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Inside this issue of
Table of Contents Technology Report By Cody Crawford The growing pains of self-driving cars. Page 9
The Dress By Cari Marye Griffith Whether modified heirloom, boutique or handmade to order, “the dress” should reflect who you are. Page 15
January 2017 Vol. 7, Issue 1
Photography Planning Save time (and disappointments) by knowing the right questions to ask. Page 22
Wedding Bells and Beautiful Brides Beginning on page 10! Four newlywed couples share their momentous occasions and the proposal along with tips and resources. See this expanded section in our Annual Bridal Issue.
Image left: Cari M. Griffith, Wedding of Anna and Ian Draper Cover image: Matt Andrews, Wedding of Ben and Lauren Johnson
Ben and Lauren Johnson, Page 10 Anna and Ian Draper, Page 12 Hillary and Stoney Anthony, Page 16 Anne Marie and Keith Walp, Page 20
In Every Issue: Validity Recipes By Katie Taylor and Cari Marye Griffith
Ask A Lawyer
Also in this Issue:
By Landis Turner
By Bill Pulliam
Rice bowls and quiche: Good for health and good for the wallet.
From The Publisher, Page 5
When the high profile courtroom lawyer is just a twerp.
50 common birds, part 5.
January Book Review By James Lund Top picks for planning a wedding. Page 19
The Believer’s Walk By Charles Newbold
By Cassandra Warner Just add water and a touch of love.
Husband and wife/Christ and the church.
Validity Magazine, Published 12 times per year, monthly, Vol. 7, Issue 1 POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Validity Magazine, P. O. Box 516, Hohenwald, TN 38462-0516. Address Service Requested. Subscriptions are available on an annual basis at $20 per year. Mail check or money order to: Validity Subscriptions, P.O. Box 516, Hohenwald, Tennessee 38462.
Unconscionable Cogitation, Page 29
Lookin’ Back, Page 28
Validity Magazine is published monthly in Hohenwald, Tennessee. Validity Magazine reserves the right to edit editorial and advertising submissions for appropriateness of the publication. Reproduction of any part of Validity Magazine without permission of the publisher is prohibited. Distribution of this magazine does not constitute an endorsement of information, products or services. Views expressed in Validity Magazine do not necessarily represent those of the publisher. Every effort has been made to insure accuracy of the publication contents. However, we do not guarantee the accuracy of all information nor the absence of errors and omissions. Publishers Notice: All real estate advertised herein is subject to the Federal Fair Housing Act, which makes it illegal to advertise “any preference, limitation, or discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin, or intention to make any such preference, limitation, or discrimination.” We will not knowingly accept any advertising for real estate which is in violation of the law. All persons are hereby informed that all dwellings advertised are available on an equal opportunity basis.
Reality Perspective, Page 5
Publisher Becky Jane Newbold, email@example.com, 931-628-6039 Managing Editor Shane Newbold, info@ValidityMag.com, 931-628-6039 Contributing Writers, Bill Pulliam, Cari Marye Griffith, Cassandra Warner, Charles Newbold Jr., Cody Crawford, James Lund, Katie Taylor, Landis Turner Contributing Photographers, Cari Marye Griffith, Cassandra Warner, Katie Taylor, Matt Andrews, Taylor Willis
Our Mission Validity Magazine exists to reflect rural lifestyles of rural communities along the Natchez Trace Parkway in both storytelling and photo journalism. This local publication is designed to promote positive life experiences by delivering authentic, relevant content on healthy living, nature, outdoors, technology, gardening, entertainment and travel to the people who enjoy the small town experience.
From The Publisher
Marital Bliss L
By Becky Jane Newbold
et’s face it, an engagement and pending wedding can be the most exciting time of a young couple’s life. But sooner or later, real life begins. That can be a good thing or not depending on a few smart choices made in the beginning. Shane and I have been married 29 years (yay, us!). I have shared the following before, but the words are still true. Here is how we hope to make it to 30. Our rules: Be kind. Common courtesy should not be reserved exclusively for acquaintances, friends or strangers. Yes, after all this time,
we still say thank you, please, excuse me, and we help each other. All with a smile (well, most of the time). Go to bed together. Obviously faithfulness is essential to marital harmony. But more than that, when one retires to bed, the other is close behind. I am not sure who told us that so many years ago, but it helps keep us on the same track. Be honest. You are (or should be) marrying your best friend. How can a friendship thrive if even little lies are part of the mix? Furthermore, accept the truth when the other expresses it. Work it out. It may not always be easy, but it is what you signed up for. Common faith. Shane and I believe in Jesus and the principles of the Bible. Our vows
were written by us using scripture we believed to be solid words of wisdom. Never talk badly about the other or gossip about each other to our friends. A marriage is tough enough to protect without dragging your friends’ opinions into the mix. Just do not do it. Or stop if you have already started. Show love for one another through your commitment. To the newlywed, the honeymoon high of love seems unending. Remember when real life hits you in the face, this person you marry deserves all of your love, respect and commitment. I choose to frequently remind myself of the fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23): “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentle-
ness, faithfulness, self-control; against such thing there is no law.” If I focus on keeping these gifts in my personal life, my spouse will benefit immensely. When we married, way back when, Shane and I had a lot to learn about one another. By stubbornly refusing to accept the world’s flippant view of marriage, our friendship has deepened to a level we could have never comprehended. We work hard to make it last. We hope you enjoy seeing a glimpse of the beautiful weddings within this issue. The sanctity of marriage is a precious gift. Blessings to the brides and the grooms in this issue of Validity and to those to be wed in the coming year. May you find joy in 2017.
Birth, Life and Death
ot being a big proponent of Christmas (don’t judge me till you’ve read this entirely), my profound appreciation of Jesus’ birth, life and death is most likely as deep as any. The short testimony of the wretch I was and the “new man” that I became nearly instantly after I received the baptism of Jesus into my By Shane Newbold being is proof to me
that he is real and alive and active among us. Forgive all the aforementioned personal pronouns (considered inept writing), but a relationship with your Lord is nothing less than personal. Admittedly, the baptism of fire to cleanse me is an ongoing process. So, without all the commercial hype and not really knowing or caring about the actual date He was born, I celebrate His birth, life, crucifixion and rise from the grave. It is personal for me.
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Mediterranean Veggie Bowl with Roasted Pepper and Garlic Hummus
Makes 2 large bowls Ingredients: 1 large cucumber, shredded into “noodles” 2 ounces feta cheese ½ cup black olives, pitted ½ cup cooked chickpeas 1 cup cooked wild rice 1 large scoop of red pepper hummus Arrange all ingredients in two bowls, and serve.
Easy Seeded Sandwich Bread
Good-for-You, Budget Food
Makes 1 loaf Ingredients: 1 ½ cups hot water ¾ tablespoons active dry yeast 2 tablespoons maple syrup ½ tablespoon salt 1 tablespoon flaxseed 2 cups whole wheat flour
6. Bake the loaf for 30 minutes, or until brown on top.
Recipe slightly adapted from Minimalist Baker
Recipe, photos and food styling by Katie Taylor
Mediterranean Veggie Bowl with Roasted Pepper and Garlic Hummus
Easy Seeded Sandwich Bread
1 ¾ cups all-purpose unbleached flour 2 tablespoons sesame seeds 2 tablespoons rolled oats Instructions: 1. Combine all ingredients except sesame seeds and rolled oats in a large bowl. Mix until combined, and roll into a large ball. Turn a few times with your hands, and coat with olive oil. Cover with a loose towel, and let sit in a warm place for two hours. 2. After the two hours is complete, transfer the bowl to the fridge for an additional 2 hours. 3. Once the dough has risen for a total of four hours, make a small hole in the middle of the ball, and put the sesame seeds and rolled oats inside. Mix again with your hands. Form into a loaf, and either place on a baking sheet or in a loaf pan. 4. Let the dough rest for an additional 45 minutes. Top with a sprinkle of flour to keep the dough moist. 5. Preheat the oven to 410 degrees F.
tarting the new year off right with whole foods is a great way to ward off the fatigue from eating poorly during the holiday season. Making your own bread is not only less expensive than the store bought variety, but it has zero preservatives and is healthy to boot! The second recipe is more of an “idea,” as there is no perfect way to make a rice bowl, which makes it impossible to mess up. We have rice bowls at least once a week at my house, and they are an easy way to eat more vegetables, and are incredibly filling as well. Let’s start the New Year off right!
½ cup roasted red peppers 1½ cups cooked chickpeas ¼ cup roasted garlic ¼ cup olive oil ¼ cup tahini Juice from 1 lemon Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.
Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic Hummus
ing cheese, grate or sprinkle until top is lightly covered. Place on bottom rack of oven and bake until edges are set and slightly browning. About 3040 minutes. Quiches are a great way to utilize leftover cooked veggies, or the last few cherry tomatoes on your counter. We often make a quiche at the beginning of the week and heat individual slices in the microwave or toaster oven. It helps us save money on breakfast foods from the wonderful coffee shop around the corner and gives us an extra serving of veggies first thing in the morning. Once you have the basic ingredients for a quiche (crust, eggs, milk), you can add any variation of ingredients and they almost always turn out delicious! Some of my favorite combinations are: Rosemary, kale, roasted sweet potato and white cheddar (pictured); spinach, cherry tomato, basil and mozzarella; bacon, roasted red potato and Parmesan; and sausage, mushroom and cheddar.
Cari Marye Griffith
Veggie Quiche Ingredients: 1 pie crust (store-bought or homemade) 5 eggs 1 cup milk 1 tablespoon oil 1 cup chopped greens (kale, spinach, collards) 1 cup diced veggies (tomatoes, roasted potatoes, peppers) ½ cup diced onion Sprinkle of herbs (basil, rosemary, parsley) Salt and pepper Cheese if desired
Recipe, photos and food styling by Cari Marye Griffith
Instructions: Preheat oven to 350. If greens and veggies are not already cooked, heat oil in saucepan and sauté onions until soft. Then add greens and stir until wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste, and a sprinkle of whatever herb you have on hand. Spread onions on the bottom of the crust and let cool. Meanwhile, whisk eggs, milk and a pinch of salt and pepper in a bowl until well blended. Add whatever veggies you’re using to the pie crust, and gently pour egg mixture on top. If add-
Cari Marye Griffith is a photojournalist turned urban gardener with a deep love for good food, culture and community. Her comfort zone is a cup of Earl Gray, bright morning light and far too many house plants.
Cari Marye Griffith
More Good-for-You, Budget-Friendly Food
Self-Driving Car Update
oogle announced in December that it would be breaking off its driverless car division into a new company called Waymo. Waymo, which stands for “a new way forward in mobility,” is “not a car company,” according to the CEO, John Krafcik. “There’s been some confusion By Cody on that point,” Crawford he commented, “We’re not in the business of making better cars, we’re in the business of making better drivers.” Google’s announcement is no surprise, given general public fear of self-driving cars. That apprehension seemed vindicated when in May, a Tesla driver was killed while using a beta version of Tesla’s Autopilot mode. Joshua Brown’s Tesla struck and went under a tractor-
trailer crossing a road in front of him. The sensors on the car didn’t detect the truck’s trailer because it was white against a bright white sky. The truck driver alleged that Brown was watching a Harry Potter movie at the time of the accident. Reports from Tesla show that Brown had instructed the car to operate over the speed limit, and he was going 74 mph in a 65 mph speed zone. According to Tesla, the Autopilot feature is not meant to be used without human hands on the wheel. Known as the first self-driving car fatality, this wreck was written about in a New York Times piece, which stated, “The race by automakers and technology firms to develop self-driving cars has been fueled by the belief that computers can operate a vehicle more safely than human drivers. But that view is now in question after the revelation on Thursday that the driver of a Tesla Model S electric sedan was
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killed in an accident when the car was in self-driving mode.” Consumer Watchdog asked Tesla to recall the Autopilot feature following the crash of a Tesla car in Germany, reported The Register. The accident did not appear to have been caused by the Autopilot feature. The Register also reported in December that Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority believes the name Autopilot is misleading to users. Tesla responded, stating, “98 percent of customers surveyed said they understand that when using Autopilot, the driver is expected to maintain control of the vehicle at all times.” “In the U.S., about 33,000 people are killed in automobile accidents every year,” reported The Guardian in the wake of the Tesla accident. “That’s 90 a day on average. So on May 7, about 89 other people as well as Joshua Brown were killed in car crashes. But we heard nothing about those 89 personal and family
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tragedies: The only death that most people in the U.S. heard about was Mr. Brown’s.” Companies developing selfdriving car technology are finding public preconception a challenging issue. Although driverless cars have less accidents than human drivers, there is still much fear surrounding the potential of a car wrecking itself. What seems to be lacking is an understanding of the technology. Although the technology for a completely autonomous vehicle is not ready yet, the options for technological intervention on the road are a huge benefit when used properly. Having extra sensors on a car could greatly decrease the number of fatalities related to automobiles. Perhaps Google is correct in revamping their driverless car company, with the goal of “making better drivers.” It is perhaps a better way for us all to view autonomous car technology.
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Lauren & Ben Johnson
“In the summer of 2015, Ben’s younger sister was studying abroad in Berlin, and we decided to go visit her. We spent a week before meeting up with her visiting Rome, Paris and a bunch of little towns throughout Germany. The day we
auren Conklin and Benjamin Joel Johnson chose Nashville’s Covenant Presbyterian Church for their October 2016 wedding celebration. The bride chose elegant neutrals and gold to set the tone for the event. A reception followed at the Musician’s Hall of Fame in Nashville.
were in Paris was our three year anniversary, so of course I thought the proposal would happen then-every photo opp I was ready! But it didn’t happen. “The last day of our two week trip, we were driving through Austria, headed for a little town called Hallstatt. We hit terrible traffic, and everyone in the car began to get really stressed out. So we got off the highway, and hit traffic again (this time in the form of cows slowly processing down the road). By the time we reached Hallstatt, it was almost sundown. We casually walked past a boat place, and Ben suggested we go out on the lake-but the boats were closed, and everyone’s reaction was a bit extreme. “Little did I know the proposal was supposed to take place on a little sailboat out on the lake, but now Ben was panicking trying to decide where to go in a foreign country he knew nothing about! So he suggested the two of us take a walk instead, and we eventually wandered into someone’s back
yard, which had a gorgeous dock out on the lake, surrounded by the Alps with a huge white castle in the background. It was absolutely perfect, and I couldn’t imagine a better place for a proposal! “His sisters followed behind us and got pictures, and then we all went out for dinner. Despite all the things that went wrong, it was an absolutely incredible night and I couldn’t have been happier!”
Bride’s Favorite Memory:
The last dance of the night--all our friends and family came out on the dance floor and we all danced together to “Shut Up and Dance.” Seeing everyone so happy and having so much fun, and just being surrounded by all these people who were so happy for us, was a magical moment.
maids bouquets. “For reception decorations, I made paper flowers!” The wedding party enjoyed a rehearsal dinner at Traveller’s Rest. The bride made tumblers with everyone’s names on them as gifts for the bridal party. Entertainment was provided by Richard Anderson (DJ). The couple was presented a special treat when, for dinner, all of their songwriter friends performed a writers’ round. Makeup, hair and nails were by Canaan James. Check out music by Lauren and Ben at www.laurenconklin.com
Photographer: Matt Andrews Photography has been a lifelong source of friendships and adventure for me and I have been honing my craft since I was a kid. I’m proud to be a full-time, professional photographer in Nashville with local clients ranging from The Grand Ole Opry, The Nashville Symphony, The Frist Center for the Visual Arts and national clients such as Pierce Manufacturing and AEG Live Events. When I’m not working I enjoy every minute I spend with my 9 year old daughter Sophia, traveling with my wife Samantha, playing tennis with my dad and playing music with my brothers. www.mattandrewsphotography.com
Groom’s Favorite Memory:
Seeing all our friends and family cheer for us as we walked out of the reception. It meant a lot that they were all there and rooting for us, so many people from so many different areas and times of our lives. It was a really amazing moment!
Catering for the event was by Baja Burrito and Martin’s BBQ. The couple shared a cake prepared by The Wild Muffin. The brides’s bouquet was by A Village of Flowers, and her mother made all the brides-
Start early – Everything takes longer than you think! I DIY’d almost everything, from centerpieces to invitations to the ceiling draping, and so many things I thought would be quick and easy were just way more time consuming than expected!
Anna & Ian Draper
“Well, I was clueless of the entire situation! Ian had asked me to go on a hike/picnic one Friday afternoon after work. It was about a four mile hike at Percy Priest Lake. He knew I did not like surprises, so when we got to the spot he had planned to propose he handed me a letter (I was still clueless at this point). “In the letter, it said, ‘I know you do not like surprises so this is me warning you that I am about to propose,’ and sure enough he did! He got down on one knee with a beautiful sunset and lake shimmering in the background. I do not remember a word that was said because I was standing in complete shock. However, I do know without hesitation, I said, “YES!” “The sun was setting rather quickly, so we ended up having our wine, cheese, cracker and grape picnic on a blanket in the middle of my apartment floor. It was perfect, and I could not have asked for anything more.
The bride chose a garden party Bride’s Favorite Memory: nna Coley and Ian Alex- owned by Bud and Mary Coley, ander Draper were wed boasts a stone barn ideal as a theme accented with sage green, “My favorite wedding memory was October 1, 2016 on the backdrop for the ceremony. A dusty rose pink, grey-blue, navy seeing my husband’s face for the first bride’s grandparent’s property in reception was held at Sunken blue and cream. time as I was walking down the aisle. Gallatin, Tennessee. The farm, Garden. . 12 Validitymag.com
tonnieres put together by the bride’s Aunt Margie. A rehearsal dinner was held at a local Air B&B house in Gallatin, catered by Campione’s Taste of Chicago. The bridal party was presented floral robes to get ready in from ETSY. Decorations were by H&H and “my very artistic mother, Elizabeth Coley,” Anna said. Entertainment was by Craig Groom’s Favorite Memory: Smith DJ. “My favorite wedding memA college friend, Katy Parks, ory was the moment I saw my did Anna’s hair, makeup and glowing bride walking toward nails. me in that beautiful white dress. I remember a fast-paced day being filled with nerves, which resulted in a lot of pacing back and forth, shaking hands/knees, sweaty palms and no sort of appetite. I am not kidding, the moment I finally saw Anna, all those nerves vanished. Time seemed to slow down almost to a stop as if I was going to be lucky enough to look at her like that forever.” Cari Griffith Cari Griffith
That has always been my favorite part of any wedding, but I just remember feeling such peace when I saw the huge smile on his face. I always imagined myself feeling anxious or nervous before ‘the moment,’ but I felt neither. Instead, I felt calm, content and at peace as I was walking to meet my soon-to-be husband at the altar.”
I’m based in Nashville, but have traveled all over for assignments and weddings. My photography business is built on forming friendships through telling the stories of brides, families, businesses and events. My style is journalistic in nature, as I try to take a step back and capture moments as they unfold. I truly believe that every person has a story worth telling, and try to weave my love for honesty and hospitality into every shoot. Tip for Wedding Photographers:
Give yourself grace when you miss a deadline or a moment. The wedding photography field seemingly requires perfection in every way, and it can really beat you down. Be honest when you make a mistake, and most of the time people are kind and understanding. If all else fails, throwing in extra prints or a wedding album usually does the trick!
Photographer: Cari Griffith
Don’t stress! Everything will get finished and turn out better than you could’ve imagined. I promise. Catering was by Black Eyed Pea in Hendersonville, TN with a cake by Leonessa Ward. Flowers by Import Flowers with bouquets and bou-
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Handmade Wedding Dresses By Cari M. Griffith
ost little girls will have a moment when they’re standing in front of their mother’s mirror in a princess dress, and they imagine what it will be like to wear their own white, princess gown on their wedding day. They twirl around, and fix the tilted crown on their head and pretend to walk down an aisle with their head held high. I say most, because I was definitely not that little girl. Instead, I was sitting atop my backyard tree house with a pile of wild blackberries and crab apples and a spear whittled from an oak branch. The only prancing around I did was in the woods while trying to avoid letting my bare foot land on a sweet gum burr. I still dreamt of being married, and wondered what I would look and feel like on that day. When the man I love asked me to marry him, and I said yes in less than a second, it then came
time for me to start dreaming of the dress I wanted. Initially, I was met with a whirlwind of options, flashy advertising and an endless amount of styles to choose from. At the end of the day, however, nothing seemed to fit who I was and how I am shaped. After hours of internet searching and peeking around in a few of the stores that I was brave enough to enter, I decided to contact a friend of a friend, Diane Lemir, who I knew to be an expert seamstress. Diane went with me to fabric stores, looked over examples I had picked out and in the end, was able to craft a dress that was perfectly me. She was very patient with my flip-flopping and slow responses in the midst of the chaos of wedding planning. Throughout the wedding day, I was continually thankful for her and the beautiful attention to detail she had while making my dress. It had a personal and affectionate story, and that made me love it all the more. My husband kept repeating that I looked like myself, and that was most important to him. My college best friend, Natalie Techentin, just so happened to have had the same complications that I did while picking out her dress. She initially took the traditional wedding dress shopping route and went to several stores in hopes of finding the dress. She left each one feeling like she didn’t fit the fairy-tale mentality that each of the shops was trying to get her to buy into. Rather than seeing her style and personality reflected in the stores she visited, she left feeling hollow, like when you’re shopping for a new car, but can’t quite find one that fits your needs and budget. After deciding to get her dress made, she was able to forego ruffles, sequins, underwires and adornments, and create a gown that was uniquely her. Natalie has an elegance and class about her that doesn’t come from an outward display, it comes from deep inside her. She wanted something feminine, classy and simple, without all the fuss, and that seemed impossible to find. It was the character and personal relationship with the seamstress she chose that left a lasting impact on her. “She is one the kindest women I know and a wonderful example to me. I knew she was a seamstress, so at first I asked if she knew of anyone that would be willing to take a job like this on, since making a wed-
ding dress is no small feat. She simply replied, ‘Why don’t we consider this my wedding present?’ and I was sold. I hadn’t even seen anything she had sewn, but I knew her character, and I knew it was the right thing,” Natalie said. “If I had ever found the perfect dress in a store, I imagine I would have felt how I felt when Margaret offered to make my dress: immense relief and peace. After 60 years as a seamstress, mine was the last wedding dress she made, and that is very special to me still. We worked on the whole process together, and I really enjoyed spending time with her throughout. The dress marketing and design is was not perfect; there were weird bits, one of the most profitable and some things were uneven. But it industries in the fashion was perfect for me.” world, so the designer dress Another friend, Megan Weise, took shops are obviously doher mother’s dress, which had sleeves ing something right! Many that were popular for their time period, shops have experts who and transformed it into a regal sleeve- can help you decide exactly less dress that was absolutely breathtak- what fit and style will work ing. best for your body, and it “My mom’s Matron of Honor was a can save some of the hassle wonderful seamstress and an amazing involved with creating your person. She designed and sewed my own gown. However, it is mom’s wedding dress from some satin helpful to know that other and french lace they bought together in avenues exist, and if you Chicago,” said Megan. “As a little girl, are having trouble finding it was always something I admired, but something that is just right never really considered wearing myself for you, finding a seamuntil Trey proposed and my mom sug- stress who can create the gested that I try it on.” dress of your dreams may The dress fit her perfectly, with the be a worthwhile option. exception of the late 80s-style puffed sleeves that were popular at the time. Megan ocal Real Estate ALLY! had a friend remove the our L Y sleeves, repair a few rips in the bodice and skirt and with the addition of a tulle petticoat, the dress was finished. “I told my parents beCall Today fore the ceremony that I For Your greatly admire their marFREE riage, and that I hope my Consultation! own marriage is as committed and filled with joy. I tried to thank them Carrie and Peder Jensen for modeling a great marKeller Williams Realty riage by wearing the dress Realtor/Broker my mom wore many Mobile: 931-300-ALLY (2559) year ago.” Office: 615-302-4242 Women choose their NashvilleCarrie@KW.com dream dresses from a www.NashvilleCarrie.com variety of places, and 5083 Main St., Spring Hill TN 37174 some are able to pinpoint exactly what they want when they see it in Find Us On Social Media a store. Wedding dress Each Keller Williams Office is Independently Owned and Operated. Validitymag.com 15 .
Hillary & Stoney Anthony popped the question! It was a perfect moment and the photographer captured every minute of it. Not only was the moment of the engagement a wonderful experience, but we got to spend the rest of the night celebrating viewing the beautiful Christmas lights. “Stoney had also surprised me by booking a hotel room at the Opryland Hotel, which is also an amazing sight during the Christmas season. We had been looking forward to this moment for a long time, and it couldn’t have gone any better!”
getting ready with the girls, I started getting very anxious and nervous as the day went on and knew he was feeling the same way. After finally seeing him for the first time that day, all my nervousness went away and I felt nothing but immense happiness. Knowing that I had been dreaming about that very moment for so long and the
date night at the Cheekwood Holiday Lights in Nashville. It was a much needed date night, and we were both very excited to be spending some time together. We had been talking about marriage for awhile now, and I knew that we would be getting engaged soon, but he did surprise me that night! “After we entered the Cheekwood Holiday Lights, I noticed there was a photographer taking photos. Naturally, I had to get our photo taken. Engagement Story: As soon as we were posed “After a very long semester and the photographer began has finally ended at graduate to take our picture, Stoney school, we decided to have a got down on one knee and
“Although there were so many wonderful memories from that day, my favorite wedding memory was definitely the first look with Stoney. After a fun morning
Bride’s Favorite Memory:
he September wedding of Hillary Shanae Graves and Stoney Shawn Anthony was held creekside in Lewis County, Tennessee at the home of her parents, among family and friends. The bride chose a whimsical rustic wedding by the creek at the house where she grew up and a place “we both called home,” she said. Colors were burgundy, baby pink and beige, with lots of natural greenery.
fact that it was finally happening seemed unreal. It was an amazing feeling to know that I was going to get to the spend the rest of my life with my absolute best friend and I felt blessed beyond measure.”
Groom’s Favorite Memory:
Taylor Willis Taylor Willis
time to our first look, I could not breathe knowing she was just behind me on the other side of the tree. “As my eyes landed on her for the first time that day, all my nervousness went away. Then, it was time. The time I stood beside my friends. But not just my friends, but my best man and groomsmen. I patiently waited, knowing it would be over too soon. She started down that aisle so graciously and beautiful as she held her father’s arm. “Taking the hand of my now beautiful, precious wife was the greatest of many blessings I have received in my life. I look forward to what our lives hold ahead. May we be blessed with many years of happiness and loyalty, till death do us part.”
Dannie Holmes Catering handled the event with a cake by Olivia Hinson of Hohenwald, Tennessee. As gifts for wedding guests, the bride customized cups that stated, “Thank you for sharing this day! Hillary and Stoney 9.10.16.” She purchased customized wine tumblers from Etsy as gifts for the bridal party. Flowers were arranged by Steven Carroll and Mia Hinson who also handled
decorations assisted by the mother of the bride, Shannon Graves. Entertainment was presented by AMPED Sound and Lighting. Makeup was by Lea Thomason and hair by Kelsey Church of Brandy’s Hair Salon and Kelsie Tompkins of Charmed Salon. Photography by taylorwillisphotography.com.
“As I sit here thinking back on our wedding day and all the beautiful memories it held, I think of her. Her softly spoken voice continued to echo in my head as ‘The Time’ slowly approached. I can remember a very intense and overwhelming feeling of nervousness wrenching away Planning Tip: at my stomach. It’s a feeling Do not stress over the little so hard to explain and you things! Your day will be amazonly get when you know she ing no matter what. is the one. Approaching the
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Validity Book Review
Best-Selling Wedding Books
s I put together the list of bestselling wedding books for our January 2017 wedding issue, I noticed the bestsellers have remained fairly consisBy James Lund tent over the last 12 months. As you can imagine, groundbreaking titles on the subject of wedding planning do not release as often as great fiction. Our list will have some old favorites, but repeating ourselves on a few titles in the January wedding issue is acceptable, considering that
& so much more!
The Best Wedding Reception Ever
Finally, a book about the party!
the people who were getting married in 2016 are not likely to be the same people getting married in 2017. If, however, that “shoe” does “fit,” well, that’s none of my business. We wish you the best.
and weddings, it doesn’t get much better than Mindy Weiss. A Practical Wedding Planner
When my wife and I were planning our wedding, we made the unconventional decision to spend
The Wedding Planner Checklist
This beautiful purse sized, 80 page
The Best Wedding Reception Ever helps you plan the biggest party of your life and have fun doing it, all while keeping embarrassing Uncle Larry from showing off his ever popular disco moves on the dance floor. Actually, the book doesn’t mention that last part. You’re on your own with that one. The Knot Ultimate Wedding Planner (binder)
Truly the ULTIMATE wedding planner, this beautiful 176 page binder touches on all the necessary details surrounding the planning
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and execution of the event. Complete with worksheets, checklists, calendars and etiquette advice, The Knot Ultimate Wedding Planner will help organize the hundreds of details that will make the day uniquely yours. The Wedding Planner & Organizer
by celebrity wedding planner Mindy Weiss has been a consistent bestseller for years. This binder is full of tips, tools, spreadsheets and even has a zippered pouch and plastic sleeve for business cards. When planning high-end events
more on the honeymoon than the wedding. We had a nice time at the wedding, but we had a blast on the honeymoon! Truth be told, if we had it to do over again, we would have spent even less on the wedding and continued to increase the budget for the honeymoon. A Practical Wedding Planner is the book for those of us who are not interested in breaking the bank on the big day. This is a guide to help keep you on budget while remaining within your own boundaries of tradition and taste. You can find copies of these books at Duck River Books on the square in downtown Columbia, Tennessee, or at your favorite indie bookstore. Remember to support your local indie shops, restaurants and publications. We appreciate each one of you. James Lund, along with his wife Heather, own Duck River Books in downtown Columbia, Tennessee. A native of Nashville, James moved to Columbia several years ago to get away from crowds and promptly opened a business whose purpose is to attract crowds.
Ann Marie & Keith Walp
have asked for anything more perfect.
Bride’s Favorite Memory:
My favorite memory from the wedding was walking down the aisle with my dad towards Keith. My father is the type of man that you marvel at. He is impossibly smart, effortlessly kind and first and foremost, a family man. All my life he has been the perfect example of the type of man that I wanted to spend my life with. Seeing the similarities in the spirit of my father and the spirit of my now husband as I walked down the aisle was a type of love and comfort that I had only dreamed of until that moment.
Keith planned for us to go and while walking around the whole exhibit he was acting absolutely bizarre. I could not figure out what was going on. It turns out the he was so nervous looking for the perfect spot to pop the question that we were at the end of the exhibit before he even found one. He was so determined to propose while we were there, that Engagement Story: Keith and I got engaged on December 22, he dropped down to one knee right between 2015. I have always been an open Christ- the bathrooms and the trash cans at the end mas-aholic and since moving to Nashville, of the exhibit. I was so surprised and he preI always wanted to go to the Cheekwood sented me with a beautiful diamond that has Botanical Garden Holiday Lights display. been passed down from his mother. I couldn’t .
nn Marie and Keith Alan Walp were married October 23, 2016 at Nashville’s Belle Meade Plantation. The bride chose a Tuscan Vineyard theme accented with gold and navy blue.
Matt Andrews Matt Andrews
Groom’s Favorite Memory:
Keith says his favorite moment was our first look!
The wedding party was catered by G Catering. The wedding cake was crafted by Dessert Designs by Leland and flowers were by Owsley Designs. Edleys East BBQ catered the couple’s rehearsal dinner. The bridal party was presented Slay Sweatshirts and heel guards. Wedding guests were given custom koozies as favors. Entertainment was provided by The Entice Band. Makeup, hair and nails were by Josey Lee Baker. Validitymag.com
GET A WEDDING PLANNER and don’t take everything too seriously!
One Lawyer’s Opinion
Speeding and other courtly matters
y client was the Oneness Church of God, so named because their congregation does not believe in the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. They believed God was One. They retained me because their preacher refused their request that he move on. His position was that God led By Landis him there and Turner he wouldn’t leave until God led him away. He was not a bad preacher, but he had one serious fault. He took every cent in the collection plate, leaving nothing to pay the light bill and mow the church’s lawn. Judges do not like to intervene in church disputes. Also, the church must have a charter and by-laws to govern the organization. So, the first thing I did was to draft a set for them. Thereafter, it was child’s play to obtain an order requiring the preacher to leave. _______
submitted, the judge explained the law as it concerned our facts and the jury retired to decide their verdict. They stayed out for what seemed like forever and it was obvious the jury was deadlocked and unable to reach a verdict. Of course, my adversary should have turned down my proposal because he could have taken a chance and argued another day. But he was suckered in and agreed. I knew with moral certainty that most jurors were on my side, and of course they were, so I won the case. The defendant was ordered to pay a big fine and spend five days in jail. _______ Pearl Bailey was a well-known character in Hickman County who owned and ran a beer joint called the Cloverdale. I represented her husband, Bill Richardson, who was seeking a divorce. When I cross-examined her, I asked, “Now Miss Pearl, I have heard you carry a gun, so before I ask you any difficult questions, I’m wondering whether you have your gun today.” “No, I don’t think I need it to handle a little twerp like you.” The courtroom swelled with laughter so there was nothing for me to do but to laugh along with everyone else.
As city attorney, I was sometimes called upon to do unusual tasks. One of them was when Hohenwald’s then mayor, Dol Willis, asked me to prosecute a speeding This column discusses legal issues case. I soon decided that when a of general interest and does not culprit went through town at speeds give legal advice on any reader’s The law is up to 70 miles per hour, speeding personal situation. not a one-size-fits-all hat. Conwas not enough. So I charged him sult a lawyer of your choice. with reckless driving. My adversary did not object to the charge of speeding, but he Landis Turner is a graduate wouldn’t let his client plead to reck- of the University of the Southless driving and he would fight on Sewanee and Vanderbilt Univerthat issue, as long as it took. sity School of Law. He is a former Since I had won so many times president of the Tennessee Bar Asbefore the judge, he demanded a sociation. trial by jury. After the final arguments were . 22 Validitymag.com
Questions to ask while planning your wedding day photography Are you planning to see each other before the ceremony? Traditional weddings usually wait for that awe-inspiring moment when you walk down the aisle. However, seeing each other before-hand with a “First Look” can be a very special way to have an intimate moment together while allowing a little more time to squeeze in all of the photographs. Do you have any important details that you would like to make sure your photographer documents? Sometimes brides will incorporate family heirlooms into their outfit or wedding decor. Or they will want a photograph similar to one their parents or grandparents had taken on their wedding. These details aren’t a necessity, but it is nice to let your photographer know ahead of time so they can make a note of it. Do you have a list of specific family photos you want? If you can provide your photographer with a detailed list of family or group photos you would like to make sure you have, it will save you a few minutes of stress during the time allotted for those photos. It also helps to have a relative or close friend who can gather family members for you once they inevitably disperse after the ceremony. Have you given your photographer and wedding party all of the correct times and locations for each of the events for the day? Wedding planning consists of seemingly endless lists of phone numbers, dates, and times. If you cohesively organize a document with important phone numbers, addresses and a detailed schedule, your day will flow smoothly, and you will not have to field as
many phone calls from people asking for information. Do you have specific poses or styles that you’ve always dreamed about for your wedding day? You probably picked your wedding photographer because you loved their artistic style or method, and make sure they know why you chose them! However, if you have a specific pose or look you really like, don’t be afraid to send it to them. Photographers love finding the little nuances that make each wedding truly unique, and their desire is to provide you with the photos you have always dreamed about. Are there any additional locations you would like to use for photos aside from your wedding venue? It’s important to discuss photography locations prior to the wedding day with your photographer to make sure that everything can be accomplished in a timely manner. If your additional locations are too far away from the venue, you can also consider a quick session after the reception for daytime weddings, or you can schedule a portrait session at a different time. Does your venue have any rules or regulations for vendors? Sometimes venues will have rules about where photographs can be taken, or what items can be moved around or relocated. Venues also often require additional information from your photographer and could require them to have liability insurance. To avoid potential conflicts with your venue, ask these questions ahead of time, and give your photographer plenty of time to fill out the necessary paperwork.
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Like A Beautiful Garden How Does Your Love Grow?
alidity Magazine, this month, is celebrating one of life’s most memorable occasions, “The Wedding Day.” So in January’s Garden, we will look at love, marriage and the wedding day with a bit of a garden perspective. A garden and marriage have many similarities, and many lessons of life and love can be gleaned. The path of love began in a garden. Marriage is a labor of love much like a garden. With a vision of love, it is designed and created, it must be tenderly cared for, cherished, protected and worked. The nature of love and the love of nature so beautifully blend togethBy Cassandra Warner er along the blissful, passionate path of love and marriage. Just as in nature, a seemingly small, insignificant seed can turn into a magnificently beautiful, intricate and delicate flower. So it is in a relationship, that may start with just the smallest act of kindness, develop into a deep rooted friendship and bloom into love. Or as with some plants in nature, .
such as bamboo, love can spring up over night and grow right before your eyes almost before you know what happened. Sometimes love can appear suddenly and grow swiftly. You may be surprised you found it at all, and that it could develop and grow into such a powerful, beautiful thing so quickly. Now just as there are gardens in the dreaming, there then must be gardens in the making. Now, no one ever said this would not involve work, but to be sure, it can be pleasurable work. Certainly you are dreaming and planning for a day like no other. On a wedding day, the first steps made as husband and wife on a new path and journey are filled with love, hope and dreams as two join as one to create a life together. For many, the natural beauty and serenity of nature or a garden setting is a perfect place for this special day. So all the dreaming, planning, preparing, deciding and, yes, work to begin and celebrate your once in a lifetime commitment to love will be a pleasurable labor of love and for years to come a precious memory. As you nurture, work, laugh, play and share a life together, your love will grow like a beautiful garden.
Flowers = Love
I think if I had to choose one word that would describe flowers, it would be love. I could not imagine a wedding without them. The beauty of flowers is something I think almost everyone could agree, the use of them expresses thoughtfulness, kindness, concern and LOVE. The awesome variety, the range of colors, shapes, sizes and fragrances are amazing. Endless flowers and combinations of them can decorate and display your special love.
then a leafy one, then follow with once every three years. Check your perennials for frost a fruiting crop. The cabbage family is the exception, it should not be heaving (uplifting from the soil planted in the same area more than surface) and add more mulch as necessary. Sow seeds of poppies and larkspurs in flower beds. Weed the asparagus bed and strawberry beds, then feed plants and add more mulch, where needed at the end or near the end of the month. Start seeds indoors at the end of the month for broccoli, cabbage, parsley, onions, chives, cilantro, sage, thyme, marjoram and lettuce. You can turn beds, if the ground isn’t too wet, to start to break up frozen layers and expose insect eggs and larvae for the birds. It will kill any exposed pests. When it is above freezing and not windy, spray fruit trees with dormant oil. Dormant oil is a nontoxic and very effective control for plum curculio, scale and other pests and their eggs. If any plant has a current infestation of scale, it should be sprayed two or more times over the winter. As long as the ground is not frozen, you can plant hardy evergreens, trees and shrubs. Keep them watered well and mulched. A light snow can protect your evergreens from windburn, but if we have a heavy snow, check your evergreens and gently shake them or brush off snow to keep branches from breaking. Cassandra Warner
Love is a flower that turns into fruit at marriage. — Finnish Proverb Love would never be the promise of a rose garden unless it is showered with light of faith, water of sincerity and air of passion. —Author Unknown Love is why I came here in the first place. — John Denver Love seems the swiftest, but it is the slowest of growths. No man or woman really knows what perfect love is until they have been married a quarter of a century. — Mark Twain Love is a canvas furnished by nature and embroidered by imagination. — Voltaire A man without a wife is like a vase without flowers. — African Proverb Ah me! Love cannot be cured by herbs. — Ovid Be it in the garden, the nursery, or the bedroom, a loving touch compensates for an unskilled hand. — Robert Brault Love like a flower grows, blooms, and blossoms in our hearts. With the sweet fragrance of kindness, a precious feeling of joy, and the beauty of hopes and dreams to share with our hearts desire. — Cassandra Warner If I had a single flower for every time I think of you, I could walk forever in my garden. — Claudia Adrienne Grandi Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead. — Oscar Wilde
January’s Garden - To Do List
Remember not to prune any spring flowering shrubs at this time or you’ll be pruning off your flowers. Prune trees, shrubs, fruit trees and grapes during their dormant season. Trim hardy herbs such as savory, thyme, rosemary and oregano. They will benefit from a little bit of winter TLC. On a sunny day, do a little or maybe a lot of winter weeding. If onion and cabbage transplants are available, you could set them out in the garden beneath a row cover. Review last year’s garden journal and get one started for the new year. Work on your garden design for the new year. Be sure to consider your crop rotation in your planning. This helps to prevent soil borne disease. Basic rotation cycle you can follow is plant a root crop,
Love, Marriage And Garden Quotes
Cassandra Warner Cassandra Warner
Save wood ashes from your fireplace or wood stove to add to your garden in the spring (dig in or turn under 5 - 10 pounds per 100 square feet) or sprinkle ashes between the layers of the compost pile. They contain potash and phosphorus and trace elements of sodium magnesium, iron, silicon and sulfur. They are also high in calcium carbonate (a form of lime) and can be a way to raise the PH factor of soil. Do remember though not to put wood ashes on any acid loving plant such as blueberries, azaleas, rhododendrons. Also don’t add them to the soil where you will be planting potatoes, to avoid scab. Take inventory of the leftover seeds and those you may have saved for this season. Begin to find all your must-haves from seed catalogs and if ordering, order early so you don’t miss out on your most wanted items.
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HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL. May your gardens be green and colorful too! All your flowers be fabulous and fragrant. Your heart be happy and your LOVE BE TRUE. Originally from Texas, Cassandra Warner is a transplant to the garden of Tennessee. Gardening has been one of her passions for forty years. “Gardening connects you to the miracle of life and provides healthy exercise and stress relief.”
Don’t Forget The Groom!
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s promised, this month the theme of our survey of fifty common birds is “black.” Black is a fairly common color among wild animals, having advantages of being inconspicuous and absorbing solar heat in cold weather. Black By Bill Pulliam birds, in particular, seem to be especially prominent in these cold leafless months of the year. First, a note on terminology. A “black bird” is a bird with black plumage. But a “blackbird” (no space, all one word) is a bird that is a member of a specific avian family. Most blackbirds are in fact not entirely jet back. Instead, they have patches of color or iridescent sheens on their plumage that are distinctive to each species. One of the best-known blackbirds in this area is the Red-winged Blackbird. True to its name, the males of this species are jet black with a bright, red, shoulder patch edged in yellow. The red shoulders are often covered when the birds are sitting, but flash dramatically in flight. Females, in contrast, are similar in size and shape but are densely streaked brown and white, not black. They have only a vague hint of the red shoulder patch. Fortunately in winter, the males and females tend to flock together, so you can learn the girls by seeing them in the company of the boys. Probably the most numerous of the “blackbirds” around here in winter is the Common Grackle. Both the male and female grackles are moderately large and long-tailed birds, and in dull light they appear totally black with a bright yellow eye. In better light, the black is revealed to have a bright iridescent sheen, bronzy on the body and purple on the head and wings. Males
are shinier, larger and with bigger tails that sometimes show a “boat keel” shape. On the other end of the size range, the Brown-headed Cowbird is one of our smaller blackbirds. As its name suggests, the male is black with a contrasting brown head. The female is a dark dull mousy brown
like smallish grackles. Another small, blackish bird is abundant in this area, and combines with the grackles, cowbirds and blackbirds in large, winter flocks. This is the European Starling. This bird is not closely related to the blackbirds, being instead kin to the Mynahs. As its name indicates, it is not native to these parts. But the starling is one of quite a few Eurasian animals that has been spread by humans all over the world. It is now one of our most common birds in farmland and urban areas. The European Starling is short, stumpy, with a big yellow nose and glossy black plumage speckled with
all over. Both sexes have dark eyes. Unlike the grackle and red-wing, the cowbird has a short stumpy thick conical bill. Cowbirds are also distinctive for being “nest parasites.” They lay their eggs in other bird’s nests, and let the unwilling foster parents raise their babies for them. The redwing, grackle and cowbird are all three fairly closely related, members of a large and diverse group called the icterines that also includes orioles, meadowlarks and several other species. Included in this are a couple of other less common blackbirds, the Rusty and Brewer’s Blackbirds. These are trickier to identify, looking rather
hawk is harassing the flock searching for its bedtime snack. The other blackbirds also gather in huge flocks in the colder months, sometimes numbering close to a million birds. These mixed-species hoards gather at dusk and pack into a surprisingly small roost space, with an incredible cacophony of calls. In the morning, the birds disperse over the countryside in long streaming lines. Blackbird roosts are often considered a nuisance by those unfortunate enough to live close to them, but it always proves difficult to drive the birds away. Finally, leaving the realm of black birds, we finish our five this month with the Eastern Bluebird. This bird is decidedly not drab in its coloration. The male’s upperparts are a rich sky blue, with a rusty red breast and whitish belly. The females are a duller, gray-and-brown muted version of the same color scheme. Bluebirds are a familiar and welcome bird across north America, with three species named, aptly, the Eastern, Mountain and Western Bluebirds. Only the Eastern is found here. Bluebirds are conspicuous on fences and power lines in rural areas and are also found in suburbs and small towns. They are also a favorite of birdhouse makers, as I discussed in my Validity column for February 2016. Our other sky-blue, common bird is the Blue Jay, which was the very first bird covered in this list of 50 back in September. There are also two common, deep blue birds in the summer, the Indigo Bunting and the Blue Grosbeak. I will talk about both of them in my May column. But for now, through the winter, the Eastern Bluebird remains our primary splash of blue on the fences and power lines of Tennessee. Next month we’ll cover a grab bag of five more common winter birds, ranging from small to large and from woodlands to pastures.
white. It has short pointed wings that are flapped quite rapidly during flight. It is found near any sort of human activity, making its living off of garbage, weeds, agricultural waste, bird feeders and many other sources of food. Ecologically it is very much a “rat with wings.” The starling’s only saving grace is the spectacular aerial displays that flocks of thousands can put on. They can look like living smoke Bill Pulliam got started in birdwatchplumes, swirling and swooping ing by his junior high science teacher 1974, and has been an avid birder with amazing acrobatics. Do an in- in ever since in 48 U. S. states and 7 forternet search for videos of “starling eign countries. He is currently the flock” and you will see some amaz- Tennessee editor for eBird, a online ing things. These displays are most project that compiles millions of oboften seen late in the day when the servations from tens of thousands of birds gather for their evening roosts birders around the world. and are especially dramatic when a Validitymag.com 27 .
The Mystery of Marriage
ives, submit to your own husbands.” Really? “Wives, submit…!” That doesn’t sit well in modern society. Paul, the apostle, said it in his narrative in Ephesians 5:22-32 NKJV. Many would argue, “Paul was reflecting the customs of his day. Women are liberated today and are equal to men.” Let us not miss the deeper meaning Paul intended here. Look at his exhortation in context. “Wives, submit to your own By Charles E. husbands, as to Newbold, Jr. the Lord” (emphasis mine). Paul is making a comparison. “For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.” No true believer disputes the notion that Christ is the head of His body. Can we imagine Christ being in submission to us? (Well, actually, there are some who act like it.) If we as Christ’s body are subject to Him as our head, then wives ought to be subjected to their own husbands in everything. Why ought they? What is the connection? God intended for a Christian marriage to mirror the marriage between Christ and His bride. Say it either way. The marriage between Christ and His bride is intended to mirror a Christian marriage. Paul charges the husband to love His wife as the Lord loves His bride and gave Himself for her. This kind of love is sacrificial and unconditional. It is not controlling and abusive. When a husband acts with love as the head of his wife and she submits to him in all things, it is a sermon to the world—a portrait of Christ and His bride. This idea of headship and submission is hard for the modern man or woman to embrace because we do not often understand the true meaning of headship and submission. True Christian submission is like reaching out to receive God’s gift . 28 Validitymag.com
through the husband. True headship is the spiritual covering of God’s love through the husband. This relationship is never one of brandishing authority and demanding subjection. The husband’s job is to love her and give himself to her just as Christ does His bride—“that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” The Christian husband truly cherishes his wife. “So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.” Just as we are one with Christ and members of His body, likewise, the husband and wife become one flesh. Jesus said, “a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” Matthew 19:5. We abandon our conformity to the world when we are joined as one with Christ. He is our husband and we are His bride. The Christ-like portrait of this marital relationship actually positions the husband as a godly servant to his wife, elevating her to a place of honor. She is his queen and he is her knight in shining armor. To submit to this kind of divine order in a Christian marriage is like standing under the waterfalls of God’s blessings, streaming harmony, peace and joy. Paul admits, “This is a great mystery.” To which we say, “You got that right, brother.” Charles Elliott Newbold, Jr. has served as pastor, teacher and is an author calling forth Christians to live the laid-down life for Jesus Christ. He and his wife, Nancy McDonald Newbold, live in Knoxville, Tennessee, where Charles continues his writing. www. CharlesNewbold.com
here once was a fellow named Spence. A reputation for straddling the fence. That folks on one side went one way, And folks on the opposite went the other, To Spence it was not worth the bother. From below the fence some would yell, “Jump to our side or you’ll go to hell.” Never knowing which side led to heaven, And ignoring the absolute consequence, On the fence obliviously sat Spence. This article would not be credible without a quote from the Bible. 15 ‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. 16 So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. Revelation 3:15-16 (NASB) Whoa, Whoa, Whoa! That’s rather harsh. Lukewarm is OK, right? That’s the problem with scripture. Always gotta make hard decisions: To get inebriated or not; to go out on your wife or not; to lie to your boss or not (who is also my wife); to cheat your kids or not when playing basketball in the driveway; to make God first in your life or not; etc. All
these dumb choices lead to eternal bliss or eternal damnation. So, if I emulate Spence, all these goofy By Shane Newbold dilemmas evaporate. Just don’t pick nothing. What’s wrong with that? Just mind my own business and let the rest of the world contend with the fray. For example, the 2016 presidential election pitted one not so perfect candidate against one of equal repute. Spence would never vote. Many would tell him, “Well, if you don’t vote, you can’t complain later if you don’t like the outcome.” From Spence’s lofty position on the fence, he will not fret the future and its outcome anyway, and he sure won’t complain, he doesn’t care! He’s straddling the fence. Besides, who actually knows if being lukewarm is detrimental to one’s life hereafter. Yeah, yeah, it’s in the Holy Word. But John was a crazy guy in prison on the Isle of Patmos writing stuff that even today nobody knows what he was talking about. Revelation doesn’t necessarily mean fact. One thing for sure, John was definitely not a Spence. He was preaching you gotta take a side. Okay, so my choices according to John: Ride with Satan and be thrust into the lake of fire or choose the Son of Man, the Christ, and suffer potential persecution and then have to wait your turn to go to heaven, because the dead in Christ get to go first. Sounds like a perfect time in the history of man to ride out that epic battle smack dab on top of the
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Unconscionable Cogitation (continued from page 30) fence. Right next to me and Spence. Older middle age, 60+,(I recently graduated from just regular ol’ middle age, lucky me) finds me really, really starting to admire Spence and his complete lack of philosophy. My kids come to me with all their hyper-gotta-make-hardchoices-about-life scenarios, and I just don’t care anymore. Sorry. That’s the beauty of being a fence sitter. Vicariously living through your children is pointless. Years ago, with regard to chasing girls, I jumped on the fence. My decision to STOP searching for the ever elusive soulmate brought me the greatest asset of my life. Becky Jane chased and caught me, whether you believe it or not (and most people can’t believe she actually chased me, but more unbelievable that she kept me). But I had quit. Perched myself atop the fence. To marry the right girl or not had become irrelevant to me. Sitting on the fence worked out nicely, at least for me. And, as long as I continue to say things like, “OK, sure sweety. Anything else, babycakes?” life moves along without a hitch. But you certainly don’t have to seriously
mean those things. My God man! You’re on the fence. Nothing means nothing anyway! Never argue. Always agree with everything, whether you do or not. Remember, YOU DON’T CARE. Therein lies the problem. That’s the most dangerous aspect for the Spences of this world. A smidgen of care sneaks in tipping the proverbial fence-sitting scales. Next thing you know, you’ve fallen onto one side or the other. It is not impossible to climb back on the fence, but can be an arduous journey. The throngs on the left clamoring, “It’s a lie, it’s a lie, run with us!” While the throngs on the right, “It’s all true, it’s all true, we have room on our bus!” Unfortunately, no how-to literature exists for becoming a fence sitter. Because all the Spences don’t care enough to author one. Besides, how do you teach someone to be lukewarm. An evolutionary process deep within the aging psyche of the human form, sick and tired of all the drama, simply one day evinces a newfound perspective, “I don’t give a rip.” Yuck. Feeling somewhat wet and
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