Favorite #153: Woodleaf Tomato Festival

A day of fun and dancing at the Woodleaf Tomato Festival.

A day of fun and dancing at the Woodleaf Tomato Festival.

A Day of Community Fun

Woodleaf is a rural community nestled between Salisbury, Statesville and Mocksville, NC. Best known for homegrown tomatoes, names like Wetmore, Myers, Fleming and Correll come to mind when area farmers are mentioned. Born out of a desire to bring the community together as well as raise money for different charities and church projects, the Woodleaf Tomato Festival has become an annual event.

In its ninth year, the festival is held the third Saturday of August at Unity Presbyterian Church on Woodleaf-Barber Road. A community reunion of sorts, people often come from far away just to attend the festival. Stephen and Shannon Swicegood live in Virginia, but knowing relatives would be at the festival, planned a trip to surprise them.  Instead, it was Stephen and Shannon who were surprised not only by the size of the event, but how much there was to do, especially for children.

Debbie Fleming, one of the volunteers, said she heard positive comments throughout the day from people saying how much fun they were having. One of the favorite activities seemed to be the live music. Names such as the Back Creek Boys, Matthew Weaver and Lutheridge Cloggers were some of the performers.

I especially enjoyed watching my grandchildren, ages four, two and one having fun at the festival. A highlight for them was grabbing candy thrown during the early morning parade. I got tickled at my oldest grandson, Carson. When he couldn’t hold any more candy in his hands, he took off his cap, hiding his stash in the bottom.

The kids later danced with the Lady Tomatoes, seen in the photo above, to songs such as the Chicken Dance. If they didn’t know the moves, nobody cared, it was all about the fun. Debbie said the Lady Tomatoes not only dress up for the Woodleaf Festival, but also other events such as the Faith Fourth of July, representing their community as Ambassadors of goodwill, spreading joy and laughter wherever they go.

If you’ve never been to the Woodleaf Tomato Festival, make plans to go next year. There’s definitely something for everyone from the youngest to the oldest. Crafters, yard sale items, music, secret bids, hayrides, hamburgers, hot dogs, cakes, you name it, it’s all there. With money going to local charities and church projects, there’s no better way to spend a Saturday in mid-August than at the Tomato Festival. Besides, you’ll see folks you haven’t seen in years. You can even order a tomato sandwich with mayo, if you like. Mark your calendars now.

Does your community sponsor an event each year? I’d love to hear about it, so leave a comment below, message on Facebook or email dicysm@yahoo.com.





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Favorite #152: Bicycling Dirt Divas

Some of the enjoying a day on the trail.

A few of the divas taking a break on the trail. Charlotte is second from the left in red. Vickie is on the left beside Charlotte.

Positive Energy on the Trail

Charlotte Huntington and I became friends fourteen years ago when our daughters were in the same class at West Rowan Middle School. Over the years we’ve shared many special memories ranging from beach trips to birthday parties. Although we’ve had fun together, there are some interests and likes we don’t share. One of those is mountain biking.

Charlotte’s love for mountain biking happened quite by accident after hearing about the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, NC, on the radio station, 107.9, The Link. Learning the center offers a diverse choice of activities including white water rafting, kayaking, and mountain biking, Charlotte ordered tickets to go.

Although Charlotte invited me, I couldn’t go with her, so another friend, Vickie Burnoski, went along. Once arriving at the center, they discovered their only choice for the day was kayaking or mountain biking.

Since Vickie had participated in the sport of mountain biking before, Vickie encouraged Charlotte to try. Thinking it couldn’t be that hard, Charlotte agreed. Looking back, Charlotte laughs. She said, It didn’t take long for me to realize mountain biking can be quite a challenge, even when only little hills.

While the course wasn’t as easy as she thought it would be, from that one experience Charlotte fell in love with the sport. One week later, on July 4th, Charlotte’s son, David, surprised his mom with her very own mountain bike. Both Charlotte’s husband, Kurt and Vickie’s husband, Danny, didn’t think the enthusiasm would last, but they were wrong. Determined to ride, Charlotte and Vickie joined a group of ladies who enjoy mountain biking known as the Dirt Divas.

Based in Charlotte, NC, the Dirt Divas frequently ride trails in several states, including North Carolina and Virginia. The President of the organization, Patty Smith, started this club so ladies could participate and encourage each other in a sport they love. Part of their mission statement is to provide opportunities for women mountain bikers of all ages and ability levels. With fun and fitness in mind Dirt Diva rides encourage a safe and supportive environment for women who ride the trails.

Now, six years later, both Charlotte and Vickie are still riding and have only positive things to say about the club. Vickie said, To have found this group of ladies has been such a blessing. They’ve taught me so much and not just about riding, but about friendship. It makes me feel like a kid again.

Charlotte said, One of the reasons I like to ride is because of the energetic, positive people I’ve met, including four of my best friends. Sometimes when you’re 40-60 years old, people look at you and think you can’t do anything. This group proves them wrong. I love it.

To learn more about this organization, their mission statement, club activities or how to join, check out their website here.

Do you enjoy the sport of mountain biking? What experiences have you had and what trails do you like the most? Leave a comment below, message on Facebook or email dicysm@yahoo.com.










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Favorite #151: Franklin Baptist Church Youth Group

Franklin Baptist Youth enjoying a group picture at camp.

Franklin Baptist Church youth group and leaders enjoying a moment at camp.

A Time of Spiritual Growth

During the six years I’ve been the pianist at Franklin Baptist Church in Salisbury, NC, I’ve watched the youth group grow and develop into teens ready to share their love of God with others.

Last month they shared their love of God  through a Fourth of July play. Set during the 50’s in a school room anywhere USA, the youth shared historic examples of how America was founded on Christian principles. Giving up free time to practice, they also provided their own costumes and props. The girls especially loved wearing poodle skirts they borrowed from the Meroney Theater in Salisbury.

The congregation loved the efforts the youth made to demonstrate love of God and patriotism for our country. One veteran stood up afterwards and said, It’s refreshing to see young people show respect for our country. I want to say thank-you.

The next morning, this same group hopped on a van for a trip to Gatlinburg, Tenn. and a week long Bible study. The leaders of the group, Lee and Cindy Dupre along with Gene and Michelle Hatfield volunteer time each week to work with the teens.

Cindy said the most important reason for the retreat was to spend time in the Bible, allowing the teens to grow in wisdom. Each year Lee is the one responsible for planning the Bible study. This year he chose Proverbs. Every day the youth read four chapters with discussions afterward.

Although the most important aspect of the retreat is to help the youth grow in their Christian faith, there’s no doubt, fun is important, too. Cindy said it’s through fellowship and fun that relationships are built. Some of the activities enjoyed by all were Dollywood, Splash Country and picnic at the Chimneys in the Mountains.

To show how much they learned, when the youth returned from their week-long retreat, they asked if they could share. Pastor Joe agreed. Everyone was amazed at the wisdom and maturity these young people exhibited as they spoke during the Sunday morning service about what they had learned and experienced. One said Proverbs is her favorite book in the Bible now because of the wisdom and knowledge that can be gained from reading it.  Maybe we all should spend a little time in Proverbs. After all, Solomon, the writer of that book said, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

When asked what they liked best about the retreat, several were quick to respond.

Ethan Aguilera: What I liked best about the retreat was learning about wisdom and how it applies in our everyday life by differentiating between right and wrong. The way we learn is by reading our Bible.

Jordan Plummer: Our youth retreats are always filled with fun, fellowship, laughter and most of all, God. There is never a dull moment. I’m blessed to have the youth group I do.

Garrett Beck: Our youth retreat this year was a blast and a blessing. Having quiet time both in the morning and the evening creates an atmosphere of God’s word. This year’s retreat was filled with God’s word, friends and fun.

Cindy said, This is a great group of young people, giving and accepting of each other.

From their testimony and witness, Cindy, I’d have to agree, but then again, they have awesome leaders. Do you have a youth group at your church?  What activities are they involved in to build relationships and spiritual growth? Leave a comment below, message on Facebook or email dicysm@yahoo.com.







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Favorite #150: Barn Quilts

Sharing a bit of history through quilts and barn quilts.

Maurice and Mary Lee sharing a bit of history through quilts and barn quilts.

Love and Beauty on a Barn

I’ve known Adele Goodman for a number of years, having met her through the Mt Ulla Historic Preservation Society (MUHPS). During the years that MUHPS has been in existence projects like the promotion of the North Carolina Scenic Highway have been undertaken to increase and preserve the beauty of the land in Rowan County. One of the more recent projects has been encouraging local farmers to make their barns a focal point of the landscape by adding a barn quilt.

A barn quilt is a quilt square pattern painted on weatherized material large enough to be seen from a distance. The idea of barn quilts originated with Donna Sue Groves in Adams County, Ohio in 2001 as a way to preserve quilt patterns for future generations. Once people saw her barn quilt, the tradition began to catch on locally, eventually spreading to other states and across the country. One reason someone might want a barn quilt is to bring business into an area that might not otherwise have much traffic. Although people often travel to see the quilt and then stop to shop at local stores, visitors mostly enjoy the sheer beauty and nostalgia that barn quilts have to offer.

After learning about barn quilts Adele immediately wanted one. Not knowing who to contact to paint hers, she asked around at church and in the community. It took several connections until she discovered the perfect painters, Pam Bostian and her cousin-in-law, Susan Bostian.

These two ladies are meticulous in their painting technique, making sure to get all the details just right, using a professional grade sign board called MDO that will stand the test of time. After priming several coats, they tape off the design, painting one color at a time to get rich deep colors. The final step in the process includes several coats of a weather resistant poly to seal and protect the paint.

During a recent visit to the Mary L. Farm in Mt Ulla, NC,  it was hard to believe the intricate details Pam and Susan had copied onto a newly painted barn quilt from a handmade quilt stitched long ago, but there it was right before our eyes. Maurice and Mary Lee Parker, seen in the photo above, were delighted with the outcome and can’t wait to proudly display it on their barn for generations to come. Mary Lee said, “People don’t quilt like they did years ago, so unless we save that history somehow, children and grandchildren won’t understand.” She added, “What better way to preserve that history than a barn quilt?”

You’re exactly right, Mary Lee. A barn quilt is a great way to incorporate the history of quilts, showcasing their unique patterns in a way everyone can enjoy.

To learn more about barn quilts, be sure to check out the Salisbury Post link here. A listing of farms in the West Rowan area that have barn quilts are included in a column in the Sunday edition of that newspaper.

If you would like to order a barn quilt, have an existing barn quilt hanging in Rowan County or want to learn how to paint your own, please contact pambostian@gmail.com 704-664-4562.

Are barn quilts showing up in your town or community? If so, are they on an established trail? Leave a comment below, message on Facebook or email dicysm@yahoo.com







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Favorite #149: Lessons Learned from Children

Children know how to enjoy life.

Children know how to enjoy life and have fun no matter where they are.

Enjoying Life as It Comes

Most everyone looks forward to the lazy-hazy days of summer. Visions of picnics, strolls in the park, swimming parties and vacations all seem to be forefront on our minds. As you can see in the photo, my grandsons love playing in the pool on a hot summer day. Sometimes something as simple as pouring water from a bucket or pouring water on each other’s head produce the greatest peals of laughter.

As adults we can learn life lessons from watching children interact with each other. They don’t worry about money, politics or the state of affairs of the country. Living in the moment, they’re only concerned about playtime, their next snack and taking a nap.

This past week I spent the day with my three grandchildren ages, 4, 2 and 1. On occasion there was a spat or two, but once reminded to share and take turns, after a few hugs and saying, “sorry,” life went on and all was forgotten.

If adults could learn to live in the moment, giving a few hugs and saying, “I’m sorry,” instead of holding on to a grudge forever, what a better place this would be. A nap each day wouldn’t hurt either. Have you ever watched a child after nap time? Usually they wake up with a smile, happy to see those around them. Since most adults are sleep deprived, think how much more productive the work place would be if everyone took naps in the middle of the day. Of course, a cookie would be nice, too.

The next time you’re having a bad day, spend time with your children. They totally will change your perspective. If you’re lucky enough to have a pool, jump in. You don’t even have to change clothes. Kids don’t care. They think it’s the greatest thing to get you totally wet. And that’s the way it should be.

What life lessons have you learned from children? Leave a comment below, message on Facebook or email dicysm@yahoo.com.

If you’re looking for something to do this week,  Stratford Road Shopping Mall in Winston-Salem is having a day of fun activities for both young and old, Thursday, July 23. As a customer of PostNet-Winston-Salem, I’ll be there.

Saturday, July 25th the Mooresville Public Library is hosting author day from 10:00 to 1:00. They’re inviting everyone to come out and support local authors. Books will be available. Hope to see you at the Mooresville Public Library.






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Favorite #148: Dogs and Good Books

Kaner and Rocko know a good book when they see one.

Kaner and Rocko know a good book when they see one.

Dogs Like Good Books, Too.

In my search for a favorite person, place or thing each week, I never know where that search will take me. Sometimes it’s to a beautiful place on the way to somewhere else and sometimes it’s as close as my computer screen, like this week when I found the photo to the right.

Many of you probably know by now that my latest book, Tired of Being Obedient, made the top 100 list for children’s books on Amazon a few weeks ago. Special thanks to dog trainer and the main character in the story, Glenn Sherrill, for his help in getting the word out. Wanting the book to be a success, he even made a video for his Facebook page asking people to buy.

One of those people who bought was Dr. Jennifer Statis. After receiving her copy of Tired of Being Obedient, she posted a photo of her dogs, Kaner and Rocko, with the book in-between them. The caption over the photo read, Mom said this will be our favorite bedtime story all summer.

After seeing the photo and thinking it was cute,  I asked Jennifer if I could write about her dogs. Honored, she explained that Kaner is a boxer-bulldog mix found through a boxer rescue, while Rocko, seen on the Cabarrus County Humane Society website at six-months-old, stole her family’s heart away. Jennifer said,  Roko is a bit of everything: German shepherd, Labrador retriever, Rottweiler, and maybe Collie.

After meeting and evaluating Kaner and Rocko, Glenn thought it best to train them together because during the time Kaner began having issues, refusing to leave the safety of his driveway, Rocko also began having issues. Rocko’s issue was showing aggression towards anyone approaching on walks, the front door, etc.

Happy with the results of the training, Jen said, Glenn worked wonders with my boys, making our relationship more enjoyable and less stressful. He worked with us using this ingenious collar, the No Pull No Pain Collar he developed. I was able not only to get Kaner through his zone of terror (driveway) but could actually enjoy taking both dogs on a walk through public parks without having an arm pulled off: they were calm and happy. It was a whole new relationship. What a gift Glenn has. When we get our next fur-baby the first thing I’ll do is sign up for Train Play Live classes so we can start off the right way.

I agree with Jen that Glenn has a gift for training dogs because I’ve seen firsthand not only the results he’s had from training other dogs, but also the results from training my husband’s boxer, Bo. Although Bo has always been a sweet dog and wouldn’t hurt a fly, before Glenn worked with him, he had the bad habit of jumping. After Glenn’s training, Bo became a “gentle giant,” understanding what it means to be calm and submissive.

Jen, thanks for sharing your photo and story about Kraner and Rocko. I’m glad thy liked the book and I know Glenn will be, too. If you’d like to learn more about Glenn Sherrill, click here.

If you haven’t purchased your copy of Tired of Being Obedient on Amazon, it’s never too late. Who knows? Maybe it will become your dog’s favorite book, too.

Do you have a story to share about your dog(s)? If so leave a comment below, message on Facebook or email dicysm@yahoo.com






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Favorite #147: The Fourth of July: The Spirit of America

A Day of Celebration and Fun

What a fun way to show American pride.

What a fun way to show American pride.

While there’s no doubt the Fourth of July is a special holiday for Americans, it’s unfortunate many don’t understand the reason why. Do you?

Several years ago during a children’s sermon at Franklin Baptist Church, Pastor Joe Thomas asked the children what the Fourth of July meant to them. The responses were varied and different with some children shouting out fireworks, fire trucks, parades, fun, hanging out with friends, flying the flag, freedom.

Local author and writer, Evelyn Looney, enjoyed the 4th of July parade in Mocksville, NC, so much this year she shared on Facebook. After reading her account, I’m thinking next year I want to go. Printed with permission, here’s Evelyn’s account:

Enjoyed going to the Mocksville, NC Tractor Parade. Amazing how many different kinds of tractors are in the parade: BIG, little, old, new and everything in between. One stood out that made me smile: the tractor was painted a pretty shade of pink, even the wheel rims. . . and was driven by a cute, confident, young lady who drove like she had a lot of practice doing the real thing. The old guys in bibbed overalls made me think of my Dad. He died just a few days after he attended a 4th of July celebration. It always pleased him when they recognized the veterans.

It wasn’t until late afternoon that I noticed a photo Linda Campbell Morrow posted of her husband, Bob, riding through their neighborhood waving the American flag. When I asked Linda the circumstances of the photo, little did I expect the heartwarming story she shared. All I can say is I’m glad I asked.

Linda said Bob woke up early July 4th thinking it would be a great idea to ride around the neighborhood on a bicycle waving the American flag. While on the surface this appeared to be a simple act of patriotism, it’s so much more because the American flag he was waving holds special significance to the family.

Linda explained how in 2009 a neighborhood friend was deployed to Afghanistan leaving behind three children. Two of the children were boys. While deployed, the friend asked Bob if he would watch over the boys. Reassuring his friend he would be glad to, during the coming months Bob spent time with the boys, taking them fishing, playing ball, etc. On July 3rd of 2009, Bob received a package from Afghanistan. Inside was an American flag with the explanation that it had flown over the American headquarters in Kabul in honor of Bob’s birthday.

Excited and surprise, Linda said, The very next day that flag flew high at our neighborhood parade. Every year since, we have proudly displayed that flag, remembering the sacrifices made by those who fought and continue to fight so that we may have our freedom. God bless America.

No matter how we celebrate or what our traditions are, the one common thread for the 4th of July is freedom. When asking my neighbor Randall what July 4th means to him, I wasn’t surprised when he answered, Freedom isn’t free. As a veteran who served in the Army in Germany during the Cold War, he understands sacrifice. Proud of his service, Randall said, I would do it again.

While we all agree July 4th is a special holiday, it’s sad many people don’t understand the history and why we celebrate. It goes all the way back to the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Wanting to be free from British rule, 56 men willingly put their lives on the line, suffering the consequence for their actions. Some were killed and called traitors, while others had their homes burned and left penniless because of their stand for freedom. Now, almost 250 years later we’re still standing on their shoulders of bravery. Yes, Randall, freedom isn’t free.

Even though some think America is broken, America’s spirit is alive and well. If you don’t believe me, just listen to the voices of those who came before. In the walls and halls of all the buildings in Washington, DC, you can find it. In the voices of the military, you can find it. And, in the faces of the children on the Fourth of July, you can find it. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The spirit of America. Now that’s worth a celebration, don’t you agree?

What are you doing to keep the spirit of America alive? Leave a comment below, message on Facebook or email dicysm@yahoo.com





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Favorite#146: Entrepreneur, Tara Safrit

Tara pamering her mom with Arbonne.
Tara, pampering her mom, Betsy Safrit, with Arbonne.

A Bright Future Ahead

Tara Safrit graduated this past May with a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Catawba College in Salisbury, NC. Looking to pay off student loans, she hoped to find work after graduation to supplement her income as a preschool teacher. Little did Tara expect an opportunity to materialize so quickly, and yet, that’s exactly what happened. A few weeks before graduating from Catawba she became a part of a company she feels passionate about.

Arbonne is a company similar to Avon where consultants are invited into different homes to share their products. Winning an Arbonne spa earlier this spring, Tara discovered she loved the products and experience so much, she inquired about becoming a consultant. Referred to the regional manager, Ryan Ragsdale, for more information, Tara learned from Ryan the process of booking spas, introducing products to people and making money. The more Tara learned about the company, the more she knew this was a good fit for her. She especially liked the way the products made her feel, the freshness of the natural scents and the emphasis on total health both inside and out. Tara’s first spa as a consultant was April 28th.

In the short amount of time that Tara’s been a consultant she’s learned not only about the business and products, but also how to help customers. Never one to stand in front of a crowd and feel at ease, Tara is so passionate about the products Arbonne has to offer, she has overcome her fears. I’ve seen firsthand the confidence she exhibits in explaining details of each product as if she’s being doing this for years. Enthusiastic about her new career, Tara hopes to continue growing her business, helping ladies feel beautiful both inside and out.

It’s great to see a young person excited about opportunities that come their way. With so many people dreading work each day, it’s refreshing to see someone excited about their career choice and future. Knowing how much Tara enjoys helping others, I’m sure what ever she does will be a success. If interested in learning more about Arbonne or hosting a spa with Tara, click here.

Are you passionate about your career? What is it and how long have you been in that field? Did somone inspire you along the way? Leave a comment below, message on Facebook or email dicysm@yahoo.com.

Thanks to everyone who purchased my latest book, Tired of Being Obedient, on Amazon.com. this past week. I’m happy to report Tired of Being Obedient made the top 100 list for children’s books in the category of dogs and animals. I couldn’t have done it without you. A special thanks to Glenn Sherrill for his help in spreading the word. If you haven’t purchased your copy of Tired of Being Obedient, it’s never too late. Reviews on Amazon are always appreciated.

Thanks again,






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Favorite #145: Mark Rockwell’s Tribute to his Dad

Mark Rockwell and his dad, James A. Rockwell.

Mark Rockwell and his dad, James A. Rockwell, getting together during football season, 2011.

Love and Respect for a Dad

Mark Rockwell and I became colleagues when he began teaching fourth grade at Mt Ulla Elementary School fifteen years ago. I was the music teacher at the time. After retiring, I lost contact with Mark until a few years ago when I discovered he was a teacher at Millbridge Elementary School.

Even though I always knew Mark was a great teacher, I didn’t discover until a few months ago through his blog that hes also a talented writer. The blog described his journey as a Christian facing the terminal diagnosis of his dad with cancer. Seeing such tremendous faith and love and thinking this would be an inspirational Fathers Day tribute for others to read, I asked if I could share his story on my blog as well as our local newspaper, The Salisbury Post. Mark agreed, but only if God gets the glory, he said. Used with permission, here is part of Marks tribute to his dad, James A. Rockwell.

Just after midnight, February 20, 2015, marked three years since my dad passed. Simply put, he was a hard-working man who seemed to routinely get the short end of the stick regardless of the fact that he was usually the first person ready to help somebody else out when they needed a hand. Thankfully, after several conversations with him in his final months, I know he was able to pass with the assurance of having accepted the hope and forgiveness of Jesus.

His character was a testament to the way he was raised by my Grandma and Grandpa on a small upstate New York farm where responsibilities and chores took precedence over personal interests or entertaining distractions that were more available to other kids his age in the forties and fifties. His interactions with others rarely happened without involving some kind of neighborly kindness. He always enjoyed visiting older neighbors, relatives, and friends, and his 1952 John Deere Model M tractor was kept busy plowing neighborhood driveways during every upstate New York winter that I experienced growing up. I’ve always known him to lend a hand when it came to construction projects, emptying water out of the elderly neighbors basement when it routinely flooded after rainstorms, and taking the neighbors trash with him when he was headed to the landfill.

Years later, after he moved south to North Carolina to help provide daycare for our newborn son, he became my dependable partner in getting up at 3:30 AM to prepare and serve Saturday morning breakfast each month at the local homeless shelter. He always modeled what it meant to be a good man without ever opening his mouth to talk about what he was doing or telling others what they should be doing.

He never let his circumstances become either license for arrogance or a calling card for sympathy like so many others do. What started out as a routine trip to the doctors office to figure out why he was having digestive problems led to the discovery of an intestinal blockage caused by a carcinoid cancer tumor and surgery to remove it. It was during his recovery from the surgery and a follow-up visit to the surgeons office that his journey took a turn for the worse. Instead of slowly becoming more mobile and independent while recovering from surgery he began exhibiting diminished motor skills and increased weakness on his right side. His surgeon called some neurological specialists into his office visit to examine him and, as a result admitted him back into the hospital where a CT scan revealed a mass on the left-rear lobe of his brain. The mass was what would turn out to be a grade four, malignant, glioblastoma multiforme brain tumor.

It was just after this diagnosis when I asked him, in a moment when it was just the two of us in his hospital room, what he was thinking and how he was feeling about what was happening. He answered, One day at a time, Mark. Were just going to keep putting one foot in front of the other and take it as it comes.

… Philippians 4: 5 and 6 (NIV) says: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Although Mark was a Christian before his dad passed, several events occurred afterwards that drew him even closer in his walk. As a direct result of these events, Mark became involved with the Hands & Feet Project. The goal of this organization is to provide care for orphaned and abandoned children in Haiti, the poorest country of the Western Hemisphere.

When a loved one passes we often look at it as the end, but sometimes its only the beginning. Having lost my husband, Michael, last year I understand that kind of pain and grief. When the loss is fresh, its hard to look past the moment and think of a future without them. For me, as time has passed, I’ve come to realize were left behind for a reason and if we patiently wait and earnestly seek, well find that reason. I believe Mark has found his.

If youd like to read more of Marks tribute to his dad or about his work with the Hands & Feet Project, check out his blog on WordPress.com.

Do you have a special memory or story to tell about your dad? Leave a comment below, message on Facebook or email dicysm@yahoo.com.


My publisher, Warren Publishing has designated Tuesday, June 23rd as a target date for boosting sales for my latest book, Tired of Being Obedient, on Amazon.com. If you get a chance to stop by Amazon.com and purchase on Tuesday, that would be great.  Local dog trainer, Glenn Sherrill, is the main character in the story. Tips for training dogs can be found in the back.





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Favorite #144: PostNet (Winston-Salem)

Jennings, Jeanette and Jessica are excited about helping customers at their new Postnet business in Winston-Salem.

Jennings, Jeanette and Jessica are excited and happy to help customers any way they can at their new PostNet business in Winston-Salem, NC.

Service with a Smile

While many people dream of owning a business some day, not everyone is lucky enough to see that dream come true. I was excited to learn my friends, Jeanette and Jennings Nelson along with their son Jason, made their dream come true last year by purchasing and opening a PostNet franchise in Winston-Salem, NC.

Jason already knew about the great service PostNet offered its customers because living in Mooresville, NC, he often stopped in to mail or ship packages at the local franchise there. Jeanette also knew of PostNet’s reputation because she had seen the CEO, Steve Greenbaum, on the popular television program, Undercover Boss. Impressed with the high quality of customer service, she thought this might be something worth looking into. Having many years of experience in business and sales, after much research, soul-searching and prayer, Jennings, Jeanette and Jason came to the decision that purchasing a PostNet franchise was the opportunity of a lifetime.

Once the process began, it took about a year to bring everything together. Choosing Winston-Salem, NC, as the site for their franchise, Jennings said they made that decision for several reasons. One was because Winston-Salem didn’t have a PostNet and the other was because they found Winston-Salem to be a thriving, growing community with an emphasis on helping small business.

With almost a year behind them now, Jennings, Jeanette and Jason believe they made the right decision. Jennings said, We have enjoyed getting to know the people of Winston-Salem during the last year. They have been very supportive and made us feel welcome from day one. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to start a new business.

In addition to mailing and shipping packages, PostNet offers graphic design, print and website layout. Jessica Rhodes, as the graphic designer and only daughter of the Nelsons, knows what is expected, offering that same friendly service that customers love and appreciate.

Seeing the Nelsons serving in their community and church as leaders for over 35 years, I’ve witnessed firsthand how they always offer a ready smile, a word of encouragement or a helping hand to everyone they meet. It’s only natural this kind of philosophy transfered into their business.

As a children’s author I’m always needing updated business cards, flyers, brochures and posters. When my latest book, Tired of Being Obedient, came out in April, PostNet (Winston-Salem) updated everything efficiently and at a reasonable price. It’s for sure, I’ll be using them again and again.

Congratulations, Jennings, Jeanette, Jason and Jessica for a successful beginning to your new business venture. Here’s hoping it continues to grow and grow.

While many times we’re afraid to step outside our comfort zone for fear of the unknown, when we do, we find ourselves, like the Nelsons, pleasantly surprised. If you could own a business someday, what would it be? What’s holding you back? Leave a comment below, message on Facebook or email dicysm@yahoo.com.

As many of you know my latest book, Tired of Being Obedient, is now on Amazon.com. To help boost the ranking, my publisher Warren Publishing in Charlotte, NC, is asking everyone to purchase from Amazon on the target date, Tuesday, June 23rd. Thanks in advance.






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