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West Georgia

LiVing Nov./Dec. 2016

Life . Art . Music . People

A Country

Holiday! Celebrate old traditions in new style $3.95

Vol. 6/Issue 3

Seasons Greetings 


Features 17


Visions of new outfits are dancing in heads



Christmas trees have a rich holiday history

Brian McLeod shares some tips on outdoor decorating for the Christmas season

PLUS Home is special during the holidays - 8 Keeping those New Year's Resolutions - 49 Holiday Gift Guide - 37-42 Rockin' your table setting placement - 47

4 West Georgia Living November/December 2016


How does Santa Claus do what he does? It's science!


What does the "Spirit of giving back" really mean anyway?

On the Cover: Anders Morgan, with his mother Haven, admires one of the Christmas trees on display at The Depot last year after the Carrollton Christmas Parade . Photograph by Ricky Stilley

Here Come The Holidays! No matter which Holiday you are getting ready for…..

Turkey Day or Christmas Day COOKING OR GIFT GIVING, WE CAN HELP! Southern Home & Ranch is far more than a Hardware store.

We have a little bit of everything you might be looking for and a whole lot of service to help you find what you need. We have new items arriving every day, and great gift giving ideas just in time for the Holidays. Here are just a few examples of all the GOOD STUFF! you can find in our wide selection. • Georgia Olive Farms - Chef’s Blend “extra virgin” olive • Pure North Georgia Sorghum Syrup, made by the oil, produced in Georgia. It has a green fresh buttery Z.W. Seabolt family, OH! breakfast, just out of the oven taste with a mild fruity finish, just wonderful in so many hot biscuits and sorghum syrup, it doesn’t get much better healthy ways. than that, available in pints and quarts, don’t wait too long, to get yours! Todd’s Ole’ Timey Ribbon Cane • Mascot “Fresh Shelled” Pecans. Can’t you just taste Syrup also available, yummy good Southern sweetness! them now? The perfect healthy treat for cooking, baking, snacking, or gift giving. 12 oz. and 16oz. bags and • Brighten your holidays with Life Time Candles by White specialty gift ideas. New harvest, never frozen. River Design. Oil filled for LASTING beauty ALL thru the Holidays, and year around enjoyment. • Trapp seasonal Holiday Collection of eight wonderful fragrances, perfect for your home, holiday event or • Back by popular demand, Southern States, North special gift giving. Georgia grown, raw “SHELLED PEANUTS,” with tried and true “peanut brittle” recipe ideas. New harvest, • The magic of Mystique Lifelike flickering flame candles, while supplies last! A 5 lb box, perfect tasty gift. 100% paraffin wax, no open flame, no smoke, no worries. • Olivia Marie’s “SWEETS & TREATS” locally produced Replicates the random flicker and ambient glow of a real in Roopville, Georgia. Jellies, jams, veggies, salsa and candle with timer function. Holiday colors available in more, it’s ALL good! Gift packages available. 8”and 10” tapers, and 5”, 7” and 9” sizes • Aspen Mulling Spices and Special Holiday candles. Perfect for your holiday table, drink mixes. Just love that special holiday room windows or decorative setting. The safe filling smell. Get yours now! Yummy Good! alternative to a real flame. • If you like cheese, you will LOVE our genuine old And that ain’t all! fashioned “Wisconsin Waxed Hoop Cheddar Make your list, check it twice, then come on Cheese”, 3 lb. rounds in a box, perfect for over to, Southern Home & Ranch, we’ve got entertaining or gift giving. “RED” mild, “Black” for what you need, with Service to please. sharp. Tastes OH! So-Good! • Clyde Cook, close to home pure “LOCAL” honey Hope to see you real soon, your friends at produced in Ephesus, GA. It’s just the best, and Southern Home & Ranch. good for you too! 1 and 2 LB Bottles.

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West Georgia


Volume 6 . Issue 6 November/December 2016

Well, as we always say this time of year: the months have really flown by. It's time to start thinking about the big, year-end holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's.

Li Ving Publisher Marvin Enderle

Editor Ken Denney

Advertising Melissa Wilson

Photographer Ricky Stilley

Design Richard Swihart

With this issue, we offer some assistance in planning and celebrating these holidays with your friends and family.

collection of holiday dishes designed to create some new tastes and traditions for your family gatherings. Molly Stassfort also gives us a thoughtful article exploring just what it means to give back during the holiday. Alexandra Coffey gives advice on the ever-vexing question of keeping those New Year's resolutions, and Robert Covel has a host of suggestions for gift books.

First up, we tackle that all-important quesion of what to wear to all the major social gatherings that come with the holiday Speaking of which, we also have a special advertising section from local merchants to season. Writer Molly Stassfort has some help you with your holiday shopping. practical solutions for men and women. We also have a feature on how to decorate your outdoors for the holiday, turning the backyard into a twinkling Christmas fantasyland. Taylor Boltz takes us back inside for a look at how style has changed the look of Christmas trees over the ages. As usual, Rob DuvĂŠ brings us an amazing

And would you believe that some people claim Santa Claus doesn't exist? We offer some scientific questions that you and your children can explore together. From all of us, to all of you - Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and have a happy New Year!

Departments FOOD

Contributors Taylor Boltz, Alexandra Coffey, Bob Covel, Rob DuvĂŠ, Suzanne Holland, Phyllis King, Josh Sewell, Molly Stassfort


Create some new traditions with these holiday recipes

To advertise in West Georgia Living, call Melissa Wilson at 470-729-3237.


West Georgia Living is a bi-monthly publication of the Newspapers of West Georgia. Submissions, photography and ideas may be submitted to Ken Denney c/o The Times-Georgian, 901 Hays Mill Rd., Carrollton, GA 30117.


Submissions will not be returned unless requested and accompanied with a self-addressed, stamped envelope. West Georgia Living reserves the right to edit any submission. Copyright 2016 by the Times-Georgian

6 West Georgia Living November/December 2016

Need a few gift ideas for 10 the gardener in your life?

TAKE 5 56

Dr. Steve Davis, First Baptist 58 Church of Carrollton

CINEMA Some non-Christmas Christmas films

BOOKS Need that special book for that special someone?

Merry Christmas from Our Family to Yours!

Wishing you a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from the Harris Family & Multi-Pest ServicesÂŽ

Protecting Your Health & Property through Pest Control


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ach year is passed with a few milestones along the way; markers we call holidays.

We use them to tell ourselves how far along we are in a year. We mark the beginning with New Year’s; we bookend our summer between Memorial Day and Labor Day. And there are also individual days we use, personal holidays, or at least days of remembrance: birthdays and anniversaries, some happy, some sad. Holidays and these personal anniversaries are the file folders for our memories. When these dates roll around, we are taken back to the same date, last year or years before, and revisit those times and our old selves. To see where we are, it is sometimes necessary to see where we’ve been. But of all these days of the year, it is Thanksgiving and Christmas that hold the most nostalgia, the most poignant memories. They loom before us like giant planets we encounter on our annual journey around the sun, vast and large and completely unavoidable. And it’s certainly true that some people do try to avoid them. The weeks between Thanksgiving Day and New Year’s Day are crowded with activities and events. Our society and our culture have invested so much meaning into these few days that they have become almost too large to see, too hard to grasp. On Thanksgiving, one is supposed to be thankful for all the blessings received during the year. On Christmas, people are meant to feel joy and cheer and share all that with loved ones. That’s all good if life has been kind to you all year; it’s more difficult if there has been a loss that drains you of feeling. You never feel a loss so keenly as when you feel alone, and these holidays can sometimes worsen the feeling.

forget they are coming, or you sleep through them. I mean that they pass by in such a way that you don’t really recognize them.

of pretty lights. The big tree was up in Rockefeller Center, and there were people skating around it, just like they do on holiday specials on TV.

I have had two Thanksgivings and Christmases like that. Both times I was away from west Georgia, and it’s that absence from home that made me miss them.

Christmas in New York would, I suppose, be a dream for a lot of people. Especially for New Yorkers, who seem to think that they live at the center of the universe, and that there is nothing better than dashing through slushing traffic on a cold, wintry night amid the bright lights of American commerce.

One Thanksgiving a few years ago was spent in the Caribbean, in a small house I had rented not far from the sea. It was as opposite from a west Georgia Thanksgiving as it could possibly be, what with the crashing breakers and the turquoise water, and the warm sun shining clear. It was a tropical paradise to be sure, but it wasn’t anything like home. The odd thing, though, is that people on the island where I was staying celebrated Thanksgiving just as we do here. I suppose it is normal for them to decorate their stores with paper cutouts of pilgrims and cornucopias and stacks of wheat. I suppose it was even normal for them to have turkey for dinner, with cranberry dressing and everything, even though their usual fare was fish and skinny chickens. I am sure that they all thought it was a special time of year, but to me it all seemed strange. The pilgrims in those pictures wore warm clothes, because it is cold in New England where the first Thanksgiving was held. In the Caribbean it was 80 degrees and people were wearing shorts, sandals and T-shirts. Sitting down around a turkey dinner under a spreading palm tree was definitely not like west Georgia. I ate the turkey, but it was just too surreal for me to enjoy. Once I spent a Christmas in New York City. Now, I must say this experience was a bit less surreal than Thanksgiving on the beach; everyone was bundled up and there were a lot

Sometimes, though, you don’t avoid the holiday so much as you miss them altogether. I don’t mean that you 8 West Georgia Living November/December 2016


It was not a dream for me. I was raised in west Georgia, and this was definitely not a west Georgia Christmas. Here, the closest big tree for the holidays is in Atlanta, and there are no ice skaters anywhere. There are, to be sure, lots of twinkly lights, but the ones in New York are perfectly groomed – not like here. Christmas in west Georgia is less artificial, if you will. That’s not to say there isn’t considerable artificial stuff about the holiday here. There’s lots of plastic Santa Clauses and animated reindeer, and those awful, fake lighted icicles dangle from just about every household eave. But to me, that sort of artificiality is what makes Christmas so real. I understand that’s a contradiction, but when you have grown up with that as your reality, when every Christmas that has passed has been accompanied by tacky displays and gaudy lights, then it becomes normal. It becomes part of the holiday. Christmas and Thanksgiving are really just ordinary days; a space of hours in which we will live. There is nothing really remarkable about them except for the feelings that we attach to them. Sometimes those feelings can be very intense, happy or sad; often there is nostalgia and sentiment. Hokey or sublime, they are the holidays. They are anchor points in the timelines of our lives that connect us to the past and which ground our steps into the future. WGL

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CINEMA "Welcome to the party, pal." John McClane quietly celebrates Christmas in "Die Hard," 1988 20th Century Fox

Bah! Humbug! Non-Christmas Christmas movies for your inner Scrooge


ost of us love the Christmas season, but deep down – even though we don’t like to admit it – a lot of us struggle with our Ebenezer Scrooge moments as well. I’m not talking about those Christmas memories that our brain creates, protecting our sanity by transforming our families into those fake models we see in cheesy television commercials and mall displays. That’s a totally normal phenomenon that I chalk up to sentimentality and amazing food.

No, I’m talking about the part of you that wants to drive your car in a ditch when “The Christmas Shoes” starts playing on the radio in mid-October. Or, that moment your eye twitches as you spot the marked-down Halloween candy sitting on the shelf right next to the exact same full-priced stuff in a bag decorated with reindeer and snowflakes. Or Christmas afternoon, when you’re still cleaning up the debris from Hurricane Santa and your kids are already bored with their gifts. 10 West Georgia Living November/December 2016

It’s enough to make even the mostly saintly among us yell, “Bah! Humbug!” To commemorate those totally human, notat-all rare moments, here are a handful of non-Christmas Christmas movies to watch in between those more traditional selections:  SHANE BLACK MOVIES:

the course of an entire year, yet it’s best remembered for the debut of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” my favorite song of the season. Even when I’m at my grumpiest, the wistful tune will usually induce a smile and glistening eyes. “IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE” (1946)

The funny, twisted filmmaker – one of my favorites – deserves a category all to himself. He is notorious for setting stories around Christmas even though the holiday has practically nothing to do with the plot. It first happened with “Lethal Weapon” (directed by Richard Donner) in 1987, and continued to occur in the movies Black directed himself: 2005’s “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,” 2013’s “Iron Man 3” and this year’s “The Nice Guys.”

Readers might remember that I watched this one for the first time last holiday season. It’s a stellar film (breaking news!), but one of the biggest surprises for me was that one of the most beloved Christmas movies of all time barely touches on the holiday. Sure, we all remember the final scene that reduces even the most hardhearted cynic into a crumpled, sobbing ball. But, aside from that, there’s nary a tree or gift to be seen in the previous two hours.



This popular Judy Garland musical spans


This Billy Wilder masterpiece, one of my all-time favorites, is another film that takes place around the holiday season – an

“BATMAN RETURNS” (1992) Michael Keaton remains my favorite Batman (even though Ben Affleck gives him a run for his money in the otherwise awful “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”) and his final time in the suit is much better than you may remember. Sure, there’s no Jack Nicholson to chew the scenery, but Danny DeVito and Christopher Walken are more than up to the job. Plus, Michelle Pfeiffer’s work as Catwoman likely ushered an entire generation of young boys into puberty a couple of years early. “EYES WIDE SHUT” (1999)

"Meet Me In St. Louis," 1944 MGM office Christmas party features prominently in the plot – but is only tangentially connected. Instead, you’ll have to settle for Wilder’s sly wit and emotionally devastating performances from Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine. “GREMLINS” (1984) Most of us remember the terrifying green monsters that bring terror and death to the seemingly beatific town of Kingston Falls, as well as Gizmo, the cute little mogwai. But many often forget that it all starts with a harebrained inventor walking into a mysterious shop to buy a Christmas gift for his teenage son. Plus, there’s that Phoebe Cates monologue about Santa that you should probably skip if you’re watching with your kids. Nostalgia makes us think that some of those ’80s movies are better than they were. Fortunately, this one totally holds up (as does its underrated sequel).

holiday bona fides have been discussed so often in pop culture that it’s practically a cliché at this point. But that doesn’t mean it’s an inaccurate description; the evidence is overwhelming. The action classic takes place during a company Christmas party, it opens and closes with Christmas songs and – most importantly of all – John McClane (in Bruce Willis’ most iconic performance) kills a terrorist, puts a Santa hat on his head, and writes “NOW I HAVE A MACHINE GUN. HO-HO-HO.” on his shirt.

Stanley Kubrick’s final film, a markedly unsexy erotic drama about a married couple (Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman) pushed to their limits after the wife admits she almost had an affair, generated a ton of controversy in the months before its debut. Once it hit theaters, however, the reaction was a collective yawn. Removed from all the commotion, it’s an intriguing film, one that’s gorgeously shot and full of rich visuals. That includes – you guessed it – lots of snow and Christmas lights.

“RENT” (2005) This big-screen adaptation of the groundbreaking Broadway musical hasn’t held up well over the last decade, but I was absolutely obsessed with it in my mid20s. That’s probably because I was around the same age as the characters. (Now that I’m in my mid-30s, I think they need to stop whining and get jobs.) Still, the songs are undeniably great and several cast

"Batman Returns," 1992 Warner Brothers.

“ROCKY IV” (1985) Also known as the one where (spoiler alert for a 31-year-old movie) Apollo Creed dies and Rocky Balboa singlehandedly defeats communism. But before any of that happens, Rocky buys his grouchy brotherin-law Paulie an ’80s-tastic robot butler for Christmas.  “DIE HARD” (1988) This one is perhaps the most famous nonChristmas Christmas movie on this list. Its West Georgia Living November/December 2016 11

"The Apartment," 1960, United Artists members (including Rosario Dawson, Idina Menzel and Jesse L. Martin) deliver terrific performances. A big chunk of the plot takes place in the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, but it could’ve honestly been set any other time of the year to the same effect. E-mail: Twitter: @IAmJoshSewell Facebook:

"Atta boy, Clarence." "It's a Wonder ful Life," 1946 Paramount Pictures

"Gremlins," 1984 Amblin Entertainment

"Rocky IV," 1985 MGM

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Helton Howland Memorial Park

13 West Georgia Living November / December 2016

West Georgia Living November/December 2016 13

Helton Howland Memorial Park on Highway 78, just outside of Tallapoosa in Haralson County, is a family friendly park that has an excellent collection of authentic military hardware dating back to the World War II era. It also features a pond with a beach, an amphitheater, tennis courts, a pavilion, walking trails, picnic areas, and much more. At left, and right, are two of the Republic F-105 Thunderchief fighterbombers, used during the Vietnam War. Above is a Huey helicopter, also used during Vietnam.

PHOTOS BY RICKY STILLEY 14 November / December 2016 West Georgia Living

At left is a M60A1 full-tracked 105mm combat tank, which weighs about 105,000 pounds, and was used in the Vietnam War. It is still in used by some reserve and National Guard units. Below is another view of the F-105 Thunderchief.

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Accredited Chest Pain Centers in Carrollton and Villa Rica When minutes matter most, Tanner Health System offers two fully accredited regional destinations to assess, diagnose and treat anyone experiencing chest pain. The cardiac care programs at Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton and Tanner Medical Center/Villa Rica have been accredited by the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC). The chest pain accreditation process included vigorous on-site inspections, interviews with patient care teams and process refinement and evaluation to ensure that chest pain patients will receive the best possible care as quickly as possible. “These accreditations are products of the continuing partnership between local EMS agencies, the physicians and patient care teams in our emergency departments, our cardiologists and our catheterization lab staff, all of whom have been working together to deliver exceptional emergency heart care for years already,” said Loy Howard, president and CEO of Tanner Health System. To achieve accreditation, the health system further streamlined its processes for the diagnosis, treatment and management of chest pain patients, ensuring patients receive medically appropriate lengths of stay after

treatment and verifying that its treatment protocols are on par with the latest evidence-based processes. “This accreditation validates the approach to care that we’ve had in place,” said Shazib Khawaja, MD, a boardcertified interventional cardiologist and endovascular specialist with Tanner Heart & Vascular Specialists and medical operations leader for Tanner Heart Care. “At both Tanner Medical Center/ Carrollton and Tanner Medical Center/ Villa Rica, we’re delivering lifesaving care faster than the national average, preserving heart muscle and providing follow-up care to reduce the risk of future heart attacks. That continuum of care is very unique for a community hospital setting.” Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton is one of only a few community hospitals in Georgia offering percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) — also called angioplasty and stenting — to relieve the symptoms of a heart attack and preserve heart muscle. Tanner expanded the service to Tanner Medical Center/Villa Rica in 2015, providing a second regional destination for lifesaving heart care. Tanner maintains cardiac care teams on standby around the clock to respond to chest pain patients, with measures in place to move patients into treatment as quickly as possible.

According to Dr. Khawaja, the way to make the most of Tanner’s accredited chest pain care — and have the best chance of surviving a heart attack — is for anyone experiencing a heart attack themselves or in the presence of someone having a heart attack to call 911. “That’s how the chain of survival begins,” said Dr. Khawaja. “The ambulance can respond quickly and it enables the hospital to actually begin the process of assessing the patient even before he or she arrives, by radioing ahead EKG readings and other vital information. Ambulances are also better prepared to respond if the patient experiences sudden cardiac arrest while en route to the hospital. The care is delivered faster when 911 is called.” Just more than 30 Georgia and almost 20 Alabama hospitals have been accredited as Chest Pain Centers by the SCPC. Many of these are in more urban areas, such as Atlanta, Augusta, Macon and Savannah. “This continues to prove that our patients are making an educated choice when they rely on Tanner for their care,” said Howard. “We’re continuing to lead the industry in quality and patient satisfaction, and this accreditation illustrates our drive to push the envelope on patient care.”

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More information about Tanner’s cardiac services can be found online at 16 West Georgia Living November/December 2016



to holiday fashion STORY BY MOLLY STASSFORT / PHOTOS BY MELANIE BOYD West Georgia Living November/December 2016 17

Dress in style and comf Let the festivities begin! Celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's in real style


hile spending time with loved ones is what the holidays are all about, the colder weather has everyone itching to buy a new wardrobe to stay warm, cozy and, most importantly, stylish. West Georgia stores, like the Squire Shop and Main Street Boutique, offer ideal options for upcoming celebrations that not only keep up with trends, but keep in mind the classic, Southern style. THANKSGIVING While thanksgiving “parties” aren’t a very common occurrence, it doesn’t mean a festive outfit isn’t a necessity. A Southern dinner is more than just a meal; it’s an experience. Sitting around the dinner table, everyone decked out in mustards, pumpkins and cranberries (including the side dishes) solidifies the autumnal theme of the day.

18 West Georgia Living November/December 2016

Samantha Cotton is modeling a Piko Top and jeans.

fort for the holidays

Keaton Chilian is wearing a buttonup shirt and khakis.

Sydney O'Brien wears a vest, red Piko top and jeans.

Tyler Hibbard is wearing a button-up checked shirt with khakis.

Rachel Wimmer wears a blue jean jacket and a print dress.

West Georgia Living November/December 2016 19

Because you’re pigging out all day, comfort is key, but so is style. For ladies, a flow-y dress is one of the best options there is. A patterned dress full of fall colors, whether dark brown, olive or a dark rose, with a denim jacket on top is a classic, yet trendy option that also allows total comfort throughout dinner. Pairing this ensemble with boots, knee or ankle height, complete this simple, yet stylish look. Since the weather in the South is never predictable, Thanksgiving could be one of the coldest days of the year, and so a dress might not be the most ideal option. Sweater weather it is! A textured sweater, like one with lace appliques or crocheted details, provide the appeal of a fancy blouse with the warmth of your favorite sweatshirt. Just throw it over some skinny jeans and a pair of ankle booties, and you’re not only super comfy and cute, you’re also ready to take on the brisk coming of winter. Luckily for guys, Thanksgiving is not too difficult to dress for. A long sleeve, button down in brown, cream, burgundy, orange - or any combination tucked into khaki pants with leather loafers is a quick go-

Men's clothing courtesy of The Squire Shop of Carrollton; women's clothing courtesy of Main Street Boutique, Carrollton.

20 West Georgia Living November/December 2016

to look that keeps you looking sharp without having to worry about choking your neck with a tie while you’re eating. Toss a matching half-zip, light sweater on top and change into some jeans, and you’re ready for the cold, autumn night. CHRISTMAS Long sleeve Piko tops are a must-have for any girl’s wardrobe. Not only do these soft and slouchy tops allow for maximum comfort, they flatter every body type and can be worn dressed up or down. Throw over a coordinating vest or turtleneck to keep you warm, and pair with a ripped, skinny jeans and ankle boots for a casual Christmas party

Sydney O'Brien wears a Piko top, vest, and jeans, while Samantha Cotton wears a Piko top, turtleneck and jeans.

Rachel Wimmer models a jean jacket, dress and three -beaded bracelet, all from Main Street Boutique.

Christmas outfits for guys can sometimes come off totally cheesy. The red and green plaid button down is a bit played out by now. A plain white button down tucked into khaki slacks is a good starting point.

or for the annual family photo. If you’re looking to dress it up a bit more, button down mini skirts are not only the most fashionable option right now, they’re also great for the winter to keep your legs warm. Tuck in your Piko, add a long beaded necklace, with matching tights under the skirt and a pair of boots for a Christmas party look that will not only keep your warm, but keep you in the holiday spirit. Keaton Chilian is wearing khakis, suspenders, button-up shirt and a bow tie from The Squire Shop.

Now you’re ready to add the festive touch of accessories: suspenders and matching holiday bow-tie bring out a fun, holiday look for the Christmas season; or red or green half-zip sweater over the top keeps you warm and jolly, just like Saint Nick. For a more formal holiday look, without overdoing the holiday colors, switch out the traditional black cummerbund and bowtie in your tuxedo, for the traditional red and green plaid, or a solid print of either Christmas color, depending on what best matches your date. The key for guys is not overdoing the color; remember, a little holiday cheer goes a long way. NEW YEAR’S EVE When you’re in the big city, a formal event is probably the norm for the biggest countdown of the year. Going all out in sparkly, black dresses for the ladies is a standard go-to that never goes out of style. But when you’re outside the bright lights

Tyler Hibbard wears a Christmas tuxedo with a cumberbund and shoes from The Squire Shop.

Holiday dressing isn't that complicated for guys. Some basic khakis and classic styles will do. Save your splurging for the more formal events. November / December 2016 West Georgia Living 21

of a city, and at a smaller, more intimate get-together at a friend’s house, a more casual look can still have you turning heads. Back to Pikos. It cannot be stressed enough how versatile these tops can be for your wardrobe. A black Piko with a shiny, statement necklace, paired with skinny jeans or tucked into a sparkly, mini skirt will keep your chic and dressy without completely breaking the bank, unlike a formal dress. A pair of suede, ankle booties, with a stiletto heel or not, will keep your feet warm and stylish while you await the midnight hour. A classic, black tuxedo is the archetype for male New Year’s wear. Unless you’re going to a formal party, this isn’t always the most ideal option. A suit, however, will give you all the sophistication, but also allow a little more comfort for whatever the night may entail. If not a suit, a blue button down, light or dark, is going to be the best color option for the night. Pair it with khaki slacks, a sweater vest or a dark sport coat and loafers and the outfit is complete. The glitz of the night isn’t always the easiest to capture in the guy’s outfits, so leave the bling to the ladies. WGL

Tyler Hibbard is wearing a Southern Tide shirt and khaki slacks; Sydney O'Brien is wearing an orange shirt, jeans and three -bead bracelets from Main Street Boutique; Rachel Wimmer is wearing a jean jacket and dress from Main Street Boutique; and Keaton Chilian is wearing a button up, grey sweater, and jeans from The Squire Shop.

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Make your backyard a . . .

Christmas Wonderland N

othing captures the magic of Christmas quite like an outdoor light display. There’s something about a spread of small, twinkly lights wrapped around trees that really brings the holiday to life. Unfortunately, for some people something seems to go wrong between the stages of planning a light display and actually putting it up. Either there are too few lights or way too many; or, giant patches of dark where there are no lights at all. When your concept of an outdoor display falls far short of your results, it can be a bit depressing. You may have expected something out of a magazine cover – and wound up with a pretty but disheartening mess. Well, this magazine wants to help you achieve a magazinequality yard this Christmas.


Now, to be sure we aren’t talking about setting up some plastic Santas and some inflatable snow globes. If you want a truly elegant display, that’s probably not the look you’re going for. We’re talking about a sophisticated display of lights that turn your backyard into a holiday wonderland – a perfect place to entertain guests and a tasteful display for neighbors to enjoy. And, done right, such a display doesn’t have to be relegated to Christmas. You can enjoy the elegance of this kind of lighting all year. Brian McLeod is the owner and CEO of Archstone, a landscape construction and design company based in Carrollton that does this kind of outdoor décor all over west Georgia – from tony homes in gated communities, to corporate venues, to the houses of more modest means. McLeod offered to lend some of his experience to our readers so that you, too, can introduce some holiday magic into your backyard.

West Georgia Living November/December 2016 23

want to select are ornamental trees, whether they are a crepe myrtle or a Japanese maple or even (Chinese) Pistache tree.”

Pick Your Tree “The first step is picking out what you might think would be the best tree or trees in your yard.” McLeod said. “Typically, what I try to do is I try to get a little bit of balance – I want one single tree, or I’m looking at two trees that would be somewhat symmetrical.” What the decorator should be looking for, he said, is an anchor point in the yard; a large, showy specimen of tree, or a grouping of smaller trees (even bushes) that, when lit, would naturally draw attention. The key in using several trees, he said, is the symmetrical part. “You kind of spread it around, because if you just had them in spots it would look off-weighted. Try to find one specimen type tree that you want to light up, or kind of a grouping or symmetrical balance of trees.” There are lots of different types of trees you could select for your focal point, and they don’t have to be cedars or any kind of tree normally associated with Christmas time. But if you do go for something like a Leyland Cyprus, you should remember that such a tree growing in your backyard is not the same as the tree you cut and bring home from a Christmas tree farm. “What they don’t realize is (those trees) been sheared two or three times that year to kind of harden up and get those limb structures a little tight.” In other words, the soft, flexible limbs have been trimmed away in favor of the sturdier branches. Those are what you want if you want you lights to stay in place and not droop and sag. So picking out the right tree in your yard is just the first step; 24 West Georgia Living November/December 2016

Working up in high branches means using a ladder. So always have a "ladder buddy" to help you stay safe. you are going to have to do a fair amount of trimming before you start hanging lights. There are many varieties of trees you could choose, especially if you want to keep the lights on for a year or two, so that you can have the same kind of starlight effect for summertime backyard cookouts and get-togethers. “Hollies are probably one of the easiest ones to light, just because they typically have a much harder, more woody cane to them to begin with.” McLeod said. “The other type of trees that you might

The key to your selection, McLeod said, is the shape. You want something with a very unique shape or look, when lit, to create a central focus point in your yard.

Get Wired Once you’ve planned out your trees and gotten them pruned and shaped up, you will want to start planning how you are going to light them. Most people, of course, will simply run extension cords from the house to the trees. If so, experts say you should be sure to plug these connections into ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet. That will ensure the lights will shut down if there is an overcurrent. If you don’t already have one of these, an electrician can install one on an exterior wall. And having such an outdoor electrical source could have benefits all year. However, if you intend to do this kind of lighting project every Christmas, you could install a series of electrical boxes throughout your yard, next to the trees or other plantings that will repeatedly be the focal point of your holiday displays. That will certainly be more of an investment, but it would be a more attractive (and safer) option than running a series of extension cords across your yard.

About those extension cords: be sure to only use those that are rated for outdoor use, and keep the connections above ground – not in a place where they could get under snow or water during the winter season. You should also avoid running them across high traffic areas, and to tape them down if they go across paths and other walkways. If you can’t use the exact length, then make sure to tie up any excess length so holiday guests (especially children) don’t get tangled up in them.

with lights that are already lit, and then to wrap them around the tree in evenly spaced lines. He suggests leaving them a little slack, so that you can come back and adjust them later.

McLeod starts at the base of the McLeod also suggests tree and works his way up. When he that you plan to have reaches a branch, he works from the all your connections inside of the tree to the outer part. at the back of the tree or bush, so plan your lighting scheme accordingly. McLeod notes that the line between tasteful and tacky can be pretty fine.

Choose Your Lights

There are a variety of lights you could choose for this job. Experts recommend that you go for waterproof or water resistant lights, definitely the kinds that are meant to be used outside. Never use indoor Christmas lights. Many people may want to use LED lights, since they use less electricity and are cheaper overall than incandescent lights. But there are some limitations with those. While LEDs are good for multicolored displays, those who envision a backyard lit with tiny white lights may be disappointed with LED bulbs. Instead of white, those bulbs produce a light with a distinct bluish tone. “If you want the candlelight look,” McLeod said, go for incandescent bulbs.

“For us, we try not to overload the lights. Just try to pick a few main items in your yard,” McLeod said. “I try not to mix different lights together,” he said. If you want to avoid a tacky display, don’t have a bunch of LED lights next to incandescent bulbs. “They’re both pretty lights, but when they’re sitting side by side, or even on the same tree, it kind of gives a little bit of off-taste effect.”

Hang Your Lights Putting lights on the tree is a pretty simple technique, not too different from how you decorate an indoor tree. It involves wrapping the lights along the trunk and working from the inside out.

If you think that you are going to use this kind of outdoor lighting in the other months of the year, now would be the time to think about how tight you want these turns around the trunk to be. After all, live trees will continue to grow and so the cords will only get tauter as the tree gets bigger. And because the lifespan of these bulbs is seldom longer than two years, you will be outside doing this quite often in years to come. McLeod starts at the base of the tree and works his way up. When he reaches a branch, he works along from the inside of the tree to the outer part. Often, when he reaches the end of the branch (or at least as far as he is going to go) he will back down and wrap the cords in the opposite direction, crissicrossing along the branch and trunk. Some specimens of trees will be bare during Christmastime; others will remain foliated throughout the season. When dealing with those trees, McLeod enjoys the fact that you can walk around the leafed tree at night and see the lights appear and disappear within the branches, as if they were animated. At some point in hanging the lights, you’re going to need a ladder. And McLeod strongly cautions anyone about trying to use a ladder without a “ladder buddy”; someone to hold it steady while you work up high.

Be prepared to use a lot more lights than “I know everyone thinks ‘I got it’,” McLeod As for the technique of wrapping, what you do inside. Outdoor trees, of course, says. “But when your manipulating lights, McLeod generally does is to, first, work are much bigger than those you set up in limbs and other things, your balance is the your living room, with first thing to go. It’s all much wider trunks and “The first step is picking out what you might think would be the best about having fun with branches that go up lights and enjoying the tree or trees in your yard. Typically, what I try to do is I try to get a little higher. bit of balance – I want one single tree, or I’m looking at two trees that season, but it’s no fun if you get hurt doing But how many lights? would be somewhat symmetrical.” it." WGL Well, that’s a matter of personal preference and — Brian McLeod, CEO of Archstone West Georgia Living November/December 2016 25




hristmas Trees. Those are two words you can soon expect to hear in just about every house on every street in every town and in every state.

From coast to coast, you’ll soon see evergreens done up in white lights and gold and silver ornaments, or colored lights and kitschy ball ornaments; a gaudy display that will put the lights of Las Vegas to shame. You’ll also see more modest trees, adorned with homemade ornaments by children, mapping their lives over the years. But when did this all begin? Why do we top our firs with little stars and adorn with little colored bulbs, glass, plastic and other ornaments? The first tree traditions began in the area known as Germany sometime around the 16th century. Folks created Christmas pyramids of wood, decorated with evergreens and candles. Martin Luther is believed to have started the lighted candle trend because he wanted to recapture “the brilliance of stars twinkling amidst evergreens,” according

TAYLOR BOLTZ West Georgia Living November/December 2016 27

A typical tree from the 1950s: flocked branches and glass ornaments.

have been found on trees in a forest: berries and nuts. This was meant to symbolize the regeneration of life when winter became spring.

to the History Channel. In the 1830s, decorated trees moved into German settlements throughout Pennsylvania, even though most Americans at the time considered the Christmas holiday too sacred for what was largely seen as “pagan symbols.” However, most German immigrants didn’t care and went on decorating anyway.

But with the turn of the century, trees began to be decorated with popcorn strings dyed different colors and entwined with the berries and nuts. This followed quickly with metal foil and streamers that would reflect the lights inside the house. The first massproduced ornaments began appearing in Germany, a trend that was established in the United States during the 1880s.

It was not until Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert (who was of Germanic birth), set up a tree in Windsor Castle that things changed. An illustration published in the London News made Christmas trees the musthave holiday décor, first in England and later in America. While the Europeans preferred smaller trees, four feet or so tall, American homes enjoyed the floor-to-ceiling trees that are still seen today.

The early Throughout almost all of the 19th century, trees were illuminated with small candles – a pretty obvious fire hazard. According to the holiday blog “Why Christmas,” a hospital in Chicago burned down because of candles on a Christmas tree in 1885. But in 1895, a 28 West Georgia Living November/December 2016

The Space Age of the 1960s brought shiny aluminum trees

1900s: A far cry from today's style. man named Ralph Morris invented electric lights for trees, ushering in a new era of tree illumination. Ornaments for trees had, until the 20th century, been pretty scarce; branches were hung with the kinds of things that would

The trees themselves have evolved over time. After World War II, and the introduction of many different types of materials through the miracle of industrial chemistry, there was a brief trend to do away with natural trees altogether. In the 1960s, this movement reached its zenith with the introduction of shiny, aluminum trees, just like those depicted in the 1965 Peanuts holiday classic “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” New-age artificial trees began to pop up in recent years, made from substances like feathers, papier mâché,

metal, glass, and many types of plastic. There are even inflatable trees. Nowadays, there are multiple styles for Christmas trees; something for everyone. The HGTV website offers a whole gallery of photographs with ideas for decorating. For a classic-meeting-modern feel, you could pair traditional silver and gold ornaments with a monogramed topper. For bonus points, add some beaded garland in complementing colors. To go even more modern, keep the top of the tree simple— maybe white lights and basic garland with a lack of ornaments—to draw attention to a strikingly patterned tree skirt. Passion and boldness are important for modern looks on Christmas trees. This is the one time of year that people like to be surprised. And just about anything goes, including looks derived from popular culture. Do you like Steampunk? HGTV recommends that you make DIY ornaments out of vintage and industrial knickknacks, and crown the tree with a Victorian top hat. For another, totally different look, you

could spray paint the tree a different color. HGTV suggests schemes like white branch tips or an awesome umber. In this way, a tree can be a sure-fire statement piece. (Safety first, however. Be sure to choose a non-toxic paint and always apply in a wellventilated area.) For a more traditional look, use similarly colored flowers. Even when these are scattered among delicately placed ornaments, or meshed into a fashionable garland, this is sure to be a sophisticated tree. Another thought – and taking the 19th century German idea of nature idea to a new level – adorn the tree with pine cones, woodland creature ornaments, and the edibles mentioned earlier, bringing even more nature into Christmas. No matter how one decorates, be sure to keep aware that any tree can pose a hazard to curious pets and children. HGTV advises that in such households, decorators choose an artificial tree under six feet tall, and anchor it to the wall or floor so that it doesn’t topple. Flat matte ornaments are less tempting for pets – and harder to break, chew, or

swallow, which could seriously harm Fido. Twist ties offer a little more security against cats’—or other pets’—curiosity. Many pets tangle themselves in tinsel and garland, so if animals share your home, avoid such items. Also, you should tape down or cover any electrical wires so no creature stirring in your house will be tempted to chew on them. And if you have a live tree, you should certainly keep it watered so that it stays supple throughout the season. Today, there is no longer any one tradition when it comes to decorating a tree for Christmas. Many people enjoy a natural tree, and look forward to the annual trip into the woods (or the drive to the grocery store parking lot) to pick one out. Others like the idea of opening a box and setting up an artificial tree in mere seconds. Whether you are following an ancient family tradition, or starting a new custom with your family, all that matters is that you enjoy the process of decoration and arranging each ornament with them. In a few weeks, the tree will be taken down – but in a few months, a new one will go up again. It is a ritual as old as time, enjoyed by families across the centuries. WGL

West Georgia Living November/December 2016 29

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very Christmas there are voices of negativity that go nattering with their theories that Santa Claus isn’t real - that he’s fake; that it’s all a scam to coerce children to be more good and less naughty. Unfortunately, many of these people use science to perpetuate this poppycock, and that’s just wrong. Science should not be used in a coercive way; it should be the foundation for logical analysis and dispassionate fact-finding. Sure, it’s true that many of the things Santa does every Christmas Eve seem impossible. Like the business of visiting every home in the world in a single night, a feat that ordinarily would require a sleigh and team of reindeer to travel so fast they would vaporize due to friction with the atmosphere and create the mother of all sonic booms. Details. The presents still appear under the tree Christmas morning, right? Someone put them there, didn’t they? Somehow, Santa does the “impossible.”


The usual explanation for Santa’s stupendous annual achievement is that it’s all due to “magic.” For the benefit of parents who rely on this crutch to explain things to over-curious children, let’s just say that kids see right through this. Every child knows that NORAD, the military agency

KEN DENNEY West Georgia Living November/December 2016 31

charged with defending our nation from incoming intercontinental ballistic missiles, tracks Santa as he crisscrosses the country. This tells kids two things that dispel the whole lame “magic” dodge: first, an organization with such a serious responsibility is not going to waste its time on frivolity.

and his red nose? I bet you think that was just a song made popular by Tex Ritter, but the whole story makes sense from a scientific viewpoint. The real reason Santa wanted Rudolph to be the lead reindeer that snowy Christmas Eve had nothing to do with the brightness of his nose. The songwriter just used the word “bright” because he needed something to rhyme with “night.” The real reason was that Rudolph’s nose emits a bright red light – and red light is the perfect light for seeing in the dark.

Second – and this is key – the fact that Santa’s sleigh is obviously able to reflect radar signals proves (scientifically) it’s really up there, flying around. It is made of a material that scatters electromagnetic waves; it displaces air volumes as it moves. If a sleigh being driven at high speed through the atmosphere can be detected by serious government stuff, then it’s obviously for real.

The human retina has two types of photoreceptors, rods and cones. Rods are more sensitive than cones and enable us to see in dim light. They also can’t react to red light, so a bright red light is kind of like a beacon, enhancing these ultra-sensitive thingamabobs’ ability to see in the dark. It’s true. You can look it up.

Let’s be brutally frank here: people don’t know everything there is to know. There’s lots of stuff out there, science stuff, that’s waiting to be discovered. The fact that Santa seems to defy what we understand of science means nothing. People used to think that if you sailed across the ocean, you’d drop off the edge of the earth.

But there are a lot of facts about Santa Claus that currently cannot be explained by science. This does not mean there is no scientific explanation for them, only that some child has not yet grown up to be the scientist who discovers them.

Since Santa really does fly through the air; since he really does leave those presents under the tree, then there has to be an explanation for it. Discovering how he does it all will be up to future science and scientists, so maybe instead of discouraging children’s scientific curiosity with talk of “magic,” parents should instead be telling their kids to crack open a book, read some science, and answer some of their own questions. Just saying.

A lot of people pooh-pooh the notion of Mr. Claus traveling across the whole earth in 24 hours. Well, if you’re one of those smarty-pants, it just so happens that due to the rotation of the earth, and the various time zones in the world, Santa has 32 hours to do his job, which is obviously way more than just 24.

There are a whole lot of aspects of Santa’s existence that are worthy of scientific inquiry, a whole range of pedagogic disciplines to explore.

Still, that does leave unexplained the question of how he visits the vast number of houses he drops into during just one night. The population of the earth is 7.1 billion, yet only 26.3 percent of the global population is under age 15, whittling down the number of kids Santa visits to a much more manageable 1.8 billion. Since he doesn’t seem to handle some cultures, notably Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist, we can reduce that number down to 378 million. At an average world census rate of 3.5 children per household, that takes us down to 91.8 million homes.

Like not thinking about Santa as one person. What if he’s more than one person? Every culture has a Christmastime figure who acts like Santa, but these creatures go by different names and do different things. In Russia, for example, a character known as Grandfather Frost roams about on New Year’s in a sled pulled by three horses; his daughter, known as the Snow Princess, helps him hand out the gifts. And in Italy, La Befana is a lady who rides around on a broomstick and stops at children’s houses on Jan. 5. And in Sweden, Norway and Findland, little gnomes known as Tomte ride around the countryside in sleds pulled by goats.

Delivering presents to that many homes in 32 hours would not be a cakewalk for most people, yet somehow Santa does it. Some way or other, Santa is able to visit 822.6 homes every second, with only about 1/1000th of a second to land his sleigh, hop out, jump down a chimney, fill some stockings, distribute presents under the tree, eat some cookies, gulp some milk, get back up the chimney, hop back into his sleigh and head off to the next home.

That’s right: Santa Claus may be the lively elf who covers only western Europe; these other Yuletide creatures could be assigned to different parts of the globe, lending a hand in the giftgiving chores. This could be a fruitful area of study for children interested in sociology and different world cultures. There’s another realm of Santa studies in light and optics. You know that story about Rudolph 32 West Georgia Living November/December 2016

This level of activity takes the phrase “lively and quick” to new heights, and seems to defy the laws of physics as currently understood. Illustration by Ken Denney

The speed of Santa’s sleigh is another factor. To make all those visits, Santa must travel at

about 650 miles per hour, which is 3,000 times the speed of sound. This is a speed that would challenge even the specially modified Millennium Falcon. Of course, Santa makes this trip using flying reindeer, a species of Rangifer tarandus that has not yet been observed by zoologists. But that’s not a problem, because there are millions of unlisted species in the world. And since this flying variety of caribou seem to be located only in the Arctic, it’s no surprise that zoologists – who are notorious for wanting to be toasty warm all the time – have yet to find them. Because Santa’s reindeer have not yet been scientifically tested, it’s difficult to assess exactly how they can fly, or how they can fly so fast. Also unknown is how strong they are, since it is not clear what the gift-carrying capacity of the sleigh they pull (with, of course, the additional weight of Mr. Claus himself.) We can, however, draw some conclusions. If we consider an average weight per gift of 2.2 pounds, that means Santa’s sleigh and reindeer would have to freight some 2 million tons of presents to all the children in the world. That seems rather a lot.



The largest cargo plane in the world is also the largest plane in the world: the Russian Antonov An-225. It can loft 560,000 pounds, or 280 tons. To reproduce Santa’s annual giftgiving feat would require more than 7,000 such aircraft. Unfortunately, however, only one has ever been built.

troubling to privacy experts – is his knowledge of which children have been good and which have been bad. His surveillance network is far more advanced than that of the National Security Administration. Some pessimists would look at all these facts and conclude that Santa Claus cannot exist. Yet they are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age; they do not believe except they see.

Any normal reindeer-pulled sleigh carrying such a load at 650 miles per hour would encounter enough air resistance to subject the reindeer to 14.3 quintillion joules of energy. That would be enough to vaporize instantly the less hardy, non-flying variety of reindeer, and a speed that would subject Santa himself to centrifugal forces 17,500 times greater than gravity. In a word, ouch.

The only conclusion that can be reached from all that is known about Santa Claus is that he is an exceptional being, with access to technology and a knowledge of science that enables him to do what would be impossible for others, including, presumably, Batman. The fact that he does what he does outside the realms of science does not make those things impossible, only that they are not understood.

These are all impossible feats for ordinary people, but, again, since Santa obviously does them, either he is not of a species native to this planet, or has somehow found a way to make himself immune to the laws of physics we must obey. There are other superhuman aspects to Santa’s existence, including an ability to know when children are awake or asleep on Christmas Eve. But most particularly – and most



As someone once told a little girl named Virginia, nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. WGL

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he holidays are a time for giving.”

Every year, I’m bombarded with that message as I rapidly (and narcissistically) create and send out my Christmas wish list to everyone I know. I know I’m supposed to be looking for a new KitchenAid attachment for my mom’s mixer, or another flannel for my dad’s never-ending collection in his closet. But just the thought makes me listless – no pun intended. I always wonder, “Is it just me? Am I just full of myself?” or does everyone struggle with giving during the holidays? Honestly, it can be enjoyable knowing something you picked out for someone 34 West Georgia Living November/December 2016

in your family will be used or worn, but what about the people you don’t know: your neighbors, those at the local homeless shelter, or the shut-ins from your church? You don’t really ever come into close contact with these people, but you know you’re “supposed” to be generous to them during the holidays. My problem is I don’t really know my neighbors. I’m not sure of the closest homeless shelter, and do shut-ins even want strangers to come visit? I guess these are really more excuses than real problems. I mean, I’m doused in presents year ‘round from my parents, my friends, or the


occasional act of random kindness from a stranger. Am I obligated to reciprocate just because it’s the holidays? What is the “spirit of giving back,” anyway? According to the dictionary, “spirit” is a noun meaning “the principle of conscious life; the vital principle in humans, animating the body or mediating between body and soul.” “Giving” is a verb that means giving compensation; to bestow. So, the “spirit of giving back” is reaching into that place between mind and body, and from there bestowing a gift to someone else – voluntarily and selflessly. I think the majority of people would determine the word “spirit” in this

that metaphorical gold star; I needed notoriety.

phrase to be more of a mindset than an almost paranormal life force. I think the goal of acting in the “spirit of giving back” is to turn that seasonal mindset into a year-round task; to make it known that this spirit isn’t a cynical way to make yourself feel better about your greed, but to simply be a better person.

Almost a decade later, I’m realizing that I hadn’t really helped anyone. I wouldn’t talk to these men or hear their stories; I just handed out the supplies and made as little eye contact as possible. But for my best friend, nothing brought her more joy than those trips with the church to the shelter; she genuinely loved it.

Something about the holidays seems to make people feel “unnaturally” generous. It’s as if that constant calling in the back of their head – call it guilt – is making them feel bad for all they have, so to balance out their materialistic karma, they write a check to an organization that feeds homeless children, or throw a dollar into every Salvation Army kettle they pass.

Maybe you’re like me, and the end of the year leaves you kind of overwhelmed. You look around and notice who is no longer in your life, or what you no longer have. We’re bombarded at the same time with songs about “good tidings” and “peace on Earth,” but no one really tells us how we are supposed to achieve this feeling of cheer. While I don’t feel that I completely know what I want to do to give back this season, I know what giving back is supposed to feel like.

If the weight of guilt is the underlying motive for your generosity, does that mean everything good deed you do during the holidays is just for yourself rather than the people you’re feeding at the soup kitchen? There’s an episode of the 90s sitcom “Friends” in which one of the “friends,” Phoebe, says there is no such thing as a truly selfless good deed; no kindly act to a stranger that doesn’t make the gooddeed-doer feel good themselves. No matter how much time or money you donate, you still receive something in return: a feeling of goodness inside yourself that you’ve helped someone else. Does that mean any kind of philanthropic act is actually just a selfish game? Well, there are those who can’t wait to let everyone know about every good deed they do. They post on Facebook about buying a homeless person a meal, or paying for the groceries for the person in front of them at the supermarket. Certainly this can’t be the kind of spirit I’m supposed to yearn to achieve: publicity. Do these people genuinely feel better about themselves for helping, or are the “likes” they receive on social media posts what

makes them feel better? Notoriety as a philanthropist isn’t a bad thing, but when this spotlight is being shown on yourself, by yourself, maybe you need to pull the plug and take a second look. When I was in high school, my mom’s church used to regularly go to a men’s shelter in Atlanta. We would listen to a preacher talk to these men, then distribute clothes, toiletries and snacks to them. It was usually the same group of men who showed up every time. I never truly enjoyed this experience; I felt uncomfortable as a young, teenage girl around men who literally lived on the street. This anxiety shamed me into thinking that I “had” to go on these trips to be a better person, that the only way to truly give back was to make myself as overwrought with guilt as possible. When we would finish, I could finally exhale, knowing that I had completed this trial of becoming a better person. Then I would go to school and tell people what I had done because I needed

So why over think this? If you find joy in something that you do, then all you have to do is to pass that joy, or cheer, along to someone else. Then it doesn’t become a question of whether you are being altruistic; it becomes a simple exchange. A gift of cheer from yourself to someone else. If you love cooking, there is a soup kitchen that would love to have your talents. If you find solace in your church, find a way to make your time there meaningful: teach a Sunday school class or volunteer to help clean. The instruction manual for cheer doesn’t have words; it’s a picture book of deeds. I love a new purse as much as the next girl, but after a few months, that bag I craved no longer goes with my wardrobe. Material things don’t last, but memories do. Even though we are no longer in those moments, we can look back, remember how we felt, and our cheer is restored. That’s the true holiday spirit: reprising your cheer through the year. WGL West Georgia Living November/December 2016 35

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42 West Georgia Living November/December 2016


Holiday Traditions Forget the same ol' same ol' Here's how to liven up your family's annual feast

West Georgia Living November/December 2016 43


Fruit salad


Create new traditions for this season

t’s always nice to get back to the holidays and to try new things that have that holiday feel, but aren’t what people generally expect. Holiday cooking is usually the time for traditions; we all know how far we will travel for one particular dish created by a beloved relative. However, I have always tried to be known as that person who does something just a little different. If you’ve read anything that I’ve written over the past few years, you know I am as much a fan of ROB creating new traditions as I am of observing the old ones. DUVÉ To be honest, I have eaten turkey almost every Thanksgiving for over 40 years and, aside from the occasional turkey Reuben or turkey wrap, I can think of better things to do with six hours on a holiday. Not that a properly roasted bird is such a bad thing – but if you cook as often as I do, you wake on Thanksgiving morning with a certain sense of dread. No matter how traditional a turkey 44 West Georgia Living November/December 2016

may be, that overweight, mutant bird is an exercise in repetition, not creativity. So, in the tradition of changing traditions, I would like to present a few dishes that might be a little different from the venerable Ol’ Holiday Bird with the usual trimmings. Perhaps a new meat centerpiece to be proud of, as well as something traditional with a twist – and maybe something from the Old Days that has stuck with me forever, also with a bit of change. Pork Loin Roulade with Apple Gravy I’m not afraid of the extra time and care it takes to make something truly unique that will linger in the minds of guests long after their visit. Pork Loin Roulade fits his description perfectly. Although the recipe and its ingredients are relatively simple, time and good knife work are essential to pulling this off. 4 to 5-pound pork loin, butterflied, 3 cups panko bread crumbs 1 cup white onions, finely diced 1 cup celery, finely diced

4 cloves garlic, finely diced 1 cup Granny Smith apples, chopped ½ cup hard-boiled egg, chopped ½ cup raisins 1 teaspoon sage 1 teaspoon oregano 1 teaspoon Louisiana hot sauce 2 cups ham broth 2 eggs, scrambled Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste In a medium sauté pan, cook onions and celery until translucent and a few brown edges occur. Add garlic and cook for another three minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. In a large bowl, combine bread crumbs, onions, celery, garlic, apples, raisins, and spices until well mixed. Add ham broth until mixture just becomes a bit sticky. Taste for seasoning now because raw eggs come next. Add scrambled eggs and mix very well. Mixture should be somewhat loose and easy to manage. If it is still a little sticky, use just a touch more broth.


Fruit salad, stuffing, cranberry-blackberry relish, and apple gravy over pork loin roulade

To butterfly the pork loin, you will cut about two thirds the way up from the bottom and slice from end to end, making sure not to cut all the way through, and stopping about three quarters of an inch from the back. At the back, cut straight down and stop about one third of the way from the bottom. At the bottom of that cut, slice horizontally toward the front. The goal is to take what is a round pork loin and turn it into a flat cut of meat, roughly three times wider that when you began. If mistakes are made, you shouldn’t worry because they are usually hidden within the meat, and you can choose how to make your roll, giving you more options for hiding accidents. Spread a layer of the stuffing about three quarters of an inch thick over the butterflied loin, stopping about one inch from each edge. Loosely roll the pork loin around the stuffing and secure with butcher’s twine. If it feels like it not rolled too tightly, don’t worry, since the pork will shrink and the egg will expand. Bake in a 325-degree oven until golden brown

and the internal temperature has reached 170 degrees. Let stand for 10 minutes and slice into medallions. Apple Gravy You can change all the traditions you want, but you can count on creating more than just a minor rebellion if you forget the gravy. Gravy is just one of those things that people not only expect, but judge most other aspects of your meal upon. We’ve all, at one point or another, have said “That was great, but the gravy was ...”. Time for a gravy that not only compliments the dish but is something they never expect. 3 tablespoons butter 3 tablespoons minced shallots 3 tablespoons all purpose flour 2 cups apple juice 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar ¼ cup apple butter Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and add shallots, cooking until just translucent. Add flour and, using a whisk, constantly stir flour mixture until the color just begins to darken. Add apple juice and vinegar and reduce heat to low. Stir constantly until thickened. You can add or reduce the amount of apple juice to reach your desired level of thickness. Add apple butter at the very end and combine thoroughly. Serve over pork loin while hot. Cranberry-Blackberry Relish I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but I am one of those rare folks that actually likes the cranberry sauce from a can. As a matter of fact, I will always serve it in the cylindrical shape it takes from the can. However, not everyone shares my tastes. Even I sometimes like to add some interesting flavor. Note: even though I rarely use frozen berries for anything, but I usually have bags November / December 2016 West Georgia Living 45

of frozen blackberries this time of year from my backyard because I refuse to let them go to waste. 6 cups fresh cranberries 2 cups frozen blackberries 2 cups organic cane sugar 1 ½ cups water 1 teaspoon orange zest 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, very finely chopped ½ teaspoon vanilla ½ teaspoon sea salt Add all ingredients to a large sauce pan and bring to a boil while stirring constantly. Cook just until the cranberries begin to burst. Turn off heat and let stand for just a moment before adding the blackberries. The frozen blackberries will bring the temperature down so that this dish can be served sooner, and will not allow the blackberries to cook away – which they will if heated too long. Serve hot, or allow to cool overnight for the flavors to fully combine. Fruit Salad It was the one thing I waited for my father to make every year and I would be the first

one there when it came out to the table. The large, green carnival glass bowl nearly overflowing with what he would refer to as Waldorf Salad. In later years, I learned that what Waldorf Salad actually was. Although he was a ways off in his description, he had made it even better. At least to me. Of course, after I moved South, I did have to change this wonderful holiday addendum to suit my surroundings. 3 cups granny smith apples, diced 3 cups red seedless grapes, halved 2 cups Mandarin orange wedges 2 cups pecan halves 1 cup sliced celery 1 cup nondairy whipped topping ½ cup quality mayonnaise 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and gently toss, making sure not to break up the oranges or bruise the apples. Do this ahead of time to allow the tastes to combine. Serve chilled. If you are dicing the apples yourself, you should always use a large bowl of water with lemon juice to keep them from turning brown. If you add enough lemon juice to the water,

you can omit the lemon zest. It’s worth mentioning that my father used nondairy whipped topping exclusively, whereas my stepfather didn’t care for it, so he would use mayonnaise. Only after I made separate batches and crossed the flavors did I realize that they both worked very well together. If you are the traditional type who likes your holidays the same every year, by all means, stick to what you do best. No one will complain about a very well cooked and presented holiday meal they can count on. However, if you like to play around with the flavors that are usually present during the holidays, there is no better time than now to shake things up. I’ve said many times that some of the best family culinary traditions are the ones you create yourself, so take the time to create something original that your family will remember for years to come. Travel safe this holiday season and, from my family to yours,


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46 West Georgia Living November/December 2016

How to set a Holiday Table


or most dinners, you can get by with a paper plate, napkin and the most useful tool ever invented by mankind: a spork. But there are some entertainment occasions for which even the finest imported plastic just won’t do.

your left hand, you’ll see a “b” and on your left hand there will be a “d.” That reminds you that “bread and butter” go on the left, and drinks go on the right. It’s helpful if your guests remember this rule, too, so they don’t go grabbing your biscuit.

That can sometimes present a problem: How do you make sense of that bewildering array of china and flatware that your grandmother left you, or which your Mom seemed to understand the same way rocket scientists understand physics? We at West Georgia Living are here to help you remember whether that salad fork is supposed to go on the left or the right.

The guide on this page is meant to help you with the placement of your dinnerware but don’t be alarmed by the complexity. You don’t have to put out all that dishware; not even for a formal service. The dishes and utensils you place on the table always depend on what you are serving, and the chart will tell you where - and in what order - the dinnerware should go.

Emily Post’s recommended way to set a table is to just remember the acronym FORKS. Going from left to right, the basic place setting is F for fork, O for plate, K for knives and S for spoon (never mind about the “R”; it messes with the mnemonic.) Next, hold your hands in front of you and touch your forefingers to your thumbs. On

The general rule for all place settings, formal or informal, is that the utensils are placed in “outside in” order. If the first thing you serve is an appetizer, then the utensil for that particular dish will be on


the farthest outside. The utensil for your last course will be the farthest in to the plate. The one rule Emily has for a formal place setting is that everything has to be geometrically spaced. The centerpiece of the table has to be in the center, and the place settings put at equal distances with the utensils balanced. Beyond that, you can do whatever you want. Also remember that knife blades always face the plate, and napkins go either left of the fork, or on top of the plate. Fear of using your heirloom china and silverware is no excuse for making your guests sit on folding chairs, balancing a loaded paper plate on their knee. Use these tips and treat your guests to an elegant meal at the dining table, where it is more comfortable to argue over politics, or to dredge up old emotional scars. WGL

West Georgia Living November/December 2016 47

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hree … Two … One … Happy New Year! Yes, it’s that time of year again. As the holiday season comes to an end, and January 1 quickly approaches, many of us take the time to reflect on the past year and make that notorious list of New Year resolutions. Whether the list is short or long, most of us have at least one thing we’d like to improve going into 2017. We tell ourselves, “I’m really going to stick with my resolutions this year.” But according to the American Psychological Association, only eight percent of people actually stick with – and achieve – their New Year resolutions. So, why do we put so much time and energy into making these resolutions if we just end up falling back into our old ways and bad habits?

It’s easy for most of us to pick out things about ourselves that we’d like to change, but when time comes to turn those thoughts into actions, we realize how tough it’s actually going to be. While change is never easy, it is possible. I’ve listed 10 steps that are scientifically proven to help individuals reach their goals. See which ones speak to you and test them out – you may end up surprising yourself! 10 Solutions to Your Resolutions: Step One: Don’t do it alone! Let’s throw the most obvious New Year resolution of all on the table here – losing weight or getting in shape. And don’t deny it, after eating all of that pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, and going for seconds at grandma’s house


during Christmas dinner, this resolution is bound to show up on the majority of people’s list. The best way to work off all that holiday food, and to actually stick with the goal of weight loss all year long, is to team up with a friend. Whether it’s your wife, husband, best friend or someone at work, having a buddy with similar fitness goals as yours will encourage both of you to succeed. Trust me, having a workout partner can be the difference you’ve been looking for. And don’t worry – this first step applies to every resolution on your list. Having a buddy is proven to hold you accountable; to encourage and to help you reach your overall goal. Step Two: Be more realistic. Think about it: if one of your goals is so big that it’s practically impossible, you’ve already set West Georgia Living November/December 2016 49

yourself up for failure. I’m not suggesting your dreams are too big, but if one or more of your goals require an entire year’s worth of work to accomplish, you just might end up falling back into those stubborn old habits. Instead, focus on one small thing at a time. For example, lets hypothetically say one of your goals is to get that big promotion at work this year. In order to make this a realistic goal, focus on how you can do better at work this week. It seems obvious, but putting your goals into a simpler perspective can be your make or break moment. Step Three: Put your resolutions on paper. Writing your resolutions down instead of just mentally thinking them through can make a huge difference. Did you know that people who write down their goals have an 80% higher success rate in achieving them? How? Seeing your goals written down allows your mind to visually process and clearly define what you’re wanting. Also, try jotting down your goals onto a sticky note and posting them around your room, or maybe even stick them to your computer at work. This way, you’ll have a helpful reminder that will push you closer to turning your dreams into a reality! Step Four: Focus on one resolution at a time. Some of the most infamous New Year resolutions are to lose weight, get organized, spend less and save more, and to simply live life to the fullest. Can you guess what each resolution has in common? They are, in their own ways, time-consuming. A wise man once said, “The shortest way to do many things is to do only one thing at a time.” Write down your resolutions in order of importance and work down the list one by one. If your top priority is to lose weight, make that your one area of focus and, once you feel confident with your progress and results, move forward to your second resolution and so forth. Step Five: Keep your cool and stay 50 West Georgia Living November/December 2016

patient. For most of us, this may be the hardest step to learn and accept. Results can take a long time to see, but this shouldn’t discourage you. Things worth having usually don’t come very easy to us. Acknowledging this before you even get started will allow you to remain patient and will put you on the path to success. Step Six: Don’t be so hard on yourself. Within six months, more than half of people who make New Year resolutions will have already given up. Making change within our lives is difficult, to say the least. Experts say it takes about a month of doing something persistently to form a new habit. And let’s be honest – it’s never as easy as it sounds. So when the time comes that you feel like you’re in a slump – because the time will come at some point – don’t give up, but don’t be so hard on yourself either. We all know the saying – if at first you don’t succeed, pick yourself back up and try again. Step Seven: Journal your progress. Did you know that by taking just two minutes or so each day to write down your thoughts and feelings can actually improve, and even speed your progress? You don’t have to be a writer or an expert; just simply put pen to paper and write a paragraph on what you’re doing and how it’s making you feel. Keeping a record of this will allow you to look back and realize how much growth and improvement you’ve actually made. Step Eight: Plan for success. Sure, it’s easy to write down a bunch of things you’d like to improve on or fix within your life, but how exactly are you going to do it? By planning for success, you’re putting words into action. Let’s take resolution, for example: spending less and saving more. Sounds like a great goal, right? But we can actually make it happen with a simple plan that works with your income and budget, and making it part of your everyday life.

Take the time to write down things you could cut back on and ways you could start putting more towards your savings. Trust me – it’s possible, and you’ll thank yourself in the long run. Step Nine: Be very specific. Sometimes, our resolutions can end up looking a bit more like blurred lines. You tell yourself, “This year, I’m going to live my life to the fullest,” or “This year, I’m going to spend more time learning new recipes in the kitchen.” Of course, both of these things sound wonderful, but they’re also slightly vague. What recipes are you going to step out and try? How do you plan on living your life to the fullest? By thinking deeper, you can actually live out the things you’ve always wanted to accomplish. Step Ten: Reward yourself. Out of all the steps discussed thus far, I have a feeling step 10 may wind up being your favorite. When making your list of resolutions, jot down some type of reward you’re willing to give yourself once you accomplish each goal. For instance, maybe after you lose those last 10 pounds, you can treat yourself to a day at the mall splurging on a fun, new outfit; or, once you’ve mastered cooking those old family recipes, you can treat yourself to a relaxing massage. There is absolutely nothing wrong with rewarding yourself after completing your list of resolutions. After all, if you end up completing even one of your goals, you’ll get to brag about being in that little eight percent of people who actually stick with and accomplish their New Year resolutions! While there is no top-secret way to successfully stick with your New Year resolutions, these tips and tricks are proven to help. So don’t just say you’re going to test them out – actually do it! “Believe you can, and you’re halfway there.” – Theodore Roosevelt WGL



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'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there; The children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads ‌

Hold everything children! Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen! Comet, Cupid, Donder, and Blitzen! And hey, Rudolph, we mean you too. While children are dreaming of sugarplums, we gardeners are dreaming of something else altogether. Let’s peek into the Christmas Eve dreams of some Carroll County gardeners and see what St. Nicholas (AKA Santa) should leave in their stockings.

STORY AND PHOTOS BY SUZANNE HOLLAND & PHYLLIS KING 52 West Georgia Living November/December 2016

‘ Santa, some of these are inexpensive, others pricey, and still others priceless, but to the gardener in search of the latest tool to help with a gardening chore, I can assure you, all are more practical than sugar plums. Frank Bennett would love a robotic lawnmower. Seriously, robotic lawnmowers are not just a Buck Rogers novelty. Who wouldn’t want to get rid of the arduous task of mowing the lawn? This dream of a tool would allow its owner to work on fun projects while the lawn is being mowed. There are several models and companies that manufacture these time-savings devices. Most can handle a 15 to 25-degree slope and mow a half-acre yard in about an hour. Wow! I can even see you, Santa, getting jealous. On to the next dream, Santa! Joyce McArthur would like a shed. Not just any old shed, but a garden shed. Imagine having a small building to store garden tools and potting supplies, a place to dream and plan the next landscape and gardening project, with the supplies all in one place. Alright Santa, not to get greedy, but with a garden shed most gardeners want a potting bench. Right, Phyllis King? Gardeners need a workbench for gardening tasks such as transplanting seedlings and repotting plants. Shelves above and below can store pots and soil. Some even have sinks. Will Phyllis be so lucky? As long as we’re dreaming, she wants one of wood that would be practical as well as beautiful. C’mon Santa, please? Ok, while you think about that, Billy can just imagine that

a new edger would help keep his pine straw island beds and driveway edges neat and tidy. He likes the sharp border that is achieved by using an edger to cut away the encroaching grass. One that is for light-duty use and is rechargeable, please. Suzanne Holland’s Christmas Eve vision is a pair of gloves she can use when trimming blackberry vines and pulling briars. Maybe a pair of rose gloves in her stocking? Rose gloves, because they are usually made of leather are puncture resistant. They come in a short style that protects the hand and wrist, and a gauntlet style that protects the hand, wrist, and forearm. Along with gloves, a new pair of gardening shoes or sloggers would be great. (P.S. Not only that St. Nick, small tools like hand pruners, trowels, and weeding forks plus a hand-held sharpening tool to keep these items in good working order would be much appreciated.) Alright Santa, before you dismiss us gardeners as materialistic, some dreams cannot be put in a stocking. Claire Copeland imagines getting more sun in her parent’s yard. Their landscape is mostly shade while some of the plants she desires to fill the space need sun. She has worked on putting in stepping stones, but envisions installing small creeping plants between the stones. St. Nick would have a hard time bringing more sun to the landscape, but perhaps one of his helpers can suggest some shade-tolerant plants that will fulfill her dream. Sweet woodruff, West Georgia Living November/December 2016 53

blue star creeper, creeping jenny, or dwarf Mondo grass might fulfill Claire’s sugar-plum dream of special plants. Ian wants another color of his favorite exotic plant, Clivia miniata. He has orange, but there are many other beautiful colors. Land and more space fill the dreams of Andrew Kirby and Marc LaFountain. Andrew wants to have land on which to live and garden. He looks forward to having lots Christmas trees and many good gardening stories from his experiences. Marc wants additional space to grow more native plants. In his fantasy dream, he wants some gnomes to live among them. Does Marc know

that gnomes are famous for guarding the treasures of the earth, and would love to set up living quarters amongst his treasured plants? While the dreams of Andrew and Marc are hard to load onto St. Nick’s sleigh, such imaginings are not beyond being fulfilled at some point in time. Gardening is work along with dreaming, and many gardeners wonder whether they could hire St. Nicholas’ elves in the off-season. Think about it! Elves to weed the garden! Now that is a real dream to have on the night before Christmas. WGL Suzanne Holland and Phyllis King are Carroll County Master Gardeners.

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770-834-0932 • 1-800-521-6863 Carolyn Threadgrill Owner 54 West Georgia Living November/December 2016

Southern Home & Ranch Garden Center 1110 NORTH PARK STREET • CARROLLTON, GEORGIA • 770-832-0114 HOURS: MONDAY-SATURDAY 8AM-7PM • SUNDAY 12PM-5PM






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Dr. Steve Davis, Pastor First Baptist Church of Carrollton I never dreamed I would be … a writer, yet I now write a weekly column for the Times-Georgian, and I have written three books. The books are selling by the “ones.” There are days when I hate writing, and my critics would say, “It shows.” My best friend is … not in my church. It’s hard for ministers to get too close to people in the church, and so, many of us have best friends outside the church. I have minister friends that I have been close to for 30 years. If stranded on a desert island … I would want a book by Rick Bragg, “All Over but the Shoutin’.” It’s a great book about growing up in the South, and there are so many touching stories in it. I tear up reading it. (Of course, I would want my Bible with me too.) I’d love to share a cup of coffee with … Thomas Jefferson (If not him, then one of the Founders of our country—Adams, Franklin, Hamilton) or Paul McCartney or Justin Bieber (just to see if he is as short as he seems on TV). My hero is … (besides Nick Saban and Bear Bryant) my wife. I know it sounds corny by it is true. She is a special person; she is strong, talented and in spite of her two-and-a-half-year battle with cancer, she is more alive than anyone I know. She is my best supporter and my strength. Instead of me carrying her, she has carried me during the cancer ordeal. People probably don’t know … that I like to draw and paint. I think with some time and more training, I could be pretty good at it. When I have 10 minutes alone … I like to drink a cup of decaf and catch up on Facebook and Twitter. My parents taught me … to be honest (and to love the Alabama Crimson Tide). My personal motto is … “be kind to everyone regardless of race, color, or religion.” There is way too much meanness and hate in this world, spurred on by social media. I can’t think of a Christian trait better than kindness; it’s the door into love.

Photo by Ricky Stilley

56 West Georgia Living November/December 2016

My favorite childhood memory is … about our dog, Cessna, so-named because my dad flew small planes. We were in Panama City Beach, stuck in traffic on the Hathaway Bridge, and Cessna jumped through the open car window off the side of the bridge. The Davis clan totally freaked out, but not Dad. He looked over the bridge and saw Cessna had landed safely on a ledge. Dad did his best Spiderman impersonation and retrieved the lucky dog. A young boy could not have been prouder of his dad than I was that day.  WGL




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The Gift of a Book O

ne of the most traditional of Christmas presents is a book. There’s a book lover on just about everyone’s gift list, but almost all of them have a different interest. Scouring bookshops and online for just the perfect book for each one of your loved ones can therefore be an exhausting job. Besides, being a book lover yourself, you’re likely to spend as much time shopping for yourself as for those on your list. We’ve decided to at least try to make things easier for you this year by selecting certain books for a variety of interests. Whether your loved ones like to read short stories, or personal essays – or if there’s a special child on your gift list – you will find some suggestions here. And if you happen to see one that you would like for yourself, there’s nothing wrong with buying a present for yourself as well.

Short Story Collection Pam Durban. “Soon.” University of South Carolina Press, 2015. The short story is an art form with significant challenges for both the writer and the reader. A memorable short story must be a literary gem: small but brilliant, with many facets that catch and hold a reader’s eye. The stories in Pam Durban’s most recent collection do just that. Her development of character and plot, along with her astute word choices and graceful style, make this collection of stories worthy of reading and re-reading with pleasure. Durban’s stories generally reveal people struggling with turmoil, as the events of their past have created an emotional vortex in the present. Her characters face the conflicts of life and death, of love and loss, of freedom and bondage; and often those pairs of extremes interact as they do in real life.

The book’s first story is set on a Southern plantation. In an interesting twist on the escaped-slave motif, the plantation owner’s wife escapes from her marriage and the role of being the “Missis” for her husband’s slaves. Another story, “The Jap Room,” is told by a wife dealing with the complexities of love and marriage with a man suffering from PTSD after World War II. Here, we see the “tough love” aspect of marriage vows, and what is meant by “for better or worse.” Though Durban’s stories present the dualities of life, the black-and-white extremes, her narratives convey the entire complex rainbow spectrum of human emotions and experiences. Her craftsmanship is essential in creating stories that entice the reader into the world of each narrative. Her language, images, and structure reflect the facets of her artistic technique. As Mary Hood observes in her “Foreword” to the volume, Durban often uses one word as a focal point in a story. A number of the

58 West Georgia Living November / December 2016

stories have one-word titles, including the book’s title story, while others conceal the key word within the text. Each story may be a code, a cipher, which reveals its secrets as the reader applies the key word.

honesty, mixed with enough humor to keep the details from being morbid. She tells a story of having dinner with her mother’s psychiatrist in a fancy restaurant, and of ordering baked Alaska for dessert. Her reaction to the flaming dessert is great comic relief to the otherwise-serious medical details of the essay. Throughout the collection, the grim details of her life are balanced by her fortitude and balance, giving the reader a sense of the strength that Smith gained from her Appalachian culture.

In addition to her use of language, we experience the narrator’s world through Durban’s sensual detail, as in the opening of “Rowing to Darien”: “The air smells of silt and fish and wood smoke. The hoot of a horned owl carries across the water, the creak of oarlocks and the splash of oars.” The reader hears and smells, experiences each moment in its sensuality, giving them not just setting, but also hints of character and theme. Durban’s plot lines embed the reader in the middle of a story as it approaches its thematic climax. The in medias res technique draws us into the story, and then Durban flashes back to the beginning, filling in the exposition. She moves back and forth in time, like a weaver’s shuttle, as she threads her story’s narrative. The movement is fluid and masterful, guiding the reader to the final words and images, finally to a sense of completeness. Pam Durban Pam Durban is an award-winning author of novels and short stories. She has received a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship, a Whiting Writer’s Award, and a James Michener Creative Writing Fellowship from the University of Iowa. Her novel “The Laughing Place” won the Townsend Prize. With former Georgia Poet Laureate David Bottoms, she is founding coeditor of “Five Points” literary magazine. She is the Doris Betts Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Personal Essays Lee Smith. “Dimestore: A Writer’s Life.” Chapel Hill: Algonquin Books, 2016. Appalachian culture has expanded its influence over the last several decades, moving beyond a limited regional subculture to a pervasive connection. The region’s literature, music, food, and art have infused the larger American lifestyle as they move from the isolation of the mountains.

Some of the most delightful essays in this collection revolve around Smith’s twin obsessions with reading and writing, giving her readers insights into her own literary background that has made her an awardwinning novelist.

In her collection of personal essays, Lee Smith (better known for her many novels and short story collections) shares her life and her Appalachian background in essays that are as courageously honest as nonfiction and as interesting as fiction.

The book’s title essay “Dimestore” serves as a kind of overture for the volume as Smith writes of her hometown Grundy, Va., and her father’s dimestore. Her childhood, symbolically protected by the mountains, first appears an idyllic post-war life of dimestore candy, movie theaters, country music on the radio, and piano recitals. The essay, like many of the others in the collection, also shows the darker reality beneath the Edenic surface, including the town’s declining economy and her own personal tragedies. The essay “Kindly Nervous” tells the story of her father’s struggles with being bipolar (the title is his “euphemistic term for the immense anguish he suffered periodically”). Smith also includes her mother’s depression, family suicides, and one uncle’s schizophrenia. Despite the serious subject matter, she presents the details with courage and straight-forward

Her essay “Marble Cake and Moonshine” tells of her hearing Eudora Welty’s read, an experience that served as an artistic revelation for the budding artist. The essay “Big River” tells the story of Smith and 15 other girls taking a raft down the Mississippi after reading “Huckleberry Finn,” a kind of feminist archetypal retelling of Twain’s book. The essay “A Life in Books” is an overview of the author’s obsession with reading (an obsession that many of her readers no doubt share), and she lists many of the books that have influenced her personally and artistically. Books such as “Heidi,” “Anne of Green Gables,” and “Pippi Longstocking” provide us with insights into Smith’s personality and creative mind. Each title is a piece of the puzzle, a part of the collage of Lee Smith’s artistic self that she reveals to the reader. “Dimestore” gives the reader insights into Smith’s personal life, as well as into her creative mind. Powerful, honest, courageous, and sometimes funny, her essays take us on her life’s journey, whether through the Appalachian Mountains or down the Mississippi River. Lee Smith Lee Smith grew up in the Appalachian town of Grundy, Virginia, the setting for many of her essays. She is an award-winning, bestselling novelist and short story writer. She has written seventeen novels, including “Fair and Tender Ladies,” “Oral History,” and “The Last Girls,” which was a New November / December West Georgia Living West Georgia Living 2016 November/December 2016 59

York Times bestseller as well as winner of the Southern Book Critics Circle Award. She lives with her husband the writer Hal Crowther in Hillsborough, North Carolina.

understand the accent, he did not obey. He had to be retrained. The chapter “Prison Dogs” introduces Eddie Hill who is in prison for murder and aggravated robbery. His life is transformed when 4Paws for Ability gives him a dog to train. As the training program at the Warren Correctional Institution grew, many inmates received dogs, varying from retrievers, Labs, and German Shepherds to “dainty high-stepping papillons.” It is evident that, while the dogs are being trained and socialized, the real transformations occur in the men. Some of them are hardened criminals doing serious time for felonies. Their relationships with their dogs evoke tenderness and pride in the men, as the men have a real relationship with the dogs.

Non-fiction Melissa Fay Greene. “The Underdogs: Children, Dogs, and the Power of Unconditional Love.“ NY: HarperCollins, 2016. A boy and his dog. The expression elicits many images: literary, artistic, cultural, and personal, as most of us have grown up with at least one canine relationship. The connection between humans and dogs extends back to early human history. In her foreword, Melissa Fay Greene describes two sets of prints in the floor of Chauvet Cave in France: one set from a child, and one from a canine, perhaps a wolf. The prints are 26,000 years old. Humans and dogs have thus coevolved, the two species forming a profound bond. Melissa Fay Greene’s book, at once charming and informative, explores the particular bond between service dogs and people with physical, emotional, and mental issues. Her book is about the organization 4Paws for Ability, started by Karen Shirk, herself challenged by a neuromuscular disease. In training her own service dog, she learned to train dogs for people with a wide range of issues, including diabetes, autism, hearing-impaired, and PTSD. From scientific studies on canine intelligence and social development, to personal anecdotes on particular dogs and the humans in their lives, Greene educates and entertains the reader. First, she challenges

60 West Georgia Living November/December 2016

Greene’s writing style varies depending on the subject matter. Her discussions on animal behavior, canine cognitive abilities, and other academic material are straight-forward and informative, an expository style appropriate to scientific information. However, when she tells anecdotes of dogs and their owners, the style softens, becoming more emotional and personal. Those sections particularly touch the readers’ hearts. the “Lassie Myth” of the super-intelligent dog from novels and television, the adventures that defy credibility in the interest of entertainment. The scientific sections of the book convey to the reader the facts of canine intelligence and social development. Those sections appeal to the intellect, while the anecdotes entertain and delight the reader. Many of the stories of the dogs that transform people’s lives move the reader to tears or to laughter – and sometimes both. We learn about dogs that initially do not obey commands because they do not understand the person’s speech. One family asks to return their dog because it will not obey commands, such as “sit.” As Green says, “’Dandy,’ said the mother in a Deep Southern drawl. ‘Now see-uht.’” because Dandy did not

“The Underdogs” is at once informative, profoundly moving, and entertaining. Readers who love dogs and dog stories; readers who have known friends or family members with developmental or social issues; or readers who love to be inspired by stories of challenges overcome through optimism and self-belief –will all love Greene’s book. While she denies the reality of the Lassie Myth, it lurks somewhere behind the stories in these pages, reminding us that the dog is truly man’s best friend. Melissa Fay Greene Melissa Fay Greene is a native of Macon and currently lives in Atlanta with her husband and nine children. She is the author of six works of non-fiction and is the recipient of numerous awards and honors. Her first

children. The text and illustrations are entertaining, and the book gives parents opportunity to educate their children about our national parks. Overall, Laura Bush and Jenner Bush Hager have created a charming book that younger children and their parents will enjoy.

book “Praying for Sheetrock” was named one of the top one hundred works of English-language journalism of the 20th Century. She has received two National Book Award nominations and a Southern Book Critics Circle nomination. She has received a Dog Writers of America award and has been inducted into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame. She is a current Guggenheim Fellow.

Laura Bush, Jenna Bush Hager Laura Bush, former First Lady and the wife of President George W. Bush, is a former teacher and public school librarian. She is an outdoor enthusiast and is the co-chair, with Michelle Obama, of the centennial celebration of the National Parks Service, August 2016. She continues her work in global health-care innovations and numerous other global and national initiatives.

Children’s Book Laura Bush and Jenna Bush Hager. “Our Great Big Backyard.” NY: Collins, 2016. America’s national parks serve as perennially popular vacation destinations for families, as millions visit the impressively diverse parks in all 50 states. The year 2016 is the centennial of the creation of the National Parks Service by President Woodrow Wilson. Thus, it is appropriate that this book, written by former First Lady Laura Bush and her daughter Jenna Bush Hager, celebrates the parks in a form that young children ages 4-8 will appreciate. The book’s text provides educational information on five different parks in the context of an interesting story, and the illustrations provide education and entertainment. The text is written to appeal to children whose lives already revolve around their friends and social media. In the book, the parents and their children, Jane and Sam – and the dog Baxter – begin a summer adventure odyssey. The early images of Jane depict her with her electronic device and a very unhappy expression. The text shows the other family members laughing and singing (including a variation on the Peter, Paul, and Mary song “Leaving on a Jet Plane” and the beginning of the song “Deep in the Heart of Texas”). Gradually,

Jane’s expression changes from a pout to an enthusiastic smile as they move from one park to another. The text lends itself to both read-aloud or read-alone sharing. Parents may enjoy singing the songs as they read the story, and the book includes many details that they can point out to young readers. The book’s illustrator, Jacqueline Rodgers, underscores the text with bright, energetic pictures with vivid details. The highlights of each national park that the family visits include important geographic details as well as the plants and animals of the region. One picture of Yellowstone National Park includes bears, a bison, an elk, a moose, mountain lions, and a skunk. Parents have opportunities for additional discussion beyond the text. Inside the front and back covers is a map with the route the family takes to the parks, including some editorial comments about each place they visit. The book “Our Great Big Backyard” is a wonderful possibility for a gift for

Jenna Bush Hager, daughter of Laura and George W. Bush, is a contributing correspondent to NBC’s Today show and an editor-at-large for “Southern Living” magazine. She is active in UNICEF. She and her mother also coauthored the children’s book “Read All About It!” She and her husband have two daughters. Jacqueline Rogers Jacqueline Rogers, an artist and illustrator, is an avid camper and has camped her way across the country five times. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, she has illustrated over 100 children’s books, including the Ramona series by Beverly Cleary. WGL

ABOUT THE REVIEWER: Robert C. Covel, a retired university and high school English teacher, re ceived his Ph.D. in English from Georgia State University. He has published two books of poetry and he is also writing a novel. When not reading and writing, he enjoys playing trivia. He lives with his wife Deloris in west Georgia.

November / December West Georgia Living West Georgia Living 2016 November/December 2016 61

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62 West Georgia Living November/December 2016


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West Georgia businesses answer consumer questions An Extraordinary Gift for Your Child

Losing A Loved One & Painful Grief

Oak Mountain Academy ......65

Scott and Ellen McBrayer/ Jones Wynn Funeral Home .....69

Broken Bones Carroll County Animal Hospital.....66

Making The Best Choice Crossroads Church ......70

Leaf Watching in West Georgia Georgia State Parks .....67

Knee Pain Tanner Health System .....71

Carroll County’s College & Career Academy Carroll County’s College & Career Academy .... 68

64 West Georgia Living November/December 2016

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What every West Georgian needs to know about... An Extraordinary Gift for Your Child Is there something during the holiday season that I can give my child that will last a lifetime?

It appears that the holiday “shoppingâ€? season begins sooner with each passing year. We speed past Halloween and right into the spirited advertising seasons associated with Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, and more. Children are bombarded with a variety of targeted media, suggesting gifts ranging from clothing and sporting goods to toys and the latest in musthave technology. “I want‌â€? inches its way into conversations, and often children of all ages lose perspective about the real meaning of the season.

Paula Gillispie Head of School Oak Mountain Academy, Carroll County’s only independent, college-preparatory, faith-based, day school

Again, Dr. Walsh, offers the obvious, yet often forgotten, suggestion – make meaningful emotional memories. For some, sadly the holidays hold few warm, happy memories. As parents, we should engage our children and create fond family memories that will last a lifetime – even if we had few as children ourselves. When your children are young, this may be a bit easier to do as they are more likely to be eager to share time with parents and family. As they grow to be teens, the thought of continuing family memories such as decorating a tree, reading holiday books, enjoying a holiday movie, making decorations, or baking together may seem less than enjoyable. Dr. Walsh suggests that you continue to include the teens in the family traditions and perhaps modify them a bit, giving the teen some ownership. Chances are as they grow older, they will not only remember but also cherish these memories. Dr. Walsh notes the words of Dr. Seuss, “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.�

What should I do during the holiday season to help my child realize it is not a season of “getting?�


Dr. David Walsh, noted educational psychologists, offers several suggestions as you set the tone for the holiday season. Begin with a family meeting to discuss the meaning of the season. Discuss whether or not gift-giving has gotten out of control and how to minimize. Limit TV time and exposure to the avalanche of advertising. Talk about the difference in needs and wants. Make homemade gifts. Encourage children to give away a toy for every toy they receive. Always remember to write “thank-you� notes.

Earning her graduate degree in Educational Leadership and Administration from The George Washington University in Washington, DC, Paula is a lifetime educator in her fifth year as Head of School at Oak Mountain Academy. Professionally, she chairs Accreditation Teams for the Southern Association of Independent Schools, is a member of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, National Council of Teachers of English, the International Reading Association, and Phi Delta Kappa. Additionally, she serves on the Board of Trustees of the Georgia Independent School Association. Paula is a member of the Carrollton Dawnbreakers Rotary and Kiwanis clubs, and she serves on the Workforce and Education Committee and the Board of Trustees of the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce.

Learn more at: 770-834-6651

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    West Georgia Living November/December 2016 65


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Jason Harden, D.V.M

Carroll County Animal Hospital

Qualifications: Dr. Jason Harden is a native of Carrollton, GA. He graduated from Oak Mountain Academy and continued on to the University of Georgia where he received his degree in Biology and his doctorate in veterinary medicine. His interests in veterinary medicine include surgery, exotic medicine, and ophthalmology. Dr. Harden is married to Chloe Harden, and they have 2 children, Maggie and Reese. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Georgia Veterinary Medical Association, and the American Animal Hospital Association. He is the chairman of the Oak Mountain Academy school board, a member of the Carrollton Lions Club, and on the board of directors of the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce.

What every West Georgian should know about broken bone in dogs and cats. In the past, when a pet presented with a fractured leg we would have to refer to a University hospital, amputate, or cast the leg.  Referral to another city for surgery is time consuming and can be cost prohibitive. Amputation weren’t the best choice because no one wants their pet to lose their leg due to an unfortunate accident.  Casting a limb in pets is challenging to keep the cast on and clean and dry.  The client were often left wrestling with this decision and trying to make the best one for their pet. Recently Carroll county animal hospital has added the specialty of bone plating to save pets from having to be transferred to another hospital, saving pet owners time and money in surgical bills, all while maintaining healthy patients and happy clients.  Traditional plating systems called compression plates were used and would hold the bones together using the strength from the bone while they healed. One problem that can arise with compression plating system is the screws would loosen and back out causing plates to fail and the fracture doesn’t heal properly.  With the introduction of

locking plates, plate and screws lock together to form a more solid union and patients develop less complications.   In 2012, the locking plate system in a retrospective study by veterinary journal of orthopedics was found to have a 97% success rate.  We are able to use this locking plate system on very small dogs to very big.  We are also able to use this plating system on many different fracture types. We are pleased at Carroll County Animal Hospital to be the first in this area to offer this new technology to our patients and clients.  If your pet needs an orthopedic consult or just a second opinion feel free to contact us.  770-832-2475. We are here when you need us most. 

For more information, call 770-832-2475 or 770-834-1000 or visit

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NOW SERVING YOU FROM TWO LOCATIONS 635 Columbia Dr. Carrollton, Ga. 30117 (770) 832-2475

1155 Stripling Chapel Rd. Carrollton, Ga. 30116 (770) 834-1000


$6. every West Georgian should know about... XLI (;(57 What LEAF WATCHING IN GEORGIA’S STATE PARKS


Every autumn, west Georgians head for the hills

Q What are some of the best state parks for fall

to enjoy nature’s most colorful display. To help “leaf


peepers” find the best spots for fall color, Georgia’s State

A few top choices include Cloudland Canyon,

Parks offers an online Leaf Watch travel planner in

James H. Floyd, Red Top Mountain and Fort

October and November.

Mountain in the northwestern part of the state. is filled with top

Kim Hatcher Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites Kim has been promoting Georgia’s State Parks and Historic Sites since 1993 and serves as a spokesperson for the Department of Natural Resources.

Vogel, Unicoi, Black Rock Mountain, Smithgall

trails and overlooks, mountain cabins and campsites,

Woods, Moccasin Creek and Tallulah Gorge

fall events and hiking tips. Shutterbugs can share their

are good choices in the northeastern part of

favorite shots on the Georgia State Parks Facebook

Georgia. Of course all of Georgia’s State Parks,

page and Instagram, tagging #GaLeafWatch and

like Sweetwater Creek, will have pretty leaves

#GaStateParks. Plus, rangers will post updates on how

throughout the season.

fall color is progressing in their parks.

Q Can visitors stay overnight in Georgia’s State

Q When is the best time for fall color in Georgia?


Only Mother Nature knows when the leaves will be at

Yes, we have a wide range of accommodations,

their most vibrant. Sunny days followed by cool, but

from campsites to cottages of all styles. “Glamping”

not freezing, nights make for the best change. At the

yurts are like a cross between a tent and cabin.

highest elevation parks, such as Black Rock Mountain,

Mountain parks book up early for October, so

peak is usually in mid to late October. The northern half

reservations are highly encouraged. To learn more,

of Georgia usually peaks in late October through early

visit or call 800-864-7275.

November. Even southern Georgia parks show some color as cypress needles turn orange.

To learn more, visit reservations or call 800-864-7275.

Explore the Hidden Gems at Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites!

Adventure Lodges Historic Sites













Camping, Cottages and Yurts


View our online state parks guide!

Think you’ve seen all that Georgia State Parks have to offer? Do you have a knack for exploration and discovery? Introducing Georgia State Parks: Hidden Gems, your chance to see the undiscovered side of Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites. From a ranger-led hike to the Marble Mine at “Sloppy” Floyd State Park, to finding the Prohibition Era Moonshine Truck at Amicalola Falls, you don’t want to miss these once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Visit to sign up and plan your visit. Act quickly, because many of these events are limited. Book your stay today! | 800-864-7275 reservations

Hidden Gem

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Mark Foster Executive Manager Walker Cadillac, Buick, GMC Inc.


Mark has a Dual BBA in Automotive Marketing/Automotive Management from Northwood University and Certification in Dealership Successorship through the NADA. Mark has 15 years experience in the automotive industry and is a community visionary who has a passion for exceptional customer service. Mark has served on the College & Career Academy board for the past 3 years and is currently Board Chair.


What every West Georgian should know about... Carroll County’s College and Career Academy A College & Career Academy is a premier learning environment. We combine state of the art equipment and instructors from business and industry to provide the best opportunities for students in preparation for post-secondary education and the workforce. In fact, Carroll County Schools is the only school system in the State of Georgia with two Career Academies.

Who attends the CCA? Any student interested in gaining a jump start on their college education and career pathway. Any high school student enrolled in one of Carroll County’s five high schools may attend.

Why should your student attend the CCA and what are the academic benefits? With over 80% of the jobs in our workforce requiring some sort of post-secondary training, students who attend the CCA

have a step-up on their career interest and post-secondary education. Currently over 1,000 students attend one of two CCA’s in the Carroll County School system.

What programs/career pathways are offered at the CCA? Program selections were made after a careful analysis of regional workforce trends, student interest, and input from business and industry partners. Programs include: Engineering, Healthcare Science, Audio, Video& Film, Information Technology, Marketing, Graphic Design, Automotive Technology, Culinary Arts. Welding, Cosmetology and Dual Enrollment core academic classes are available in conjunction with West Georgia Technical College. LEARN MORE

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West Georgia businesses answer consumer questions

Scott McBrayer Ellen Wynn McBrayer Jones-Wynn Funeral Home & Crematory and Meadowbrook Memory Gardens As always, we remain “A Family Serving Families®....Since 1950”


Scott & Ellen McBrayer are both licensed funeral directors and embalmers. Jones-Wynn Funeral Homes & Crematory has served our community since 1950. We keep our funeral home & crematory synonymous with its name & reputation of serving & caring for families. We are three generations carrying on one tradition. We offer Peace of Mind with the highest quality of service and affordable options. Our funeral home family is always available to help you clarify or answer questions you might need help with.


What every West Georgian should know about... Losing a loved one & painful grief... Q) Have you ever lost a loved one? A) Losing a loved one is a heart-wrenching experience. The powerful, complex, and conflicting emotions that survivors struggle with often leave a person feeling alone and helpless. Understanding the basic elements of grief and learning key coping skills can help individuals heal and move forward after their loss. There is no correct way to face the loss of a loved one. However, there are some emotions that are commonly experienced while grieving. These feelings may include disbelief, shock, numbness, denial, sadness, anxiety, guilt, depression, loneliness and frustration. It can even include anger directed at the person who died, other family members, medical staff, or toward religious convictions.

Q) Do you know that grief can manifest itself in physical symptoms? A) Often grief manifests itself in physical symptoms such as tightness in the chest or throat, chest pains, panic attacks, dizziness or trembling, and disturbed sleep patterns. During the healing process, crying is healthy because it is an emotional and physical release. It is also perfectly normal for a person to feel like they are going “crazy”. Everyday tasks can become difficult or demanding. Suddenly driving a car, paying bills, or shopping for groceries can feel overwhelming.

Q) Do you know some tips on how to deal with grief? A) A good rule of thumb during this period is not to overexert yourself. Carry a small notebook and record things that need remembering. Alert your boss and coworkers that you may not be operating at maximum efficiency. Ask friends and family for

support. Above all else, be patient with yourself. How long grief lasts is different for everyone. However, many experts agree that the grieving process is complete when you are able to think of the deceased without pain. This doesn’t imply that you won’t still miss that person, it only means that your sadness will be different, gentler, less wrenching. Just remember that even if God himself could give you clear understanding of the “why?” our loved one passed away, even if we understood the reason of “why?”, the hurt would be the same. All the unanswered questions can keep us stalled in different stages of grief. The broken heart is real and the grief stages are important in our broken heart’s healing process. There are sources to help you work through your grief. Your local National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) member funeral director is an excellent resource during this painful time. Your trusted funeral home family and trusted NFDA funeral home will listen to your concerns, explain how others have approached their grief, and give you any recommendation he or she can to help you. Here are some additional ways to cope with the pain from a loss: • Seek out supportive people. • Join a support group. • Take care of your health. • Find outside help when necessary.

LEARN MORE Villa Rica Chapel - 770-459-3694 Douglas Chapel - 770-942-2311

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What every West Georgian should know about...

MAKING THE BEST CHOICE. Our lives are made of a series of choices. The choices we make will always determine the direction of our lives, whether they are good or bad. If we want our lives to be better, then we need to find a way to make better choices. There is good news for all of us. It’s found in the Bible, and it shows us how best choices can be made.

How do we choose empathy over judgment? - We all think and act differently from each other. People can be difficult. Relationships can be messy. When we have moments with people, we have choices to make. We can choose empathy or judgment. In the Bible, Jesus says these words in a parable, You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:5). If we want to choose empathy we need to look at ourselves fi rst. When we see ourselves clearly, we can see the best in others.

How do we choose peace over worry? - A recent survey reveals we spend 6.5 years of our lives worrying. With so many of us facing financial issues, health problems, loss of jobs, or loss of a loved one, of course it is no surprise we worry. When Jesus was asked about worry, He responded, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life (Matthew 6:27)”? Worry is the cause of our misplaced faith. We can choose peace over

Greg Towler, Pastor Crossroads Church Pastor Greg has a Doctor of Ministry degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and has been the Lead Pastor of Crossroads Church in Douglasville, GA for over 15 years.

worry when we find the source of our peace. Jesus tells us, Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid (John 14:27). How do we choose faith over our fear? - 6.3 million Americans have a diagnosed phobia. That number is staggering. Faith is defined as complete trust or confidence in someone or something. Fear is similarly defined as believing that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. Both involve having faith in something that can either help or harm us. Faith gives us confidence in life while fear holds us back from living. Jesus tells his followers not to be afraid of the trials we face, I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world (John 16:33).” Faith allows us to face our fears. All we need to do is find the source of our faith.


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What every West Georgian should know about Knee Pain

When should I see a doctor for my knee pain?

What causes knee pain? For a lot of people, the cause of their knee pain is obvious. Trauma — such as from an automobile accident, fall or other injury — can result in knee pain that lasts years. Athletes in sports that involve impact or heavy use of the knees, like football, basketball or running, also frequently experience knee pain that can develop even years after they’ve quit the sport. Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries, torn meniscus, bursitis, tendonitis and fractures can all cause knee pain, as can arthritis. A medical evaluation by an orthopedic medicine specialist can help pinpoint the cause of the pain and lead to solutions that work for you. What kind of home care should I do if my knee hurts?

Anthony Colpini, MD Carrollton Orthopaedic Clinic


Dr. Colpini is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with Carrollton Orthopaedic Clinic. He earned his medical degree from the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, Md., and completed his internship and residency in orthopedics at Fitzsimons Army Medical Center in Aurora, Colo. He retired from the U.S. Army as a lieutenant colonel prior to joining Carrollton Orthopaedic Clinic.

One of the first approaches to knee pain is to cool the knee with an ice pack wrapped in a towel. The cold helps stop inflammation and slows pain signals. If the cold approach doesn’t work for you, you can also try warming the knee with an electric or microwavable heating pad. The heat will increase blood flow, relax the muscles and ease stiffness. You can take over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, aspirin or naproxen as directed to help with pain and reduce the inflammation. There are also analgesic creams that you can rub directly onto your skin over the knee. Look for creams that contain capsaicin, diclofenac or lidocaine — all of these have pain-relieving effects.




The fact is, the longer you wait to see a physician for your knee pain, the longer you’re going to hurt. You shouldn’t delay making an appointment, though, if you’re unable to extend or bend your knee, have obvious swelling in your knee, can’t put weight on the knee or feel like the knee “gives out” with use. What medical treatment options are available for knee pain? An orthopedic specialist will work with you to determine the source of your knee pain and what approaches to treatment will work best. Medication and physical therapy are often our first line of treatment, with surgery to reconstruct or replace the knee as a last resort. Knee replacement surgery isn’t as scary a proposition as it once was; new designs and alloys allow us to consider knee replacement for people at a younger age, and at Tanner Ortho and Spine Center, the patient care team uses the latest, most advanced techniques to get you on your feet within 24 hours of the knee replacement surgery.

For more information, visit

What does knee pain stop you from enjoying? Your racket never leaves your backseat. You’re always game, ready to rise to the challenge on any court, anytime, anywhere. Or, you were. Since you tweaked your knee going after that wild return a couple of months back, you’ve been spending more time in front of the TV and less time on the court. When you do play, you feel like you can’t perform. And where’s the fun in it if you can’t compete without pain? Stop waiting and start playing. Learn more about the advanced knee pain treatments available at Tanner Ortho and Spine Center at To find an


orthopedic specialist, call 770.214.CARE.


Tanner offers accredited Chest Pain Centers in Carrollton and Villa Rica. When your heart hurts, minutes matter. You have to move fast to save as much heart muscle as possible. Your first move: Call 911. Your local, fully accredited Tanner Chest Pain Centers are ready to provide the advanced care you need, from assessment to diagnosis and treatment, including interventional care like angioplasty and stenting. Accredited Chest Pain Centers and angioplasty and stenting services at Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton and Tanner Medical Center/Villa Rica are how Tanner is saving hearts and changing lives with heart care beyond measure.

To find a heart specialist, call 770.214.CARE or learn more at MEDICINE BEYOND MEASURE


WGL November-December 2016  

West Georgia's most popular living and lifestyle magazine.

WGL November-December 2016  

West Georgia's most popular living and lifestyle magazine.