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A Magazine Dedicated to Southwest Missourians

May 2018


influential women the 2018 nominations are in

Robyn cook art of hand

perseverance Cross family welcomes new life

gifts for mom Flower shop options

f w


ith Mom Love Connection Magazine | 1

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2 | May 2018 A magazine dedicated to Southwest Missourians

general manager Lisa Craft

2.10 2.65 2.85

EDITOR Kyle Troutman ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVES Sheila Harris James Craig Marion Chrysler CONTRIBUTORS Murray Bishoff Meagan Ruffing Lisa Ramirez Darlene Wierman Melonie Roberts Sheila Harris Susan Funkhouser Pam Wormington Jared Lankford Julia Kilmer Dionne Zebert Jane Severson Verna Fry Angie Judd Cheryl Williams Sierra Gunter PHOTOGRAPHERS Chuck Nickle Brad Stillwell Jamie Brownlee Amy Sampson

Jeramie Grosenbacher, CFP®

Shane A Boyd

Financial Advisor

Financial Advisor 103 East Olive, Aurora, MO 65605 417-678-0277 • 1-866-678-0277

802 West Street, Cassville, MO 65625 417-847-5238

DISTRIBUTION Greg Gilliam Kevin Funcannon

Nathan Roetto AAMS®

Jim Haston

TO ADVERTISE 417-847-2610 - Cassville 417-235-3135 - Monett Send email inquiries to Mailing address: P.O. Box 40, Monett, MO 65708

Financial Advisor

Financial Advisor

594 North Spring Park Blvd Mt. Vernon, MO 65712 417-466-4620

7 East Broadway, Monett, MO 65708 417-235-8216

Donald E Weber

Nicole Weber Financial Advisor

Financial Advisor

100 Chapel Drive, Suite B Monett, MO 65708 417-236-2819

603 Dairy St., Monett, MO 65708 417-235-7465

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

1418 S. Elliott, Aurora, MO 65605 417-678-2102


Member SIPC

Connection Magazine | 3


Grilling season is here! Features of the Big Green Egg®

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Southwest Missouri’s


10 influential women

Southwest Missouri’s brightest nominated for their outstanding contributions


25 | The best for mom

44 | Artist Robyn Cook

30 | Welcome little Lydia

49 | Times keep changing

Designs by Debbie know just what to get her The Cross family of Shell Knob shared the joys and triumph of their preemie bundle

Fine pencil portraiture receives Best of Show A glance at graduation records of previous decades shows trials of prior generation

Happy Mother’s Day m ay 2018 Connection Magazine | 5


May highlights life, love and motherhood


he May edition of Connection Magazine is offering a wide variety of stories and emotions proving to be inspiring and influential. I am always proud of our editorial staff for bringing these stories to us month after month for the enjoyment of our readers and the advertisers that continually support this ever-popular magazine. FREE

St MiSSouriAnS

A MAgAzine DeDicAteD to Southwe

May 2018


influ entia l wome n the 2018 nominations are in

Robyn cook art of hand




peRse veRan ce Cross family welcome new life

gifts foR mom Flower shop options

th Mom Love Connection Magazine | 1

Our 10 influential women are featured in this month’s magazine. The women that were nominated for this honor offer so much to our communities with a wide variety of knowledge, careers and advice to others. Since this is my first time notifying the women of their nomination, I was somewhat surprised to find that the majority of them felt they were not worthy of the nomination, or that there were others who deserved it more. In fact, there are a lot of women deserving of this honor, but

these women influenced enough people in their lives that someone felt they needed to be nominated. They have made an impact on those in their lives and deserve to be publicly honored. I want to extend my “congratulations” and thank you for your influence, and the love you have shown for others. Also this month we are focusing on Mother’s Day with a touching story of a family’s struggle with a very premature baby and the miracles that they have experienced. This is a family that didn’t give up and has experienced how the wonders that faith, prayer, support from others and the modern medical world impacted their family. This family continues to need prayer support. There is so much happening in May, and we have attempted to touch on the majority of the May highlights... including graduation, which is one of the biggest steps in the lives of the 2017-18 high school seniors. Whether it is to continue your education in college or jumping into a job, I hope that all graduates realize the sky is the limit, and there is nothing they cannot accomplish as long as there is confidence, a positive attitude and good motivation. Best wishes to you in your future endeavors! Happy Mother’s Day to all of the awesome mothers, and enjoy this month’s edition of Connection.

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 or

6 | May 2018

Contents 8 Healthy Connection: Monett on the Move 28 Cutest Kid Contest

35 Pam Wormington: Rancher reasoning 37 Parenting column: Selfcare must-haves

40 Recipes: Mother’s Day specialties 55 Community Calendar 57 Cutest Pet Contest 63 Familiar Faces 66 Parting Shot


Page 34 for ways to donate to the Cross family of Shell Knob Have an idea for a story you would like to see in Connection Magazine? Email it to


You, your family & friends are invited to the yearly

Monett on the Move Community Walks Last 2 Saturdays from April through October

1701 S. Elliott • Aurora, Mo.


Where: the Monett Area Farmer’s Market at the new Jerry D. Hall Memorial Pavilion in Downtown Monett

Free snacks Giveaways Raffles for a Fitbit fitness bracelet, $20 gift cards, and more! • Walks will continue the last 2 Saturdays through October • Learn from experts about fitness, Zumba, pets, & more! • Topics will vary every month! Need a ride or want to learn more? Call CoxHealth at 417-236-2593

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

417-847-0156 • fax: 417-847-5009

Connection Magazine | 7

h e a l t h y co n n e c t i o n

May 19 and 26 June 23 and 30 July 21 and 28 Aug. 18 and 25 Sept. 22 and 29 Oct. 20 and 27

9 a.m. at the Monett Farmers Market 8 | May 2018

2nd Annual

Monett on the Move Community Walks

We’ve probably all said it this winter:

A great way to kick off your walking routine is to join the second annual Monett on the Move Community Walks. Community walks will take place the last two Saturdays of the month from April through October. The walks will start at 9 a.m. at the Monett Farmer’s Market at the new Jerry D. Hall Pavilion in Downtown Monett. There will be groups of varying fitness levels exploring Downtown Monett and the surrounding Greenway trails. Free giveaways will be distributed at each walk, including t-shirts, hats, yoga mats, healthy snacks, bracelet pedometers, and more. Once a month, there will be a raffle for gift certificates to local grocery stores. Those who participate throughout the program will be entered to win a Fitbit. After the walk, be sure to support your local farmers and enjoy the taste of delicious, fresh produce!

“Once the weather gets better, I will be more active.” After enduring a long, cold winter, now is the time to get out and get moving! Improving your health can be as easy as going for a daily walk. Regular brisk walking can help you maintain a healthy weight, prevent chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease and type 2 diabetes, and improve your mood and mental health. A good starting goal is to get 30 minutes of physical activity per day. If you have an activity tracker, try to reach 10,000 steps per day. If you are working toward weight loss, aim for 60 minutes per day. The majority of individuals in the National Weight Control Registry, which tracks people who have lost significant amounts of weight and have kept it off for more than 5 years, average around 60 minutes of daily moderate exercise, such as brisk walking. If you can’t do it all at once, break it up in several shorter sessions. Use these tips to stay motivated with your walking routine:


Set specific, realistic goals: Starting with simple, achievable goals can help you safely increase your activity and overall wellness. Keeping a log of either your daily steps, distance, or length of time you are active can help you stay on track and see your progress. Each week, set a new goal that increases the duration or intensity of your walk.


Plan ahead: Decide what time of the day works best for you to get a walk in. Maybe it is during a lunch break or maybe it is after work with the kids.

For more information or to request transportation, please contact Shawn Hayden at 417.236.2593 or


Make it enjoyable: Have your spouse, kids, neighbors, coworkers or friends join you to keep you accountable and make it more fun. Or, download a playlist of your favorite songs to listen to while you walk.


Mix it up: Try out different routes and locations when you walk to keep things interesting. You might try out a different park or a different neighborhood to get to know your town better.

Lisa Ramirez, MPH, RDN, LD is a registered dietitian at the Center for Health Improvement at Cox Monett Hospital. Lisa is passionate about international development work and has volunteered throughout Central America in the area of health promotion and education. In her free time, Lisa enjoys biking, running, and all things outdoors.

Connection Magazine | 9

Happy Mother’s Day

from the employees


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m o

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10 | May 2018

Southwest Missouri’s

10 influential women

Connection Magazine | 11

Traci Mitchell Occupation Principal Organization Wheaton High School Education Wheaton High School graduate, 1988 Pursuing doctorate in educational administration through Southwest Baptist University Civic Groups/Etc. Involved in church activities at Solid Rock Southern Baptist Church Family Husband, Scott Children, two grown and two still at home Grandchildren, 4-month-old

12 | May 2018

Traci Mitchell is serving as the 7th through 12th grade principal at Wheaton High School. “That title still has me shaking my head,” she said. “I absolutely loved teaching and it took a lot of prayer to get me out of the classroom and into an administrative role. Next school year, I will be serving as the Co-Director of Learning for the Cassville School District. God has a sense of humor when it comes to the direction and path He has for each one of us by sometimes taking us out of our comfort zone. “It has been my experience, if I truly seek His will and direction for my life, things fall into place and have a way of working out. When I get stubborn and try to do things my own way, I always hit a dead end.” Traci has a lot of experience as a student in different schools, as her parents moved from Missouri to Arkansas, to Oklahoma, to Alaska and back. In fact, she attended 12 different schools as a child before coming back home and graduating from Wheaton High School in 1988. She is currently working toward a doctorate in educational administration through Southwest Baptist University. She previously served as the special education director and also taught 6th through 12th grade math and business. “God has opened doors and slammed others to move me where I am today,” she said. “I have been married for 28 years to my best friend, Scott. My husband is the pastor of Solid Rock

Southern Baptist Church and our church family is a very important part of our lives. If life has taught me anything, it is the importance of faith, family, and friends.” Traci has four children, two grown and two are still at home. “Our oldest son is serving in the United States Air Force,” she said. “Our oldest daughter and her husband live in Kansas City with our precious grandson who is 4 months old. Being a grandparent has its own set of blessings. Who knew your heart could grow more just by looking at his precious little face. Our children are very active in sports and youth group activities.” Traci said when she received the news about the 10 Influential Women recognition, she felt very undeserving and humbled. “There are so many amazing and influential women in our community,” she said. “God has allowed me to work with students and teachers to hopefully make a difference in their future. Our kids are our future and we are only one generation away from losing the freedom, values and work ethic that make our nation great. I have learned the value of listening to those around me more than talking. “If there is one thing I know without a doubt, we not here by accident. God has a plan and has uniquely gifted each of us for a reason. Find your gifts. Find your path. Find your way to make a difference. Life is precious. We only get one shot.”

Mia Bagby is the owner of the Curves fitness facility in Monett. This is her ninth year as owner and her 15th year with the Curves Corporation. She earned her certification through the Cleveland Clinic in Nutrition for the Curves Complete weight loss program while completing her bachelor’s degree through Drury University. “I love my ‘job’ as the owner!” Mia said. “Five days a week, I strengthen, support and encourage my members. My profession is more than just a fitness coach, as I am also a listening ear and an encourager. I get to work directly with women of all ages and fitness levels. I share in their personal stories, their joys and their sorrows. The opportunity to work with such a great community of women is a blessing.” Mia said everyone benefits from having goals in their lives, and her personal goal is to maintain her health and continue to stay active for a longer, fuller life. “I feel that goal-setting is vital to get to where you want to be,” she said. “I often ask my members what their goals are in all aspects of their health and fitness because it directs them to success. I have seen so many women overcome obstacles because they have a plan. I love seeing my members experiencing success. If they struggle, I am there to pick them back up again.” Owning a business is not easy, Mia said, and putting in extra time and effort has been worth every extra minute. “There are many long days where I feel like I live at my facility,” she said. “I often come in on weekends just to ‘catch up’ and prepare for the week ahead. I enjoy planning contests and challenges

for my members. “I also love to decorate and to keep my facility inviting as I feel an appealing environment is important for success. Most of all my commitment to my members has led me to success. I cannot and will not let them down!” Mia said over the years, she has noticed that women are so hard on themselves, herself included. “We focus on the ‘to-do’ list instead of the ‘got done’ list,” she said. “Whether we are putting in the hours at work or at home, we have feelings of failure because we didn’t get everything accomplished. Women need to learn to give ourselves more credit than we usually give ourselves. As I observe the progress my members reach in obtaining their goals, I know that we are stronger than we know. “Women can handle what life throws at us because we are problem solvers and multi-taskers. I encourage you to take 5 minutes and write down the first five things that come to mind that you have already accomplished this week. Quickly, the list will be a page long.” Mia said it is her hope that one of the top reasons women choose Curves is because they feel welcome. “We focus on getting stronger, fitter and healthier while providing an attractive, clean environment,” she said. “The benefits are endless when you stick to the Curves workout routine. Increased energy and strength, decreased stress, more sound sleep and even new friendships are just a few of the benefits of a membership at Curves in Monett.” Mia said having a positive support group has been vital to her success. “I couldn’t do what I do without the

Mia Bagby Occupation Owner Organization Curves Fitness in Monett Education Bachelor’s degree from Drury University Certification through the Cleveland Clinic in Nutrition for the Curves Complete weight loss program Family Parents, Rex and Ellyn Land Husband, Clayton Bagby, married June 28, 2014

support of my husband, my parents, my staff and my wonderful members,” she said. “Each person has inspired me, and I have been strengthened by each one. I like to be an inspiration to others, so my goal is that I can uplift every woman who comes in my door. I know that God has given me the gift of compassion, and I am going to continue to use this precious gift to encourage and uplift each of my members. “Maya Angelou encouraged others to ‘try to be the rainbow in someone’s cloud.’ That is my desire — to be a rainbow in the life of each of my members.”

Connection Magazine | 13

Phyllis Garrett Hobbies/Interests Baking and entertaining Biking, hiking, pickleball, walking, working out at the YMCA Reading, craft projects, sewing, quilting Making stained glass projects Travel Education Graduated high school in Bowling Green, Kent. Maryville College in Tennessee, degree in elementary education Civic Groups/Etc. Ozark Festival Orchestra member Deacon, elder, youth leader and choir member at First Presbyterian Church Board member for the local Habitat For Humanity affiliate and the Monett Area Community Foundation Fifty-year member of the P.E.O. organization Mentor mom for the Mothers of Pre-Schoolers (MOPS) Member of the Women’s Community Bible Study Leader in the Walk to School program Volunteer at Cox Monett Hospital Family Husband, Mike Garrett Children, three sons, Kelly, Pat and Tim Eight grandchildren

14 | May 2018

Garrett was born in New Orleans but moved with her family to Kentucky when she was six years of age. After graduating from high school in Bowling Green, Kentucky, she attended Maryville College in eastern Tennessee where she met her future husband, Mike Garrett. Phyllis began college as a psychology major, but her love of young children led her to graduate with a degree in elementary education. “My first years of teaching were in Owensboro, Ky., and Columbia, Mo., where Mike and I lived following our marriage in 1967,” Garrett said. “In 1968, we moved to Monett and until the birth of our first son in 1970, I taught third grade in what was then a brand new elementary school under the wonderful leadership of Mary Helen Willhoite.” For the next 15 years, Phyllis was a stay-at-home mom for her and Mike’s three sons, Kelly, Pat and Tim. Then in 1985, Dr. Ralph Scott asked her to teach half-day kindergarten classes. “It will only be for one year,” she said Scott promised. “Twenty-one years later, I retired from a job that I dearly loved. Living in Monett gave me the opportunity to follow my kindergarten students through high school and beyond. Even today, nothing pleases me more than encountering a former student who says, ‘Mrs. Garrett, do you remember me?’ Of course I do, even when the student’s name may escape me for a moment or two.” When Mike and Phyllis married, Phyllis said she could not imagine living in a small town, much less the home town of her husband. Forty-nine years later, she said she can attest that the best decision of their marriage was to live and raise their sons in Monett, where she was

immediately welcomed, encouraged and supported. “In those early years, I began my long-term involvement in community activities, first with the First Presbyterian Church and Jaycee Wives,” Phyllis said. “As our children grew, Mike and I sponsored summer tennis tournaments for area players, annual bike-a-thons to benefit St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and for many years I served as chair of the Monett Summer Youth Committee, which organized summer activities for Monett’s youth, long before we had a YMCA. Inspired by good friends who struggled with Multiple Sclerosis, I rode my bicycle for 20 years in the annual MS-150 to raise money for victims of MS.” Phyllis said she has been privileged to serve as a deacon, elder, youth leader and choir member at First Presbyterian Church, as a board member for the local Habitat For Humanity affiliate and the Monett Area Community Foundation, a 50-year member of the P.E.O. organization, a mentor mom for the Mothers of Pre-Schoolers (MOPS), a member of the Women’s Community Bible Study, a leader in the Walk to School program, and a volunteer at Cox Monett Hospital. “Thirty-eight years ago, I was a charter member of the Ozark Festival Orchestra where I still enjoy playing my cello,” she said. “Today, I delight in my role as grandmother (‘Gram’) to our eight grandchildren, and when Mike and I are not entertaining them and their parents, we welcome friends of all ages to our home, where we have always had an ‘open door’ policy, coffee in the pot, and cookies in the jar. “How grateful I am for the life I have been privileged to live in Monett and for the opportunity to give back to Monett a small measure of all the community has given to my family and me.”

for being selected as one of the area’s most influential women. We are proud!

Terri Johnson

Administrator at Central Crossing Senior Center in Shell Knob


So much more than just a “Senior” Center! 20801 YY 15 Shell Knob, MO 65747



Have questions? Please call

417-235-7919 Saturdays 8 a.m. - 12 p.m. JERRY D. HALL MEMORIAL PAVILLION 5th & Front Street, Monett

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417-466-4600 Connection Magazine | 15

Mendy Hubbard Occupation Manager Organization Diet Center Monett Family Parents, Earl and Sue Childress Husband, Alan Hubbard Children, Emily and Allison, married to Jamison Bossert and Wesley Deckard, respectively Grandchildren, Alla

16 | May 2018

Mendy Hubbard was born and raised in Monett, the daughter of Earl and Sue Childress. Mendy met the love of her life, Alan, while on a Hawaiian vacation in 1982 and were married the same year. “In 1993, God placed them together for many reasons,” Mendy said. “We enjoy traveling, and we have seen many beautiful and wonderful things that God has created.” Alan and Mendy live in Aurora and are both active in their church and enjoy the fellowship with their church family. They love the outdoors and enjoy biking, swimming, skiing and other outdoor activities. Mendy and Alan are the parents of two beautiful daughters, Emily and Allison. Allison is married to Wesley Deckard and Emily is married to Jamison Bossert. “Emily and Jamison have blessed us with their only grandchild, Alla, and she is our pride and joy,” said Mendy. Alla was born nine weeks early and spent 60 days in the NICU with a diagnosis of hydrocephalus with a grade four brain hemorrhage. She has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. She is non-verbal and wheelchair dependent. Alla is 3 years old, and her father, Jamison, has retired from his job to care for her on a full time basis. “He is our hero!” Mendy said. Mendy’s mother, Sue, opened up the Diet Center in Monett in 1989. Sue soon realized she was in need of extra employees and Mendy decided to join her mother 28 and a half years

ago. Mendy said she happened to be at the right place and the right time to become a Certified Professional Weight Loss Counselor and teach nutritional education. The Diet Center has been a leader in the weight management field for over 45 years. It continues to develop innovative weight management techniques to enhance the programs, products and services. According to Mendy, the Diet Center has a comprehensive approach to weight management developed by the company’s Director of Nutritional Services, combined with the National Medical Director. The programs are designed with the health and nutrition guidelines approved by the American Cancer society, Diabetic Association and the American Heart Association. “What I love about my job is that we bring more and more people to wellness every day,” Mendy said. The Diet Center programs reduce weight related illnesses and achieve overall healthier lifestyles. She gives credit to her dedication to the Diet Center as having a hand in shaping the person that she is today. “These experiences, in conjunction with the things I was taught growing up, have lead to my development as an individual, spiritually and how I view myself and the world today.” Mendy said. “We can take experiences to heart and refer back to them as we go through a process of reacting, acting and delivering when faced in different situations. “These experiences, whether good or bad, can lead to the makeup of our identity and our internal perceptions. I give God the glory.”

Lynda Painter Occupation Director Organization Barry Lawrence County Development Center in Monett Education Marionville High School graduate, 1981 School of the Ozarks (College of the Ozarks now), elementary education and library science Civic Groups/Etc. Relay for Life FIRST robotics organization Active in church activities at Reavisville First Baptist near Crane. Family Husband, Rick Painter, married in 1991

Lynda Painter’s family moved to Southwest Missouri during her sophomore year of high school and she graduated from Marionville High School in 1981. Upon graduation, she enrolled in School of the Ozarks (College of the Ozarks now) where she majored in elementary education with a minor in library science. After graduating from School of the Ozarks, she began her educational career by teaching sixth grade the 19861987 school year, then worked as the elementary librarian the next two years in Green Forest, Ark. “The self-contained special education classroom was next door to the library, and I would help in that classroom between my library classes,” Lynda said. “I fell in love with the children in that classroom and decided to return to school and work toward my early childhood special education certification. Around that time, a teaching position opened up at the Barry-Lawrence County Development Center in Monett and I applied for the job.” Lynda began teaching at the Development Center the fall of 1989. Linda Wirz, the director at that time, turned in her resignation, and Lynda was asked by the board of directors to take over the position of director. “I agreed to take the position, and I am still loving every minute of working with ‘my’ children and their families 28 years later,” she said. In addition to her daily duties at the Development Center, Lynda said she is blessed to have the opportunity to work with children and their families at their homes soon after coming home from the hospital. “I have been very fortunate to be given the ability to work with children with

special needs and see them progress and achieve great things in their young lives even after doctors have said they can’t,” she said. “There is nothing more satisfying to me as a teacher than in seeing my little ones grow and make great strides in their overall development. Each day is different just as each child is different, and I think that is something that is both a challenge and brings a great level of satisfaction to me.” Lynda married her husband, Rick, in 1991, and said the couple have been blessed with a son, Jordan, who is currently a student at Missouri S & T at Rolla studying Engineering Management. Lynda said in addition to her duties as director of the Development Center, she enjoys volunteering. “I have participated in Relay For Life events for several years as well as the FIRST robotics organization,” she said. “We are active in our church and their activities at Reavisville First Baptist near Crane.” Lynda said her advice for young women in today’s professional world would be to pursue what they have a passion and desire to achieve. “Listen for God’s still voice to lead you,” she said. “There are so many opportunities for young people today, and you need to explore what your interests are and go for it. Seek out advice and counsel from people in the career or industry you have an interest in. “Volunteer or job shadow if possible in the areas you may want to be involved in. Continue to learn and explore, and you will find many paths open up to you along the way. Always be positive and treat people with respect in all areas of your life. Above all, life is a journey, enjoy the task before you and the path you are traveling to get to your goals!”

Connection Magazine | 17

Amanda Lee Occupation Community Banker Organization First State Bank of Purdy Education Monett Class of 2006 – Top 10 percent of the Class Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Finance and Economics, from Missouri Southern State University, 2010. At MSSU, Lee was an Honors Program Scholar and Honors College Graduate, a member of the Alpha Chi National Honor Society, the Epsilon Mu Sigma Honors Fraternity, the Delta Mu Delta International Honor Society in Business, the Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society, and a Vice-President of the Finance and Investment Club.

Amanda’s role as a community banker includes financial analysis, bank operations, financial education and literacy programs at area schools, community involvement, and social media marketing and strategy. She said she has been blessed to work for some of the best leaders in the Monett community. “My organization functions as one big family, and each team member brings so much to the table,” she said. “They have supported every crazy idea I’ve had and have challenged me to be the best I can be.” Amanda said she has been given the opportunity through her employer to do so many things she loves and is passionate about, including finding ways to give back to the community and being able to bring exciting energy to various projects and the First State team. “Public and community service projects are incredibly important to my own personal mission, and I am blessed to work for an organization that not only pushes this same mission but continuously encourages and embraces new ways for our employees to give back,” she said. “We have hosted annual events at all our bank branches to collect easy-to-open food to be donated to area food banks for children who would otherwise go without during the summer months, organized week-long ‘Stuff the Civic Groups/Etc.:

Family Parents, Brad and Karen Wells, of Monett Husband, Married July 2009 to Christopher Lee, who is the Automotive Technology Instructor at Scott Regional Technology Center Children, Mason Lee, born August 2013.

18 | May 2018

CoxHealth – Monett, Patient Family Advisory Council Member Scott Regional Technology Center, Community Education Advisory Committee Member Monett Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors Monett Historical Society Board of Directors

Bus’ events to collect basic hygiene and school supplies for 13 schools in our area, and in the last year, a community effort to completely fill a semi-truck trailer to send to the victims of Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas. “These major undertakings, in addition to continuous support of other groups throughout the year, have a significant positive impact on our community. These activities all led to organizing ways for employees to give back to the community, leading efforts on celebrating community, and participating in area events for our organization.” Amanda said advice she would give to other women in the community who wish to succeed in accomplishing their personal and professional goals start with doing everything from the heart. “When you are using this principle to guide you, being the friend, coworker, or teammate who shows up, has the right attitude, perseverance, and patience is essential,” she said. “Be the friend someone can count on, and the employee who is committed to the mission of your organization. The easy route is looking to others to make something happen. “Motivation comes from the heart, and I have been blessed with working with the best people, with the highest integrity, and at the end of the day, people are what matter most.”

Missouri Bankers Association – Missouri Young Bankers Division Member Midwest Independent Bank – Community Banking Conference Committee Member Monett Young Professionals Network Executive Chairwoman First on Front Event Committee Coordinator

Terri Johnson Occupation Administrator Organization Central Crossing Senior Center in Shell Knob Education Exeter High School graduate Civic Groups/Etc. President of the Exeter Band Boosters Secretary of the Exeter FFA Alumni Board Family Parents, Retired Wheaton Police Chief Clinton Clark and the late Peggy Clark Husband, David Johnson Sister, Dorothy Hobbs Brother, Clifford Clark Children, Clinton, Yvonne and Lane Bradford

Terri Johnson was born in Bentonville, Ark., and her family lived there until 1984, when they made the move to Exeter, where Terri still resides today. Terri graduated from Exeter High School in May of 1993. While in school, she was very active in the FFA and Future Teachers of America (FTA). She is currently the President of the Exeter Band Boosters and Secretary of the Exeter FFA Alumni Board. “Farming is and will always be one of my biggest passions,” she said. Terri is the Administrator at the Central Crossing Senior Center in Shell Knob. This position is offered through Senior Age Area on Aging. “I have done administrative/social work since 2001 and couldn’t ever ask for a better profession,” she said. “Here at the Center, we offer so many programs and activities for our Seniors. We offer daily lunches in our Center, and we offer in-home meals for our in-home diners. Our mission here is to keep our Seniors in their homes as long as we can by offering them many in home services. “This is a very rewarding career and most times I don’t feel this is a job — it’s my family. I take my job here to heart, and oh the many stories I hear. I’ve learned everyone has a story, and they love to tell it. The history I have heard has been amazing. The Seniors I work with, and spend my days with, are truly great people. I have learned so much from them.” Terri said the biggest reward with her job is no matter how bad of a day she thinks she is having, if she can change someone’s day from bad to good, or see them smile over the smallest jester, or know she has made their day by just talking and listening to them, her day is completely made. In 2006, Terri became a single mother to her three wonderful children, Clinton, Yvonne and Lane Bradford.

“That right there is the hardest job I have ever done, but very rewarding,” she said. “It was also then I set my goal, and set my sights to move up in the administration field. Given my hardship in my personal life, I knew I had to set the bar high, and set the example to my children that working hard does pay off.” Terri said at times, she has worked two jobs just to make ends meet, and she has relied on her family at times. “It was a hard road, but 15 years later, I have accomplished my goal,” she said. After 13 years of being a single mother, Terri married her wonderful husband David Johnson in May 2017. “The unconditional love and support he gives me, even on days where I can be unbearable, is just outstanding,” she said. “From June 2017 to October of this year, my family has endured a lot of health issues from my father having two strokes to my husband having a massive heart attack and having a quadruple bypass and a pacemaker put in. My faith and strength was very much tested. “My world crashed down twice in just four months. But, I leaned even more on the power of prayer. No one can ever tell me prayers do not work, because my dad and husband are living proof that prayer does work.” Terri said she and here sister took shifts in taking care for their father. “There were doctor appointments, rehab appointments and still trying to keep our professional lives with work going, then I had to take completely over with dad when my husband had his heart attack,” Terri said. “They were trying times, but in the end, we learned even more to never take a day for granted.” Terri said if she could say anything to other women, it is always keep God in your life. “There were so many times I felt like I could have given up in my journey,” Connection Magazine | 19

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20 | May 2018


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Susan Funkhouser Occupation Purdy School District Public Relations Coordinator and Registrar Organization Purdy School District Education Purdy High School graduate, 1992 Civic Groups/Etc. Devotional guide writer Family Parents, Gaylon and Sue Henderson Husband, Brandon Funkhouser, married in 2009 Pet, rescued, precious, elderly, one-eyed Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

she said. “But, my faith in God kept me strong. I am so happy I married such a sweet, supporting and patient man. It makes a difference. I thank the Lord every day for all the trials and tribulations I have went through, because they have made me stronger and made me a better person.” Terri said it’s important to set reasonable goals and don’t try to take such giant steps. “Sometimes, baby steps are the best,”

she said. “You will make mistakes. You will mess up. But, keep trying. I know it can get overwhelming in your life sometimes. But remember, no one is perfect. We just try to have perfect intentions. “I didn’t graduate from a big college or University, but I got where I am today with hard work, and perseverance. My parents always said, ‘This world will not give you anything. If you want it, you work for it.’ I do believe they were right.”

Susan Funkhouser grew up in rural Purdy on a farm her mother’s family owned for over 100 years. She graduated from Purdy High School in 1992 after spending all 13 years of education as an Eagle. She returned to the Nest in the fall of 1996, this time as an employee. “I began my 22 years of service as a teacher’s aide, but I transitioned into the role of secretary to the elementary principal after the first two years and held that position for 18 years,” Susan said. “I started doing Public Relations work for the district five years ago and transitioned to doing it full-time two years ago. “I also serve as the district’s registrar. It’s the best job in the world. I can’t believe they pay me to do it. I get to shine the spotlight on some of the most incredible kids and educational professionals in the nation, and I get to welcome new families to my hometown.” Susan also writes devotional guides for teens that are published by Randall House Publications in Nashville, Tenn. Susan is the daughter of Gaylon and Sue Henderson, a blessing she said she does not deserve. She married Brandon Funkhouser in 2009. “Getting him to say, ‘I do’ is, by far, the greatest success of my life to date,” she said. “He is my world.” Susan said she and Brandon do not

have any kids of their own. “God knows the struggle we face in taking care of ourselves!” she said. “We are the proud parents of a precious, elderly, one-eyed Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. He is a rescue dog, but he really rescued us. We also welcome kids into our hearts and home when God puts them in our path for one reason or another. Susan said according to the accepted social definitions of success and influence, she is neither. “I am fully aware that I am unworthy of this nomination,” she said. “I am proudest of the fact that when given the opportunity to help someone I usually jump at the chance.” Susan said she owes that eagerness to four ladies who have influenced her immeasurably and impressed upon her specific character traits — integrity, courage, generosity and grace. The first of those four ladies is ‘Aunt Immie. “Others may know her as the late Imogene Moore of Purdy,” Susan said. “In my early years as Purdy Elementary School secretary, I worked with Aunt Immie during the holidays, organizing food and Christmas gift drives. As I helped Aunt Immie unload a trunkfull of canned goods she had purchased for baskets, I noted that she bought name brand and asked her why she didn’t opt for generic.

To read more about Susan Funkhouser, jump to page 62 Connection Magazine | 21

Tosha Tilford Occupation Superintendent Organization Southwest School District Education Southwest High School graduate, 1990 Bachelor’s degree from Missouri Southern State University, May 1994 Master’s degree from William Woods University, December 2003 Specialist degree from William Woods University, July 2005 Doctorate from William Woods University, August 2018 Civic Groups/Etc.

Tosha Tilford was born in El Dorado Springs, Mo., on June 16, 1972. Her father was a teacher and coach at El Dorado Springs High School. The family then moved to Morrisville, Mo., because of another teaching and coaching opportunity until she was four years of age. In 1976, she and her parents, Darrel and Sandra Tilford, moved to Seligman. The southwest part of Barry County was very familiar to her family because both of her parents grew up in Seligman and attended/graduated from Southwest R-5 School District. In addition, both sets of her grandparents, Arlus and Ambolene Tilford and Clyde and Loretta

To read more about Tosha Tilford jump to page 60

The School Superintendents Association (AASA) Member, 2016 to present

Professional Development Committee Member, 2003 to present

Who’s Who among Executive and Professional Women, 2010 Nomination

Missouri School Improvement Program Committee Member, 2003 to present

National Association of Professional Women, 2008 to present High Schools That Work School Improvement Plan Director National Association of Secondary School Principals Harmony Heights Baptist Church Personnel Committee Chair, 2004 to 2007

Church Groups, early life, member of First Baptist Church, Seligman; college and adult, member Harmony Heights Baptist Church, Joplin; current, member of Crosswired Cowboy Church in Grove, Okla.

Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2004 to present

Missouri Association of School Administrator’s Member, 2016 to present

Extra-Curricular Committee Member, 2004 to present

Missouri Association of School Business Officials Members, 2016 to present Southwest Missouri Association of School Administrator’s Member, 2016 to present

A+ Committee Member Chair, 2004 to present At-risk and Vocational Education Committee Member, 2004 to present

Comprehensive School Improvement Program Committee Member, 2001 to present Instructional Effectiveness Committee Member, 2001 to present Summer School Committee Member, 2001 to present CNC League Volleyball Coach of the Year, 1997 Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers, 1997 National Collegiate PE and Health Award, 1994 Outstanding Physical Education Student of the Year, 1994 Kappa Delta Pi, 1994 to present

Student Drug Testing Policy Committee Member, 2004 to present Family Grandparents, paternal, Arlus and Ambolene Tilford, and maternal, Clyde and Loretta Mitchell Parents, Darrel Tilford and Sandra Tilford Children, son Hayden Fox

22 | May 2018

Mitchell, resided in Seligman. The primary reason to move to Seligman was because her parents were starting new teaching positions plus her father was going to coach at Southwest. Tosha attended the Southwest R-5 School District from kindergarten through 12th grade. In May 1990, she graduated valedictorian of her class then moved to Joplin to attend college at Missouri Southern State University. In addition to attending MSSU during the evening, she attended cosmetology school and earned her license to be a nail technician in the State of Missouri. After finishing an Bachelor of Education degree from Missouri Southern State

Elizabeth Lucore Occupation Family Practice and Obstetrics doctor and Chief of Staff Organization Cox Monett Hospital Education McPherson College graduate Des Moines University graduate in Civic Groups/Etc. Co-founder of the Monett Alternative Gift Fair Sunday school teacher and church choir member Monett Bike/Pedestrian council member Camp Colorado Board of Directors and the Missouri Osteopathic Association of Physician and Surgeons (MAOPS) Board of Directors member Committee to Support the Barry/ Lawrence County Regional Library member Ozark Festival Orchestra musician Family Husband, Bryan Lucore Children, Amelia, 11, and Franklin, 9

Elizabeth Lucore grew up in the small town of Quinter, Kan. It was the type of place where all the kids did all the activities, so she ran cross country and track, played trumpet in the band, competed on Quiz Bowl, and practiced dancing in heels in Show Choir. She graduated with 30 in her class, and then went to McPherson College in central Kansas where she majored in chemistry, solely based on the idea that chemistry was her favorite class in high school. “I took too many of my major courses in the first two years though, so I was advised to declare a second major,” she said. “I added biology. Looking back, I should have chosen ceramics to use the other side of my brain!” Elizabeth said when she graduated, she still didn’t really know what she wanted to do — maybe bench chemistry or research and development. “So, I joined Brethren Volunteer Service and spent two years living on a small stipend and doing pretty cool work, kind of like AmeriCorps or Peace Corps,” she said. “It was during this time that I realized two things: one, I cared about public health, and two, I didn’t get grossed out easily. After those two years taking care of homeless people and migrant workers, living with people pushed to the margins of our society, it was apparent to me that the world needed more people to take care of each other.” Elizabeth said long story short, she decided to take the MCATs and apply to osteopathic medical school. “I think there was divine interven-

tion involved, because where most applicants apply to many med schools, I naively applied only to Des Moines University — the only osteopathic university at the time that also offered a Masters in Public Health — and I got in!” she said. “During spring break of my second year of school, Bryan Lucore and I were married, so when I started rotations the next fall, I felt like a TV show character. Where before I had been Elizabeth Stover, now people were calling me Doctor Lucore. It took a while to get used to that new role.” Elizabeth has two children, Amelia, 11, and Franklin, 9. “We love to play together, eat together and travel together,” she said. “We moved to Monett after I finished residency, drawn by the proximity to family in Missouri, Kansas and Arkansas, the beauty of the Ozarks, good schools to which we could ride our bikes, and so many neat details — amazing nurses at Cox Monett, the best YMCA ever, a recycling center, a local orchestra and the promise of a new library. It’s been lovely to live somewhere longer than 3 years, to put down roots and make wonderful friends.” Elizabeth’s parents recently retired from Quinter and spent several years volunteering at various sites such as Heifer International in Perryville, Ark., a few disaster relief sites in the midwest and most recently the Manual School in Albuquerque, N.M. “They will be moving this summer to McPherson, Kan., where we have lots of extended family,” Elizabeth said. “When

To read more about Elizabeth Lucore, jump to page 58 Connection Magazine | 23

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Mother’s Day made easy by local florist Floral shop owner: ‘Moms don’t really care what kind of flowers they get as long as they’re pretty’

Who: Mothers, Designs by Debbie


hen Mother’s Day comes around on May 13, there isn’t a mom anywhere who wouldn’t enjoy getting flowers. Flowers send a beautiful message that the recipient is loved, cherished and appreciated. But what kind of flowers should a daughter, son, husband, sister, or friend get for mom? According to Kristin Houston, owner of Designs by Debbie in Cassville, in her experience as a florist, the latest trends aren’t really a factor when it comes to Mother’s Day flowers, but whatever mom thinks is pretty, is. “There are no [specific] trends,”

Story and photo by Julia Kilmer

What: Mother’s Day flowers and gift ideas When: Mother’s Day, May 13 says Houston of Mother’s day flowers, one of her busiest holidays of the year after Valentine’s Day. “Moms don’t really care what kind of flowers they get as long as they’re pretty. A lot of customers say, ‘Just make something pretty for mom.’ It’s usually something different for everyone.” And pretty, she and her designers can do. Houston and her staff took time to display several eye-popping floral arrangements packaged in unique vases, along with candles and other gift ideas to show moms how much they are appreciated on Mother’s Day. Closer to the holiday, Houston will have hanging baskets and pa-

tio planters available, also popular choices to impress mom. “The whole sidewalk will be loaded,” Houston said. “They’re real pretty and will bloom all summer.” The package the flowers come in can be a gift, also. “A lot of moms like something with a container they can reuse,” said designer Hannah Elliott. Flower containers are not just simple glass vases anymore, they are made of a variety of materials and mediums like pottery, tin, ceramics, and come in many shapes, patterns, and colors. And with recycling and repurposing projects so popular, a versatile container can be reused for a number of things.

Connection Magazine | 25

Fragrant candles make a great comfort gift, and one that moms love receiving. Designs by Debbie in Cassville has a full array of Tyler Candle Co. candles in beautiful colors and scents. The candles are known for burning a long time and filling a room with their pleasing aromas.

Traditional corsages, tiny, petite bouquets that can be pinned onto mom’s dress or worn on her wrist, are also a popular and time-honored gift for moms that never go out of style. “A lot of people still do corsages,” Houston said. Now that all things flowers has been discussed, how do you get them to mom? That part’s really easy.

Vases for flowers are not just what they used to be. They can come in a variety of shapes, sizes, mediums such as ceramic, tin, or woven baskets, and after the holiday is over, can be repurposed and reused for many things.

26 | May 2018

room sprays, home decor, mugs, mats, baskets, picture frames, scented laundry soap, stuffed animals, If you don’t really know what to get mom for Mother’s Day this year, Designs by Debbie can help. Visit shop at 300 E. 5th Street for lots of ideas to choose from that mom will surely love, like these beautiful home decor pieces.

No matter where you live, a customer has only to visit Houston’s website at, or and choose the florist’s location and bouquet, to have flowers ordered and delivered. Tele-WHAT? Teleflora is a world-wide floral wire service and clearinghouse which processes orders to local florists for delivery. “Lots of people out of town use it [for deliveries],” Houston said, adding that about one-third of her customers rely on the service to order flowers for Mother’s Day. In addition to flowers, Houston’s shop has plenty of other, keep-on-giving gifts. “If Mom’s not into flowers, we have candles, too,” Houston said. The store carries long-lasting,

beautiful Tyler Candle Co. candles in a wide variety of colors and scents. “One candle will burn for a couple of weeks and the fragrance will fill our entire shop,” said designer Rachel Scott. The shop also carries scented room sprays, home decor, mugs, mats, baskets, picture frames, a scented laundry soap Houston uses herself, stuffed animals, figurines, and more. So, no matter which pretty flower arrangement or gift one chooses for mom, she is sure to love it, and even more so because of the thought and love behind it. To order a flower arrangement or other gifts in time for Mother’s Day, call Houston at 417-847-4500 or visit her shop at 300 E. 5th Street in Cassville. People can also conveniently place an order through www.teleflora. com. n


Making beautiful flower combinations are what the designers at Designs by Debbie of Cassville do best

Connection Magazine | 27

c u t e s t k i d co n t e s t Iziah James Pierce, son of Darrion Pierce and Larissa Wise. Age 2 of Sarcoxie, Mo.

Email your child’s photo to 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.

28 | May 2018

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Good things come in


small packages

Big hearts welcome small arrival

Lindsey Cross is pictured holding her daughter, Lydia, for the first time.

30 | May 2018


ydia Michele Cross is a fighter. Born at just 15 ounces at 25 weeks gestation, this tiny trooper has, so far, beat the odds for survival. Her story began when her grandmother, Michele Caldwell, had a massive stroke on May 3 and woke up to tell her husband that she had spoken to God and that their daughter, Lindsey Cross, of Shell Knob, was going to give birth to a girl. “I wasn’t pregnant,” Lindsey said. “She died Aug. 1, and she had been telling everyone I was pregnant. “I found out in mid-September that I was pregnant,” she said. “I knew it would be a girl, because my mom had told me.” Given a due date of May 23, Lindsey expected to have a normal pregnancy, but things soon became complicated.

Story by Melonie Roberts

“I started having problems breathing problems,” Lindsey said. “The doctor told me that it was because the baby was getting larger and pushing on the diaphragm. I thought it might be pneumonia. They said to keep an eye over it on the weekend. But my breathing kept getting worse, so my husband, Jon, took me to the emergency room in Cassville, where they diagnosed me as having preeclampsia.” The condition is characterized by high blood pressure and signs of damage to another organ system, most often the liver and kidneys. Preeclampsia usually begins after 20 weeks of pregnancy in women whose blood pressure has been normal. “I was sent to Cox Monett where I was checked out and told I had to deliver early,” Lindsey said. “They transferred me to Cox Hospital in Spring-

field to manage my blood pressure and found fluid on my lungs.” Lydia was delivered on Feb. 7, weighing 15 ounces, doctors told the new parents there was a long road ahead for their precious little miracle. “She was doing good, breathing on her own,” Lindsey said. “Then things became a whirlwind.” Lydia developed additional health issues at 10 days. She started leaking fluid from around a peripherally inserted central catheter, or PICC line, which caused a rash to form on her belly. “They transferred her by helicopter to Children’s Hospital in Kansas City, where they discovered the PICC line had been inserted wrong,” Lindsey said. “The vessel had ruptured, but they were able to repair it and insert a new PICC line. They also treated the rash with media-honey, medical-grade

Connection Magazine | 31

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“She recognizes my voice, and Jon’s, and looks up at me and appears to smile” - Lindsey Cross, mother of Lydia

honey used to treat wounds and burns. It was such a comfort to find out she was going to be okay. There is no scarring. She healed perfectly.” Then doctors became concerned about Lydia’s patent ductus arteriosus, or PDA, which is open when the baby remains in utero. It is the hole that allows blood to skip the lungs, because it is already oxygenated through the mother. PDAs tend to close on their own a few days after delivery. Lydia’s, which was deemed “large” by doctors, had not closed, allowing oxygen-rich blood from the aorta to mix with oxygen-poor blood in the pulmonary artery. When too much blood flows into the lungs, a strain is placed on the heart and blood pressure in the pulmonary arteries increases.

“We almost lost her,” Lindsey said. “They treated her with steroids and placed her on a high frequency ventilator, and the treatment resulted in a partial closure. Only a small hole remains. The doctors say that will close naturally over time.” With the latest crisis under control, Lydia seems to be gaining by leaps and bounds. “Since they gave her the steroids, she’s turned a corner and is doing great,” Lindsey said. “The steroids helped with the inflammation in her lungs and she ended up coming off the high frequency ventilator and is only on oxygen now.” While in the neonatal intensive care unit, Lindsey said she didn’t have enough time to hold baby Lydia.

“Now that she has come off the vent, I can hold her as much as I can,” she said. “She recognizes my voice, and Jon’s, and looks up at me and appears to smile.” In the midst of these crises, Lindsey had a stroke. “On Thursday afternoon, April 5, I started feeling lightheaded and numb on my right side,” she said. “I was afraid that it was serious but didn’t want to leave Lydia. It escalated pretty quickly and long story short I ended up in the ER at the hospital next to Children’s Mercy. I was starting to lose more and more strength and coordination on my right side. My blood pressure was way too high and that’s when they told me that I was having a stroke. I was by myself and

Connection Magazine | 33

To learn more, visit our website at

417-235-7022 • #2 David Sippy Drive • Monett Office Hours: Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.

We wish all mothers a very blessed

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Catering Services Available 34 | May 2018

kept thinking about how my Mom had a stroke less than a year ago. It was very scary and emotional. Things started happening very fast, they did several scans on me and gave me a very strong blood thinner. They call it a clot buster, it must have done its job because I started to regain strength in my right side. They ended up moving me to the ICU where I kept getting better. They were telling me that they thought it was probably a result of my high blood pressure and a TIA (Transient ischemic attack) they also call it a ‘mini stroke.’ So the clot buster they gave me in the ER pretty much saved my life.” While Lydia is certainly improving, and Lindsey on the mend, there is still a long row to hoe before the family can go home to Shell Knob. “She’ll probably be in NICU until her actual due date of May 23,” Lindsey said. “Before they will release her to come home, she will have to weigh four pounds, be able to breathe on her own, feed from a bottle and maintain her own body temperature. “She’s a tough little one,” she said. “There’s a long road ahead, but everything is looking good.” n

Those wishing to help the family with medical costs and Jon’s travel expenses may contribute in one of three ways:

PayPal at Facebook messenger payments cwq9pe-baby-lydia.

g u e s t co l u m n

It’s not over until the yelling stops


few years ago, my husband informed me that he wasn’t a Farmer... he was a Rancher. He clarified for me that a Farmer works the land and typically produces a crop, he on the other hand works with cattle. Well thank you for letting me walk beside you 20 some years before enlightening me. Now what am I supposed to do with those personalized license plates, FRMWIF jewelry and stories that tag me as such? Call it what you may, but I am going to tell you that working cattle together involves things and words that I never thought I would experience as a wife. Let me just clarify one thing, I will try every excuse under the sun to get out of this chore and here are a few reasons why. It is not natural to stand in front of a herd of animals each weighing in about four times as much as you, that have twice as many legs and can run a lot faster. I don’t care how big your stick is! And while we are

by Pam wormington

at it, who designed those little skinny sticks for working cattle? How effective is that going to be against a mad momma or a big bull? I really like the paddle on a stick my man got me as a sign on bonus when I quit my real job to work at home with him. It’s plastic and has noisy little beads in the paddle portion attached to the long plastic stick. I can assure you seeing a fly swatter come toward your backside is far scarier than that, and it doesn’t take a very big bovine to bend that thing. Just call me Consumer Report, because I tested it and I know. Enough about the equipment, let’s talk about the working conditions. Sunny and warm temps are not the norm, because we wouldn’t want to overheat the cattle or the cowgirls. With those weather conditions also comes those pesky flies, and I know where the flies have landed and where they are likely to land. I don’t care if the first location is covered Connection Magazine | 35

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36 | May 2018

in a combination of grass and water, I don’t want it on my lips. However, it is likely it will be on my glasses. I originally thought the squeeze chute was designed to hold the cattle while you ‘worked’ on them. It turns out, it was designed to squeeze out the water and grass concoction that will eventually be shared by a swishing tail, flies or rubber boots that weren’t made for walking through this slick stuff. Those boots need some brakes! If you are a wife and you live with cattle rancher/farmer, unless you are as smart as my mother-inlaw and sister-in-law, then you know what the conversation can be like in the corral. I try to convince myself that the volume must be loud to be heard over the bellering bovine. But the more I think about it, there are lots of things that I really don’t need to hear. For example, I don’t want to hear the nicknames for the cows that don’t understand where or what they are supposed to do. These are not terms of endearment. Furthermore, calling the cattle names just uses up excess energy that I don’t have. I also don’t need to hear the critiquing of my capabilities and how I should run faster, be more aggressive, stop a stampede or make a rusty head squeeze operate smooth and swift. I could go on and on, and I still wouldn’t get fired from this ‘farming’ job. At the end of the day, when each head of cattle has been tended to and is turned out on fresh grass and water, it’s a good feeling. A shower and a warm bed is a better feeling. I’m thankful my raging rancher always apologizes for any slip-ups and is always amazed at my city-girl suggestions, when they work. n

pa r e n t i n g co l u m n

I double-mom dare you: Make Mother’s Day about Mom


emember the days when you were on the school playground and your friend dared you to wave to the cute boy by the swings? Or when your other friend double-dared you to wave to him and then blow him a kiss? Or when both of your friends double-dog-dared you to wave to him, blow him a kiss and then walk over to him? That was fun, wasn’t it? Well let’s bring the fun back for this year’s Mother’s Day. Are you up for ‘The Mom Dare?’ Here’s what you need to do. This Mother’s Day, I dare you and any other moms you know, to do things a little differently this year. Okay, a lot different this year. I dare you to create a day that completely revolves Suggested Movies to Watch in Bed

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around you. It might look something like this… You start the day off with sleeping in. Not the sleeping in that requires you to get up, get the kids breakfast, make coffee, let the dogs out or tell everyone to turn the volume down. Nope. This is the sleeping in where you have your face mask on, the room is pitch black and the only thing you can hear is yourself snoring because there is no one else in the house. That’s right. Your kids and spouse have left early and are already out the door. You wake up whenever you want, because that’s what sleeping in means and you meander on over to the coffee pot. You usually brush your teeth and let the dogs out first but not today. Today you are going to rock that messy bun and make your coffee and drink it while it’s still hot. This needs to be the day when you don’t microwave your coffee. Sit down if you must and drink your coffee in one sitting. After your coffee, maybe eat some breakfast. Maybe not. It’s whatever you want. Maybe you start yourself a bath and drop in a bath bomb or add a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Turn all of the lights off

and light a few candles. Turn your phone off; actually, leave your phone in another room and just soak in the tub for as long as you want. After you throw on some super comfy pajamas, crawl back into bed and turn on your favorite movie. Don’t worry about the kids. Don’t worry about your husband. Worry about how you’re going to reach for the remote once you’ve realized it’s on the floor. This is ‘The Mom Dare’ after all. Try not to use your phone today if you don’t have to. It’s draining and time consuming. Use your time wisely and rest up. You know how it goes…you grab your phone to look up one thing and then you check your email and realize you forgot to send a reply to someone so you take a minute to do that. Then you realize you forgot to post about something on Facebook so you go on there and well, now you’re in a black hole and an entire hour has gone by. Make this year’s Mother’s Day truly a relaxing one. Be intentional about not using your phone and whatever you do, do not clean your house. If you must, pick up the night before Mother’s Day so you

The Parent Trap Connection Magazine | 37

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can enjoy being in your home all day if you’re one of those people who can’t relax if there are dishes in the sink. Prep if you must, but do not lift a finger. If you feel like you want to get out of the house, take yourself out to lunch or better yet, order in and have your favorite pasta place deliver. Go get your nails done or book yourself a massage. Mother’s Day can be a combination of alone time and family time. When you’ve had your fill of ‘The Mom Dare’ and feel like you’ve accomplished what you wanted, go ahead and grab your phone, call your spouse and ask to meet up back home for family game night. Your kids will be excited to see you after a long day of being away and you will feel refreshed and ready to roll back into your ‘mom groove’ once again. Bonus Recipe

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38 | May 2018


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Connection Magazine | 39

recipes Strawberry Pretzel Salad Ingredients 1 1/2 cups crushed pretzels 4 1/2 tablespoons white sugar 2 small packages of strawberry Jell-O 3/4 cup butter, melted 1 cup white sugar 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese 1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed 2 cups boiling water 1 (16 ounce) package frozen strawberries


Granny’s Lemon Meringue Pie Ingredients 1 cup white sugar 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 3 tablespoons cornstarch 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 cups water 2 lemons, juiced and zested 2 tablespoons butter

Mother’s Day Recipes

4 egg yolks, beaten 1 (9 inch) pie crust, baked 4 egg whites 6 tablespoons white sugar

Directions • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). • To Make Lemon Filling: In a medium saucepan, whisk together 1 cup sugar, flour, cornstarch, and salt. Stir in water, lemon juice and lemon zest. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until mixture comes to a boil. Stir in butter. Place egg yolks in a small bowl and gradually whisk in 1/2 cup of hot sugar mixture. Whisk egg yolk mixture back into remaining sugar mixture. Bring to a boil and continue to cook while stirring constantly until thick. Remove from heat. Pour filling into baked pastry shell. • To Make Meringue: In a large glass or metal bowl, whip egg whites until foamy. Add sugar gradually, and continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Spread meringue over pie, sealing the edges at the crust. • Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes, or until meringue is golden brown. Prep: 30 minutes Cook: 10 minutes Ready In: 40 minutes

40 | May 2018

• Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Mix together the pretzels, 4 1/2 tablespoons sugar and melted butter. Press into the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan. Bake for 10 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Set aside to cool completely. • In a medium bowl, beat the sugar and cream cheese until smooth. Fold in whipped topping. Spread evenly over the cooled crust. Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes. • In a medium bowl, stir together the gelatin mix and boiling water. Mix in frozen strawberries, and stir until thawed. Pour over cream cheese mixture in pan. Refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 1 hour. • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Mix together the pretzels, 4 1/2 tablespoons sugar and melted butter. Press into the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan. Bake for 10 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Set aside to cool completely. • In a medium bowl, beat the sugar and cream cheese until smooth. Fold in whipped topping. Spread evenly over the cooled crust. Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes. • In a medium bowl, stir together the gelatin mix and boiling water. Mix in frozen strawberries, and stir until thawed. Pour over cream cheese mixture in pan. Refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 1 hour.

Chocolate Cream Puff Swans Ingredients Pâte à Choux (Cream Puff Dough): 1/2 cup water 1/4 cup unsalted butter 1 teaspoon white sugar 1 pinch salt 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 2 eggs Ganache: 4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped 4 ounces heavy whipping cream Cream: 1 cup cold heavy whipping cream 1 tablespoon white sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 teaspoon confectioners’ sugar, or as needed Add all ingredients to list

Directions • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Line 2 baking sheets with silicone baking mats. • Stir water, butter, 1 teaspoon white sugar, and salt together in a pot; bring to a simmer. Add flour and stir with a wooden spoon until mixture pulls away from the sides of the pot and forms a thick, pastelike dough. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 to 15 minutes. • Stir eggs into dough one at a time, mixing until egg is completely incorporated after each addition. Transfer 2/3 the dough to a large resealable plastic bag. Cut corner of the bag away, about 1/2-inch wide, to form an opening through which to pipe the dough. • Pipe 8 tapered ovals of dough onto the prepared baking sheet to form the ‘swan bodies’, pulling up at the tapered end to form the ‘tail/wingtips’. • Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. • While the ‘swan bodies’ are baking, fill a smaller bag with the remaining 1/3 the dough; cut a small tip from the corner. Pipe out S-shapes to form the swan ‘necks’. At the top of each S, pipe out more dough to form the swan ‘heads’. • When the ‘bodies’ are halfway cooked, bake the ‘necks’ in the oven together with the swan ‘bodies’ oven until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. • Turn off the oven, open the oven door slightly, and let pastries cool completely. • Cut the top 1/3 off of each swan body horizontally, from fatter end to tapered end. Cut each top in half to form the ‘wings’. • Place chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. Bring 4 ounces heavy cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Pour hot cream over chocolate and whisk until chocolate is completely melted and ganache is shiny and smooth. Spoon or pipe chocolate ganache into the base of each swan ‘body’. • Beat 1 cup cold cream in a chilled glass or metal bowl with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add 1 tablespoon sugar and vanilla extract, continuing to beat until stiff peaks form. Transfer whipped cream into a piping bag with a star tip. • Pipe cream to fill each swan ‘body’, piping up and out the top to resemble swan ‘feathers’. Place ‘wings’ on each side of the ‘body’ sticking up out of the cream, and place ‘neck’ in the base of each swan. Refrigerate until chilled. Dust with confectioners’ sugar. Prep: 45 minutes Cook: 25 minutes Ready In: 2 hours, 10 minutes

Chicken, Asparagus Mushroom Skillet Ingredients 3 tablespoons butter 2 tablespoons olive oil 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley 1/2 teaspoon dried basil 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano 1 1/2 cloves garlic, mince 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice 1 1/2 teaspoons white cooking wine 2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, sliced 1/2 asparagus, trimmed and cut into thirds 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

Directions • Melt the butter with the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high; stir the parsley, basil, oregano, garlic, salt, lemon juice, and wine into the butter mixture. Add the chicken; cook and stir until the chicken is browned, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium; cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is no longer pink inside, about 10 more minutes. • Add the asparagus; cook and stir until the asparagus is bright green and just starting to become tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and cook an additional 3 minutes to let the mushrooms release their juice. Serve hot. Prep: 15 minutes Cook: 25 minutes Ready In: 40 minutes

Connection Magazine | 41


CRUSTLESS SPINACH QUICHE Ingredients 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1 onion, chopped 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained 5 eggs, beaten 3 cups shredded Muenster cheese 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9 inch pie pan. • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft. Stir in spinach and continue cooking until excess moisture has evaporated. • In a large bowl, combine eggs, cheese, salt and pepper. Add spinach mixture and stir to blend. Scoop into prepared pie pan. • Bake in preheated oven until eggs have set, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. Prep: 20 minutes Cook: 30 minutes Ready In: 50 minutes

Lemon Chicken Piccata Ingredients 3 large skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1/2-inch medallions salt and pepper to taste 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, or as needed 1 clove garlic, minced 1 cup low sodium chicken broth 1/2 lemon, thinly sliced 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed 3 tablespoons butter 2 tablespoons minced Italian (flat-leaf) parsley Add all ingredients to list

Directions • Preheat oven to 200 degrees F (95 degrees C). Place a serving platter into the oven to warm. • Season the chicken breast pieces with salt and pepper and dredge them in flour. Shake off excess flour. Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet; pan-fry the chicken pieces until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Work in batches and do not crowd skillet, adding oil as needed . Place the chicken pieces onto the warmed platter in the oven. When finished with all the chicken, drain most of the oil from the skillet, leaving a thin coating on the surface of the pan. • Cook and stir the minced garlic in the skillet until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Pour in the chicken broth. Scrape and dissolve any brown bits from the bottom of the skillet. Stir in the lemon slices and bring the mixture to a boil. Let cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce reduces to about 2/3 cup, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the lemon juice and capers; simmer until the sauce is reduced and slightly thickened, about 5 minutes more. Drop the butter into the skillet and swirl it into the sauce by tilting the skillet until the butter is melted and incorporated. Add the parsley; remove from heat and set aside. • Arrange the chicken medallions on serving plates and spoon sauce over each portion to serve.

Source: 42 | May 2018

Prep: 20 minutes Cook: 30 minutes Ready In: 50 minutes

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Connection Magazine | 43

Local artist Robyn Cook is pictured working in her home studio on one of her signature PBR series bull portraits. Her portrait of Wicked won first place and Best of Show at a44 juried art show in California. | May 2018

Bulls, broncs

&blue ribbons Local artist wins big with western portraiture


ust as few years ago, Robyn Cook, a local artist, would never have believed that she could win a juried art show with a portrait drawn in pencil. The self-taught artist had only taken a few high school classes and, following graduation, continued practicing and improving on her passion – drawing. “I never thought it would get this big,” Cook said. “I know I’ll never quit drawing, but I never dreamed it would grow as large as it has.” Cook’s favorite subject is horses, and the many aspects of the daily life of the American cowboy and the rustic western life. She also enjoyed creating pet portraits. “I’ve been drawing professionally since 2002,” she said. “Before that, it was a fun hobby. Then, I realized it could be more.” Smooth Operator, one of several pencil portraits created by local artist Robyn Cook featuring the bucking bovines traveling the Professional Bull Riders circuit. Cook captured the animal’s curious nature once it was out of the show ring. Smooth Operator is building a strong reputation as an unbeatable animal, having all 16 of his previous riders tossed in less than 5 seconds.

Story by Melonie Roberts

Connection Magazine | 45



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Recently, Cook has started branching out into capturing the essence of the bovine athletes touring the Professional Bull Riders circuit. “A lot of stock contractors for televised rodeos purchase the originals,” she said. “Riders and fans purchase the prints. These bulls are famous. People like these bulls. I prefer to do portraits of them when they aren’t bucking. I like showing their personalities.” She started entering her work in juried competitions in the west and southwestern states where rodeos are popular events. She took first place and best of show in a California competition with her rendering of Wicked, a well-known bovine competitor on the PBA circuit. Her work is also showcased at J.E. Cautch and Sons Art Gallery in Fredericksburg, Texas. “It’s really flattering,” she said. “It’s exciting to know people want the artwork I do.” Cook discovered quickly that drawing bulls was considerably different than the horses and pets she was accustomed to rendering. “They have very different personalities, color and conformation,” she said. “The texture of their hair, their build, the horns. They are very different, artistically, from horses. It’s a different way of drawing. At first, I drew a few just for fun, but the reaction when I posted them on Facebook was crazy. So, I just kept after it.” Cook said she was going to continue her PBR bull portrait series for the foreseeable future. “There are always new and upcoming bulls on the rodeo scene, so I’ll keep doing it,” she said. “I’ve attended a few rodeos and have become friends with a stock contractor at Big Cabin, Okla., and he lets me take photos of his stock.” Cook also keeps an eye out for other iconic scenes to capture.


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Connection Magazine | 47

To view Cook’s art, visit or visit her on Facebook.

“As long as I’m drawing, I’m happy.” - Robyn Cook

Local artist Robyn Cook captures iconic glimpses into the lifestyles of the American cowboy. This commissioned work, Daddy’s Hat, captures the innocence of a little cowgirl on a big horse, playing with father’s Stetson.

“Daddy’s Hat came about because a friend of mine snapped a pic of her daughter playing with her father’s Stetson while atop a full grown horse,” she said. “I thought it was so neat to see such a little girl on this big ol’ horse, how gentle and calm he was. It puts a smile on your face.” Cook is continually seeking ways to improve on her artwork. “It has evolved and grown beyond what I originally thought,” she said. “When I look back, I feel like I’m still improving, which is a good thing, working with values and contrast. “In the future, I hope to have more time to draw,” she said. “As long as I’m drawing, I’m happy. I hope to be able to go to some of the shows where my art is exhibited and get involved with more galleries. Most importantly, I want to keep growing as an artist.” n 48 | May 2018

Graduating into an ever-changing world The window of commencement viewing the world over five decades


ver the past century, the world has changed. So too has Monett. Local people saw their lives evolve from a sleepy rural community with an agriculture and railroad base over a 50year period to one where many people had seen Europe and Asia in military service. The economy was transformed from small shops to an industrial base. Concerns changed from succeeding with this year’s crop to recognizing evil in the world and surviving in a global economy. Each window into the past offers a different perspective. Ever hopeful, ever new is the view through high school graduations. From 1918 to 1958, five decade leaps show Monett changing as well as the world around it. In 1918, Monett was a swirl of activity. At the Bijou Theater, “The Rose of Blood” starring the star of the hour, Theda Bara, was playing, advertised as “A 1918 vampire for liberty” in “an exciting story of a woman foiling a

Story by Murray Bishoff

Russian plot for separate peace with Germany,” this coming a few months after the Bolshevik revolution prompted that very action. The bishop of the Methodist church was coming to Monett to speak, his stern face pictured on the front page of The Monett Times. Each day The Monett Times had news of the war in Europe and lists of those called into service by the draft. Ceremonies took place within two weeks of a visit by John Philip Sousa’s Band on a national fundraising trip for the Third Liberty Loan drive for World War I. The drive raised more than $17,000 in Monett, “several thousand more than Springfield,” The Monett Times reported, adding, “Aurora raised a very small sum.” The high school graduation was on Thursday night, May 9, the night after the senior class play and the night before eighth-grade graduation, in the

high school auditorium. The 42 graduates very much had the state of the nation on their minds. They opened the ceremony by singing “America” before the invocation. There were five speeches given, all memorized, all with a patriotic theme. Salutatorian Eglantine de Jersey spoke on the American Red Cross. Mark Burke spoke of “Practical Patriotism.” Alice Planchon talked about “How to Instill Patriotism in Young America.” Henry Arnaud spoke on “Pan-Germanism,” leaving valedictorian Ruth Robinson to conclude with “America Is At War.” Separate speeches were also given by the valedictorian and salutatorian. On a lighter note, two songs were sung, “That Little Woman of Mine” by Leslie Mason and “Carmena” by Hazel Caughron. Connection Magazine | 49

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The ceremony did not end in the normal way, only fitting for unusual moment in history. As attorney and school board president Dan Meador gave his address, the lights in the auditorium went out, due to a fuse. According to The Monett Times, “the entertainment was concluded by the light of a lamp. The audience was composed, however, and, aside from some difficulty in groping their way from the building, there was no unpleasantness.” The newspaper account added, “The class of 1918 is a strong one and many of the students are ambitious to enter colleges for further study.” Graduation from the eighth grade was a particularly significant event in 1918. Monett graduates went to Cassville to receive their diplomas with all the other eighth graders in the county, 125 in all, from County School Superintendent W.E. Hankins. The program included a declamatory contest and awarding prizes to the top three, many of whom received Baby Bonds and Thrift Stamps. Monett’s Eglantine de Jersey won the best essay for a high school student with her piece, “How to Help Uncle Sam Win the War Through Thrift Stamps.” On May 10, 1928, what was then deemed as the junior high school had graduation exercises for more than 100 students in the high school auditorium. G. Payton Gulick, violinist and brother of Methodist Church organist Roxie Scott, led the Junior High School Orchestra, There were selections by the Ninth Grade Girls’ Glee Club, violin, piano and vocal musical solos. Norma Olive Spain read “Jimmie is Sent to the Principal,” likely a humorous piece, whose jokes are now lost, but we can only imagine. Superintendent C.E. Evans presented diplomas. Eight received diplomas from the Class of 1927. Graduation exercises for the high school were held on Friday, May 11. A total of 68 diplomas were presented, including multiples to some students: 28 in

general course, 19 in the teacher training department, 9 in commercial course, 7 in vocational home economics and 5 in vocational agriculture. The processional was Mendelssohn’s march from “Athalia,” played by the High School Orchestra, which also played the overture to “The Prince’s Dream.” The Senior Girls and Boys Quartets and the Senior Girls Sextet provided musical numbers, along with two soloists. Several students read short pieces about school costs, sources of revenue and comparison of costs with other school districts. Then for student addresses, Howard Huffmaster read “What the Senior Class Has Cost the Monett School District,” followed by the valedictory address by Retha Cannady, “ Are We Worth the Cost?” After that, Dr. L.H. Ferguson, school board president, presented diplomas and Principal Harold Morrow presented scholarships. In 1938, baccalaureate was held on Sunday, May 15, in the high school auditorium. It was a year of economic recovery. The strawberry industry, a big source of income for even the smallest farmers and for pickers, was on the rebound after the disastrous drought in 1937 and fresh memories of dust bowl wind storms from the West. Indicators reflected railroad activity was picking up again, providing more work. Nonetheless, economic fragility remained a fresh thought, as did rumblings of war in Europe. Dr. William Riley Nelson, pastor of the First Methodist Church, spoke on “The Value of Right Thinking.” “Discipline your mind to right thinking and build a great character,” the speaker said. “Fix your very being upon honesty, justice, purity, loveliness, good report, virtue and praise. Think on these things. The power to think is yours. There is a vast difference between thinking about a thing and thinking it. Refuse damaging thoughts right of way. Do not allow

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them to become your thinking and make their deposit. As your mind is, so will the day of your life be. Many millions are living in the fog and gloom of wrong thinking. The architect’s plans precede the builder’s toil. Adopt for yourself ‘The Divine Architect’s’ plans and build your life structures according to them.” Graduation for 87 in the junior high took place on May 19. The high school annual, “The Triangle,” cost $1.50. Graduation for the 95 seniors, deemed to be “the largest class in the history of the Monett High School,” took place on Friday, May 20, 1938. The high school auditorium was “crowded to capacity.” The high school orchestra, led by music teacher L.E. Hummel, played the processional. Four vocal solos and a number by the girls quartet followed. Elizabeth O’Connell, class president, spoke on the class itself. Valedictorian Evelyn Kaesler spoke on “The Role of the Curriculum.” She received the Junior Chamber of Commerce’s gold scholarship medal for the year. Salutatorian Ida Cannady talked about the contribution of the Parent Teacher Association, and Charles Spilman spoke on extra-curricular activities. Principal Leslie Grimes awarded the scholarships and Raymond “Doc” Davis, school board president, presented the diplomas. The Class of 1948 at MHS had 57 members. The cost of war was evident in numbers alone. Monett was in the biggest boom it had seen in 20 years, with rapid construction of new houses to accommodate returning soldiers and the opening of the Vaisey-Bristol Shoe Company and the dairy processing plant, beginning the transformation to an industrial economy. Nancy Timmons was the valedictorian and Anita Collier was the salutato-

52 | May 2018

rian. The senior class took a two-day trip to St. Louis for its class trip. Baccalaureate was held on Sunday, May 9, where Rev. Joseph Miller of the First Presbyterian Church spoke. Graduation was on Friday, May 14, the end of a tumultuous week when President Harry Truman took over the nation’s railroads to end a railroad strike called by three unions, though railway men in Monett were ordered to stay on the job. A survey of Monett city and rural residents also produced a margin of 1,347 to 704 against the city’s use of parking meters. At the graduation ceremony, Guest speaker Dr. John Rufi from the Department of Education at the University of Missouri, said, “Education is no happenstance. It takes hard work and plugging to bring it about, and the school doesn’t have a corner on education. The home, the church, the movies, and recreations, even the things that happen on the corners of the streets of this town are all contributing factors and must be recognized. But the sum total, which has culminated in this graduation event, will bring rewards to this city as long as these young men and women live.” Rufi had been selected as an educator to survey Germany and the results of Nazi education in the summer of 1947. Rufi shared his observations. “There are three main things the educational system of the United States must do to assist with this great world problem of de-Nazification,” Rufi said. “First of all we must render the maximum service to ALL of the children of All of the people. Secondly, we must transmit knowledge that is alive, effec-

“Fix your very being upon honesty, justice, purity, loveliness, good report, virtue and praise. Think on these things. The power to think is yours.” -Dr. William Riley Nelson

tive and of a maximum importance on life itself, and finally, we must go out of our way to develop a lasting loyalty to those things which free men cherish — to teach the ideals of democracy, and to treat all life with respect.” Principal Ernest Campbell presented the class. W.L. Black, school board president, and A.B. Collier from the board presented the diplomas.

Connection Magazine | 53



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By 1958, class size was again on the upswing. There were 83 graduates that year, receiving their diplomas on Friday, May 23. Commencement had also now moved to the high school gym. The school was also now recognizing the top 10 students. Music, in addition to the processional, was down to the senior vocal ensemble and a solo by Joe Bill George, who would return to lead the district’s music program. The guest speaker was Dr. John Caldwell, president of the University of Arkansas. Caldwell spoke on a subject that many of his subsequent speakers over the decades would address — continuing education. His comments may seem to echo addresses school administrators give to this day. “No matter what your plans are in life, you’re going to be required to study and study hard,” Caldwell said. “Those of you who choose not to study will fall by the wayside and will not be able to keep up with your counterparts. In the road that lies ahead, don’t get lost. The most precious thing that you possess is your own individuality. “In your community you have a lot of people who have set standards for you and thus you have learned what is right and what is wrong. Keep your standards high. Don’t lose the character that you have and preserve your individuality. You have an abundance of optimism and good will. Stay energetic and studious and you will stay on top. In approaching life, believe that good is a lot more powerful than evil. The world needs you, and you are important.” Graduation that year offered two members of the school board, A.K. White and Dr. Frank Kerr, the honor of presenting diplomas to their sons. Commencement concluded with a reception in the Youth Center, located in the gym. Refreshments of tea cookies and fruit punch were served from a tea table. n

co m m u n i t y c a l e n d a r

May 2018 May 1

 The Seligman Chamber of Commerce

will host a dance at the Seligman Chamber Event Center at 7 p.m. Admission is $4 each, and attendees are asked to bring a snack to share. No alcohol or smoking is allowed. For more information, call 417-662-3612.

 Hearing Wellness Solutions at the

Central Crossing Senior Center. Free cleaning and hearing check.

May 2

 Free Breakfast at the Cassville Senior

Center, 8 -9:30 a.m.

May 7

 Blood Pressure check at Cassville

Senior Center at 9:30 a.m.  Blood Pressure Check at 10:30 at Central Crossing Senior Center, Shell Knob.

May 3  National Day of Prayer will be ob-

served at the Monett City Park Casino at 7 a.m. with special music and a complimentary breakfast served by the Monett Kiwanis Club. The event is co-sponsored by the Monett Chamber of Commerce and the Monett Ministerial Association.

 Paint Class at the Cassville Senior Cen-

ter at 9:00 a.m.

Crossing Senior Center in Shell Knob from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

May 9  Grace Foot Care by appointment at

Cassville Senior Center. Call 847-4510.

May 11

 The Seligman Chamber of Commerce

 First Friday Coffee, sponsored by the

will host a dance at the Seligman Chamber Event Center at 7 p.m. Admission is $4 each, and attendees are asked to bring a snack to share. No alcohol or smoking is allowed. For more information, call 417-662-3612.

Cassville Chamber of Commerce, will be held at Habitat Store, 900 W. 10th St. in Cassville from 8 to 8:45 a.m.

May 5 torcycle Festival will be held on the Cassville Square. Registration starts at 7:30 a.m. inside the courthouse. Food and family fun for everyone! Door prizes and over 40 awards given. New this year - valve cover racing.

CASSVILLE SENIOR CENTER Dominos every Tuesday and Friday at Noon. Call 417-847-4510 for more information.

 Notary Services available at the Central

May 12

May 4

MONETT SENIOR CENTER Bingo every day at noon; Pitch every Tuesday and Thursday at 12:30; and Pinochle every Monday and Friday at 12:30 p.m.

Senior Citizens Center at the Monett City Park Casino will be held from 7-10 p.m. with Evelyn Lock and the Outrider Band.

Cassville Senior Center beginning at 11 a.m.

appointment at the Cassville Senior Center. Call 847-4510.

Oak Pointe Bridge Club Oak Pointe Bridge Club meets every Monday and Wednesday at 10 a.m. Lunch can be purchased for $3. Call 417-235-3500.

 The dance hosted by the Monett

 Special Mother’s Day Lunch at the

 Benefit Enrollment Counseling by

 The 32nd Dogwood Car, Truck, Mo-

Traveling with Connection

Norma Clinton and Cathy Lewis just returned form a 7-day historical tour which covered sites between Berlin and Munich.

May 15  Grace Health Services at the Central

Crossing Senior Center in Shell Knob. Call for an appointment 417-858-6952.

CENTRAL CROSSING SENIOR CENTER, SHELL KNOB, MO. Friends’ Bridge every Friday. Call Quita at 417-271-9803 for details. Cards Galore every Friday with Pitch beginning at 9 a.m. Domino Poker, every day from 12:45. Mah Jongg every Monday and Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Line Dancing every Tuesday and Thursday from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Quilting for Charity every Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Balance and Flexibility class is held every Monday from 9:30 to 10 a.m. Wii Bowling is Wednesday 12:30 p.m.

Debbie Ball and Ruth Thompson in Jerusalem, Israel in February. Connection Magazine | 55

May 16  Live Music by the Shell Knob Strings

begins at 11 a.m. at the Cassville Senior Center.

May 17  Paint Class at the Cassville Senior Center

at 9:00 a.m.

 Free Breakfast at Cassville Senior Center.

Donations accepted.

May 18  Cassville Chamber Golf Tournament at the

Cassville Golf Course -- 4-man scramble, lunch included. Shotgun start at noon.

May 19  The 3rd Annual Multi Species Fishing

Tournament at Kings River Marina, Shell Knob, will be held. Information at under Events.

 The Seligman Chamber of Commerce will

host a dance at the Seligman Chamber Event Center at 7 p.m. Admission is $4 each, and attendees are asked to bring a snack to share. No alcohol or smoking is allowed. For more information, call 417662-3612.

 Nell’s Nails begins at 9 a.m. Call 847-4510

for an appointment. Walk-ins are welcome at the Cassville Senior Center.

May 24  The Pierce City Senior Center Dance will

hold its regular monthly dance.

May 21

May 26

 Notary Services available at the Central

 The Seligman Chamber of Commerce will

Crossing Senior Center in Shell Knob from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

 Nell’s Nails will be at the Central Crossing

Senior Center by appointment. Call 417858-6952.

May 23  Oxford Health Speaker Susan Rausch will

be the guest speaker at the Central Crossing Senior Center in Shell Knob.

host a dance at the Seligman Chamber Event Center at 7 p.m. Admission is $4 each, and attendees are asked to bring a snack to share. No alcohol or smoking is allowed. For more information, call 417662-3612.

May 30  WIC will be at the Central Crossing Senior

Center. Call 417-858-2114 for an appointment.

Support groups Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

Aurora: Alcoholics Anonymous of Aurora meets at 8 p.m. at Aurora Community of Christ Church at 120 E. Elm every Tuesday and Thursday. Call 417-229-1237 Cassville: Alcoholics Anonymous of Cassville meets at 8 p.m. at 1308 Harold Street in Cassville every Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Call 417-847-3685. Eagle Rock: Alcoholics Anonymous of Eagle Rock meets at 7 p.m. at 86 & P (Mitchel Plaza) every Monday and Wednesday. Call 417-271-0434. Marionville: Alcoholics Anonymous of Marionville meets at 8 p.m. on Highway 60 next to Dairy Queen every Sunday. Call 417-463-7640. Monett: Alcoholics Anonymous of Monett meets at 7 p.m. at St. Lawrence Catholic Church, 405 Seventh Street, every Sunday and Wednesday. Call 417-4895058.

3500. Shell Knob: The Alzheimer’s/Dementia Caregivers Support Group meets at the Central Crossing Senior Center, 20801 YY-15, the third Thursday of every month at 2 p.m.

The Caring People

(Single Mothers) Cassville: The Caring People, a Single Mom’s Support Group, meets the second Monday of each month from 5:30-7 p.m. at the First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall in Cassville. This is jointly sponsored by The Caring People organization and First Baptist Church, Cassville. A meal and children’s activities are provided. The meeting is open to anyone. For more information, call 417-847-2965.

Celebrate Recovery

Mt. Vernon: Alcoholics Anonymous of Mt. Vernon meets at 8 p.m. at the Christian Church on 703 Hickory every Monday. Call 417-489-2413 or 417-440-1567.

Cassville: Celebrate Recovery meets at the Family Life Center in Cassville every Tuesday at 6 p.m. Meeting at the same time is Celebration Station for children. This is for anyone with hurts, habit or hang-ups.

Washburn: Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous group meets at 7 p.m. the first Tuesday of every month at the First Baptist Church Activity Center, 618 Second Street in Washburn. 417-489-7662.

Golden: Celebrate Recovery meets at 7 p.m. at the Golden Baptist Church on Route J in Golden every Monday of each month. Dinner is served at 6:15 p.m. This is for anyone with hurts, habit or hang-ups.


Monett: Celebrate Recovery meets at New Site Baptist Church, 1925 Farm Rd 1060 in Monett, on Thursdays. Doors open at 6. Childcare provided. The Landing, a Celebrate Recovery group for teens, meets at the same time and site.

Cassville: Al-Anon Family Group meets at 8 p.m. at the United Methodist Church in Cassville every Thursday of each month. This is for family or friends of alcoholics.

Caregiver Support Group

Monett: Caregiver Support Group meets at Oak Pointe of Monett from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month at 1011 Old Airport Road in Monett. For more information, call Kathy 417-235-

56 | May 2018

Purdy: Celebrate Recovery meets at First Baptist Church, 301 Washington St. in Purdy, at 10 a.m. on Mondays.

Seligman: Celebrate Recovery meets at MOZark Fellowship, 28277 Frisco Street, every Wednesday. Food is served at 6 p.m., and the meeting begins at 7 p.m.

Diabetes Support Group

Aurora: The Aurora Diabetes Support Group meets the third Wednesday of each month at Mercy Hospital in Aurora in the private dining room at 4-5 p.m. It is free and open to the public. Note: There is no meeting in December.

Grief Care Support

Marionville: Grief Care Support, sponsored community support by Integrity Hospice, is held the last Thursday of every month at 10 a.m. in Marionville at Methodist Manor, 205 South College Ave. in the Alice Lounge. Care group is for anyone experiencing grief through loss. Monett: The Grief Support Group meets the first and third Tuesday of each month at Oak Pointe of Monett, 1011 Old Airport Road from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. For more information, call Kathy at 417-235-3500.

Narcotics Anonymous (NA)

Monett: Vision of Hope Narcotics Anonymous group meets at 8 p.m. every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday in the upstairs of Monett Community Church, 2101 E. Cleveland. Monett: Narcotics Anonymous meets at 8 p.m. the first Tuesday of every month in the basement of St. Lawrence Catholic Church, located at the corner of Seventh and Cale streets in Monett, 417-442-3706. Washburn: Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous group meets at 7 p.m. the first Tuesday of every month at the First Baptist Church Activity Center, 618 Second Street in Washburn. 417-489-7662.

c u t e s t p e t co n t e s t Smokey Furry is the happy pup of Angie Fancher of Washburn

Smokey Furry

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. Email your pet’s photo to: 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.

Connection Magazine | 57

Elizabeth Lucore, jump from page 23 I was in college, I had summer internships across the country and was always making plans. As my parents travel, I think I feel how they must have back then. Let love go and don’t worry. Enjoy the journey. They have taught me to be flexible!” Elizabeth’s job title is “FPOB,” which stands for Family Practice and Obstetrics, at CoxHealth at Cox Monett Hospital. Having worked at several other hospitals around the country, and in the Cox system, Elizabeth happily said Cox Monett is her favorite. “I love the dedicated staff, the supportive administration and the lay-out for my patients to have private rooms,” she said. “Mamas can labor, deliver and recover in one room, without the need to transfer to another unit. It kind of reflects what I love about my job — I can take care of a person through their whole life since I’m trained in pediatrics, adult and geriatric medicine. “I can follow a woman through her prenatal check-up, attend her delivery, and if needed, take her to C-section too. It is an honor to walk alongside a person through his or her journey to health, exciting moments like birth, but also special days like when a person quits smoking for good, or gets that diabetes under control. Elizabeth said she and Bryan joke that her job is our third child. “It wakes me up at night, and there are lots of dirty diapers, and I love it!” she said. “I enjoy offering hands-on Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment, which can help my patients feel better right away sometimes, and old-fashioned yet evidence-based ‘food as medicine.’ “These words attributed to Bishop Oscar Romero are framed on my office wall and give me perspective when the days are long or when I’m stretched thin.” Elizabeth said it helps, now and then, 58 | May 2018

to step back and take a long view. “The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision,” she said. “We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work. Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us. “No statement says all that could be said. No prayer fully expresses our faith. No confession brings perfection. No pastoral visit brings wholeness. No program accomplishes the Church’s mission. No set of goals and objectives includes everything.” Elizabeth said this is what humanity is about. “We plant the seeds that one day will grow,” she said. “We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities. We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. “This enables us to do something, and to do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest. We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the Master Builder and the worker. We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not Messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own. “ Elizabeth said she loves Monett, and there are many ways she has tried to work to make it even better. “I’m proud of my role in founding the Monett Alternative Gift Fair, which is six years and running,” she said. “It is a great way for local folks to support local nonprofits and encourage a new way to think about gift giving at Christmas. Gifts given in honor of loved ones stay here to do good works, and total over $10,000

so far! I enjoy participating at our church as a Sunday school teacher and church choir member. In the last few years, I’ve enjoyed the fruits of the labor of the Monett Bike/Pedestrian council, of which I am an active member. “We’ve been working with the city and the schools to improve sidewalks, crosswalks, safe routes to school and hopefully bike lanes soon. I’d love to see a safe route for town kids to bike to the YMCA someday soon. I serve on the Camp Colorado Board of Directors and the Missouri Osteopathic Association of Physician and Surgeons (MAOPS) Board of Directors, and I am the current Chief of Staff at Cox Monett Hospital. Finally, I’m excited to share about the new opportunities our region has to improve library services including online and remote ordering, expanded hours, more staffing and programs at all ten branches — all for just about $15 per household per year. As a member of the Committee to Support the Barry/Lawrence County Regional Library, I’ll extend an invitation for everyone to come out for the special election in August and vote yes for the library!” Elizabeth said for fun, she loves time with her kids, playing LEGOs and cooking and playing games. “Music, riding bikes, reading,” she said. “I love to cook (because I love to eat) so we put in a garden every year. It’s such good therapy to get my hands dirty out there. I also covet time with my extended family and to take some big trips when time allows. Truth be told, I’m also really good at just falling asleep!” Elizabeth said when it comes to what she learned over the years, being mindful is key. “Only touch a piece of paper/email/ homework once,” she said. “If you take the time to address what needs done the first time, it will save you time later. This is also a reflection of being ‘mindful’ or

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present in the moment. If I do one thing at a time, I’m more likely to do a better job and complete the task better than if I am multi-tasking or rushed.” Asking for help is also important, she said. “Know the edges of what you don’t know and learn from those around you,” she said. “I am big fan of community parenting. I have found some wonderful friends who are able to watch the kids, or share a supper or help on a project. I love to pay them back with fresh baked bread or dinner together. I have accepted that I won’t be able to watch their kids as often as I’d like, but we can still help each other out. Another important thing is finding the thing you like to do for fun, and then find a way to make it into something good for others. “I guess I’ve taken to heart the song ‘This Little Light Of Mine,’ she said. “There

is a verse that says, “Hide it under a bushel, no, I’m gonna let it shine!” If you have a talent or skill, it is not bragging or rude to offer that gift to the people around you with a humble heart. “I play in the Ozark Festival Orchestra, not because I’m very good at it, but because I enjoy making music. If someone enjoys hearing the French horn section blast the high notes at the spring Pie and Ice Cream concert, then I’m glad I shared! I had to get over being very shy as a kid, and I’m so glad I did. Medicine, similar to many professions I imagine, can be an aggressive first-come, first-served, male-dominated place. Even at my little friendly college, the boys would dominate organic chemistry lab, and I had to be brave to ask the questions I needed explained. In residency, one patient thought I was the “sandwich girl.” I didn’t say much, but introduced myself and carried on with his check up. By the end of his hospital stay,

he thanked me for taking good care of him and apologized. So, you just keep your nose down and let your actions speak.” Elizabeth said maintaining balance also means saying no sometimes. “I am a mother and wife first,” she said. “I am a physician second. I am involved in lots of other things after that. My faith and my family are the priorities in my life, and if I keep things in that order then the rest falls into place. How do you have time to do all that stuff, people ask. I don’t watch TV. I share household duties evenly with my husband, playing to our strengths. Kids do jobs to help out. I walk or ride my bike to work so that excise is built in to my day. I try to be intentional with my time, which might mean declining a certain opportunity. “Bloom where you are planted. Attitude is a choice, and like I remind my children, you are only in charge of yourself.”

Connection Magazine | 59

Tosha Tilford, jump from page 22 University, she started her first teaching position at the Seneca R-7 School District. Although her degree was K-12 physical education and coaching, she was hired to teach seventh-grade English Language Arts and high school physical education and weights plus coach volleyball, basketball, and track. Since she did not have a certificate to teach middle school English, she had to attend additional courses to obtain this certification. Her next teaching position was at Webb City R-7 School District. At Webb City, she taught elementary physical education and coached volleyball. Galena USD 499 in Galena, Kan., was where she moved to teach and coach after Webb City. At this position, she was a junior high and high school physical education and health teacher plus coached volleyball and basketball. After her son, Hayden Fox, was born in 1998. Tosha decided that she needed to have fewer coaching duties so she could be with her son, so she accepted a teaching position with the East Newton R-6 School District where she taught elementary and junior high physical education and coached volleyball and track. To her amazement, the Seneca R-7 School District was needing a volleyball coach, so she accepted a position with them to coach and teach. She accepted this position without knowing what her teaching assignment was for the next school year. Mid-summer, she found out that she was going to be a middle school (sixth-grade) science teacher. Just as the first time she taught at Seneca, she did not have the proper certification and had to take several courses to complete this certification. These courses were taken on the graduate level and were the beginning to her completing a Master of Education as a building administrator. After teaching and coaching at Seneca four years and upon the completion of her master’s degree and state licensure, 60 | May 2018

she decided it was time to pursue an administrative position. The Carl Junction R-1 School District hired her to be the district curriculum director and assessment coordinator. She stayed in this position for one year and then went back to Seneca as a building administrator. “At this time, Hayden was beginning first grade and my administrative duties were increased to the point that I needed to transfer my clientele to another nail technician,” Tosha said. “I had done nails for 13 years while I completed my undergraduate degree, taught school and coached while raising a son and taking care of my family.” In addition, she had completed her Master of Education and Specialist of Education Degrees from William Woods University in August 2005. After Carl Junction, Tosha was hired to be the assistant high school principal, athletic director, curriculum director, and A+ coordinator at Seneca High School. “This was a different position for me since she was the first female athletic director that the Seneca School District had hired,” she said. “It was amazing to me that gender would play any part in whether I could handle the expectations of this position or not. There were others that felt that there was no way that a woman could handle the stress and pressures that go along with the athletic director’s duties.” In 2005, she was one of two female athletic directors of the 55 high schools in the Joplin Globe’s coverage area, and in the previous year she was the only one. “My main goal at that time was to start changing the trends in athletic administration, which had previously been held by mainly men,” she said. After her time as an assistant principal and athletic director, she was hired to be the Seneca High School Principal. She credits her father, Darrel Tilford, with her knowledge and understanding of athletics and specifically that of an athletic director and coach because of observing him for over

40 years as a coach and athletic director. To date, Coach Darrel Tilford is well known across the area because he has coached for 47 years and still loves coaching the Southwest High School girl’s basketball team. Tosha started her time as the Seneca High School Principal where she followed Ron Wallace, one of her mentors. “Ron did an excellent job training me in the duties needed to be a successful building administrator,” she said. “During my years as high school principal, the most memorable honor was when the Seneca High School earned international accreditation through AdvancEd. This was tremendously important to me because it reinforced the building philosophy of continuous improvement.” Seneca High School improved the End-of-Course Assessment scores and graduation rate while Tosha was the principal. During her final year at Seneca, she oversaw the addition of a new gymnasium, locker rooms, commons area, cafeteria, and kitchen for the high school. “This was a stressful accomplishment, but I was very proud of the outcome from the hard work it took to pass the bond issue to the hours and hours of planning it took to design and complete the addition,” she said. “Another role model for me is Joe Layton. Mr. Layton was the Superintendent at Seneca when I was hired as the high school principal. He was also the individual who connected me to Bob Walker, the former superintendent of the Southwest R-5 School District.” In 2011, Tosha and her son decided to move to Seligman so that she could accept a position as the high school principal at Southwest. While there, discipline incidents decreased while assessment scores and graduation rates increased. Other improvements were in college and career readiness statistics for the graduates. “I am most proud that the students and community’s pride in being a Southwest Trojan was revived,” she said. “The other

highlight of my time as high school principal was having Hayden as a student in the building. It was amazing that his graduation in May of 2016 was the last duty that I fulfilled as high school principal. It was like we graduated high school together.” After being the high school principal five years, Tosha was named superintendent of the Southwest school district. This was the third position in her leadership career where she was the first female to fill a male dominated profession. She has been in that position for two school years. “I am very proud to be the leader of the Southwest School District,” she said. “My first focus is always on doing what is best for the students, but I never forget to remember the importance of the employees of the district. It is my philosophy that it takes everyone to run a successful school for the students.” During her first year as superintendent, 2016-2017, the Southwest R-5 Board of Education voted to run a bond issue to renovate the middle school gym, replace HVAC units in the middle school building, renovate the elementary restrooms, and add a new set of restrooms at the north end of the elementary school. The bond issue passed with 79 percent approval in April 2017. During the following summer and early fall, she was involved in the building project associated with passing the bond issue. Since this was the second time she was the school administrator in charge of a building project, she knew what to expect. “I was pleasantly surprised that the stress level during the actual building was much less than it was when I was at Seneca,” she said. “I attribute that to the project manager CTS. The CTS Group is founded on three core values. They are honesty, integrity, and respect. During the project, there were several situations where CTS proved that they truly operated by those values. The district is 100 percent satisfied with these results.” Tosha is now in her second year as

superintendent at Southwest. She is proud that the young ladies in the third- and fourth-grade building are seeing that a woman can be the leader of the school district. “One day, a young girl said, ‘Ms. Tilford what do you do?’ Tosha said. “I said that I am the superintendent of the district. The young girl said, “I thought only boys could do that job.” After catching my breath, I explained to a group of young ladies that there were no positions just for boys and for them never to think that there was anything they could not do just because of being a girl. My hope is that I will retire from the school district where I started elementary school. There are many successful people who graduated from the Southwest School District. My hope is that the current students realize what a quality education they are receiving from Southwest and continue their education or enter the workforce ready to be successful.” Tosha said her spiritual life is the most important factor in her success. “The most important factor in my professional and personal success is my personal relationship with Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior,” she said. “With the stresses in both my professional and personal life, without faith in the Lord and his guidance, I would not have any success.” Another factor that led her into this profession were her parents. Darrel and Sandra Tilford were both educators in the Southwest School District for 30-plus school years. “I saw the impact that both parents had on many students over the years,” Tosha said. “Because of my parents, I decided to devote my life to educating students.” Hayden is another factor which has influences her personal and professional success. “Since his birth, he went to activities, events, and class with me,” she said. “It appears we completed the masters and specialist degrees together because of the

many late nights we spent together completing assignments. I have been an administrator since Hayden started kindergarten. He really has no memory of me other than as a school administrator. Hayden helps drive my determination to be successful because I strive to be a strong role model for him so that he can see what hard work and determination can accomplish.” Tosha’s personal desire for professional excellence and continued improvement is another factor that has assisted in her success. “I am a life-long learner and thrive on accomplishing goals not only personally but professionally,” she said. “I have devoted my life to the education of students and I’m always striving to learn new and innovative ways to positively impact students.” Tosha said to be successful, women must be willing to work harder and longer than anyone else in their organizations. “You cannot settle for less than 100 percent devotion to your career and profession,” she said. “You must be willing to sacrifice some personal time and stay on the ultimate professional goal. Never allow anyone to discourage you and make you think that you are not worthy of a position or that you are not smart enough to obtain a goal. There will be plenty of people who will discourage you. “First, you must love yourself and have faith in your potential. Then, you must put in the time and work to accomplish your goals. Being firm in your faith, strong in your heart, be a good listener, have compassion for others, and know that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to do are also important to being successful.” Tosha said her father always said, “There is nothing better than being a Southwest Trojan!” “Set your goals high and regardless of the issues of life stay focused,” she said. “There is nothing that can take my focus off the success of my career.” Connection Magazine | 61

Susan Funkhouser, jump from page 21 “Her response: ‘Always give your best. It doesn’t matter how rich or poor, weak or powerful people are, they deserve your best.’ Aunt Immie gave me integrity. Next is Mindi Gates. “She is our rockstar associate superintendent,” Susan said. “She is also my friend, and in that role, she gave me the best advice I’ve ever received. I was struggling with a decision. I felt in my heart that I should go one direction, but most of the people in my life voted for the opposite. Mindi informed me, ‘It only has to make sense to you.’ Mindi gave me courage.” Third is Lauren Lee. “She is our 7-12 Vocal Music Director,” Susan said. “She is also my inspiration and my soul sister. Lauren teaches me every day that pouring out your heart and soul for a kid is never a waste. Sometimes, the sheer number of hurting kids is overwhelming, but Lauren gave me a starfish to remind me that what I do matters... ‘to that one.’ Google the Starfish Story. You won’t regret it. Lauren gave me generosity.” Finally, Grandma Jones had a huge impact on Susan. Jones’ name has been changed to protect her identity. “During my years as Purdy Elementary School secretary I met Grandma Jones and her family,” Susan said. “Their reputation preceded them. I knew all the stories. Most of them were true. I was leery, but for some reason Grandma Jones and I hit it off. One day she told me, ‘I know what people say about me, and I know I need to change, but nobody will let me.’ “Nothing has affected the direction of my life like those words. I vowed never to treat anyone in such a way that those words could be true of me. Grandma 62 | May 2018

Jones gave me grace.” Susan said she has built and will continue to build her life on the gifts she received from these ladies. “Any influence I have on anyone is credited to their influence on me,” she said. Susan said she doesn’t have any special awards or accolades, “No degree, no plaques, no certificates, no trophies.” However, the following treasures bring her more joy and honor than any award ever could. “I have a collection of Purdy High School senior pictures, one of which bears an inscription from a sweet young lady who thanked me for brushing her hair each picture day in elementary,” Susan said. The little things really do make a difference.” Susan also has a creative writing project by a Purdy graduate, entitled “Defying Gravity.” “Based on the popular musical, Wicked, the paper outlines the student’s journey to embracing his uniquenesses and defying expectations,” Susan said. “He told me he wanted me to have it because I helped him defy gravity.” Another item is Susan’s program from a United States Citizenship Ceremony. “I got it when I attended the swearing in of one of our Purdy High School graduates,” she said. “We studied so hard for that citizenship test, and I am so proud to have been a part of her journey to citizenship.” Another item is a pressed carnation. “One of our athletes presented it to me on Parent Night,” she said. “I’ve never been so overwhelmed with all the feelings — mostly gratitude.” A flower shop card from the aforementioned Grandma Jones is important

Don’t limit yourself to someone else’s definition of success, including your own. Let God redeem your failures. Be real.

to Susan. Its inscription reads, “Thank you for being my friend. I love you.” Finally, Susan has two authorization forms giving her permission to provide shelter and care and make medical and educational decisions for two students, one past and one current. “Nothing humbles and honors me more than those two documents,” she said. “The fact that parents who love their kids but find themselves in difficult circumstances trust me enough to place their most treasured blessings in my care leaves me speechless.” Susan claimed she didn’t really have any words of wisdom, but Connection Magazine staff has a different opinion. Susan offered the following: • Don’t limit yourself to someone else’s definition of success, including your own. • Let God redeem your failures. I am the poster child for His ability to bring gold out of terrible decisions. • Be real. It’s taken me the past 10 years of my 44 to embrace who I really am, and it’s still a work in progress. I don’t have it all together. I usually don’t even have some of it together. I have struggled with anxiety and depression since I was a little girl. I take medication and see a therapist. I am proud of my courage in facing my issues and addressing them.

fa m i l i a r fa c e s











11 The Monett Senior Citizens Center had an Easter theme for its monthly dance on April 2 at the Monett City Park Casino.


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Arlinda Singer, Dennis Snook Judy and Harold Reynolds Craig Burns, Sheila Chop Toni and Jerry Hobson Bill Bowman, Diana Bohm Pat King, Bernie Bollinger Shira Lawson, Ken Goettel

8. Dianna Dyer, Fred Gurwell 9. Vera Meese, Floyd Harding 10. Kitty English, Shirley Denny, Stephanie and Ken Kerr 11. Pam Essary, Cloetta “Cokie� Brady 12. Jim Beckner, Lorene Beard

Connection Magazine | 63






The Monett High School fashion class held its fourth annual Fashion Show on April 6 at the Monett High School Performing Arts Center.


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Capri Dalmas, Leah Miller, Doug Miller Mike and Katlyn Williams Brianna Murphy, Christopher Wilcock Ruth and Brad Rideour David and Tracy Williams China Satturley, Ashlie Gaches



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pa r t i n g s h o t Photo by Cathy Lewis

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66 | May 2018

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Connection May 2018  
Connection May 2018