Page 1


j u ly 2 0 1 3 FREE

Finding Strength with

A’leta a’leta mcdaniel

betty pitts A Community Servant

brenda barber Language of Love

pam maltba Applying the Brakes

cindy brown-greer A Heart for Serving

July Workshop Series

re ( new ) your ( self ) at Boone Healing Arts Center 2 Weeks Unlimited Classes

Saturday, July 13th 9am-12pm "Claiming Your True Self" Wednesday, July 17th 6:30-8:30pm "Massage for Family & Friends"



Wednesday, July 24th 6-8pm "Makeover Your Medicine Cabinet: Essential Oils"

*See website for details and schedule.

FREE Movie Fridays

A community of Holistic Practitioners offering ... chinese medicine · applied kinesiology · psychotherapy rolfing structural integration · skin care · massage · acupuncture health coaching · alexander technique · chiropractic care SI JIN BAO® facial consultations “FOUR GOLDEN TREASURES”



838 State Farm Rd · Boone NC |

‘Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.’ - Maya Angelou

Photo by Leda Winebarger

publisher Gene Fowler

executive editor Tom Mayer

editor Sherrie Norris 828.264.3612, ext. 251

writers Heather Brandon Danielle Bussone Sharon Carlton Bonnie Church Yozette “Yogi” Collins Rebecca Hambleton Heather Jordan Linda Killian Heather Samudio

production & design Jennifer Canosa Meleah Bryan Daniel Michaloski

advertising 828.264.6397

cover photo by Allison Hollis, Hollis Captured Moments

Any reproduction of news articles, photographs or advertising artwork is strictly prohibited without permission from management. ©Copyright 2013 A Mountain Times Publication

contents news bits you go girl: kinsey greene betty pitts brenda barber natural birth pam maltba cindy brown-greer the art of soul stitching ‘hats off ’ celebration a’leta mcdaniel western carolina eye associates 2013 farm tour home dècor and more young at heart by the book high country courtesies healthy lady mom’s world beauty safety tips for summer travel

a’leta mcdaniel

7 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 30 32 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 48






betty pitts

brenda barber

pam maltba

cindy brown-greer



editor’s note

I love the month of July when our freedom as Americans is celebrated and a festive atmosphere prevails throughout the land. Parades, picnics and fireworks make everything seem right — if just for a day. In spite of our country’s frailties, I am proud to be an American. America and women have much in common — we are strong, we are beautiful and we don’t cave in easily. We stand for what we believe to be right and will challenge, with gusto, the forces that come against us. We have our flaws, but we also have our strengths. We have to constantly deal with issues that require wisdom and strength — and we don’t mind admitting when we need a little help, or when we might be wrong. Most of us know that we can’t make it too far in this world alone, and while independence is good — it doesn’t come without a cost. As we celebrate this month and all that America means to us, let us never forget that freedom isn’t free today, nor has it ever been, and that someone has always paid so that we might enjoy life, as we know it. Proud to be an American woman,



newsbits&clips Watauga Teacher Among Rhododendron Inductees

(left to right) Garrett D. Hinshaw, Gail Lentz Ford and Ronald R. Beane. Photo by Marie Freeman

Gail Lentz Ford of Watauga County was among three individuals recently inducted into The 2013 Class of Rhododendron Society, established in 1999, to recognize graduates of Appalachian State University whose service as teachers, librarians, human service professionals or administrators has reflected great credit on themselves, the field of education and the university. Induction is the highest honor given by the Reich College of Education. Gail, along with Ronald R. Beane of Caldwell County and Garrett D. Hinshaw of Catawba County, was honored by Appalachian State University’s Reich College of Education during a breakfast ceremony held on campus Saturday, June 8, as part of the university’s annual alumni reunion weekend. Gail began her career in public education in 1974 after earning a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Appalachian. She continued her education, earning a master’s degree in reading education in 1977 and certification in gifted education in 2002. She served as the academically and intellectually gifted specialist at Hardin Park Elementary School and later directed the K-5 Mentor Program for Watauga County Schools. She became the K-5 curriculum specialist and director of gifted education for Watauga County Schools in 2002, where she remained until retiring in 2009. After a brief respite from her administrative work, she returned to that position in fall 2009 through 2012. Gail is an award-winning classroom teacher, a teacher of teachers, a supervisor, an innovator and a published writer. She has written and published literature unit guides for the Kendall and Hunt Publishing Company and served as a reading consultant, providing staff development for classroom teachers and administrators across the nation. Gail has been a presenter at the International Reading Association, including a keynote speaker. Her honors include being named the Jaycees Outstanding Young Educator, the Outstanding Elementary Mathematics Educator and the Watauga County Teacher of the Year. She was appointed to the Governor’s Teacher Advisory Board, the State’s Science Advisory Board and served on the State’s Phonics Committee.  

Funds Available for Disability Advocacy Education Self-advocates and parents raising children with disabilities are encouraged to apply to the North Carolina Council for Developmental Disabilities for funds needed to attend conferences or educational seminars that improve knowledge, networking and advocacy skills. Those eligible for reimbursement of expenses include individuals with an intellectual or other developmental disability, parents, family members, guardians or parents of a child at risk of I/DD. All recipients must be NC residents and will be expected to complete a Rossi Fund Participant Survey to share knowledge with the community and the council. The Jean Wolff-Rossi Fund for Participant Involvement has funds available to reimburse applicants for costs incurred, including seminar or conference registration, childcare, personal assistance, lodging costs and transportation. The fund will only partially cover the costs of attending such events so that more people can

receive financial help. Other considerations in making awards from the Rossi Fund are whether this is a first-time user of the fund, a first-time attendee for the activity or event, will the attendee enhance ethnic or cultural diversity and is the applicant from rural or underserved areas of the state. The 40-member NCCDD seeks to support effective and innovative initiatives that promote community inclusion, independence, productivity, self-determination and integration for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. For more information visit html, call the NCCDD office at (919) 850-2901, or write the council at 3125 Poplarwood Court, Suite 200, Raleigh, NC 27604. There is a $600 limit in funding per year for in-state events or $800 per year for out-of-state for any individual applicant. JULY 2013 | AAWMAG.COM


newsbits&clips NEW POLL: Women Not Easily Swayed Independent Women’s Forum recently released the results of a national online survey that proves women are not easily swayed by alarmists. Survey reports from the 801 women polled indicate that negative headlines and alarming warnings about food, household items and health leave women feeling confused, suspicious and overwhelmed, and does little to make them adjust their lifestyles. The results show women want more information, but they have a widespread distrust in the media, warnings provided by the federal government and activist organizations. Rather they rely on friends, family and doctors for sound health and safety advice. The poll found that mommy guilt (and non-mommy guilt) is very pervasive, with two-thirds of women saying they sometimes feel badly about not doing enough to promote the health and wellbeing of their families. But women aren’t pointing fingers; they are adamant that their poor decisions are a matter of choice and not access. Women also reject the idea that government action will succeed at encouraging people to live healthier: In fact, twice as many women believe government’s meddling makes no difference or is counter-productive than believe it works. Julie Gunlock, director of the Culture of Alarmism project at the Independent Women’s Forum, issued the following statement regarding the poll: “Women — especially mothers — have had enough of all the scaremongering. Women want reliable information. Women have choices in the marketplace right now. They don’t need government minders and activist groups to tell them how to live or how to raise their children.” The “constant bombardment of negative information,” she said, leaves women unable to tell the difference between legitimate concerns that might affect their family’s health and wellbeing and scary headlines designed to attract attention.”

Key Findings: 68 percent of women believe the United States is becoming a more dangerous place, yet they don’t trust government to react to it responsibly, or the media to report on it accurately. Although 78 percent of all women report paying close attention to health and safety warnings, over half of them (56 percent) have not altered their use or purchasing habits based on the information. By a two-to-one margin, most women see little effective role for the federal government to help navigate consumer choices or smart decisions; 63 percent of women say government intervention, by means of regulating food and consumer choices, has either no effect or a counter-productive impact on personal lives and improved health. 59 percent of all women oppose the New York City soda ban. Twothirds (66 percent) of women over the age of 35 oppose it; yet women under the age of 35 narrowly favor it, 49 percent-45 percent. When asked generally about government regulations on unhealthy foods, 65 percent of all women oppose it. While white women oppose it by a 70-26 percent margin, black women and Hispanics have a narrower margin (52 percent-43 percent and 55 percent-42 percent, respectively). Part of the basis of rejecting a more expansive government is a lack of trust in government — and of the media that reports health and safety warnings. The only groups that women report less trust in than media and government are big businesses and partisan politicians. Rather, women trust doctors most of all, followed by friends and family. Overwhelming majority (83 percent) of women say they have difficulty discerning between legitimate concerns that might affect their health and well-being, and scary headlines designed to attract attention. While the majority of women pay attention to health and safety concerns (primarily delivered by the media), only 36 percent of women say that the negative warnings they receive leaves them informed. Independent Women’s Forum is a non-partisan, nonprofit research and educational institution dedicated to expanding the conservative coalition, both by increasing the number of women who understand and value the benefits of limited government, personal liberty and free markets, and by countering those who seek to ever expand government in the name of protecting women. For more information, visit

July Medical Listings 8


newsbits&clips Youth Strength & Conditioning Program Now Offered at the Wellness Center Moms, take notice — the Paul H. Broyhill Wellness Center is now offering a Youth Strength & Conditioning Program for students in grades seven through 12. The program focuses on improving fitness, reaching athletic potential and instruction on proper weight training technique and is offered at 4 p.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday through August 23. The program offers participants a variety of options, including individual personal training and group sessions. “I teach my students cooperation, respect, leadership and the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle,” says Martin Hubner, fitness coach. “When a young person is able to reach a goal that he or she never thought they would, it is very rewarding not only for the student, but also to me as their coach.” The program can assist student athletes or any student who wants to increase muscular strength and confidence. Elijah Presnell, 14, an eighth-grade student at Hardin Park says, “The Youth Strength and Conditioning Program at the Wellness

Center changed my life.” Presnell, who plays on his school football and baseball team adds, “Martin is the best mentor you could have; he is funny, thoughtful, and a great encourager who pushes us to do our best. Since I have started working with Martin I have become stronger, faster and my self-esteem has improved.” Jodi Cash, director of the Wellness Center says, “Martin is very knowledgeable and is a great motivator for these kids when it comes to promoting strength and confidence. It’s exciting to hear about the progress they make working with him.” New members are welcome. For more information, contact Martin Hubner at (828) 266-1060 or email him at To learn more about the Paul H. Broyhill Wellness Center, visit or like the Wellness Center’s Facebook page. For more information about Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, visit

50% OFF

Summer e c n a r a e l C Mon-Fri 9:30-6:00 Saturday 9:30-5:30 Closed on Sunday

205 B Shamrock Square Jefferson, NC (336) 846-9551


Kinsey Greene has always been encouraged to ‘dream big,’ and that’s what the talented young musician is doing. Photo submitted

Young musician keeps the tradition alive



Kinsey Greene, at 15, is a rising sophomore at Watauga High School who enjoys playing softball on her school team and volunteering in her community. And, she is already an accomplished, award-winning musician. She was “hooked” on music, she says, when at the age of 2 she stepped onto the stage for the very first time. It’s only natural that her strong love for music — especially for the bluegrass genre — was discovered so early in life. Coming from a musical family “with deep bluegrass roots,” she says, she loved nothing better as a little girl than listening to her aunts and uncles pick and sing. Her biological aunt Connie Trivette and “adopted aunt” Paulette Isaacs have been her lifetime mentors, she says. “I remember thinking, while watching and listening to them sing, play and give their testimony through music, that I wanted to be just like them. Paulette and her husband, Dennis, Aunt Connie and my uncle, Gary Trivette, were founding members of the bluegrass gospel group Southern Accent. I always begged to go watch them.” When Kinsey was 5, she pointed to a mandolin and told her mother, “I don’t know what that is, but some day I’m gonna play it!” She did that — and more. “As I have grown, so has my love for bluegrass,” she says. “When I was in third grade, I started playing guitar, then by the time I was in fifth grade I wanted a fiddle and started taking lessons.” At 11, she received a mandolin for Christmas. “Last year I got an upright bass and started teaching myself to play,” she says. “Over the summer, I played bass and sang harmony vocals for a bluegrass gospel group from Mountain City, Tenn.” Kinsey admits to her love for “all stringed instruments,” but within the last year, she has focused primarily on her guitar and bass. She is currently taking “some flatpicking lessons from Dennis Isaacs,” she says “He played a lot with Doc Watson.” While Kinsey’s concentration is centered upon her music, she says her sister Kloie, her long-time musical partner, has a growing interest in sports, namely basketball and softball. “She’s really good at

sports,” Kinsey says, “but it doesn’t give her much time for music.” Kloie still performs occasionally in their duo known as Greene Grass, Kinsey says. “We just have a great family support system. I have met so many wonderful people in the bluegrass world who I consider my extended family,” she says. She specifically mentions Floyd Townsend, “who took a leap of faith and booked us for Valle Country Fair, having never before heard us play,” she says. As it turned out, the crowd loved the girls, and they’ve been invited back every year since. She credits Floyd for giving them their first “big break,” and says “it snowballed from there” with frequent calls to play at local churches and fundraising events. The girls also applied for and were selected to play in the youth showcase at MerleFest and have done so for the past three years. “John Tester at the Red, White and Bluegrass Jam has also been great to let me play and sing whenever I want to,” she says. “The stage experience in front of that hometown audience has really helped me a lot.” Among other musical mentors, she mentions Ferrell Shepherd and Tim Norris — also affectionately known now as “Uncle Tim” at Castle Ford Studios, who in 2011 encouraged the girls and their parents to record their music. In August 2011, the process began. “It was the most exciting thing I had ever done,” Kinsey says. “Just before Christmas we had the finished product, ‘Greene Grass — Family Tradition,’ in hand. I really felt like a celebrity.” Tim also introduced her to J.M. Trivette, who she says helped her expand her vocal abilities. Last February, Kinsey entered the youth guitar competition at the Appalachian Fiddler’s Convention and — much to her surprise — she won. “I couldn’t have done it without Dennis and of course, without the encouragement of my parents who kept telling me that I could do it,” she says. When she learned about the Pete Wernick’s bluegrass jam camp in connection with MerleFest, she says, “Of course, I started begging to go.” She applied for and was granted a scholarship to attend.

“April 21-26, 2013, was the best week of my life,” she says, describing the classes and all-day jams “that went well into the night.” She learned “so much,” she says, and formed friendships that will last forever. On the last day of camp, she was awarded the Pete Wernick “Jam Hero” award, which she describes as “kind of like a Grammy in the jam camp world.” The week ended with her playing on the Cabin Stage at MerleFest, right before Rhonda Vincent. “I was even asked to do lead vocals on one of our songs,” she says. “I really thought I had died and gone to heaven.” Kinsey realizes that “most kids” her age do not listen to or like bluegrass and bluegrass gospel music. “So, of course, they don’t understand why I am so dedicated to it.” She says even certain adults have told her she should “do” a different kind of music. “Well, they just don’t understand and appreciate it,” she says. “Bluegrass is a big part of our mountain heritage and a tradition in my family that goes back many years. I am proud to keep the tradition alive.” Kinsey describes being a part of “bluegrass people” who are “one big family,” who have always encouraged her and welcomed her into their circle. “Not once has any of them ever told me that I was not good enough or couldn’t join in. I feel like God gave me this talent for a reason, and I hope I can always use it to give Him the honor and glory.” Kinsey plans to eventually attend East Tennessee State University in pursuit of a double major in bluegrass and nursing. It is her hope, “someday,” she says, to become a music therapist and work with autistic and special needs children — and to be the next Rhonda Vincent. “My mom has always told me to dream big, and that’s what I’m doing.” Kinsey is the daughter of Keith and Kelly Hayes Greene. Her proud grandparents are Junior and Audrey Greene and C.J. and Pauline Hayes. sherrie norris Editor, All About Women



Betty Pitts is one of Blowing Rock’s most revered citizens and community servants whose

Photos by Sherrie Norris

influence across Watauga County has been felt for decades. She has been recognized in a myriad of settings for her selfless giving of time and talent, but her most recent introduction as honorary chairwoman of the upcoming 2013 Blowing Rock Hospital Fashion Show and Luncheon holds a special place in her heart, she said. “I’ve been around longer than the current hospital,” she says. “I gave birth to five of my seven children there, not including my first who was born in the old clinic. I have always been honored to be a part of the hospital and have tried to do whatever I could to help.” The list of her many contributions to the hospital is lengthy — as is the one for the community in general. An afternoon tea on June 13 at the home of Tucker and Ginny Yates on Green Hill Circle honored Betty in the presence of approximately 45 friends, family members and associates, most of who were adorned in hats of every size, shape and color. Betty accepted her role with the grace, dignity and humor, for which she is known around her hometown. Introduced by Suzanne Miller, chair of this year’s fashion show and luncheon, Betty was described as one whose lifetime impact upon Blowing Rock is “immeasurable” through her service in the faith and medical community, as well as from her contributions to education, the arts and local history. “Blowing Rock’s former first lady (and matriarch) has always had a heart of gold,” Known as the matriarch and former first lady of Blowing Rock, Betty Pitts will serve as the honorary chairwoman of the 2013 Blowing Rock Hospital Fashion Show and Luncheon in August.

Celebrating with Betty Pitts A Community Servant 12


said Miller. “Betty has served for many years on the fashion show committee and has always helped, in any way she could, with special events for the hospital.”

Two Chickens and a Baby Betty’s story began nearly 84 years ago, when she was born in the middle of what is now Devil’s Lake on top of Seven Devils. “I was delivered by ‘Granny Yarber,’ she says, “who was paid two chickens for my delivery. My brother was more expensive — he cost my parents a pig.” She was 13 when she gave her heart to the Lord, she says, and dreamed of becoming a missionary. “But, I never got to do that.” She was “almost 16” when she married Hayden Pitts and entered what she calls “the Pitts University of Life;” her husband was 21. They eventually had seven children and always welcomed others into their home, for short periods of time or for as long as the youngsters needed a place to feel loved and secure. Hayden owned and operated a gas station where the Blowing Rock Market sits today and where patrons often found a listening ear and a compassionate heart. He often brought people home for supper, and sometimes they ended up staying until they got back on their feet — many times way past supper and often for days at a time, she says. Hayden and Betty were known for their benevolent spirit, their love for God and for humanity. Hayden served as the Blowing Rock town mayor for 14 years and was on the town council for seven years. Betty has served the hospital as auxiliary president, as a member of the board of trustees and helped established the hospital chapel. “There was no place in the hospital to go to pray,” she says, “but with the help of Dr. Davant and Bob Bumbaugh, we found

a place in that hospital for our chapel.” She was also instrumental in starting The Budget Box, a thrift store that that raises money to help fund special needs within the hospital. She continues to volunteer at the shop every Wednesday.

Beyond the Hospital In the 1960s and ‘70s, Betty served as the chairwoman of the Blowing Rock March of Dimes. In 1973, she helped organized the Blowing Rock Rescue Squad after a close family friend needed emergency services and no ambulance was available to take him to the hospital. “My husband and Carl Underwood borrowed money to buy our first ambulance,” she says. The loan was eventually paid off by the community club — of which she was president at one time. In the meantime, the couple took emergency response training and received crisis calls at their home. When someone called in with an emergency, Betty says, Hayden responded with the ambulance and she “dispatched” other volunteers to the scene. She also served as chaplain of the squad for 20 years before she retired. “I was so pleased to be able to lead a prayer and maybe offer a little comfort to the families when we went to pick up someone in the home,” she says. Betty has been named Blowing Rock’s Citizen of the Year and Woman of the Year. She was also recognized as Mother of the

Year at Western Carolina Center in Morganton, where her son Michael resided for several years, in Elm Cottage. During that time, Betty also served as president of the Hilltoppers Association and helped establish a facility chapel. “I was so pleased to have a place for the residents to go to worship and pray — and for Michael to continue to have a church environment, like he had at home,” she says. Betty has chaired the “care committee” that provides meals for the community’s sick and shut-ins, and for more than 20 years, she was also part of the Pitts Family Singers that provide visits and music each month at Blowing Rock Hospital’s Davant Extended Care. Since 1995, she has penned the “Quiet Corner” column that appears weekly in the Blowing Rocket with updates on local happenings and prayer needs. She has also been a long-time active member of First Baptist Church in Blowing Rock, where she has held many teaching and leadership posts and where she still sings in the choir. She has also been a Hospice volunteer and loved her visits with the late storyteller, Ray Hicks.

sherrie norris Editor, All About Women

Betty Pitts, center, is surrounded by family members during the June afternoon tea in her honor at the Yates home in Blowing Rock. From left are Sharon Pitts, daughter-in-law; Lynn Lawrence, daughter; Betty Pitts; Betsy Payne, daughter; and Genia Payne, granddaughter.



Brenda Barber’s Language of Love At first glance, she is softspoken and relaxed. But Brenda Barber is passionate about making a difference. Between teaching sign language at the Lois E Harrill Senior Center and working one on one with deaf students at Watauga Opportunities, Barber has devoted the majority of her life to making her community more accommodating to deaf and hearing-impaired people. “I would like for people to understand that hearing-impaired or deaf people are just as smart as hearing people,” Brenda says. “They can do anything a hearing person can do. They can get an education, they can work on jobs and they can be an asset to a community.” Originally from Boone, Brenda moved to Carthage to work at a telephone company, where she took classes, mostly pertaining to her job, at Sand Hills Community College. “It was a cool job,” she says. “I was an operator, then I was a plant clerk, and then I was a frame person. It was a man’s job. I did wiring in the central office for all the telephones that were installed. I just loved it.” After 12 years with the company, her passion for teaching and a son on the way led her to begin a new chapter of her life. Brenda eventually began volunteering in her son’s classroom and at the afterschool program at Sand Hills Farm Life School; she soon took a part-time job as the director of the after-school program. Not long afterward, she was offered a fulltime position as a teaching assistant in a second-grade classroom, where she encountered her first deaf students. “We had seven deaf students there,” Brenda says. “So, I started taking classes. I continued to take classes, and I subbed for other interpreters and then I got a job interpreting with three sixth-grade deaf students.” Brenda’s interest in sign lan-



Brenda Barber has a love for life and for helping others enjoy life through her gift of sign language. Photo by Sherrie Norris

guage had already been sparked as a girl when she saw the Helen Keller movie and immediately went to the library to teach herself the alphabet in sign language. However, her students’ needs were what really pushed her to learn more. “I wanted to be able to communicate with them,” she says. “I remember the first time I said ‘How are you?’ to Michael. They all seemed so excited just for me to say those simple words. That just really touched me.” After working with six students at Sand Hills Farm Life School, Brenda moved back to Boone to interpret for students in Watauga County Schools. She worked with two students and then retired early when the schools had no other students, at that time, who needed her services. Currently, Brenda is an interpreter for Watauga Opportunities, working one on one with individuals who are speech or hearing impaired. “Interpreting is very challenging because you really have to have a thesaurus in your head,” she says. “You usually don’t have lesson plans, so you go in and get the message across to help the students

understand what the teacher is saying.” In addition, she has been volunteering at the Lois E Harrill Senior Center for two years, teaching sign language. “She’s very patient, and she’s just wonderful with students,” says Tabitha Thomas, director of the senior center. Brenda incorporates different methods of teaching in her classes with a strong belief that music and art are essential tools to teaching. “I’ve loved to draw ever since I was a little girl,” Brenda says. “I’ve always done it and I’ve used it working with students.” Horses are her favorite subjects to draw.” Drawing a horse, and using National Geographic pictures to create a collage print upon the body, she created a unique emotional outlet for herself. “I started doing these when both of my boys were in the military,” she says. “I call them my therapy horses.” Because her art has helped her through rough times, Brenda is an advocate for using art and music in the classroom to assist in getting her message across. “There are so many things about deaf people that hearing people wouldn’t even think about,” she says. “If we drop some-

thing, or something falls out of our pocket, we hear it and we know we’ve dropped it. But unless a deaf person actually sees it, they wouldn’t know it had been dropped.” In addition to all the work she does to help deaf people — and to teach the community about them — Brenda still finds time to keep in touch with the students and families she has worked with from the beginning. Through Facebook, text messages, phone calls and any other means of communicating, Brenda is still dedicated to everyone with whom she has worked. “I’ve met so many wonderful people,” she says. “It’s very rewarding; I’ve been very blessed.” Anyone who meets Brenda can immediately sense her love of educating and helping those around her. “Brenda is just a very loving, compassionate person,” Tabitha says. “Her enthusiasm is contagious, and her love of life is contagious. It means a lot to have her here.” Rebecca Hambleton Rebecca Hambleton is a journalism student at ASU and an intern at Mountain Times Publications.

Varicose veins are not always a cosmetic issue

Varicose veins and heavy, painful legs can now be treated in the doctor’s office with the Venefit™ procedure.

Watauga Surgical Group Paul Dagher, MD, FACS 965 State Farm Road Boone, NC 28607

• Minimally invasive • Fast and mild recovery • Covered by most insurance

For a consultation call 828-264-2340 ext 101.

MaryBeth Slabbert, second from left, along with her children, one-month-old Victoria, 2-year-old Hendrik and 4-year-old Vivienne, pay a visit to Dr. Terry Williams of the Ashe Women’s Clinic. Photo by Heather Samudio

Natural Birth Still Possible for Women who had C-section For pregnant women or those considering pregnancy, there are many decisions that have to be made — from the baby’s name to choosing a doctor for delivery and so much more. For women who’ve already had one child through cesarean section, there is often an interest, second time around, in choosing a natural childbirth, rather than another c-section. Many women do not realize that they may have the choice of a vaginal birth after a cesarean, but it is an option for some women and it can be done in the High Country. MaryBeth Slabbert of Ashe County had a c-section with her first child, but with her second and third children, she had a vaginal birth after caesarean, or what is becoming more commonly known as a VBAC. “My first birth resulted in an unnecessary c-section,” MaryBeth says. “It affected my breastfeeding, my bonding with my



baby and my recovery. I am so thankful and happy for my healthy baby, but I had a horrible birthing experience as a result of that c-section.” Drawing on her life experiences, MaryBeth owns Boone Bellies & Babies as a Lamaze-certified childbirth educator and has been a doula in the High Country for two years. Her job is to educate, encourage and advocate for the mother’s birth wishes throughout pregnancy, delivery and following the birth. She partners with certified lactation consultant Bunny Osborne and birth photographer and doula Tiffany Hayes. As a result of her work and her personal experiences, MaryBeth is on a mission to educate other mothers-to-be about their options. During her second pregnancy, MaryBeth had to travel to High Point to find a “supportive doctor,” she says, who was willing to perform a VBAC. However, when

baby No. 3 three came along, she didn’t want to leave her two small children and travel two hours away to give birth. After learning that Ashe Memorial Hospital has a very low c-section rate, MaryBeth called local doctor Terry Williams of the Ashe Women’s Center, which is part of AMH. “I wanted to interview him in person and have him tell me why I can’t have a VBAC locally,” she says. “I was armed with stats and figures and stories, but to my surprise, I didn’t need to talk about any of that.” Upon meeting with the doctor, she discovered that, not only did he support and encourage her birth wishes, but he had also performed VBACs prior to coming to Ashe County. “Having a VBAC is not a decision to be taken lightly,” Williams says. “Careful counseling and detailing a woman’s medical history, including previous pregnancies and outlining the risks and benefits of

VBAC is essential. “In the past, the motto was ‘once a csection always a c-section,’” Williams says, but he adds that the pendulum swings back and forth. “With extensive research from a variety of world-renowned agencies,” he says, “the obstetrics community has learned that a VBAC, in the right setting, can be a very safe experience for mom and baby.” Williams says the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, along with many other organizations, are strongly encouraging a trial of labor after a previous c-section delivery. “For someone who has had a successful vaginal birth previously, the success rate for VBAC approaches 85 percent,” he says. MaryBeth desired a vaginal birth as a way to “redo” her birth experience, she says, in addition to her healing, baby bonding and being an active part of the birth experience — all she found difficult following her c-section. Her recovery time was “drastically different,” she says, with her c-section and VBAC. Following the csection, she didn’t leave her home for the first two weeks and when she did, she required pain medication. “The day after both of my natural births, I was up moving around with hardly any discomfort, which was so important as I had other children to attend to,” she says. “Breastfeeding and bonding with the baby came much easier because I was able to have immediate skin-to-skin interaction after my natural births, whereas I wasn’t able to see my baby for over an hour following my cesarean.” Williams warns that VBACs are not without risk. “There is a small risk of uterine rupture during the laboring process that would require an emergent c-section to complete delivery,” he says. “This can greatly increase the risk for having complications with the newborn and the potential for an emergent hysterectomy.” However, he adds, according to well-documented studies by many organizations, the potential maternal risks associated with VBAC and uterine rupture are less risky or as risky as having a repeat c-section. MaryBeth says it’s a blessing that she found Williams and wants to encourage other (former c-section) mothers to explore the possibility of having a more

‘I am so thankful that I had this option. It really and truly has changed my life.’ positive birth experience and “one they are proud of.” “It begins with having a supportive team like Dr. Williams and Ashe Memorial,” she says. “I am so thankful that I had this option. It really and truly has changed my life. I trusted in God’s plan, and I trusted that Dr. Williams was truly looking out for my and my baby’s best interests and not necessarily the easiest route.” Referring to the Wilma Vannoy Birthing Center, MaryBeth says her level of care was “outstanding.” “My nurses were incredible and the birthing center was

beautiful, modern, private and intimate. I feel like it is one of the High Country’s best kept secrets.” Her husband, Johannes, says, “Dr. Williams is very good at comforting his patients and is very personal. He went out of his way to make the experience comfortable for my wife and did not push me aside.” Williams noted that the rate of c-sections in the U.S. is very high. “Our neonatal morbidity rate is too high compared to other industrialized nations, and our complications from repeat c-sections are increasing at an alarming rate,” he says. “In the hands of a properly trained obstetrics team, a VBAC is the appropriate choice for most women.” The Slabberts are parents to Hendrik, 2, Vivienne, 4, and Victoria, nearing 2 months of age. Williams encourages any motherto-be interested in pursuing a VBAC to consult her health care provider, find out if she is a candidate for natural birth and research the pros and cons of VBACs.




Applying the Brakes Driver Education Teacher Calls it Quits after 30-year Ride

Pam Maltba’s career has been a trip that she will never forget. Photo submitted

A woman who has dedicated her career to teaching driver education, Pam Maltba has decided to pull over to the side of the road and let someone else take the lead. In reflecting upon the last 30 years, the beloved instructor refers to the familiar quote —“Life is a journey, not a destination” — and it’s been a trip that she will never forget. “It all began for me as a child riding my tricycle,” she says. “I remember doing three-point turns on the sidewalk of my childhood home in Boone — determined not to touch a blade of grass with the wheel.” A love for bicycles kept her occupied for the next few years, she says, “until I was 15 and it was time to learn to drive.” Having inherited her affection for wheels from her father — a huge fan of NASCAR, Richard Petty and cars in general, she says — “I could not wait to be able to get my driver’s license.” But it was Nancy Penick, former driver education teacher at Watauga High School, who played a huge part in Pam’s decision to become an instructor.



“When she entered my life, a seed was sown which eventually had me following in her footsteps,” she says. “My driver education class was one of the first that was involved in a partner program at Appalachian State University that utilized a driving range. I got my permit in May of 1974 and a little over a month later, I got my license on July 11, 1974, for my 16th birthday.” Pam entered Appalachian State University in the fall of 1976, soon after graduating from WHS. “I started with my general college courses and then added in a few classes from Charles McDaniel’s Safety and Driver Education department,” she says, indicating that professors McDaniel and Evan Rowe encouraged her in her career pathway. “After graduation from ASU, my next two summers were spent working at Freedom High School,” she says. “Their program consisted of class work, driving range and actual highway driving.” She will never forget it. “Talk about a scary learning experience,” she says,

“Imagine 12 students in 12 cars on several acres of land and you’re standing there with walkie-talkies instructing them and trying to keep them from killing each other and their teacher!” After surviving two hot summers in Morganton “with no accidents,” she says, Pam started teaching part time at WHS in 1983; the next year, she accepted a teaching job at Mooresville Junior High School, which lasted four years. “During this time a safety and driver education master’s program was offered through N.C. A&T University that I was fortunate enough to complete,” she says. “In 1988, (there was) a vacancy in Boone for a driver education teacher, and I jumped at the chance.” By this time, she and her husband had a 1-year-old daughter who they wanted to raise in the mountains near her grandparents. “If only I had waited one more year, I would have had the privilege and honor of teaching Dale Earnhardt Jr. how to drive,” she says with a chuckle. “To this day, I am still ragged by the instructor who took my place.” Upon returning to Boone, Pam worked with her mentor, Nancy Penick, until Nancy retired. “Being able to work alongside the person who taught me to drive was one of the highlights of my career,” she says. “To this day, she is — and will always be — one of my role models and best friends.” Upon Nancy’s retirement, Pam assumed her position as driver education coordinator for Watauga High School — a role in which she has served well until her own retirement, which was official July 1. “Back in the day, driver education was a semester course which included class work and behind-the-wheel training,” Pam says. “Students especially loved taking their ‘long trip,’ which lasted all day and many were excited to get to drive on interstate highways, miss school and skip cafeteria food.” That was during the time of poor radio signal and no cellphones, Pam says,

“So, during the winter months returning to Boone was an adventure due to inclement weather. Many days we returned from long trips to an empty school because snow had forced an early close.” Over the years, the weather hasn’t changed, but the Driver Education program certainly has, she says. “It is no longer offered during the school day, there are no driving ranges and students do not have the same desire to drive as they did in earlier years.” Students now must keep their permit for a full year, log driving hours with their parents and maintain a grade requirement, Pam says. “Fewer students have been able to drive on family farms and back roads, like they once did,” she says. “I have taught many students to drive a car who had never even learned to ride a bicycle,” she says. “Luckily,” she says, “in 30 years, I have only been in two accidents, neither of which were at the fault of my students. The Lord has definitely watched over me, and I owe a lot of it to my mother who sent up countless prayers for my safety and the students. She raised me to hold strong to my faith, and that has given me the ability to get in the car and know I will be OK. I’m so thankful for this even though I’ve always loved the quote ‘Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, shouting ‘What a Ride!’” Pam has averaged teaching 120 students per year behind the wheel, she says, “And twice that number for classwork, with some really good help from my coinstructors.” It’s been a good ride, she says, having many chauffeurs over the years — some who had never driven before and others she could have given a passing grade before leaving the parking lot. “Many of my good drivers have gone on to pursue careers in transportation,” she says, and before retirement, she was teaching children of students she had years ago. “That can make me feel old, but I’m blessed to have made it this far.” As she begins her retirement, Pam knows that a big part of her journey is over — “But now,” she says, “it’s time to reach new destinations to which I’ll be doing the driving.” sherrie norris Editor, All About Women

are you in the club?

Start Saving Today by Joining the

PRESCRIPTION SAVINGS CLUB Over 300 $ Prescription Medications for only


$5.00 annual membership fee required. This program does not constitute insurance. Persons receiving prescription benefits from a publicly-funded health care program are ineligible.


Ready for Bikini Weather? Introducing Lipo-Light: a safe, effective way to lose those unwanted inches using Light Therapy.

Introductory Special* 2 Treatments for only



includes consultation, to be used as part of healthy lifestyle


*limited to first 100 callers

Blue Ridge Acupuncture

Natural Medicine

Torrey Gorla, N.M.D., L.Ac., M.S.O.M. 610 State Farm Road, Suite B (behind WCEA) · Boone, NC 28607 828-265-8668 · JULY 2013 | AAWMAG.COM


Cindy Brown-Greer and Hazen Miller have enjoyed working together for the last seven years. Photo submitted

Cindy Brown-Greer – A Heart for Serving –

She is retiring at the end of the upcoming school year, but you wont find Cindy Brown-Greer sitting on her front porch drinking tea or relaxing in front of the television all day. You probably won’t see her sitting at all. Between two other jobs, being a mom and a foster parent, traveling and all her plans for the future, Cindy isn’t preparing to adopt the typical retiree’s lifestyle. Originally from southern New Jersey, Cindy always liked the small-town environment. “Where I came from, it was very much like Boone,” she says. “We had one high school, we had seven or eight elementary schools and everybody had big yards.” For years, she thought she wanted to be a teacher, but eventually began questioning



that choice, thinking there was something ‘more’ that she wanted to do,” she says. In high school, she had the opportunity to intern with a physical therapist, an experience that moved her onto a new career path. Desiring a new setting to go along with her new chapter of her life, Cindy moved to Canada to begin college. She earned her bachelor’s degree in physical therapy from McGill University in Quebec, a well-known college in the medical world. The Canadian college system also had a different structure than found in the United States, and it turned out to be more beneficial to her career path. “At that time, you got an extra year of physical therapy training and got to get into your major quicker than in the United States,” she says. After graduating, she

stayed in Canada to work at a children’s hospital in Alberta. But feeling that she had been away from her family too long, she moved back to the United States. After briefly living in New Jersey again, Cindy moved to Boone, where she was offered a job. At the same time, she worked toward obtaining her master’s degree in rehabilitation psychology from Appalachian State University, an important accomplishment, she says, which has since helped her better relate to her patients. “My best experience is the family relationships — that’s what it’s all about,” Cindy says. For nearly 29 years now, Cindy has been working as a physical therapist with Watauga County Schools — serving special needs students, ages 3 to 21, and

their families. “Even though I work with kids, my goal is to enable them to be as independent as they can be as adults,” she says. “To do that, you have to work with families, too, and give the families the tools that they need to help their child grow and develop.” Building relationships with the children and their families is of vital importance, she says. “If people don’t like you and people don’t trust you, they aren’t going to listen to what you say.” As much as she values the relationships she has built, Cindy believes this is the right time to retire, but she feels confident that she will remain connected to her former students and their families. “It’s time,” she says. “Some of the grandmothers I work with are younger than me. And most of the families that I work with remember me when they were in elementary school. That’s a sign you’re supposed to move on to something else.” Effective June 30, Cindy officially became a retired employee of Watauga County Schools. But her work won’t stop there. She plans to continue working with RHA Health Services Inc., a residential program that serves people with develop-

mental disabilities, and Healthy Lymphatics, a facility that treats people with lymphedema. Referring to the latter, Cindy says, “I didn’t think I could learn anything new, but I can, and I’m fascinated by it.” Taking a much-needed break, Cindy plans to visit Ireland and drive a crosscountry trip to Oregon, where her youngest son will be starting college. An avid traveler since childhood, Cindy never misses an opportunity to go places. “I used to go on trips with my grandmother,” she says. “We did a train trip across the U.S. one time — just my grandma and me.” Her children, Emily, Lizzie, Will and Brian, have done their share of traveling, too, she says. They have studied abroad, traveled and lived in various states and countries around the world; Cindy loves the chances they have given her to visit, but she’s glad now that they have all moved back closer to home — for the time being, anyway. “And then Brian picks Oregon,” she says. If two jobs, traveling the world, and keeping up with four kids weren’t enough, Cindy is also a foster parent. Since her son’s friend needed a home eight years ago, she has fostered 10 kids — keeping

them in her home anywhere from one night to four years. “She’s a great mom,” says Mary Williams, the adapted physical education specialist in Watauga County Schools, who is also Cindy’s co-worker and friend of about 25 years. “She takes that very seriously.” And there’s more. Cindy wants to join a team that can use her skills and experience — overseas. “There are some programs that do wheelchair distributions to third-world countries,” she says. “That’s what I’m hoping I can tag on to.” It’s clear that Cindy’s mission is to continue helping as many people as she can. “She has an incredible amount of integrity,” Mary says. “I don’t know that there are enough words to describe Cindy, because she’s a pretty incredible person.” “People keep thinking I’m going to be bored when I retire,” Cindy says, “But there’s always something going on.”

Just Like Family

netic’ personality, and everyone loved being around her.” Fast forward to 2006, when Cindy began working with Jennifer’s 3-year-old son, Hazen. “Since then, we have worked with her every week, sometimes even throughout the summer, due to my son’s severe cerebral palsy. To try to say, in a few sentences, what Cindy has meant to my family and me, especially in the past seven years, would be impossible,” Jennifer says. Jennifer speaks of Cindy’s influence not only as the school system’s only physical therapist, but also what she has witnessed in her as a mother, community and church member. “She has taught me so much about my son and always shared her professional opinion with me about his abilities, strengths and weaknesses,” Jennifer says. “She has, on occasion, taken time from her busy schedule to drive us to medical appointments off the mountain when we didn’t have transportation.” Cindy has always made herself available to the Miller family, Jennifer says — “for anything” — even if she is not tech-

nically working. Jennifer says that Cindy has become more like a family member, accepting invitations to special events such as birthday parties. She has been helpful with the Millers — and the other families she works with — in coordinating with equipment companies and their specialists for ordering wheelchairs and other needed devices to make life easier for her students. “She has always been relentless when it comes to getting what her students need,” Jennifer says. Hazen easily recognizes Cindy’s unique, upbeat voice when she enters the room or is on the telephone. Jennifer cannot imagine how they will function without her help. “I know that she will always make time for her former students and their families — she wouldn’t have it any other way, but we are going to miss her terribly.” Jennifer looks forward to meeting the new physical therapist that will work with Hazen, but it will never be the same without Cindy. “She will never be replaced in our hearts,” Jennifer says.

Jennifer Miller of Boone knew for “a while” that Cindy Brown-Greer was planning to retire, but she says she “put the notion in the back of my brain as long as I could.” Cindy has been an important part of Jennifer’s life for many years in numerous capacities, Jennifer says, most recently working with her son, Hazen. “I am overwhelmed with emotion about this whole situation.” Jennifer remembers first meeting Cindy when she was just a young girl. “I am now 31, and my brother, who is 36, worked with Cindy at Parkway Elementary School.” Jennifer was 4 when her father died. She remembers Cindy coming to the funeral and signing the guest register. When Jennifer was in first grade, Cindy worked with her to help her adapt to having flat feet. “I remember that she was beautiful and sweet. She smiled a lot when she passed students and other teachers in the hallways,” she says. “She’s always had a ‘mag-

Rebecca Hambleton Rebecca Hambleton is a journalism student at ASU and an intern at Mountain Times Publications.



The Art of

Soul Stitching



Back row, from left: Holli Sink Chaney and daughter Hampton, Nancy Haas, Eula Mae Fox, Linda Lopez and Sarah Herman; front row, from left: Amy Payne, Kathie Billing, Debbie Langley and Lucy the Cat.

A mosaic sign — a therapeutic tool.

From left, Nancy Haas, Linda Lopez and Eula Mae Fox enjoy stitching together. Photos by Yogi Collins

As hard as women can be on each other when we squabble about “perfect” choices — have children or not, breast milk or formula, work in or outside the home — one thing is true: We can be our friends’ fiercest allies and safest harbors in the storms of life, and it’s often in those storms that our friendships shine and give ourselves strength to shine. That is the essence of a group of women who get together for “soul stitching.” The “Soul Stitching” group formed organically three and a half years ago after a few women met through their participation in the Pink Ribbon Program, a Pilatesbased rehabilitation program/workout for breast cancer survivors. While they recognized the ways the program helped heal their post-surgery bodies, they found that their connections to each other helped heal their souls from other less obvious effects of cancer. Kathie Billing appreciated that aspect of healing and wanted to extend it by getting together with these women to tap into expressive arts therapy, which uses creative expression to foster growth and healing. “Not everyone can or wanted to partake in Pilates or yoga classes,” says Kathy. “So, I thought it would be great to do something with our hands and with art to express some of these other feelings we have inside. I don’t like calling it a support group — it’s a sisterhood.” Participating in art as a form of therapy is not only rewarding emotionally, but, as research suggests, there are positive results in all aspects of healing from artistic

pursuits such as listening to or creating music, painting, writing — creating in general. Soul Stitching is proof of that, says Linda Lopez. “It’s about getting together with people who understand your experience. It helps you. We felt we really were stitching from our hearts and from our souls. It’s an amazing connection that we have.” Since the gathering is about connection and the act of creating rather than what they make, the women work on any project that grabs them. They have made pillowcase dresses for children in Haiti, fleece blankets with crocheted edging for hospitals, and between other projects, they work on a quilt they began three years ago. It’s quite a feat considering many of the women hadn’t sewn before, said Billing. “Half of us came to the group not really being able to thread a needle, much less hand-stitch a quilt.” Thankfully, former home economics teacher Eula Mae Fox and her sister Nancy Haas are experienced quilters and teach the “Soul Stitchers” the same way women taught each other many years ago. It’s that

sense of history and connection to the past that connects these women to their futures, too. And, while all of their gatherings are therapeutic, the recent decision to make a “Soul Stitching” sign by using mosaic has been the perfect excuse to release anger or frustration. “We decided we needed a name and a sign,” says Kathy. “None of us had done mosaics before, so then came the therapeutic tool of breaking tiles and plates. There’s no right or wrong because it’s not about being perfect.” The added bonus, of course, is that the important part is not the actual art you can see, but the expression and the communion that are a shelter in the storm for other women. And, in that, there is perfection.

Yozette ‘Yogi’ Collins Mom, television producer/writer, and obsessive internet researcher. Though her name suggests otherwise, she is not (yet) an actual yogi.



‘Hats Off’ Celebration at HCWF Power of the Purse Luncheon 24


Grace Will, 2013 Chair of High Country Women’s Fund (far left) introduces the “Founding Mothers” of the organization (left to right) Tricia Wilson, Kim Kincaid, Jenny Miller, and Mary Jo Grubbs – at this year’s Power of the Purse Luncheon. Photo submitted

There was laughter, tears, hugs, kisses, singing and celebration at the sixth annual High Country Women’s Fund Power of the Purse Luncheon, held June 14 at the Blowing Rock Country Club. “Our theme for this year was ‘Hats Off ’ to celebrate the women, local businesses and corporate sponsors in our community who make this event a continued success for us,” says Grace Will, 2013 chairwoman of the HCWF. “With their help and generosity, we are striving to reach over $500,000 in allocations this year to fund multiple agencies and programs throughout Watauga and Avery counties,” she says. “Half a million

dollars since our inception in 2006 is truly a significant figure. We are women helping women, one woman at a time.” Hats off also to Elena Romagni, POP Luncheon chairwoman, who organized nearly 20 committees and many volunteers in the months leading up to the event. More than 230 people overflowed from the main banquet area into an adjoining dining area. Hundreds of items were collected for the silent auction, from jewelry and themed baskets to gift certificates and celebrity purses. Celebrities who donated purses included Ivanka Trump, Ashley Judd, Portia de Rossi, Betsey Johnson and Rachel Zoe. Another successful new part of the

program was the wine raffle, in which one person won not one, not two, but 100 bottles of donated wine — from table wines to wine from private collections. Founded in 2006, the High Country Women’s Fund is a dedicated giving circle of caring and committed women, whose mission is to affect positive change for women and their families in Avery and Watauga counties. The organization endeavors to inspire, educate and empower women moving toward self-sufficiency by connecting them with local resources and with other caring women in our community. The HCWF is an initiative of the High Country United Way. JULY 2013 | AAWMAG.COM


A’Leta McDaniel

A woman’s strong will an A’Leta McDaniel is a devoted wife, mother, daughter, caregiver and mentor; she is the president of a nonprofit ministry and coauthor of a book. She is also a survivor and one who fights for what she believes. Much of her life story is intense and is found in “Dead Man Breathing,” a book she wrote with her husband, Billy Jack McDaniel, about the harrowing event seven years ago that changed their lives forever. Just minutes after midnight on March 4, 2006, A’Leta received news that no wife ever wants to hear — especially one whose husband was miles away working on an oil rig. Around 11:30 p.m. that Friday night, Billy Jack became trapped in an inferno following an explosion — receiving what has since been described as the worst work-related burn injury in history. There is no explanation for why he is alive today. They both say that the hand of God saved his life and that A’Leta’s efforts after his accident — and nearly every minute since — had everything to do with his survival. A’Leta remembers the dreaded call. Her husband was three hours away. She didn’t know if he was dead or alive. His body was burned beyond recognition, and he was given no chance for survival. Only through God’s help, they both say, did Billy Jack leave the hospital four months and 17 days later. After a short stay at a rehabilitation center, A’Leta took him home and nursed him back to health.

Where it All Began A’Leta and Billy Jack met in the supermarket where he worked. After a lengthy courtship, they were married in 1997. Two years later, their daughter, Carney, was born premature and required intensive care for 10 days. Billy Jack, born and raised in Mississippi, came from a broken home. He shared time between his parents, working hard from adolescence to help his mother make ends meet. A’Leta was born in Arkansas and had “a pretty normal childhood.” Her father’s construction business eventually moved them to Mississippi. “I was raised in a Christian home with great parents who not only set an example before me, but also set standards for me to follow,” she says. “My two older sisters, a wonderful mother and grandmother taught me to love the Lord and to make him No. 1 in my life. I learned that nothing outside of that matters and whatever happens is fine — good or bad.”

Driven to Succeed Driven by age 11 to be self-sufficient and succeed, A’Leta credits her parents for her strong work ethic. She babysat her baby brother and neighborhood children and loved making money and the sense of independence it provided. A’Leta was taught that whatever you do, do it the best you can. “And, not depend on anyone else to keep you up,” she says. She worked through high school and while obtaining college certification in medical assisting. “I worked in that field for a little while, with no clue at the time that God was preparing me for my future.”

and God’s Help Lead to Healing

Photo by Allison Hollis, Hollis Captured Moments

Photos by Karen Lehman

Billy Jack, Carney and A’Leta McDaniel with their pets have found peace, at last, in the North Carolina High Country.

Billy Jack worked with her father and as a water-works operator before accepting a job on an oil rig several hours from home. The “great pay and benefits’ would secure his family’s future. Switching gears to become a nail technician, A’Leta, with her best friend, opened “Hello Beautiful,” which quickly became a top salon in the state. Everything was going great. She adored being a mother and loved it when her husband was at home. The couple started a nest egg and enjoyed life. Billy Jack literally worked his way up the ladder — to the derrick board — about 150 feet off the ground; he was there the night a stripper rubber failed, allowing gas to escape from the hole and ignite an inferno. On March 3, 2006, everything A’Leta thought was good and perfect and whole changed in the blink of an eye. “I lost my business. I had to run out of the house, leaving my child with my parents. I dropped everything that I had, everything that I knew,” she says. Billy Jack’s hospitalization and subsequent rehabilitation required them to be more than three hours away from their young daughter for nearly six months. “I finally insisted on bringing him home,” A’Leta says. “I knew he would do better, and I wanted us to be there with our baby



when she started school.” Billy Jack required total care. “He couldn’t even raise his arm enough to scratch his nose,” she says. But her medical training and experience “pretty well prepared me,” she says, for the thirddegree burns that covered 95 percent of her husband’s body. “There was not one healed place on his body when I brought him home.” She was 27 at the time. “I had a vision of the outcome, and I had a plan,” she says. “I knew the steps I had to take to get there.”

Finding Strength A’ Leta experienced an emotional — and mental — rollercoaster. “I had to think of him as a patient who needed my help — I took staples out, stitches out, I cleaned his tracheotomy — the whole deal, every day, and it was bad. I had to turn my feelings on and off, like a light switch.” A’Leta did not allow herself — or anyone else — to cry in Billy Jack’s hospital room. “He was so sensitive. It would’ve killed him to see us upset,” she says. “I didn’t want him to think about someone else or to worry about us.” To date, Billy Jack has had more than 100 major surgeries — with more to come. “But, that’s ok,” says A’Leta.“We just face it, do it and move on. We live day to day.” And at one time, it was moment to mo-

ment. “When you start living too far ahead, the worries and stress move in,” she says. She was “so focused,” she says, on making sure that Carney had her daddy — “and I had my husband back,” that she refused to rest “or barely breathe” until she knew they had it. “I wanted to make sure that her daddy was going to be able to brush her hair again,” she says. My medical experience helped some, she says, but, “I gave it to God. I let him take over completely. It was like I was living on the outside, looking in. I had to be. God took over, but he gave me the strength to function — to run on no sleep for days at a time and stay healthy.” As “God’s child,” she says, she knew that he would do what was best for her. “I told him I wouldn’t question him, but, I did tell him that taking my husband and my child’s father away from us was not best. I was not trying to tell him what to do, but I was not willing to accept anything less. During that first year, I was in constant prayer.” With the worst behind her now, A’Leta is trying to put it all into perspective.

The Healing Begins Moving to the High Country of North Carolina helped the McDaniels begin putting the pieces together again and provided a peaceful place for them to heal and

write their book. With graphic details of Billy Jack’s accident and his road to recovery, the book includes excerpts from A’Leta’s journals that she started writing “day two,” she says, knowing in her heart that some day she would share with her husband and daughter how it unfolded. The couple also established a nonprofit organization with the goal of reaching out to others in their time of tragedy and need. While Billy Jack speaks to audiences of all ages — all around the country — A’Leta reaches out specifically to the women. “I want to be a mentor for women, especially young women,” she says. “In today’s world, many of them don’t have the resources like I did to prepare them for reality. What God gave me — through the women in my life — was a major blessing. Just think how I’d been if I’d been dealt another hand with no example of how to

handle such a difficult situation. I thank God everyday for that.” If a woman has never had a tough time, she will, A’Leta says. “That’s just the way it is. She has to know how to let God take care of it — to get out of the way and just watch him work.” A’Leta is studying to be a Christian counselor. “God has given me a lot to offer others,” she says. “I want to be a safety net for those who are hurting — and glorify Him, at the same time — with no judgment or condemnation.” It is A’Leta’s hope that individuals, couples and families will be strengthened through her family’s saga. “We have been called to tell our story,” she says. “God has not allowed us to go through what we have just to sull up and crawl in a hole.”

Only Human A’Leta admits, however, that occasionally, that’s what she want to do. “I’m only human, and the devil tries to make me

feel guilty for wanting time to myself,” she says. “I still need my identity. For seven years, my life has basically been on hold. So much of who I am got lost. The things that I labeled ‘mine’ were taken from me.” It’s important, A’Leta says, for every woman to know who she is as an individual —“and to know that with confidence.” “What I have didn’t come easy, and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy,” she says. “My life is not one just of luxury or traveling around the world — it’s about doctor visits, advocating for burn victims and making speeches. It’s not what people see — they have no idea what’s happening inside.” Family is still her main priority, she says, and she works hard to take care of herself, physically and mentally, to be there for those she loves. Her husband defied the odds. “God has already done more for him than the doctors said was possible,” she says. “I may be 92 on my deathbed, but I know one day I will see him without the scars.” Carney is now 13. “Her dad loves to brush her hair and do anything for her that she will allow him to do,” A’Leta says. “Those little things we take for granted are really the most precious things in life. We are not promised the next second. Don’t just pass your spouse quickly as you run out the door. Take in his distinct smell — it might be a nasty body odor to some people, but when it’s gone, you will cry and beg God for just a whiff —just one more time.” A’Leta is beginning to find her place, once again — through her family’s ministry and through her creativity as a designer and painter. She has also been encouraged to model and has begun working on her portfolio. “We are not defined by our circumstances, but we are defined by how we react to our circumstances,” A’Leta says. “It’s how we handle it and walk through it that matters.” To learn more about the McDaniels, how to obtain their book or schedule them to speak at your next church or civic event, visit

sherrie norris Editor, All About Women



The staff of Western Carolina Eye Associates of Boone has moved into the “Circle of Excellence” with its recent award from TSI Healthcare, a national leader in the sales and support of customized healthcare information technology. Photo submitted

Western Carolina Eye Associates Ex At the same time that Western Carolina Eye Associates of Boone has moved into the “Circle of Excellence” with its recent award from TSI Healthcare, a national leader in the sales and support of customized healthcare information technology, it announces a new line of cosmetic services that is currently taking the country by storm — permanent makeup. Recognized by TSI as a practice that has positioned itself as a leader in healthcare information technology — and champions of improved patient care through the use of electronic health records and practice management systems — WCEA recently reached a “turning point,” like others in healthcare, says practice manager, Brenda Warren. “We had to decide to continue with the status quo or evolve along with our changing healthcare system.” Apparently, the right decision was made, says David Dickson Jr., resident 30


and CEO of TSI Healthcare, who describes WCEA as “a champion in patient care … an outstanding example for other practices.” Technology is a key factor in delivering better care through the transition, Warren says, and allows her team to improve safety, increase communication and focus on prevention while safeguarding privacy and expanding its services. According to Warren, the main goal of WCEA is to provide the best possible eye care for the patients of our area, directed by Daniel P. Krontz, MD, Penelope M. Copenhaver, OD, and Dr. Mandy L. Lanier, OD. “Our certified ophthalmic assistants and technicians assist with eye exams, contact lens training, testing and surgical procedures,” she says. But, there’s more.

Wake Up With Makeup In addition to the traditional optical services, surgeries, a wide selection

of fashionable frames and competitive pricing for which WCEA has long been known, the practice has recently added an entirely new component to their practice that is making life easier for women (and men) around the world. “We offer permanent eyeliner, eyebrows, lip color and color correction,” Warren says, adding that permanent cosmetics are perfect for those who are allergic to makeup or wear contact lens, or for those who just want to save time. “It’s also perfect for those who have a hard time being able to see how to put their makeup on, as well as people with thinning or fading hair or simply those who just want a ‘natural appearance,’” she says. Permanent makeup services are performed at the Boone office by Pam Wood or Amy Riley, who have both become certified as Advanced Intradermal Cosmetic Technicians and Color Corrections through Samira’s Permanent Makeup

Expands Practice with ‘Excellence’ Training Center in Greensboro. Consultations are free, Warren says. If you think the procedure is for you, all services include a topical numbing agent before your procedure, a six-week touch-up appointment and an after-care kit, specifically designed by Dr. Krontz for the care of your new permanent makeup procedure. WCEA has two offices to better serve its patients in the High Country area. For an appointment at the Boone office, call (828) 264-0042, or for the Ashe County office, call (336) 246-3937.

sherrie norris Editor, All About Women

WCEA offers expertise in many areas: In-office and out-patient surgeries: Cataracts – (no stitch, no patch) Corneal Transplants Glaucoma Lid Lesions Plastic Surgery In-office surgeries are performed at the Boone office. Outpatient surgeries are performed at both Watauga Medical Center and Ashe Memorial Hospital.

Treatment of eye diseases: Diabetes Glaucoma Infections Macular Degeneration Routine and medical examinations: Amblyopia Astigmatism Conjunctivitis Contact Lenses Driver’s License Exams LASIK Evaluations LASIK Follow Up Myopia Presbyopia

WCEA was voted ‘Best of the Best Ophthalmologists 2013’ in Watauga County. JULY 2013 | AAWMAG.COM


Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture Hosting

2013 Farm Tour The busy group known as Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture is preparing to host Farm Tour 2013 on August 3-4 as a way to connect local food producers with local food consumers while forging relationships that benefit both parties. Since 2003, BRWIA has supported farmers and their families in an effort to strengthen local food systems in the High Country through education, skills and resources. But, the strength of our local food system isn’t just in the hands of farmers — consumers also must appreciate the impact local farms have not only on the community’s health, but also on the local economy. In short, BRWIA hopes to bring out the locavore (someone who eats locally-grown food whenever possible) in all of us. According to BRWIA’s Courtney Baines, “It’s one level to go to the farmers’ market and meet the farmers face to face. But, it’s a whole different level to see how food is grown and be able to meet the families.” Farm Tour 2013 boasts a record 29 stops that include farms, breweries and a winery in Watauga, Avery, Ashe and Caldwell counties. This year’s event also offers three new features: the Li’l Locavore Learning Series with interactive activities to educate and fascinate kids; a photo contest in which the winners will be featured in a show at ASU’s Looking Glass Gallery; and Farm Tour Snack Stops, at which local chefs prepare small meals using produce from a particular farm.



How does the self-guided weekend tour work? 1 Purchase your Farm Tour Weekend Pass: • In advance (locations listed on website) for $25 per carload for all farms, all weekend • At the first farm you visit, for $30 per carload for all farms, all weekend • At each individual farm for $10 per farm, per carload  (best for those who wish to visit only one or two farms during the weekend) 2 Choose the farms you want to visit: Use the interactive Google map at http:// or pick up a Farm Tour 2013 guidebook at area restaurants serving local food, at area grocery stores or at local farmers’ markets.

3 Load up the car with friends and family 4 Visit any farm in any order 5 Bring a cooler Many farms will sell fresh products on tour days, so plan accordingly and take advantage of the opportunity. For more information on Farm Tour 2013 including a list of participating farms, snack stops and an interactive map, log onto




Yozette ‘Yogi’ Collins Mom, television producer/writer, and obsessive internet researcher. Though her name suggests otherwise, she is not (yet) an actual yogi.

Newland, NC (828)733-0186 Tuesday – Friday 9am-5pm Saturday 9am-3pm Sunday & Monday Closed




the shutter appeal

Photo by Linda Killian 34


Hopefully this month

you are finding time to bask in the beauty of nature, enjoy picnics with family and friends and savor your favorite vacation spot. Summer provides the perfect opportunity for us all to get out of the house and feel the warm glow of summer sun while working in our yards, riding our bikes, kayaking the New River and/or taking those long walks for our health. I love walking through my neighborhood while observing the yards and unique landscaping and decorating ideas that homeowners implement on their properties. A few years ago, I came up with an idea to enhance the outside appearance of my home and added shutters on my windows. Not just any shutters, but ones with a pine tree pattern that I drew and hired a local builder to construct. To save some money, I painted them myself and then asked the builder to return for installation. The shutters, which have become a popular conversation piece for a girl living in the High Country, serve as a perfect

Each time I look at my shutters, I’m reminded of when and how the pine tree idea hit me and find it rewarding to think, “I did that!”

addition to my mountain cabin. You may not live in a cabin, but if you take a close look at your home’s exterior and find it a bit boring, consider installing shutters to give it some added character. You can find various shutter ideas and designs, such as louvers or panels, at your local home store — or if you have an idea or theme, then draw a template like I did and have someone build them for you. Or, better yet, get your kids involved and make some special memories. Shutters not only add a unique element to the front of your house, but they also help to ground and frame your windows. For that “pop and wow” factor, be sure to choose a color for your shutters that coordinates well with that of your roof and home exterior. Linda Killian Cabin Design Interior Decorating

Sink Swim or



youngatheart “Jump on in, everybody,” said my friend, Carlos, as he anchored his pontoon boat in one of his favorite Watauga Lake swimming coves during our annual lake day gathering. “The water is 80 degrees.” The water is rarely that warm; Carlos measures the water temperature with a thermometer that is permanently set on 80 degrees. Carlos’ announcement is part of our tradition — the signal that “lake day” has officially begun. Bracing for the shock, we scramble off the boat into the cold water where we swim, float and bask in the summer sun. There is something about summer that makes me want to jump in the nearest body of water — pool, lake or ocean. I have always enjoyed swimming and consider it to be quintessential summer fun. My mother would disagree. She does not enjoy swimming for several reasons: she has to get her hair wet, she has to put her face in the water and she is reminded of her high school swimming test. Let’s just say that she had an over-enthusiastic gym teacher who told her that she could either get in the pool or get thrown in. She got in the pool, but she wasn’t happy about it. Not wanting my sister and me to share her dislike of swimming, she made the ultimate sacrifice and signed us up for mother/child swimming lessons. She had to get her hair wet and everything. I splashed, giggled and was instantly comfortable in the water. My formative years were defined by chlorine-saturated hair and raisiny skin. My friend, Jennifer, lived within walking distance of the county swimming complex, and during summer vacation it became our home away from home. It was there that I first became aware of swim team. By high school I was swimming competitively year ‘round. These days, my only competitive swimming takes place during the annual “lake day” race between Carlos and me. It’s not a serious race; it’s all in good fun. One year, Carlos caught me off guard, shouting that the race had begun as he dove off the boat — giving himself a

hefty head start. I caught up with him, passed him and then waited for him at the shore. Because he wanted to rest before returning to the boat, I swam back alone. Some minutes later, Carlos yelled for me to swim back to shore and bring him a float. I did and we returned together. Upon reaching the boat, Carlos said to the group, “What do you guys think? It was a tie, right?” While swimming can be fun, it can also be dangerous for the inexperienced or the very young. Even I must admit to a few experiences of swimming-related fear. I was awestruck by waves in Hawaii that were easily 15 feet tall — not large by wave standards, but large to me. I had a moment of panic at Hilton Head in jellyfishinfested waters after being stung several times. Frozen and trying not to move lest I suffer another sting, I soon realized that it was sink or swim and headed to shore. And, in Mexico, I was swept off my feet by a rogue wave while wading from one beach to another. I was pushed up under a rock and had to hold my breath while waiting for the wave to recede. I suffered abrasions on my back, but no permanent damage. I like to think that my early exposure to swimming — and the fact that I feel comfortable in the water — ensured that I didn’t panic in Mexico. Things may not have turned out the way I would have hoped or expected, but it was an adventure nonetheless. Carlos had an adventure of his own two years ago at “lake day.” He had discovered a rope swing during one of his boating jaunts, which he thought we would enjoy. Fueled by machismo, the boys were all eager to give it a try. When it was his turn, Carlos, with an expression of giddy excitement on his face, eagerly took hold of the rope and propelled himself away from the embankment and over the lake. His expression suddenly changed to shear panic as he realized that he now had to drop 20 feet through the air into the water. Laughter greeted Carlos as he surfaced and climbed aboard the boat. Smile plastered on his face, Carlos said, “That was amazing. I think I’ll go again!” heather brandon Considers life to be one big anthropological field experience. She observes and reports. She enjoys travel, food and wine and adventures with her husband, Roger.



Cleo’s Oak by Pearle Munn Bishop

Pearle Bishop is one of those lovely people whose presence lights up a room. I’ve known her for more than a decade, and I have yet to hear an unkind word escape her lips. Her natural humor and optimism, tempered by the sorrow of a life fully lived, transfuses the pages of her new novel, “Cleo’s Oak.” The story begins with the rantings of a 16-year-old girl, Willow, who, by her own account, is beautiful and privileged and we quickly learn that she is vain and self-centered. While playing Frisbee with her brother, Willow takes a fall, strikes her head and is rendered unconscious. Prescribed rest by her physician, Willow slips into a deep sleep and dreams of another era, of women dressed in clothing of the 1800s. This accident triggers a flurry of getwell notes. As she begins to respond with thank you cards, Willow is confounded to discover her words are not her own. She finds herself describing things that are not of her experience, “...about canning peaches, back porches, cows, pigs and then something about baseball.” Willow has discovered that her pen is transcribing the life and experiences of a woman named Cleo, who’s insistence to be heard demands that Willow spend her 16th sum-



mer at her computer writing down the details of a life that began more than 100 years ago, before Willow was born. Thus, we enter the mystical world of Cleopatra Lamb, daughter of Scottish immigrant Alexander Lamb. In 1844, at the age of 16, Alexander works his way across the Atlantic in search of a better life. He is working in a stable in New York when he meets and falls in love with Rosa McRay, who boards her horse at the stable. Against the wishes of her father, an angry Irish policeman, the two are married. Seven months later, Cleo is born. Rosa dies in childbirth two years later, along with the child. Alexander must flee with Cleo to escape the reach of Rosa’s father, who wants to take Cleo and raise her himself. They live an itinerant life, never staying in one place for long. Wherever they lived, they sought out “the largest and most perfect oak tree” in a neighboring forest, which became their place of prayer. They arranged 13 stones near the tree, which formed a circle. They believed if they ever needed guidance they could step within the circle, and the god of the oak would provide it. Cleo discovered early in life she had the gift of knowing when and how someone was going to die. She inherited this

Locally Owned & Operated Since 2003 by People You Know & Trust

gift from her grandmother, who also had “second sight.” This is as much a curse as a blessing as Cleo’s visions come unbidden and she has no ability to control them — nor can she conjure them at will. Therefore, the tragedies of her own life, such as the sudden death of her father a few years later, come crashing down upon her with all the emotional force the loss of a beloved parent can have on a child. We follow Cleo’s life from birth to death, as told through Willow. We experience her loves and losses steeped in the details of life during the mid-1800s. We struggle with Cleo as she is confronted with the timeless issues we must all face — birth, sex, religion, love, forgiveness and, finally, death. Cleo also deals with issues we hope to never face — adultery, betrayal, rape and even murder during a time in our country’s history when the rules were much dif-

ferent than they are today. As we conclude our reading, we are curious to know why Willow was chosen to relate these tales. Will the telling have an impact on her impressionable young life? “Cleo’s Oak” is a coming-of-age tale, which will make you laugh, cry and cringe. It is a story of the indefatigable will of a young woman determined to make her way in the world on her own terms and in her own time. Luckily for us, “Cleo’s Oak” is available now, in perfect time to celebrate our nation’s Independence Day.

e When A Trusted Nam Helping Hand. You Need That

828.963.8233 • APPHOMECARE.COM

Danielle Bussone Danielle Bussone is a writer, an artist and a wellness coach. Visit her blog at


About The Author Pearle Munn Bishop is a native of eastern North Carolina. As a young woman, she went north to Baltimore to help build airplanes for the Allies during World War II. While working as a riveter, she often had burns on her chest from the hot slivers of aluminum. She has lived in Europe and Asia and many cities in the United States before settling in Boone, where she lived happily with her husband, Lyle D. Bishop II, until his recent passing. She has been a member of High Country Writers for many years, an organization founded by her daughter, Maggie Bishop. Pearle currently lives at Appalachian/ Brian Estates in Boone. Her novel, “Cleo’s Oak,” can be found in paperback and ebook editions at www.

2082 Blowing Rock Rd Boone, NC 28607 828-264-4660

Follow us on at Chick-fil-A of Boone JULY 2013 | AAWMAG.COM



‘It only takes a spark to get a fire going.’ - ‘Pass It On’ by Kurt Kaiser

Mabel School Counselor Christy Welch, left, Todd Carter, representing Hospitality House of Boone and Amber Bateman of Quiet Givers plan details of the Back to School Festival. They are among many community leaders collaborating on the event.

Festival to Help Children Start School

Sharing a common vision for all children to feel prepared for the new school year, several local agencies and organizations are uniting to make that a reality for Watauga County children. The Back to School Festival is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 10 at the National Guard Armory at 274 Hunting Hills Lane in Boone. As a result of this unique community effort, families who are struggling to meet the demands of back-to-school shopping will have the opportunity to “shop” for the school supplies required by their classes, as well as receive haircuts and a new pair of pajamas. They will receive jeans and gift cards from Goodwill, allowing them to shop for school clothes. Local agencies that offer beneficial programs for local families will have booths offering information or interacting with families through games and crafts.

‘The secret of getting things done is to act.’ - Dante Alghieri Todd Carter of Hospitality House credits Amber Bateman of the grassroots group Quiet Givers as the catalyst for connecting the community in addressing this need. “Amber urged us to collaborate and unite our efforts. Her vision for each child to be ready to succeed on the first day of school has kicked this into gear,” Todd says. Last fall, while working alongside Watauga schools social worker Denise Presnell, Amber commented that it would be great if there were an event where children could get basic school readiness needs met in one stop. Recalling

Prepared Confidence and with



Back to School Festival Saturday, Aug. 10 National Guard Armory 274 Hunting Hills Lane, Boone 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. similar comments previously expressed by Angela McMann of the Western Youth Network, Denise introduced the two likeminded advocates. In December, Angela set up a brainstorming session with representatives from the Children’s Council, High Country United Way, Hospitality House, Western Youth Network and the Watauga Library. “Angela saw the need for an event like this and brought us all together,” says Amber. “She continues to do tremendous work behind the scenes.” During follow-up meetings, several other community agencies and advocates embraced the vision and joined their efforts. Parker Stevens and Kathy Crutchfield from Appalachian Women’s Fund agreed to organize stylists willing to donate their time to cut hair, while Carter’s at Tanger Shoppes at the Parkway donated pajamas and books, Blue Skies Storage donated a storage unit for the event and Aeropostale donated jeans. In support of the community effort and adding to the fun of the festival, Green Street Catering will serve a light lunch, and Earth Fare will hand out snacks. Goodwill will send their “Smiling G” mascot and donate prizes as part of their Good Neighbor Program. The Children’s Council will conduct guided play and story time for children younger than 5 years old so older siblings and parents can shop.

‘We must not only give what we have; we must also give what we are.’ - Desire Joseph Cardinal Mercier The Back to School Festival is designed to be a community effort. Amber says, “We have contacted groups we know that have specific interest in helping with back to school readiness efforts. We welcome any person, group or congregation that wants to help with our collection efforts, as well as other aspects of the event where they would like to serve.”

Clothing Donations of new items are greatly appreciated. Donations of used clothing may be delivered to Goodwill and designated for the “Back to School Festival” account. Goodwill gift cards will be issued for festival participants. Separate collection points for new and “almost new” jeans for kids (sizes 4T-14 youth) will be announced. Questions concerning collection points for new clothing and shoes can be directed to Todd Carter of the Hospitality House at

School Supplies School counselor Christy Welch is organizing the drive for school supplies. “We are asking churches, organizations and individuals to provide hard-to-get items, like sturdy backpacks and calculators,” Christy says. “In late July, we will have a ‘Pack the Bus’ event in the parking lot of the Yadkin Bank (on Blowing Rock Road, next to CVS).” During July, collection points and sponsored drives by scouts and others will be located throughout the county. Contact Christy at

Haircuts Stylists willing to offer free cuts for kids at the festival or at their shops may contact Parker Stevens at or Kathy Crutchfield at

Sponsorship To sponsor a booth at the event, contact Crystal Kelly at the Children’s Council at

Volunteers Assistance will be needed and appreciated to set up during the week before the event, to assist with traffic and guests during the festival and to help with cleanup afterwards. Those interested in assisting should contact Amber Bateman at “This is a true grassroots movement to help others in our community,” says Amber. “In response to the poverty in our area, many compassionate people are joining forces to strengthen our efforts. Agencies and organizations as diverse as WYN, OASIS, the Children’s Council, Appalachian Women’s Fund, the Kiwanis, churches and the Boy Scouts are all connecting as a community to effectively change reality for those in need.”

According to the 2011 NC Census, 26 percent of Watauga County’s 51,000 residents live below the poverty line. Sharon Carlton Sharon Carlton, High Country Courtesies ©2013 As founder of High Country Courtesies, Sharon Carlton writes and speaks on modern etiquette and life skill topics. She is Director of High Country Cotillion, a social education program for youth and conducts High Country Courtesies customer service workshops. Contact her at




Weeding Sugar Out of Your Life



This is the season of weeding our gardens. It is also a great time to focus on weeding your diet, specifically yanking out the most invasive of weeds — sugar. Yes, I know. Some of us love to cool down with an occasional ice cream cone or iced mocha latte. I am not trying to destroy your summer joy. For most of us, “occasional” is OK. When it invades every meal and snack, it will eventually begin to overwhelm your health.  The weeds are sometimes hard to find. Sugar will hijack its way into your life through the most innocent foods: yogurt, salad dressings, peanut butter, teas, juices, ketchup and baby crackers, to name a few. Whether in the form of the pure white stuff, or its syrupy counterparts, Americans are mainlining sugar — to the tune of 22 teaspoons a day. To give you a picture of what sugar does in your body, note what sugar does in a glass of water. It thickens it and makes it sticky. It does a similar thing to the fluids in your body. It creates a sickly glaze that gums up your vital organs so they can’t function efficiently.  Sugar is directly linked to wrinkles, obesity, tooth decay, heart disease, mood disorders, high cholesterol, cancer and autoimmune diseases. So what’s the definition of poison?  “Poisons are substances that can cause damage, illness, or death to organisms.” So, what does that make sugar? You got it! Weed it out of your life, so it doesn’t destroy you. Sugar is not an easy weed to pull because it is so addictive. It is just one atom of nitrogen away from its evil cousin, cocaine. Like cocaine, the more sugar you eat, the higher your tolerance becomes. You need more and more to feel satisfied. 

a few tips for weeding sugar out of your life: • Know the names of sugar on the label: cane sugar, high fructose corn syrup, rice sugar, to name a few. If they are listed in the first five ingredients, don’t eat them • Don’t buy sugary foods. When you are in the store, stay away from these items, to reduce your temptation. • Don’t skip meals. Skipping shuts down your metabolism and triggers sweet cravings. • Don’t eat sugar for your first meal of the day. If you do, your brain will be triggered to think “sweet” for the rest of the day. • Drink pure water rather than sweet drinks — even artificially sweetened drinks. That sweet taste all day long will keep you addicted to sweets. • Take a 10-minute walk after dinner instead of eating dessert. Remember, you do have options. This will also help you promote weight loss and help you to forget about the sweets. • Probably one of the most important things you can do is to visit your local farmers’ market and load up on veggies. Once you start eating more of these foods, you will crave them — instead of sugars.

bonnie church Certified Life and Wellness Coach Author/ columist, motivational speaker Certified Trainer for TLS Weight Loss Solution






Family Camping


Summertime automatically triggers a frequent request for camping from my children, particularly as they get older and their enjoyment of the outdoors continues to grow. Our camping adventures remind me that there are certain unwritten rules about family camping that are deeply ingrained in my psyche, following many years of camping while growing up. The first cardinal rule is: Do not touch the inside of the tent in a downpour. My father would emphasize this camping law with my sisters and me every single time we were camping in the rain, and we camped in the rain more times than I would like to count. At times, this rule was either consciously or inadvertently tested. Even rolling up against the side of the tent in your sleep would result in wet sleeping bag, wet tent and sometimes wet clothes. Other times, poking one’s finger into the tent wall just to see if this was, in fact, a known truth of camping resulted in confirmation of this said law. Recently, when camping with my 9-year-old during a family campout during which the remainder of the family decided not to brave the predicted 30 degree lows for the night, I shared this rule with my son, Joseph. Of course, it did not carry quite the same weight, given that we were lying on an air bed approximately a foot off the floor of the tent rather than a a quarter-inch thick “mattress” that I recall from my past, but I tried to communicate the grave seriousness of this rule all the same. The next rule has to do with being sick when out in the wild. Vomiting should not occur inside the tent. Granted, wilderness is all relative and we were not backpacking into sites, so while our sites may have been primitive at times, there was typically an outhouse somewhere in the vicinity,

at least within a quarter mile of the site). Perhaps you might have eaten too much ice cream with the rainbow sprinkles, or maybe it was a stomach virus. Either way, cleaning up the mess and eliminating the smell from a tent is nearly impossible. Hence, the recommendation is to attempt to make it to the outhouse or bathhouse, or at least onto the trail that leads to either. If it is raining, one must still vacate the tent, no matter how bad one feels. My sisters can certainly attest that I at least made it to the trail on one notorious occasion where it was raining and the middle of the night. I can’t recall if I remembered cardinal rule No. 1 on that night, but probably did not care if I touched the side of the tent or not, truth be known. The third rule is this: Generally speaking, the camp food prepared is the camp food that is available; eat or starve. For us, camp food was Spam, corned beef hash, a fair share of hot dogs and sometimes pasta. On many occasions, breakfast was one of those tiny little boxes of the cereal we were never allowed to eat otherwise that came in the variety pack of six boxes — Fruit Loops, Sugar Corn Pops, Sugar Smacks and the less desirable Rice Krispies, among others. Other times, my dad would make pancakes. There was one occasion when camping in Maine when this rule was broken, which at the time I attributed to my parents showing mercy but in hindsight actually think it was a decision to savor that which we would not appreciate. We had fresh-caught Maine lobster from a local fish market that was boiled right at our campsite. My sisters and I, as well as my dad, all turned up our noses and ate peanut butter and jelly, while my mom feasted. The final unspoken rule of camping is: Children are capable of rolling up their

own sleeping bags, helping break down a tent and loading the car — and unloading once back home. No matter how many times we tried to argue with my father that we could not get our sleeping bag to roll up tight because of the size of our hands/ fingers, he was not buying it. In addition, no matter how many hours we had been in the car (or even days), once we were at home, the car would be unloaded. As I ponder these rules following my most recent camping excursion with Joseph, I have to admit that he had it pretty easy. He didn’t test the rain rule, so I guess he did not inherit that burning curiosity at least in that particular situation. I cut him slack on the last rule since we were having to leave early and he wanted time with his friends, but I made sure he knew that this was a major exception and next time he wouldn’t get off so easy. Overall, as I consider these rules and now being the parent communicating them, I smile at the many memories that surround them and am grateful that my children love the outdoors. I hope to continue camping with them for many years to come and look, one day, to have them pass down these rules to their own kids. For those of you pondering family camping, I highly recommend it and welcome you to share these rules with your children. Enjoy the summer, and happy camping.

heather jordan, CNM, MSN Comments or questions? 828.737.7711, ext. 253






‘Active ingredients’ make the difference A number of skincare lines on the market today focus on the reduction of fine lines, wrinkles and even the rebuilding of collagen in the skin. Many women are easily perplexed by the barrage of product advertising and the often hard-to-understand labels that appear on countless skin care products available in their favorite cosmetic department. Just what is the perfect product for you, you may wonder — and what makes normal store-brand skin care products different from those recommended by your spa or medical facility? There is usually the obvious price difference, but if you look a bit closer, the ingredients will most likely confirm that you get what you pay for. Facial cleansers, serums or eye creams that are found primarily in a spa setting or doctor’s office contain higher concentrations of “active ingredients” — those that are more results-driven and can have a greater impact on the skin. When incorporated into skincare products, these ingredients help to act as moisturizers, antioxidants, exfoliants

and all those “other” attributes that we need for our skin to reach its maximum potential. Most common among the products, these beneficial “active ingredients” include the following — alpha hydroxy acids, salicylic acid, hydroquinone, retinol and L-ascorbic acid, just to name a few. These ingredients are available in various concentrations, depending on the skincare line of choice, with each component offering its own unique blend of properties and benefits. General advantages derived from active ingredients are wide ranging — from skin brightening and texture to the reduction in wrinkles, sagging skin and the rebuilding of collagen. When beginning the search for skincare products, it is vital to know as much about your skin type as possible for the best possible results. kelly penick Licensed aesthetician 828.773.3587





July is probably the busiest month for family vacations, when the kids are enjoying a summer break from school and mom and dad are ready for some much needed R & R. Safe vacation travel can be made easier by following a few important tips from AAA. Make this a summer ďŹ lled with pleasant memories for the entire family by following these suggestions:



TIPS FOR SAFETY ON THE ROAD Before you squeeze the cooler between the suitcases and wedge grandma between the kids, do a few things that may keep you safer down the road: Have your mechanic check your car’s fluid levels, belts, hoses and tires. Read your map or print out directions from your computer. Know where you are going and how you will get there. By taking a few minutes before you set out, you’re less likely to get lost or wind up sitting by the roadside for hours. Keep your gas tank full, safety belts snapped, doors locked and windows up. Try to stay on main roads and highways. Don’t pick up hitch-hikers. Pack a flashlight, fire extinguisher and first aid kit. When you stop for breaks, go into the restroom with another member of the family. Don’t stop to help someone with car trouble; instead, go to a phone and call police. Always watch for suspicious characters and look for ways to avoid them. Whenever you need to stop at night, choose a well-lighted populated service station. Try to park where your car can be seen. If your car is bumped by another, don’t immediately jump out to check for damage. Watch the other driver. If you are uncomfortable, motion for him or her to drive to a more public place, a police or fire station. When stopping at a traffic light, try to leave space in front of you so you can pull away if necessary.

WHAT TO DO IF YOUR CAR BREAKS DOWN ON THE HIGHWAY Stay with it until help arrives, (a police officer or AAA road service.)

If someone comes along, roll down your window just enough to ask him or her to call police. Raise the hood and tie a white cloth to the door handle. If you must walk to a phone, do not separate your group, keep everyone together, (remember, safety in numbers.) Be careful if someone seems overanxious to help, and avoid riding with strangers. If someone motions that your tire is flat or your car is smoking, don’t stop until he or she is gone. Try to get to a service station or a populated place.

TIPS ON PARKING Every time you come to a stop, your car turns into a billboard. Out-of-state tags, a rental car, maps, etc. all advertise the arrival of travel-weary tourists with desirable belongings. Backing your car into a parking space might make out-of-state tags less obvious.

toddlers, to make sure they don’t stray too far. When children need a bathroom break, go with them. Count family members after every ride. Repeat the warning not to talk to strangers other than police or authorities. Give whistles to your kids, along with instructions that they are only to be used if the family gets separated.

HIKING TIPS When it’s time to go out and explore on foot or pick up a few souvenirs from the gift shop, get good directions to your destination before you go. Take the safest route, (not always the quickest!) and try not to go alone. Don’t carry too many bulky packages at one time. If you get lost, don’t act like it.

Put maps away and cover expensive items. Better yet, hide them in the trunk.

If you are alone and someone stops to ask for directions, act as if someone is coming to join you.

At night, park in a well-lighted, visible place.

Keep your distance and look for a place to go in a hurry. If you think you are being followed, do an about-face, cross the street, or duck into a store and call police.

Always lock your car doors, even if you will be gone for just a few minutes. Be alert whenever you’re in a parking lot, covered garage or side street. Look around before getting into or out of your car. Check the backseat before getting in. If someone seems to be following you as you walk to your car, walk past it to find help.

TIPS FOR SIGHTSEEING If you are at an attraction, amusement park or sightseeing spot, tell your kids where they should go if they get lost. Keep the whole family together as much as possible. Hold hands with family members when walking through crowds.

If you are going out at night, stay with a group in a well lighted, busy area. If you are on a sidewalk bordered by bushes, trees or dark doorways, walk close to the street. Any time you are in danger, make as much noise as you can to attract attention.

AVOID BEING OUTSTANDING One of your best defenses is to avoid standing out in a crowd. If you wear expensive, or expensivelooking jewelry, you may be drawing the wrong person’s attention. Leave any valuables locked up safely at home.

Consider using a safety “leash” for JULY 2013 | AAWMAG.COM


Every summer has its story.

Photo by Leda Winebarger

No one knows woodcare like Sikkens. Our passion for perfection, combined with a commitment to producing quality products, makes us the world’s foremost specialist Whether it’s the exterior or interior of a home, Sikkens has the right product to preserve, protect, restore and enhance wood’s natural beauty.

Locally owned and operated for over 26 years.

Orthopaedic &

Sports Medicine Center


All about women of the high country.


All about women of the high country.