” she said. “So, instead of using my mind, I could use my heart to touch others.” She majored in Fine Art, but soon fell in love and got married in 1997. “I got divorced in 2012,” she said. “I knew I had to find God the right way.” In painting portraits, Audra fell in love with people and with capturing the character of the person she was painting.

Story by Jordan Troutman


“A Christmas Child,” a commission sample of Audra Barton, Audra the Artist’s work.

“Jesus Loves You, Audra and her father,” is a portrait Audra Barton did to honor her father after his passing on Feb. 4, 2017. Audra Barton, otherwise known as Audra the Artist, is a talented painter right here in Cassville.

“You can reveal the soul of a person in a photograph or a painting,” she said. “When I was married I was able to give art away as freely as my heart desired; I did this especially for those who lost a loved one.” At that time in 2011, she created Love in Motion. “It began after the Joplin tornado,” she said. “I wanted to help, but I didn’t have anything to give except for my heart.” In the last year, Audra has painted about 60 paintings, but 20 she has sold, 20 she has given away and 20 are in her portfolio. “About one-third of my paintings are given away and it is purely by the glory of God that I am able to do that and live,” she said. “When I am not painting I am studying His work, which has moved me to this new journey.” Audra said she thinks it is possible that she will give up her art to follow her ministry. “Love in Motion is something I still do,” she said. “The premise of it is to help those who have lost a loved one.” There are five categories of memorial paintings in Love in Motion. “The first is Beauty for Ashes, which is for people who are cremated,” she said. “I incorporate the ashes of the loved one in the painting. “Then, Honor for Glory, this is for fallen heroes, I have done paintings for fallen law enforcement officers in town. One Flesh is next, it is for married people who have lost a spouse. I paint them together then usually one of each of them apart. Come Unto Me is for children who have passed, and Love Your Neighbor is just for people and for love. If someone is broken or lost this can cheer them up.” Audra said that painting will always be a part of her.

ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 19


Honored Memories Come Unto Me, is a free memorial service by Audra Barton. This painting is of Kenda Meredith’s family. Kenda’s baby, Millie, died and she had no photos of them all together, her daughter Lexi, and son Mack. It was ordered by Karla Martin Meredith, Kenda’s mother, and also referred to me by “Colton’s Cause.” It is 16 x 20 acrylic on canvas, with the Bible verse Matthew 19:14, It was shipped to Appleton City, Mo.

Beauty for Ashes is a free memorial service, offered by Audra Barton. The ashes of John Alan Rector, also named Corey Adam Rector, are incorporated beneath the painting in each image and the words, “I am always with you mom, always.” Rector lived from Dec. 2, 1986, to Sept. 18, 2019. It is 24 x 30 acrylic on canvas, shipped to Twenty-Nine Palms, Calif. Corey was hit on his motorcycle. It is a collage piece, where he also is in the moon and crouched in the sand, and his mother is walking toward him. The Bible verse Matthew 28:20 was incorporated into this photo. “Everything I am is because of God and His love,” she said. “God says if you know love then you know me, and I have love in me.” Shortly after the 2011 tornados, Audra and her family were hit by a tragedy that eventually broke her marriage. “A woman counseled me, and through her the Lord delivered me,” she said. “I said, ‘I don’t know how 20 | December 2020

you will lead me, I don’t know who you are.’ “Someone gave me a Bible, and she told me where to start reading. I started at the part that said, God, is love. At that moment I felt love and I knew peace.” Audra said she wanted to know more, she wanted to learn all about God. “I wanted to be a part of helping

others on this path,” she said. “That was a pivotal point in my life. I have even been homeless since then, but He keeps giving to me so I can give back through Him.” In this rebirth, Audra found love, peace, and passion. “God says to lose yourself through Him and you will find yourself,” she said. “This rebirth is when I realized what I was doing was helping to set


MERRY CHRISTMAS!

175 N. 3rd Street VeroNa, Mo.

Orders TO GO…498-6487 Open 7 days a Week MOn.-Fri. aT 11:00 a.M. Weekends Open aT 10:00 a.M.

TacO MOnday - 4:00 p.M. TO clOse FajiTa Tuesday - 2:00 p.M. TO clOse Thursday TOrTa niGhT - 4:00 p.M. TO clOse cusTOMer appreciaTiOn niGhT (every FirsT OF each MOnTh) - 5:00 p.M. TO clOse happy hOur every day FrOM 11:30 a.M. TO 2:00 p.M.

Virtual Weigh-In & curbside product pickup √ Programs using grocery store foods √ One-on-one counseling √ Supplements for appetite suppression & energy

309 Kyler, Monett, MO Over 40 Years of Weight Loss Success

Setting The Standard For Senior Care Christine Grizzle – Administrator ckuhn@roaringriverrehab.com

(417) 235-7175 Providing Rehab, Healthcare, Happiness and Hope

812 Old Exeter Rd., Cassville, MO. • 417-847-2184

*Special based on a full service weight loss program which includes reducing, stabilization and maintenance. Registration fee and required products, if any, at regular low prices.+individual results may vary. Available at participating locations. Void where prohibited. ©2020 Diet Center® Worldwide, inc. Akron, OH 44333. A Health Management Group™. company. All Rights Reserved.

ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 21


Merry Christmas!

Ensuring everyone gets to where they need to be safely.

1304 Bond Street, Monett, MO. 65708

(417) 235-6311

www.DougsProLube.com WE’LL MAKE SURE YOU ARE

ROAD READY!

Leave the safety and reliability of your car to us.

AUTO • HOME • FARM BUSINESS • BONDS

www.trogdoninsurance.com

TROGDON AGENCY, INC. SERVING SOUTHWEST MISSOURI SINCE 1907

P.O. Box 405 • 111 S. Market St. • Mt. Vernon 417.466.2800 • fax: 417.466.3066 Toll Free: 1.800.748.7756

Monday and Tuesday Closed, Wednesday-Saturday 11am-8pm, Sunday 11am-3pm

18947 MO-37 Cassville, MO

417-671-0313

22 | December 2020

that Love in Motion.” Audra came to understand that to do good, it will take all of her. “My voice, my hands, my words, and my heart,” she said.”I don’t have to pick just one, I realized I wanted to use all of me, not just my hands and my art.” In first grade, a boy told Audra about a man named Jesus. “After that, I would walk to church as I didn’t come from a church family,” she said. “I didn’t understand it as I do now, but Jesus has always been with me. “By art, song and prayer people have been healed with the love of the Lord.” Audra’s purpose has always been to touch another’s heart with joy and love, the way her mother’s art touched hers. “It is firmly rooted in those first moments where I watched my mother lovingly draw me and her, our lashes, hair, and happy faces,” she said. “They were stick figures that perfectly expressed our hearts and character, our love and joy, and preserved that special moment. “Her attention to detail sparked an appreciation for the little things and fine details that remains in me today.” All of our talents are God-given, no doubt. “His words are now written in the tablet of my own heart, not just the tablet of my art,” she said. “I meditate and pray and seek Him as I work. It was not that way in the beginning. He sought me when I was a stranger, and taught me to seek Him. “Who I am as an artist in Christ now is evidence of our relationship and His presence among us, and I treasure that.” n


417-847-4372 417-235-2100 Aire Serv Heating and Air Conditioning

Serving The Area Since 1978

www.aireserv.com

!

Join us for

DAILY SPECIALS! Family Owned Since 1954

Sandwiches • Soups • Salads Homemade desserts Specialty coffee drinks Breakfast & Lunch Served

White’s Insurance Agency All Lines Of Insurance • Located 2 miles south of Purdy AGENTS: Lea White, Chris Ray and Jessica Tyson

417-442-3858

200 Washington, Purdy, Mo. (417) 442-3721

Monday - Saturday, 6 a.m. - 2 p.m.

ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 23


Christmas memories with

R

ussian novelist and philosopher, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, said, “The soul is healed by being with children.” As we come to the close of 2020, one of the most challenging years our country has faced in decades, it’s nice to take a moment and see the world through the eyes of a child. No one can deny that the holidays this year will be different from those of the past, but the students at Monett’s Central Park Elementary School have pointed out what’s really important about Christmas by sharing their Christmas memories —family, time together, traditions. This year might be different, but being able to see the simple pleasures as these young people do, might help us all see the real importance of the holiday season. As Christopher Moore, writer, said, “Children see magic because they look for it.”

Addison Cole, Fourth Grade “My favorite Christmas memory is when we always go to my grandma’s house to have dinner. We go downstairs and dance to Christmas songs with my cousins and open presents.”

Lynnlee Richardson, Fourth Grade “Last year, my sister, mom and brother all went to my grandma’s house and our cousins came over. It was the first time we had Christmas all together.”

Story by Annie Lisenby Smith

Tucker Goetz, Fourth Grade

24 | December 2020

“My favorite gift was when I got my Nintendo Switch last year because I was begging for one. I play it with my brother and my dad.”


Aliana Thrasher, Fourth Grade

Harper Jackson, Third Grade

MJ Long, Third Grade

“My grandma has a really big snack table with lots of snacks. My favorite is the chocolate truffles my grandma and cousin make.”

“This might not be a real memory because I sometimes make up ones from when I was little. But it was when my cousins and I went to my dad’s house and I got a magnet sock monkey, my favorite gift. I can take its legs on and off.”

“My favorite Christmas was whenever I went to Big Cedar in Branson. We opened lots of gifts and went to the indoor pool and swam a long time. And when we go to my grandma’s where we eat, open presents and stay there for the night.”

Violet Hill, Third Grade

Ahleena Ortega, Third Grade

“I like it when we go to Florida with my family. We go to the beach, some breakfast places, and once went to a lighthouse.”

“My favorite gift was a doll from my mom. My mom also made cookies for me and my sisters. We helped decorate them, with my sisters, and shared them.”

Ivan Rodriguez, Third Grade

Junia Smith, Third Grade

“My favorite is when we always, all of our family, come together and celebrate. The best gift was a remote-control car that was big and my little, little, litter sister would hop in the back to drive off.”

“We went on a trip once, but I don’t remember where it was. I like making Christmas dinner with my mom. It’s always fun.”

Blake Snarley, Third Grade “My favorite gift was an all-terrain drone that can go on water, in the air and on the ground. I drove and flew it at the park. I liked it when my aunt got to come from Texas to do Christmas with us.”

ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 25


NEW APPAREL & MERCHANDISE EVERYDAY!

Watch Our Facebook Page For Exciting Auctions And More!!!

Atmybestfriendscloset@gmail.com 417-635-2000

Find us on Facebook 815 Jerome Ln, Monett, MO 65708

Located right behind Taco Bell in Monett

One stop Christmas shop at Bruner’s!

BRUNER PHARMACY 321 Broadway, Monett, MO

417-235-3139

Monday-Friday - 8:30 a.m. - 6 p.m. Saturday - 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

TreaTing your whole family

like family! JOHNSON CHIROPRACTIC SPORTS & WELLNESS CLINIC 907 Main Street Cassville, MO 65625

417.847.0388 26 | December 2020


Finding Joy in 2020 A Local Family’s Story of their Daughter’s Premature Birth

Story by Anne Lisenby Smith

W

hen America rang in 2020 on January 1, people were talking about the hope of the New Year being one where we could see more clearly in our world. Little did we all know that this year would bring not only a global pandemic, but also an onslaught of political tensions, natural disasters, and a lengthy list of obituaries, but for one family, 2020 has proven to be a year that will be remembered for the joy it brought to their lives. February 28, 2020, will be a day that Zack and Amy Irwin will always remember. Amy was 31 weeks preg-

nant with their first child and woke up on February 25 with a mysterious rash on her feet. The next day, she scheduled an appointment at the Cox Monett Urgent Care for the late afternoon. “I ran home after work and changed into some maternity jeans and a more comfortable shirt, planning on heading to church afterward because it was Ash Wednesday,” Amy explained. After Zack joined her, they headed to Urgent Care where the doctor quickly contacted Amy’s obstetrician in Joplin. The doctor said that the Irwins needed to go to Joplin right away to have some blood tests run.

ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 27


“I looked at Zack, and I could tell he was trying to keep it together. We ran home and made some phone calls to some friends to see if they could take care of our dogs, just in case we didn’t get back until the next day. We decided to pack just a small overnight bag with the essentials and stopped by our church where some friends came out to check on us and say a quick prayer before we headed on our way.” The Irwins checked into the OB floor at Mercy Joplin where doctors began monitoring Amy and the baby and running multiple blood tests. They discovered that she was having contractions that were large enough to be concerning and administered medications to control the contractions and to prepare the baby for a possible birth. After receiving treatments overnight and throughout the day on Thursday, Amy was told that they would be going home on Friday. But plans didn’t go as the medical staff had expected. After having trouble sleeping overnight, Amy said, “At 6:15 a.m. I woke up again in so much pain. I woke up Zack and told him that I’ve never been through this before but that I was pretty sure I was in labor. I remember thinking, no, no, no, we’re supposed to be going home today. I’m not ready for this to be happening. I’m supposed to have maternity pictures and a baby shower still. I’m not ready!” Visitors were in and out that day including a visit from the Irwins’ pastor and associate pastor who came to pray with the family. Phone calls and texts from friends, relatives, and co-workers flooded Zack and Amy’s phones with encouragement and more prayers. Because they had been told the day before that Amy would be going home soon, Amy had dis-

28 | December 2020

Zack and Amy Irwin giving their newborn daughter their first bath using warm wipes and water. It was a new experience having to work around the wires connected to Allayna that monitored her vital signs in the NICU. couraged her mother from making the 7-hour drive from Iowa to be with her. “My sister, Sarah, and sister-inlaw, Megan, came. They were the two I wanted to be there to talk with me and calm me down,” Amy said. “At about 1:30 they told me that I would need to start pushing. I did not want to. My mom wasn’t there yet.” Allayna Irwin was born at 1:57 p.m. weighing four pounds and six ounces. “My mom came running in the room at 2:00 p.m., three minutes after Allayna was born and got to see

her while the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) team was cleaning her up and examining her. I only got to hold her for a few seconds before they swept her out of my arms and across the hall to the NICU.” That tumultuous day in February would begin a long journey for Allayna. While she was being cared for by the medical team in the NICU, Allayna needed oxygen, which was the main reason that kept her in the hospital. Because she was born before 32 weeks, she had to have brain ultrasounds to check for brain bleeds.


The premature newborn baby faced challenges with eating, and at times needing a feeding tube. Then they discovered that Allayna was lactose intolerant, which required a specialized formula. “The most frightening part of the whole experience was the unknown,” Amy explained. “Did the shots (prebirth) help her lungs? How long would she be in the NICU? Would she have any long-term medical is-

sues? Did I do the labor process right? Does she have a brain bleed?” While many new parents, especially those of premature babies, face similar thoughts and concerns, the Irwins also faced the challenge that their daughter needed to be in the hospital more than 45 miles away. “We stayed in the Ronald McDonald house for a week, but being away from home was really hard on both of us. Zack still had to drive to work in Monett, so I

Graduation Day. Baby Allayna was ready to go home with Mom

and Dad after 52 days of care in the Mercy Joplin NICU.

drove to Joplin every morning and spent all day in the NICU with Allayna. After Zack got off work, he would come over and spend the evening there with us.” When the lockdowns started in March due to the spread of COVID-19, Amy saw it as a potential positive for Allayna’s care. “We were required to wear masks all day in the NICU and anywhere in the hospital. Every seven hours we had to have our temperature checked, and every time we entered the NICU, we had to wash our hands for two minutes. In a sense, I felt as if Allayna was in the safest place she could have been. She was in her own safe little bubble.” After weeks of tearful nights leaving the hospital without their daughter, the Irwins were finally able to bring Allayna home on April 20, eight days before her due date. Amy said that during the 52 days Allyana was in the NICU, her and Zack’s marriage grew stronger. The sacrifices and tears shed brought them closer to each other and closer to God. “We truly discovered the meaning of, it’s in His hands not ours. Now we understand the love that God has for us as his children —unconditional and indescribable.” The Irwins expressed their abundance of gratitude for everyone who helped them through this journey, including the NICU staff, friends, family, church family, and co-workers. These were the people that cared for their dogs, prayed for them, and called and texted. Zack and Amy also want to share their love with all the moms and dads out their “giving it their all, and to the NICU parents who first get to know their baby on monitors.” In the months that they have had Allayna home, she has grown and

ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 29


Merry Christmas! Checking To SEE Who's Been Good This Year!

MOST INSURANCES ACCEPTED MOST INSURANCES ACCEPTED Dr. Greg Huntress, Optometrist, FAAO Dr. Scott McSpadden, Optometrist, FAAO Dr. Alexandria Holmes, Optometrist

215 4th Street

Outstanding eyecare, exceptional eyewear!

612 E. Elm 215 4th Street 401 W. College MO 65708 Republic, MO 65738Monett, MO 65661 Monett, MO 65708 417-637-2010 417-732-5575 417-235-2020 417-235-2020

Monday - Friday 7:30 am - 5:00 pm

Monday - Friday a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays 8:008am - 12:00 pm

www.visionhealtheyecenter.com

Lance Mettlach Get a Quote

30 | December 2020

100 Chapel Dr. Suite F, Monett, MO. 65708 Cell 417-489-1134 lance.mettlach@mofb.com

Capturing the beautiful autumn season with eight-month-old Allayna, the Irwins had family photos taken. Photo provided by Monett photographer, Julie Lee. reached many milestones. In October, she completed physical therapy and is sitting up on her own. Also, Amy says that her daughter has a very creative way of getting across the floor. “It includes a series of rolls, inch worming, and sideways crawling.” For so many, 2020 has been a year of challenges and struggles. But the Irwin family will remember this year in a much different way. Amy described a recent trip to Joplin with Allayna snuggled in her car seat. “Allayna was playing with her book and making noises. I just started to tear up and cry. It was because I was remembering all the times I drove back and forth to Joplin in the quiet car with an empty car seat, and now I could hear our baby girl so innocently playing.” Allayna continues to thrive and bring joy to those who get a chance to see her smiling face knowing the miracle that she is. n


Parenting Column

By Meagan Ruffing

Christmas on a Budget

T

he most wonderful time of the year can sometimes hit our wallets and pocketbooks in a really hard way. We have good intentions, right? We think our kids would love this and oh, this would be perfect for my friend. But sometimes, the funds just aren’t there. So, we charge it. And charge it again. This Christmas, I’m giving you a challenge. I’m challenging you to set a budget and stick to it so that you can enjoy the holidays without any kind of debt looming over you.

According to Dave Ramsey, a financial expert, if you make $50,000 you should spend around $800, total. If you make $25,000 you should spend $400, total. If you do the math, that is 1.6% of your annual income. Obviously, this is just a suggestion and you should do what works for your family. The point is, if you can go into the holidays with a budget, it will help you from spending money that you don’t have.

Over the years, I have been able to pay cash for Christmas without using a credit card. This is how:

1. Shop throughout the year. When I see good deals, I buy them and stock them away in a hall closet. Sometimes I don’t really feel like buying Christmas things during the summer, but when winter rolls around, I’m happy I did. After Christmas is the time when everything goes on sale and it’s a great way to stock up for the following year.

2. Facebook Marketplace, eBay, Craig’s List. One

man’s trash is another man’s treasure, right? Not everything on sale sites is used. It’s worth your time to hop online and see what someone else is trying to get rid of. You just might find the gift that your child really wants, at half the cost.

3. Black Friday. Black Friday

this year is different, but it looks like stores are spreading sales out throughout November and December to avoid overcrowding. Take advantage of the new incentives to save money during this COVID time. Some big-box stores are rolling out new deals each week. Make your shopping easier by going online, purchasing the item, and then picking it up a few hours later with contact-less pickup.

4. Excursions instead of

more gifts. Families are

into going places and making memories more than ever right now. Why not book a fun family trip with part of your holiday budget? There are a lot of places with great deals around the holidays. Including a small excursion as part of the gift-giving can magnify the time spent with your family.

Meagan Ruffing is a parenting journalist who is excited to start new holiday traditions with her children this year. She can’t wait to hear her daughter read the Christmas Story. ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 31


5. Sell your stuff. We all have a

few things here and there that we aren’t using anymore. Go through some of your stuff and see what you could sell online to make a little extra money to add to your budget. It will feel good to get rid of it and it will clear out space in your home for the new things you’ll be bringing in.

SALES & SERVICE

500 S. Kyler, Monett 417-235-7161

6. Lay it all out. I tend to stick

Merry Christmas

things in places throughout my home to hide them from my kids. This works for the moment, but I usually forget about what I’ve bought! Take an afternoon and lay everything out that you’ve purchased. This will help you from getting duplicates or overspending when you already have enough gifts to give.

7. Take your time the morn-

ing of. I know kids love to rip

Thank you for your business and friendship throughout the year. Grant Baker 101 E. Olive Aurora, MO 417-678-5404

GBaker@ShelterInsurance.com

Chris Hammen 106a Cortney Ln Crane, MO 417-723-5394

CHammen@ShelterInsurance.com

Andy Brandt

Scott Thrasher

ABrandt@ShelterInsurance.com

SThrasher@ShelterInsurance.com

122 E. Broadway Monett, MO 417-235-5603

1001 E. Broadway Monett, MO 417-235-6239

We’re your Shield. We’re your Shelter. ShelterInsurance.com 32 | December 2020

through gifts on Christmas, but try to have them open them one at a time. Make a game out of it. One year, we read the Christmas Story and every time there was a certain word read, we would pass a gift around. Whoever the gift landed on during the time in the story, that was the person who got to pick a gift from under the tree. It was a fun way to extend the morning and they learned about the Christmas story in the process. Since my youngest daughter is learning how to read this year, I think I’ll let her be the one to read the story. Feel good this holiday season, knowing that you have a plan and you’re going to be able to stick to it. It’s not worth the stress or headache to charge things that you will only end up having to pay off later on. Get creative and have fun!


Guest Column

By Pam Wormington

Guest Column

Along For the Ride

I

remember my man saying once, “we could have a new house or new cars, but instead we chose memories, and those memories come in the form of vacations.” Recently on a rainy day, he took my travel journals and jotted down all our adventures over the past 24 years. We were blown away as we reminisced and recollected time with family and friends. There is just no price to put on those things. If so, this ole farmhouse would be a castle and I’d be the queen.

Whether your escape from ‘normalcy’ is a good book, a tree stand or a walk in the park, I think it is important for our mental and spiritual health to look beyond our comfortable routines. Our journeys have taken us below the sea, snorkeling to mountaintops hiking Colorado’s 14er’s, and sightseeing on islands and inlands. We’ve camped in a tent, teepees, RVs and stayed in beautiful hotels; we’ve traveled in Tap

Taps in Haiti and vintage automobiles in Romania. We’ve also Hiked canyons and rode horses, cruised on ships and wooden sailboats, fished in lakes and kayaked in rivers, and we’ve skied on water and in snow. Our kids and their friends have created their own memories together camping, snacking and tricking family members with ghost stories and pranks. As we have gotten older and our kids have grown and set out on their own journeys, our vacations have become a bit more “extravagant.” Let me explain, I don’t mean over-the-top monetarily as we still eat sandwiches out of a cooler, picnic in parks and shop around for deals and steals. By ‘extravagant’ I mean over the top with adventure and packing in as much as we can into a day. I will say vacationing with ‘you know who’ is not relaxing, but wow, what a ride! He loves adventure and loves stretching me just beyond my comfort zone

in an effort to allow me to see just what is around the corner, or over the hill or beyond the sea. For that I am so grateful, because God gets the glory when I no longer am able to rely on my own strength and stamina and get to experience things that are beyond anything man can make. We have taken a couple of spontaneous vacations, you know the kind where you know the direction that you want to go but you need a map, GPS and hopefully a motel at the end of the road. But if not, well there is a tent in the back and we’ve got plenty of water and snacks, so no worries. I admit that statement was a little one sided and for those who know me know which side. I like to think I have a gift of organization and I also like to use it. As a matter of fact, I can plan the spontaneity plum out of a trip. Recently we set out in the Jeep to journey through Utah. One week later and 3600 miles, we came sliding into the finish

ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 33


Winterization Rates 4 Cylinder I/O Winterization Only $115 Winterization & Oil Change $165 V-6 I/O Winterization Only $125 Winterization & Oil Change $175 V-8 I/O Winterization Only $135 Winterization & Oil Change $185 (Small Block) Winterization & Oil Change $195 (Big Block)

Outboard Motor Winterization Only $95 Winterization & Oil Change Call Jet Ski Winterization Only $95 Winterization & Oil Change Call Prices are for shop service. Lake Calls add $40. Discount on lake calls for multiple boats on same dock/same day.

417-847-3284 296 Hwy. 76 Jct. 76/86/112 (Hilltop) Cassville MO 65625

Come On In And See Us! Jeff & Christy Holenda Owners

Rusty Gate Flea Market

484 MO Hwy. 76 Cassville, MO 417-342-9315

Antiques – Collectibles – Vintage Tools – Cast Iron Household Goods – Hunting/Fishing – Wildlife Mounts – Hides

Op en 7

y Days unda S 4 a Week 95 Mon-Sat 11

Brigitta Vance

Farm, Ranch and Lakefront Specialist ExclusivE PartnEr Of

vance.brigitta@gmail.com • 479-621-3815 Cell

855-BUY-DIRT 34 | December 2020

line breathing heavy and a little scraped up screaming, “WOW! What a ride!” We camped on the ledge overlooking the San Juan River winding through the desert and climbed down into some slot canyons in Escalante. Hiked around Arches National Park, tootled through Dead Horse State Park, Natural Bridges, Canyonlands and Capital Reef. The finish line was Ouray, Colorado, one of our favorite places on earth. Nestled in between the mountains this little town feels like home. So, we took our picnic to the park and laid on the green grass while the sun soaked our faces and dosed off as we gazed into the majesty of our Maker that surrounds us with such a glorious creation and the celebration of our marriage for 24 years. Sure, my plan was a high-rise in the city, classy clothes, fancy foods and a career that craved all my time and energy. I am thankful God had a different plan. His GPS is always right on track. With Love,

The Queen


Christmas in the Middle Kingdom Finding the Joy of Christmas in a World Away

I

t was a hot August day in 2009, when I scooted my flimsy plastic stool up to the table at the Chinese noodle stand. I glanced at my husband, Brian, who looked equally overheated. We had just moved to the city of Yinchuan, found in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region of north-central China. “The locals say that eating hot foods on hot days helps you sweat and keeps you healthy,” Carolyn, our team leader explained. “Welcome to the Middle Kingdom,” she added using the direct translation from the two Chinese characters used for China.

Story by Anne Lisenby Smith

As I reached for my cup of hot water, I noticed that under the glass tabletop was a paper cutout of Santa Claus. His face was soon obscured by a steaming bowl of the most delicious noodles I’d eat in my whole three years living in China. Moving to a different country with a drastically different culture, one would expect to face oddities each day. Santa Claus was a regular decoration at small shops and family-run hole-in-the-wall restaurants like the noodle stand that we frequented after that first day in our new home.

Making mashed potatoes for our special meal, I quickly ran out of counter space. The kitchen in our apartment was an enclosed porch that had haphazardly been given countertops, a single burner stove, and a sink. When the building was originally erected during the communist era, it was uncommon for residents to have their own kitchens because they ate meals in the dining halls.

ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 35


As English teachers at the local provincial university Brian and I often encountered peculiarities such as Santa’s constant presence. In our first few months, these things were equally exciting and confusing. As fall turned into winter, our levels of cultural stress grew. It was difficult not being able to read the Chinese characters. We were frequently confused when trying to have conversations with our limited Mandarin Chinese vocabulary. The days got colder and the skies grayer, and the scent of cumin lamb kabobs floated on the breeze. It was a weak substitute for the abundance of pumpkin spice found at home. My husband and I had come to think of our other three teammates as family. Together, we decided to share a Christmas celebration with our Chinese colleagues in the English Department. But we had to schedule everything around our regular teaching hours because they don’t take a break for Christmas in China. They wait until about a month later to honor the Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival. Our teammate and mentor, Melissa, organized it all. Weeks in advance we pooled our money and put in an order for a turkey at the local import store. The import store was the place where we could buy exotic foods like root beer, cheddar cheese and Cheetos. All the prices were appropriately inflated, and you never knew what they’d have in stock. If a new item, such as Milky Way candy bars, came in, word spread like wildfire through the small foreign community in town. Having secured the turkey, we had to determine who would cook it. Ovens aren’t common in China and are only found in the counter-top variety. At the time, ours was the size of a large shoe box, so we were relieved

36 | December 2020

Our table full of American traditional foods for Christmas. Seated are two leaders from the school. Standing is our building manager who regularly helped all the foreigners living in our buildings. of the job. Our contribution became mashed potatoes instead. While this seems simple to a typical American family, acquiring butter in our town was a challenge. The five of us American teachers gathered with five Chinese colleagues, all of whom taught English at our university. I was particularly grateful that the conversations would all be in English. Together, we squeezed in elbow-to-elbow around our friend’s tiny dining room table that was designed to seat no more than six people. Teammate Melissa described the exotic foods we’d prepared for our Chinese friends. She took time to explain the ingredients in the dishes like cornbread dressing and my mashed

potatoes. The teachers all nodded politely at each dish. As Melissa finished, Mrs. Ma reached for the teapot, something familiar to her amongst the foreign selections. “Oh, wonderful. Tea,” Mrs. Ma said with a sigh of relief. “No, stop!” All five of us Americans yelled. Mrs. Ma froze, wide-eyed. The teapot hovered over her teacup. “I’m sorry,” Melissa explained. “That’s not tea. It’s gravy.” Mrs. Ma’s confused blinking mimicked that of the other Chinese teachers. Melissa continued, “It’s a sauce made for meats. The teapot is the best way to pour it.”


Exploring our new home, we went to the sand dunes over looking the Yellow River that winds through northern China. Pictured are me (left), Brian, and our teammate Laura (of Little Rock, Ark.) embracing one of the many surprises and unexpected adventures we experienced living abroad.

To celebrate Christmas with our students, we would invite them in small groups to our apartment to create Christmas cards, read the Christmas story, and try homemade Christmas cookies. These students, sophomore English Education majors, are displaying their card creations. We all laughed. After a description of the gravy boat Melissa didn’t have, our American team shared stories of our many cultural mishaps over the semester. The next day we taught our classes, welcoming each group of students

and practicing English pronunciation. At the end of the day, Brian and I were beat, dragging our feet up the four flights of stairs to our apartment. On the second floor, our teammate Laura popped her head out her door. “I just got a text. They want us

at the banquet by five o’clock so we can take pictures beforehand.” She smiled and slid one of her handmade earrings in her ear as she closed the door. Brian and I looked at each other. His face dropped. We’d both forgotten that the provincial Foreign Affairs banquet was that night. “Come on,” I said grabbing his hand and pulling him with me. “At least we don’t have to cook dinner.” Teaching in a smaller province without many other foreigners in residence meant that at the large banquets we were often the guests of honor. We were put on display, applauded, and asked to take pictures with the other local teachers and leaders. It’s the closest to being a celebrity either of us will ever know. This banquet was designed to celebrate both Christmas and the Chinese New Year. There were dragon decorations mixed with reindeer, tigers mingling with Santa. “Let’s get a picture,” I smirked at Brian and nodded to the line for photographs with Santa. He smiled and jumped up.

ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 37


Buying or selling we’ve got the TEAM to get it done!

1300 Old Exeter Rd Cassville, MO 65625 24886 State Hwy. 39, Suite D Shell Knob, MO 65625 cappyharrisrealtors.com Licensed in Missouri and Arkansas

Lackey Body Works Collision Repair Specialist

1701 S. Elliott • Aurora, Mo.

417-678-4205

www.lackeybodyworks.com

Make Forever Memories! Book your wedding now!

Stage • Kitchen • Bar • Dressing Rooms An Old West venue, right down to the saloon!

Lil’ Boom Town Event Center, LLC 417-425-4233

809 N. Carnation Aurora, MO

LilBoomtownWedding@gmail.com • LilBoomtownWedding.com

38 | December 2020

New covered outdoor venue available!

A local college student had been asked to dress in a Santa costume and take pictures with the guests. The ill-fitting suit hung from his slight frame. His beard covered his mouth like a mask. And he wore thick glasses with wide frames that helped keep on the hat the didn’t cover his thick black hair. After the picture he handed us a stuffed dragon with the Chinese characters for “Happy New Year” stitched across it. We went home that night with full bellies and smiles on our faces. As we stepped into our tiny apartment, I looked in our living room and saw our scraggly Christmas tree strung with lights and decorated with a random assortment of makeshift ornaments. And I hugged the stuffed dragon in my arms. Christmas in the Middle Kingdom would always be a cultural adventure. An odd mix of Chinese customs and American traditions. We’ve been back in the States for more than eight years now. Every time I decorate the tree, I pull out some of those odd ornaments from our Chinese Christmas tree and smile. It and our picture with teenage Chinese Santa remind me of the friends we had there, how much they cared for us, and the treasure it was to experience their culture. n


Healthy Connection

By Marthy Macasaet

How Alcohol Affects Our Immune System

O

ur body has an amazing line of defense to many types of pathogenic invaders, toxins, and even to our own cells that can turn abnormal. When we are healthy, we don’t think much about our immune system and how our lifestyle choices can affect it. In this article, we will take a glance into how excessive alcohol intake affects our immune system.

When thinking about the immune system, a balanced response is key—that is, we want our immune system to respond and kill the invading microbes but not to the point that it can harm us. To simply explain it, our immune system receives two kinds of signals that trigger two types of response: one signal, which is called pro-inflammatory, promotes inflammation while the other signal called anti-inflammatory, stops inflammation. When this balance becomes disrupted, it can affect our health negatively by not being able to stop the inflammation. Excessive alcohol intake can disturb this balance and can even-

tually lead to health problems. When we drink too much alcohol, our immune system becomes less responsive to the signals that stop the inflammation. As a result, a continuous inflammation happens which can damage our organ tissues. Internal organs such as our intestines can suffer from this inflammation and can weaken its protective barrier thus allowing invading microbes to enter our bloodstream. Once inside our body, our immune system detects it and responds rapidly to eliminate it. At this point, inflammation happens again. Because excess alcohol intake disrupts the immune system’s proper response, it leads to further tissue damage, especially on the liver. In addition to promoting tissue damage, alcohol also prevents immune cells from developing during infection resulting in a slow immune response. Until now, there is still more to learn about how alcohol affects our immune system and research studies are continuously being done on this subject.

How Much Can We Drink? In the presence of a health condition it is always important to discuss alcohol intake with your physician and a dietitian. The 2015 to 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans advise to drink moderately, if at all: no more than two drinks per day for men and no more than one drink per day for non-pregnant women. One drink is equivalent to 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, and 1.5 ounces of 80 proof liquor. Excessive alcohol consumption is defined as having four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men within two hours, while heavy drinking is defined as having eight or more drinks for women and fifteen or more drinks for men within a week. It is also important to remember that this recommendation does not encourage non-drinkers to start drinking alcohol. It serves as a guide to the amount of intake associated with low risk for health problems caused by alcohol.

For more information: https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/current-dietary-guidelines/2015-2020-dietary-guidelines Marthy Macasaet graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Clinical Nutrition from the University of California, Davis and is now completing her Master’s Degree in Nutrition Diagnostics and dietetic internship at Cox College. ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 39


Merry Christmas! Feliz Navidad!

505 Plaza Drive, Monett | 417-354-8408 acambarorestaurant.com We cater! Nothing’s too large or small!

FOuR SEASONS REAL ESTATE

Larry Daniels • Realtor 417-846-7306 • ldaniels@mo-net.com Kay McCullah • Realtor 417-342-3885 • kdougmc@gmail.com

Keisha Drost • Realtor 417-236-3832 • agentkdrost@gmail.com Cindy Carr • Realtor 417-847-0156 • ccarr7514@aol.com Hilari Stockton • Realtor 417-489-8903 • hllarl.stockton@outlook.com Lea Hill • Realtor 417-847-0156 • lea.4seasons@yahoo.com Patti Daniels • Broker 417-847-7995 • patti4seasons@yahoo.com

We Have Christmas Bouquets For ALL Your Loved Ones!

We Deliver!

Delivery to all surrounding areas including Purdy and Monett!

RESIDENTIAL | COMMERCIAL FARMS | LAND 87 Main Street, Cassville, Mo.

417-847-0156 fax: 417-847-5009

www.fourseasonscassville.com

40 | December 2020

Flowers Speak Wonders 200 W. 1st Street, Across from the Judicial Center Cassville, MO • 417-847-2363 Open 8:30 am – 5:00 pm Mon-Sat www.careyscassvilleflorist.com


Recipes

Rocky Road Candies INGREDIENTS

1 (12 ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips ⅛ cup butter 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk 2 ½ cups dry-roasted peanuts 1 (16 ounce) package miniature marshmallows

DIRECTIONS 1. Line a 9 x 13 inch pan with wax paper. 2. In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave chocolate and butter until melted. Stir occasionally until chocolate is smooth. Stir in condensed milk. Combine peanuts and marshmallows; stir into chocolate mixture. Pour into prepared pan and chill until firm. Cut into squares.

Buckeye Balls

Chewy Caramel

INGREDIENTS

INGREDIENTS

1 ½ cups creamy peanut butter ½ cup butter, softened 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips 2 tablespoons shortening

DIRECTIONS 1. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper; set aside. 2. In a medium bowl, mix peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and confectioners’ sugar with hands to form a smooth stiff dough. Shape into balls using 2 teaspoons of dough for each ball. Place on prepared pan, and refrigerate. 3. Melt shortening and chocolate together in a metal bowl over a pan of lightly simmering water. Stir occasionally until smooth, and remove from heat. 4. Remove balls from refrigerator. Insert a wooden toothpick into a ball, and dip into melted chocolate. Return to wax paper, chocolate side down, and remove toothpick. Repeat with remaining balls. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to set.

1 cup butter or margarine 1 pound light brown sugar 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk 1 cup light corn syrup 1 pinch salt 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS 1. In a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, brown sugar, sweetened condensed milk, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Heat to between 234 and 240 degrees F (112 to 116 degrees C), or until a small amount of syrup dropped into cold water forms a soft ball that flattens when removed from the water and placed on a flat surface. Cook for 2 minutes at that temperature. Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla. 2. Meanwhile, butter a 9x13 inch baking pan. When the caramel is ready, pour into the buttered pan. Allow to cool completely at room temperature. Remove from the pan and cut into squares using scissors. Wrap individual pieces in waxed paper or cellophane.

Merry Christmas ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 41


5-Ingredient Peppermint Bark INGREDIENTS

8 ounces high-quality semisweet chocolate, broken into pieces 2 teaspoons canola oil, divided ½ teaspoon peppermint extract, divided 8 ounces high-quality white chocolate, broken into pieces 25 eaches peppermint candies, crushed

and A Happy New Year

DIRECTIONS 1. Lightly grease a 9x9 inch pan and line with waxed paper, smoothing out wrinkles; set aside. 2. Place the semisweet chocolate and 1 teaspoon of the canola oil in the top of a double boiler over just barely simmering water, stirring frequently and scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula to avoid scorching. When the chocolate is melted, stir in 1/4 teaspoon of the peppermint extract. Pour the melted chocolate into the prepared pan, and spread evenly over the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle half of the crushed peppermints over the chocolate layer. Refrigerate until completely hardened, about 1 hour. 3. Place the white chocolate and the remaining 1 teaspoon canola oil in the top of a double boiler over just barely simmering water, stirring frequently and scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula to avoid scorching. When the chocolate is melted, stir in the remaining 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract. Pour the white chocolate directly over the semisweet chocolate layer; spread evenly. Sprinkle the remaining crushed candy over the top and gently press in. Refrigerate until completely hardened. Remove from pan; break into small pieces to serve.

42 | December 2020

Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball INGREDIENTS

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened ½ cup butter, softened ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar 2 tablespoons brown sugar ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract ¾ cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips ¾ cup finely chopped pecans

DIRECTIONS 1. In a medium bowl, beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Mix in confectioners’ sugar, brown sugar and vanilla. Stir in chocolate chips. Cover, and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours. 2. Shape chilled cream cheese mixture into a ball. Wrap with plastic, and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour. 3. Roll the cheese ball in finely chopped pecans before serving.

Hard Rock Candy INGREDIENTS

1 cup confectioners’ sugar 3 ¾ cups white sugar 1 ½ cups light corn syrup 1 cup water 2 teaspoons cinnamon oil 1 teaspoon red food coloring

DIRECTIONS 1. Roll the edges of two 16 inch square pieces of heavy duty aluminum foil. Sprinkle the foil very generously with confectioners’ sugar. 2. In a large heavy saucepan, combine the white sugar, corn syrup, and water. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves. Stop stirring, and boil until a candy thermometer reads 300 to 310 degrees F (149 to 154 degrees C). Remove from heat. 3. Stir in the cinnamon oil and food coloring. Pour onto the prepared foil, and allow to cool and harden. Crack into pieces, and store in an airtight container.


Voted People’s Choice Best Daycare Facility In The Area!

Accepting children 6 weeks and older. Accepting evening shift children. Daycare hours 4:30AM - 12 Midnight PRESCHOOL

DAYCARE

INFANT CARE

NoW eNrollING! Limited space available!

NoW

eNrollING!!!

eXPaNded IN sIZe aNd PUrPose! Kiddie City Preschool

Preschool and daycare State Licensed Accepting State Pay! Part Time or Full Time Availability Meals and Snacks Served Full Curriculum Taught After School Program Available Playology Focused Call Today for More Information or to Set Up an Appointment!

STATE LICENSED FACILITY

Mon.-Fri. 4:30AM - 12 Midnight

MERRY CHRISTMAS

FROM OUR FAMILY TO YOURS! Check Out Our Facebook Page For Event Information!

509 Dairy Street, Monett, Mo. 65708

Have yourself an OFO Christmas

and Robert Kinkel, arranged by Bob Phillips.

Holiday concert kicks off orchestra season

T

ake a break from the hustle and bustle of gift shopping and crowded stores to enjoy a relaxing evening of Christmas music and holiday favorites as the Ozark Festival Orchestra kicks off its concert season at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 19, at the Performing Arts Center on the campus of Monett High School.

Under the direction of Todd Borgmann, music director, performances will include: “A Festive Fanfare,” by composer, conductor, producer, and performer Brian Balmages;

“A Most Wonderful Christmas,” a medley arranged by Robert Sheldon that features “Winter Wonderland,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” followed by “The Bells of Christmas,” a medley that includes “Ding Dong,” “Merrily on High,” “The Bell Carol,” “Silver Bells,” “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day,” and “Jingle Bells,” along with “A Mad Russian’s Christmas,” music by Peter Ilych Tchaikovsky, Paul O’Neill

The entertainment will wind up with “Sheep May Safely Graze,” by Johann Sebastian Bach, arranged by Matt Riley; “Oh, Holy Night,” by Adolphe Charles Adam and scored by Calvin Custer; and “Christmas at the Movies,” a medley arranged by Bob Krogstad that features “Miracle on 34th Street,” “The Polar Express,” “Somewhere in My Memory,” “Making Christmas,” and “Where are You, Christmas?” There will be assigned seats for everyone, and school requirements for contact tracing will be followed. No intermission is planned to limit mingling. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for senior citizens, and high school students and younger will be admitted free of charge.

ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 43


Cutest Pet

Gimpy If you think your furry or feathered friend is the cutest in the area, let us know! We invite you to share a photo of your pet to be featured in Connection’s Cutest Pet contest. Photos should be sent in the original JPG format at the highest resolution possible. Remember to include your pet’s name, city of residence and your contact information.

44 | December 2020

Gimpy is a pomeranian owned by Jozee Sorensen of Exeter.


Rescued, My Favorite Breed

By Christa Stout

Looking inward to connect with a special needs animal

M

y Dog Polly is a senior (about 14 years old), and recently diagnosed as diabetic and subsequently lost her sight. No, this is not a sad story, it is a story of triumph, courage and resilience, and she is not alone in this, most dogs do not give up when something happens that we humans would consider tragic.

So let me back up a little, Polly showed up at my house 12 years ago, hesitated to come close, because Sam, my Samoyed, was watching her. But, as it turned out, he didn’t care, Polly was a laid back female and he instantly allowed her into our family. Joscelyn, my granddaughter, was spending some time with me that summer and immediately wanted to know whether we could keep her. I told her that we would take her to the vet on Saturday, and if she was healthy, we would give her a home. Then we went to work trying to rid

the poor girl of fleas and ticks and to give her some good food, all of this made me think of poor Pollyanna, so that’s what we named her. Of course, this was later changed to just Polly because yelling for your dog “Pollyanna” was just too hard. Anyway, the vet’s verdict was that she was healthy, and approximately two years old, so she stayed for the next 12 years, a happy lab mix, who got along with everyone, and accepted the next two additions to the household, Coco, the terrier mix, and Rudi, the German shepherd mix. So fast forward to a couple of months ago when things seemed to change some, Polly had an unusual hunger and was trying to eat anything and everything, she drank water as if she had to empty Niagara Falls, and she was still losing weight. So, off to the vet we went and we got the dreaded diagnosis Diabetes. Her glucose level was over 600 when it should be below 200 in a healthy dog.

REMINDER

Since this is December and Christmas is coming up, just a quick reminder that getting a puppy is for the puppy’s lifetime, so please think twice about how much time you can: spend with the dog, what your family’s lifestyle is, couch potato vs. hiking buddy, and choose your dog accordingly. Unfortunately, there are many puppies that wind up in pounds and shelters in January or February, so please let’s not add to the list of unwanted dogs and cats.

ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 45


Dr. Amber told me I had to give her at least one shot a day and probably two, one after each meal. My immediate reaction was, I can’t give shots! I don’t mind them when I get them, but I had to turn away when my children had to have a shot, and I certainly couldn’t do this myself and inflict pain on poor Polly. I have to admit, Dr. Amber was very patient with me, and told me that the needles were so small, Polly would not even feel the tiny prick and wouldn’t mind the shots. She was right and I have to say, I am almost a pro at injecting the insulin now, it has simply become a part of our daily routine. Polly needs two meals a day and absolutely nothing in between—no treats, no sharing a noon meal. Polly’s glucose level was very slow in going down, we had to eventually switch her to a human insulin and it still took more than two months to finally get it below 200. It is currently at 158 and I am hoping it will remain there. Then the second shoe dropped, within a short period of time, Polly, who had been showing signs of not seeing well, lost the remainder of her sight. And because she also has arthritis in her hind quarter, she is not always able to walk straight, making it a little difficult for her to orient herself. But, Dr. Amber told me her heart and lungs were very strong, and I was not about to give up on her. So we have been doing some training, and believe me, despite the fact that Polly is a quick learner for the most part, it is hard, since I cannot use treats to reward her for a job well done. Needless to say, she is getting a lot of hugs and kisses instead. She is learning to get around our rather large yard, she has mastered the doggy doors, going in and out, 46 | December 2020

and she has learned the commands Step and Boing, the latter meaning she is about to run into something – all the experts recommend using a command that is not normally used to indicate Danger, therefore ‘Boing’.

to her outside, they walk side by side, but Coco doesn’t like it when Polly accidentally bumps into her and lets out a little growl. It is only meant to let Polly know that she is close, to back off a little, and this works very well.

Then the long awaited rains started and lasted an entire week. We all had some cabin fever but it was time well spent getting her re-acquainted with our home and some of the obstacles there. I tried to baby proof (dog proof) the area where she spends the most time and she is doing well with that. When the sun is shining, she loves to be outside soaking in the sun on her beautiful black body.

It is amazing how much Polly has learned and to see that the other two dogs are helping her in little ways. Her sense of smell has increased and I am convinced, this is what allows her to get around the yard. She can now even get back to the house most times and through the doggy doors.

One day, I had to leave for a little while and was monitoring the camera I had installed to keep track of her. Somehow she had gotten up on the couch and didn’t know how to get back down.

Although if she doesn’t find me there immediately, she lets out a sharp bark, as if she were saying, “where are you?” We need to work on getting her a little more independent. And then sometimes she pulls away from me and it is like she is saying; “Mom, I’ve got this, let me be.”

To my amazement, Rudi walked over to her, touched her nose with his and that simple gesture gave her the confidence to jump down. Rudi got an extra treat that day. Coco generally stays pretty close

I read somewhere that the life expectancy of a diabetic dog whose glucose levels are under control is as long as a healthy dog’s and I sure hope to have her around a few more years. n

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, from Polly, Coco and Rudi!


Cutest Kid Email your child’s photo to:

connection@monett-times.com Photos should be sent in the original JPG format at the highest resolution possible. Remember to include your child’s name, parent’s name, age, city and your contact information. The contest is open to children ages 10 and younger. The photos submitted will be used for the sole purpose of this contest.

Congrats

Izayla Rae Izayla Rae Castilleja is the 10-month-old daughter of Ranysha Pierce and Armando Castilleja II of Joplin

ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 47


Continuing the Legacy We understand being in the same business for generations. We also understand you’ve worked hard to secure a future for your family. Years of commitment and dedication have helped get you to where you are today. Let me help navigate the next step to assure your family is able to continue the legacy for future generations.

Terri Lynn DeGraffenreid Brattin, LUTCF Agent

500 Mill Street • Cassville 417-847-2100 Toll Free 1-888-847-2276

We’re your Shield. We’re your Shelter. ShelterInsurance.com • 1-800-SHELTER Shelter Life Insurance Company • Columbia, Missouri

You know Ken’s Collision as The Area’s Finest Collision Repair and Glass Facility, and now Ken’s is proud to offer Professional Auto and Truck Detailing. Our experts bring back that New Car Feeling inside and out, cleaning and polishing your vehicle with the same attention to detail that we give every car and truck we repair. Just another way we work for you, the customer, to make sure your car is fixed right, to Factory Specifications with the right parts, by highly trained technicians.

At Ken’s, it’s all about the details

Ken’s Collision Center – when it’s time to focus on the details!

712 W. 10th St., Cassville, MO 65625 • 417-847-1200

www.kenscollisioncenter.com 48 | December 2020


Familiar Faces

1

4

2

5

3

Holiday open house events Nov. 14 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Penny David and Pam David Russel Smith and Delisa Swanson Kay McCullah and Karla George Charli Jo Epperly-Baugh Valerie Speer Carol Landstad

6

ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 49


Parting Shot

“If isolation tempers the strong, it is the stumbling-block of the uncertain.� -Paul Cezanne 50 | December 2020

Photo by Pete Rauch


Advertiser Index

Check out our daily specials!

Acambaro............................................40 Aire Serv..............................................23 Barry Lawrence Regional Library..... 3 Bill Vance Marine..............................34 Brigitta Vance.....................................34 Bruner Pharmacy...............................26 Cappy Harris Realtors......................38 Carey’s Cassville Florist...................40 Coast to Coast ..................................32 Cox Medical Center..........................52 Cubs Café...........................................51 Diet Center.........................................21 Doug’s Pro Lube................................22 Edward Jones....................................... 5 First State Bank of Purdy.................. 6 Fohn Funeral......................................48 Four Seasons Real Estate................40 Freedom Bank of Southern Missouri. ........................................................51 Guanajuato.........................................21 Johnson Chiropractic.......................26 Ken’s Collision Center......................48 Kiddie City..........................................43 Lackey Body Works..........................38 Les Jacobs...........................................49 Lil Boom Town Event Center..........38 Mattax Neu Prater Eye Center......... 9 Missouri Farm Bureau......................30 My Best Friends Closet....................26 Ozark Methodist Manor.................... 9 Peppers and Co.................................17 Race Brothers...................................... 6 Roaring River Health & Rehab........21 Rusty Gate Flea Market...................34 Security Bank of Southwest Missouri .......................................................... 9 Shelter Insurance.......................32, 48 Sunrise Family Restaurant................. 2 The Coffee Café................................23 The Farmers Daughter.....................22 Tisha Trotter......................................... 8 Tomblin’s Jewelry..............................17 Trogdon Marshall..............................22 VisionHealth Eye Center.................30 White’s Insurance.............................23 Whitley Pharmacy.............................17

• Lunch buffet Mon.-Fri. which includes American and Mexican style dishes • Every Tues. 25% Senior discount • Tues. 99¢ tacos • Wed. FREE pie with any entree $5.99 or more • Weekend Breakfast buffet 8am-noon • KIDS EAT FREE ON MONDAYS 2pm-8pm 202 Hwy 37, Monett, MO 65708 (417) 635-2066

Local Family Owned

You know Ken’s Collision as The Area’s Finest Collision Repair and Glass Facility, and now Ken’s is proud to offer Professional Auto and Truck Detailing. Our experts bring back that New Car Feeling inside and out, cleaning and polishing your vehicle with the same attention to detail that we give every car and truck we repair. Just another way we work for you, the customer, to make sure your car is fixed right, to Factory Specifications with the right parts, by highly trained technicians.

At Ken’s, it’s all about the details

Ken’s Collision Center – when it’s time to focus on the details!

712 W. 10th St., Cassville, MO 65625 • 417-847-1200

www.kenscollisioncenter.com ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 51


Profile for Connection Magazine

December Connection 2020  

December Connection 2020  

Advertisement