Tim Chancellor–Advice for Dyslexics With ADHD

I’d like to welcome Tim Chancellor to the blog. Thanks for being with us, Tim.  Can you tell us where you live and how old you are?
Columbia, Missouri, and the big 50…….

What do you do for a living?
I deliver wine and spirits to restaurants, stores, and bars during the week/mornings and own/operate a bus & limo business that I work in the evenings/weekends. I love being a part of people’s special occasions from weddings, birthdays, formals all the way to first time skydiving. We also work with groups that don’t have smiles, like funerals and sequestered juries.

Where can we find you on the internet?
Celebrationlimousines.biz.  I keep getting encouraged to write a blog as people know of the many stories I have throughout the years of working with “normal” people and celebrities. Maybe someday I will jot down the funny things that happen in a limo and party bus.

Can you share a funny story about the limo/bus business?
Just purchased the limo and a childhood friend had his son graduating from military school…everyone was having a great time, pulled into the driveway, and was helping everyone out of the car when I heard a splashing sound.  I glanced in the car to see a mother’s face of fear, and vomit on sixteen feet of seats.  This eight year old looked up at me and said “sorry dude, I drank too much tonight… I had twelve suicides.” (That’s when you put every soda flavor in the glass.)

I would imagine the family is still talking about that one.  The most interesting place you’ve visited?
Just a few miles from our home, we have a cave called the Devil’s Icebox. You can take a tour underground for several miles; some areas are tiny, crawling through into larger rooms with many branching off tunnels.  Sometimes you don’t have to travel far to find another world to explore.

Your favorite meal would be?
I love a thick med rare steak but, with a mouthful of “sweet” teeth, I can make almost any dessert a meal.

Favorite dessert?
Anything sweet…haha. I would prefer to have my dessert first and vote for having dessert at every meal.  People are conditioned to have a drink at every meal like coffee, juice, soda, beer  and so forth; we need to enjoy dessert after breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Pet peeve?
Mouth noises…crunching ice, chewing with your mouth open…my wife tells me I need medication.

Favorite book?
“The Shack,” followed closely by “The Alchemist.”

If people want to pray for you, they could pray for…..?
Not sure.  I am blessed with tons of experiences (negative/positive) and He places me around people who I can share with and it seems to impact their lives. Maybe continue using me to let people see Him through me.

Are you married or have you been?  Any kids?
Engaged.  I call Lisa my wife already…Sept 9th.

I have a daughter 24 and a son 21. Lisa has a son 19 and one 16.

If you had any spare time, what would you do with it?
Travel…well I would need spare money for that but I love to explore and learn. Life is about experiences and relationships. Loved the missions trip several years ago to Guatemala mountains.

Can you tell us a little about the mission trip to Guatemala?
I was very active in my church for a while, leadership…was burned pretty bad by the top leadership and board so I went to another church and sat in back and observed.  It was a dark part of life, unemployed, divorcing, etc… I volunteered at different places to stay busy while seeking employment. One place had ties with the missions trip and they asked if I would go and they and the church would cover my expenses. This was such a humbling experience; I was in my self-pity party until I discovered how poor and desperate other people, communities were.

One thing many people don’t know you can do?
People are always amazed how I see and do things differently. I am dyslexic/ADHD and have coped with this blessing, using it as a benefit not a disability. I don’t always do things like others and some appreciate the alternative while some don’t.

Tell us some interesting things about yourself that aren’t already covered.
My memory is horrible, so I use photographs to mark my experiences. I love to take pics of life.

I love the positive attitude about dyslexia and ADHD.  Could I ask you to offer some advice to either those living with dyslexia or those living with ADHD (or both?)  
Life is really about perception in my experience. You can see anything in a positive or negative light.  I read that 90% of the most successful CEOs are ADHD. Of course they don’t last long, they get fired or transferred to another company to do their magic; one started a major airline, was fired and started another major airline.  Our relationships are like that too…we impact people but not for long.  I like to think we are like those everyday angels that impact your day, even those days we don’t know they’re in our lives.

When I worked for the Missouri Bureau of Investigations, I came up with an investigative concept of pictures. I would have people “paint the picture”…I would use comments like “as I am looking at this picture, I see what next to…?”  This concept would help people provide details that they didn’t realize would be helpful for us.  The Attorney General’s office continued to call me several years after I left asking me if I would help them because nobody else could get the confessions that I got. I told them it was about developing a relationship and trust.  Being dyslexic is about seeing the different angles….yes, backwards numbers and letters but you can also choose to use it to round out the square views.

Tim, thanks much for being with us and for sharing from your experiences.  Take care and God bless.

Heather Denton–Advice for Seafood Lovers

Hi, and thanks for being with us.  Can you tell us your name?  Any nicknames?
Heather Denton (Mrs. Denton – or Dragon Lady)

Where can we find you on the internet?
Instagram – Dragon.Lady.Denton

How did “Dragon Lady” come to be an identifier?
I think I gave it to myself, but I’m not really sure. Somehow it became a thing at school. When I get really upset (usually about bullying) my ears turn red, then my face, then my neck. I get really quiet and dangerous. Kids who have seen her swear smoke comes out my ears. I have multiple pictures made by teachers and students alike, trying to capture the horror that she is – none have come close.

What do you do for a living?
I am a middle school theatre teacher. I have taught at Rugby Middle School for 18 years.

Do you mind telling us how old you are?
41.  Loud and proud.

Where do you call home?
In Hendersonville, North Carolina in reality, at the beach in my mind.

What’s the most interesting place you’ve visited?
My classroom. It’s always changing. Something is ALWAYS happening!

A new student comes into your classroom in the middle of the year.  What’s the experience like for them?   
Well, if they come into my class in the middle of the year, they probably come in with everybody else. Kids get me for only nine weeks at a time each year. So everybody gets a little taste of each exploratory we have. Thus the term “exploratory.” But as to my class – they see me with my multi-colored hair being a crazy lady. I love to make my kids laugh, so I just get weird and silly. I purposely “try” to be cool and purposely fail miserably. Thus, strangely, I AM cool. My kids will experience Shakespeare, Moliere, Sophocles, and Broadway, just to name a few. I lead a very high energy class that (hopefully) everyone knows is a safe space for all. And I don’t mean just a safe space to act crazy and have fun. I mean, no making fun of others (unless it’s me!), no leaving anyone out based on looks, money, etc. and if you identify anyway in your life, you can be who you need to be there.

Your favorite meal would be?
Raw oysters, crab legs, and shrimp. Sides optional.

Pet peeve?
People who ask what my pet peeve is. No, not really. Students who whine. About everything. Ugh! Soooooooo annoying! Why won’t they STOOOOOPPP?

Favorite book, or movie, or television show?
Movie – So I Married An Axe Murderer; Book – More of a genre – fantasy; TV Show – Pretty much any cooking show but my guilty pleasure is Hell’s Kitchen.

What’s the appeal of “Hell’s Kitchen?”  (And, if you don’t mind, tell us why it’s a “guilty” pleasure?)  
Well, the appeal of Hell’s Kitchen is obviously Gordon Ramsay. What a hottie!! And it’s a guilty pleasure because it’s obviously trash TV. I should be watching something life changing, like “This is Us” or something. Instead I binge watch old episodes and drool over the cursing, hottie chef!

If people want to pray for you, they could pray for……?
I would say patience, but when I pray for patience God thinks it’s funny to TEACH it rather than just *poof* give it! So, if people want to pray for me, they could pray for my aunt’s health.

I absolutely agree with you about praying for patience.  Bad, bad idea.  Can you tell us a little about your aunt?
My Aunt Diane lives in Waynesville down the way from my mom. They are very close despite Di being 11 years older than my mom. (My mom was a miracle baby!) She has COPD and emphysema. She’s been having a hard time lately.

Are you married or have you been?  Any kids?  Grandkids?  Pets?  
I am married to a great guy, Jason Denton. No kids, unless you count the 600 I teach every year. I do have one grandkid. Ha! One dog – Toonie. She is the cutest darn thing!

One thing many people don’t know you can do?
Bend and hook my thumbs behind my hand.

I’m not sure I needed to know that, but thanks.  If you had any spare time, what would you do with it?
Go to the beach (that is, if I had the $), read a book, direct a show. (I have a bunch of free time in the summer so I fill it with directing or acting usually!)

Tell us some interesting things about yourself that aren’t already covered.
I am in Killer Theater- a comedy, murder mystery, interactive dinner theater group.

Thanks much.  Okay, this is “Advice for Everyone,” so I need to ask you to give some counsel to help people out.  Can I ask you to give us some advice for seafood lovers?  How to tell a good restaurant, how to get the most out of the meal, the best way to eat oysters or crack crab legs, anything that might come to mind. Hit us with your best shot.
Okay. Advice for seafood lovers. Eat it. Yeah. That’s it. Just eat it! Doesn’t matter how you do it, just do it. Oh, and most importantly, invite me. 😊

That’s brilliant in its elegant simplicity, Heather.  Thanks much for letting us get to know you a little bit, and God bless.

Noel T. Manning–Advice for Limousine Drivers

Welcome to “Advice for Everyone!”  Can you tell us your name?  Any nicknames?
Noel T. Manning II – many call me Noel T.

What do you do for a living?
Associate VP for Marketing and Communications. Worked in broadcast journalism for ten years, and have been reviewing films for numerous outlets since college.

Can you give us a sentence or two on what makes a good movie for you?  How about a bad one?
Tough question. Because you have movies for entertainment, and then movies for art purposes. But first, I always look at the story, the idea, the concept that holds a film together. After that I examine the other puzzle pieces like characters, conflicts, acting, set design, effects, sound design, score … the whole package. A really good movie with an “A+” rating should hit strong on all those marks, and honestly that could be a popcorn blockbuster film or an Oscar caliber arthouse flick. It really varies. Ultimately I look for the purpose of the film, its meaning, and how all that comes together with the director’s intent. A bad film can fall short on several areas. I always go into any film expecting it to be at least average, and then I’ll grade up or down from there.

How old are you?
Older than the original Star Wars (1977) film, and younger than the camp classic Planet of Vampires (1965).

Where do you live?
Boiling Springs, North Carolina.

Where can we find you on the internet?
I offer reviews, commentary, and stories to numerous blogs and websites, but here’s a general snapshot:  criticschoice.com/members/nmanning/ and on twitter @noeltmanning or @CinemasceneUSA

The most interesting place you’ve visited?
Russia

Can you tell us a little about the Russia trip?
I went on a study abroad trip for a month to Russia in 1992. I fully immersed myself in the culture, the history, and the understanding of differences and similarities between peoples and nations. I discovered we had much more in common than I’d grown up believing. As a kid, I’d remembered Russia being our perceived enemy (Cold War style), but once I really got to know the regular people, I discovered we were much more alike than I could’ve imagined. We all wanted what was best for our people, and many times it related to a good paying job, food on the table, a good shelter overhead, and a positive future for our children. That really awakened me.

I was in Moscow on the day that Pepsi Cola was introduced to the country; that was an awesome experience to see people lined around the block for a taste of a cola drink that was born in the Carolinas.

I also discovered that the Russians loved American T-shirts (and MC Hammer pants), and I had quite a few. There were many times I literally traded the clothes off of my back for some brilliantly unique souvenirs. I still have a flag that once flew inside the Kremlin during the Cold War days.

The experience was unforgettable. I learned some conversational Russian, and quite a bit about their history too while there. It opened my eyes to a whole new world, and I think I did the same for some of the Russians as well. Even though there is quite a bit of chaos going on right now with Russia and the USA (yes, again), I still value my time and experiences there.

Your favorite meal?
Anything with peanut butter …. and/or chocolate.

Ever had any brushes with greatness?
Yes. Because of my work in TV, film, photography and music over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to meet and interview Oscar winners, Emmy winners, Grammy winners and the like. From Octavia Spencer, to stars from the Big Bang Theory, to Bluegrass pioneer Earl Scruggs, I’ve been incredibly blessed to spend time with some great talents. One favorite memory connects to singer/songwriter Tom Petty.  I was shooting photography for a concert venue while he was in town, and I happened to bump into him backstage before his concert. When he saw me, he beamed with excitement, came up and grabbed me and said, “Hey, man, so great to see you, how ya been?” We exchanged pleasantries and chatted for a while. As we wrapped things up, he invited me backstage after the concert, and said to make sure I brought my sister too if she was around. I thanked him, said my farewell, wished him a good show and walked on … then I realized, I don’t even have a sister.

Pet peeve?
Bullies (of any age)

Favorite book, or movie, or television show?
Book: The Traveler’s Gift (Andy Andrews).  Movie faves  – 1. Almost Famous 2. Children of Men 3. Forrest Gump 4. Last of the Mohicans 5. Up (not in any particular order). TV Show: (classic) “The Twilight Zone” (current) “House of Cards”

If people want to pray for you, they could pray for….?
Continued guidance to live to serve God with my gifts and talents (the same for my children as well).

Tell us about your family?
Married since 1994 to Beth Lamb Manning (school teacher). Two Children: Kathryn Manning (college senior and has had two study-away experiences), Thomas Manning (high school senior and multi-marathon runner).

One thing many people don’t know you can do?
Drive a limo (once drove Aerosmith).

Can you offer some advice for limo drivers?
Driving someone in a limo can be a lot like being a counselor or bartender. I was amazed at how many people wanted to share with me their stories, concerns with the world, and personal problems. I discovered that you should always be open to listen, express interest, engage in dialogue without judgement, and be open to seek understanding of other opinions, thoughts and cultural differences. Driving a limo introduced me to people of varied life trajectories and backgrounds. I even drove members of Aerosmith once, and Steven Tyler chose to ride in the front seat with me – that simple instance taught me that no matter how famous or important you may be, you can always take time to spend getting to know everyday people… because at our core, we are all regular, everyday people.

… for fun, I’d drive through a McDonald’s drive-thru window in the limo –just to get reactions.

If you had any spare time, what would you do with it?
If money were no issue, I’d travel the world and journal my adventures.

Tell us some interesting things about yourself that aren’t already covered.
I love to write, read books, listen to music (variety of genres), skydive, run, hike trails, spend time with family and God, explore things beyond my comfort zone, snorkel, take part in community service, engage in dialogue with people different than I am, live life to its fullest every day.

Noel, thanks much for letting us get to know you a little bit.  May God bless you and your family in your adventures.

Katie Winkler–Advice for English Composition Instructors

Welcome, and thanks for being with us.  Can you tell us your full name?My official name is Mary Katherine Winkler, but most people know me as Katie Winkler.

What do you do for a living?
I am a teacher and a writer. For the past 22 years, I have taught English composition and literature at Blue Ridge Community College in Flat Rock, North Carolina. I also taught English and German at a Christian school in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, where I met my husband, and for three years in Rome, Georgia. Here in North Carolina I taught as a graduate assistant at Western Carolina and East Henderson High School before landing my dream job at Blue Ridge. I started writing for publication over 30 years ago and in that time have published fiction, non-fiction as well as had two full-length plays produced. In between teaching, jobs I’ve had to keep me going include secretary, job trainer, custodian, hostess, cashier, newspaper deliverer and exercise girl for polo ponies and Arabian horses.

How old are you?
I am happy to say that I am 57 years old as of April.

Where do you live?
My husband, adult daughter and I live in the Hooper’s Creek area of Fletcher in northern Henderson County, North Carolina.

Where can we find you on the internet?
My blog is “Hey, Mrs. Winkler: Musings and Mutterings about Higher Education in the South.”

I also have a story appearing in “Unbroken Circle: Stories of Cultural Diversity in the South.”  The book can be purchased on Amazon or at this website.

The most interesting place you’ve visited?
It’s hard to pick, but  I will narrow it down to three: London, Tuebingen in the southern part of Germany, and Northern California, especially the Redwoods and tidal pools.

Tell us about Tuebingen?
Tuebingen is an old university city right on the Neckar River in Baden-Wurttenburg, which is the state to the west of Bavaria in southern Germany. It is my favorite city in Germany because of its mix of old and new. There is a beautiful Natur Park (like our national park system) called Schonbuch that is within walking distance of the city. Other favorite walks include the walk to the castle Hohentuebingen and to the pretty little chapel on the hill–the Wurmlinger Kapelle.

What would be your favorite meal?
My grandmother’s pot roast with carrots and potatoes. Now that she is gone,  I make a pretty mean pot roast myself, but it could never be as good as hers.

Pet peeve?
I used to let so many little things bother me–just don’t have the energy anymore.

Favorite book?
I have no absolute favorite books because I love so many, but some of my top choices include the Bible, “Pride and Prejudice,” “Paradise Lost,”  and ”Lord of the Rings.”

If people want to pray for you, they could pray for….?
I would ask that people pray not for me alone, but for a healing of the divisiveness in our country and all the people adversely affected by it.

Are you married or have you been?  Any kids or pets? 
I have been married 28 marvelous years to the best man I know–John Winkler. We have one beautiful child, Hannah, who graduated last year with honors from Converse College in Spartanburg, South Carolina with a BA in Music–voice concentration. The fuzzy family member is Stormy, our 13-year-old cat, aka “Alarm Clock”.

What are mornings with Stormy “Alarm Clock” Winkler  like?
Can I tell you about this morning? I should mention that it’s not totally Stormy’s fault. She has hyperthyroidism, and although she is now being medicated, she is not quite to normal again, but even then, the vet says that her incessant meowing may be more related to age than the thyroid issue. Anyway, this morning, she started up at 4:30. These are not soft, cute little meows. They are loud and annoying as heck! I finally broke down and got up to feed her. As soon as she slurped up the last of her food, she started meowing again. I would be almost asleep and then be rudely awakened again and again. Finally, I gave up.

This morning was a bit unusual. Usually the “alarm” goes off at 6:30, which is fine when I’m teaching, BUT NOT IN THE SUMMER!!

One thing many people don’t know you can do?
Many people don’t know that I sing and play guitar and a little bit of piano. There is a reason few people know this.

Hah!  If you had any spare time, what would you do with it? 
I would travel more. Places I have never been but want to go include Scotland, Wales, Canada, the American Northeast and Northwest, the Caribbean, Japan, New Zealand, Iceland and Africa. Of course, I want to go back to England and Germany as many times as possible.

 Tell us some interesting things about yourself that aren’t already covered.
I was in school in Tulsa, Oklahomah when the Shah of Iran fell. Because Tulsa was the oil capital of the US at that time, we had many Iranian oil magnates living there. One Iranian oil baron had to get his mother and sister out of Iran because of the political turmoil. He hired me to tutor them in English, but they only spoke Persian! We must have been a sight going around the mall with them in their burkas speaking in Persian with me trying to point out items in English. Another time I did the same with a Chinese couple who worked at the restaurant where I worked. They hired me to teach them English, but it was a bit easier because the husband spoke some English and would translate for his wife. I also worked translating German letters for a Tulsa lawyer who raised a German breed of dog called a jaegerhund. The breed is rare in the US and his supplier only wrote in German. For the life of me, I can’t remember how I fell into these experiences, but they were great.

Can you give us some advice for English composition instructors?
My best advice to English composition teachers is for them to be active writers themselves, preferably pursuing publication and risking rejection. Nothing has helped me teach the writing process more than completing it over and over again myself. Although I have been teaching for almost thirty years and know my subject well, my own writing process reminds me of how important revision, editing and proofreading are–something I can then legitimately require from my students. Writing for publication has helped me hone my skills, learn shortcuts to good writing and pick up tips on breaking through writer’s block. (Secret: there is really only one way to break through–start writing.)

Perhaps most importantly, pursuing publication and being rejected frequently keeps a writing teacher humble. The sting of rejection reminds us of what it is like to be a student, having someone scrutinize our writing and find it wanting. The joy of acceptance teaches us to find ways to publish our students’ work, even if informally, so they too can experience the empowerment that comes with expressing themselves well and sharing their achievements with the greater community.

Thanks much!  Good luck with Stormclock.

Her new name!

And a first in my blogging career.  I’ve never re-christened a pet before.  Katie, thank you for letting us get to know you a little bit, and blessings on your endeavors and adventures.

Thanks. I appreciate the opportunity to share some about myself.

Beth Norris–Advice for Pokemon Lovers

Welcome to my blog! What’s your name, and do you have any nicknames?
My full name is Elizabeth Renee Norris. I go by Beth. My cousins call me Beffy sometimes or Beff. If my friends want to get under my skin, they call me Bethany. They know I hate it because my real name is ELIZABETH. Not. Bethany.

What is your occupation?
I currently work as a Box Office Representative at Flat Rock Playhouse. Yes, I worded this very specifically to make it sound fancy. It’s not, but being a theatre lover, the perks are everything. Some people think sneaking into tech rehearsal would be boring but I would rather sit in a dark theatre watching them run a single transition twenty times than be just about anywhere else.

Where do you live?
With my grandma. I graduated from college a year and a half ago and the same week she broke her leg. I moved in with her to help and then just didn’t want to leave her alone again. Now my aunt is talking about her moving grandma in with them and I am searching for a house to rent with friends. But that requires one of them to find a job down here and that is proving difficult.

Where could we find you on the internet?
I just did a social experiment where a stranger tried to find out as much as they could based on my Facebook. The details are a bit scary and I mean, they dug for info. Even went back a couple years… But for the most part, my Facebook is just filled with pictures and memes and stuff. So if people want to learn about my love for cats and Disney (respectively) or my obsession with Sailor Moon and/or musical theatre, by all means, check out my Facebook.

What’s the appeal of Sailor Moon?
You know, I watched it as a kid and I think the draw at the time was the sparkly costume transformations and the fact it’s an all girl super hero group but I think what gets me about it now is that their strength comes from love and friendship. I have always been fiercely loyal and protective of my friends and I think I gain strength in my life from those around me, too. I think we all do, our people are our support groups. The show helps me believe that compassion is all we need to make the world a better place. Especially in today’s world, it’s encouraging to me to see a main character that is so positive and determined to save everyone. Even the bad guys if they want to change.

How old are you?
Twenty-seven. In a couple weeks. Or maybe by the time this gets published, my answer could be “Twenty-seven. As of a few weeks ago.”

This will publish in early July. When’s your birthday? Never mind, because I’ve taken you at your word and ruthlessly pillaged your Facebook page. June 21st. Happy almost your birthday (as of this writing)! You’ll definitely be 27 then.

“Facebook stalker.”

Sad but true. I’ve ALSO found out from Facebook that we have a Pokemon expert handy, which is cool because I’ve honestly been wanting to find one to interview. Can I ask you to offer some advice to Pokemon lovers?
Ok… so here’s the thing. I don’t believe in anything after the third series (Johto if you are talking cartoon series, Crystal if you’re talking games) because after the second set of Pokemon, they just started getting ridiculous. In my heyday, when it was the original 150 Pokemon, I could recite them all in order from memory. Then they added a few new ones like Merrill and Togepi and then they had a whole new group with like, Chikorita and Cyndiquil. That’s like, over 300. Now, there’ve been three or four MORE sets so the total number is somewhere between seven and eight HUNDRED Pokemon. So my advice if you want to get into this: drop everything else. You have A LOT of catching up to do. Or just be a purist like me. Stop after a couple seasons.

As for the new Pokemon Go game. I was all about it. I was like “yeah! I’m gonna walk and get exercise and it’s gonna be fun because I’m playing a game and I’m gonna catch em all! All original 150 Pokemon!” ….then we found out that you can only get certain Pokemon on other continents. So you can’t catch them all unless you can travel. THEN they added the next generation so now not only can you not get the last few you need to complete your Pokedex but now you also are basically starting over. You only had five left? Whoops. Now you have to get one hundred and five! So advice to people regarding the Pokemon Go? Save money. Do some research. Plan a trip overseas to complete your Pokedex. If you can’t do all that, don’t even get hooked because it’s unwinnable.

Thanks much, and I didn’t know any of that. Pokemon newbies, take heed. Your favorite meal would be?
Anything with cheese. Seriously. I think it’s my favorite food. It’s the thing all of my favorite foods have in common…
Chicken PARMESAN
Pizza
Chimichangas (drenched in Queso)
Etc.

Favorite book, or movie, or television show?
SO HARD. Ok. Books. I like series, like not so much stand alone books. So Harry Potter, of course. But also, I LOVE the Circle Series by Ted Dekker. It’s four books and I can’t remember the order… But I think it’s black, red, white, green. (I have the first three in one book so I don’t have to know the order. But I know green is last.)

Similarly, I like TV better than movies because the story continues. I like anything Shonda Rimes touches (Grey’s Anatomy, How To Get Away With Murder, Scandal, The Catch). Gold. All of it. And I just finished Game of Thrones. The new season comes out in July and I can’t wait. I’m obsessed. TARGARYEN FOR THE WIN.

If people want to pray for you, they could pray for…?
Direction. I find myself very comfortable in life right now and I know it won’t stay that way forever. Change is coming so I’m trying to figure out what comes next for me. So open doors and willingness and courage to walk through them.

One thing many people don’t know you can do?
I can cross one eye and then switch to the other eye in one movement. It freaks people out so I don’t do it often. Lol

If you had any spare time, what would you do with it?
Apart from what I do now? My free time is spent doing theatre. I think I’m currently in my 21st show in fiveish years. If I had more time I would do and see more theatre. I can’t ever see all the shows I want to. Because of the show I’m in now (*shameless plug* Brevard Little Theatre’s production of “Urinetown,” June 22nd-July 2nd) I am missing two other productions I really want to see in the Greenville and Asheville area….

Now, if I had more free time AND a million dollars?I would be in New York watching everything on Broadway, off Broadway, off OFF Broadway, just soaking in everything.

Either that or chilling on a yacht in the Mediterranean. It’s a toss up really.

Out of the numerous shows you’ve done, can you pick one production that was one of your favorite experiences and tell us why?
Oh, man. There are so many. Hmmmm, well at this moment, I would probably have to say “Godspell” at Brevard Little Theatre last year. It challenged me to grow as a person. I gained so much confidence in myself through that show and it was such a close knit group of people by the end of the experience. And I normally wouldn’t bring this up but it was a huge part of the experience- I’m a Christian and obviously there is a religious element to a show called GODspell, so the fact that we were all doing something we love (theatre) AND we were presenting a story that meant so much to each of us personally (I’m 98% sure everyone else is a believer too from the discussions we had and just getting to know everyone) it was a bonding experience unlike any other show I’ve ever been in.

I mean, I’ve been in some amazing theatre spaces with nice equipment (“Peter Pan”” in Anderson, SC was wonderful and “Into the Woods” at North Greenville University was a gorgeous show) but as a performer, my experience in Godspell has set a new bar.

Pet peeve?
I hate bumper stickers. I get it. You like something. But you don’t HAVE to plaster your car with it. Cars are expensive and it devalues them. One day, I’ll be proud of my honor roll kid too. But I’ll stick it on their backpack or something. Not my car.

Beth, thank you so much for letting us get to know you a little bit. Break a leg with the theatre adventures and thanks for the Pokemon expertise and advice. God bless.

Christine Brewer–Advice for Frustrated Gardeners

What is your name?
My name is Christine Brewer, I also answer to Chris, Mom, Mommy, and by a very select few, the nickname “Sully.”

Is there a story behind “Sully?”
Yes, a group of us at the theatre have become a close group of friends and adopted the family name “la Fontaine,” and each member has a moniker chosen by the other family members. The name usually reveals itself somewhere when it is ready. The original members were Lee and Amy Hebb, and Karen and Will Heyser Paone.  They then adopted Katie Kennedy, and soon after myself and Steve and Caroline.  The original four all have crazy French sounding names based on things they like or that they just liked the sound of, like “credenza” and “velveeto” (so named for his love of cheese).  Steve is the Right Reverend la Fontaine, as he got his clergy card and married Will and Karen.  I got mine after coming to the rescue with a costume or prop fix, and someone said I was a miracle worker, like Anne Sullivan.  “Sully!” they said, “that’s your name!”  And so it was, and so it shall be.

What is your occupation?
I get paid to teach high school. I have taught for almost 25 years, and currently I teach Spanish levels 1, 2,3 and two levels of theatre at Clarke County High School.  However, when not teaching, I also work as a costumer, props mistress, director, and actor for community theatre, and I also teach acting classes there.

How does one become a Spanish and theatre teacher?
Really, teachers are frustrated actors, I feel.  We perform for a captive audience, 180 days a year. I loved Spanish and theatre, so I became a Spanish teacher and over the years picked up the classes to teach theatre as well.  When my principal found out my love and experience in theatre, I picked up those two classes.  Technically I am not certified in theater teaching (that wasn’t a thing when I first started) but you are allowed to teach a few classes out of your area with life experience.

How did you come to get bit by the theatre bug?
My sisters and I were always putting on shows in our basement, and my first show in middle school had me hooked. I am drawn to the sense of community and creativity, of making something together that will never exist in the same way again.

How old are you and where do you live?
I am 47 and at the moment, Martinsburg, West Virginia, but hopefully soon Charles Town, WV.

The most interesting place you’ve visited?
La Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona, Spain. I’ve been three times and it has been cool to see the construction progress each time. It’s probably finished by now, but I am not sure.

What strikes you particularly about the cathedral?
I like the architecture, and the fact that it’s been a work in progress. You see these awesome cathedrals in Europe and they’ve been there for centuries; this was great to see because it was fairly recent, give or take a hundred years.

Your favorite meal would be?
Really great lasagna, shared with family and friends.

Pet peeve?
People who put themselves down too much. Sometimes it is a cry for praise, but the negativity gets to me. Oh, also, talking backstage. But that’s very theatre specific.

Favorite movie?
“My Cousin Vinny.” I lived in the South for a while, and grew up in New Jersey, so it speaks to both sides of me.

If people want to pray for you, they could pray for…..?
Help with daily struggles

Are you married or have you been?  Any kids?
I am married (for the second time, took time to get it right) to a wonderful man who works way too hard. We have a lovely, precocious daughter who make us laugh and makes us proud everyday.  

One thing many people don’t know you can do?
Tap dance. I danced for years in school, and still pull out the shoes every once in awhile for a show.

If you had any spare time, what would you do with it?
Really learn to garden. I try every year, but it seems to end up with me throwing some plants in the ground, sprinkling some seeds and saying  “Ok, you’re on your own now, make me food!”

That’s funny.  Could I ask you to offer some advice to frustrated gardeners?  
Well, as I said, I don’t have the best results, but here’s what I’ve learned:

Watering is key–don’t go on vacation and expect nature to provide. It usually won’t. Get someone to water the garden.
Carrots aren’t worth the trouble–by the time they get big enough to pick, something under the dirt has beat you to it.
Soda bottle bottoms will protect seedlings from bunnies that like to chew new leaves. Starting larger plants instead of seeds will also deter them.
There are these things called squash larvae that will take out your zucchini plants in a week. However, since I usually get a bunch of zucchini before that, it is ok. I don’t know how to stop them. It’s probably nature’s way of saying “You have enough zucchini bread already!”
Nothing tastes better than a tomato from your own garden.

Thank you.  It sounds like you’re not giving up on it, and good for you.  Tell us some interesting things about yourself that aren’t already covered?
My life is very closely wrapped up in theatre, and I really enjoy the chance I get to be creative there. I love acting in non-musicals–I especially love the challenge of a drama or quick farce. I have created some amazing costumes and props over the years, and I take great pride in that. I’ve made jellyfish, dancing leg lamp costumes, more animals than I can name, and mermaid tails that are super cool.

Would you have a nominee for “most complicated costume you’ve ever made?”
Wow, that is tough. There have been quite a few!  The leg lamp skirts for “A Christmas Story: the Musical” were a little tricky to design, but not really to construct. I had to make Smaug, the dragon, for a production of “The Hobbit” and the body had to hold about 15 children who worked it like a giant puppet. That was tricky because of the scale. It had a paper maché head built on a halloween light up pumpkin, and the mouth moved and the eyes lit up. That was fun.  Last year “The Little Mermaid” had quite a few challenges–mermaid tails and tops that they could walk in but still hide the feet, Ursula’s tentacle skirt that had to fall off at the end, and the electric eels Flotsam and Jetsam that we made as puppets that wrapped around the actors’ bodies. I actually had a former student of mine help on those–she is an art student and designed the head piece that the actors operated. They were pretty spectacular on stage.

Christine, thanks so much for helping out with this and for letting us get to know you a little.  Good luck with the gardening.  Take care and God bless.

Charlene Spinks–Advice for Air Force Kids

What is your name?  Please include a nickname if most people call you by that.
Charlene Lightfoot Spinks.  I also answer to “Charlie.”

What do you do for a living?   I still haven’t figured out what I want to be when I grow up – I’ve worked in retail, in office admin (churches, banking, real estate and medical offices),  non-profits, network marketing, and have taught music a few times. Currently, I’m “employment challenged” – ready to take the next step.  My work path has been interrupted several times when I’ve had to assume temporary caretaker roles for various family members. Most recently, in 2015, my husband survived a harrowing illness that almost took his life and his road to recovery has been very long and difficult. He’s doing well now, able to work and drive…so life is changing again!

How old are you?
I’m 61. OMG….I used to think that was like…REALLY old! I definitely do NOT think nor act “my age.”  (How should 61-year-olds act anyway?)

Where do you live?
I reside on a couple of acres in the beautiful small town of Hendersonville, North Carolina.

Where can we find you on the internet?
Only FaceBook and LinkedIn. I’ve been thinking about a blog – but I suppose one actually has to do a bit more than think about it, right?

The most interesting place you’ve visited?
Sydney, Australia! I attended a music conference there in 2000 with a couple of friends. We also had a long layover in Auckland, New Zealand, so we did a little sightseeing there. Wonderful people, great experience, hoping to go back one day and spend more time exploring.

Can you tell us something about Sydney that particularly struck you?
We visited a wildlife park/zoo and were amazed that there were kangaroos, kookaburras and emus just wandering the grounds freely! I was even able to pet a koala bear sleeping in his eucalyptus tree… fortunately, the dingoes, the crocs and the Tasmanian devils were confined to their habitats, no petting allowed!
Oh, and we actually tried emu steak, it was delicious! No, it didn’t taste like chicken – it tasted like STEAK.

(And by the way…we didn’t eat the emu steak at the wildlife park! I just read that again and realized how it sounded. It was at a restaurant in Sydney…would be kinda weird to be at a zoo petting the wildlife…and then eating it too. I probably should have proofread a little more!)

Your favorite meal would be?
I love Mexican food…the hotter and spicier, the better.

Pet peeve?
People who won’t take responsibility for their lives. They continually blame everything and everyone else for their lot in life and as a result, they are stuck in their personal growth. We never change what we refuse to acknowledge. I was a blamer and a ‘victim’ for a very long time and it wasn’t until I assumed full responsibility for my life, the good and bad experiences, the wise and stupid decisions, ALL OF IT, that I began to see things turn around in a positive way.
Life isn’t ‘fair’ or ‘unfair’..it just is what it is, and it’s different for us all. We don’t always get to choose the hand we’re dealt but we do get to choose how we play it. My heroes aren’t those who make headlines or celebrity rock stars – my heroes are people like my sister, who has a child with a terrible disease and she just gets up every day and does what she needs to do without complaining or blaming others.

Favorite book, or movie?
The book “Abba’s Child” by Brennan Manning absolutely changed my concept of God, and helped bring healing during a devastating period in my life.
Favorite movie…probably “Dr Zhivago”. Loved the music, scenery and the beautiful, tragic story.

How did “Abba’s Child” change your concept of God?
Over the course of many years in an authoritarian, cult-like ‘church’, my once vibrant Christian faith had gradually eroded into a performance-based, people-pleasing and leader-centered false religion. It’s hard to admit that though I knew so much was wrong, I went along with it anyway, trying to ‘please’ my leaders by doing anything they asked. My own weakness and need for affirmation and acceptance were the driving forces that led me to overlook my inner conflict about the church and I remained a member for 7 years.  I hid my true self from those in that church because I feared their anger or rejection – and living as an imposter soon affected my relationship with God as well. I’m not proud of that time in my life, I know I neglected and hurt friends and family members. I compromised my faith and values for a counterfeit, shallow
‘spiritual’ life. The good news is I finally left that place, but it was a real struggle to find peace and wholeness after so long in a spiritually destructive atmosphere.  A friend gave me a copy of “Abba’s Child – the Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging” and in a very simple and beautiful way, I was reminded of God’s deep, unfathomable love for His creation. He is a true Father, He loves us unconditionally – inadequacies, sin, fear and all. I don’t have to hide from God when I fail. I turn to Him, as a true beloved child, crying out “Abba, I belong to You!” and I allow Him to deal with my heart as He desires. We overcome our failures and find healing for our wounds in the embrace of our Father.

If people want to pray for you, they could pray for…?
Wisdom!  In all areas of life. I need it!

Are you married or have you been?  Any kids?  Grandkids?  Pets?
My husband Tom and I are celebrating 39 years together this year. We have a grown son, a lovely daughter-in-law and a beautiful, amazing granddaughter who just lights up our world! We’ve always had pets – right now we are owned by 3 felines. One is an elderly one-eyed little female cat named ‘Friskie’ – and she still is after almost 15 years. Friskie, that is!

One thing many people don’t know you can do?
I’m a bit of an obsessive gardener – I’ve been slowly transforming our originally barren, muddy, rocky two acres into a halfway decent landscape.

What’s the biggest challenge with the landscaping?
My property is not level, and just dragging the mower, mulch, soil amendments and gardening tools up the hill behind our house or DOWN the hill to the stream area is getting a little tougher every year. Not as young as I used to be, you know?

If you had any spare time, what would you do with it?
Well, if I also had a lot of spare money, I’d probably be traveling every chance I had!

Tell us some interesting things about yourself that aren’t already covered.  
I was an Air Force ‘brat’ and spent most of my childhood moving around the country. It wasn’t easy leaving schools and friends every few years but the experience did instill a love for travel that remains today. Only trouble is, I get restless, and still feel like I should be moving every few years!
I’ve been singing and/or playing keyboards since I was a kid. I love most music genres, but I was mostly involved with contemporary Christian worship bands, from the early 70’s until early 2000s. I enjoyed the travel, songwriting and recording and worked with some really talented people over the years.
The theater was always one of my ‘first loves’ and I’ve just recently become involved with our wonderful community theater. A little scary doing auditions at my age, but so glad I took the step in spite of my fear. It has been a great experience, and I have met and worked with some absolutely delightful people. It is never too late to begin a new challenge. Fear is normal but fight the fear and do it anyway – the rewards are well worth it!

Can I ask you to give some advice to “Air Force kids?”        
Dear Air Force kids: you are in for an adventure, you will see amazing new places and meet wonderful new people. Though it may be hard when you’re moving and you once again have to tearfully say goodbye to your BFF, the opportunities to experience different cultures and lifestyles will enrich your life beyond anything you can learn in a classroom. Embrace the life, decide to make it an adventure and who knows, maybe one day you’ll decide to join the service, too. Personally, I think being raised in a military family is probably the best way to grow up!

Charlie, thanks so much for letting us get to know you a little bit.  May God bless you and continue to make your life an adventure.

Melissa Bradley–Advice for Birthday Party Planners

What is your name? Please include a nickname if most people call you by that.
Melissa Nicole Barrett Bradley, family and close friends call me Mimi (since I was twelve, dad started that). Fun fact: I’m supposed to be called Nikki, the name Mom called me at birth. Still have aunts and uncles calling me Nikki on occasion. In kindergarten my teacher said it was a baby name, so I refused to answer to anything but Melissa. If I wasn’t so stubborn I’d be Nikki right now.I shall henceforth be calling you Nikki. What is your occupation? I’m actually disabled due to multiple sclerosis. Dependability is not something I can commit to, unfortunately. I work as hard as I can when I can; however, when I’m down I’m literally down. Blessed to have a hard working hubby who works hard enough for us both.

How old are you? (You can lie if you want to, but make it an entertaining lie. “I’ve been thirty-nine for several years now.” “My age is a closely guarded military secret.”) Literally thirty-nine. I’ll reach forty in November.

Where do you live? Hendersonville, North Carolina, one of the most beautiful places in the world.

How can we find you on the internet? I’m a serious Facebooker. Posting more than often. Lots of pictures and quotes, to the point of people following me, haha.

The most interesting place you’ve visited? Honduras. Worked at an orphanage for a week. I was very homesick. I spoke only three words of Spanish. I’m a very picky eater so I stuck with rice all week, especially after the first meal there where I was asked to try criadillas. Criadillas are fried bull testicles. Um… what!?!? Rice…just rice, please.
I did, however, meet Franklin Graham and attended a large revival, where despite the language barrier I saw hundreds accept Jesus Christ. Amazing memory. I also saw children aged 5-12 play soccer like professionals. It was incredible. Great experience, but I like stateside missions best.

Your favorite meal? Oh, so many. I love steak and baked potatoes made at home, honestly.

Pet peeve? People being disrespectful.

Favorite book, or movie, or television show? Anything by Terri Blackstock, or Christian mysteries. I love Prison Break, Hallmark movies, General Hospital and, for whatever reason, reality TV is a guilty pleasure.

What reality show do you think you’d be best suited for?
Surprised you had to ask. “America’s Next Top Model,” of course. (Just kidding.) Actually I’d love to be on “Ellen’s Design Challenge” or any HGTV show.

If people want to pray for you, they could pray for….? Health

Are you married or have you been? Any kids? Grandkids? Pets? Happily married for almost sixteen years. Abbreviation of our story is that we dated when I was fifteen. (He even gave me a promise ring.) We broke up, both went and had separate lives for a few years and reconnected. We got married and have raised two wonderful people. My daughter Megan is twenty-three, she works as a CNA at Pardee Hospital, going back to school after a break in the fall. My son Taylor is twenty-one and is preparing for his dream of being a pro wrestler. School starts in August. Such a gift being their mom honestly. Brought more happiness than anything I can imagine. Grandkids? Not yet but, oh, I can’t wait. I love my Liam who’s my nephew and I think of him I guess like a grandkid. We say I’m his co-parent. He’s six going on twelve. So smart. Eccentric and loveable. Pets? Yeppers. I have three dogs now. We’ve had many over the years. Currently a Chihuahua named Lucy, Pit Bull named Sophia, and my baby, a Yorkie Norfolk Terrier named Scout. He’s special. A cat named Stripe who thinks he’s a dog. House trained and all.

One thing many people don’t know you can do? Hmmmm. I’m pretty open, most know all I do. I guess rearranging, if that’s a thing. I can envision the way a room should be, best glow I guess. Not decorating, just placing pieces

If you had any spare time, what would you do with it? Read. I love to lay by the pool or beach or even on the couch and just read. My mind shuts off from day to day life.

What are you reading right now?
The book I just finished is Terri Blackstock, “If I Run.” Great series.

Tell us some interesting things about yourself that aren’t already covered. I’m happiest taking care of people, I love being needed yet appreciated. I like to cook for lots of people. I plan good parties. Always have, even my kiddos’ birthday parties were a big deal. My sisters are truly my best friends. I have three. Oldest, Chel, lives near Charlotte. Youngest, Mel, lives five minutes away yet I never see her, she’s busy. Grew up with middle child syndrome lol ( Marsha, Marsha, Marsha). I recently (well, years ago) found my sister Christina who lives in Indiana. She’s pretty great and I guess the oldest-oldest. She has three kids who I wish I knew better, but I love nonetheless. I get to keep my cousin Lindsey’s little girl some. Lindsey and my Meg grew up together, six months apart in age. She has a five month old, Eloise, who’s captured my heart. Love the time with her.
I adore my in-laws, which some don’t. I think I lucked out. My happy place is my church. Peaceful, quiet and still. I feel the world gets shut out when I’m there. This has been fun.

I’m glad you’ve enjoyed it. Can you give us some advice for birthday party planners?
Something I usually always use as a rule of thumb is to expect half of the amount of people you invite to show up–when budgeting for food, use that number.
Save money on things like paper products by shopping online if you can and always stop and eat before the party starts if possible so you can focus on making the event the best it can be.

Thank you much, Melissa (or Nikki, as the case may be). We appreciate you letting us get to know you a little bit, and we’ll be praying for the health issues. Take care and God bless.

Anjie Grady–Advice for Vocal Coaches

Can you tell us your name and where you live?  
Anjie Grady and I live in Mills River, south of Asheville.

What do you do with your time?
I am employed as a full time mother. The pay is great!  The majority of my time is spent home schooling that beautiful crew in the picture.  On the side I am a music teacher, vocal coach, choir director, and part time professional singer. I also serve as the project designer for my husband’s real estate investment properties.

Can you tell us your age?
I am older than I look and enjoy seeing the shock in people’s eyes when I tell them how old my oldest child is.

Can we find you on the internet?
I have several websites that I don’t know how to manage, including an online shop that I would love for a “techie” to show me how to get the e-commerce function to work on: Cloudsevenhandmade.com.

What do you sell on Cloudseven Handmade, and can you tell us about the name?
I started Cloudseven Handmade while I was pregnant with my seventh and staying up until the wee hours of the morning sewing cloth diapers as part of “nesting.”  It became a place to list my “handmade” items. I also have other moms’ handmade artisan products available and global products that support the fight on human trafficking.

Thanks!  Most interesting place you’ve visited?
Last year I went to Maui island in Hawaii and watched, in terror, my daughter stand on a cliff doing an arabesque in pointe shoes and then dive like Tinker Bell into the ocean.

Favorite meal?
Toss up between Thai Drunken Mama Noodle and Indian Chicken Korma.

Pet peeve?
I have so many….um, one….ok, untimeliness. I have had to resolve to have grace with my friends who are perpetually late. But this practice as a way of life, rather than an occasional couldn’t help it, could seriously give me twitches if I let it.

Favorite movie or book or TV show?
Favorite movie is “The Village” by M.Knight Shyamalan, Favorite series:  “When Calls the Heart.”

What’s the appeal of “The Village?
I just love the twist M. Knight Shyamalan weaves into his writing. The suspense keeps you on the edge of your seat and you don’t know where the twist is going to happen. I love “The Village” in particular because of the setting and the story. I have always been drawn to the simpler lifestyle of family, and community, without technology.  This story hits the heart of many of us, who long for a life safe from the sin, pain, and hurt of this world.

If people want to pray for you they can pray for….?  
Wisdom to balance motherhood with other creative pleasures.

Can you tell us a little about your family?
I have seven wonderful children ages 2-19.  Six girls, one boy. They are the loves of my life.

One thing many people don’t know you can do?
Sing opera.

Where and how did you learn to sing opera?
I studied vocal performance at UNCG and have a double degree in Voice and Music Education from UNC Chapel Hill.

If you had any spare time, what would you do with it?  . I would write music, learn film score composition, open up a storefront shop, sew more, have a homestead, serve more, teach more, do a blog or vlog, do more theatre.  I could list at least a dozen more interests. It’s amazing how frustrating it is to enjoy so many things and have so few hours in a day to do them.

Can you tell us some interesting things about yourself that haven’t been covered yet?
I have had three home births, one was unassisted. And, the answer to everyone’s question is:  “No, I don’t know if I’m done yet!”

I really and truly wasn’t going to ask, but thanks.  Can you offer some helpful advice to vocal coaches?
To vocal coaches, I would say know your “frock!” Don’t be afraid to send students to someone who is better in their “frock” than you. I am classically trained, and although I sing musical theatre, and can sing jazz, I am a  full lyric soprano. It is a real stretch for me to wail belting Broadway tunes. I just had a friend call me and ask for a reference for a jazz coach. I happily sent her to a friend of mine who  lives in that “frock”. If you want to coach outside your frock, then really educate yourself so you don’t hurt someone’s voice permanently. I surround myself with colleagues who can coach me where I am weak, so I can be a better coach.

Also: stay active in performing. I just recently played Mrs. Gloop in the Flat Rock Playhouse production of Willy Wonka. It keeps you fresh and it keeps you in demand as a coach.

Anjie, thanks so much for letting us get to know you a little bit.  We’ll be in prayer for wisdom in the balance, and God bless.

Dwight Martin–Advice for Coffee Lovers

What is your name? Any nicknames?
Dwight A. Martin III (People in school also knew me as Pete; my family called me Petey.)

What do you do for a living?
I work as an Air Medical Communications Specialist. (A lot of people call it Dispatcher–I work with Air Ambulance service in Missouri). I have worked overseas in Saudi Arabia doing the same kind of work. I owned a small coffee shop in Topeka, Kansas for a while. I also served in the US Army Reserves in my early adult years.

How old are you?
I am 49, at least until this November.

Where do you live?
Lawrence, Kansas.

Where can we find you on the internet?
I have Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts, and a blog at .https://flightwatch67blog.wordpress.com/

Thanks! I might also mention your YouTube channel, which has some wonderful videos about your adventures. You can find it here

Your favorite meal would be?
Any meal with my family. I love all food, I especially love to try cuisines from other cultures.

The most interesting place you’ve visited?
I love to travel, so I have been to a lot of places. One of the most interesting was Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. I also love the Philippines, where I have family. My wife and I travel to Jamaica every year, and this November we are going to Antigua for eight days.

I’ve enjoyed the interview process with you, Dwight, and you’ve got way more cool stuff than I can include here. Can you tell us a little about the food in Riyadh?
Riyadh is a place for Food Lovers – You name it, you’ll get it (if it is halal).
They have McDonald’s, Dunkin Donuts, TGI Fridays, and even Fuddruckers. You can find Italian restaurants or Indian restaurants if you are into international food.
Kabsa is the number one dish in Saudi Arabia. Whenever you talk to any Saudi, a lot of them will tell you that their favorite food is kabsa. Kabsa is made of rice, vegetables, and meat. The Saudis usually eat it during lunch and some even eat kabsa every day.

Mande, one of my favorite dishes, is a type of kabsa where the meat is cooked a little differently. To make mande, you must first dig a hole in the ground where the meat will be cooked. After the hole is dug, place charcoal inside of the hole along with the meat, cover it, and then cook it for a few hours. You will later add rice and other vegetables to the dish.

Mofatah is like a big kabsa that is eaten on special occasions in Saudi Arabia. Typically, if a guest comes to visit or there is a wedding, the hosts kill a sheep and use it to make mofatah. Killing sheep for guests has been a Saudi Arabian tradition for years, although now it is rarer to find the Saudis making this dish at home. Most people now will bring a sheep to the restaurant where the restaurant chefs can prepare the big mofatah dish for them.

Pet peeve?
Punctuality is my main pet peeve. I do not like being late. I also believe in treating others with respect.

Favorite book, or movie, or television show?
My favorite book is the Bible. I am not the most religious of people, however, I do believe that we should always use the Bible as a guide to how we should live. My favorite movie would have to be “13 Hours;” because of my time working as a contract employee overseas, I can relate to a lot of it.

If people want to pray for you?
They could pray for me to be as good of a father, and husband as my father was.

Are you married or have you been?
I am married, I have three children, and two step children, I also have a wonderful grandson. I have had many pets over the years but my little girl Sandee is not only a dog, she is one of my children.

Sandee sounds pretty special. One thing many people don’t know you can do?
I am a pretty good cook!

If you had any spare time, what would you do with it?
I would love to travel the world with my wife.

Tell us some other interesting things about yourself?
I love to live life. I have had many hobbies over the years. I love coffee, so I used to roast my own coffee beans. I love photography, especially taking photos of my wife and the places we travel. I believe in Karma, so I always try to do good by my fellow man. I have been in the Air Medical Industry for over 23 years now, working as a medic, as well as flight communications specialist. I try to have a good sense of humor, and I do not let myself get upset over little things, especially things that I cannot change. My wife is my best friend, and I love every minute I am with her.

Coffee has figured pretty large in your life. Can you give us some advice for coffee lovers?
I never liked coffee growing up.

In my early years, I never found the taste for coffee; as a matter of fact, I used to save my MRE coffee packs and send them to my father. Then in 2005 I had gastric bypass, and since I could not drink sweet drinks like I was able to before I began to drink coffee. After a while, I started enjoying the complex flavors of the different coffees. I began experimenting with roasting my own coffee beans, and it was not too long before I started getting good at it. My father was my biggest fan. After a few years of playing with my hobby I moved to Kansas, and almost immediately took up my roasting again. I soon started to sell my coffees at the local farmer’s market. I started to get a good following of customers, who convinced me to open my own coffee shop. So, I took the leap and opened KS Daily Grind. My little coffee shop did well, however after a year or so our location started to show no signs of growth, so before I could get in debt I decided to close the doors and go back into the Air Medical business. I still miss my little coffee shop, and I would love to open a new one in the future, but, at this moment I do not know where I would like it to be.
Here are a couple of links about my restaurant:
http://food.topeka.net/content/daily-grind-caffeinating-downtown
http://cjonline.com/news-life-food-business-local/2011-11-02/foodflicks-daily-grind-caffeinating-downtown

Roasting coffee beans:

Coffee roasting is a massive part of drinking coffee. In fact, it is almost impossible to drink or make coffee from unroasted green beans, as they are as hard as rocks after they are initially dried by the farmers.
The coffee roasting process can take years to master, and involves a large amount of patience and skill, as roasting even a couple seconds too long could ruin the coffee beans, or even set them on fire.
There are three main roast categories of coffee: light, medium, and dark, in accordance to how long the green beans are roasted.
Lighter roasted coffee is usually very bright and light on the tongue, typically having a slight citrus flavor as well, depending on the origin of the bean.
It is also said that lighter roasts of coffee have more caffeine than dark roasts, as less is cooked out in the roasting process. It is also said that lighter roasts can have much stronger more complex flavors than dark roasts, if the roaster knows what they are doing.
Medium roasts are a strong middle ground between the light and dark. A fair amount of flavor and caffeine. In fact, one of my favorite coffee blends is considered a medium roast.
Dark roasts are usually for people looking for a party in their mouth, as far as flavor goes. These roasts are usually very complex, but off-putting to most people because they are so strong. The darkest style of coffee is usually referred to as French roast, as the beans are roasted until they will almost catch fire. Even though these roasts have less caffeine per gram, it is shown in some scientific studies that they contain more antioxidants than their lighter roasted counterparts.
As far as home coffee roasting, a lot of people start off with a generic popcorn popper, or even a frying pan on low heat. Using these methods will often result in uneven roasting, and inconsistency. After a short while, if one really likes roasting their own coffee, and wants to take it further, they will invest in a less expensive roasting machine, and slowly move up from there. There are a few steps in the roasting process that signify various levels of toasting in the beans.

Listen to the crack!

Keeping an ear to your beans as they roast you will learn to listen to the crack. This step of roasting is known as “pops” or “cracks.” When roasting, after a few minutes, it will sound like there is popcorn in the roaster, as all the beans start to de-gas.
The next crack symbolizes a point where the beans are extremely well done, and because there is a big middle ground between the first and second cracks, it leaves a lot of room for experimentation.
Roasting times (which will depend slightly on the bean and bean freshness): 7 minutes of roasting gives a light roast, 9-11 gives a medium-dark, 12-13 will give a pretty dark roast, and 14 will be the darkest.
Even just a few moments after 14 minutes, and the coffee beans can start to smoke, and may even catch fire. There is a lot that goes into roasting coffee, but it is worth a shot with a popcorn popper to see if you have interest in a new hobby that could even make you some money! You also have the option of blending roasted beans to further vary the flavor and complexity of the coffee. For example, you could mix 50% medium and 50% dark roast to get hints of both, or choose other variations to suit your taste buds.

Here are 10 amazing things you probably didn’t know about coffee!
1. Coffee is the world’s second most traded commodity with over 25 million coffee farmers across the globe, as well as the amount of coffee consumed each day, coffee has pushed itself to the second on the list, just behind oil.
2. Over 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed each day, wiith over 400 million of those cups coming just from the United States alone. While that statistic does include people who drink more than one cup per day, it is still quite a lot.
3. Coffee isn’t as dehydrating as some people will make it seem. Most people have heard in their life that coffee is dangerous and can dehydrate you. This is true, but only if a lot is consumed in one time. Studies found that people who drank a cup of coffee urinated the same amount as those who drank water.
4. Goats discovered coffee. Around 840 A.D a goat herder found that his goats were acting quite erratic after eating berries off a certain shrub. This man tried the berries himself, and he too felt quite energetic. He soon dried some of the berries, ground them up, and added hot water. This is likely the first cup of coffee ever brewed.
5. Coffee is very good for you (when consumed without a ton of sugar or milk, of course). Coffee, being made from a plant, contains a plethora of antioxidants that can help prevent certain illnesses. One study showed that coffee is the biggest source of antioxidants in the Western world.
6. Webcams were made for coffee. In 1991 at the University of Cambridge, workers got tired of walking to the coffee pot only to find that it was empty. Because of this, a group in the computer lab set up the world’s first webcam, so they would always know when there was coffee.
7. Iced coffee is more expensive than hot. While this might sound familiar to anyone who has purchased both and payed attention to the price, not many people know why. This is because iced coffee requires about twice the amount of ground coffee as hot coffee does to prevent the taste from diluting as ice melts.
8. Coffee works wonders on the liver. While coffee might not reverse any serious liver issues, studies have shown that those who consume four cups per day are 80% less likely to contract cirrhosis.
9. Coffee helps your migraines. The caffeine found in coffee helps boost adrenaline levels slightly, and helps release fatty acids in the body to boost your workout performance.
10. Coffee can kill you. (But it is a very situational thing.) For someone with a high caffeine tolerance, it can take as much as 10 grams of caffeine to kill them; the average cup of coffee has 350 mg of caffeine. For someone who doesn’t really consume coffee, as little as 2 grams of caffeine can be a fatal dose.

Dwight, thanks much for letting us get to know you a little. May your endeavors meet with success and happiness, and God bless.