Heartland LIVING Dec 2021 Issue

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Heartland LIVING December 2021 | January 2022

Celebrating 10 Years 2012 - 2021



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10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021


‘Tis the season to be Smiling! Wishing you and yours all the best this Holiday Season and the coming New Year!

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Florida Watermelons Don't Take This Sweet Treat for Granted By Christy Swift


Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com


December 2021 & January 2022 Volume 10  Issue 6


2022 Florida Watermelon Association Queens By Christy Swift


Simplicity for the Holidays: More Joy, Less Stress By Christy Swift


Dream Center of Lakeland By Rebecca Maglischo


Pickleball Revolution! By Christy Swift

58 10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021




December 2021 & January 2022 Volume 10  Issue 6


AdventHealth Foundation Thomas ‘Flash’ Gordon Celebrity Golf Tournament By Kirsten Turner


New Year Resolutions: Why they fail and how you can succeed. By Kimberly Blaker


Taste of the South Watermelon Recipes By Cindy S. Adams


10 Letter from the Publisher 16 Behind the Scenes 20 From Our Readers

Heartland LIVING December 2021 | January 2022

COVER Celebrating 10 Years!

100 8

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Cover Design by Bridgette Waldau Celebrating 10 Years 2012- 2021

New Year! NEW SMILE! It's time to get the Smile you always wanted. Cosmetic & General Dental Services Laser Treatment and Digital Imaging Orthodontics Invisalign ® Same-day Crowns, Root Canals, Bridges & More Zoom! ® Whitening Sedation



10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021



etter fromTHE PUBLISHER I’m so happy you have picked up our Holiday Issue and hope you enjoy everything my team has put together for you inside. I’m so honored to have each one of them and their different talents that they bring to Heartland LIVING. Our December & January Issue brings you our 10th Anniversary Issue. Sitting at my desk writing this, it is hard to believe it has been ten years. It all started with suggestions from some of my advertisers and friends sharing that I needed to take the small coupon magazine I was publishing to a community magazine. They felt we needed to showcase what was happening in our communities. I am proud of what we shared throughout the years. We live in amazing communities.

One of my biggest team members that I feel I have the privilege to call my friend through all these years is my Creative Director Bridgette Waldau. Bridgette started with me when I called her to design the coupon magazine, which was a piece of cake to her. It wasn’t long she was suggesting I needed to change to a community magazine with feature stories, events, arts, culture and so much more. With a lot of praying and soul searching, it was time to raise the bar for quality and excellence for our community magazine, Heartland LIVING. As I sit here reminiscing, I smile remembering when Bridgette and my very first photographer Rafael Pacheco met at the Sebring Fire Station for a photo shoot. He brought out the white umbrellas and cameras and this small-town girl that didn’t have a clue of what she was doing,¬ felt like she was in New York City. And there was our very first cover! A Huge Thank You, Bridgette, for giving me courage and for all you have done by my side for over ten years. Here’s to the next ten… Looking back at 2021, what a year this has been for all of us. My wish for us is to be grateful for what God has given us. Let's focus on the things we sometimes take for granted. Just a few that come to mind are family, good friends, health, our beautiful communities coming together, and all of us bouncing back together moving into 2022. This is my favorite time of year with all the decorations, the joy of Christmas and its true meaning. Let’s open our eyes and if someone might not be as fortunate and needs a little help through the Holidays (or any day), let’s reach out with kindness and what we can do to help. Best time for “Giving Back”. Thank You All for supporting what turned into my dream, passion and what God has led me to do. I’ve been loving it for all these years. I pray you have a Blessed Christmas and Happy New Year! God Bless,

Cindy Sebring Adams 10

Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

Highlands Ridge Nestled among the orange

groves and the beautiful natural Florida nature preserves are the rolling Hills that are covered with lush green fairways of Highlands Ridge golf community. Highlands Ridge is truly an “uncommon community” -a perfect balance of privacy and accessibility, city convenience and rural charm, and a membership lifestyle set amidst relaxed, convivial surroundings. With not one but two championship golf courses, an immaculately-maintained campus and a course-side “gallery” of affordable dream homes overlooking the expansive fairways and greens. Highlands Ridge is refined, active living at its best.


36 Holes of Championship Golf | Golf Driving Range Two Club Houses | Community Center North Tavern Restaurant | 3 Gens Grill Two Heated Swimming Pools and Hot Tub Walking Trails Lighted Tennis Courts | Shuffleboard, Pickle ball, Horseshoe Pits, & Table Tennis 260-Acre Lake with Boat Launch Ramp Dock with Slips | RV Boat Storage Area Gated Community with two entrances Active 55+ Community

The Augusta Model 3,092 SF 3 bedrooms /2 baths Gourmet Kitchen 10’ Kitchen Island

9’4” Ceilings throughout 2 Car plus Golf Cart garage Triple Sliders to Covered Lanai Covered Raised Entry

Escape to the tranquil greens of Highlands Ridge,now with two distinct championship courses. You’ll love the Native Florida North Course and the northern feel of our Legendary South Course.

For More Information

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I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10-11 Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

May the Blessings of Christmas be with you & your Family in the New Year! From all of us at

Heartland LIVING

10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021 13


Heartland LIVING December 2021 | January 2022


December 2021 & January 2022 Volume 10  Issue 6

Celebrating 10 Years 2012- 2021

Celebrating 10 Years 2012- 2021

Published by

Heartland Publications & Marketing, Inc. CEO | Publisher Cindy Sebring Adams

Creative Director Bridgette Waldau

Editor Christy Swift

Photography Director Rafael Pacheco

Feature Writers Kimberly Blaker Rebecca Maglischo Christy Swift

Cover Graphic Design Bridgette Waldau Feature Photographers Jay Bowers Caroline Maxcy Fox Steven Hill

Contributing Writers Kirsten Turner

Proud Recipient of 18 Charlie Awards

2014 - 2021

In the Following Categories:

Best Overall Design

Contact: 412 Rest Haven Road, Zolfo Springs, FL 33890 863-781-0344 E-mail


Best Department Design (2) Best Feature Design (4) Cover Photo Illustration Best Traditional Illustration Best Self-Promotional Ad Best Table of Contents

Become a fan on facebook


Best Department Design Best Photography Image (3) Best Overall Writing Best Custom Publication (2)

Florida Magazine Association

Heartland Living Magazine is published bi-monthly by Heartland Publications & Marketing, Inc. Copyright 2021, all rights reserved. Reproduction of contents in print or electronic transmission in whole or in part in any language or format must be by expressed written permission of the publisher.

All articles, descriptions and suggestions in this magazine are merely expression of opinions from contributors and advertisers and do not constitute the opinion of the publisher, editor or staff of Heartland Living Magazine, and under no circumstances constitutes assurances or guarantees concerning the quality of any service or product. Heartland Living Magazine specifically disclaims any liability related to these expressions and opinions. Heartland Living Magazine is not responsible for any unsolicited submissions. The advertiser agrees to hold harmless and indemnify the publishers from all liability.


Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021 15

Behind the BEHIND THEScenes SCENES

December 2021 & January 2022

Creative Director

Editor | Writer


CHRISTY SWIFT has been a

a graphic and fine artist for over 30 years. She received her A.A. from the Ft. Lauderdale Institute of Art and a Bachelor of Fine Art degree from Stetson University. She moved to Okeechobee in 1994 where she opened her art studio. Bridgette has been creative director for several publications, working with Heartland Publications & Marketing as art director since 2011, winning eleven Florida Magazine Charlie Awards (2015- 2021). She is Arts & Culture Alliance Director (17 years) for Okeechobee Main Street. Bridgette is married to James Waldau, a retired firefighter from the City of Hialeah.

freelance writer for over 13 years, working as an award-winning newspaper correspondent, magazine article writer, and web and social media content provider. She is also a soon-to-be published author of Young Adult and Adult fiction. You can find her at www.christyswift.com.


KIMBERLY BLAKER is a freelance lifestyle and licensed real estate agent. She's also founder and director of KB Creative Digital Services, an Internet marketing agency, at kbcreativedigital.com.

Photography Director RAFAEL PACHECO I am a Pisces

and was born on the island of Puerto Rico. My dog thinks I am crazy for locking the door so many times in 10 seconds and my cats think I am made of catnip. Everything I wear is black, gray or blue. If I put on something colorful I must have been in a hurry. Photography is how I have let my artistic visions come to life since the early 90’s. Patience, kindness, sharing, sacrifice, love and not to judge- I saw my mother practice these and they stayed within me. We are collective energy and all from the same Source. I don’t see the world through my eyes. I see it through my soul.

Writer REBECCA MAGLISCHO is a wife and mother of two boys. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education and a Master's Degree in Human Movement with an emphasis on Corrective Modalities. She has completed a two year study in Full Body Systems through the Holistic Nutrition Lab and a certification in Functional Range Condition through the Functional Anatomy Systems.

Photographer CAROLINE MAXCY FOX was born

and raised in Central FL. She decided to be an artist at the age of five. After achieving her BSA from Florida State University, she practiced in the field of design for six years and then received a Masters in Graphic Design from NC State University. She honed her artistic craft and developed a "way of seeing" that fuels her work. Caroline is a full time photographer and lives with her husband in the heart of Sebring, FL. Together they run the day-to-day life at The Great Commission Bible Institute as the Site Coordinators and Dorm Parents. Naturally, adventure abounds.


Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

"Every GREAT design begins with an even BETTER story."

- Lorinda Mamo, designer

Lakeside Dental Arts would like to wish you a

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

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10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021 17

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VINTAGE w ELEGANT w WEDDINGS Southern Grace is designated by the state of Florida as a century pioneer family farm and has been a homestead to the Gill family for well over 100+ years. A premier all-inclusive historic wedding venue, where every detail on our estate grounds, includes event planning design+styling for an exquisite wedding celebration. Love is in the details, and it’s the little things and extra touches, flawlessly executed, that are sure to exceed your wedding day dreams!

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from our


Heartland LIVING October & November 2021

LIVING October & November 2021

Prettiest one I have ever seen you publish! Whatever changed keep it. - Nancy Henry

Omg! It’s the BEST COVER EVER! Can you say awards? - Delyne Anderson

Celebrating 10 Years 2012-2021

My clients have loved your cover. I have only a couple left in my office. They’ve been excited to get a copy! Keep up the awesome work!! Print, everything is just beautiful! - Diana Albritton, Albritton Insurance Services

INVITE. EMPOWER. BUILD. LOVE. CREATES LEADERS IN A STRUGGLING NATION By Christy Swift Photography by Mark Stockeland and Mark Gose

[Update on the families mentioned in our story on Haiti Bible Mission.]

From those first photos of starving children in Ethiopia we saw in the 1980s, Americans have seen the devastation that afflicts poorer nations and has been moved to help. But we’ve learned that these problems aren’t always easy to solve. Funds don’t end up where they’re meant to. Change must come from within. Community isn’t just a buzzword. Dignity matters.


10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021 27

We lost a valued part of our team. Bill Wight was not only a talented photographer but lived life with a smile on his face every time we were around him. He won the Florida Magazine Association Charlie Award in 2017 for his photo at the Arcadia Rodeo and was so proud of it. Bill will be missed by all of us at Heartland Living as well as the communities he touched. Prayers for his family and friends.

Haiti Bible Mission members are safe and sound. Jeremie, where Haiti Bible Mission is, is way out on the western tip. Where the abduction happened is in the northeastern region of Haiti. So all is good. -Mark Gose

Someone contacted us to host their event at Island View Restaurant. I asked where they heard about us and she told me she saw our ad in the magazine Heartland LIVING. -Jessica Martin, Island View Restaurant & Pub

Florida Magazine Association Charlie Award photo taken at Arcadia Rodeo 2017

Bill with his Charlie Award at the awards Photo of Eagle by Bill Wight

10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021 11


That is a wonderful memorial on page 11 for Bill Wight! - Delyne Anderson If you would like to share your thoughts, please leave a post on our Facebook page or email us at Cindy@Heartland-Living.com 20

Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

We’re Back!

Okeechobee Community Theatre, Celebrating our 42nd Season!

Spring 2022

Arsenic & Old Lace A play by Joseph Kesselring

Performance Dates:

March 4, 5, 11, 12 & 18 We hope you will join us for this production. The play is a classic dark comedy revolving around Mortimer Brewster and his slightly crazy family. Tickets will be available online soon. Follow us on Facebook or go to our Website for tickets and information.

Bringing quality live Theatre to the Heartland Area. All performances are presented in the historic Okeechobee Auditorium in downtown Okeechobee. This intimate 220-seat facility keeps you close to the action on stage.

Theatre location: 610 SW 2 Ave., Okeechobee, Florida

For more information about our upcoming shows & auditions call us or visit our website. Phones: (863) 532-1107 or (863) 332-2053

www.OkeechobeeCommunityTheatre.com 10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021 21

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Don’t Take This Sweet Treat For Granted By Christy Swift Photography by Caroline Maxcy Fox

You head to your local grocery store and there they are... big, round, sweet watermelons. You give a few of them a thunk, and they all sound perfect! Today’s watermelons don’t even have any pesky seeds to deal with. It’s truly a sweet deal! According to Trey Miller, President of the Florida Watermelon Association, Florida is currently the main supplier of watermelon grown in the United States, producing approximately 25% of the domestic supply. Our state produces about 907 million pounds per year of sweet, fresh watermelon that adheres to strict food safety guidelines and incorporates supportive environmental practices. That watermelon you picked up at the grocery store or the fruit stand might have been grown and packed right around the corner in Zolfo Springs.

10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021 27

Working the Soil Steve Hall is a grower and the sole proprietor of 3rd Day Growers in Zolfo Springs. He started the business in 2008, growing tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants, but switched to watermelons exclusively about three years ago. Steve, who comes from a farming background in Kentucky, worked for Phillip Morris for 25 years, but got the bug of working the land when he put in a quarter-acre garden to support a local food bank in Avon Park. “They would get a lot of donated canned and frozen foods,” Hall recalls. “I thought, man, it would be nice if they would get fresh vegetables.” Now, Hall says he works harder than he ever has, but it’s a labor of love because he enjoys it. Florida has two growing seasons for watermelon: spring and fall. Hall orders his seeds in December and sends them to a growhouse in LaBelle by the first of the year. That gets him a plant the size he wants by mid-February. Planting happens between the 15th of February and the first of March. Then the plants are cared for until the first week of May, when it’s harvest time with a push to be done by Memorial Day (the grocery stores will want to be well-stocked for those Memorial Day picnics). In the fall, plants go in the ground by September first and harvesting starts in early November with a goal of having all the fruit harvested by the first of December. Hall won’t have any problem with that this year, because the fall crop hasn’t been a good one. “I planted 60 acres and I only have about 30,” he explains. “That’s because it rained 15 inches in 11 days. We couldn’t get the water off the land.”


Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

Most of our growers have been with us for well over a decade and grow exclusively for us. We’re really tight knit. -Donald Ray Harris III

10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021 29


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A Labor of Love

And that’s the not-so-sweet part of the deal. Farming is farming and that means there are no guarantees. The weather can be your number one enemy, and for watermelon farmers the danger is wind injury early on in the crop and water damage near the end. If the mature melons soak up too much rain, they’ll get soft and decay. “I’m gonna be very lucky if I get my money back,” Hall admitted. Another challenge is rising production costs. Donald Ray Harris III (or D.R. as he likes to be called) is vice president of Veg-King, a broker and growing/packing/shipping company headquartered in Zolfo Springs. Hall is one of their growers. “I think a lot of people don’t realize what all it takes and what a big factor the weather plays in what they get,” Harris said. He added that costs are rising on everything from the wood for pallets, the cardboard they ship the fruit in, freight, the cost of seed, chemicals, and equipment. “It squeezes the grower,” he added.

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Wo r k i n g To g e t h e r t o Feed America Harris comes from a farming family, too. His father started Veg-King in 1995 and his grandfather was a Florida farmer back in the 1960’s. Veg-King works with local growers like Hall to keep Publix stocked with watermelons, cucumbers, and more throughout the year. They also ship to many chains in the northeast. “We provide seed, fertilizer, chemicals and even pay for land rent. After we sell his crop, we just net it out,” Harris explained. Veg-King advances their growers money and helps cushion them when they have a bad season. They also help them find good labor, another challenge for farmers. “Most of our growers have been with us for well over a decade and grow exclusively for us. We’re really tight knit,” he said.

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Working together, growers like Hall and brokers like Harris are able to lay their best plans for a fruitful season. Harris looks at trends and what the market is demanding while Hall gives feedback on which varieties are working best and what pressures he’s facing in the field. These decisions affect what you see when you push your cart up to that big bin of watermelons. Despite the hardships, most agriculture folks just keep on keeping on. D.R. is raising the next generation of farmers with his wife Miranda, including 11-year-old Braelyn who was named this year’s Desoto County Crimson Sweet Watermelon Queen, six-year-old Parker and two-year-old Scout. “Watching (my grandfather) and my daddy run the company has given me insight and appreciation for the watermelon industry. I wear this crown proudly because it represents my family’s love and passion for the watermelon industry,” Braelyn said, wearing her sash and crown.

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Five Things We Bet You Didn’t Know About Watermelons

Sometimes the best way to appreciate something is to learn about it. Here are a few watermelon “fun facts.”

Watermelons can get sunburned. Lighter-skinned watermelons are in danger of getting “sunburned” and ending up looking bleached out. Harris said there appears to be a mini trend on the way with consumers preferring a darker-skinned watermelon. That’s something they’ll look at when assessing the market. You can’t have seedless watermelons without seeded watermelons. Of course, we all love seedless and there’s no going back to having to spit out all those pips. But did you know that you need some seeded watermelons in the mix in order to have seedless at all? While seedless varieties do have a flower, it has to be cross-pollinated with a seeded variety or a “dummy” flower, Harris explained, or it won’t bear fruit. Once you plant a field with watermelon, you can’t plant on it again for 10 years. That’s not a typo. In Florida, due to a soil-borne disease called fusarium wilt, you can only get one spring and one fall planting out of a field before you have to wait, ideally, 10 full years before planting again. Think about how much land is needed to produce watermelons year after year!


Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

Domestic watermelons are available 9 months out of the year. Check your local Publix and you’ll see local Florida watermelons in April and May, Georgia melons in June and July, Kentucky and Michigan melons through September, Georgia’s again in October, and Florida melons November through Christmas. Buying U.S.-grown produce protects our food supply. Another challenge farmers face is competing with foreign produce from countries where growers aren’t held to as high a safety standard. U.S.-grown watermelons may cost a little more, but you know you’re getting a quality, safe product. “It may be a dollar more, but it’s something that’s made in the USA. It has enough regulation on it that you know it’s safe to eat and it came from right here in the USA, American grown. We don't have the ability to do it the cheap way,” Harris said. Looking for ways to enjoy that fresh, Florida watermelon that’s calling your name right now? Check out some recipes on our Food & Health pages and visit www. watermelon.org

10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021 35

Working Together to Feed



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10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021 37

Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

2022 Florida Watermelon Association

By Christy Swift The Florida Watermelon Association Queen Program has been in place since 1965, and the 2022 Queen and runners up have just been chosen! These young women were selected as public ambassadors representing Florida’s watermelon industry across the state and beyond. The pageant is run by the Florida Watermelon Association, whose mission is to support research, education, and promotion of the fresh Florida watermelon industry. Seven young ladies competed in a three-day competition for the 2022 Florida Watermelon Queen title with an interview, video, speech, sportswear competition, impromptu question, and evening gown competition. And the winners are: 39


Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

Amber Danielle Boykin, 22, from Plant City, FL took home the title of Florida Watermelon Queen for 2022. Amber is the daughter of Marty and Jennifer Boykin and a business major at Polk State College. Amber has been involved in the agriculture industry since joining 4-H at the age of 10. She showed livestock throughout her school years, continuing with FFA in high school. Amber was the Strawberry Growers Association Ambassador her senior year in high school. She has also won several pageants, including Harvest Queen (2016), Miss Manatee (2018), Miss Lakeland (2019), and Miss Florida Everglades (2020). Amber loves to shop and go boating, hunting, and fishing. One of her dreams is to serve on a mission trip to an area where she’s needed. She said she is glad that the Florida Watermelon Association fundraises for All Children’s Hospital, a charity that is close to her heart. “I’m looking forward to this amazing year,” Amber said. “I am super blessed with the opportunity and hope to make the watermelon industry proud.”

10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021 41

The FIRST RUNNER up in the competition was 22-year-old Kiersten Waldron from Sebring. Kiersten is the daughter of Reverend Scott and Michelle Waldron and a psychology student at the University of South Florida. Kiersten was DeSoto Queen in 2018 and was 2nd Runner Up at the state level that same year. Kiersten loves to travel anywhere from Tennessee to the Florida Keys. She loves the lake, the beach, and reading. A dream of hers is to visit New York City at Christmastime. Kiersten wants to use her position to help people understand the importance of standing behind our American farmers. “It’s important that we are dependent on no one other than ourselves. Two percent of our population are farmers and they are providing for a large portion of our people,” she said. “People need to be knowledgeable about buying American and buying from Florida.”


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The SECOND RUNNER UP, Alyssa Armentrout, is a 21-year-old criminal justice student at Southeastern University. She is originally from Sebring, and her parents are Jonathan and Amanda Armentrout. Alyssa was the 2017 DeSoto County Jubilee winner and 1st Runner Up for the 2019 Desoto County Watermelon Queen pageant. She was also 3rd Runner Up for Miss Highlands County in 2018. Alyssa is very excited to have placed at the state level. “It’s been truly amazing to get to learn more and more about the industry and the people behind it. I’ve met some of the best and nicest people during the convention,” she said. Alyssa’s studies keep her busy, but when she does have free time she enjoys working out, cooking, listening to podcasts, and getting a nap in between. In addition, the Jubilee award went to Kendall Prescott. The new queen will begin her reign in March of 2022. Until then, current Queen Bethany Barfield of Gainesville will finish out the 2021 season. She has served two years as Watermelon Queen due to the Covid pandemic.

These young women were selected as public ambassadors representing Florida’s watermelon industry across the state and beyond. The Queen program is managed by Florida Watermelon promotions Coordinator Debra Harrison, who has been involved in the watermelon industry for almost 40 years. Debra is an Arcadia resident and has been running the Queen Program for close to 15 years. For inquiries, or to request a queen be present at an event, please contact her at debra@ flfwa.com. 10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021 43


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Family Owned for 49 Years!


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MerryChristmas Have a Blessed New Year! During this holiday season, we at Mixon Real Estate would like to extend our appreciation to you and all our clients, for allowing us to market and sell your homes. We are grateful for the trust you have put in us to walk you through this most exciting time. We look forward to continuing to serve you and our community for many years to come. Thank you again for a wonderful year. May your home be filled with warm memories with those you hold most dear.


1306 SW 2nd Ave. | Okeechobee, FL 34974

Amy, Patrick, Erica, Wayne, Paula, Rudy, Lairen, Jimmy, Natalie, Jacalyn, Lori, Melody and Cindy 10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021 45


Less Stress By Christy Swift

The past couple of years have been a keen reminder of what is important in life. That said, when the holidays roll around, it’s easy to get caught up in the demands of the season. If you are craving a quieter Christmas or a humbler Hanukkah, here are a few ways to embrace mindfulness and simplicity this season.


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10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021 47

- Rebecca Cooper.


What we call “tradition” may actually be something we got trapped by rather than something we chose. Some traditions can’t be avoided if they are important to someone else. Others may be something you wanted to try once, but somehow ended up doing year after year. You can reduce stress and demands on your time (and wallet) by doing the following: ❆ Choose wisely. Ask family members what their favorite holiday traditions are. Many times a child’s favorite activity is something that doesn’t take a lot of effort at all, like having popcorn and hot chocolate while watching a Christmas movie. ❆ Give yourself permission to let go. If writing the annual holiday letter stresses you out, take a deep breath and let it go this year. A long drive to a certain shopping center can be replaced with online or local shopping. As you look at your to-do list, if anything makes you feel anxious, consider adjusting or eliminating it. This time of year is supposed to be joyful. ❆ Limit the number of traditions you practice to one or two per week. By spreading activities out over time, you leave room for the magical, unplanned moments to take place.

10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021 49

-Larry Wilde



Bins in the garage, the attic, the closets. They are full of festive things that are meant to make you feel happy, but can have the opposite effect when they take hours to set up and put away. You can reduce decorating stress with these tips:

❆ Limit the number of containers of holiday decor you will store. Revisit each item and ask yourself if it brings you joy equal to the effort it takes to display it. If the answer is no, thank it for its service and let it go. ❆ Delegate! If your children or grandchildren are old enough, let them decorate the tree and the house. It may not be perfect, but you may be surprised how those small imperfections wrought by little hands make you feel just as warm inside. ❆ Donate. The decor that was stressing you out may bring joy to someone who picks it up in a secondhand store. Isn’t that what the season is all about?

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HaveFun@TheRedEaselStudio.com 10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021 51

Giving gifts is a hallmark of this time of year, but the expense can add up. And how many times have you given someone a gift you know they didn’t really need or want just because you felt you had to? Do you feel like your children don’t really appreciate the gifts they are given? If gift-giving feels like it’s lost some of its meaning, consider these ideas: ❆ Limit the number. Children often appreciate things more when they receive less. Some families give their children only four presents: something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read. At the same time, there is an opportunity to focus on what gifts the children will give this year, rather than what they’ll receive. ❆ Skip homemade. It doesn’t have to be homemade to be thoughtful. If the idea of producing Pinterest-worthy handmade gifts for teachers, friends and family is stressful to you, let yourself off the hook and buy something instead. ❆ Buy in bulk. Maybe you’ve discovered a great deal, a lovely Etsy shop, or a T-shirt outlet with something for everyone. There’s no shame in getting several people a version of the same thing to save time and sanity. ❆ Use reusable gift wrap. Gift giving also includes a lot of waste in the form of wrapping paper, tape, labels, and bows. You can have a “greener” Christmas by wrapping gifts in cloth and decorating them with burlap or lace ribbons. ❆ Gift cards or money. It may lack romance, but everyone loves cash, and you can personalize the gift with a heartfelt message. ❆ Donate in their name. For the adults who already have everything, making a donation to a charity close to their heart is a lovely way to honor them. ❆ Give the gift of your time. A lunch date, trip to the museum, surprise visit with a bouquet of flowers... for many people, spending time with you will be more valuable than a candle, fruit basket, or trinket.


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- Anonymous


Some people love cooking for the holidays. For others it’s a chore. If cooking or baking is stressing you out, it’s okay to cut a few corners or skip it altogether. Remember, less time spent in the kitchen leaves more room for baby cuddles, chats with a teen over hot cocoa, and fireside dives into a good book. Not to mention Hallmark movies... ❆ Reduce your kitchen burden. For many, this time of year involves recipes that reflect religion and cultural heritage, which are so, so meaningful. But they can take hours, even days, to prepare. It’s okay to take advantage of modern conveniences and creativity to make that delicious meal in less time. Use a blender to grate the potato for your latkes rather than hand-grating them (or buy frozen). Deconstruct recipes like cabbage rolls for a quicker, easier result with the same flavor. ❆ Participate in a cookie exchange. Show up with two types of cookies, come home with eight! Not to mention you get to try something new. ❆ Use no-bake options. Many “cookies” don’t involve any baking at all. Dipping pretzels in melted chocolate and non-pareils is one easy favorite. Cream-cheese-based cookies are another. ❆ Buy pre-made. You may not be able to get away with this all season long, but there is nothing wrong with bringing a pre-made side dish or dessert to your boss’s holiday party.


The bottom line to simplifying the holidays is to be intentional. Ask yourself what you value, what you want the focus to be, and what you can handle. And don’t forget to enjoy the little moments in between all that hustle and bustle. That’s where you’ll find the real value in


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that revolves around you

10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021 57

By Rebecca Maglischo Photography by Steven Hill


take a left onto West 5th Street in Lakeland, a bit unsure of my exact location. The street is well manicured, the buildings a consistent tan without any fanfare or bright signage. I think I am here. I park my car and walk toward what looks like a gymnasium. A wide green field spreads to my left beside a concrete platform filled with picnic tables. As I pull open the doors of the Community Center, I am greeted with a smile.

“Hi! I’m Whittney. Welcome to the Dream Center!” It was a Facebook post that brought me here. While I have a general idea of what to expect, the next hour and a half prove to be the most uplifting and inspiring experience I have had in a very long time. In a world where it is easy to feel increasingly cynical, the Dream Center of Lakeland is spreading light and hope into some of the most challenged neighborhoods of this town.


10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021 59


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stablished in the early 2000s by Reverend Jesse McNeal, the original Freedom Center was to be a safe haven amongst the bars, laundromats, and convenience stores of a Lakeland area deeply affected by poverty. Reverend McNeal hoped to spread the Word of God into the community, and his efforts laid a strong foundation for future success. A small coalition of churches and local businesses stepped up and dove into the vision by helping with the finances to improve the facilities and expand outreach programs. The Freedom Center became the Dream Center in 2008, led by Victory Church staff pastors, Executive Director Mike Cooper and Program Director Steve Hill. The continuation of the success rested in developing a model of community-based service that brought churches, city government, local businesses, and community members into a cohesive tribe with a focused mission: Make a positive difference, every day, on every corner, in every individual. Pastor Michael Cooper walks past us and does a quick 180 to introduce himself. He’s a big man with a big personality, and it takes less than five seconds for me to recognize he has an equally big heart that beats wildly for the mission in this neighborhood. He explains the importance of stepping outside of the church-only model to embrace the city as a whole. The church has always provided a great base of volunteers ready to serve in difficult positions. But the entire community benefits when we can marry those efforts with the unique strengths of businesses, the expertise of government officials, and the on-the-ground experience of law enforcement. Code Enforcement and other local government entities can come on a volunteer work day and give us valuable insight on the immediate and pressing needs to be addressed. Police officers show up in plain clothes to volunteer and get to establish relationships with neighbors as they work side by side. “It’s not just churches, not just business, not just government... It takes all of these. This is everybody’s Dream Center!” Pastor Mike smiles and suggests I take a tour.

10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021 61


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e start in the community center which is equipped with a commercial kitchen (every single event here includes a hot meal for participants) and a computer lab. Neighbors can come to the lab for assistance with resumes or to learn how to file for services that will help them over the rough patches. The main gym is set up for Kids Club which meets every Saturday. Pre-Covid, the Kids Club was serving around 200 kids split into two time slots every Saturday. The program includes games, learning activities and themed messages that address big topics like drug abuse and bullying. As children age out of Kids Club, they become members of the Extreme Team, volunteering in the programs from which they graduated. “This helps them stay connected to the positive messages while giving them experience as leaders,” Whitney explains. She shows me the Men’s Mentoring space, a toddler room where mothers come to share in Bible Study or other mentored activities, and a comfortable room with couches for other classes. While some programs are provided year-round, other programs change on a 9-week cycle to give volunteers a break and to keep the opportunities to engage fresh for participants. 10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021 63



e step across the street to another low profile tan building. Here she shows me a full exam room and sonogram machine managed by Options for Women. The partnership with this organization has been monumental in the ability of the Dream Center to serve women. Next door, we meet Carolyn Espina who manages the diaper bank. She is from the New Life Center for Family Preservation. Here, women can come once a week for a short session on some aspect of parenting and afterwards receive all the diapers and wipes they need for up to three children. Carolyn handles the distribution of collection boxes, as well as the organization of the actual weekly program. “We can’t do it all,” Whitney points out. “We recognize that and foster relationships with entities that can help us expand our reach. We do a few things really well and one of those things is to make partnership easy for others!” As Whittney and I step out into the sun, I hear praise music pumping through the streets. A man setting up giant speakers smiles and waves us over. He turns down the music as we approach. Daniel Litt radiates enthusiasm and I cannot help but to match his giant grin. This is Reach the Streets, the Tuesday Night Block Party with games, giveaways, and a message of God’s goodness. Daniel heads this program and he has been faithful for many years. He has also been encouraged by what he sees. “God is doing things and changing people. People came to be served and now they are doing the serving!”

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10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021 65


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he Mercantile is next. Managed by a host of volunteers, this is often the easiest entry point for members of the community. While neighbors can come and select their weekly groceries and essentials, they can also exchange vouchers for specialty items. These vouchers, handed out at every class and program for attendance, give a person the dignity of upgrading their selections, making choices and improving their situation. A new toy for a child, an adorable dress with chic shoes for an interview, some perfume, or even the fixings to make a birthday cake can be purchased with vouchers. Volunteers go above and beyond to create displays, greet customers and assist with ideas and selections. These touches are essential and needed here. These volunteers step gently into the lives of the neighbors to massage tattered hearts and mend broken spirits. The Dream Center of Lakeland stands as a beacon of hope in a community which could quickly become hopeless. There is obviously a lot of need here. But I invite you to expand your viewpoint beyond the obvious. Lakeland, as a whole, the entirety of the city, is better because of the Dream Center. The change that began with the simple seed of kindness has flourished under the warmth and care of every person who has invested financially, emotionally, and physically into this vision. It really is everybody’s Dream Center.

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3 Ways to help: 1. Host a collection box for diapers and wipes. Contact NLClakeland@gmail.com for more information. 2. Host a volunteer day for a youth group, sports team, scout troop or other group of young people. The Dream Center supplies all the necessary materials, the volunteers supply the hard work! 3. Donate. The financial support for these programs is essential to success and every dollar helps!

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707 S.W. Park Street, Okeechobee, FL 34972 10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021 67

All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. -T.E. Lawrence


10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021 69

Okeechobee Main Street’s

Cattle Drive Sculpture Project LAST MILES TO BRING THE HERD HOME! Don’t miss being part of preserving the legacy of Florida Cattle Ranching Heritage through Okeechobee Main Street’s Cattle Drive Sculpture Project. This life-size bronze Cattle Drive Sculpture promises to bring beautification and an economic boost to downtown Okeechobee. Everyone can put their name on this project and preserve a part of Okeechobee History for generations to come. Help us bring this Cattle Drive home! Okeechobee Main Street Arts & Culture Alliance is in the final phase of the Cattle Drive Sculpture planning and fundraising. Please help us reach our funding needs to complete this project. We invite you to joins us and become valuable part of this project.

Sponsorship opportunities available for everyone! No amount is too small!

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Include name on Brick or Plaque acknowledgment in center of the park or another area designated sponsorships.

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Please visit our websites for more info and to donate online:

www.okeechobeearts.org www.okeehobeemainstreet.org Shown is a sneak peek of a few pieces of the 10-piece projectall in the Bronze stage of the project

Project presented by Okeechobee Main Street’s Arts & Culture Alliance in Partnership with the City of Okeechobee, Okeechobee County, Okeechobee Tourist Development & Frank Altobella Foundation

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Okeechobee Main Street, Inc.


111 NE 2nd Street, Okeechobee, Fl 34972 info@okeechobeemainstreet.org Bridgette Waldau Arts & Culture Alliance Director art@okeechobeemainstreet.org

This project is funded by private donations. All proceeds go through OKMS Arts & Culture Alliance to be used solely towards the funding and installation of the Cattle Drive Sculpture Project. Okeechobee Main Street, Inc. is a 501(C) 3 not for profit organization.


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6813 US 27 South - Sebring, FLorida 10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021 71

Pickleball Revolution! By Christy Swift Photography by Jay Bowers Photos of Bartow Courtesy of Teresa Wilson

It’s a sport that’s grown 650% in the last handful of years. Anyone can play it, from children to seniors. It’s affordable, accessible, and easy to learn. It’s pickleball! Pickleball is best described as a mix between tennis, racquetball, and ping pong. Players volley a wiffle ball back and forth with a special paddle using nets and courts that are smaller than those used for tennis. It’s commonly played in doubles, and games are short— lasting about 15 minutes each. And because its popularity has skyrocketed, courts are popping up all over, in both public and private parks.


10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021 73


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Pickleball in Tanglewood One Heartland man who’s got his finger on the pickleball zeitgeist is Jay Bowers, chairman of the Pickleball Club in Tanglewood, a housing development and RV park in Sebring. “It’s a private club for residents only. We have over 200 members. It’s pretty popular. Right now is when we’re really starting to gear up now that the snowbirds are coming back,” Bowers says. Bowers, who discovered the sport in 2017, said he got invited to play by some people he met at an RV park in New Hampshire and “got hooked.” “That’s how it goes,” he says. “People play one time and then they want to play all the time.” While pickleball used to be associated with people of retirement age, that’s not the case anymore. All ages are picking up the sport, from kids to retirees and even octogenarians. “We have people in their eighties who play every day,” Bowers says. Tanglewood’s pickleball community had humble beginnings. It started about 15 years ago in their “bash area,” an outdoor stage and concrete pad used for events and celebrations. “They painted the pickleball lines on that and got a portable net,” Bowers said. “People were always crashing into the picnic tables.” As the sport grew in popularity, the owners of the park were approached, and four pickleball courts were put in. Eventually those weren’t enough and they doubled the capacity to eight courts. Tanglewood now hosts Heartland Senior Games’ annual pickleball tournament and a few of their own. “We do mixed doubles. It’s a lot of fun and we spend a whole day doing that.”



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Intrigued yet? So, what’s the magic that’s making pickleball one of the fastest growing sports in the U.S.? Bowers has a few ideas. “It’s a great social activity. It’s something that everybody can play, all skill levels, all age groups.” People can pick it up really quickly, and it’s not as physically exerting as tennis, he adds. “You don’t spend as much time chasing the ball as you do in tennis.” Bowers says getting started is easy. You need a good pair of trainers, a pickleball paddle you can buy at your local Wal-mart or Dick’s Sporting Goods store, and (maybe) a pickleball (many places provide them). Reach out to a local club to meet other pickleball players who can teach you how to play, or read the official rules for yourself at www. usapickleball.org. USA Pickleball also maintains a list of pickleball clubs on their website.



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Other communities and RV parks in Highlands County have their own private courts, as well, according to Jeff Lindskoog, USA Pickleball’s Ambassador for Highlands County and a board member of the Sebring Pickleball Club. As far as courts open to the public, those are limited, but he’s working on that. “We’d like to make Highlands County a pickleball destination,” he said. But in order to do that, you need a venue. The City of Sebring, Highlands County Board of Commissioners, and Highlands County Tourist Development Council have all had pickleball on their agendas lately, but Lindskoog said the only project that’s definitely moving forward at present is in Spring Lake, where plans are underway to build pickleball courts in their community center. “The preliminary plan is to have eight courts with the hope of expanding to 16 at some point,” Lindskoog says.

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Bartow Pickleball Warriors Bartow resident Teresa Wilson began playing pickleball at the beginning of the year and picked it up quickly. “I was a newbie. I had never played it before and I’ve gotten pretty good at it,” she says. “It’s not hard to learn.” Their group, unofficially dubbed the Bartow Fort Meade Pickleball Warriors, communicates through a Facebook page and Whatsapp. “We have people in their 70s all the way to 10 years old. We have teenagers from the high school that join us. That’s what I love. It brings people together just for fun.” Her group plays on four free courts at Nye Jordan Park. If too many people show up, they do a rotation. One indoor court is also available at the Polk Street Community Center, she says.


Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

Pickleball in the Heartland Looking for places to play in your area? The following is a shortlist of pickleball courts across the Heartland and details about their use. This list is by no means extensive. Sebring The Sun ‘N Lake Golf Club in Sebring offers free pickleball court use to members and is open to the public for a fee. Lake Placid Sun n Lakes Community has tennis courts that are also marked for pickleball. You must pay for an entry card in order to drive into the park. The Genesis Center has indoor pickleball on a fixed schedule. Players are asked to make a nominal donation of $2 or $3. Bartow Nye Jordan Park has four free outdoor courts. The Polk Street Community Center has one indoor court. Limited hours.

Lakeland Kelly Recreation Complex has outdoor courts for free during daylight hours. Indoor courts are $2 per person per session, Monday-Friday 8AM to 12 Noon. No reservations are necessary, and paddles and balls are available for use. Discounted pickleball passes are available for purchase. Woodlake Park has six unlighted pickleball courts that are free to the public from dawn to dusk. Arcadia Camino Grove Park offers pickleball free with limited hours. Six pickleball courts are marked on three tennis courts and are available to players with their own portable nets on a first come, first serve basis.

If you’re tempted to check out what the hype is all about, the pickleball community would encourage you to give it a try! Bowers recently taught his nine-year-old grandson to play. Spoiler alert: he did great!

You don’t have to be a superstar to play pickleball. It’s just fun! - Jay Bowers 79

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10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021 81

Thomas ‘Flash’ Gordon Celebrity Golf Tournament Drives A Hole-In-One


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Above: MLB Baseball Celebrities Alan Mills and Mariano Rivera: Below: Alex Fells and MLB/NFL Celebrity Bo Jackson

By Kirsten Turner Photography by Caroline Maxcy Fox Community members came together to golf alongside sports legends all in support of the construction of the AdventHealth Sebring Wellness Center. The AdventHealth Sebring Foundation hosted its inaugural Celebrity Golf Tournament alongside Wellness Campaign Chair and Foundation Board Member Thomas ‘Flash’ Gordon on Friday, November 5th, at Sun ‘N Lake Golf Club. The tournament raised more than $80,000 and all proceeds will benefit the construction and implementation of a new AdventHealth Sebring Wellness Center – a 21,000 sq. ft. facility to be located on the grounds of the AdventHealth Sebring hospital campus. “At AdventHealth, we care for our community members when they are sick, but we also want to keep them well,” said Christen Johnson, AdventHealth Sebring Foundation Executive Director. “The new wellness center will be more than a gym. It’ll be welcomed community staple that will provide everything from fitness classes and cooking demonstrations to educational facilities, an edible garden, and health specialists.” 83

Baseball celebrity Rick Cerone


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Celebrities (L-R) Mariano Rivera, Tim Wakefield, Thomas ‘Flash’ Gordon, Bo Jackson and Charlie ‘Chuck’ Manuel

The inaugural event was presented by All About Lawns Inc. and Bill Jarrett Ford Avon Park and hosted more than 30 current and retired MLB and NFL players, community members, and AdventHealth corporate partners. “It’s a great honor that my friends and former teammates chose to come to my hometown for such a great cause,” Mr. Gordon said. “I’m humbled to work alongside the AdventHealth Sebring Foundation as chair of the Wellness Center Campaign, which will change the lives of children, their parents, Thomas ‘Flash’ Gordon - AdventHealth Sebring Foundation Board grandparents and friends through physical, mental Member and Wellness Center Campaign Chair and spiritual care. I am thankful to everyone who attended the event to help make the wellness center a reality. I encourage baseball fans, golfers, and anyone else who wants to take part in one of Highlands County’s best tournaments, to contact the Foundation and register for next year’s event!” Although rain attempted to dampen the event, golfers were able to play five and seven holes before making their way back to the clubhouse for the event program. Guests experienced a one-of-akind afternoon as Mr. Gordon, Mariano Rivera, Tim Wakefield, Bo Jackson and Charlie “Chuck” Manuel hosted an interactive Q-and-A session, offering health and wellness advice, and sharing dugout stories from AdventHealth Lake Placid, Sebring and Wauchula President/CEO their MLB careers. Randy Surber and Mariano Rivera Other celebrity guest players in attendance included Jim Rice, Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd, Carl Everett, Fred McGriff, Gary Sheffield, Michael Tucker, Rick Cerone, Nick Gordon, Juan Hillman, Reggie Jefferson, Charles Johnson, Nick Longhi, Alan Mills, Brett Myers, Desi Relaford, Dee Strange-Gordon, Jeremy Trueblood, Joe Castiglione, Joe Logan, Tommy Longhi, Triston McKenzie, Armondo Rios, Clyde Pough, Anthony Gordon, and Luis Tiant. The 2022 Celebrity Golf Tournament is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 4th, at Sun ‘N Lake Golf Club. For more information about the event, including 2022 registration, or to learn more about the (Above): Dr. Billy Chen with Thomas ‘Flash’ Gordon (Below): Bill and Lisa Jarrett of Bill Jarrett Ford AdventHealth Sebring Wellness Center, please contact the Foundation office at 863-402-5525 or visit AdventHealthSebringFoundation.com.

10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021 85


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On Line Ordering

Come into Food For Thought to see how to best take care of your immune system.

315 US 27 N. Sebring, FL 33870

863-385-8995 Now Accepting EBT

For Shipping & Curbside pick up at the rear of the building

www.FoodForThoughtHealth.com Open: Mon - Fri 9-6 & Saturday 9-5


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The Pavilion on Little Lake Jackson is more than just a scenic venue. It's a versatile indoor-outdoor gathering space, unparalleled in the region, and the ideal location for those looking to host a memorable business or personal event.

With bright and airy indoor space, canopy covered lake side deck, and a courtyard shaded by stately live oaks, our event spaces are available individually or together -- the possibilities are endless. The Pavilion is also conveniently located between the Residence Inn by Marriott and the Tru by Hilton

For more information on the event space or to schedule your event, please contact Kayla at kselander@zmchotels.com. | 863-546-0026

10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021 87

Locally Owned and Operated A Unique & Friendly Neighborhood Restaurant & Tavern Best Gatortail, Wings & Burgers in town! 8 TVs to watch all your favorite games!

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Late Dinner Services

Turkey Gift Cards make GREAT Stocking Stuffers!

Friday & Saturday

until 11pm

Try our Newest Item!

Jumbo Pretzel

Outdoor Dining Area!

Watch your favorite Sport Event on one of our 5 TVs in the Tiki!

with Beer Cheese

Open For Breakfast! 7 Days A Week Served Daily at 7:00 am Try our new online ordering!

Dog Friendly Patio

Go to our Facebook page to check it out.


Serving Highlands County for over 40 years

Monday thru Thursday 3 pm - 6 pm



2751 US 27 South - Avon Park, FL 33825 88

Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com


Bare Wood Market Presents

Sebring Artists Market

Local Artists Artwork for Sale Featuring

'Artist of the Month’

We are a one stop shop for all your lighting and home improvement needs.

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• Light Fixtures • Table & Floor • Lamps • Bulbs • Ballasts • Security Lighting • Lamp Shades • Lamp Repair

• Ceiling Fans • Ceiling Medallions • Mirrors • Accent Furniture • Decorative Accessories • Seasonal Floor Mats

with informal artist’s reception In Historic Downtown Sebring Florida

130 N Ridgewood Dr

Shop With Us Online



Store hours Wednesday - Friday 10:30am – 4:00pm Saturday 10:00am-2:00pm



Full Service Salon& Spa Hair | Nails Skin care | Hair Removal Massage and More! Gift Certificates Available 7417 US Hwy 27 North | Sebring, FL 33870 Now hiring motivated professionals! Chair rental and private suites available.

Be Beautiful!

Follow us on Facebook

10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021 89


Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

Heritage Festival 2022 Celebrating Highlands County History

March 12 & 13, 2022

Edna Pearce Lockett Estate, Hwy 98 and the Kissimmee River in Fort Basinger.

Gates open 10am–4pm | Admission $10 per car

There will be plenty of Good Family Fun in 2022

• Tommy Brandt in Concert • Cowboy Church on Sunday • Food Vendors • Artisans • Craft Vendors • Quilt Displays & Quilt Turning

• Cow Camp • Cowboy Circus • Florida Cracker Trail Rides • And Much More...

Sponsor and Vendor Opportunities are still available.

For more information Email: info@heritageassociation.org


863-453-7555 Welcome Back Winter Friends!

December 18th Join us for our

Christmas Golf Cart Parade Fun for the whole Family! Sunday - Thursday 11 am - 8 pm Friday & Saturday 11 am to 9 pm

Located in the newly remodeled Club House at Pinecrest Golf Club.

Gift Cards Available Now Open Daily for Lunch and Dinner Reservation are Welcome

2250 Little Lake Bonnet Road Avon Park, Florida 33825 10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021 91


Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com


The New Year is a great time to take inventory, set goals, and take charge of your life. But if you’re like most, making resolutions is much easier than keeping them. Rather than focus on the idea of a new beginning, which can lead to disappointment at the first slip, keep in mind that self-improvement is an ongoing endeavor. Setbacks are not failures; they bring wisdom and insight for future success. Before making a snap decision on this year's resolutions, make a list of goals and changes you'd like to make. Then review your list, and cross off any you don't feel genuinely devoted to. Maybe you want to resolve to spend more time with your family, quit smoking, or lose weight. You're more likely to succeed if you feel a strong personal commitment rather than 'I should.' One reason people don't keep resolutions they make is the resolutions are often made to silence the pestering of a loved one. If you decide to quit smoking to get your husband off your back, you're less likely to succeed. If you choose to quit smoking to feel healthier and be able to enjoy physical activity without being winded, you're more likely to experience success.

10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021 93

Choose one or perhaps two of the resolutions on your list that you feel most committed to. Then choose one or two you feel confident you can do with ease. These last couple can be used as positive reinforcement for the more challenging first choices. Make a clear plan for adhering to your resolutions. Put each resolution in writing, and write down the steps to achieve them. Let's say your resolution requires a routine or schedule such as an exercise routine, a new diet, or steps toward completing your education. Create a goal chart, a detailed plan, and a checklist to track your progress. Post notes in strategic places such as the refrigerator, bathroom mirror, or steering wheel as reminders of your resolutions with tips on how to overcome temptation. Make sure your family understands the importance of your resolutions. Family support and their positive reinforcement can be most helpful. If your resolution is something your family has been nagging you about, ask for their encouragement. But explain that pressure and pestering, particularly during setbacks, could undermine your resolve. Determine how each family member can help you to achieve your goal perhaps by taking on additional household chores or through affirmations of your continued success.


Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals. - Melody Beattie

10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021 95

Adjust your environment to enable success. If eating healthier is your goal, don’t fill the cupboards with junk food for other family members. Find healthy snacks they’re willing to substitute. If you’re trying to quit smoking, avoid people, places, and things that remind or tempt you, at least until you have it well under control. Don’t go it alone. If you have a friend with a similar resolution, make a pact. Work together to create a plan, and then make a point to check in with each other regularly for encouragement, praise, and support. If you resolve to get more exercise, do it together. Having a commitment and someone to accompany you will go a long way in helping you succeed. Finally, reward yourself, not just once you’ve achieved your goal, but periodically for your success so far. Small, periodic rewards can be motivation enough to keep you strong when you’re ready to throw in the towel

whatever New Year resolutions you choose, success awaits you if you resolve never to give up trying.


Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

2022 New You

10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021 97

Island View Restaurant is the perfect place to host an event!

Book Your 2021 Events Now! Banquet Facility | Private Banquet Rooms Lakeside Event Lawn | Seating 30 - 300 Full Service Bar | Weddings | Birthdays | Anniversaries Balls & Galas | Class Reunions & More

2021 dates are filling up fast! Call 863.385.4830 ext. 5 for more information

Call Our Banquet Specialist 863.385.4830 x5 98

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www.sunlakegolfclub.com www.islandviewrestaurant.com

December & January Events Dec. 6 Trivia Night 5pm Dec 19 Breakfast with Santa 9am-12pm Dec 21 Christmas Karaoke 5pm-8pm Jan 4 Jan 21

Trivia Night 5pm Live Music with Side Project Duo 5:30pm-8:30pm

Call 863.382.1191 for Reservations!

5223 Tee Time Circle Sebring, FL 33872


237 US Highway 27 N, Sebring



Veteran Family Owned and Operated H

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Proud winner of the “Best of Highlands” for 8 years in a row.

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Veteran & First Responder Discounts Available

Florida Fence Post Co., Inc. Serving Central Florida since 1946.



“The Post Preferred by Florida Cattlemen” Fence Post |Barn Poles | Brace Posts | Cow Pen Post Rough Cut Lumber | Cattle Panels Portable Corrals | Fence Stays Barbed Wire | Field Fence | Farm Gates Game Fencing | Hay Rings | Assorted Mulch and Soil The Best Prices & Longest Lasting Posts.

“Our Posts Meet The Federal Standards!” CCA .40 Ret.

Sales Service Installation Dryer Vent Cleaning Cash Discounts F.O.B. Ona, Florida

www.flfencepost.com 25 Year Limited Guarantee “Branded for Your Protection”

5251 State Road 64 West/ P.O. Box 645 Ona, Florida 33865

Passionate About Customer Satisfaction

863-699-5455 www.MillersCentralAir.com

LIC. NO. CAC058675

24 Hour Emergency Service

*The Wells Fargo Home Projects credit card is issued by Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., an Equal Housing Lender. Special terms apply to qualifying purchases charged with approved credit. The special terms APR will continue to apply until all qualifying purchases are paid in full. The monthly payment for this purchase will be the amount that will pay for the purchase in full in equal payments during the promotional (special terms) period. The APR for Purchases will apply to certain fees such as a late payment fee or if you use the card for other transactions. For new accounts, the APR for Purchases is 28.99%. If you are charged interest in any billing cycle, the minimum interest charge will be $1.00. This information is accurate as of 6/01/2021 and is subject to change. For current information, call us at 1-800-431-5921. Offer expires 12/31/2021.

10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021 99

Watermelon By Cindy S. Adams

Ultimate Grilled Watermelon Salad This Grilled Watermelon Salad is absolutely bursting with flavor! Topped with Arugula, Pistachios, Blue Cheese and a Balsamic Glaze, after trying this recipe you won't grill watermelon any other way!


1 disk Watermelon, approx. 3/4 - 1" thick 1 handful Arugula 1/4 cup Unsalted Pistachios, lightly crushed 1/4 cup Blue Cheese, crumbled 2 tsp Balsamic Glaze Drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus extra for frying Squeeze of Lemon Juice Salt & Black Pepper, to taste


In a bowl, combine your arugulat, blue cheese, pistachios, lemon juice, olive oil and seasoning. Place to one side. Using a disk/cookie cutter, shape out 2 circles in the flesh of the watermelon. Pat with a with a paper towel to soak up excess moisture, then lightly brush both sides with oil. Heat up a griddle pan until smoking hot. Grill over high heat for a few minutes each side, or until black grill marks appear. Sprinkle a little salt on top, then add your arugula salad and finish with a drizzle of balsamic glaze.



Watermelon Poke Bowl

My watermelon poke is so tasty and you will be really surprised with the texture. Make sure you marinate the watermelon for a full day after baking, that way it gets packed full of flavor!


1 Medium sized Watermelon, seedless if possible, peeled & cubed Marinade 2 tsp Tahini 6 tbs Soy Sauce or Coconut Amino’s 2 tbs Rice Vinegar Juice 1/2 Lime 1 tsp Dried Chilli Flakes 1 clove Garlic 1 tbs Sriracha Thumb Sized Piece Ginger 2 Spring Onions/Scallions 3 tbs Sesame Oil 2 tsp Sea Salt


Pre heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Add the cubed watermelon to 2 non stick baking trays. Blend the marinade ingredients until smooth, pour half of the marinade over the water melon & give the trays a toss, making sure the watermelon cubes are coated. Place the watermelon into the oven for around 45 minutes. Stir the trays halfway through cooking. Once cooked add the watermelon to a mixing bowl with the rest of the marinade, stir well then cover the bowl & place it into the fridge to marinade for at least 1 day. After marinating, serve your watermelon poke chilled with sushi rice & the rest of the garnishes.

Serving Suggestions: Sushi Rice, Avocado, Edamame, shelled, Baby Carrots,


Radishes, Mixed Seeds, Drizzle of Lime Juice

Watermelon Vodka Cocktail Ingredients

1 Cup Muddled Fresh Watermelon 6 Mint Leaves 2 oz St-Germain 1 tbsp Simple Syrup 2 oz Cucumber Vodka 1/2 Cup Muddled Cucumbers Slices 2 oz White Wine (Sauvignon Blanc with Grapefruit notes is a favorite choice) Small Watermelon Wedges to garnish Note: You can skip the sugar in this recipe or swap it out for an artificial sweetener. It tastes great either way.


In a large glass or shaker, muddle the watermelon slices, cucumbers, and mint leaves together. Add white wine, St. Germain, Cucumber Vodka, and simple syrup to mixer. Fill the glass or shaker with ice. Watermelon Vodka Cocktail Recipe made with St Germain and Cucumber Vodka Stir the watermelon vodka cocktail and garnish with a watermelon wedge. Enjoy!


There are SEVEN

Good reasons to Advertise in Heartland LIVING DeSoto County Glades County Hardee County Hendry County Highlands County Let us help you get more Okeechobee County for your advertising cost. Polk County Advertise in the most widely distributed and read magazine in the Heartland! Your new clients are only a short drive away.

Heartland LIVING Call or email us if you want to join us & share your business with all 7 Counties in the Heartland for one low price! Cindy@Heartland-Living.com




Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

Like giving $2001 with a new Free Checking account.

With Free Checking, enjoy: Free early paycheck | Free ATMs2 | No monthly fees | Free online bill pay Open an account online at midflorida.com or visit any branch.

Insured by NCUA. 1. Offer valid as of August 30, 2021, and may be canceled at any time without notice. Eligibility requirements apply. See associate for details regarding fees and terms. To qualify for the $200 incentive, you must open a new Free Checking account with direct deposit ($500 cumulative which must post within 45 days of account opening), as well as accept and open online banking, online bill payment, eStatement, eNotice, and a debit card. No dividends are paid on Free Checking. Annual Percentage Yield is 0.00%. Anyone who has held a checking account with MIDFLORIDA in the past year will not qualify for the incentive. The incentive will be deposited to new Free Checking account after the qualifications have been met and will be reported to the IRS. Minimum to open Free Checking is $50. 2. ATM transactions are free at any MIDFLORIDA proprietary ATM or when using a Publix Presto! ATM.

10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021 105

Established Hunting Ranch in Lake Placid Specializing in white tail deer, wild boar, and alligator hunting year around. We also offer Florida quail hunts!

2,000 acres of native Florida Bays, Pines, Palmettos, and Oaks! South Florida at it’s finest! Eco-Tours Available

Offering Dinners and Daily Tours May-October with reservations !

Weddings - Corporate Retreat - Events

We have a newly built 70 x 70 wedding barn!


545 New Boot Heel Road - Venus, FL 33960

www. Floridahuntingoutfitter.com 106

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Lightsey Family Ranch

Call Now For An Appointment

(863) 763-3937 Dr. Charles W. Bartels

Board Certified Optometric Physician

l Comprehensive Eye Exams

l Diabetic Eye Exams

l Contact Lens Fitting

l Cataract Evaluations

l Variety of Colored Contacts

l Foreign Body Removal

l State of the Art Optical Service l

Test & Treatment for Dry Eye

l Glaucoma Exams & Treatment l Glasses Available Same or Next Day

Walk-Ins Welcome Our On-Site Lab allow for Most Prescriptions to be finished in One Hour!

Dr. Janna Lanae Parramore Board Certified Optometric Physician

We Accept and Bill Most Major Insurance, Medicaid, Medicare & BlueCross Blue Shield Healthy Kids

606 North Parrott Ave  Okeechobee  863-763-3937  www.biglakeeyecare.com 10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021