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Validit y

Abigail's Plan & Miracle Field

Complimentary May 2016

Vol. 6, Issue 5

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Inside this issue of


Table of Contents

New t his mont h:

May 2016

Butterfly 5K Run/Walk Ryleigh’s memory continues to garner hope and fun. Page 14

Smart Shopping Online By Jordan McLeod Shop local when you shop online. Page 15

Who Doesn’t Love a Farmers’ Market?

Vol. 6, Issue 5

Local governments are helping the cause. Page 22

The Family Wiyathunge By DeeGee Lester Getting the most from an American education. Page 26

Page 18

Miracles at Home Plate Not only did Abigail’s parents dream big, the “plan” is coming to fruition. By Nancy Brewer Cover Image: Photo Becky Jane Newbold

In Every Issue: Validity Recipes By Cari Marye Griffith and Cody Crawford

Vetos, Late Nights & Lynching By Landis Turner Opinions on recent news items. Page 33

Also in this Issue:

By Bill Pulliam

By Charles Newbold

From The Publisher, Page 5

Changing political affiliation to the theocratic party.

Reality Perspective, Page 5 Page 25

May Book Reviews By James Lund The Bazaar of Bad Dreams. Page 11

Circadian biological clock disruption

May Gardens

By Cody Crawford

By Cassandra Warner

Our tech guru explains blue lights and more.

Can’t find your fanatical garderner spouse? Look in the May garden.

Validity Magazine, Published 12 times per year, monthly, Vol. 6, Issue 5 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.

“Drive,” a poem, Page 9 Bonus Recipe!, Page 17

Page 28

Page 24

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.


Page 32

The Believer’s Walk

Page 12 Page 6


By Dan Algara “...none were as interesting as the cats...”

Ornithology Report

Carnivorous parakeets.

Cooks (times 2) prepare early summer recipes.

Curiosity Saved the Cat

Lookin’ Back, Page 32 Unconscionable Cogitation, Page 34

Publisher Becky Jane Newbold,, 931-628-6039 Managing Editor Shane Newbold,, 931-628-6039 Director of Digital Innovation Cody Crawford,, 615-768-9479 Contributing Writers, Antonia Meadors, Bill Pulliam, Cari Marye Griffith, Cassandra Warner, Charles Newbold Jr., Dan Algara, DeeGee Lester, James Lund, Jordan McLeod, Katie Taylor, Landis Turner, Luke Newbold, Nancy Brewer Contributing Photographers, Cari Marye Griffith, Cassandra Warner, John Lawless, Nikki Newbold

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

Miracle Field By Becky Jane Newbold


etermination of the people of Lawrence County is inspiring. Tommy Lee and Lesa Kidd and a whole host of people they know, are amazing. And I am so happy to have met them. These two amazing people found themselves in a position to make a difference in the lives of hundreds and are succeeding. With the support of an untold number of volunteers, the community of and around Lawrenceburg is rallying in the creation of a specially designed playing

field for people with handicaps. It all started with a plan: Abigail’s plan. Each day, Lesa explains, Abigail asks the question, “What’s the plan?” The Down Syndrome child functions by whatever plan her mother lays out for her each day. Any deviation can cause catastrophic, emotional trauma, well, at least a meltdown, unless mom says its ok. When Abigail wanted to play baseball, regular teams in the close knit community welcomed her with open arms, her dad explained. But as competition can go, inevitably, it would be Abigail’s turn at bat, “when the bases were loaded with two outs,” he added. Important games can be, well, important and no one wants undue disappointment on the ball field! A unique resolution to

Tommy Lee and Abigail Kidd

the issue was created. With my Gattis Leadership friends, we observed and marveled as kids who normally couldn’t, played ball. Through my lens I noticed the same focus one might find in the eyes of an average baseball-loving kid. With every pass over home plate, the smiles were wide as the fans clapped and cheered. As Tommy Lee explained to our group before the games began, he never realized how much these kids missed in life, until Abigail came along. Tears fell as he dropped his head in shame. “I should have thought about it,” he grieved. But, Tommy Lee is more than making up for it. And the blessings are spreading far and wide. Read Nancy Brewer’s story, page 18, of a Miracle League and, coming soon, Miracle Field.

Reality Perspective

A New Day


lanet Earth is still revolving and rotating this morning. And it doesn’t matter which morning to which I am referring. It matters not what happened yesterday. It’s gone. Wow, is that a deep concept or what? I’m By Shane Newbold a genius. But, do I really understand that yesterday doesn’t matter anymore? Sure, events may or may not have transpired that will change the future.

However, yesterday is still gone and the planet keeps turning. Wylie, Eli and Zoe, my three grandkids, 2, 3 and 4 respectively, live for the next, new minute. Hyper-drive is not fast enough. They do not care about yesterday. It’s all about now. A screaming meltdown turns to gleeful exuberance in less than 6 minutes. Maddening and frustrating for adult caregivers, but that we could approach every minute like a child. After life experiences begin to imprint our psyche, we often carry baggage from the past. That’s unfortunate. The necessary life component Eli clutches while slipping into

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slumber at bedtime is the toy of the day: a car, rubber ball, stuffed animal, wad of Playdoh, etc. Whatever, it is a vital element for his existence. Upon awakening and after a few minutes into the new day, yesterday’s plaything is replaced with a new one. New bag of opportunity every day. Now that is a forward moving concept. Besides, you remember that Lot’s wife looked back and turned to salt. Her possessions and city were literally burning to ash. No reason to look back. If only she had fixed her gaze on the rising sun, a new day. Obviously, many cannot escape their pasts. Violence, disease, hunger, persecution and

abuse haunt them daily, unlike me and others who can wake to a new, blessed day. I am grateful. Those of us who can conquer every new day with forward thinking attitude should help those who are forced to carry baggage from the previous day. Perhaps your positive, prayerful influence can provoke them to emulation, so the bag they carry today will have new and exciting rubber balls and Playdoh despite their previous circumstances. Father to four and best friend to Becky Jane for 28 years, Shane Newbold lives life to the fullest boating, birdwatching, fishing and enjoying his family.

5 .

Validity Recipes

Early Summer’s Best

Recipes By Katie Taylor and Cari Marye Griffith


Choco - Nana Peanut Butter Smoothie Bowl

Katie Taylor

Katie Taylor

Katie Taylor

s many of you know, being a new parent means convenience often trumps luxury. No longer do I have hours to spend creating intricately creative dishes, but now I have a beautiful daughter who I get to play with instead. It’s a pretty good trade-off, I’d say. However, just because I may not have as much time, doesn’t mean I cannot still create delicious recipes. My creative brain has gone to work these past few months, thinking of convenient, yet healthy and simple but delicious meals. My two recipes this month involve everyday ingredients you probably already have at home. Whip up a few batches on Sunday, and you’ll be set for the week! ~ Katie

Emerson Ruth and mom harvest fresh greens from dad’s garden.

Choco-Nana Peanut Butter Smoothie Bowl

Serves 2

Katie Taylor

Ingredients: 2 bananas (best if frozen) 1 ½ cups almond milk ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder ¼ cup peanut butter Handful or two of ice Handful of rainbow chard or other dark leafy greens Optional toppings: Granola, peanuts, dark chocolate, bananas Instructions:



Blend all ingredients in high-powered blender and divide between two bowls. Serve.

Creamy Taco Sauce

Katie Taylor

Katie Taylor

Validity Recipes

Turkey and Avocado Burritos

Makes 4 large burritos Ingredients: 4 burrito-sized tortillas 1 lb. cooked deli turkey (can also use chicken) 1 large avocado, slivered 1-2 cups cooked white rice 1 recipe of sour cream taco sauce (see below) ¼ cup tomatillo salsa or salsa verde (for dipping)

Katie Taylor

Creamy taco sauce

⅓ cup sour cream ⅓ cup mayonnaise 1 tablespoon taco seasoning Juice of 1 lime Instructions: 1. Heat flour tortilla over medium heat until soft (this makes it easier to fold). 2. Layer remaining ingredients, beginning with a layer of the creamy taco sauce and following with the remaining ingredients. 3. Fold, grill, slice and serve with tomatillo salsa or salsa verde.

Burrito recipe inspired by closetcooking. com ; creamy taco sauce source: laurenslatest on

Katie Taylor

7 .

Cari Marye Griffith

Cari Marye Griffith Cari Marye Griffith

Ingredients: 8-10 tomatillos  ½ red or white onion  ½ lime 1 tablespoon grape seed or olive oil  2 large cloves of garlic   Salt and pepper to taste  ½ cilantro bunch ¼ teaspoon cumin  Instructions:  Preheat oven to 400 1. Peel away husk and wash tomatillos under cold water.  2. Peel away outer layer of onion and garlic  3. Place tomatillos face down on a baking pan along with the onion and garlic and drizzle with oil and sprinkle salt and pepper to taste  4. Roast for 15 minutes, turning over tomatillos and onion halfway through.  5. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes  6. Place tomatillos, onion, garlic, cilantro and cumin in food processor or blender along with the juice from ½ a lime  7. Pulse or blend to desired consistency  8. Chill and serve.

Cari Marye Griffith

Tomatillo Salsa

Cari Marye Griffith


othing brings on summer smiles quicker than fresh, homemade salsa. At first, it may seem like a daunting task to make salsa at home when you’re perusing the salsa aisle at the grocery store and gazing at the long list of ingredients. However, this is one of the easiest party tricks you can bring to your next picnic or potluck, and you won’t have to break your budget. You can even jazz it up by adding some jalapeño or fresh pineapple to add a little kick of flavor. Serve over tacos, inside burritos or over a bowl of rice and beans. Or just run to the store and buy chips and eat it by itself like I did. ~ Cari Marye



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.

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Drive she said, I wanna go to the beach she said, I wanna see the sunrise in your eyes today don’t care what anybody says Run she said, up and down the beach with me, don’t wanna stop till I can’t breathe fall down in the sand with me Forget the world she said, it’s all in your head, got the windows down, your feet on the dash, today is ours no one’s around Drive she said.

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Make Your House Your HoMe

Ahoy fellow Validity-ers, Luke Newbold here. This month I’m including a photo that stopped me in my tracks, and consequently, was an unavoidable snapshot. But I need your help. The caption has been excluded from this month’s photograph. So here’s where you guys come in; tweet your best one-liner caption to @ValidityMag #lukesbombpic. The best caption will be printed in the next month’s magazine. If we get a great response, you may see a new picture! Make sure you tweet from a public Twitter account or we won’t be able to see it. Don’t hesitate to send them in and here’s to a great caption!

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The Bazaar of Bad Dreams By Steven King Publisher: Scribner


he prolific King of Horror is back with a new collection of short stories. Fans of King k n ow that several of his most popular m o v ies are adaptaBy James Lund tions of early short stories, like Stand By Me and Shawshank Redemption, both of which appeared in a collection called Different Seasons, first published in 1982. Other film adaptations based on his short stories are: Children of the Corn, Maximum Overdrive, Graveyard Shift and 1408, just to name a few. I was eager to get my hands on this collection. Each story starts with an introduction by the author that gives insight on how the story came to be. I love this. One of my favorite King books is actually a nonfiction work titled On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, in which he discusses his process and stories behind many of his works. That

kind of personal insight is fascinating to me, thus the reason I enjoyed these introductions so much. So as not to disappoint, King starts off with a bang. The first story, titled Mile 81, is about a monster car that appears to be broken down on an abandoned-highway, rest-stop offramp and, in true King fashion, it eats everyone who stops to help. The moral of the story is, if you have a habit of being a good Samaritan, that’s probably going to be what kills you, so you might want to quit being a Goody TwoShoes and mind your own business. There is a distinct possibility that I am wrong about this interpretation. Premium Harmony is a brief tale of a man and wife arguing while on the way to Walmart with their Jack Russell in the car. They stop along the way, so the wife can purchase a gift for her niece. The wife has a heart attack and dies in


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the store. In the confusion, the husband locks the dog in the car for two hours in the hot summer sun. When he returns, the dog is also dead. I believe the moral of the story is more of a question: What made you feel worse, when the human died or the dog? For me, it was the dog. That may mean that I’m not a good person. I might need to talk to Jesus about that. The story, Ur, happens to be my favorite, simply because it reminds me of another wonderful short story that has stuck with me since middle school when I first read it, A Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury. Ur is about a man who receives a Kindle, that he later finds is meant for another version of himself from a parallel universe. There is a feature on this Kindle that allows him to search multiple universes for information about events that have happened or will happen in the future. One of the events is a bus accident that will kill many students, and it will take place in three days’ time. The similarity to A Sound of Thunder comes when he successfully prevents this tragedy from happening and finds that his interference with the past has consequences. These 20 short stories, many of which have been previously published, are a

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fine sampling from the Master of the Macabre. Longtime fans of King will feel right at home with Bazaar of Bad Dreams. You can find copies of Bazaar of Bad Dreams at The Old Curiosity Book Shop 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 The Old Curiosity Book Shop 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.

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483 E. Main Street, Hohenwald, TN 38462 Phone: (931) 796-5881 Fax: (931) 796-1477

Claims: 1-800-836-6327

11 .

Ornithology Report

Predatory Parrots Among Us


n modern times, those of us living in Tennessee think of parrots as exotic beasts of tropical lands. We imagine them flying through jungles and dangling from vines feasting on exotic fruits. But once upon a time, we had wild parrots here, too. W h e n the European settlers first arrived, the Carolina Parakeet was a common bird throughout By Bill Pulliam eastern North America. Unfortunately, these native parakeets proved to be fond of orchards. So, the settlers were not fond of the parakeets, and the species was pushed to extinction by the early 20th Century. But now, it turns out, we still have close relatives of the parrots living all across North America, and they are not vegetarians. For hundreds of years, it was assumed that all birds of prey were closely related to each other. Hawks, eagles, vultures, osprey and falcons were all grouped together in one big order based on their anatomy. In recent decades, scientists

have been using DNA to look directly at how different birds are related to each other. You have more DNA shared with your siblings, less with your cousins and even less with distant relatives and strangers. The same thing works among animal species, allowing you to arrange them in a great big “family tree.” Since the DNA studies began being used in birds, there have been many surprises. And one of the most recent shockers has turned our ideas about the birds of prey upside down: Falcons are not closely related at all to hawks and eagles. Rather than “first cousins,” falcons and hawks are more like “seventh cousins three times removed by marriage.” The physical similarities between the falcons and the other birds of prey are because of their similar lifestyles, not because they are close relatives. Two guys who both work as loggers might both have beards and wear flannel, but not because they are close kin. It is because they both spend a lot of time outside in the cold woods. It’s the same with falcons. They have beaks and feet similar to those of hawks, because they both are predators, grasping prey with their talons and ripping

meat with their bills. It turns out, falcons are actually most closely related to parrots, not hawks. So it seems that the logger’s real brother is a vegetarian, rodeo clown. Our falcons are essentially predatory parrots using their robust beaks and claws for catching and devouring other birds instead of clinging to vines and gorging on fruit. Interestingly, once we birders learned of this discovery, we looked at the falcons again and thought, “Well, of course, I can see that, it makes sense.” Falcons have the long tails and swift agile flight of many parrots. And some of them are painted up in rather bold colors. It was a bit of an “aha!” moment for all of us. There are three species of falcons that occur regularly across North America, but only one of these is common in Tennessee: the American Kestrel. This flamboyantly colored, little predator is the smallest of the group, and the one that is most fond of suburbs and farmlands. In the kestrel, as in most birds of prey, the males are smaller than the females. A male falcon is called a “tercel,” from an old French word meaning “a third,” as in “one-third smaller.” The name was also borrowed by Toyota for their smaller version of the Corolla in the 1980s and 1990s, by the way. As our smallest bird of prey, the kestrel is smaller than a Mourning Dove, not much bigger than a robin. They are often seen perched on power lines in open country, where they sit in an upright position with a distinctive sleek, large-headed silhouette. The

males, in addition to being smaller than the females, are more brightly colored. They sport a bright, rusty-red back and tail, contrasting with slate-blue wings. The head is boldly patterned with a Fu Manchu moustache and Elvisstyle sideburns. The larger females are a bit duller, with brownish-red wings and more bars on their tales but with the same head pattern. When perched on the power lines or atop a dead twig, both sexes routinely bob their tails up and down. They sail out from their perch after prey and often hover like a drone scanning for a small mammal or large insect. When they spot a potential catch, they fold their wings and drop rapidly down onto it. A hunting kestrel can provide many hours of entertainment, as they are quite energetic and high-strung. Kestrels are also known for their voices. When excited or agitated (which is pretty often!), they will call out with a shrill, ringing “killy killy killy killy killy!” or “kitty kitty kitty kitty kitty!” It’s worth noting, that if you have some older bird books, from before the 1970s, you might not find an “American Kestrel” in there. Before then, the species was known as the “Sparrow Hawk.” Its larger cousins were called the “Pigeon Hawk” (now the Merlin) and “Duck Hawk” (now the Peregrine Falcon). The older names reflected the species’ different uses in the sport of falconry. Most birders eagerly embraced the new names when they were made official, as they have a more romantic feel in keeping with the personalities of these charismatic fast-flying predators.

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(file photo by Becky Jane Newbold)

Bill Pulliam got started in birdwatching by his junior high science teacher in 1974, and has been an avid birder ever since in 48 U.S. states and 7 foreign countries. He is currently the Tennessee editor for eBird, a online project that compiles millions of observations from tens of thousands of birders around the world.

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13 .

Butterfly Foundation Remembers Ryleigh June 4 • Waynesboro


ach June, runners gather to remember Ryleigh Meree Stegall, a young girl who was diagnosed with leukemia when she was three. The Butterfly 5K run/walk usually has about 700 participants from all over Tennessee. The race is a project of the Butterfly Foundation founded in October 2007 in honor of the Wayne County girl. Ryleigh passed away in September of 2007, and the foundation now helps families who have children with life-threatening or life-altering illnesses. With Ryleigh’s medical treatments, she was unable to attend public school. She and her Nana, Dean Stegall, had school at home for four years which included countless hours walking and enjoying nature. It was during those walks that Ryleigh’s love and fascination with butterflies began. This passion helped her family decide what to name the foundation they created in her honor. Ryleigh Meree Stegall would have graduated high school last May, and runners acknowledged her with a special tribute in 2015. To participate in the 2016 Butterfly 5K run/walk, visit The event takes place on June 4, 2016 at 8 a.m. at City Park in Waynesboro, Tennessee.

Butterfly 5K run/WalK To Benefit the

Butterfly Foundation

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Smarter Online Shopping

Happy Mother’s Day ®


usy schedules have made online shopping popular and convenient, even if you’re buying items from a local store. It’s almost too easy to click a button and wait until the package arrives, except when you find out that By Jordan your online McLeod purchase doesn’t work for you in person. Through research and some good old-fashioned trial and error, I’ve found a few tips to help keep you from experiencing online buyer’s remorse.

Shop Local Online

Most locally-owned boutiques have an online presence; try liking their pages on social media sites for special deals and upcoming sale alerts. Plus, their representatives are normally responsive and will hold items for you in store if you need to pick it up that day. They can also give you information about an item’s sizing if you choose to have it shipped to your home. Buying from a nearby location also makes returning a purchase easier, especially if you can exchange it in store for a more suitable option. Know Your Numbers

While sizes such as S, M ,L and 4, 8, 12 can be subjective, the actual numeric measurements of your body are not. For this reason, it can be useful to keep a flexible


measuring tape - the ones usually meant for sewing - on hand. Most websites provide a size chart with the corresponding dimensions for particular pieces. And be honest with yourself - if an item doesn’t provide the stretch that you personally find comfortable, it may be necessary to order outside your normal size range. Check Your Email

Signing up for your favorite stores’ emails is an easy, reliable way to receive discount codes and early access to sales. Most will offer you a percentage off your firsttime purchase upon registration, and you can always unsubscribe or change your email preferences afterward. Sites often follow a schedule when sending out coupons to their subscribers, and knowing their patterns can help save you money. These emails help keep you informed of new

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on whether an item runs small or if the color is different in person, you’ll be better off by having read through the comment section. Also, be sure to look at the shipping and return policies of the retailer, as some can have less than buyer-friendly stipulations. Most sites will go out of their way to keep a customer though, so there’s no harm in contacting their service department if you have an issue.

tify the purchase. And last, most of the time you get what you pay for. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Jordan McLeod is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University. She has been interested in fashion since she recognized the allure of polka dots and became fascinated by all things beauty after she realized the transformative power of mascara and lipstick.

Use Common Sense

This particular section isn’t limited to online shopping, and these are all things I’m guilty of. First, shopping smarter involves having a list. Searching for a specific item with purpose insures you aren’t spending money for the thrill of having something new. Second, don’t buy items just because they’re on sale. If you didn’t want it or wouldn’t buy it at full price, most likely you won’t wear it enough to jus-


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17 .

Becky Jane Newbold

Miracles on the Field

talk, every morning, Abigail had to know ‘the plan,’” explained Tommy Lee. “Abigail’s Plan” was clearly the right name for the project, which was launched May 14, 2014. “We thought this would be a five or six year project,” but $200,000 was collected in just

five months. Ground was broken October 13, 2015, with over $400,000 in the Plan account. “God has used all of us to do something spectacular here,” he said. “The good Lord made it happen.” The largest single gift was $35,000 from RDM Positive Im-



orget what you’ve heard were among the volunteers who launched the league in 2009 with about Disney World. 11 players on two teams. The happiest place on The numbers grew each seaEarth is under construcson, but so did the challenge of tion now in Lawrence putting unconventional athletes County, Tennessee. on a conventional field. “Playing If you have never been to a Miracle League baseball game, on a regular baseball field is often you cannot very difficult for many of our playimagine the ers,” said Tommy Lee. “We have players that require level of contagious joy the use of wheelchairs, walkers and crutches. Pushing a wheelproduced there. Play- chair on dirt and grass can be a ers who big challenge, and it can damage that expensive equipment. If our struggle with dis- field is the slightest bit damp, we abilities in cannot play our game.” By Nancy Brewer their daily The solution was found in lives delight a Miracle Field, with a smooth, rubberized surface easy on mobilin being part of a team, in being cheered by a crowd and in the ity equipment. The closest is in Huntsville, Alabama, and there sheer freedom of fun. are none in Tennessee. In spite of Lawrenceburg residents, Tommy Lee and Lesa Kidd, wanted estimates for construction that began at $350,000, the Kidds had a that experience for their daughter Abigail, who has Down Syn- plan. “Since she was old enough to drome, and others like her. They . 18

Abigail receiving a donation from students and Willie Wildcat.

Focus, passion and pure love of the game were evident on the faces of many of the players.

lenge, which asked the public to vote online for their favorite of 12 charities. The majority of donations, however, were smaller amounts

Workers began pouring concrete at Miracle Field last month.


pact, a foundation set up by Waste Connections, Inc. CEO Ron Mittlestaedt. Abigail’s Plan also won $25,000 in Bridgestone Tire’s second annual Fuel the Cause Chal-

given by churches, civic clubs, schools, small businesses and industries, families and individuals. Lawrence County residents hosted fish fries and pancake breakfasts, opened lemonade stands and held golf tournaments, sponsored car shows and asked for donations in lieu of flowers when loved ones passed, all for Abigail’s Plan. Shirts bearing the touching logo of Abigail’s Plan played no small role. Nine thousand have been sold in less than two years, generating funds and helping spread the word. Residents who wear the shirts outside Lawrence County are asked to explain and many times are given donations to bring home.

Becky Jane Newbold

Photos Becky Jane Newbold

Lesa Kidd and volunteers hand out uniforms to families and team members.

19 .

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Becky Jane Newbold

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Becky Jane Newbold

Becky Jane Newbold

funding will still be necessary to maintain the complex. Fans of bull riding and barrel racing should mark their calendars for August 27, when Abigail’s Plan hosts its second annual Bulls & Barrels event at Rotary Park in Lawrenceburg. The top six cowboys in the nation were among those who participated in 2015. Gates will open at 5 p.m. for the 7 p.m. start, and tickets will be $10. You can learn more about Abigail’s Plan, donate and buy a Abigail’s Plan logo designed by shirt at Sandy Wheeley. Spectators are always welcome at Miracle League games. Stands are crowded with fans for games of the Miracle League in LawenceThe season began April 25 and burg. Teams play two innings and each player gets a hit. More than 100 games are held each Monday matches played back-to-back and handicapped players are participating this season, Tommy Lee Kidd exbeginning at 5:30 p.m., weather are two innings each. Every player plained. permitting. While their Mira- comes to bat twice, and takes their turn around the bases. Are scores cle Field is under construction, athletes come from surrounding Sandy Wheeley, local, high the league uses Field #3 at Bobby kept? “Yes,“ said Tommy Lee. school, graphic design instruc- counties to participate. “Everyone scores.” “Parent after parent has come Brewer Park, which is located off tor, captured the heart of Abigail’s Nancy Brewer is a former newspaPlan in that logo: the players. This to us with tears of joy in their eyes Weakley Creek Road in Lawrenceburg, behind the Lawrence Counper editor who currently works and explained to us how much a season the Miracle League infor the Lawrence County, Tennesty High School campus. simple baseball game has helped cludes 106 players ranging from Game nights consist of four see Mayor’s office. five to 67 years old, divided into their child and their entire family eight teams: four for 12 and un- in all aspects of their lives,” said der, four for 13 and up. Several Tommy Lee. “This simple game has given many of the participants much-needed self-confidence that has helped them in their everyday lives and gives them something to look forward to every week.” Fundraising continues. The cost estimate went up when plans to convert an existing field fell through every inch of local playing space is in demand. Builders started from scratch at the front of Bobby Brewer Park, and concrete was Overcoming difficulties with determination poured April 23 as the base and a bit of creative batting, this player as- of the field. It will be surrounded by bleachers in sured he had the chance to run the bases. an amphitheater-like setting, and have its own concession and restroom areas. An entrance pavilion is also planned, where athletes and spectators can get out of the sun. Everything is designed carefully to accommodate players, including handicapaccessible dugouts with family restrooms. After construction is complete, Tommy Lee, Abigail and Lesa Kidd

21 .

Local Farmers’ Markets Award Winning Farmers Market at River Park, Centerville By Antonia Meadors




Nicole Lewis

Centerville Farmers’ Market

with determination and perseverance. First called the Centerville Farmers’ Market, it began at the turn of the century with a couple of farmers and a baker setting up their wares in parking lots and lawns around the town.  In 2007, with the help of the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program funding, the first of its kind, $24,000 was granted specifically for the local market. This partnership, with matching in-kind designated land and utilities installed by the City of Centerville resulted in a large open air pavilion with bathroom facilities at the River Park in Centerville.  Since then, the Farmers’ Market at River Park continues to grow with encouragement and personal nurturing of new participants by David and Ginny Lundell, who coordinate vendors and special events.  They are also seasoned vendors offering toxin-free vegetables, honey, eggs and mushrooms from Riversong Farm.  Dedicated volunteers, the Lundells were recently awarded the 2015

tising and special events.   These agencies also have numerous and varied workshops available to vendors and groups that are creating farmers’ markets.  Boot Camp for

Health. The Health Department, University of Tennessee Extension service and Tennessee State University are key contributors to the success of the Farmers’ Market at River Park.  Grants like the Enhancement grant  and the Innovative funds grant from the Department of Health can help with adverFresh blueberries at Kingston Springs

Custom jewelry at Kingston Springs Farmers’ & Artisans’ Market

John Lawless

Centerville Farmers’ Market

Visionary Award by the Tennessee Department of

John Lawless

Tuesday thru Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Centerville Farmers’ Market

Teresa Gregory

ith the encouraging resurgence of sustainable farming and back yard gardens, we are fortunate to see public Farmers’ Markets cropping up in small communities all over the nation. One of the best examples is the award winning Farmers’ Market at River Park in Centerville.  It was the only farmers’ market in Tennessee to receive the Governor’s Bright Spot designation in 2015.    The Tennessee State Rural Development Committee also awarded the Farmers’ Market at River Park the Community and Agricultural Development Award of 2015, a prestigious annual award, ordinarily reserved for a city or chamber of commerce. How do farmers, bakers, crafters and other community members create a farmers’ market?  It takes numerous community members

Nicole Lewis

Centerville • Kingston Springs • Pulaski

John Lawless

vendors, workshops on irrigation, pruning and organic gardening are a few of the topics that have been hosted in Hickman County.  PickTN is another good resource that also provides advertising and marketing support, posters, signs, informational handouts and swag.  Their expertise is bountiful and often at no cost. Ms. Lundell says that building a successful farmers’ market requires education and encouragement with the new farmers and young families that are choosing to homestead.  Retirees also bring a great resource to the market, often being seasoned farmers with years of experience.  It is helpful to solicit vendors by tapping into the local farmers co-op, hardware stores, etc.  The market can be a symbol of the vitality of the local energy and indicates a strong community behind it. 

visits with Maxine the chicken or a baby goat. For the season’s first event, the market will be at the Centerville Police Dispatch center with the Centerville Garden Club on May 7, 2016, 8 a.m.-noon.  This is a great time to get plant starts for the summer’s garden.  May 28, 2016 is the official grand opening as the Market is a key stop on the Fifth Annual Arts & Ag Tour. The Tour is on May 27th and 28th, a free, two day self-guided tour throughout Hickman County

with over two dozen stops at sustainable farms and other places of interest. For more information about the Arts & Ag Tour see artsandag. com or find Arts & Ag on Facebook.  Don’t miss this great opportunity to cruise the backroads, eat fried chicken, milk a goat, pick some greens and dance a jig to live music on the Arts & Ag Tour. Throughout the summer the market will Continued page 25

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Patrons of the Farmers’ Market at River Park describe it as a friendly place where you feel a sense of community from talking with farmers who care about how they grow our food. Others mentioned the lovely aroma that the vendors bring with them.  The variety and quality is not found in regular grocery stores, and most of the produce is super fresh, just having been harvested that morning.  Along with a culinary adventure, the market becomes a meeting place where one can share news and coming events while meeting old friends and making new ones.  One can plan meals around what is available that week and can always try something new.   Some of the special events at the Farmers’ Market at River Park include special guests from the Health Council, a local adopted elementary classroom, games and

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23 .

Are our devices keeping us awake at



or the past several years, people have heard that using computers, smartphones or tablets at night is bad for their sleep. Apparently, this has to do with baffling topics such as circadian rhythms, the pineal gland and the “Study after study has linked wavelength working the night shift and exof blue light. posure to light at night to several Wha? S i m p l y types of cancer (breast, prostate), diabetes, heart disease and obeput, with sity,” stated the Harvard Health the rise of article. “We do know that exdevices with screens, hu- posure to light suppresses the semans are cretion of melatonin, a hormone that influences circadian rhythms, getting more and there’s some experimental eviBy Cody exposure to dence (it’s very preliminary) that Crawford blue light after sunset, which throws the circa- lower melatonin levels might explain the association with cancer.” dian rhythm “out of whack,” as a “When the SCN gets a dose of 2015 Harvard Health Letter put it. blue light, it tells the brain’s pineal A circadian rhythm, according to Science Daily, is “a roughly gland to stop producing melatonin, the hormone that primes the 24-hour cycle in the physiological body for sleep by signaling that it’s processes of living beings…In a strict sense, circadian rhythms are nighttime,” said Mariana Figueiro endogenously generated, although of the Lighting Research Center at they can be modulated by external Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, cues such as sunlight and temper- in an article on FiveThirtyEight. com. ature.” Much of this information “The circadian biological is what prompted Apple to reclock is controlled by a part of the lease Night Shift Mode for their brain called the suprachiasmatic products. Night Shift Mode is a nucleus (SCN), a group of cells in the hypothalamus that respond to feature that changes the color of light and dark signals,” stated the the device screen to block more of the blue light. You can set the National Sleep Foundation. Basislightly yellowish-tinted screen to cally, light travels to the SCN in the brain, which lets other parts automatically appear starting at sunset every night by going to Setof the body know it is time to tings -> Display and Brightness -> awaken. . 24

Night Shift. You can either turn it on manually or have it scheduled for certain times during the day or night. You can also adjust the warmth, with “More Warm” meaning less blue light. The release of this feature generated a lot of buzz in the Apple community, even though the app f.lux has done the equivalent of Night Shift for seven years. However, Night Shift is designed to promote health and well-being seamlessly through Apple’s operating system. “Pleasant dreams,” coos Apple’s website solicitously. But does Night Shift Mode really help? An article on FiveThirtyEight pointed out multiple ways that devices might be affecting sleep, other than just with blue light. They point out that the urge to stay up is greater when you are on your device, whether you’re watching movies or checking emails. They also point out, “Screen time’s relationship with sleep can be a tricky subject to study, in part, because technology keeps changing.” One man, in an article for Tech Radar, claimed to have tracked his sleep both using Night Shift and turning it off before bed. Using a Fitbit Surge, he says he noticed “a

small, but meaningful difference in my sleep quality over the course of my week-long test.” I have been using Night Shift since the release, and it is definitely more relaxing on the eyes at night, although I haven’t noticed a tangible difference in sleep. “Are screens keeping [people] up and then they’re excited, stimulated and alerted by light?” asked Lauren Hale, an associate professor at Stony Brook University School of Medicine. “Or is it just that people who are anxious or suffering from insomnia for some other reason choose to watch a movie?” FiveThirtyEight points out that both may be correct. “Insomniacs turn to screens late at night, which in turn leads to more sleep problems.” Also, the affects probably vary for different people. Try Night Shift, f.lux or a similar technology for yourself, and let us know your results on Cody Crawford holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering Technology from Middle Tennessee State University and serves as Director of Digital Innovation for Validity Publishing.

Giles County Farmers’ Market

The Giles County Farmers’ Market is open Saturdays from daylight to noon on the south side of the Historic Pulaski Square late April through October. This growing market prides itself on bringing together a variety of produce and products from our area. Enjoy your morning coffee while strolling around the Square with birds chirping, church bells ringing and the Courthouse clock bringing you to the top of the hour.

be open each week through September at the River Park on Tuesdays and Saturdays 8 a.m.-noon. This year, the market plans to accept a certain amount of EBT funds for recipients to buy fresh, local produce.  Cooking demonstrations will begin in June to add to the educational aspect. Possibilities for expansion and satellite markets are being developed with Kedron Church in Nunnelly and Helping Hands on Hwy 46 in Lyles.  There will be night markets one Thursday each month. Kingston Springs

Realizing communities thrive with local farmers’ markets, Kingston Springs’ Mayor Tony Gross and a friend, Murray Stafford, started a conversation of how to create sustainability in their own community. With the

I am a Theocrat!


am a citizen of the Kingdom of God. I say, “The Kingdom of God is the rule of God in the hearts and lives of believers with whom and through whom the government of His Kingdom will be manifested and established in the world.” Therefore, the Kingdom of God is a Theocracy. Psalms 103:19. God is not a By Charles E. D e m o c r a t , Newbold, Jr. Republican, Libertarian, Socialist, Communist, Nationalist, Conservative, Moderate, Liberal, Zionist or whatever from wherever. A Theocracy is the rule of God. Theocracy is also defined as a system of government in which priests rule in the name of God or

a god. We who believe in King Jesus are His holy priesthood. 1Peter 2:5, 9 and Exodus 19:6. My citizenship is in heaven. Philippians 3:20. Therefore, as a citizen of the Kingdom of God, I am a Theocrat. Jesus is the sovereign King and Lord of the Kingdom of God. King Jesus sits eternal on His throne. Matthew 25:31. He is not up for reelection. There is, however, an election. We who believe in King Jesus are God’s election into the Kingdom of God, having been birthed into it. 1 Thessalonians 1:4; 2 Peter 1:10; and John 3. While living on the earth as a citizen of the Kingdom of God, I am an ambassador. 2 Corinthians 5:20 and Proverbs 13:17. I serve at the pleasure of my King. An ambassador is a certified representative sent by a country as its official representative to a foreign country as one who can deal with people in a tactful, sensitive

help of his wife, Joy Gross, the mayor and a multitude of supporters have seen local growers and local artists interacting with shoppers in the grassroots market for the past three years. Utilizing city owned land where free parking is available, the Kingston Springs’ Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market has grown to two times per month. “Because of the size of the community, you see 50 to 100 people you know,” John Lawless said. “Its a great place to come together, see the wares your friends and neighbors have grown and made.” Lawless and his wife moved to Kingston Springs from Nashville 17 years ago. “We wanted our kids to grow up in a place that was special. We really have an affinity for this city.” Their son plays soccer, and he remarked they “see

and political manner. My diplomatic assignment is to represent my nation of citizenship and honor the will of my King. His directive is clear: “Go make disciples of all nations…” Matthew 28:19. My citizenship within my earthly nation grants me certain rights, freedoms, opportunities and privileges to serve my King. Paul, the apostle, was a Roman citizen and used that privilege to his advantage. Acts 22:22-29. The Kingdom of God is within me; therefore, I am a travelling Embassy. I have diplomatic immunity as long as I stay within the bounds of my Embassy, by obeying the Holy Spirit in all things. (If we truly desire to do God’s will, God will see to it that we do). I am to obey the laws within the country to which I am sent as long as they do not violate the laws, rules and principles of my King. Yet, I am not to entangle myself in the affairs of this world— physically, politically, relationally, emotionally, financially, religiously or any other way. 2 Timothy 2:4. Rather, I am to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righ-

half the town on the soccer field. The farmers’ market is another place to see half the town.” Kingston Springs’ Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market opens at the end of May and runs through the end of September, 8 a.m. - noon on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays. It is a Tennessee certified market with goods grown, produced or made in Tennessee. An average of 30-35 vendors including local farmers, bakers and artisans (furniture, jewelry, custom and locally themed items) can be expected. Special events planned for this summer include live music and special, summer, evening events. For more information call 615-415-2200 or visit www.

teousness, and whatever needs to be added to me will be. Matthew 6:33. The word of God, as contained within the written scriptures of the Old and New Testament, are the Constitution of the Kingdom of God. The constitution of the Kingdom sets forth principles for living, that normally run contrary to the systems of the world, yet are principles that work in the world. The Holy Spirit is God’s sovereign agent for giving me directives. I can work, play, raise a family, buy and sell, travel, pay taxes, vote or not vote and fly my country’s flag. Nevertheless, His banner over me is love. Song of Solomon 2:4. As I fulfill my ambassadorial duties, I will be doing my small part to bring forth the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven. 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.

25 .

Rochana & Kumudie Wiyathunge:


A Family Vision

he vision for a better life for their children was always there. The sacrifice to leave their homeland, family and everything familiar to them was made. Like families around the world, the parents of Rochana and Kumudie Wiyathunge packed up their toddlers and moved to America. The brother and sister from Sri Lanka have grown up knowing the ticket to America was only part of the vision; that education was the ticket to their future. With intention and devotion, Gamini Wiyathunge and ChandraBy DeeGee nie DissanayLester ake continue to search for educational opportunities and growth for their children. “Every second they think about our future. Whenever we’re not doing school work, we should be doing something,” says Rochana. “Our parents are always looking on the Internet for fun and educational opportunities. We take classes over the summer to get all we can from education.” Rochana is a freshman at Hume Fogg Academic Magnet, while Kumudie is completing her final year at John Early Middle Museum Magnet. But their rigorous, educational focus



can be traced to Charlotte Park Elementar y where they participated in everything from a weekly intensive Parthenon writing workshop to summer adventure at NASA Space Camp. The opportunity to spend their middle school years in the unique project-based-learning environment of John Early Museum Middle Magnet also had a tremendous impact, including providing opportunities to work in teams to create delightful K-3 educational materials through Parthenon internships during back-to-back MNPS Intersessions. This year, the school expanded access and learning opportunities for its massive collection from Scarritt Bennett, with the addition to the campus of a state-of-the-art museum. “I work with the museum,” says Kumudie, “leading tours and talking to students about the museum and the experience of attending a museum magnet.” She also is a member of Early’s Battle of the Books Club.

“We form teams and we have to read 20 books and know them, so we can answer questions correctly in competitions,” says Kumudie. “My team was a semi-finalist in Middle Tennessee.” Physical activity matches her activities. She is a swimmer and also participates in dance classes at the Global Education Center under dance instructor, Monica Cooley. At the April 23rd Earth Day Celebration at Centennial Park, Kumudie and her fellow dancers performed a traditional dance from India, the Bharatanatyun. Such activities provide a bridge to her Southeast Asian cultural heritage. “We still have family, including my grandmother, in Sri Lanka, and we’ve visited several times, including last summer,” says Rochana. “We’re not

fluent in Sinhalese (a language that derives from Sanskrit), but we understand it. Kumudie wins when it comes to speaking,” he admits. His own museum magnet experience has also eased Rochana’s transition into the magnet high school. “We have a lot of projects at Hume Fogg, and we do a lot of public speaking and presenting. We had similar project development and presentations in middle school. Last year, our threeperson John Early team captured a bronze medal at Project Expo with a project on Mitosis - the process of cell division that allows looking at dominant and recessive genes.” He credits such experiences with helping him prepare for the more rigorous learning environment as well as personal growth. “I used to have a stutter, but now I’m more accustomed to presenting; more at ease.” As a musician who plays the piano (since age 6) and the trombone, Rochana is also involved in musical performance as a member of Hume Fogg’s prestigious Wind Ensemble. The magnet high school, ranked among the nation’s best, requires students to participate in clubs. In addition to serving as a member of Model UN, Rochana participates in Rubik’s Cube, “Maker” (working with CAD technology systems and 3-D modeling) and Free Thinker’s (a group based on Socratic Dialogues that discusses current and controversial topics, arriving at a general conclusion). As a member of the Freshman C Team, Rochana and his teammates also participated in the Science Olympiad. “I want to add more AP (ad-

Gamini Wiyathunge

Kumudie Wiyathunge


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ily vision. They believe building a portfolio of educational and life experiences can be the keys to future success. So what advice do they have for fulfilling personal goals? They enthusiastically stumble over each other in their replies, “If you have a goal, find out what it takes to achieve it. Do all that you can. Take advantage of everything!” DeeGee Lester serves as Director of Education at the Parthenon in Nashville and is the author of several books.

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vanced placement) classes such as AP Biology, to my class schedule,” says Rochana. “My goal is to major in biology at Yale University and to continue in neurology and become a neurosurgeon.” Kumudie’s career path is likewise leaning toward something in the medical field as she prepares to transition into high school at Hume Fogg. Rochana and Kumudie enjoy the balanced, fast-paced, filledto-the-brim excitement of their educational experience and see it as the way to fulfill the fam-

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27 .

Magnificent May

Cassandra Warner

Extravaganza In The Garden



Cassandra Warner

Expectations are always high for all that will get planted in the garden and anticipation even higher as we can hardly wait until what we do plant gets to be on our dinner plate. Salsa Garden

My cilantro has been grow-

ing greatly all winter and into the spring. I have put it in soups, salads, guacamole, chili, beans, chicken casseroles and chicken salad, but I could almost hear it say, “Where’s my best friend the fresh tomato?” Lilac’s were blooming here late April, a good sign it was safe to set out all those tomato plants I started from seed in

Cassandra Warner


hat can you say about May? So much to love. It’s breathtaking beauty is inspiring, and it’s all about planting, planting and planting some more. When you By see the kinds of rewards all around you as the spring time extravaganza progresses, one cannot help but be filled with joyous expectation and anticipation from May’s garden. From awesome azaleas, delightful daffodils, truly terrific tulips, romantic rhododendron and wonderful wisteria, what a great time to be in the garden. It really is such a joy when May finally arrives with so much beauty to behold. It is the beginning of so much, good, fresh food to come.

March. Now they are happy in the salsa garden along with cilantro, tomatillos, jalapenos, onions and garlic. Now it’s time to be patient and anticipate when all ingredients are ready to be fresh salsa and dripping off my chip. Planting

*Set out seedlings of warm

weather crops such as tomato, peppers, cucumber, squash, herbs and annual flowers. *Direct sow seeds in the garden of all warm season vegetables, herbs and annual flowers. *Plant more potatoes and onions. *Remove the blooms from new strawberry plants to give them a good start. *Plant asparagus crowns and sun chokes. *Plant sweet potatoes and eggplant at the end of May. *Plant more seeds every few weeks of your favorite salad greens so you can have a continuous supply of fresh greens all season. Mixing colors and textures will be pretty in the garden bed and in your salad bowl! *Summer flowering bulbs, such as dahlias, gladioluses, cannas and lilies, can be planted this month. Plant them about every two weeks until mid-June for continuous blooms. *Peppers, plant just above root ball. *Tomatoes can be buried to top of leaves. *Strawberry plants can be put into soil up to crowns.

*Chamomile slightly exposed.




*Everything for salad, lettuces, fresh herbs, chive blossoms, asparagus, baby carrots, snow

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lets go ahead and check that off the list first thing. I need one of those signs that reads, “free weeds Maintenance pull your own.” Any takers out there? Well, if I’ve pulled one weed Remove the dead flowers from this spring, I’ve pulled 10,000! So any plant, unless you intend to harvest the seeds. It takes energy for the plant to produce the seeds and in most cases the dead heading will encourage more blooms. Set stakes next to peppers and tall flowers early in the season. You can break off the wilting daffodil and tulip flower heads, but leave the foliage until it dies back and turns brown. Daffodil’s can be divided and moved once they have finished blooming, but be sure to water thoroughly after transplanting them. Dig and divide helleborus. Prune azalea’s shortly after they bloom, don’t wait too long, next year’s flowers begin to form soon. Be sure to keep spring planted trees and shrubs well watered as summer approaches. They need about an inch of water per week. Hill the soil around potatoes and leeks. 29 .

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Sometimes up, sometimes down. A garden walk, a God talk... So much beauty and peace to be found.” — Cassandra Warner “Where flowers bloom so does hope.” — Lady Bird Johnson As spring time continues it’s magnificent show, it is a truly inspiring time in the garden. And loving every minute of it!

Cassandra Warner

Cut the spent blooms of iris from stalks. Once all blooms are finished on the stalk, cut it as close to the base as possible removing the entire stalk. Let the leaves remain. Remove flower spikes from herbs such as basil, stevia, lemon balm and lemon verbena to encourage more leaf growth. Cut back woody perennials like rosemary, rue, lavender, caryopteris, artemisia and santolina. Cut back mature chrysanthemums to two inches tall. Continue to pinch back the growing tips throughout the summer. This will promote fall blooms. Be sure to water wisely, as it’s needed at the base of the plant. Give a good deep watering instead of just a small amount to wet the top of the soil. This will keep the plant roots going deep instead of staying shallow where they will dry out faster. A good layer of mulch will help conserve the moisture and deter weeds. Divide any over grown perennials. Mulch around strawberries to keep the berries off the ground. Remove all but 2 or 3 runners from new strawberry plants.

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31 .

Curiosity Saved The Cat


n high school, I had a friend whose family kept a modest farm: a couple of horses, two dobermans and a beagle, a solitary goat I thought looked very depressed and four cats. He lived on a fencedin plot of desert in a miserable town called Sky Valley known for only its p re c a r i o u s By Daniel Algara p r o x i m i t y to the San Andreas Fault. His mother had named the homestead “Rockin’ K Ranch.” The corny name, along with the burnt wood sign hanging on the fence depicting a few empty cowboy boots presumably dancing to the tune spelled out by the surrounding eighth notes, was an endless source of ridicule for my friend, who was perhaps not built to endure the consequences of his mother’s corniness. More animals came and went on the ‘ranch,’ but none of them were as interesting as the cats. They were not particularly glamorous or unique cats. They were just normal cats, serious, alert and antagonistically indifferent. I do not keep pets myself for many reasons. Allergies, laziness, aversion to weird smells, but I have always liked watching them. But cats do not do odd things. They only do what cats do. It is we who perceive the things they do as odd, mysterious. That’s where all the interest comes from, I think. Mystery, like many of the intangibles I chase after without knowing it, murmurs in the background of my noisy life, a subtle mewling that can only be heard



when everything else quiets down. When I hear it, it tells me to turn onto that wooded road I’ve never before taken, or peek through the gate at a restricted area in an amusement park, or buy that $150 bottle of scotch I can’t afford but should anyway because don’t I deserve a splash of 17-year Macallan on my whisky-parched palate? Yes, I say. I do deserve it. But that’s not the point. The point is this. Cats are a Youtube sensation, because they trigger our curiosity quicker than any other animal, and its been going on for years. In the ancient world, they staved off poisonous snakes and diseased pests. And though the Egyptians’ reverence for felines was a matter of innate pragmatism (rooted in the general distaste of death by flesh-eating diseases born of rat infestation and cobras that are all too happy to go gum-deep into your calf ), one has to assume that even if cats were not the living barrier against a painful demise, they would still be revered, for they are the familiars that represent our own aptitude for curiosity. The old idiom goes “curiosity killed the cat.” It has been long detached from its original meaning. It has become a cliche warning to those who would go sticking their whiskers where they don’t belong. “Curiosity” once meant “fretful worrying.” The idiom is a mere rewording of an older, perhaps less bromidic quip: Which of you by worrying can add a day to his life? Which is just plain sound reasoning. If we take “curiosity killed the cat” at it’s modern day meaning, though, it turns out to be a vicious lie. It mutes the inquisitive nature of our consciousness and muzzles those tiny mewlings in the pits

of our stomachs that say, “go ahead and take that road. See where it goes,” or “let’s have a peek behind this fence,” or “get out the nice tumblers, Macallan’s in from across the Pond.” Those cats on my friend’s “ranch” stirred up something within me. The cat footage watchers on Youtube must feel the same things. These creatures incite a riot of wonderment within us and it makes us want to know the unknown, or even the unknowable. Not such a bad thing, is it? It turns out curiosity does not kill cats. It saves them from a mundane existence. And even if curiosity did kill the cat, it was going to die anyway. The difference was merely in the approach. Daniel Algara lives in Spring Hill, Tennessee. His fiction and poetry have appeared in The Bellow Literary Journal, Aoife’s Kiss, Kaleidoscope Magazine, The Stray Branch and others.

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suppose it is obvious to everyone that writers who are tired make a lot more mistakes than well rested people. In this column, I have written some articles late at night. On the next morning, I f o u n d every paraBy Landis graph toTurner tally unintelligible. ***** The Tennessean, on April 15, 2016, carried three articles that seem appropriate for inclusion herein. Cory Batey is one of the defendants in what the press calls, the “Vanderbilt Rape Case.” There was so much media coverage that the judge brought in a jury from Chattanooga. Batey was convicted in Nashville and the jury verdict was rendered at 11 p.m. When a case goes on so late, it may be a good issue to raise on appeal. Several convictions have been reversed and new trials awarded with regard to late night verdicts. In an earlier trial of the same case, a new trial was granted by the trial judge because the jury foreman failed to respond when asked whether he had ever been a victim in a case involving sexual misconduct. To be successful in a criminal defense appeal, the defendant must show that he or she objected to the trial court’s action of which he complains. Otherwise the issue is considered waived. I tried a case in 1976 in Perry County in which the appellate court held that for a court to stay in session until late hours required “unusual and compelling circumstances,” which were not

present in the case. My recollection is that the trial judge wanted to get the case over because he planned to attend a social event the next day. Mine was an especially bad case, because the court finished trying the first issue at 1 a.m. Then a second issue extended the proceedings until 3 a.m. When such circumstances are present, neither the state nor the defendant can be at their best. Actually, the impairment of wit, so necessary during a trial, makes it impossible for either party to perform intelligently. I objected to the late hours and assigned the court’s failure to accept my position as a prime issue on appeal. The case was reversed and a new trial awarded. Upon return to the court below, a “plea bargain” settled the case. ***** The bill passed by the General Assembly making the Holy Bible the State Book was vetoed by Governor Bill Haslam. That is a good thing, because the first judge who saw it on his bench would have declared it unconstitutional without any hesitation at all. Unfortunately, the governor’s action did not come in time to prevent giving the late night television shows the biggest laughs of the night. This is only one of several acts which brought ridicule on our state. Remember the “Road Kill Act?” During his six years in office, Governor Haslam has vetoed four bills and the first three withstood an effort to override. It takes only a majority to override, but the veto gives a majority the chance to rethink the issue. The sponsors will try to override this time but I believe they will fail. During the debate on the bill, sponsors contended that they wanted passage because the book was an important economic and history guide. The legislators bought it, but the state attorney

general and governor would have none of it. ***** In 1918, in Lebanon, a young black man, pleading for his life, was lynched by hanging in the public square. Officers at the jail tried to protect the prisoner by pushing him out the back door, but they were overcome and pushed aside. The lynching was seen by about a thousand onlookers. Many bystanders, including a local preacher, tried to stop the lynching, but to no avail. The story is told by Sam McFarland, a retired professor at Western Kentucky University. The short article was published in the Tennessee Voices section of the paper. The Nashville Banner and the Mt. Juliet Weekly News opined that the lynching may have been caused, at least in part, by a recent act banning capital punishment. The Tennessean said that, in Lebanon the lynching “is generally deplored by a majority of the citizens.” Most wanted an investigation and prosecution of the lynchers. Press reports said that the accused had shot and killed the police chief, and The Tennessean had reported that the chief was popular, both as a citizen and an officer. There was practically no investigation and no one was ever identified or charged. This column discusses legal issues of general interest and does not give legal advice on any reader’s personal situation. The law is not a one-size-fits-all hat. Consult a lawyer of your choice. Landis Turner is a graduate of the University of the SouthSewanee and Vanderbilt University School of Law. He is a former president of the Tennessee Bar Association.

33 .

Unconscionable Cogitation

Chasing the Beast ©

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time for his wife or children. Contrarily, the blue collar dad struggles to make ends meet. He can spend quality time with his family, but cannot afford the extended family activities so many Americans cherish. Still better than the wealthy workaholic, though. The “fountain of youth” sure is an alluring beast. The creams, lotions, makeup, augmentations, drugs and schemes to make us look and feel younger sure do sidetrack most of us from reality. Unfortunately, diet and exercise still are the magic bullets for staying as young as possible. Lots of situps and no milkshakes! Yeah, I know, this article is really getting negative and annoying. I’m writing it and it is even getting on my nerves. What ever happened to aging gracefully growing wiser? Anyway, I don’t fall for all those stay-young gimmicks. Forget the toupee, dyes and hair transplants. I am going to just be me and join COAA (Comb Over Association of America). “Keep it real, keep it natural.” Cool, gifted people don’t have a beast they are chasing. Intrinsically, they are satisfied sharing their gift with the rest of us without compensation, but will take pay if offered. Don’t kid yourself about that. And if they make it big, great! These are the best folks. They appreciate what’s on the inside more than the temporary, earthly gain. Still doing what they love into their golden years. Not a-chase-the-beast burnout at 40. I’m awesome at nothing. Just good ole, all around mediocre. No great gift to offer the world. No big, money-making beasts to chase. But way down deep inside of my illogical psyche, I wonder if I could make it big chasing the beast of non-awesomeness. Sorry, gotta go. A tiger with an extraordinarily long tail just ran through the back yard.

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• God’s Calendar • God’s appointed days and Feasts which are a shadow of Messiah’s first and second coming. • God’s commandments and how God never changes.


oming to Nashville and making it big in the music industry, as we all know, is “chasing the beast.” The few who do finally catch the illusive demon often wish they had not, the tiger by the tail scenario. And therein lies the crux of this article. We all have chased beasts of all sorts. The eight week old, $1,000, champion-bloodline, birddog pup running straight for the asphalt is literally a catchby-the-tail, chasing a By Shane Newbold little beast nightmare. When caught, the hyper, wiggling, untrained, sharptoothed critter, hellbent on breaking free, leaves the captor questioning whether upland bird hunting is actually worth all the trouble. The short answer is yes. A highly trained, pointing, canine companion and his master define the true essence of bonding. Catching a potential, lifelong, human mate/spouse is significantly more challenging. Physiologically, humans don’t have tails. So, the odds of catching someone by the “tail” are slim to none. People, therefore, must use psychological tactics to woo a potential mate: begging, bragging, manipulation, emotional outbursts, jealous tantrums and many other exceedingly affectionate efforts. Chasing and capturing the beast, however, potentially can become a worst case scenario, as my dear wife attests. Chasing the money beast manifests two opposing outcomes, neither of which prove positive. The wealthy workaholic lavishes earthly treasure on his family but never has

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Validity Magazine May 2016  

Abigail's Plan & Miracle Field

Validity Magazine May 2016  

Abigail's Plan & Miracle Field