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AUGUST 2019

OXFO R D

the

fa mi ly issue

INTERNATIONAL ADOP TION S TORIES

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MEET AUBREY ARMSTRONG

+ DECLUT TER AND DONATE

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OHS COOKING SCHOOL


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I N

T H I S

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AUGUST 2019

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DEPA RTMENT S

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EVENTS

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Letter From the Publisher

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Taylor Farmers Market

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Calendar

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Yappy Hour

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Shoutouts

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OHS Class Reunion

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InstaLove: Garrow’s Garden

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Tri Delta Blue Moon in June

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Ace Atkins Book Signing

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Faulkner Conference

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Camp Lake Stephens

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Restaurant News: Ice Cream

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Restaurant Guide

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In Season: Declutter & Donate

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40 Years of Book Posters

Out & About

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Quarterback Club Kickoff

Recipes: Chicken Tamales

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Fashion Runway Camp

INVITATION OXFORD | AUGUS T 2019

ON THE COVER

Meet Lucy, Witt, Caroline and Ramsey. These four children, from all different countries, were adopted into Oxford families. Read more about them and their families on page 52. PHOTOGRAPHED BY JOE WORTHEM


F E AT U R E S

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38

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FE ATURES 34 Born to Shine

With a glowing personality and plenty of ambition, this Oxford teen earns both awards and applause.

38 Masomo Ni

Nuguvu Na Uhuru

An unlikely friendship leads to a mission to offer South Sudanese children education and a way to change their world.

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44 Allez Cuisine!

Oxford High School students master culinary skills with help from local chefs in Good Food for Oxford Schools cooking class.

52 Bringing Home Baby

Several Oxford families cross the globe to complete their families through international adoption.

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PUBLISHERS Phil and Rachel West

EDITORIAL

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EXECUTIVE EDITORS Allison Estes Emily Welly EXECUTIVE MANAGING EDITOR Mary Moreton CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Caitlin Adams Maggie Crouch Ginny McCarley Sarah McCullen EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Meredith Hull COPY EDITOR Ashley Arthur

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L E T T E R from the P U B L I S H E R

INTERN Abbey Edmonson

OFFICE

BUSINESS MANAGER Hollie Hilliard DISTRIBUTION Donald Courtney Brian Hilliard

Unplugged. That’s how I spent a lot of my summer: unplugged from technology, television and the things that seem to eat up more of my time that I’d like to admit. With that extra time, I decided to plug into my family, celebrate birthdays, spend time with old friends, enjoy nature, eat ice cream and catch up on things that I’d left undone around the house during the year. When I purposefully left some distractions behind, it was amazing to see how much clearer my focus became. I think that’s a lot like many of the stories we’ve highlighted in this magazine.

As we began brainstorming for this issue about families and children, it didn’t take long to realize that there are a lot of great people in our area doing really amazing things with their time. Will Guest, a native of Oxford who lives here with this wife, opened a school in Africa in 2015 where he’s helping hundreds of children on the other side of the globe have a future. That’s a story worth reading on page 38. On page 52, you’ll meet four families who have adopted beautiful children from all over the world. Their stories of adoption are all different, and the children are each

special, unique and — they all say — perfect fits for their families. You’ll also find several other great nuggets of information in this issue, including (on page 26) great new places around Oxford to enjoy an ice cream cone on a hot August afternoon. We hope you can find a few moments to unplug and enjoy this magazine. Thanks for spending time with Invitation Oxford.

RACHEL M. WEST, PUBLISHER

MAIN OFFICE 662-234-4008

ART

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Holly Vollor STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Joe Worthem CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Abbey Edmonson Paul Gandy Alexis Lee Sarah McCullen Alex Sage Vicki Sneed Megan Wolfe SOCIAL MEDIA COORDINATOR & ART ASSISTANT Alexis Lee

ADVERTISING

ADVERTISING CONSULTANTS Alise M. Emerson Leigh Lowery Lynn McElreath Moni Simpson Whitney Worsham Anna Zemek ADVERTISING DESIGNERS Paul Gandy Becca Pepper Hallie Thomas ADVERTISING INFORMATION ads@invitationoxford.com

To subscribe to one year (10 issues) of Invitation Oxford or to buy an announcement, visit invitationoxford.com. To request a photographer at your event, email Mary at mary.invitation@gmail.com. Invitation Oxford respects the many diverse individuals and organizations that make up north Mississippi and strives to be inclusive and representative of all members of our community.

PLEASE RECYCLE THIS MAGAZINE

FOLLOW US

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@INVITATIONOXFORD

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@INVOXFORD AUGUS T 2019 | INVITATION OXFORD

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C OM M U N I T Y

C A L E N DA R AUGUST 2019

Mississippi Primary and Runoff Elections

National Thrift Shop Day A U G U S T 17

Say thanks and goodbye to old, outgrown or unworn clothes, donate and let them bring joy to others. Shop local thrift stores and post about your fabulous finds with the hashtag #NationalThriftShopDay.

AUGUS T 6 AND 27

Exercise your right to vote, and take your kids to the polls to see the process. Register online and sign up for election reminders at vote.org. Polling places, candidates, sample ballots and more at vote411.org.

Water Valley Watermelon Carnival A U G U S T 1 -3

A Southeastern Tourism Society top 20 festival, the Watermelon Carnival turns 50 this year. The celebration includes a Memphis Barbecue Network contest; a music festival Thursday evening at the Civic Auditorium; a street dance and fireworks in City Park on Friday; and a day of entertainment Saturday featuring food vendors, arts and crafts, watermelon carving, seed-spitting contest, parades, an antique car show, a 3K run and more. Water Valley.

“Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.”

Franklin Delano Roosevelt 32nd President of the United States

First Day of School

for Lafayette and Oxford students AUGUST 7

Art-er Limits Fringe Festival A U G U S T 8-1 1

Yoknapatawpha Arts Council’s familyfriendly festival includes the Iron Bartender contest, Project(ion) and the Spillit comedy showcase. Day and week passes available. For more information, call 662-236-6429 or email yacoperations@gmail.com. oxfordarts.com/events/fringe

LOFT Night for Nonprofits AUGUST 15

Lafayette Oxford Foundation for Tomorrow hosts its annual cocktail fundraiser to benefit local nonprofits. Tickets $10. 6-9 p.m., the Powerhouse.

MiSSiHiPPi Music and Arts Festival A U G U S T 24-2 5

This brand-new festival spotlights young Mississippi musicians with the goal of making Mississippi the “pinnacle of America’s music.” Several Mississippi artists will perform, and food is provided by regional and local vendors. All proceeds fund music programs and the purchase of musical instruments in Mississippi public schools. General admission $45; VIP $135; Platinum VIP $235. Saturday 11:30 a.m.Sunday 1:30 a.m., Foxfire Ranch. missihippi.com

watervalleychamber.com

loftms.org

University of Mississippi

Marvelous Monday Art Camp

Flashback Bash

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First Friday Free Sketch Day

A U G U S T 17

The Yoknapatawpha Arts Council hosts a children’s day camp that includes arts-andcrafts projects, games and an afternoon movie break. Full-day campers need to bring their own lunch. Full-day registration $45, half-day $30. 8 a.m.-12 p.m. or 8 a.m.-5 p.m., the Powerhouse.

Explore the galleries during this open sketch session for all skill levels. Materials provided on a first-come, first-served basis, or bring your own sketchbook. Free. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., the University of Mississippi Museum.

Benefit the L-O-U community at the United Way’s ’80s-themed event with Memphis band Almost Famous, food by Taylor Grocery Special Events Catering and My Michelle’s, a silent auction and a raffle. Tickets $30, multiple tickets $25 per person, reserved table (8 people) $400. 7-11 p.m., Oxford Conference Center.

oxfordarts.com

museum.olemiss.edu

unitedwayoxfordms.org/uwflashback

AUGUST 5

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AUGUST 8

Fall Semester Begins

National Women’s Equality Day AU G US T 26

On this day in 1920, Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby signed the official proclamation ratifying the 19th amendment, granting women the right to vote after a century of struggle. Read the original New York Times article at archive.nytimes.com. AUGUS T 2019 | INVITATION OXFORD

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S H O U T O U T S

SHOUTOUTS

Un it e d Way F l a sh ba c k Ba sh

Y MC A B e fo re - a nd A f t e r - S c ho ol C a re

Even if you never sported a mullet or wore shoulder pads and leg warmers and, like, hung out at the mall, you can go back to the ’80s, just for an evening. This year, United Way of OxfordLafayette County’s totally tubular fundraiser

is a 1980s-themed “flashback bash” event, presented by CoreLogic | FNC. “The theme will change from year to year, but this year we are going back to the ’80s,” said Kurt Brummett, executive director of UWOLC. “Whether you wear

continued

your old prom dress, a tux, parachute pants or a tuxedo T-shirt, all we ask is you come ready to have fun and enjoy a great night out with your friends and neighbors.” Do the robot, the worm or moonwalk to music by Grammy-nominated Memphis band Almost Famous. Where’s the beef? Food will be provided by My Michelle’s and Taylor Grocery Special Events Catering. Oxford PhotoBomb RAVE Booth will be on hand for authentic pre-cellphone selfies. The bash takes place from 7 to 11 p.m. Aug. 17 at the Oxford Conference Center. For tickets, call 662-236-4265 or visit tickets@unitedwayoxfordms.org. All proceeds benefit health, education, income and basic needs programs in the L-O-U community.

Earlier this summer, Meghan R. Anderson combined her two roles of licensed professional counselor and mom to two girls, and created Tween Talks, a workshop to guide parents in helping their kids navigate the “tween” years, ages 8 to 12. Topics included recognizing warning signs of mental health issues, handling anxiety and learning effective communication techniques. “It became so clear to me that parents are really struggling to understand their kids because they don’t understand the type of anxiety that kids experience at this age,” Anderson said. “Therefore, they don’t know how to help them. I decided that parents needed a forum to talk about these issues and to also receive education and suggestions on how to effectively help their kids through the tough stuff.” The next Tween Talk session is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Aug. 13 at the Oxford Conference Center. For more information, visit andersonfamilycounseling.org/tween-talk-event.

Noah Hamilton is Oxford High School’s new principal. Hamilton was previously principal of two other schools and has 16 years of experience coaching and teaching. This year, he plans to spend some time getting to know faculty, staff and students in order to create a strong, caring community within the school. “These are the people that drive this school to success,” Hamilton said. “I want to know them as well as possible, as quickly as possible, so I can help them grow professionally as well as grow our school. I want to involve the students as much as possible in their school. I want to guide them to ownership of their school.” Hamilton is a University of Mississippi graduate, with a B.S. in exercise science and an M.A. Ed. in educational leadership. He said he is humbled to have his “dream job” at Oxford High School, one of the top performing schools in the state.

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OXFORD HIGH SCHOOL

Ne w P r i nc i pa l at OH S

MEGHAN R. ANDERSON

Twe e n Ta l k s

YMCA

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UNITED WAY OF OXFORD-LAFAYETTE COUNTY

CALENDAR

This year, Oxford and Lafayette schools are teaming up with YMCA of Memphis & the Midsouth to provide child care and holiday camps with enrichment programs. The new program accommodates more kids and also offers before-school care to help families who have conflicts with school start times. “Ultimately, we want to provide a resource for families to keep their children safe, help them with homework and tutoring, if needed, and offer experimental play through active centers,” said Leslie Kennedy, operations director of Oxford YMCA. “The YMCA has resources and staff to help supplement the program and is currently the largest provider of child care in the United States.” Programs include homework assistance and S.T.E.A.M. enrichment, as well as activities and opportunities that focus on literacy, character development, wellness, leadership, social competence and conflict resolution. Fee assistance and scholarships are available. For more information contact Kennedy at lkennedy@ymcamemphis.org. Register at ymcamemphis.org/childcare/ before-afterschool-care. AUGUS T 2019 | INVITATION OXFORD

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instaL O V E G a r row ’s G a rd e n

LAUREN MURKEN

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niversity of Mississippi graduate Garrow Miles is shining a light into the community one floral arrangement at a time. Miles, a psychology major and business minor with a love of interior design, has combined those interests in her own florist business, Garrow’s Garden. The company gives 10 percent of its profits to Active Minds, an organization that supports mental health awareness. Miles uses her Instagram account, @garrows_garden, to display her elegantly designed flowers and encouraging quotes and messages such as “Mental health is just as important as physical health.” Her mission is to not let others suffer in silence. “I witnessed several family members battle with mental health and had my own trials with anxiety and depression,” Miles said. “I experienced the closed off conversation about it and the shame placed upon it from society. I knew there were other people in my shoes feeling all alone.” To help spread the word on campus,

Miles passed out free carnations in the circle with a message encouraging students to pay it forward and brighten the day of the next receiver. Each flower bore a tag that read “Own your story and pass it on.” “I want my business to identify with a personal story of someone who has battled mental health but stands unashamed and encourages others to get the help that they need,” Miles said. “I want this to play a part

in opening the conversation about mental health and straying away from the harsh stigma society often places on it.” While managing Garrow’s Garden, Miles also works at Jennifer Russell Interior Designs as an assistant and junior designer. To brighten your Instagram feed with beautiful bouquets and encouraging reminders to help others in their own struggles, follow @garrows_garden.

FOLLOW ON INSTAGR A M @ g a r r ow s _ g a r d e n

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N E W S : ice cream

Pistachio Gelato Italiano N E W | 1 0 02 VA N B U R E N AV E .

Oxford’s first gelato shop, located inside Greenline, features authentic Italian flavors like lemon, salted caramel, strawberry, tiramisu and caffe espresso that are made fresh daily. 662-380-2612

Smallcakes NE W | 1301 MERCH A NT S DRIV E

For a taste of the classic cake-and-icecream combination, indulge in a scoop of Smallcakes’ 24 Karrot or Red Velvet ice cream, both swirled with decadent freshly baked cupcake bits. 662-638-3700

Pistachio Gelato Italiano

Hemp Ville CBD

The Oxford Creamery

N E W | 1 8 0 1 J A C K S O N AV E . W. S U I T E 1 03

O P E N I N G S O O N | 3 0 9 N . L A M A R B LV D .

COMING SOON

An alternative treatment for a long list of disorders and diseases, CBD oil is available in a variety of products, including scoops of chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, salted caramel or mango ice cream.

Located right on the Square, this new sweet spot captures Mississippi culture by using local ingredients to churn uniquely Southern flavors like a specialty sweet tea ice cream.

Currently available at Chicory Market, Square Books, Living Foods and B.T.C. Grocery in Water Valley, the Delta-based gelato company is opening a production facility in Oxford.

662-380-5310

facebook.com/oxfordcreamery

662-313-6551

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Sweet Magnolia Gelato Co.

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R E S T A U R A N T guide

STEAKS, FISH, WINE FLIGHTS

WOOD FIRED PIZZA

+ BOURBON FLIGHTS

176 HI G HWAY 30 E.

1107 JACKSON AVE. E.

6 6 2 -2 3 4 -3 9 1 2

176 HI G HWAY 30 E.

$$

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(INSIDE FERGNDAN’S PIZZA CAFE)

OPENING SUMMER 2019

fe rgn dan s pizza.co m

AMERICAN CAFE

ARTISANAL COFFEE ROASTED IN-HOUSE

OLD WORLD COMFORT FOOD

76 6 N . L A M A R B LV D.

1 6 1 1 J ACK S O N AV E . W.

1 6 1 1 J ACK S O N AV E . W.

6 6 2 -6 3 8 -3 3 9 3

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562-481-6981

$$

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6 6 2 -2 3 4 -3 9 1 2

$

6 6 2 -3 8 0 -0 3 8 1

he ar tbre akcoffe e roas te r s .co m

oxf o rd c ant een.com

CREOLE CUISINE & BAR

1221 VAN BUREN AVE.

1002 E. JACKSON AVE.

6 6 2 -3 8 0 -5 1 2 2

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$$

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$

$$

tar as q ue. net

NEW ORLEANS INSPIRED (O N T H E S Q UA R E B EN E AT H N EI L S O N ’ S)

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CHEESECAKES + CUPCAKES

6 6 2 -2 3 4 -5 7 5 7

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$$

r afte r s oxfo rd.co m

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DONAT E

IN SEASON

continued

WRITTEN BY MEREDITH HULL

Organize What You Keep

Choose baskets or smooth containers that are easy to clean and that you like seeing. For clothes, velvet hangers reduce bulk and help clothes hold shape. Don’t stack items more than three deep (such as in the kitchen). If you have to move more than two items to reach something, chances are you won’t. Place items you use most in highly visible and easily accessible areas.

Remove Culled Items Quickly

Bags work best for clothing, boxes for other items. (Liquor stores are a good place to find free boxes.) Take them to your car as soon as you fill them, and schedule a trip to deliver or donate right away.

WHERE TO DONATE

I

t may not feel like it in August, but fall is right around the corner, and with the change of the seasons also comes the time to change out the closets. National Thrift Shop day is Aug. 17, so now is the perfect time to donate outgrown and unwanted items. But then — you open the closet door and the clutter immediately makes you want to close it again. Or you pile up things to get rid of, but somehow, when it’s time to drop them off, you stall out, thinking you might need them after all. The process of clearing out can be complicated — it often involves some psychological decluttering as well. “Soul coach” Stephanie Young, of Oxford, is an expert in helping others sort through and let go of the things that no longer bring joy. Young’s company, Lavish, offers more than just organizing services for your stuff. The aim is to create healing, uncluttered spaces that empower you to live a lavish life, full of what you value and affirming your best self.

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“Clutter and disorder in the home indicate a disordered state of being,” Young said. “Cleaning out and ordering your external world often leads to an ordering of the mind and improved focus and peace. Never underestimate the impact your personal space has on your mental clarity and consequently your daily performance.” Young believes your space and all items within it should be intentional, with everything you own reflecting who you are and how you want people to feel, including yourself. Find out more about Lavish on Facebook, and try these strategies from Young to help you declutter.

Start Small

To keep from feeling overwhelmed, start with the smallest area, then make your way to the bigger spaces. Begin at the top and work your way down. Pull each item out, ask what purpose it serves, if it fits your life, and whether it brings you joy.

Set Some Limits

Establish criteria such as keeping a specific number of shirts or allocating a finite amount of space for certain items. Write them down to help keep you accountable. But, Young believes, if something is still bringing you joy, it is okay to keep it. “Organizing doesn’t look the same for everyone,” Young said. “And the goal is not perfection.”

Ask a Friend to Help

If you feel like you just can’t tackle it alone, call on a friend — someone you can trust to be sensitive but who won’t encourage you to keep things. Young acknowledges that memories and emotional ties can make it hard to let go. But reminding yourself that someone else will benefit from your item or give it renewed purpose can help. And remember the memory is not connected to the item — you will always have the memory.

These organizations accept new and used items. Call to find out what each accepts: G O O DW I L L - OXFO R D

2540 Jackson Ave. W. Monday-Saturday 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday 11 a.m.-6 p.m. 662-513-6458 HOLDING HANDS RESALE SHOP

1433 N. Lamar Blvd. Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday 10 a.m.-3p.m. 662-236-0003 T H E S A LVAT I O N A R MY T H R I F T S TO R E

2649 W. Oxford Loop Monday-Saturday 9 a.m.-5p.m. 662-236-2260 DOORS OF HOPE

No clothing, shoes or appliances; accepts new toiletries; new and used clean sheets, towels, pillows and mattresses

924 Van Buren Ave. Monday-Thursday 9 a.m.-5p.m. Friday 9 a.m.-noon 662-234-1100 AUGUS T 2019 | INVITATION OXFORD

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Born to

Shine WITH A GLOWING PERSONALITY AND PLENTY OF AMBITION, THIS OXFORD TEEN EARNS BOTH AWARDS AND APPL AUSE. WRITTEN BY MAGGIE CROUCH

O

n a sunny Friday afternoon on the Oxford Square, one lemonade stand raised more than $400 for Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children. The ambitious manager of the stand stood shoulder-high next to her collegeage assistants, who hustled to fill cups and collect money from customers. But there was no doubt who was in charge of the whole operation — her infectious laughter drew in the crowd: Aubrey Armstrong, age 14. Because of that fundraising work, which took place during the University of Missisippi’s RebelTHON last fall, and her personal history with Batson Children’s Hospital, Aubrey was named the 2019 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Champion for Mississippi. “Her personality is super outgoing, and she truly brings joy to anyone she comes

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PHOTOGRAPHED BY JOE WORTHEM

into contact with,” said Andrew Russell, Children’s Miracle Network coordinator at Batson Children’s Hospital. “She can walk into a room of 1,000 people or even just two people and make everyone there feel like they’re her best friend.” Aubrey was born with Down syndrome, a genetic disorder in which a person has three copies of chromosome 21, instead of two. Growing up, Aubrey needed medical care ranging from physical and speech therapy to more specialized treatments, and she became a familiar face to the doctors and staff at Batson. “When we moved here to Oxford five years ago, we kept going back to Jackson for appointments, just because we love it there so much,” Aubrey’s mother Holly Armstrong said. “Because of Batson, Aubrey’s received the best medical treatment and has had some AUGUS T 2019 | INVITATION OXFORD

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Aubrey Armstrong with her father, Brad, older sister, Ann Michael, and mother, Holly (not pictured is her younger sister, Ava Bradley).

awesome opportunities, like flipping the coin at an Ole Miss football game and now being awarded the 2019 Mississippi Champion.” Aubrey’s parents encouraged her to do everything any other child her age was doing and to pursue her interests wholeheartedly. “It’s only been (a few) months having Aubrey as Mississippi Champion, and she’s already blown us out of the water,” Russell said. “We’re super excited to have her on board and to see what she can accomplish in (the coming) months.” As the Mississippi Champion for 2019, Aubrey juggles a busy schedule, including radio show appearances and fundraising efforts. In June, she was invited to Columbus Air Force Base where she toured the facility and got her own flight suit. But she has also been a regular contestant in pageants and is the reigning Miss Amazing Mississippi Junior Teen 2019. Miss Amazing is an organization that provides opportunities to women and girls with disabilities to advance skills learned in aspects of pageantry in a supportive environment. “She had to do an interview, a talent and an evening wear competition,” Holly said. “(In August), we’ll go to Chicago to compete in the national pageant, and this will be her second time competing at the national level, but just for a different age group.” Aubrey’s duties as a Miss Amazing title-holder also include appearances and fundraising for the organization. People and local businesses can sponsor her or the events she participates in. “I love competing in pageants because I can stay on stage and just dance,” Aubrey said. “Dance is my talent, and I like to do freestyle, especially the sprinkler.” Now 15, Aubrey is excited to be starting her next adventure as a freshman in high school.

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“It’s so rewarding to see her move on to high school,” Holly said. “The amount of time, effort and love that everyone at (Oxford Middle School) has poured into her is immeasurable.” Kristen Busby was Aubrey’s teacher at Oxford Middle School for two years and will be moving to Oxford High School this year. Busby is looking forward to working with Aubrey again. “I’m not only Mrs. Busby, her teacher, but I’m also one of her good friends,” Busby said. “She builds these special relationships and has with a ton of (people) around Oxford. I can always count on Aubrey to put things into perspective even when I’m having a bad day.” Outside of school, pageants and her Mississippi Champion duties, Aubrey enjoys baking cupcakes and filming makeup tutorials for her YouTube channel. She also works with her therapy dog, Delilah — another special connection Aubrey made. “Aubrey met Delilah when the dog visited her school,” Holly said. “She came home and wouldn’t stop talking about the dog, so we got in touch with Wildrose Kennels. She was able to go visit Delilah and started working with her every week, and eventually they let Aubrey adopt her.” “I have to train her every weekend,” Aubrey said. “I throw a ball to her, and then once I say her name, she will go run and grab it. Now, she’s my dog.” Aubrey’s ability to connect with others extends to everyone she encounters, according to her father, Brad. “She has a unique personality that a ton of people gravitate toward, whether it be a kid or an adult. Even college kids swarm to her,” Brad said. “(With Aubrey) you’re going to have an interesting conversation and leave feeling good with a smile on your face.” AUGUS T 2019 | INVITATION OXFORD

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Masomo Ni Nguvu Na Uhuru ~

E D U C AT I O N

WRITTEN BY CAITLIN ADAMS

I S

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P O W E R

A N D

F R E E D O M

~

PHOTOGRAPHS CONTRIBUTED BY WILL GUEST

A N U N L I K E LY F R I E N D S H I P L E A D S TO A M I S S I O N TO OFFER SOUTH SUDANESE CHILDREN EDUCATION A N D A WAY T O C H A N G E T H E I R W O R L D.

hen Oxford resident Will Guest visited Africa for the first time in 2003, he left his college plans in the rearview mirror. Guest was set to attend the University of Hawaii the following month, but instead he accompanied a family friend to a continent that would forever change his future. “I was just kind of winging it,” Guest said. What was supposed to be a quick visit turned into months, and it was during this trip that he met John Garang, a former Sudanese warrior, for the first time. Garang had quite a history. He was a Lost Boy, one of more than 20,000 Sudanese boys who were separated from their families and forced to flee their homes during the country’s civil war in the late 1980s. Garang, who stepped on a land mine in the war and was later discharged with an injured leg, had not been home to what is now South Sudan, nor seen his mother, in 15 years. It wasn’t long after the duo met through mutual acquaintances and formed a brother-like bond that Guest and Garang hatched a plan to trek back to Garang’s home. “We were both incredibly naive about what we were doing,” Guest said. “We were in places we really should not have been.” After more than 40 hours on a bus, a chartered plane flight, four hours wading through waist-deep water, and an encounter with a notso-pleased army, the men made it to South Sudan. Garang saw his mother, who was now blind, for the first time since he was a young boy. “It was emotional, to say the least,” Guest said. “It was something neither of them thought would happen.” The men returned to Kenya, changed by their eye-opening, albeit brief, visit to Garang’s homeland. South Sudan and its people had been devastated by decades of war, famine and poverty. The buildings were crumbling, and broken-down military machinery littered the roadsides. Tens of thousands of children were orphaned, displaced and suffering, in need of food and medical care, and without education or a sense of security. In South Sudan, there were limited resources to help them.

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JOE WORTHEM

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Above: Will Guest in Oxford. Below, left to right: John Garang; John’s mother, Mary Aguet Bany; Guest; and John’s niece, Adut Deng, in Africa in 2012.

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Currently, 167 students ages 3-15 attend the Children Are People School. Most of the students, teachers and staff with Guest at the end of a visit in March of this year.

Guest and Garang thought Kenya could offer these children a respite and second chance. Not long after their visit, the friends were kicking a soccer ball around when they began planning to do their part to change South Sudan. “We were like, ‘We should educate kids,’” Guest said. “Some people think there was a big plan behind all of this. There really wasn’t. We were in a field and came up with the idea.” The men decided that investing in the education of local children would be the best way to change their future. Guest had walked away from his own education, only to walk toward the promise of education for others. It took 12 years for their dream of opening their own school to come to fruition. Meanwhile, Guest returned to Oxford. He got married and founded his own business, Oxford Property Group. Back in Kenya, Garang was sponsoring children’s education at other area schools. Guest continued to send funds to Garang, until one day Garang called: He had found the perfect land for their future school. It was in Moi’s Bridge, Kenya, which is roughly 10,000 feet above sea level and backdropped by rolling mountains and lush landscape.

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“I thought it was going to be this picturesque spot,” Guest said. But the land Garang had purchased with his cobbled-together funds was anything but. “It was the rattiest part of an already dusty town,” Guest said, laughing. But Guest trusted Garang’s vision, and most importantly, him. They built a metal church and began hosting Bible studies and fellowship. In 2014, the men took a leap of faith and broke ground on the school they had dreamed of starting. The Children Are People School opened its doors in 2015. Today, there are 167 students enrolled, 80 of which are South Sudanese. The area is in a former British colony, and many influences still remain. The school system, including the Ministry of Education, is strict, and thus, Guest and Garang have had to meet high standards

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to get the school operational. This includes building a robust curriculum and syllabus and working toward district objectives. Each of the 11 teachers on staff have extensive educational training and background, including the principal, who is a retired teacher of 30 years. “It is very structured,” Guest said. “This isn’t just a dream in a field.” The school is more than a place to learn — it’s a place to grow. Guest said there’s nothing that compares to sitting in his favorite spot, a dusty porch floor outside the cafeteria, listening to the children giggle, sing the ABCs and shuffle their feet as they chase one another. “I just sit there and listen to the laughter that is permeating through the campus, and I am like, ‘How did we do this? How did this happen?’” Guest said. There have been plenty of obstacles along the way. Space is limited, so students sleep two in a twin bed, head to feet. The school was recently infested with bed bugs, which set them back $4,000 to spray the entire grounds. Many students cannot pay for their education and only eat when on the school grounds. Perhaps the greatest struggle of all is for young children who are removed from everything they know and love. “These are children who are off at a school without their parents,” Guest said. “They’re not all 12- to 15-year-olds who

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Guest with all of the teachers from the Children Are People School in the schoolyard in March 2019.

Guest with some of the students during their lunch break. “This is one of my favorite pictures,” Guest said. “It reminds me that, through all of the ups and downs, it is all worth it.”

can rationalize what is going on. Some of them are 4- and 5-year-olds who are not with their parents.” Guest has soothed countless children through homesick cries, and Garang orchestrates care when a student falls ill. Each makeshift boarding house has a female chaperone, dubbed “Mama,” but it is a far cry from the children’s parents, many of whom have perished. “The young ones don’t know the sacrifice,” Guest said. “A lot of these kids’ parents sent them here to be better than where they are. They know education is key to getting them out of war-torn countries. But that doesn’t mean it is easy.” Nonetheless, the school and the students persevere. The school has placed first in the district twice since opening its doors, and

is nearly approved to offer eighth grade, which will allow for full accreditation and larger dormitories. A lot has changed since Guest and Garang’s visit to South Sudan. The home they visited no longer exists. Civil war has once again plagued the region. Garang’s mother died — she was shot by the army while standing on her front porch. But Guest and Garang’s commitment to invest in the future of the Sudan continues. “Our goal is to one day change Sudan. If we can give the kids knowledge then hopefully they will be able to overcome the tribalistic ways that have caused years of war,” Guest said. “I know I’ll probably be dead and gone by the time it comes to fruition, but I believe that it will make a change in generations to come.”

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Allez Cuisine! OXFORD HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS MASTER CULINARY SKILLS WITH HELP FROM LOCAL CHEFS IN GOOD FOOD FOR OXFORD SCHOOLS COOKING CLASS. WRITTEN BY GINNY MCCARLEY

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he only thing Trey Brower knew how to cook before signing up to take a five-week cooking class at Oxford High School was chicken alfredo. But after just one class, he was cooking dinner for his mom. “I made her the tomato-basil soup, and she loved it,” Trey said. “She wanted me to cook it again.” Ten students enrolled in the Good Food for Oxford Schools Cooking Class, which was offered for the third year at Oxford High School. The course has been well-received and will be offered again in the spring of 2020. “One of the reasons we started doing this is because we have a lot of college volunteers who work with us, and a lot of them don’t know how to cook,” Good Food for Oxford Schools program director Eleanor Green said. “We want to expose our kids to cooking because the more they can cook, the more they can make healthy

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PHOTOGRAPHED BY JOE WORTHEM

choices and cook for themselves and their families at home.” For Trey, learning to cook for himself in anticipation of college was a primary reason he took the class. Now, with a repertoire of recipes from five successful chefs, Trey feels more prepared. “I wanted to take the class so I could learn how to cook, just for future knowledge so I could have something that I won’t have to stress over when I’m in college and when I graduate,” Trey said. “I’m so glad I took the class because it helped me learn new techniques for cooking, and it provided me with some amazing recipes from different chefs.” Elizabeth Heiskell, who taught the first class, is an experienced cooking instructor. As lead culinary instructor at the Viking Cooking School in Greenwood, she taught cooking classes daily, primarily for adults but also for younger students, and she has noticed some differences between the two groups. AUGUS T 2019 | INVITATION OXFORD

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Little Easy's Famous Spaghetti WITH MEAT SAUCE

Ten Oxford High School students participate in a cooking class taught by experienced local chefs. By the end of the six-week program, students had acquired some professional kitchen skills and learned to make appetizers, entrees and desserts.

“Kids are pretty fearless when it comes to cooking,” Heiskell said. “Adults are under a time constraint and are worried about messing up or wasting ingredients, but kids just want to have fun. They want to throw their passion into it and experiment and feel it when it comes to cooking. They don’t need to feed a family of five; they just want to have fun in the kitchen. These kids were super positive and super excited.” Heiskell’s choice of recipe for the first class was strategic: tomato soup is universally loved, very nutritious, can be made in any season with canned tomatoes, and isn’t too difficult. “It was a simple enough recipe that these students could really find success with pretty easily, and I was hoping that would give them the confidence to try more things,” Heiskell said. Heiskell’s daughter, OHS senior Mary Paxton Heiskell, sat in on her mom’s class and ended up enjoying the process so much she stayed for the entire course. For Mary Paxton, who wants to study event planning and management, the most interesting aspect of the class was seeing the different personalities of each cooking instructor. “It was really fun, and it was really nice to get different chefs’ perspectives,” Mary Paxton said. “I’ve always been around my mom, so getting to be around different chefs was cool. My mom takes her time and she makes jokes, but a lot of other chefs moved a little bit faster. Seeing how they moved through different situations was really interesting.”

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Southern flavors are infused into this hearty spaghetti dinner. Oxford High School cooking class students learned this recipe when Littlejohn’s chef Tim Woodward taught their class in the spring.

As the semester wore on, the students in the OHS cooking class experienced all stages of a four-course meal. Following the class with Heiskell, chef Tim Woodward from Littlejohn’s Quick Shop taught students to make his special spaghetti, and chef Lupe Moreno walked the students through the multiple steps of making tamales. However, the class that was most popular with both Mary Paxton and Trey was Snackbar chef Austin Agent’s course on desserts, where the students made from-scratch pecan pie and homemade vanilla ice cream. “My mom is not a baker, so it’s really interesting to see people baking,” Mary Paxton said. “I usually like to cook more savory foods, but I loved learning new techniques for baking.” When the course ended, students showed off their skills, preparing an elaborate dinner for family, friends and Oxford School District administration, held in the OHS cafeteria. University of Mississippi nutrition and health students helped serve, so the cooking class students could enjoy the meal with their families.

12 cups water 2 teaspoons, plus 2 pinches salt, divided 2 tablespoons olive oil, vegetable oil or butter 1 pound spaghetti 1 medium yellow onion, chopped ½ medium green bell pepper, chopped 2 stalks celery, chopped 2 pounds 80/20 ground beef 1 teaspoon Creole seasoning such as Tony’s or Zatarain’s 1 teaspoon black pepper 1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning 12-ounce can tomato paste 14½-ounce can petite chopped tomatoes with green chiles Two 15-ounce cans tomato sauce 1 tablespoon barbecue sauce ¼ cup olive oil vinaigrette dressing ½ tablespoon minced garlic 1 tablespoon sugar (optional) ¼ cup grated Parmesan and Romano cheese, plus more for garnish

Bring 12 cups of water, a pinch of salt and 1 tablespoon of oil to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Add spaghetti, and cook according to package directions. Saute onion, bell pepper, celery and a pinch of salt in 1 tablespoon hot oil in a large saucepan until slightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add ground beef, Creole seasoning, 2 teaspoons salt, black pepper, onion and garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. Cook, stirring to break up beef, until browned. Drain cooked ground beef, stir in tomato paste, and cook for 1 minute. Stir in chopped tomatoes and chiles, tomato sauce, barbecue sauce, olive oil vinaigrette and minced garlic. Simmer for 3-4 minutes. Add sugar and grated cheeses. Serve meat sauce on a bed of pasta or serve it Southern-style with the meat sauce and pasta mixed together. Top each serving with a little grated Parmesan cheese. AUGUS T 2019 | INVITATION OXFORD

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The Good Food for Oxford Schools Cooking Class will be offered again in the spring of 2020.

Trey’s mom, Amy, attended the dinner and was amazed by the skills her son and his friends developed during the semester. “(The final dinner) really showed a lot of different variety in what they had cooked, and it was good. I think they did a fabulous job,” Amy said. Elizabeth Sneed, a former FoodCorps service member with Good Food for Oxford Schools, helped coordinate the class. Sneed said the course was a chance for the students to learn valuable life skills before they begin living and cooking on their own. “I think cooking classes are really important to all kids, but especially with high school kids,” Sneed said. “They’re getting ready to move out on their own, and I think it’s important for them to be able to cook. Cereal and ramen noodles is fine every once in a while, but it’s nice to be able to cook for yourself as well.” Amy saw firsthand how that goal was achieved through her son’s participation in the class. “It’s like the old adage, ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime,’” Amy said. “In four years, (Trey) will probably be out on his own. Not only can he help out some now, but (when he is on his own) he can put together something with vegetables in it.” Along with the spaghetti, tomato soup and pecan pie recipes featured here, you can also find Lupe Moreno’s chicken tamale recipe on page 80.

Pecan Pie This recipe makes two decadent pies, so you can serve it at a big gathering, or give one to a friend and keep one for your family. Oxford High School cooking class students learned this recipe when dessert chef Austin Agent of City Grocery Restaurant Group taught their class in the spring. 2 cups light corn syrup 6 eggs 2 cups sugar 4 tablespoons melted butter Pinch of salt 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 2 cups pecans 2 (9-inch) baked pie crusts Heat oven to 350°F. Stir together corn syrup, eggs, sugar, butter, salt, vanilla and pecans in a large bowl. Pour mixture into 9-inch cooled, baked pie crusts, dividing it evenly between the two. Bake for 60-70 minutes until set. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

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Parmesan Tomato Basil Soup A classic comfort food, homemade tomato soup is perfect for weekend lunches or weeknight dinners. Oxford High School cooking class students learned this recipe when guest chef Elizabeth Heiskell taught their class in the spring. 4 stalks celery, chopped into thirds 4 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into thirds ½ large onion, peeled and quartered 3 cloves garlic, peeled 3 tablespoons butter 2 tablespoons olive oil ¼ cup all-purpose flour 4 cups chicken broth (plus more if needed) Two 14-ounce cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes with juice

1 tablespoon dried basil 1 teaspoon dried oregano 1 teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon dried parsley ½ teaspoon black pepper Pinch crushed red pepper 1 bay leaf 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 1 to 2 cups half-and-half, milk or heavy cream

Add celery, carrots, onion and garlic to a food processor, and pulse until finely minced. Melt butter in oil in large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Turn heat to medium-high, add minced vegetables and saute for 4 minutes. Sprinkle in flour and continue to cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually whisk in chicken broth. Stir in tomatoes, basil, oregano, salt, parsley and black and red pepper. Add bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or until carrots are tender. Add Parmesan cheese, and whisk to blend. Stir in half-and-half, milk or cream and gently simmer an additional 15-20 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally. Stir in additional chicken broth or cream to reach desired consistency. Remove bay leaf. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.

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T H E B U R N S FA M I LY

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S E V E R A L OX F O R D FA M I L I E S H AV E C R O S S E D T H E G LO B E TO C O M P L E T E T H E I R FA M I L I E S , C H O O S I N G TO WA L K T H E S O M E T I M E S DAU N T I N G B U T U LT I M AT E LY R E WA R D I N G PAT H O F I N T E R N AT I O N A L A D O P T I O N. WRITTEN BY SARAH McCULLEN

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LILIANA SANCHEZ

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LILIANA SANCHEZ

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The Burns family adopted their 2-year-old daughter, Lucy, from Columbia. The photos in the bottom row show Lucy meeting her parents before they brought her home in June.

After their 4-year-old daughter asked if they realized there were children in the world without parents, Anna and Brodie Burns started researching adoption agencies. In December 2017, they submitted their application to adopt through Lifeline Children’s Services. Having been on mission trips to Mexico and Ecuador, the Burnses knew they wanted to adopt from Latin America, and in June, they brought their 2-year-old daughter Lucy home from Colombia. “We chose international adoption because if we hadn’t chosen her, her quality of life would be hopeless,” Anna Burns said. “In Colombia, once (orphaned children) reach maturity they don’t have long-term resources, so she would have just aged out of the system and become a lady of the streets.” Once families decide to adopt, they must consider whether they are willing to adopt a child with special needs. Lucy has hydrocephaly, or extra fluid around her brain, which limits her physical and speech capabilities. Doctors expect her to walk and talk after extensive therapy, but even if not, Anna knows Lucy was meant to complete their family of five. “She has the most beautiful smile,” Anna said. “To be a small

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part of what God can do in her life is so worth all the cost.” Colombia, along with China, South Korea and Haiti, is one of the easiest countries to adopt from. However, adoptions must be coordinated through an accredited agency like LCS. A significant part of the process is the home study. It’s a grueling four- to five-month process involving paperwork and interviews by a social worker who probes into the applicant’s life and past. Once the application and the home study are complete, an incountry agency employee works on matching a child with the family. When all agree on the match, the family travels to the country where they meet the child and finalize the adoption. It often takes weeks to secure the child’s American citizenship, and, according to consideringadoption.com, international adoptions typically cost between $20,000 and $40,000. “People often hear the cost and turn away,” Anna said. “But our social worker said she never declined an adoption for financial reasons. If you are led to adoption, God will provide the funding. We had a fundraiser to cover a $5,625 bill, and we raised $5,725. It just happens.” AUGUS T 2019 | INVITATION OXFORD

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T H E C A R P E N T E R FA M I LY Like the Burnses, Jill and Joey Carpenter were open to adopting a child with a disability. Ultimately, their decision matched them with their son, Witt, now 7, adopted from China in 2014. Witt has arthrogryposis, a condition that limits movement in some joints. “You have to specify what you’re open to, and there were a million possibilities that we had to go through to weigh,” Jill said. “We checked that we were open to club feet.” The Carpenter’s agency, also LCS, sent out weekly emails listing children with more complex needs, and that’s where Jill first saw Witt’s photo. They requested to review his file, and learned more about Witt’s physical condition: he might never walk. When files are requested, the family has two weeks to make a decision. But that same week, Joey was hospitalized. “We felt like we couldn’t make a sound decision right then,” Jill said. “We let Witt’s file go, and for months I thought about him. Then, our social worker called me two months later and said she pulled his file for us, not realizing that we had already looked at him.” The Carpenters agreed that Witt must be the child meant for their family. He’s had two surgeries to correct his club feet and a contracted knee, and now he is able to walk. The Carpenters have three other children. Their oldest, Maddie, said she remembers the day Witt came home, but it feels like he’s always been there. “He laughs at things, which makes everyone else laugh, and he makes everything better,” Maddie said. “He just makes our family more fun.”

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Witt Carpenter, now 7, was adopted from China in 2014. AUGUS T 2019 | INVITATION OXFORD

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T H E S C H M E L Z E R FA M I LY

The Schmelzer family adopted Caroline, now 7, from Ethiopia.

When family friends adopted a baby girl from China, Alison Schmelzer was still in high school. But she set her heart on following in their footsteps. “I knew international adoption was a thing, but I had never seen it firsthand until then,” Alison said. “I already had two brothers, but I begged my mom to adopt a baby girl from China. She said ‘No, we’re too old,’ so I just said ‘Okay, well I’m going to do it one day.’” When Alison met her future husband, Jody, she told him early on that she planned to adopt from China. Jody was on board, but when the couple married, the demands of work and raising their three kids quickly took over. “It wasn’t like we said, ‘Remember that little girl from China? Yeah, we’re not adopting her anymore,’” Alison said. “Life just got so busy with tight budgets, we were tight with our time, tight everything. So for seven years, we just didn’t talk about it.” One day while their kids were napping, Alison stumbled upon a blog written by a Nashville family who had adopted a child from Ethiopia. Alison followed their story for several months. She realized the time had come to adopt — not from China, but from Ethiopia. “(But) Ethiopia scared me,” Alison said. “This family in Nashville had a whole community to support them, and we didn’t have anybody. I wrestled with it for about six months before I felt like I could bring it to Jody.” At first, Jody wasn’t sure it was the right decision. But the next morning, he happened upon Psalm 41. “The first verse says ‘Blessed is he who considers the helpless,’” Jody said. “And I broke. There is nothing more helpless than an orphan.” In 2008, Alison and Jody took the first steps on the journey toward adopting. They followed in the footsteps of the Nashville family, submitting an application to the same agency, All God’s

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Children International. At the time, Ethiopian adoptions often took less than a year, but in the midst of their process, the government put a hold on adoptions due to national turmoil. It took three and a half years for the Schmelzers to bring their daughter Caroline home. “She was 13 months old when we brought her home, so when we started the process, she wasn’t even born yet. She was just a sparkle in God’s eye.” Caroline’s father had given her up after her mother died when Caroline was just four months old. She only weighed 8 pounds and was severely malnourished. “All children are a miracle, but she really is a miracle,” Alison said. “She was so sick, (but) by the time we were matched, she was happy and doing just fine.” Matches are based on compatibility between the family’s desires and ability to provide care for the child’s needs. Jody and Alison matched with Caroline on paper, but their relationship was rocky for the first several months. “We were bringing home a 1-year-old, but she was old enough to be super scared of us and not attached at all,” Alison said. “We had to literally teach her how to trust us. She had no sense of belonging to a family, especially not a white family who spoke English. Still, to this day, that was one of the hardest seasons of my life.” Today, the Schmelzers remember Caroline’s heritage by celebrating Ethiopian Christmas and the day she came to America by eating cake, wearing clothes from Africa, and reading her favorite book, “E is for Ethiopia.” Adored by her siblings, 7-year-old Caroline is now a seamless fit into the Schmelzer family, “I always prayed that when I saw her I would just know that she was ours, and when we got our first picture of her, we said ‘Oh my goodness, she has Jody and Carson’s smile,” Alison said. “She looks like us.”

T H E M E U R R I E R FA M I LY

Ramsey Meurrier was adopted from Taiwan in 2013.

Meredith Meurrier had wanted to adopt since building a friendship in college with a girl from Korea. But just like the Schmelzers, she and her husband, Michael, were busy with work and raising their daughters, Myla and Selah. But then one day when her youngest was about a year old, Meredith happened upon that same Nashville family’s blog and felt the desire to adopt welling up in her again. “I finally told Michael, ‘I don’t think God is done with our family,’” Meredith said. “I didn’t really know what that would look like, but I asked him what he thought about adoption.” Michael said he had been thinking the same thing, and in January 2012, they decided to adopt from Ethiopia. Unsure how to start the process, Meredith reached out to Alison Schmelzer. “She was so helpful in us getting started,” Meredith said. “We were using the same adoption agency. But in spring 2012, Ethiopian adoptions all but shut down.” The process came to a screeching halt. But several of the Meurriers’ friends had adopted from Taiwan, so the Meurriers decided to switch countries. They matched within a few months, and brought their son, Ramsey, home in September 2013 when he was 15 months old. Despite the joy, families often struggle as the child adjusts to life with a strange family in a foreign country. “On blogs and stuff, they come home and everything’s perfect,” Meredith said. “No one talks about how hard it is when you come home.” “All of a sudden you have a new addition, and he doesn’t speak English, and he realizes he’s somewhere different,” Michael said. “The schedules and the food are different, he doesn’t hear his language. And it’s hard to remember that when you’re not sleeping. It feels like forever, but in reality (the adjustment period) was only about six to eight weeks.” The Meurriers’ trials equipped them to offer encouragement and advice to other adopting families, like the Burnses, the Carpenters, and Brooke and Timothy Gibson, who are in the process of adopting from India. They all share in the lifelong journey that is international adoption and are willing to help families get started. “Meredith is now part of this really cool adoption community, and that’s one of the blessings of struggling through what we did,” Michael said. “Alison helped her, and we’ve gotten to help other families.” “I just want people to know that if this is something you’re considering, there are people who have done it, and it is so, so worth it,” Meredith said. “The support here is strong.” AUGUS T 2019 | INVITATION OXFORD

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TAY LOR FARMERS M ARKE T PHOTOGRAPHED BY SARAH McCULLEN

The Plein Air community in Taylor hosted its summer farmers market June 1. The event featured live music and food vendors as well as handmade pottery and artwork. The market takes place every other Saturday through the end of August. View more photos at invitationoxford.com.

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YAPPY HOUR PHOTOGRAPHED BY ALEX SAGE

A pet-friendly Yappy Hour took place June 4 at Track 61. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Dr. Leslie Tubb Spay & Neuter Project at the Oxford Lafayette Humane Society. The nonprofit offers low-cost spay and neuter surgeries for dogs and cats. 1

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1. Hermine Walker, Ashlyn Doss and Kim Frink 2. Alex and Andy Yelton with Vegas 3. Duncan and Amber Gray 4. Shelby Hess and Olive 5. Larry and Cassie Veasey with Rocket Dog and Flower 6. Sarah Grace Hollowell and Grace Gillespie with Larry 7. Francie Stewart and Georgia Hogue with Mikie

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OHS 50TH CLASS REUNION Oxford High School’s class of 1969 held its 50th reunion celebration May 31-June 1. The event featured a cocktail party, outdoor catfish dinner and candlelight memorial service for former classmates. View more photos at invitationoxford.com.

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1. Carole Butler Haney and Nina Stubblefield Tollison 2. Ben Nash with Karen and Randy Corban, Tim Tatum and Bobby Kilpatrick 3. Al Fenger and Frank Varnado 4. Vicki and Harry Sneed 5. Marjorie Murry Buckley, Peggy Bumgarter Tubbs, Joy Plants Batte and Sandra Hickman Bruner 6. Bill Duke and Jim Martin

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BLUE MOON IN JUNE PHOTOGRAPHED BY ABBEY EDMONSON

The Ole Miss Tri Delta alumnae chapter held Blue Moon in June on June 27 at the home of Lindsay Beauchamp. Generations of Tri Delta women gathered at the house for food and fellowship. 1

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1. Jenny Stubblefield, Lindsay Beauchamp, Summer Anderson and Ann Chancellor Roberson 2. Mary Chris Moore, Leigh Tucker and Taylor Kilgore 3. Ellen Ossorio, Caroline Johnson and Julie Russell 4. Berry Johnson and Becky Finan 5. Gayle Henry, Shirley Crawford and Joanna Heidel 6. Lisa Tollison and Debbie Little

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ACE ATKINS BOOK SIGNING PHOTOGRAPHED BY ALEXIS LEE

Square Books hosted a signing of “The Shameless” by Ace Atkins July 9 at Off Square Books. The event included refreshments and featured a live interview with fellow author Jack Pendarvis. 1

View more photos at invitationmag.com.

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1. Larry Wells, Jack Pendarvis and Cody Morrison 2. Chris Offutt, Melissa Ginsburg and Lucky Tucker 3. Anna Tschumper and Ruth Rogue 4. Cecilia and Sam Marshall 5. Andy Harper, John T. Edge, Price Walden and Blair Hobbs 6. Nancy and Jim Kesselring 7. Kathleen Wickham and Dorothy Abbott 8. Cliff and Ann Richardson 9. Greg and Andria Pollan 10. Shelley and Michael Stewart

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FAULKNER CONFERENCE PHOTOGRAPHED BY MEGAN WOLFE

The University of Mississippi hosted the 46th annual Faulkner & Yoknapatawpha Conference July 21-25. The event featured five keynote lectures, panel presentations, tours of north Mississippi and the Delta, and sessions on “Teaching Faulkner.” 1

View more photos at invitationoxford.com.

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1. Harry E. Old Jr., Kimma Sheldon-Old and James Carothers 2. Hollis Carolyn Heyn and Pete Shannon 3. Tom McLaughlin and Melissa Schiffman 4. Suzanne Noel and Jimmy Robertson 5. Tim and LeeAnne Carlson 6. Charles Peek and John Duvall 7. Jimmy Thomas and Mary Leach 8. Sarah Gray with Jack Matthews 9. Taylor Hagood and Sarah Gleeson-White

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CAMP LAKE STEPHENS PHOTOGRAPHED BY JOE WORTHEM

Camp Lake Stephens held a summer session camp wrap-up program July 13. The event included music and fellowship for parents, friends, staff and campers.

1

View more photos at invitationoxford.com.

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1. Joli, Kylie, Kora, Maddox and Kelsey Holzhauer 2. Brayden and Noah Dickson with Kass Phillips, Logan Willbanks and Anne Elise Downs 3. Jason and Kayla Duncan 4. Mazie, Johnna and Ansley Garner with Emily Elliot 5. Gray and Jane Claire Shettles 6. Suzanne, Collins and Campbell Helveston 7. Angie and Shane Homan 8. Blake and Ella Thompson 9. Braxton, Bruce, Magnolia and Karrie Hall 10. Michael and Whitney Wright with Shelby Cook

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40 YEARS OF BOOK POSTERS PHOTOGRAPHED BY ABBEY EDMONDSON

Square Books hosted a reception July 11 at Southside Gallery that featured book posters from the past 40 years. The event was held in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of Square Books. View more photos at invitationoxford.com.

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1. Sean and Liam Ennis 2. Angela Green, Scott Barretta and Coulter Fussell 3. Lyn Roberts and Richard Howorth 4. Gerald and Genie Henson 5. Drew and Marilyn Billings 6. Glenn Hunt and Beckett Howorth

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Committed to Excellence

QUARTERBACK CLUB KICKOFF

Dan Finan, Realtor Ole Miss’15 MBA

PHOTOGRAPHED BY ABBEY EDMONSON

The Ole Miss Quarterback Club held its annual kickoff meeting July 20 at The Manning Center. The event featured speakers plus a buffet catered by Taylor Grocery Catering. View more photos at invitationoxford.com.

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CELL: 601.917.5429 wdfinan@hotmail.com www.resideoxford.com OFFICE: 662.234.5621

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1. Charlie Williams and Henry Paris 2. Lee Meek and Gregory Gray 3. Carol Jo Barnes and Dinah Jordan with Don and Cathy Martin 4. Phyllis Brewer and Darlene Ballard with Cynthia and Ronny Brewer 5. Cole and Darden Moore with Anne and Jerry Veazy 6. Becki and Art Bresslert 7. Beth and David Ducrest

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FA SHION RUNWAY C A MP PHOTOGRAPHED BY ABBEY EDMONDSON

The Yoknapatawpha Arts Council held a Fashion Runway Sewing Camp July 15-19. A highlight of the camp was a fashion show featuring campers modeling garments they made throughout the week. 1

View more photos at invitationoxford.com.

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1. Meghan, Siobhan and Dave Ray 2. Thomas, Paul, Hannah and Esther Jeong 3. Norah Bruce and William Keene 4. Melissa and Eden Bass 5. Kristie and Madeline Swain 6. George, Jim and Jim Booth III 7. Marcus, Frances and Alice Inman

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MISSISSIPPI'S BEST

OUT & ABOUT VIEW MORE PHOTOS AT INVITATIONOXFORD.COM

C a m p I nve nt io n

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O x fo rd S e c re t C o me dy C lu b

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Yok n a pat aw ph a Me m b e r s h i p P ic n ic

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1. Kerri Greene, Amy Rosen and Haley Vassar 2. McCord Bain, Dylan Barnett, Theresa Bates, Keegan Green and Evan Spearman 3. Carley Harrison and Kristen Phillips 4. Will Loden 5. Mo Alexander 6. Jamie and Rosemond Posey with Nathan Robbins

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CHICKEN

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TA M ALES

A LO C A L C H E F S H A R E S A FA M I LY R E C I P E F O R T R A D I T I O N A L M E X I C A N TA M A L E S . RECIPE BY LUPE MORENO

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PHOTOGRAPHED BY JOE WORTHEM

M

aria Guadalupe Moreno studied to be a chef in Mexico before moving to Oxford. She learned to make tamales at her mom’s side when she was a teenager, and recently passed on the skill to high school students in the Good Food for Oxford Schools cooking class. For more about the class, turn to page 44. Moreno’s tamales are available at Chicory Market, or try your hand at making your own from her recipe, below.

1 package large dried corn husks 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts ½ pound fresh tomatillos, peeled 3 fresh jalapeno peppers 8 ounces lard

6 cups Maseca for tamales 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon salt (plus more if needed) 5 cups warm water (plus more if needed) ½ cup vegetable oil

½ onion, chopped 1 tablespoon garlic powder or more to taste 1 tablespoon ground cumin or more to taste Crumbled queso fresco cheese, sour cream and pickled jalapeno slices, to garnish

Soak corn husks in hot water to cover 1 to 11/2 hours or until softened.

a small bowl and add to the lard. Continue mixing, adding the warm water a little at a time, scraping down sides as needed, until dough is fluffy. Test dough by dropping a marble-sized ball into warm water. If it floats, the dough is ready. If not, beat in more warm water, 1 tablespoon at a time. When dough is ready, let rest for 15-20 minutes.

tamale dough into a ¼-inch-thick rectangle on the left side of the wider end of 1 corn husk, leaving a 2-inch border at the bottom edge of the husk. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the chicken mixture down the center of the dough rectangle. Starting on the left side, roll the mixture in the husk, enclosing filling. Fold up the narrow end of the husk to seal the bottom. Repeat with remaining corn husks, dough and chicken mixture.

Meanwhile, place chicken in a large pot, and add water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat, cover, and simmer until cooked through, about 40 minutes. Drain chicken, and let cool to the touch, about 10 minutes. Shred cooled chicken. Place tomatillos and jalapenos in a separate pot, and add water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain tomatillos and peppers. Transfer to a blender or food processor, and process just until smooth. To prepare the tamale dough, cream lard by hand or with an electric mixer at medium speed until soft. Combine Maseca, baking powder and salt in

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Meanwhile, heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Saute onions in hot oil for about 3 minutes; then add shredded chicken, and cook, stirring often, 3-5 minutes. Stir in tomatillo mixture, garlic powder and cumin, plus salt to taste, and simmer about 5 minutes. Drain corn husks, and pat dry. To prepare the tamales, spread 1 to 2 tablespoons

Place a large steamer basket in a large pot filled with 1 to 2 inches of water. Stand tamales in steamer basket, folded-side down. Cover and bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook about 35-40 minutes, until dough is firm. Transfer tamales to a serving platter, and serve with crumbled queso fresco cheese, sour cream and pickled jalapeno slices.


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