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all about

editor Sherrie Norris 828-264-3612 ext. 251

MARKETING CONSULTANTs Aimee Hicks, Crystal Owens, Amanda Swartz, Mark Mitchell, Laura Henley and Rex Goss


Graphic DesignerS Robert Moore, Jennifer Canosa, Robert Hampton, Meleah Petty

Contributing writers Corrinne Loucks Assad, Genevieve Austin, June W. Bare, Maggie Bishop, Sherry Boone, Heather Young Brandon, Sharon Carlton, Bonnie Church, Danica Goodman, Bill Hensley, Heather W. Jordan, Kelly Penick, Sue Spirit, Teri Wiggans

Copy editing Sandy Shook

For advertising CALL


Black Swallowtail on Bullthistle

by Rob Moore 4


Cover and Feature Photos: Robert Moore Any reproduction of news articles, photographs, or advertising artwork is strictly prohibited without permission from management. ŠCopyright 2010 A Mountain Times Publication




At The


Saddle Club 30 Features


Bloom Where 23 Young @ 24 All About 42 The Pet 45 Mom’s 47 48



Power of the Purse 14 You Go 16 Woman of 20 High Country 26 All About Men: Ed 34 Renting Out Your 36

Shauna Godwin Brings Excitement to the Stage



Gail Pitts Todd General The Grace with Store 12 Which we Travel


From Around the World to



Arts & 38 Travel & 43 Motherhood & 46 Beauty & 49 Health & Fitness............................ pg 53 Food & Drink................................. pg 56 SEPTEMBER 2010


Editor’s Note

It’s All About Choices

Choices control your calendar. Wow, those words, found in the heading of a recent daily devotion, were simple, but yet profound. In his writings, the Rev. Rick Warren continued, “Your choices control your calendar and, as a result, your lifestyle. Your choices are far more powerful than your circumstances. You may not like how complicated your life has become, yet, with very few exceptions, no one is forcing you to keep your life complicated. “You have the power to simplify your life.” I read it again and again – and yet, again, until (I think!) I finally got it. My boss had been trying to tell me practically the same thing since he came here last fall, but seeing it in black and white heightened the impact. Later, in that same text, Warren went on to say, “Ultimately, it will be the donation of your life that will count far more than the duration. In other words, it’s not how long you live — or even how much you cram into how long you live — it’s really about how you live.” He even gave three essential steps to simplify our lives: • First, figure out your purpose, and then let your purpose guide the goals of your life. • Second, organize your activities based upon your purpose. • Finally, harmonize your schedule with your purpose; that is, bring your activities into agreement with your goals.

Visit to find links and resources for all stories mentioned in this issue.

From the Christian perspective, he’s telling us that we have just enough time to do God’s will while we’re here on Earth. “You’ve been given just enough time to fulfill your purpose. When you try to do more than God planned for you, it’s only natural that you’ll find yourself constantly out of time or stressed over your schedule. If it doesn’t fit the purpose of your life, God doesn’t want you doing it. In fact, he may be overjoyed that you finally got the message and stopped doing meaningless activities. He may even want you to add “rest” or “have fun” to your to-do list. Wow … I couldn’t have said it better myself. At first, I thought this text would take me away from what I had planned to write in this very space, but suddenly, it seems so ironic – and so very close. I planned to talk about all that’s happened to me this summer – from becoming a future mother-in-law to a young lady that my husband and I love almost as much as our son does … to an adventurous “mission” trip in a depressed coal mining town in Pennsylvania and a quick stop in the Amish Country that I absolutely love. (We all went to do a good deed, but came back blessed more than we could’ve possibly blessed others.) I had an almost humorous story to tell about subtlety refusing to heed my husband’s numerous warnings about my hot foot on the way out of small Tennessee towns, enroute to Pennsylvania on that first Saturday morning – and my eager arrival to the interstate where I could “make some good time.” Fifteen minutes later, in the heart of Wythe County, I met a (well, nice) state trooper who thought I was a little anxious to get out of town; he gave me something to remember him by and implored me to be careful. My sweet husband just smiled at me and never said a word. I refused to let either of them, as well as a yellow piece of paper, ruin my mission trip that had just begun two hours earlier. It’s all about choices . . . Ya think? Hoping we make the right ones together,

Sherrie Norris, Editor 6 SEPTEMBER 2010


Readers’ Thank You My wife, Scotty, and I were in Boone Saturday helping move some furniture, plant flowers and visit our daughter, Kaycie, who is a rising senior at Appalachian State University. My wife graduated from ASU in 1976. While in Boone we made a quick stop in the local Chick- fil -A where we picked up a copy of your All About Women Magazine. I am currently reading your interesting article about “Health Benefits Of Orange Fruits And Vegetables.” I see where Dr. Witold Kosmala made a request concerning an article on “Red Fruits And Vegetables.” Can you please tell us how to find and read this article? We missed it! There is also some other cool stuff in your magazine and website. THANKS, Sherrie!! Sonny Jackson

To send a letter contact: Sherrie Norris, Editor

It’s About REAL Women Dear Ms. Norris,

I love getting this great publication every time it comes out and wish that you all would return to every month. You always have such good stories about women around here who we know but we don’t always know all the great things they do. I love this magazine and just want to thank you for doing such a favor to local women. We might not all have made great accomplishments but we all have a story to tell and you are so good to let us have our chance to tell it. It’s about real women and that includes all of us. Thank you, Shannon (Good news Shannon. We are returning to monthly publications beginning now!)

CORRECTION: Oops, we goofed – In the August issue of AAW, we incorrectly identified Dr. Mark Pruett as Director of ASU’s Center for Entrepreneurship, when in fact, Dr. Bryan Toney has been the director since the Center’s inception. We apologize for any embarrassment this might have caused.

Voice Winning Words From One of Our Columnists

I barely had a chance to look at the latest issue before I began getting some great feedback from others. Some friends from Nashville were visiting. Star is an artist and Kurt is a novelist – both picky about content and images. Star picked up the latest AAW somewhere. She did not “connect” that this was the magazine I write for. She came in, carrying it and asked - “This is a really great local magazine… Have you read it?” Her stamp of approval speaks volumes. Thanks for all you do to make us all look good!!!! Bonnie Church




News Bits

N.C. Promoting and Protecting Health of Women and Children For a wealth of information to promote and protect the health of families, visit one of North Carolina’s newest websites at aboutus/womenshealth.htm The website is a valuable tool of the Women’s Health Branch of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, which develops and promotes programs and services that protect the health and well-being of infants and women during their child-bearing years.The goal is to improve the overall health

of women, reduce infant sickness and death, and strengthen families and communities. Local health departments and other community agencies serving each of the 100 counties in North Carolina provide a variety of these women’s health services, including family planning, prenatal care, flu shots and other women’s immunizations, and maternity care coordination. For more information on the services near you, contact your local health department.

High Country Mom Squad Has The Answers! Online Magazine for Moms The High Country Mom Squad is a website/online magazine dedicated to women and families through which contributors cover many aspects of life and parenting, and provide information and community, i.e., shopping, dining and playing. Plus: • A schedule of “Kids Eat Free” restaurants, and the best kids’

menus in the area. • Specials, sales and coupons for retail stores. • Contests and giveaways. • Great activities to do with the whole family. • A listing of local parks, with special features of each. • Businesses that love to serve moms, and go out of their way to make each experience pleasant for you and your kids.




See what you’ve been missing at www.

It all began in the mid-90s when celebrity fitness trainer “Beto” Perez stumbled upon the concept of Latin-inspired dance fitness in his native Cali, Colombia, after forgetting his music for an aerobics class he taught. Pulling tapes of traditional Latin salsa from his backpack was just the beginning of a new fitness epidemic that is changing lives daily. Zumba classes, led by certified Zumba trainers, are currently offered at the following locations:

Taking High Country By Storm Zumba is the long-awaited answer to fitness and fun, according to hundreds of High Country women who have become hooked on the new program that has become a worldwide phenomenon. Zumba fuses hypnotic Latin rhythms and easy-to-follow moves to create a oneof-a-kind fitness program that is taking the High Country by storm. It allows participants to achieve long-term benefits, while experiencing an absolute blast in one exciting hour of calorie-burning, bodyenergizing, awe-inspiring movements meant to engage and captivate for life! The routines feature interval training sessions where fast and slow rhythms and resistance training are combined to tone and sculpt your body while burning fat.Add

• Humorous and informative parenting articles. • Opportunities for YOU (local moms and dads) to share your experiences and give feedback, as well.

Instructor Gwen Dingh zooms a recent class through the latest Zumba steps. Photo by Corrinne Loucks Assad

some Latin flavor and international zest into the mix, and you’ve got a Zumba class! Zumba has been described as “nothing short of a revolution, spreading like wildfire, and positioning itself as the single most influential movement in the industry of fitness.” Zumba is being taught at more than 60,000 locations in 105 countries, has sold millions of DVDs, and has changed lives worldwide, with an estimated 8 million participants taking Zumba classes every week.


High Country Dance Studio, The Wellness Center, ASU’s Plemmons Student Union

Banner Elk:

Lees-McRae College Student Recreation Center

West Jefferson:

Ashe Services for Aging Littles Health and Fitness Center


Mountain Hearts Wellness Center


Local DAR

“ ”

Acquires National Award for American Legion

The Daniel Boone Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) recently presented a prestigious National Community Service Award to the the Honor Guard of the Watauga American Legion Post 130. Usually given to no more than two individuals each year, the citation was awarded to 13 members of the Honor Guard during an impressive ceremony at their Boone post. Chapter/state regent Anne Van Noppen Millsaps of Boone worked for two years to obtain this honor for these men and defied the odds by being able to honor the large group at one time. “There was not just one or two who deserved this award.They all did. I was determined to see that they each received the credit they were due for a job well done,” she said. The award was given in recognition of the guard’s provision of dignified full military funerals for more than 30 years in Watauga County, a service rendered to deceased veterans and their families, at no charge The long-overdue recognition would not have been possible without the dedication and perseverance of the Daniel Boone Chapter of the NSDAR, which is approximately 80 women strong.

Miss High Country Sweetheart Pageant Sept. 25 The Miss High Country beauty pageant will be held on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010, at the Watauga High School in Boone. The “Little Miss High Country” title will be given to the contestant in the Little Miss and under age division with the highest points in the beauty competition. The “Miss High Country” title will be given to the contestant in the Junior Miss and up age divisions with the highest points in the beauty competition. For questions, rules and guidelines, or any other pageant information, contact the pageant director at (828) 773-0017 or e-mail



Evening at the Auction Scenes from the recent “Evening at the Auction,� an annual fundraising event for High Country Caregivers Foundation, held each year at the H.C. Evans Auditorium on the campus of Lees McRae College in Banner Elk.

Greeting the crowd were representatives of local healthcare agencies l-r: Julie Getty, Linda Bretz and Sharon Wellborn.

Ellen Harrell and Brenda Reece work diligently behind the scenes to make sure local family caregivers have the support they need and deserve.

Gigi Barker, left, and Dr. Carole Schaffer represent another dynamic duo that makes things happen for local caregivers.



Stacey Gibson Joins All About Women Staff “I am excited to announce the addition of a Niche Marketing Manager, Stacey Gibson, to our group of magazines in the High Country,” states Advertising Director of Mountain Times Publications, Charles Price. “Stacey is a long-time resident of the High Country, and has extraordinary qualifications to lead sales, marketing, advertising and promotional efforts for our niche publications.” According to Price,“Stacey’s customer focus was apparent when she served us as our National and Majors Manager, but before that, she had a very successful career as Media and Marketing Manager for Hardee’s Food Systems.” Stacey also served as Media Director, New Business Director, Media Buyer, and Regional Planning Supervisor at some of North Carolina’s most successful agencies. She will direct her attention to All About Women, Summer Times, Autumn Times and Winter Times, as well as other niche opportunities. “Stacey’s expertise will help our magazine advertisers while allowing our other marketing consultants to focus more on our newspapers and online advertising,” Price adds. Stacey says, “All About Women and the seasonal Times Magazines are vibrant and engaging information staples here in the High Country. They play a pivotal role in celebrating the unique place we live with one another and visitors to our community. It’s a huge thrill to be a part of these publications as they grow and evolve. I look forward to continually raising the bar on the reader’s and advertiser’s experience with these magazines.” Welcome Stacey!



From Around the World to

Todd General Store

By June W. Bare


hy do 70,000 people a year from around the world want to visit an old country store? Worse, they have to wind several miles around hairpin turns on a two-lane mountain road to get there. Books, antiques, knickknacks, T-shirts, food – these can be bought anywhere. The draw of both local people and tourist to Todd General Store could be the love and pride the owners put into the operation. Gini Mann and Bob, her husband of 25 years, are both energetic and sociable, but there’s so much more. They enjoy people and they provide a unique experience for their visitors. They treat their patrons as friends and they provide the best. Gini says, “This isn’t a place where you sit and read a book.” 12 SEPTEMBER 2010

Gini, mother of two children and grandmother of five who do not live locally, jokes, “I’ve celebrated the 30th anniversary of my 30th birthday.” Her energy suggests a much younger woman. She grew up along the New Jersey shore and then Philadelphia. A graduate of the University of Pittsburg in psychology and horticulture, she operated her own wholesale garden center outside Philadelphia. She met Bob in church, and they were married 25 years ago. After marriage, they moved to Florida and operated a commercial printing business. Gini came to the cool mountains of

North Carolina some years ago to recover from a serious automobile accident. When she and Bob retired, it was an easy choice to return to North Carolina.They started from the southwest corner of the state in search of a cool spot. Todd was it. They live in Todd, except from January to the middle of March. Besides the cooler weather, one of the big draws to the area was the music and the culture. “The only drawback, “Gini regrets,” is I don’t get to be with my grandchildren” Why the store? Gini relates, “I bought my husband a job! Bob didn’t fare well in retirement. He never sits still.”



Todd General Store Features: • Deli and grill • Crafts • Homemade jellies • Ice cream, floats and milk shakes • Antiques, collectibles, rustic furniture

In-Season Activities:

Todd General Store has been in constant operation since 1914, when the first owners, Walter and Annie Cook, opened it. They lived in the little cottage next door with their five children and ran the store. When Gini and Bob bought the store from Joe Morgan, they renovated the facility. Now, it houses not only three floors of antiques, collectibles and rustics but they also have a fine deli and soda fountain – great root beer floats. A store in the middle of nowhere might draw people from around the world, but Gini says, “Most of our friends have been made and cultivated through the store.” The unique features of Todd General Store go beyond the shelves filled with birdhouses, across from toilet paper, next to the motor oil, and around the corner from the catsup.There are regular activities to draw repeated visitors and newcomers to the little village store. Tuesday evening, dinner and storytelling from the National Story Telling Guild; Friday evening, dinner and bluegrass; Saturday, local authors sign their books and artisans demonstrate and sell their wares. How did this happen? Gini said, “It sort of fell into our laps.” They are thrilled to be able to expand the culture, especially for the old-time High Country residents. Middle-agers resonate with the music, and the young people learn about mountain music. And did we mention food? Gini and her cook provide home-cooked meals from scratch, with the very best ingredients – numerous sandwiches and crab cakes, to name a few. How do people from around the world know about Todd General Store? The store has been featured in the New York Times, North Carolina Travel Television program, and National Geographic. People have driven from Alaska, come from Scotland, and many other places. In a recent visit, a Scottish lady danced

• Tuesday 5-7 p.m. – Dinner and storytelling • Friday 6-9 p.m. – Dinner and bluegrass • Saturday 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.– Author signings; artisan displays and sales

Store hours:

Monday - Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; noon-5 p.m. Sunday (vary seasonally)


3866 Railroad Grade Road; Todd, N.C. 28684




Todd General store has been a community favorite since 1914.

in the middle of the floor. The primary clientele are drawn tourists, local restaurant customers and people interested in local bluegrass bands. The home-cooked food brings them back. What does Gini do from January to the middle of March? She claims to be a voracious reader, she is an avid scuba diver, and a large portion of her time is spent at estate sales along the East Coast to replenish their stock. When asked about future developments for Todd General Store, Gini answers,“My lips are sealed.”



The Power of Impact Felt At


LUNCHEON By Sharon Carlton


niting in their efforts to empower other women on their way to becoming selfsufficient, attendees of the recent High Country Women’s Fund (HCWF) Power of the Purse Luncheon raised more than $45,000, with additional funds still coming in. On July 20, nearly 300 women gathered at the Blowing Rock Country Club “to share in our mission and to learn about the needs in our community and how they can plug in,” shared Lindsay Miller, HCWF coordinator. “Memberships have increased and sponsorships have grown as the word has spread of the opportunities HCWF presents for women to support other women.“ The event opened with welcoming remarks from advisory council members Margaret “Pinky” Hayden and Kim Kincaid who shared an overview of HCWF, which functions under the umbrella of the High Country United Way and works with local agencies to target the most critical issues of women and girls in Watauga and Avery counties. Last year, HCWF distributed $61,000 in funds to assist local women and their families with housing, transportation, personal empowerment, education and personal needs. Former Metropolitan Opera mezzosoprano Brenda Boozer and her composer-conductor-pianist husband, Dr. Ford Lallerstedt, entertained their attentive audience with selections related to transformation and empowerment.


“We cannot change the circumstances of our past. However, we can control the decisions we make today concerning our circumstances,” Boozer said. The characters in her selections were victims of circumstance beyond their

Luncheon attendees admire select auction items donated by generous businesses and individuals for a good cause.

control. They each had made a decision to change their circumstances, which changed their lives, moving them from victim to freedom. HCWF member and former coordinator Catherine Scantlin related

the story of “Susanne,” a divorced mother of four, and one of many women who have received assistance and encouragement from HCWF. With no support from family or friends, Veronica found herself to be one of more than 1,500 women in the High Country living below the poverty line, even though she had a four-year degree. Realizing that she could not manage by herself, reaching out for help was the hardest decision for Veronica. With counsel and support from HCWF and other agencies, she has set new goals and is now studying toward a secondary education degree at ASU. Although there are still bumps in the road, Veronica says she perseveres because she has the support of other women and because she wants to be that same support for others one day, making a difference through an organization like HCWF. For those who would like to share their time, talents and treasures to empower other women on their way to being self-sufficient, HCWF offers a variety of venues for involvement to whatever degree women may choose. Serving for one hour or for 10 on a service project, providing snacks, hosting a get-together or donating financially are just a few of the many opportunities for women to make a positive impact in our community. For more information about the High Country Women’s Fund, please call (828) 264-4007, or visit www.




Event co-chair Erin Thmpson, HCWF community outreach chair Mary Jo Grubbs and HCWF Advisory Committee member /auctioneer Jenny Miller.



Jenny Miller enthusiastically auctions the goods.

It’s all about women helping women.




Dunnigan Homecoming Queen Has Dreams Of Medical Career


By Sherrie Norris

ourtney Dunnigan of Boone is proud to wear the crown of Watauga High’s Homecoming Queen for another month or two, but her sights are set on something far above the high school social scene. In fact, the stars in her eyes have everything to do with a future in medicine. Courtney has just begun her freshman year at Wake Forest University in pursuit of a masters degree in chemistry – or maybe biology - which will ultimately lead her to medical school and a career in cancer research. Oh, the stuff that dreams are made of – and she knows there’s nothing easy about the goals that she’s set for herself. Anyone who knows Courtney will attest to the fact

Courtney Dunnigan, 2010 WHS Senior Class president celebrates a major milestone recently with her mother, Tammy Dunnigan. Photos Provided

that she sets herself up for success and has the drive to make things happen. The middle of three children born to Bobby and Tammy Dunnigan of Boone, Courtney excels in everything she attempts to do. Having recently graduated with the last class at the “old” WHS, with a list of accomplishments, accolades and honors a mile long, Courtney was a well-rounded, hard-working student both there and at Hardin Park Elementary School, where she spent the first nine years of her education. She just wouldn’t be a Dunnigan if sports didn’t play a huge role in her life, as many of us know what an impact they’ve all had on the local sports world. She’s played basketball and softball, she’s run track, been active in dance and was a member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes – just for starters! Bu as her dreams and ambitions suggest, there is so much more about Courtney than competing on the court. Gifted student that she is, Courtney served on Student Council, was honored through the Pioneer Spotlight, received her academic letter, Lamp of Knowledge, was nominated Courtney Dunnigan has just begun her freshman year at Wake Forest University in preparation for a medical career in cancer research. She’s going to miss those mountain snowflakes this year!


for Governor’s School for Science, added to the National Honor Society, named Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Ambassador and was both her junior and senior class president. She was elected to homecoming court as a sophomore and again, as senior, when she received her crown and automatic invitation to compete in the NC Homecoming Queen Pageant. She participated in the Women in Mathematics Conference at ASU; was member of the WHS Beta Club, was named both Junior and Senior Student Council MVP, received the President’s Award for Service as a senior as well as the Lan O’Loughlin Personal Achievement Award, Citizenship Award, Dream Team Award, and the Blowing Rock Rotary Scholarship. Admitting that it’s taken a lot of time and energy to be the best student – and person – in general, that she can be, Courtney has always found time to go above and beyond what’s expected. She was involved in the Students Against Destructive Decisions Club, (SADD), and has had a heart for others in community service with such events as Special Olympics, Relay for Life, and the Empty Bowls Fundraising Dinner. She has been involved as a volunteer for Mr. Watauga High School, Habitat for Humanity, Health and Hunger Coalition, Salvation Army, Santa’s Toy Box, Interact Club and Youth Service Day – just to name a few. Courtney is a member of Boone United Methodist Church Youth Group through which she has been instrumental in the success of various related events. Her personal interest and involvement with the Susan B. Comen Walk for the Cure and Relay for Life, of which she was a team captain, evolved from the heartbreak she and her family endured a short time ago with the death of her aunt, Kim, who succumbed way too soon after a cancer diagnosis. Courtney has worked her way through school as an assistant at Advance Realty, when she’s not been occupied with those “fun” things she calls hobbies -sports, scrapbooking, dance, science, music, reading, photography, and of course, friends, of which she has too many to count. We know there’s a bright future ahead for Courtney the Queen whose very presence has made a difference in Boone.




Grace With B Which We Travel By Genevieve Austin

eautiful people seem to blossom from the inside out. Gail Pitts epitomizes the meaning of “beautiful person.” Time with Gail is filled with laughter and good times. She inspires those close to her through her grace, elegance and a tenacious enduring spirit. Native to Blowing Rock, Gail’s roots stem from the Dula and Coffey families, a local history that spans six generations. She invested five years creating genealogical family tree books for each family. “The kitchen table was covered,” she said. “It was extremely detailed and organized.” We c a n t h a n k h e r f o r tenaciously following each lead and placing every call to confirm an accurate family record of the Dula and Coffey lineage. She generously Pokey donated the books to the Blowing Rock Historical Society and the Watauga County Public Library. Johann von Goethe wrote, “A talent is formed in stillness, a character in the world’s torrent.” Life’s mysteries define our journeys through unpredictable paths. Gail’s journey has been

full and blessed, with a few of fate’s challenging obstacles thrown before her. Blessed with a loving husband and two beautiful boys, Gail faced the torrential experience of becoming a widow at the age of 24. Her husband died of an enlarged heart. Her sons were 3 and 5 years old. Raising two boys alone was challenging enough, but Gail also went to school and worked hard to provide for her family. She received a degree from Appalachian State University and pursued graduate studies in sociology. The next chapter of her life presented another unique twist. After the death of her husband, the family decided to get a puppy. Gail recalls the visit to the shelter. One puppy stood out as “the ugliest” puppy in the shelter. Her son, Chris, asked about it. Its acquired name, Pokey, came from its reluctance to come when called to eat. Extra precautions were taken at the shelter to ensure the dog received adequate nourishment. The boys decided it had to be their dog; they feared she may end up homeless or dead if they didn’t take her. Not only was Pokey “ugly,” she had a glandular condition that caused her to

Life’s mysterious twists and turns are inexplicable, but the grace with which we travel through defines our spirit and our legacy.



emit a foul odor. Gail laughs and swears, “I bathed that dog every single Saturday throughout her whole life. But the smell still permeated everything!” Pokey lived as her smelly self to the ripe old age of 18. Pokey’s disability had an interesting side effect. Gail says, “Chris and Ricky developed very neat habits. They picked up their clothes, replaced toys and possessions to their place in closets and shelves, knowing that items left out would be curiously inspected by Pokey — and would take on her smell.” Gail laughs as she clarifies, “It wasn’t from any prompting or action on my part. It was because they did not want their things to be what we came to call ‘poked.’” Pokey loved Blowing Rock and Art in the Park, in particular. Gail recalls a situation that defines Pokey’s style. Gail was on her way to town and came to a standstill in the traffic at the bottom of her road. She imagined a car accident in the intersection. She parked her car to assess the situation. Instead of an accident there, she saw Pokey sitting in the middle of the busy intersection dining on a roll. Strangers were attempting to woo her out of the road. Gail meandered down and, acting like a good Samaritan, she called, “Here, doggy,” and remarked that the dog’s owners were probably wondering about her and she’d be happy to track them down. Looking like the dog whisperer, she received applause and made sure Pokey was secure at home before she went out again. In 1990, the biggest challenge of Gail’s life arrived in the form of a car accident. She knew immediately that her legs wouldn’t move. She’d broken her neck. Hospitalized for six months, initially, she was quadriplegic.Through time and rehabilitation, she regained her upper body strength and mobility. Paralysis is “unimaginable,” she says. When she sees people walking around, she asks, “God, why did you pick me?” She so loved her life as an active person. However, she smiles her beautiful smile and states, “As Gump (Forrest Gump) would say, ‘That’s all there is to say about that.’” Gail’s yard abounds with beautiful flowers. Her family visits regularly. She is an optimist, an independent woman and a beautiful mother and grandmother. Her sense of humor causes laughter to easily abound in her presence. Life’s mysterious twists and turns are inexplicable, but the grace with which we travel through defines our spirit and our legacy. Gail Pitts’ generous and courageous spirit inspires all who pass her way.



Jennifer Herman, a “woman of vision” for at least the last 20 years, received her much-deserved title at this summer’s annual Awards Luncheon, presented by the Appalachian Women’s Fund. Photo by Jeff Eason

Appalachian Women’s Fund Names OASIS Director


By Corrinne Loucks Assad


uring this summer’s annual Awards Luncheon presented by the Appalachian Women’s Fund (AWF) at Blowing Rock Country Club, Jennifer Herman, executive director of OASIS, was named “Woman of Vision” for 2010. In her 20 years of leadership with OASIS (Opposing Abuse with Services, Information and Shelter), Jennifer has helped build the organization from the ground up. It was literally “underground” when she signed on for the task in 1990, as the organization first operated from the basement of the First Baptist Church in Boone. Following two decades of fighting to end domestic abuse and sexual violence in the area, Jennifer said she was both shocked and honored to receive this award. “I met Patty (Turner), AWF president, when I first interviewed with OASIS, and on that day I stumbled into my calling,” she said. The fact that AWF realizes and chooses to celebrate the vital role of Jennifer and OASIS says much for both organizations. The annual AWF fundraising event that brought attention to many of Jennifer’s accomplishments once again attracted a large, 20 SEPTEMBER 2010

enthusiastic crowd, most of which were women, on June 26, opening with the now famous silent auction. Monies raised at the event each year contribute to the nonprofit organization’s mission, along with grant making, advocacy and community building; and donating to sympathetic area organizations “who want to make a positive impact on the lives of women and girls in the mountains of North Carolina,” said Patty Turner, who in her opening remarks, described the organization’s mission and sang the praises of its many members and contributors, including an Appalachian State University student group of 35 to 40 members and an enigmatic group of “enlightened men.” AWF, now in its fourth year, contributed $55,000 in 2009 to area organizations that assist women and girls. Cathy Williamson, project coordinator, said,“Why we do what we do — We see potential in the women and girls that we serve. It is unacceptable to see that potential go unmet.” Cathy also thanked many people, saying graciously, “Collective change begins with individual movement.” Keynote speaker of the event was Angie Grimes, representing the Watauga Youth Network (WYN), who spoke of her organization’s community service projects, specifically, the after- school program


for girls, funded in part by the Appalachian Women’s Fund. Today, Jennifer operates an annual budget of almost $500,000 – 70 percent of which comes from the grants that she is in charge of writing, presenting and obtaining, that help pay for any and all services needed to help abused women at OASIS: emergency services, transportation, transitional support, education and skill support, court advocacy and creating a safe environment. “Statistics show that an abused woman leaves an average of seven times before she leaves her abuser for good,” Jennifer said.“We’ll be there to take care of her every time.” This year, Jennifer has obtained for OASIS a $300,000 grant to renovate the women’s shelter — the first full shelter renovation since the building was built in 1939, part of which will include adding 500 square feet to the common area, new generators and new plumbing. In order to receive the full grant, OASIS must raise $150,000 independently. Watauga County has agreed to double its usual contribution to $20,000 this year to assist in this one-time raising of funds. In addition, board members will be working within the community to obtain additional pledges and donations. With a background in finance , administration and customer service, Jennifer was the perfect candidate to assume leadership of OASIS and to take it from a church basement to the Family Resource Center and Shelter in operation today. From a staff of three (and one, halftime) to a current roster of nine, plus numerous volunteers, Jennifer has developed a successful business operating 24/7 while, at the same time, developing personal crisis intervention and social work skills. “We’re working toward zero tolerance,” she explains, “a society in which no violence is tolerated.” Jennifer contends that OASIS will do everything a woman needs to help get her out of a dangerous situation. “If a woman has three children, is unemployed and an addict, we will house them, get her a driver’s license, take her to AA meetings and find her employment. It’s an ongoing process, the first step of which is getting her and her children to safety,” she said. This kind of all encompassing service takes a variety of skills. Jennifer touts the talents and experience of her staff, many of whom have worked there for many years. “Our staff has a vast mix of experience. One person has a criminal justice background, another speaks Spanish and others have experience in human services,” Jennifer said.

Where needs stretch beyond the capacity of OASIS, partnerships with other organizations help meet the needs. One such, New River Behavioral Health, offers a batterers’ treatment program for the spouses of OASIS clients. Nearly everyone is affected - or knows someone who is affected - by domestic violence or abuse. Jennifer cites an example of women who have come into her office after more than 40 years of marriage, during which they never told anyone they were abused. At a 2009 health fair held at Watauga High School, associate director Rebecca Gummere administered a survey to ninthgraders in which they were asked how many believed there was domestic violence at the high school. Ninety-five percent of the students said “Yes.” When asked why they believed that, more than 85 percent admitted to directly knowing someone who was abused. “Even if you don’t know that you know someone, you know someone,” Rebecca surmises. Today, the OASIS Family Resource Center offers adequate space, including eight office suites, conference rooms, activity rooms for kids, plus room to expand. They are housed at WAMY Community Action and the Children’s Council facilities, where the three organizations are able to help each other when needed. “We are so fortunate to be in this close-knit community,” Jennifer said. “We have over 50 volunteers that work here just because they care.They do office work, sort donations, anything we need help doing. Some of them get involved because they understand our mission through personal experience, or that of someone they know.” “How do we protect children? How do we protect adults? How do we teach people that abuse is not OK,” Jennifer asks, rhetorically. “Someone has to hold the system accountable,” she answers. In Watauga County, that someone is OASIS . . . and a woman of vision. More information about OASIS can be found on the agency’s website at www. The Family Resource Center’s office number is (828) 264-1532. OASIS’ 24-hour crisis line can be reached at (828) 262-5035, or toll free from 828, 336, or 423 area codes by dialing (800) 268-1488. Emergency situations should be reported immediately by dialing 911 or the sheriff’s office at (828) 264-3761.

Not Sure IF It’s Abuse? Remember, when one person scares, hurts or continually puts down the other person, it’s abuse.

Does Your Partner... ____ Embarrass or make fun of you in front of your friends or family? ____ Put down your accomplishments or goals? ____ Call you several times a night or show up to make sure you are where you said you would be? ____ Blame you for how they feel or act? ____ Prevent you from doing things you want — like spending time with your friends or family?

Do You... ____ Sometimes feel scared of how your partner will act? ____ Constantly make excuses to other people for your partner’s behavior? ____ Believe that you can help your partner change if only you changed something about yourself? ____ Try not to do anything that would cause conflict or make your partner angry? ____ Feel like no matter what you do, your partner is never happy with you? ____ Always do what your partner wants you to do instead of what you want? ____ Stay with your partner because you are afraid of what your partner would do if you broke up? If any of these are happening in your relationship, talk to someone. Without help, the abuse will continue. OASIS is available to help you out of the hurt. More information about OASIS can be found on the agency’s website at The Family Resource Center’s office number is (828) 264-1532. OASIS 24-hour crisis line can be reached at (828) 262-5035 or toll-free from 828, 336, or 423 area codes by dialing (800) 268-1488. Emergency situations should be reported immediately by dialing 911 or the sheriff’s office at (828) 264-3761. SEPTEMBER 2010


High Country Cotillion Announces 2010-2011 Session


he High Country’s most innovative and entertaining social education program is now registering students for the 2009-2010 Weekend Session. Announcing the lineup of new events for youth in 5-12 grades, High Country Cotillion’s Director Sharon Carlton said, “We have events as diverse as the ‘You Had Me at Hello’ introductory event where students will meet the other students and interact with games exploring famous greetings from movies, songs and literature, a ‘Mountain Masquerade’ where students will dress the way they think they will be in 15 years, a ‘Harvest Hoedown’ contra dance, a ‘Tacky Prom’ and an old fashioned sock hop planned.” Each event, Carlton says, provides a fun setting for instruction and practice in dance and social skills that will prepare students to be confident, respectful young adults wherever they go.” During the 2010-2011 season three classes of 5th-6th grade, 7th-8th grade and 9th-12th grade students will meet one Saturday evening a month at the Broyhill Inn on the ASU campus for a series of seven themed events. Students will learn classic and contemporary dances and will practice interpersonal communication and social etiquette skills in a safe, party environment with their peers. “High Country Cotillion coaches students to cope and to excel where they are today and to help them prepare for the future. Students learn to present themselves well, to speak to their peers and to adults appropriately, to use today’s social technology (telephones, cell phones, texting, and internet forums) respectfully and safely, and to conduct themselves courteously in common, current social situations,” Carlton states, “We address conduct and skills for school, for visiting someone’s home, for public social activities, and more.” Older students are introduced to interview skills that will help them in job and scholarship opportunities. The Cotillion team leaders (ASU and WHS students) share stories and lessons from their own experiences to prepare students for success. Students truly identify and connect with these positive young role models,” states Carlton. “We introduce our social graces topics at age-appropriate levels through skits, role-playing and games, then present activities to apply these skills.” HCC dance instruction pro-actively models young lady and young gentleman behavior. “Our daughters need to experience being treated like young ladies from an early age so that their standards are healthy and high. Our sons need to understand how easy it is to conduct themselves like gentlemen - and that girls really do appreciate that!” Carlton adds. All current and former HCC students may 22 SEPTEMBER 2010

attend Club Cotillion events and bring their friends. Held after the high school classes from 8-10 p.m., Club Cotillion events provide a lessstructured venue for students to dance, socialize and utilize their Cotillion skills. Each year students participate in a Community Awareness project that highlights a local service agency and provides an accessible avenue for students to help others in their own community. Guest speakers from the community provide further motivation and insight for students. Seventh through twelfth grade students participate in a three-course dinner dance featuring special guest speakers and dining etiquette instruction at the grand finale scheduled for March. Parents are invited for the last half hour to observe students and to participate in a Mother-Son or Father-Daughter Dance. “I am committed to equipping students with a good foundation of social skills and self-esteem that will prepare them to be good family, business and community leaders, and to making their High Country Cotillion experience enjoyable and motivational, states Carlton.“Each student should feel accepted and respected as they engage with other students. “I am so pleased when students or parents tell me that ‘using their Cotillion manners’ is making a positive difference in their lives!” The Weekend Session will meet one Saturday afternoon/evening a month from September through March. Limited scholarships are available for worthy students. To learn more about High Countr y Cotillion’s new session visit the website www. or Country Cotillion. To register call Sharon Carlton at (828) 2973133 or email her at

Weekend Cotillion 2010-2011 Saturdays, Sept 11-March 5 5th-6th grades meet 2:45-4:15 7th-8th grades meet 4:30-6:00 9th-12th grades meet 6:15-7:45

Scheduled Events:

You Had Me at Hello September 11: Mountain Masquerade October 2: Harvest Hoedown November 6: Jingle Bell Blast December 4: Rock Around the Clock Sock Hop January 8: Tacky Prom February 5: The High Country Cotillion Spring Ball March 6: Three-hour dinner dance including a three-course meal and dining etiquette instruction for 7th-12th grade students.

Bloom Where You’re Planted

TREASURED MEMORIES In Honor of Grandparents

By Sherry Boone


n Sunday, Sept. 12, National Grandparents Day will once again be celebrated in the United States; the idea for such a commemoration was conceived by West Virginia native Marian McQuade. In 1979, President Jimmy Carter signed a proclamation stating that the first Sunday after Labor Day would be set aside “to honor grandparents, to give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children’s children and to help children become aware of strength, information and guidance older people can offer.” I was blessed to have known both my paternal and maternal grandparents, each of whom I loved. However, I was closer to my mother’s parents and spent many years of my life with them. One of my most treasured possessions is a quilt made by my Grandpa Creed Morgan’s paternal grandmother,Alzira Nanney Morgan. She was born 100 years before me in Morgan Township, about two miles from Union Mills. In reading my copy of her obituary, I discovered that she and my Grandpa Morgan were alike in several ways. My great-great- grandmother was described as a woman of “high character, an affectionate mother and loyal friend.” She and her husband had seven children. One child died in infancy, but she was left alone, as a young mother, to rear six children when her husband died after being taken prisoner by the Union army in Georgia and carried to Jersey City during the Civil War. After my great-great-grandmother’s children were grown, her daughter passed away. She then lived with her son-in-law, and for 39 years, Alzira Morgan was “as a mother” to her seven grandchildren. When I hold the quilt she made, I think of her and wonder if she made it while sitting out on the porch in the summer as the children played. Or, did she sit by an oil lamp at night and work on the quilt after the children were asleep? I don’t know, but I do know this – I would have loved her very much. By the way, my Grandpa and Grandma Morgan also had seven children, many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. What a blessing these two were to all of us.

One of Sherry Boone’s most treasured possessions is a quilt made by her Grandpa Creed Morgan’s paternal grandmother, Alzira Nanney Morgan. Photo by Brooke Church SEPTEMBER 2010


Young at Heart


Change By Heather (Young) Brandon


Mother and daughter duo – Heather and Marion – are embracing the changing seasons of life. Photo submitted


hange is in the air! As I write this column, I am preparing to walk down the aisle with Roger, my longtime love. By the time it is published, I will be entering my second month of married life. I am not sure what to expect (other than the unexpected), but I am enthusiastic and eager. My transition from feisty single lady to feistier wife has made me ponder life’s changing seasons. If you are a man, it is likely that the thought of “changing seasons” makes you giddy with excitement about new sporting events that will dominate your weekends, weeknights and other waking hours. Those of you with children probably think of that marvelous time of year when you can send the kids back to school. Others may contemplate the return of colorful leaves, warmer clothing and cooler temperatures. Because my life has just been altered in a notable way, I have been reflecting on milestones – such as graduation, marriage or significant birthdays. Thirty was my last landmark birthday, and I threw myself an appropriately large celebration. It was so enjoyable, that my friends still talk about it to this day. Because I had so much fun, what is a painful event for some is one of my fondest memories. Thus proving that the best way to acknowledge the ever turning hand of life’s clock is to be surrounded by good friends, good food


e and, perhaps, a bottle or two of good wine. It just so happens that the aforementioned clock is moving toward a significant hour for someone in my life. Mother dearest is turning 60. Sixty was once an ancient age (and still is to anyone under the age of 15) when women were expected to give up their interests to mind the grandchildren, complain about their aches and pains and essentially, roll over and play dead. I have discovered, however, that the closer one gets to said age, the younger it seems to be. My mother takes age in stride and enjoys each moment. She has been the role model that all girls should be so lucky to have – she doesn’t apologize for getting older and refuses to put an age limit on fabulous. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I will have her good attitude, as well as superior genes. As my mother’s generation of women matures, they are balking at antiquated expectations of what one should be and do at a certain age. Knitting is being replaced with abstract painting, bingo with salsa dancing and visiting the beauty parlor with exploring exotic locations. And, if they do decide that knitting is for them, then they will knit with passion! Magazines have embraced these women, touting such headlines as “Fantastic at Fifty” or “Sexy at Sixty.” And, the over-40 actress is no longer hustled off to a home for aging and forgotten Hollywood stars, but is enjoying her continued career and, in some cases, her sex symbol status. Women like Michelle Pfeiffer, Helen Mirren or Sophia Loren continue to push boundaries and dare us to call them “over the hill.” Society’s acceptance of this new generation of mature women is inspiring for us slightly younger gals. I do not fret over a stray gray hair, nor do I expect my enjoyment of life to end once I have hit a certain age. I expect change as I mature, but like a fine wine, I hope to improve with age. Mother dearest is eagerly anticipating her 60th birthday party. She is excited to celebrate her awesomeness with good friends, good food and, perhaps, a bottle or two of good (mature) wine.



High Country Courtesies


Our Differences by Sharon Carlton

Part I


s we move into the 21st century, the global community is rapidly shrinking. The ease and speed of travel and revolutionary communications technologies link us with distant parts of the world in previously unimaginable speed. Doing business, seeking an education or moving to another country to better one’s life is easier and more commonplace. As a result, our society is growing increasingly more diverse than its historically diverse roots. The ability to communicate and work with people from different ethnic and racial groups has become an essential communication skill. Embracing our similarities and common concerns and appreciating our differences can propel us toward living richer, fuller lives. However, stepping from our comfort zones to achieve that appreciation takes effort. The easier human tendency is to knock what we don’t understand. From the time our newborn eyes can focus on our caregivers’ faces, we recognize the facial pattern of two eyes, a nose and a mouth. By the time we are talking we have learned to differentiate between familiar and unfamiliar faces.With innocent curiosity 3- to 4-year-olds question the differences they observe around them: Sizes, colors, shapes, attitudes. Between the ages of 5 to 8, children begin placing value judgments on similarities and differences, often ranking their favorite things from “best” to “worst.” Their evolving sense of competition and self-identity leads to a desire to win recognition, to be the best, sometimes ignoring the sensitivities of others in the process. By age 12, children have progressed through natural stages of human development and have formed a complete set of stereotypes about ethnic groups, religions, races and handicaps based on their observations. Following are tools to encourage children to reach across ethnic, religious and racial lines, to connect with the disabled and to foster an awareness of the humanity of all people.

Sharon Carlton, High Country Courtesies ©2010. Sharon Carlton conducts High Country Courtesies customer service workshops and is director of High Country Cotillion, a social education program for youth. She writes and speaks on modern etiquette and life skill topics. Contact her at


TALK OPENLY AND HONESTLY – Multiple nationalities, races and handicapped persons are at our children’s doors, already; there is no escaping the need to address and to influence their attitudes toward others. Start early by respectfully answering their naturally occurring questions and continue to dialogue with them throughout their lives. Use life experiences as

teaching moments to talk openly about differences and to educate them about race, ethnicity, religion, handicaps and bigotry. Encourage them to notice and enjoy the ways that people are similar, even though we look and sound different. Affirm your children’s value and teach them to look for good characteristics and talents in each individual. As children grow older, they may ask more complex questions. Understanding the situation from which the question arose, and/or taking time to sort through our own feelings and beliefs, can help us form a more comprehensive answer. Sometimes admitting that we don’t know the answer or that we need to think about that question is the best tactic to give ourselves a chance to clarify our thoughts before we respond. Recognize those difficult questions as an opportunity to see how the child is experiencing the world. BE AN EXAMPLE — Recognize that children are bombarded with information and images from media sources, school and at play.When we avoid a subject, we allow our children’s attitudes to be shaped by those outside sources. Determine to be an active influence and example in our interactions, words and attitudes. A strong proactive role model who engages friends from diverse backgrounds displays a true belief in our equality. By surrounding ourselves with like-minded friends and family who will model our values, we multiply our sphere of influence on our children. Be assertive in standing for fair and just treatment of others. HARNESS HUMOR — As children develop their sense of humor, they may experiment with jokes or riddles that make fun of a group of people, an individual or someone’s handicap. Gently explain why that type of humor could hurt someone’s feelings and is not acceptable. Helping children relate to the hurt they may feel if someone made fun of them because of a characteristic that they cannot control can spark empathy for others. Steer them toward healthy humor. Role playing how the other person experiences their comments, looks, snubbing, etc., may be a beneficial tool in cultivating sensitivity for someone’s feelings. EXPOSE — Select books and toys that include characters of differing races, ethnicities and abilities. Explore museums that feature exhibits from a variety of cultures. Attend events celebrating different cultures like ASU’s annual Diversity Celebration in March. Share family milestones, celebrations and religious ceremonies with friends. Volunteer to serve others. Assisting at a homeless shelter, Special Olympics event or a community event may open children’s eyes to the essential humanity of people who had previously seemed so different. By communicating openly, modeling our values, exposing our children to other people from different cultures, and humbly serving others, we instill the message of the intrinsic value of all people. With a firm grasp of that message, our children will be better prepared to function in the diverse global society that they will inherit.



A l l A b o u t Wo m e n

Like Mother, Like Daughter Photos By Sherrie Norris

Kim Winebarger and her mother, Crystal Winebarger

Judy Kerley and daughter Shelly Russell.

Mechelle Moore and her daughter, Holly Graybeal. Photo by Rob Moore

Elisha Hodges Leonard and mother, Lisa Hodges



Immerse Yourself in Nature


by Teri Wiggins

Journey Into The Four Shields


have the honor of introducing you to The Four Shields three day/three night experience that will guide you into navigating the stages of life’s changes and transitions. I participated in this extraordinary experience last year.The guides created a safe and supportive environment so that I was able to expand my awareness and perceive my life in new ways that yielded a deeper acceptance and peacefulness in my life. The four shields of human nature are represented by the physical, psychological, rational and spiritual aspects of our being, as well as the four directions of the medicine wheel. Each direction represents one of the four seasons, as well as the attributes of childhood, adolescence, adulthood and illumination. These are the transitions that we humans make throughout our lives. It is important to complete one stage so that we may fully go on to the next stage. During the three days, participants will immerse themselves in nature and allow nature to respond to questions regarding the transitional stages of the four shields. Let me illustrate a personal experience: I walked to the stream and sat upon a rock. As I began to look around, I spotted some fallen pine needles. I took three and began to braid them. What I noticed was the strength created in

Navigating the Stages of Life’s Changes and Transitions

coming together in an interconnected bond. I have lived much of my life very independently. I have missed out on giving support, as well as receiving support. Support is good! So, those pine needles represented to me an interdependent community of strength. Another experience led me to sit against a tree amongst many other trees. When the wind blew, this very tall tree moved at the base and, in turn, moved me. I was moved by a tree! It supported me, allowed me to be grounded in its root system so that I, too, was connected to multiple other trees in the forest. It became my backbone. I realized how tight I was holding my body and I relaxed into its embrace. This year, The Four Shields will be held at Roses Creek Wilderness, near Little Switzerland, N.C., Sept. 30-Oct. 3, 2010. It is a wilderness preserve with a pond, two streams, a covered space for eating, and the highlight is a tent village around the pond that forms a community. There will be opportunity for earth-based rituals through immersion in nature and council and ceremony, with an emphasis on the art of mirroring each other’s stories.

By Terri Wiggans Pam Noble is one of two guides. She is a retired psychotherapist who now focuses on creating healing experiences in the natural world for women. Judy Flavell, from Kentucky, also a guide, is deeply committed to supporting people in discovering their own wisdom through the natural world. I have been invited to be an apprentice, an opportunity to give and receive support in a community. Come join me in this unusual experience in the natural world! For more information, or to register, please contact Pam Noble by e-mail,, by phone, 828-264-6255. Visit the Web at

I have missed out on giving support, as well as receiving support. Support is good!




Club By Sherrie Norris


iana Militana’s love for horses evolved from childhood when she could never get enough of TV westerns and sought every opportunity to be in the company of everything equine. As a young lass growing up in Illinois, her family lived next door to a quarter horse farm, which she visited every day “from the time I was old enough to leave the yard,” she said. Today, as co-owner of The Saddle Club at Yonahlossee, with her husband, Richard, Diana’s world still revolves around horses. Recent estimates suggest that around 75 percent of all horse riders are female, which is no surprise to Diana, who says, “About 98 percent of what we do here is about women.” She knows firsthand that horses play a valuable – and therapeutic - role in the lives of countless females, regardless of age. The Militanas and their key staff, which includes two other adept horsewomen (Alexa Kapp and Becky Norris), have developed a comfortable camaraderie with the High Country since taking over the reins at The Saddle Club last summer, and are excited to be a part of the community. As residents of the Elk River Club in Banner Elk, the Militanas have been married 41 years and are parents of two daughters and new grandparents to a baby boy in California.The couple has a long history with horses, though Diana admits she is the primary horse lover of the two.

Richard is a high-profile attorney, licensed in Florida and Tennessee; Diana has a master’s degree in counseling, though she has worked alongside her husband as a paralegal during their marriage. “Now, in addition to his practice, he’s ended up working here with me and the horses,” she said. With a loving smile aimed in her husband’s direction, Diana says, “He’s our stable lawyer, plus his work supports my habit.” With an undeniable respect for his wife, Richard speaks admirably about her multiple talents and skills. “Diana is very successful at everything she does. She’s a walking encyclopedia on horses,” he said. The couple discovered the High Country during a visit with their favorite “Aunt Dot,” aka Pokey the Clown, and decided to make it their home, anxious to pursue ownership of The Saddle Club upon learning of its availability – “a very good facility and totally equipped.” The Militanas have found their niche in these hills, they both agree. Richard is able to maintain his busy law practice, while watching his youthful wife flourish in a world she loves best. It’s not a new thing for the couple who hails from Florida. There, as well as in Tennessee and Kentucky, they have owned sprawling horse farms. Their passion for - and expertise of - the animals is recognized far and wide. It’s also not just about the sport of riding, Diana admits, that captivates her. It’s the connection and bonding with her four-legged

It’s not work if it’s something you love.

friends that makes it so special. Diana has learned through the years, as other horsewomen do, that horses provide a type of unique therapy that few people are able to comprehend, unless they, too, love horses. “Plus, they provide a sport – the only one I know of – in which women compete equally in the Olympics,” she said. Caring for horses, in essence, fills a void for many women, Diana said, as horses require much of the same type of care as do children. Keeping company with horses is a life-changing experience for many women, she said, “especially ladies 50 and older, even if they’ve never ridden before.” “Maybe they are a little bored with life, not totally happy with the way things are going.After a while working with horses, everything begins to look brighter. Marriages have been saved (through this natural therapy), and women are more relaxed and not as easily upset by their circumstances,” she said. Diana is well aware, too, that caring for horses requires daily sacrifices – early morning feeding times, stall cleanings, tack work, etc. – regardless of the weather. “It’s a passion, not a burden by any means,” she said. “It’s not work if it’s something you love. And I do love every minute of it.” “Everything about horses is good,” Diana said. “They provide daily opportunities for exercise, and while riding, you are completely connected to the animal – you can’t think of anything else, and the stress in your life disappears. You’re just out there with no interruptions, no phone … and you ride. It’s totally stress free.” The Militanas own a wide range of equines, including those imported from Europe and Germany. With approximately 20 currently on site, in addition to four foals, there’s really no question about Diana’s favorite. “ I love them all, but Mercedes, a Holsteiner from Germany, is my baby. She’s the queen,” Diana said. On the other end of the spectrum, she says, Romeo comes in a close second, adding, “I’ve had him for 19 years. He’s the p e r fe c t h o r s e , totally foolproof for beginners. He’s so special and

probably the only horse in the barn that’s not for sale. He works harder than any other.” The Militanas also have the right connections to help potential owners locate the perfect horse. Not only does The Saddle Club offer sales, but also boarding, training and lessons in a safe, welcoming year-round environment – complete with miles of trails and an indoor arena. Diana and Richard gave The Saddle Club a major face-lift after purchasing the property and left no stone unturned.Their efforts are evidenced propertywide, but none more so than in the clubroom, overlooking the indoor arena. “As you can see,” Diana said, as she points out the elegant furnishings and accessories, “it was designed and decorated with men in mind, so that husbands, fathers, brothers, etc., can come up here to wait comfortably while the women and girls are riding.They can watch TV, observe the arena action, strike up a conversation and relax.” Just as importantly, Diana says is the camaraderie among the riders as they return to the stables where the grooming and related tasks take place. “We’re able to spend that time together, along with our horses, in a peaceful setting,” she said. As president of The Saddle Club, Diana says, she has the perfect staff, including the highly energetic Alexa Kapp, certified trainer, instructor and equine massage therapist, who graduated from Meredith Manor in June. “Working with Diana has been a pleasure,” Alexa states. Not only does she help Richard with his work, but she finds time to ride with me on some of her own horse training projects.We share the same beliefs when it comes to riding, and bounce ideas off each other when we have a problem. I don’t think I could have picked a better stables to work at,” Kapp said. Diana and her staff make sure their riders – whether for lessons or leisure – are matched up with the appropriate horse, depending on level of comfort and skill. They will welcome you warmly and do everything possible to make your visit to The Saddle Club at Yonahlossee one that will keep you coming back time after time. For more information, call (828) 387-0390, visit them at 223 Pine Hill Road, off Poplar Grove Road near Boone, or on their website at www.

Photos by Rob Moore


At The



All About Men


c h


Men and What They Do

A hardworking group of High Country men get a good start to their day while on a recent mission trip in Pennsylvania.

This group of compassionate men was invited to the recent awards luncheon hosted by the Appalachian Women’s Fund, said Cathy Williamson, “Because improving the lives of women and children in need is not the job of women only. It’s a responsibility we all need to share.” Left to right: Dale Howard, Richard Stevens, John Turner, Bill Williamson, Brian Brooks, Ben Henderson, Ira Abrams, Andy Stallings, Jeff Eason, Odd Olsen. Photo provided

George Winebarger shares a laugh and a few words of wisdom with Danny Moretz during a recent neighborhood gathering.

Photos by Sherrie Norris




& Sensibility


Look out for claims that can “erase your bad credit history” or “improve your credit score overnight.” Both of these statements are illegal.


ou’ve probably been inundated with credit card information, credit offers and still more offers to repair your credit. Between your mailbox and the Internet, there are thousands of companies advertising credit repair, credit information and services. Many even disguise themselves as government– related sites when, in reality, they are private companies making money on the credit difficulties of others. In response, the Federal Trade Commission has released a statement indicating that essentially, if it sounds too good to be true, it is. These companies will charge you upfront, anywhere from $50 to thousands of dollars and then disappear. There are now agencies that investigate these credit repair companies for false advertising, determine what their actual services are and whether or not they’re legitimate. If you don’t have the time or capacity to research their offers - and believe you need help from a credit repair company - proceed with caution. Make sure the company does not have complaints against them at the Attorney General’s Office, Better Business Bureau or Consumer Rights Agency. Look out for claims that they can “erase your bad credit history” or “improve your credit score overnight.” Both of these statements are illegal. Any credit repair company should only charge a small amount. If you are asked for money upfront – look out. Take time to investigate a company thoroughly before giving them your money and know your rights.

If you have credit problems, the last thing you need to do is spend money on a scam. There is no quick fix to improve your credit score or your credit history. It may take a great deal of effort on your part, but there are ways that you can work on improving your credit score: Payment History • Pay your bills on time. • If you have missed payments, get current and stay current. • Pay off collection accounts. • If you can’t pay, contact creditors for alternative payment arrangements or see a legitimate credit counselor. This won’t improve your credit score immediately, but if you can manage your credit and pay on time, it will get better over time. Amounts Owed • Keep balances low on cards and lines of credit. High outstanding debt lowers your score. • Pay off debt rather than moving it around! • Don’t close unused cards as a short-term remedy. The longer the history with a credit card company, the better. Just cut up the card. • Don’t get new cards that you don’t need. This will backfire on you. Credit History • If you have no (or short credit) history, don’t open many new accounts quickly. New accounts lower your average account age, adversely affecting your score. New Credit • Shop for new credit rates within a short time frame. Some credit report sources (like FICO) differentiate between a search for a

single loan and a search for many different lines of credit partly by the amount of time in which inquiries occur. • Opening new accounts and paying them off will repair your credit over time. • Request your credit score through an authorized agency. Types of Credit Use • Apply for and open new accounts only as necessary. • First, have credit cards and/or loans, then, manage them responsibly. A person with no credit is higher risk than someone who has made timely payments and pays off loans. • A closed account does not go away and may still affect your score. If you don’t have the time or ability to manage your credit, legitimate credit counseling agencies do exist. Look for one that is affiliated with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. You may receive much-needed advice on budgeting, credit improvement and other topics. Credit counselors also are a source of housing counseling, such as help buying a first home and advice on navigating the mortgage refinancing and modification maze when payments aren’t affordable. Think of raising your credit score like you would losing weight: It takes time and there is no magic pill or quick fix. In fact, quick-fix tricks can backfire. The best advice is to manage credit responsibly over time. SEPTEMBER 2010


All About Men

Ed Wax

Off The Fast Track At Last By Bill F. Hensley

Life in the mountains is all I hoped it would be,” Wax declared. “We enjoy the cool summer breezes, the scenery, club amenities and a relaxed lifestyle. It sure beats working.

Photo Provided



ike many business executives in high profile positions, Ed Wax had trouble slowing down when he retired. It wasn’t easy going from the fast track to a casual, relaxed lifestyle that was centered around recreational activities. “As a matter of fact,” he said emphatically,“I flunked retirement.” But in time, the tall, white-haired, bearded advertising whiz came around and began to adjust to his new life, a drastic contrast to the turmoils of a corporate board room and mega cities. Wax, a native of Lowell, Mass., was one of the giant advertising industry’s brightest stars. He was chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi, one of the world’s largest and most successful agencies and directed the firm to annual billings that exceeded $2 billion. At Elk River, he is one of many members who were top executives with Fortune 500 companies, including Exxon, Johnson and Johnson, Bristol Myers, Eastman Kodak, General Electric and others. During his illustrious career, he oversaw numerous accounts with multi-million dollar advertising budgets, including Procter and Gamble, Toyota/Lexus, Johnson and Johnson, Phillip Morris, the Ford Corporation, Delta Airlines and American Motors. One of his most interesting assignments was helping introduce Lexus, the luxury automobile, to the USA.

Wax served as CEO until 1997 when he became chairman of the board. He was responsible for the worldwide operations of 161 offices in 91 countries. He has been chairman emeritus since 1999. In all, he was in the marketing and advertising business for 46 years, 41 of which were with Saatchi & Saatchi. He ran the firm’s Philippine operations from 1968 to 1971, and was director of multinational client services in Europe — based in London — from 1982 to 1983. For four years in the late ’70s, Wax was president of Geers Gross Advertising and later was executive vice president of Wells, Rich and Greene. “I enjoyed every minute of my career, despite the many pressures that are part of the business,” he explained. “But there is nothing like retirement. After a hectic beginning, I have learned to adjust, and every day is a holiday.” Wax, 73, divides his time between Sailfish Point in Stuart, Fla., and the Elk River Club in Banner Elk. He is active in all phases of activities at both clubs, including a number of board assignments and volunteer work. “I can’t play golf or tennis all the time,” he said, “and I still enjoy being involved.” He serves as a club director at Elk River and is in charge of the swimming pool, the tennis program and the fitness center. Five years ago he began taking piano lessons and relaxes by playing, reading, listening to music and developing his computer skills. A graduate of Northeastern University, he earned a degree in chemical engineering but soon learned that chemistry was not to be his chosen profession.That’s when he switched to advertising. He also has an MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. His service to the advertising industry earned him numerous honors and awards, including Man of the Year from the American Advertising Federation in 1993 and the United Jewish Appel in 1995. He is a former chairman of the American Association of Advertising Agencies and was president of the jury for the 1993 Cannes International Advertising Festival. An avid NASCAR fan,Wax is married to the former Carolyn Rudd of Chesapeake,Va., the sister of former stock car driver Ricky Rudd, who is also an Elk River member and resident. She started the race team that featured her brother and later worked for the Charlotte Motor Speedway and owned a sports marketing agency. “Life in the mountains is all I hoped it would be,” Wax declared. “We enjoy the cool summer breezes, the scenery, club amenities and a relaxed lifestyle. It sure beats working.” And so it does. If you see the stately gentleman in the local supermarket, ask him about his golf score, but don’t remind him of the pressured deadlines he no longer worries about. He doesn’t care anymore.




YOUR HOME by Corrinne Loucks Assad


a “no-brainer” that we are in a buyer’s market today with real estate prices down, mortgage rates at a significant low and an overabundance of homes available for sale. Why are so many owners selling now? Although this is not the best time to make money on the sale, many homeowners cannot postpone due to relocation, REO (real estate owned) or short sale circumstances in which they can no longer make the payments due to divorce, death, etc. Potential sellers who are financially secure may choose to relocate, downsize or upgrade their living conditions and know this is a great time to buy.They do not need to sell right now if they have enough equity in the property – and the monthly rent that it would bring in would cover their expenses. These owners don’t need to sell in order to purchase their next home and postponing selling until the market improves is a wise long-term choice that could result in great profit. Renting your home is a way to earn income if you don’t want to sell or are unable to do so right now. As values have decreased, it’s not sensible to sell in a situation where the house is not currently worth what you paid for it or how much you owe. For many people who have had to sell their homes, the only option may be 36 SEPTEMBER 2010


renting. Add to this our shortage of student and other affordable housing, and you’ll find the rental market growing, making renting your home an attractive option. Once you’ve decided to rent out your home, there is a lot to consider. Are you “cut out” to be a landlord and to provide a safe and secure home for tenants? That means making sure plumbing, electricity, water, etc., are safe and being able to quickly respond to the inevitable calls when things malfunction. You must advertise, screen and choose a tenant and even evict them, if necessary, according to governing laws. If you can’t see yourself doing all of this or you live out of town, it’s worth hiring a professional property manager. To calculate the numbers, figure out how much your total monthly expense is to keep the home running. This includes, mortgage, taxes, insurance, utilities, yard work, maintenance, repairs, etc. Also factor in a vacancy rate, usually 5 to 10 percent of the total monthly expense. Decide whether to rent the home furnished or not and be prepared for those furnishing to be damaged or worn. Your monthly expense does not determine a competitive rent, however. Check local newspaper ads, call property management companies and check online rental sites to determine the going rent for similar homes. Tenant screening will be your most crucial task. Use a legal application that includes full identity, rental history and credit information. Forms are available

online on sites such as Check all of the information diligently. There are many tricks, such as checking two to three past landlord references, to make sure the applicant isn’t just using friends. Consult websites such as the National Apartment Association, MrLandlord or Rental Housing Online for tips. Familiarize yourself on North Carolina laws that govern tenant handling. Check Nolo Press’ “Every Landlord’s Legal Guide.” Also, upon signing of the lease, clearly discuss rent amount, due dates, how the money will be collected, acceptable payment methods, and late charges. Contact an eviction attorney the first month your tenant is late with a payment and don’t even try to evict without legal assistance. If you are handy, you may be able to handle most maintenance on your own. Have a plumber, electrician, and a carpenter ready to take over at a moment’s notice. You’ll also need emergency contacts for the tenants in case you are out of town or not easily reached. Maintenance is also required at the end of the lease. Clean up in between tenants or, if you raise your rent, the rule of thumb is to spend three months of the difference to improve the property. Monies from a rental property

must be kept separate from personal funds. Financial software like Quicken of Microsoft Money can help you keep rental records. You’ll want to keep these to itemize deductions and in case of a tax audit. You can deduct property taxes, mortgage interest and expenses related to the management of a rental property, such as cleaning, painting, maintenance, supplies, travel to and from the property, etc. You may find all of this overwhelming enough to justify hiring a professional. The fee for managing longterm rentals is around 10 percent. It’s 30 to 40 percent for vacation property management in the High Country. The book “Property Management for Dummies” describes what to look for in a management company. Questions to ask range from references, credentials and fees to maintenance issues and their handling of monies. Much goes into the idea of renting your home. It can be profitable and enriching for everyone involved if handled correctly. However, if it keeps you awake at night, a bad tenant is taking the fun away, or you’re digging deeper into your pocket to support it – it’s time to sell if you can. Enjoy the business of managing your property, or let it go and stick to something you’ll enjoy.




& Entertainment

Shauna Godwin

Brings Excitement to the Stage By Sherrie Norris


hauna Godwin of Boone is no stranger to the stage and is making a name for herself in and away from her hometown. Not only does she direct the Miss High Country Sweetheart pageants held twice a year in Boone, but she is also well-known in the world of dance, both near and far. Her decision to direct pageants, she said, was to promote the positive in an industry that is often scowled upon. “Pageants can be fun and should not be about parents living vicariously through their children. They are about the contestant’s individuality, talent, selfconfidence and personality. I competed in a couple (of pageants) as a child and hated them! It was not something I enjoyed, not to mention my parents spent money they didn’t even have. I started directing the pageants as a fundraiser for my dancers and wanted to turn them into something positive and affordable rather than what they are in most situations today.” While illuminating pageantry in a new light, and helping encourage young women to follow their dreams and use their Shauna Godwin brings a lifetime of experience to the stage. Photos submitted. 38 SEPTEMBER 2010

talents and gifts, Shauna says her personal passion has always been in dance and stage performance She received her early dance training at Northwestern Studios and Dancer’s Corner School of Dance Arts in Boone. Following high school, she moved to New York City to train at the prestigious Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theatre where she choreographed musicals, including Hair, The Producers, and Love. She taught creative movement around NYC while studying at the Broadway Dance Center. Shauna performed with New York theatrical companies, including the Michael Chekhov Theatre Company, The Native American Opera House, Goldmine Theatre Company and Indigenous Taino Productions. Shauna currently choreographs for dance teams throughout the Southeast and teaches at regional dance conventions. In fact, she co-directed, with her friend Kim Fore, this year’s highly succesful Connected Dance Convention in Bristol, Va., which she described as “a powerful weekend

dance event featuring the most renowned instructors and choreographers today. “Kim and I decided that we wanted a convention of our own,” she said.“We have been going to these events for years and always see so many things we wanted to do differently, so we decided, what better way then to do it ourselves?” “We strive always to stay on the beat of what’s hot in the dance industry and to make available to area dancers the opportunity to learn from the most sought-after artists in the field,” The duo does not disappoint. Their

recent convention instructors included shining stars from such hits as So You Think You Can Dance, America’s Best Dance Crew and Dancing With the Stars, just to name a few. “What set Connected apart from any other dance convention is that it included not only ballet, jazz, contemporary and hiphop, but also extensive clogging classes,” she said. “About 200 dancers attended from different states in the Southeast. We are planning for our next event in New Jersey, near New York City, Nov. 12-14, and we are expecting 400 dancers! We are so excited about it all. Our goal with this convention is to eventually turn it into a national tour stopping in at least six cities per year.” Shauna is a graduate of the Neighborhood Playhouse and is currently completing her degree in dance studies (and her Authentic Pilates© certification) at Appalachian State University. Her dance styles include ballet, jazz, tap, modern (Graham), contemporary, musical theater, lyrical, clogging and hip-hop.




& Entertainment

Ignit ing One Face at a Time

by Corrinne Loucks Assad


hese North Carolina mountains hold an attraction for many different people, for as many different reasons – some they don’t even recognize. Be it the scenery, the adventure, the cool mountain air, or the magical feel of this place, in general, many have come to visit and can’t bring themselves to leave. This is how many of us came to call the Boone area home. Although at one time, she had thoughts of traveling the world forever, Sahasa Ben-Avari, too, was drawn here and the magnetism she experienced never allowed her to leave. “I’ve lived all over the country,” Sahasa said. Having grown up in the Northeast – in Massachusetts and other parts of New England – her journey has since taken her from St. Augustine, Fla., to Sedona, Ariz., to backpacking across Mexico. Sahasa describes growing up: “My mom raised my brother and me as a single parent. She, my grandmother and I have always been close. They are both healers and artists and have had a great impact on my life.” They are so close in fact, that Sahasa traveled with her mom around the country in a Volkswagen bus! They painted it purple, hung




n Imaginatio handmade batik curtains and toured the country’s parks and wonders, eventually landing in Sedona, Ariz., where they opened their own shop and started a successful batik clothing line. Sahasa Ben-Avari studied art at Antioch College and New Hampshire Institute of Art. She has worked in many different mediums, including acrylic, charcoal, pottery, batik, etc. She has worked in commercial design, as a potter, as an art teacher to children and as a professional mural and portrait artist. She feels like she has always been an artist, like it’s what she was born to do. “When I’m creating art, I feel actualized and connected. I feel like I’m really being me and am more energized,” she expresses. “My love for face painting started when I volunteered for a festival at my son’s school,” she said. “There were all of these wonderful, amazing paints and accents. Face paint had come

a long way since I was a child!” After that, her next career in face and body art took off. “I love working with children,” she exclaims. “They all line up looking so serious, like they want it so bad! And I love their squeals when they see themselves painted in the mirror for the first time!” Now a henna and face painting artist, Sahasa creates works of living art with children of all ages and is available for parties, festivals, family reunions, promotional and other events. “I enjoy parties the most,” Sahasa explains. “Each one is a chance to connect intimately with people and to create lasting memories with and for them. The work is very validating.”

Sahasa has, indeed, created many lasting memories in the Boone area. “This is the perfect way to connect with the community,” she continued. “I never thought I would stay in one place for long, but I have been here for nine years now and I love it here.” When asked what it was about the North Carolina mountains that drew her, she explained, “I came here to be with family and to be supported in the mountains. I love the community. The people here are genuinely kind and open. I love the land itself, mountains, hiking. I met my true love here and started a family. The mountains were calling me. Coming here felt like coming home.” View some of Sahasa Ben-Avari’s work on her website: www.bluemorphofaces. com. For questions or bookings, contact her at (828) 278-0796, or e-mail bluemorphofaces@




All About Authors

On The Same Page With Publisher

Wendy Dingwall By Maggie Bishop


hen Wendy Dingwall, owner of Canterbury House Publishing, and her husband, Walter, decided that he would semiretire and they would move full time to Boone area, she phased out her profitable travel business. “I always loved reading and writing, and I wanted a break from the often chaotic and sporadic travel business,” says Dingwall. Over the years she has sold everything from commercial interiors, advertising, accounting systems, and travel-related products. “When you’re in sales, you must learn about the product and the particular industry that produces the product insideout and upside-down, as well as knowing the competition, in order to be successful. So, this is how I approached publishing when I was hired as sales and operations manager in October 2003 with High Country Publishers, 42 SEPTEMBER 2010

now known as Ingalls Publishing Group.” Ironically, Dingwall mentions that a book dear to her heart, due to be released this September, is the ABC’s of Selling with Etiquette by motivational speakers and authors Dale Brakhage and Edie Hand. Dingwall goes on to say, “I fell in love with the business of promoting authors and their books while calling on bookstores and gift stores. For the first four years with IPG, I provided sales support to the distributor and authors, sold consignment sales locally, and handled the related accounting. I found that I loved helping to bring a book to birth, from conception to launch. I’ve heard the term “book doctor” and it reminds me of the doctor who helps a parent bring their baby into the world. It’s quite rewarding. “Toward the end of 2008, I worked hard to create a comprehensive business plan and find the talented authors that would help support the plan toward the start of my own

publishing company. I’ve learned many things by trial and error and even trial by fire.” Dingwall admits that she started her company at the worst possible time in recent history. She made the decision to strike out on her own just as the banking debacle happened at the end of 2008, and the Small Business Administration placed a freeze on all small business loans. In July 2009, she started her company. She had solicited some super authors who depended on her to get their books published and she was not going to disappoint. She has struggled to make ends meet, but she sees little by little, her business moving closer to profitability. By spring 2011, Dingwall will have published 12 books through Canterbury House. She hopes to continue to grow the number of books published each year to at least 10.


By Sue Spirit


y trip to Nepal had started so hopefully, with our adventure travel group’s arrival during the Nepali New Year. Girls put marigold leis around our necks, and our trekking guides gave us cream-colored silk scarves. We joined in a boisterous New Year’s ritual in ancient Bhaktapur, a palanquin bearing a statue of Ganesh carried back and forth through a crowd of men chanting, burning incense, and playing little drums and cymbals. I tried dosa, a crispy pancake of lentil flour stuffed with alu daam, a curried potato filling. Everything was so new and amazing. I was writing volumes in my journal. My romantic dream of Nepal involved floating around a Buddhist stupa, spinning prayer wheels, chanting, watching prayer flags flap in the breeze, trekking through picturesque mountain


& Leisure

at the Top of the World

villages calling “Namaste” to friendly children and gazing at the snow-capped Himalayas.This was to be my ultimate adventure journey, one that would fulfill many of my spiritual longings.Yet here I was in Nepal, my dream fading. It was 95 degrees and humid. Wilting under the unforgiving Nepali sun, I trudged the rocky uphill path often interrupted with uneven stone steps. Indra, our leader, had promised rest stops on the three-and-a-half kilometer trek to Sanctuary Lodge, but there had been only one, for those I called the “alpha dogs” of our group to rest until the slowpokes caught up. Reality was sinking in: of our small group I was the trekker in the most trouble. I was reasonably fit for a 71-year-old, but knee replacement surgery had left me nearly unable to negotiate steps.The others seemed to be automatons. Two in their 80s were far in the lead. “Am I the worst trekker you’ve ever had?” I asked Indra.“No, not by far,” he assured me.“You have a good attitude and many others have not had.” Cold comfort, I thought. Almost in tears, I kept my head lowered, watching for boulders and other dicey spots, missing what I had most desired to experience: trains of soft-eyed donkeys jingling bells, women wearing bamboo baskets full of products for market, children playing games, other trekkers bowing and calling “Namaste!” Sanctuary Lodge was aptly named for a place that could only be reached on foot. As we straggled into its welcoming garden, drenched with sweat and caked with dust, we were given glasses of lemonade. While the others toasted their triumphant arrival, I stood to the side cradling my glass, retreating into my own world. Two rough climbs involving thousands of steps, many terraces, and remote villages were scheduled for the next two days. Indra sorrowfully announced that he really didn’t think I should attempt them. I could remain at Sanctuary Lodge. Next morning I was roused from sleep at

6:00 a.m. by a knock at the door and a gentle Nepali voice calling, “Madame, your tea, your chiya;” the clink of a saucer on my porch table, and a hushed pronouncement, “You can see the mountain!” Scrambling into my clothes, cradling my chiyaa, I took a seat in the yard, ready to enter a holy world. Machhapuchhre, the mountain sacred to Hindus and Buddhists , was sailing through fog and cloud, a thin pencil-drawn presence, its fishtail peak silently appearing, then disappearing. I could scarcely breathe. This was the mountain so holy that no one could attempt to climb it. It could be seen so seldom that sometimes it didn’t even seem to exist. Here I was, privileged to enter this world, glimpse what seemed to be a Shangri-La. After breakfast the group left for their trek, leaving me in my chair, sipping another cup of chiyaa, holding my journal, lost in thought. I was alone at the top of the world. Pure, untouched Machhapuchhre is said to provide wings to the reveries of poets.The fog and cloud, veils between the seen and the unseen, had lifted for moments, allowing me to glimpse the world beyond, something without words, the face of the eternal. Now I knew why no one could attempt to climb Machhapuchhre. She might reveal herself briefly, but would forever remain a mystery. Words of a poem poured onto my journal page. They almost seemed to be written through me, my hand moving unbidden on the page. I was exactly where I was meant to be.

Sanctuary Lodge I travel this river on foot to a sanctuary built without mortar, wait to discover emptiness, lightness in gossamer flags. Machhapuchhre hides in a butterfly cloud. Nirvana brings lessons in peace from a magpie. I read the mountain whole, plant thunder in my soul, trek lightning to the stars, meditate on roses. -Sue Spirit



the Pet Page

Three blind mice Lead to Genesis

By Genevieve Austin


he children’s song “Three Blind Mice” is a thread in the fiber of American culture. Depending upon where we were raised, our intuitive reaction to mice varies. Field mice are cute, but like everything else, our cultural perspective concerning “wildlife” often depends upon our proximity to them and what breed or species we encounter. What we consider “our” territory may draw them in where they simply choose to take up residence until they are discovered. Cleaning out my parents’ 107-year-old farmhouse and adjacent shed brought me faceto-face with three blind baby field mice. Their vulnerability and the absence of their mother grabbed my heartstrings and pushed me into a conundrum of what to do. They had nested at the bottom of an old abandoned art supplies’ box, weathered by time.


My discovery first led my son and me to do a Google search for “How does one feed a baby mouse?” A trip to the vet for kitten’s milk and a mini dropper later, surrogate mouse mothering commenced. A pre-planned out-of-town trip meant that I had to act quickly to find another willing soul who cared about their survival. Three blind baby mice motivated me to find a true haven to vulnerable orphaned and/or injured wildlife. These little creatures, measuring smaller than my pinky finger, were welcomed and tended to immediately. Moments when we encounter “the remarkable” are often those we simply stumble upon. Gift yourself with a visit to the Genesis Wildlife Sanctuary, Inc, as did I and you will know what I mean. Genesis Wildlife Sanctuary’s founder, Leslie Hayhurst, devotes her life and heart to assisting animals in need. She states, “When I was ten-

twelve years old, my mother swore she’d never open the door to my bedroom again.” The surprise of finding carious healing critters being cared for had escalated to the point where Leslie’s mother might easily have come across a snake under the bed - and more. Leslie’s affinity for animals outweighed mainstream extracurricular activities. The experiential knowledge she gained remains her passion. Wildlife tending demands permits, licensing and adhering to stringent legal regulations. Prior to incorporating Genesis as a non-profit organization in 1992, Leslie acquired needed permits and devoted a floor of her home to caring for the wounded and orphaned animals. Genesis Wildlife Sanctuary’s number one priority is education. Treating 400-500 animals a year, the Sanctuary staff welcomes field trips from area schools and takes special presentations into the schools. Historically, reactions to wildlife have ended with cruel and toxic measures, which harm all life without addressing sustainable solutions. Through

education, each of us can make knowledgeable choices that are humane, safe and ecologically sound. When we stumble upon “remarkable moments” that include unpredictable encounters with the many beautiful animals our mountain setting hosts, we must recognize and seek the counsel and resources within our own back yard. Genesis Wildlife Sanctuary, Inc. is the perfect solution. For more information, to schedule a tour, or to request advice on handling one’s unexpected encounter, contact Genesis Wildlife Sanctuary, Inc. at (828) 387-2979, 210 Grassy Gap Creek Road, Beech Mountain, NC 28604;, e-mail: genewild@ We are always welcomed – along with our wildlife!

Isis before the scar.

Three blind baby mice motivated me to find a true haven to vulnerable orphaned and/or injured wildlife.

Ten - to 12-day-old groundhogs.

Red shoulder hawk.





OFF to SCHOOL: The First Day of Kindergarten Today was it. I went to school. It was fun and kind of cool. We did the hokey pokey dance. Peter cried — he wet his pants. Miss Libby said to make a line. I got paper. I drew mine. But all the kids were in a row. Miss Libby said, “Come on let’s go.”

Compliments of The Children’s Council of Watauga County

I sang and drew and had some fun. I’ve gone to school and now I am done. Huh? What did you say? I’ve got to go another day? I am not done this afternoon? I’ve got to go until mid-June! I thought today I was all done. I guess today was just day one. (


ith the new school year already under way in the High Country, families are adjusting to a new routine after summer days of leisure. Both children and parents may find this to be a stressful time especially for the youngest students in kindergarten, first-grade, etc. Hopefully, if your child’s preschool or kindergarten had a visiting or orientation day, you took advantage of the opportunity. Tr y t o r e m a i n i n v o l v e d in ongoing activities and events throughout the school year as a way to stay connected. Join the PTA, sign up to volunteer for field trips, as a classroom helper, tutor, etc., as your schedule permits. Stick to routines: Adjust your child’s sleeping and eating schedules and other habits so the school day flows well. Try to keep early mornings as stress-free as possible by preparing clothes, book bags, lunches, 46 SEPTEMBER 2010

assignments, etc., on the night before they are needed. For the kindergarteners, use books to help them adjust, such as: • I Am Too Small for School, Lauren Child • Little Rabbit Goes to School , Harry Horse • Miss Mingo and the First Day of School, Jamie Harper • Vera’s First Day of School, Vera Rosenberry • Welcome to Kindergarten, Ann Rockwell Give it Time: The first few weeks will be an adjustment for everyone. Anticipate some ups and downs during those first few weeks of school. If there are major struggles, consult the teacher for suggestions. It’s the beginning of a long journey. Enjoy.


Nap T ime

MOMs’ World

By Heather W. Jordan, CNM, MSN


s I lay tossing and turning in my bed, my body exhausted and my mind way too awake to ignore, I couldn’t help but think about how ironic that just yesterday my 3 and a half-year-old son Ben had thrown a knock-down drag-out tantrum over going to preschool because he did not want to take a nap. The evening before, when I had asked him about his day, he had informed me that he was NOT going back to that school. This was a surprising statement, given that he had gleefully walked through the doors to his school for his first two weeks. We had enrolled him after months of him begging to go to school. In fact, Ben was so ready for school that he had taken to going up to his room every day after his brothers and I left – to get his backpack and lunch box. My husband said that he would arrive in the kitchen, announcing that he was ready to go to school. Throughout the day, he would proceed to talk about all the things that his imaginary teacher had taught him and go into detail about field trips where he had seen a certain type of snake or learned about some faraway place. In truth, it seemed like we were depriving him to keep him home, given that his obsession with going to school and emulating his big brothers had taken on a life of its own. So, when he became adamant about not

returning, I questioned him. His response was,“I’m going to go to a different school ...,” and then after a pause, “where they don’t take naps.” Oh, to take a nap, my mind thought. I quickly emphasized all the fun he had been having and how much he was learning, and added that any school would have naptime for children his age. He brushed off my comments and stated firmly, “I’m NOT going back!” When Ben awoke the next morning, the struggle started immediately and he gave no assistance to getting ready. Finally, with my time running short, I wound up carrying him kicking and screaming, to the car. His shoes were off and my 6-year-old was making comments like, “Do you think Ben’s just tired?” Frazzled, I arrived at the preschool, peeled him out of the car seat, and carried him into the classroom. I told the teacher about his declaration about not taking naps, to which she responded that he was falling asleep without difficulty, sometimes before she could even get his blanket to cover him. We asked Ben what he wanted to do – play with the blocks with his friends, go to another center, or sit down at the table to do art. He readily sat down and began stickering the construction paper. I gave him a kiss and moved on with my day. That night he informed me that he had had

a good day, and my husband informed me that he had taken a two and a half hour nap! As I reflect on my son’s prerequisite for attending school, I smile at how cruel sleep can be – as I get older. My oldest son just turned 12, and all of my children (finally) sleep through the night for the most part. I crash quickly and heavily, but then find that the cats or the sun’s first light or some phantom child wake me in the wee morning hours as the whole house snores on and my pager and cell phone are silent. Some days I fight it and think of soothing ocean waves moving in and out with my breath, trying to lull myself back, but most mornings I concede to my brain, which, once awake, tends to hit the ground running. Fatigue hits later and I sigh. Maybe I can sneak over to the preschool where the cot, pillow and blanket await, and trade places with some 3-year–old whose mind is tired but body won’t give it up. I think I know of one child that would gladly consider it.

If you have comments or questions about this article, please feel free to contact Heather Jordan, Certified Nurse-Midwife, at the office of Charles E. Baker, MD at 828-737-7711 x253 or e-mail her at landh@



d b e y d H n u e o


r Connecting Us All a




Heartfelt Healing

By Teri Wiggans


t started out with a heart-shaped potato five years ago. I had planted an organic garden and was harvesting the vegetables, herbs and potatoes. I found that digging up potatoes was fun, as I never knew exactly where they were buried in the earth or what size would pop out. Low and behold, however, a heart-shaped potato appeared. I was gleeful. I began to look for other heart shapes in nature. Each time I have hiked, my intention is to find a heart-shaped stone, and I have quite a collection. On one hike last summer, in the middle of the trail, was a smooth stump in the shape of a heart. A friend who knows my passion in finding hearts took a photo of a heart-shaped bubble that had formed when she emptied her bubble bath. Heart-shaped designs are in marble flooring, as well as lichen on a tree. They are everywhere. I recently facilitated a Numina “Women

of Wisdom” circle, where we focused on connectedness which is represented by the heart. I brought out several of my hearts from nature or photos of them to share and received a moment of enlightenment. I realized that I have been highly successful in “seeing” hearts in nature. I haven’t always seen those less tangible hearts in each and every person I meet, or those that I have never met but have formed some sort of judgment toward. Our eyes are a distraction from actually “seeing” everything and everyone with our hearts. I have had doubts about how I am contributing to this world, to my community and to my family and friends. Am I in a place of judgment which keeps me separated from others, or am I in a space of love and connectedness? As I asked that question on a nature walk, as nature often reflects answers to us if we’re open to receiving, my answer came through a heart-shaped

quartz rock lying in my path. I held it to my heart and it said,“You are heart. You are in your heart more and more.You radiate light to the world.You are heart.” The message was powerful and reaffirming. Now I get to choose to live it moment by moment. The Alaskan flower essence, harebell, gifts us with an opening to unconditional love from within. “I receive all that I need through my love connection with the universe. As I open my heart to others, unconditional love flows through me.” (Alaskan Essences, Healing Essences from the Heart of Nature, Steve Johnson) Our heart represents our relationship with our self, and in turn our relationship with others. It is a permanent seed that holds all of the information of who we are. As you reflect within and “see” with your heart, notice how peaceful, light and loving our world is. On that note, I leave you with another insight I received from the heart-shaped stones that makes me chuckle, “Hearty, ho, ho, ho.”

Teri Wiggans, RN/MSN/FNP, sends heartfelt blessings from the Heartfelt Healing Center at 828-264-4443 or 48 SEPTEMBER 2010


BLOWING ROCKS Annual Luncheon and Fashion Show

By Corrinne Louks Assad


ach year at the Blowing Rock Luncheon and Fashion Show to benefit Blowing Rock Hospital, a Woman of the Year is named – someone who has gone above and beyond to donate their talents and time to enhancing the quality of living in Blowing Rock. Marianne Hall, the 2009 award recipient, said this year’s selection committee could not decide between the two top runnersup so presented Kim Hartley and Wendy Estes the shared title. Both Blowing Rock natives, the dynamic duo was credited with such accomplishments as raising money for Make-A-Wish foundation by waiting tables; compiling care packages of toys and gifts for children of families with a parent away in Iraq; helping pull off a golf tournament without a hitch, providing books for children, leading Vacation Bible School at their church and setting the stages for community plays with their beautiful designs. This year’s event was another in a long line of gala affairs, beginning with a champagne brunch and silent auction which included champagne donated by the shops at Tynecastle and an extensive variety of auction items including gift certificates to area restaurants, personally owned estate items, distinctive art, and much more. The event got underway with Betty Pitts offering the invocation, followed by words of greetings and appreciation from Blowing Rock Hospital Administrator, Tim Ford. All proceeds are going toward the ongoing purchases of new beds for Blowing Rock Hospital’s extended stay wing. The Dandelion, Inc. & Shooz and Shiraz supplied the fashions, accessories and even some of the models for this year’s event.The theme was ‘Calendar Girls, featuring outfits for every month and season. Catherine Scantlin and her baby, Grace, opened the show with gasps from the audience in their matching white faux fur coats and hats. From Spring’s rain slickers and umbrellas to

A Huge Success

autumn’s ASU black and gold, and Halloween’s orange and black, and glittering ensembles for the holidays, no calendar page was left unturned. In addition to ticket sales for the luncheon affair, funds were also raised through the annual pre-gala black tie dinner on Thursday prior. The totals are still being tallied. Kirby Brown, aka “The Mad Hatter,” worked the crowd for $1 donations toward her hat touting a $100 value. Betty Pitts and daughter, Lynn Lawrence sold tickets to the raffle of every woman’s

dream - a $1,000 Dande Lion shopping spree! This years’ event proved to be an exciting time for all who attended. Old friends visited, new friends were made and the ladies of the Blowing Rock Community once again demonstrated that they are always ready and wiling to join forces for a good cause. Continued On Page 50 Bright and beautiful, Melyssa Majano, proves that flowers are always in season – especially when worn with a smile. Photo by Corrinne Loucks Assad



Scenes from

BLOWING ROCKS Annual Luncheon and Fashion Show

The unwavering Kirby Brown, aka “The Mad Hatter,” worked the crowd for $1 raffle donations for the $100 bill atop her hat.

Carolyn Marley and Palma Koger are perfect examples of the fact that hats and friendship are forever fashionable. The Woman of the Year title was shared between two young women Wendy Estes and Kim Hartley who have gone above and beyond to donate their talents and time to enhancing the quality of living in Blowing Rock. Photo by Jeff Eason

All Other Photos by Corrinne Loucks Assad

As always, the silent auction table drew a crowd as its reputation precedes itself each year.

Catherine Scantlin and “Baby Grace” opened the show – with obvious audience approval - adorned in matching white faux fur coats and hats.






& Style


Fall Fashions That Never Fail


very woman needs those special wardrobe pieces that can go from the office to the after-hours social event with very little effort. We’ve discovered a few “must-haves” that will help make your fall ensembles complete: · A great tailored jacket -- fitted to show off feminine curves, goes well with everything from work trousers to jeans. It adds structure to your figure: gives curvy girls more angular lines, creates waistlines for boyish figure types and smooths out lumps and bumps for all shapes. Choose traditional fall jacket fabrics like tweed, corduroy, denim or menswear plaids; or even velvet, leather, brocade.

· A crisp, long-sleeve white shirt is a building block of your fall wardrobe. Whether cotton with stretch, fitted silhouettes or cuff and sleeve details, collar variations all work under everything from cardigans to jackets or on their own with wide-leg trousers. · A pantsuit is the ultimate power suit for the working woman, but also plays well after hours when paired with a silky camisole and heels. A solid black pantsuit is the most flattering (head-to-toe monochromatic color) and the most classic. Look for a fabric with drape -- nothing too stiff or shiny -- preferably in wool (or wool with some stretch for comfort). · The turtleneck sweater has earned its place as a classic, while Continued On Page 52



& Style


Fall Fashions

Continued From Page 51

other neckline trends come and go.The turtleneck brings your face into focus. A mock turtleneck is a good option if you don’t like the bulk of a true turtleneck (it’s the same height, only the fabric doesn’t fold back over). Stick with cozy, touchable materials for your turtleneck because anything itchy or scratchy is unbearable on your sensitive neck area. The black turtleneck is the ultimate classic because it creates a blank palette to show off wonderful necklaces, cuff bracelets or just a pretty face. · Neutral coats are timeless fashion pieces that retains popularity: they go with most things in your closet and transcend the trends.The camel color is an enduring fall classic with many possibilities. · Plaid – a perennial menswear print favorite for women goes well with trousers, coats and jackets. · Knee-high boots make great sense for fall because they let you get more wear out of everything from skinny jeans to miniskirts. Tuck in slim trousers for a young look or layer on opaque tights with a skirt or dress to keep out the chill. Choose a mid-heel


height for the most trend-proof look (something 2 inches or less). Brown boots are a great choice if you wear lots of denim; black pairs with almost everything.

· Pearls are the perfect trend-proof accessory to compliment the more structured styles of fall.Wear gray pearls with black for a sensual tonal look; or choose layers of creamy white pearls worn with a simple black sheath dress for a perfect cocktail dress look. · Match a sheath with a hem-length coat or wear it on its own with pumps; anyway you wear the classic, knee-length sheath dress it’s a winner. Fabric choices include knits, crepe, silk and menswear fabrics. Or try something edgy like a leather sheath. · Leather bags get bigger with cooler weather because you have more to carry (umbrellas, wraps, hats). The leather bag doesn’t have to be boring – there are logoed styles, patent, exotic skins, quilting, bold hardware, bright colors and much more – but the most classic looks have a ladylike feel to them and understated luxury. Unlike an in-today/out-tomorrow “It” bag, the large leather bag will be your faithful friend for years.This is one splurge where you’ll get lots of mileage on your investment.

& Style


Stop Trying To Be Perfect


oing things to the best of your ability is a good rule of thumb. But some people take this motto to an unhealthy extreme. Seeking perfection is not only unrealistic, but it’s also a huge burden to carry. Perfectionists may start out with the best of intentions – wanting to better themselves or their situation – but they end up becoming control freaks. When something minor goes wrong, they feel like it’s the end of the world. This creates an obscene amount of stress that’s enough to drive anyone batty!

Healthy Lady


Source: Lifescript



AGEs-less Living o you know how to “candy” a ham? Just baste the meat with sugar and butter and pop it in the oven. As the ham roasts, a sweet, crunchy glaze forms on the surface. Though delicious to the palate, that sticky glaze can be very harmful to the body. The combination of sugar, fat and heat not only coats the ham; it also coats your cells with sticky, tar-like molecules called “advanced glycation end products” [AGEs]. These sticky molecules are deadly. Every organ in the body is harmed by AGES. Some of the harmful effects include:

If you fall into the trap of perfectionism, especially when it comes to your body, you need to learn to accept your imperfections. Maybe you compare yourself to glossy photos of supermodels. Guess what? They’re airbrushed to look perfect. Away from the pages of magazines, they have imperfections, problem areas and bad hair days just like everyone else. So, remember: Nobody’s perfect … and that’s the beauty of it.

By Bonnie Church

- Plaque builds up in your arteries. [Think heart disease.] - Neural pathways in the brain are clogged. [Think dementia and Alzheimer’s.]

- Inflammation and tissue damage in your joints is triggered. [Think arthritis.] Continued On Page 54

- Normal supple body structures become stiff and brittle. [Think wrinkles, and damaged arteries.] - Nerve function and sensitivity is impaired. [Think painful neuropathies.] - Sticky, debilitating waste is deposited throughout the cells and organs in your body interrupting essential intercellular communication. [Think cancer and other debilitating diseases.]





Flaxseeds for Skin Protection By Kelly Pennick


laxseeds are known to have many benefits, but few women may realize their value related to skin protection. The multifaceted flaxseeds grow from a flax plant with narrow leaves and blue flowers that are useful also in producing linen. These seeds are known to be rich in omega-3 fatty acids, thought to help in lowering high cholesterol, as well as serving as a source of other vitamins, minerals and potassium. It is the omega-3 fatty acid, contained in flaxseeds, that helps skin protect itself – the natural oils of the body are increased, and therefore the skin is left softer and has less chance of drying out. How can we make the most of these added benefits? We can use the flaxseeds in cooking; the seeds can be eaten ground, whole or in the form of oil.Their taste is earthy and nutty.Today many resorts in the U.S. and beyond are creating spa cuisine incorporating flaxseeds, or flaxseed oil, for the benefit of their guests. Flaxseeds have also proven to be anti-inflammatory, helping to reduce irritation and redness of the skin. Flaxseed oil can be incorporated into a person’s diet, as well as applied directly to the skin to prevent dryness. It serves well as a moisturizer and often applied through various facials, body wraps, massages, pedicures and manicures. For a healthy body – inside and out – it’s worth your investment of time and money for treatments that contain flaxseeds or for products that contain the very important little ingredient. Kelly Penick is a local licensed esthetician who may be reached at (828) 7733587.

AGEs-less Living Continued From Page 53 Do you get the point? AGEs are killers! You are not going to be able to totally eliminate AGEs from your life, but there are steps you can take to reduce the damage. [Discuss with a knowledgeable health-care provider, before making any changes in your diet or lifestyle.] Anti-AGEs Action Plan · Control blood glucose levels through limiting high glycemic carbs and sugar in the diet.These are carbohydrates that break down rapidly into blood sugar, elevating blood glucose levels suddenly. For information on low glycemic eating go to · Regularly exercise at least 30 minutes a day. · Limit saturated fat.Totally eliminate trans-fats and · hydrogenated fats. [Read the label. If it says hydrogenated or trans-fat, run.] · Avoid overcooking and browning meats. Use low heat, slow cook methods instead. · Limit processed foods and foods in a box. Especially avoid high fructose corn syrup. [Read labels.You will be amazed at how many times it shows up.] · Add spice to your food: Cinnamon, ginger, cumin and black pepper have all been shown to have AGEs-inhibiting properties. · Drink green tea. It supports blood glucose control and AGE’s-inhibition. · Consider supplementation. Clinical studies have identified a thiamine-derived supplement, benfotiamine, as a powerful AGEs fighter. Benfotiamine was developed in Japan, 30 years ago.There, it is prescribed for the treatment of various neuropathies. These simple measures will not keep you young forever, but might help you feel younger, years longer. Source:WebMD 54 SEPTEMBER 2010

Act F.A.S.T.

you could save a life

Know the warning signs of stroke

Every minute counts Face: Does one side of the face droop?

Ask the person to smile


Is one arm weak or numb?

Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?



Is speech slurred? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Is the sentence repeated correctly?

If the person shows any of these symptoms, Call 911 or get to the hospital immediately.




Pineapples are an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese (a mineral which helps the body break down fats, carbohydrates and proteins). It is also a good source of vitamins B1 and B6, copper and fiber. Pineapple offers antioxidant protection and immune system support, as well as protection for age-related eye problems. It is known for its bromelain content, which is an enzyme that has been found to be an anti-inflammatory agent, and is used for the treatment of athletic injuries, digestive problems, phlebitis, sinusitis and healing after surgery.

Corn is a good source of vitamins B1 and B5, as well as folate and manganese, and is rich in beta-cryptoxanthin, which is a carotenoid that may lower the risk of developing lung cancer. One cup of corn contains 168 mg of phosphorus, a mineral needed by the body for strong bones and teeth since calcium alone can’t do the job. It also aids in transmission of nerve impulses, helps the kidneys to effectively eliminate waste, and supplies the body with plentiful amounts of stable energy.

Lemon is a good source of vitamin C, which is one of the most important antioxidants found in nature. Studies have shown that eating vitamin Crich fruits and vegetables is linked to a reduced risk of death from all causes, including heart disease, stroke and cancer. The lemon’s unique flavonoids, including flavonol glycosides, have been found to be protective against cholera due to its antibiotic effects. Sucking on a slice of lemon is a natural way to banish bad breath.

Bell peppers are excellent sources of vitamin C and vitamin A. These antioxidants work together to effectively neutralize free radicals, which can travel through the body causing huge amounts of damage to cells. Peppers also contain vitamin B6 and folic acid. These two B vitamins are very important for reducing high levels of homocysteine, which has been shown to cause damage to blood vessels and greatly increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. Bell peppers also provide fiber that can help lower high cholesterol levels, which is another risk factor for heart attack and stroke.

Squashes come in different colors and sizes. Summer squash, such as the yellow sunburst squash, is packed with more than 20 essential nutrients. One cup is an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese, and is a very good source of fiber, a nutrient which helps keep cancer-causing toxins away from cells in the colon. It is also rich in B complex, calcium, zinc, iron and folate. Also being a very good source of vitamin A, squashes are beneficial against cancer (especially lung cancer), heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Peaches are packed with vitamin A, which is known to combat risks of heart disease and promote vision and skin health. Peaches also contain vitamin C, which is known for its extraordinary immune system benefits. They are a good source of dietary fiber (helps to regulate the digestive system, clean the intestines and combat cancer) and antioxidants (molecules that slow and prevent the production of free radicals in the body, which cause cell damage). The skin of a peach is the most nutritious part of the entire fruit, as it contains the highest concentration of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.



A a

Smart Tips for Dining Out O

ne of the biggest obstacles dieters face is sticking to their plan when dining out at a restaurant. It can be a scary prospect – all those tempting sights and smells.You can eat out and still stick to your plan – no matter where you go. Just follow these 10 tips:

5 Use extra-virgin olive oil instead of butter. Both add calories, but olive oil is chock-full of healthy fats.

1 Think of your dieting goals the same way you do your credit card. Never leave home without them.

7 Remember: Restaurants serve gargantuan portions. Know that a typical restaurant portion of meat is 9-12 ounces. However, a true serving of meat is only 3-4 ounces.

2 Ask questions! You’re the one paying the bill, so you’re the one in charge. Look at the menu, ask questions and make substitutions when necessary. 3 Substitute a salad or vegetables for french fries – you’ll save hundreds of calories. 4 Get sauce on the side. Ask for dressings and sauces to be served on the side.


6 Eyeball your portion sizes. Most restaurants are notorious for overfeeding people.

8 Portion out your meal. When your entrée arrives, divide it into the appropriate portions before you start to eat.Ask for a to-go box for the leftovers, and wrap them up immediately. Out of sight, out of mind. 9 Avoid all-you-can-eat buffets. 10 Don’t eat from anyone else’s plate; that counts, too. Source: LifeScript


All About Food and Entertainment


Sabra Townsend and her dietary staff at Glenbridge. Photo by Sherrie Norris

By Sherrie Norris


abra Townsend might come to work in her uniform, or she might just arrive looking like Dolly or Reba. It depends on the day and just how much fun she wants to have with those she serves. A Watauga native, raised in the Aho community where she still resides on land she inherited from her grandfather, Sabra is a certified dietary manager who has dedicated 31 years of her life in food service to a local nursing home. Graduating with the Watauga High Class of ’72, Sabra received her current certification from Auburn University in 1985. Her “long-term” journey started in the kitchen at the Watauga Nursing Care Center in 1978. She evolved with the times and continues to run the show – literally – at Glenbridge Health and Rehabilitation Center in Boone. When she’s not in the kitchen, her special performances as an impersonator of some of country music’s biggest stars remain favorite items on the center’s special events “menu.” Her co-workers, facility residents and their families say you have to see her in action to believe it. “I love getting dressed up as Reba McIntyre, Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn and Patsy Cline. I keep all their wigs in my car. I can only imagine what the police might think if I am ever stopped! I’m not a bank robber nor do I disguise myself for anything but fun,” she said. But, entertaining aside, Reba (oops, we meant Sabra) has a history in the kitchen that began much earlier than her employment date. “Both of my grandmothers and my mother where wonderful cooks,” she said. “I learned a lot from them and I still use my grandmother’s handwritten recipes she left to me.” When she began working at the Watauga Nursing Center in November 1978, Sabra developed an immediate bond with the residents and says she’s still in the kitchen at Glenbridge “doing what I love to do.” It’s a lifetime commitment, no doubt. “I absolutely love my job and the residents we care for. I feel like if I can make one resident happy, then I have done my job,” Sabra said. She describes the facility residents as “amazing” and has a sincere love for each one. “It can be a challenge sometimes to prepare so many different meals based on various dietary requirements, but we do all we can to keep the residents happy and healthy at the same time,” she said. Most residents prefer “home cookin’,” which she and her staff are able to provide through adapting required recipes, etc., and trying new techniques. “We do have some strict guidelines and get inspected every three months by the health department, as well as through other inspections during the year.” Recently, Sabra describes, restrictions have become more “liberalized,” which allows her staff more flexibility than when meals were more “institutionalized” and somewhat boring.“We prepare 21 different diets each meal, and we also serve snacks three times a day,” Sabra said. She describes her staff as “awesome!” “They work so hard and I am very blessed with the caliber of people I have working in this kitchen. Some of

them have 30-plus years’ experience, and some with more than 20. I depend on them so much and they are always there for me,” she said. After a full day at Glenbridge, Sabra goes home to cook for her husband, Bobby, and other family members who stop in frequently.“But that’s just part of my day when I cook down-home food like I was raised on. I don’t cook fancy meals,” she insists. She and Bobby, her high school sweetheart, have been married for 38 years and are the proud parents of “two wonderful children” – Eddie and Ellen, who have blessed them with “three awesome grandkids”: Hunter, 14, Brahm, 10, and Hayla, 9. “They are all my heart gifts,” she says. Sabra’s mother passed away last year Glenbridge. “I feel so fortunate to have been there with her until the end,” she said. Sabra’s father is also deceased; her only sister, Becky, lives in Boone. It’s no surprise that her favorite collection has to do with cookbooks, and “anything related to Gone With the Wind. “I love to read and bake and I am a huge Andy Griffith fan,” Sabra says. She has enjoyed traveling with close friends to places like New York, Las Vegas, Florida, Atlanta and Savannah, and, “of course, I go to the beach and Gatlinburg every chance I get!” She also loves camping with family. “Spending time with my grandkids is what I love the most,” she admits. Sabra says she wouldn’t change a thing about her life, even if she could. “God has blessed me with a wonderful family and job. I know that I am doing what God has intended for me to do.The only other thing that I would love to do is open a bakery, but I couldn’t leave Glenbridge,” she said. Sabra loves to bake for the staff and often brings treats for them to enjoy. “I think I have them spoiled, but I love it! I bake cakes for my staff’s birthdays, as well as for those in our therapy department. It makes me feel so good when I see them enjoying what I bake. I also love to bake for fundraising sales that we help sponsor for our resident activity department and other good causes, too,” she said. Whether it’s a healthy meal or an entertaining event, Sabra Townsend serves it up right every time.

Sabra’s Favorite Recipes

My Granny’s BBQ Sauce

(My Granny used this on chicken, but I am sure it will work just as well for other things, too.) 1 cup ketchup 2 tsp. vinegar 1 tsp.Tabasco sauce 1 stick melted butter 2 Tbs. A-1 sauce Dash of red pepper

Continued On Page 58






1 tsp. salt 1 Tbs. sugar Dash black pepper

Granny’s Jell-O Pie 1 box Vanilla Wafers 1½ cups of pineapple juice 1 cup sugar 2 eggs 1 small pkg. (any flavor) Jell-O 1 large can evaporated milk that has been chilled in refrigerator Line a deep-dish pie plate with vanilla wafers. Cook pineapple juice, sugar and eggs until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and mix in the Jell-O; cool. Whip the evaporated milk and add to the pineapple juice mixture. Pour into pie plate. Chill.

Butter Nut Pound Cake

The first cake my Mom taught me to make. 1½ cups Crisco shortening 3 cups sugar 5 eggs 3 cups self-rising flour 1 Tbs. butternut flavoring 1 cup milk Mix all ingredients. Pour into greased tube or bundt pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 1½ hours

Italian Cream Cake (Believe it or not, this was my wedding cake! I made it for us to eat after we got married and I have been baking this cake for 38 years. I won a blue ribbon with it, too.) 1 stick butter 2 cups self-rising flour 1 cup buttermilk ½ cup Crisco shortening 2 cups sugar 5 egg yolks 1 tsp. vanilla 1 cup black walnuts 1 cup coconut 5 eggs whites, beaten Cream butter, sugar, Crisco and egg yolks; add vanilla, buttermilk and 1 cup of flour. Mix. Add the other cup of flour and mix again. Add nuts and coconut. Fold in beaten egg whites. Pour batter into 3 round cake pans. Bake 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees. Icing 1 stick butter 1 tsp. vanilla 1 (16 oz.) box powdered sugar 1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese Cream butter and cream cheese together. Add vanilla powdered sugar. Mix until creamy and spread between layers of cooled cake.Top cake with coconut and nuts.

Parting Shot

Girls, when we think we’ve got it tough, remember this scene, captured recently in Lancaster, PA.


- Sherrie Norris



All About Women Magazine - September 2010  

September 2010 Edition of All About Women

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