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:

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 .

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:

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.

Patrick Nance–Advice for Sailboat Restorers

Can you tell us your name and age?
Patrick Nance and 45.

What do you do for a living?
I am the Director of Information Technology for Intex DIY. The company is in Georgia–but I am able to work from my home in North Carolina. I travel to Georgia one week of every month. We sell rags. A lot of rags.

Where do you live?
Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina (The NC is very important; otherwise people think I live at the beach in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina – neither of which has a mountain.)

Where can people find you on the internet?
Facebook: patrick.nance (but closed to only friends and family)
Twitter: @patrick_nance – for my Panthers and political rants
Instagram: patricknance – started to keep tabs on my kids but now I post some on CrossFit / Fitness

The most interesting place you’ve visited?
There are several – and for different reasons.
My wife and I spent our honeymoon in Ecuador on a small 16 passenger catamaran yacht cruising around the Galapagos Islands. I will never forget the beauty and remoteness of that trip. One moment that sticks in my mind is snorkeling out around a very small rock island (you could swim around the entire island). It was literally as if I was swimming in an aquarium with sharks included. Oh and also I lost my wedding ring snorkeling on that trip. Yes, not exactly a great way to start!

Did you ever replace your wedding ring?
We bought a wooden replacement for the trip at a local souvenir shop which I do still have.  We bought a replacement when we got home and I haven’t lost this one, fortunately.

We also spent a week on the Big Island in Hawaii a couple years ago. Where a lot of people will try and “island hop” or visit one of the larger locations such as Honolulu or Maui, we chose to spend our entire trip on the big island. It is the largest of the islands, yet has the least population. We were able to enjoy black sand beaches, volcanoes, remote jungle beaches, cliff side beaches, snorkeling, and hot springs – often times virtually alone.

Another interesting place I have visited several times – not because of the tourism value or beauty – but because of the starkness of it. I have spent several weeks, with work, in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. San Pedro Sula is the most dangerous city in one of the most dangerous countries in the world. The sheer poverty seen in most areas is overwhelming. To meet the people, know how hard they work, know how nice and honest they are – to know they are working their entire life just to meet the absolute bare necessities in life, you quickly realize how fortunate you really are. You cannot spend anytime with these people and then come home to the USA and support building a wall or knocking on doors and deporting entire families only because they are trying to better themselves and they came to the “land of opportunity” in the only way they knew how to.

Thanks!  Your favorite meal would be?
I’m not really that picky when it comes to food. Give me a nice home grilled burger with bacon and cheese and I am happy.

Pet peeve?
I don’t like no double negatives from no people.

Favorite book, or movie, or TV show?
Books: Memoirs of a Geisha, The Pillars of the Earth, October Sky, The Last Kingdom Series, Game of Thrones

Movie: Airplane!

If people want to pray for you, they could pray for….?
Well, Henry – you know I am an atheist. So of course I feel this would just be a waste of anyone’s time. So based on that answer – I think that gives you an answer. However – as prayer cycles are finite – they might want to spend theirs on more worthy subjects.

Are you married or have you been? Any kids?
I am married to Heather, the second marriage for both of us. I have two kids (my “naturals”) from my first marriage – a girl Lyndsey “Daboo” 18 and a son Riley “Dude” 15.

From my second marriage to my wife Heather, I gained two more “unnaturals” (yes they LOVE that phrase) – a girl Jordan “Jordie” 22 and another girl Samantha “Manther” 17.

One thing many people don’t know you can do?
A lot of people don’t know that I have been programming computers since I was around 13. When most cool kids my age were out doing whatever cool kids did – I was sitting in my room playing on my Commodore 64.

What will computers be doing in ten years that they can’t do now?
Devices will continue to go Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). We already see this with the VR goggles you can buy for your smartphone. Even the most basic cardboard VR goggle that you can buy for $10 is a jaw dropping experience. Google experimented with and released Google Goggles a few years ago which was a head’s up display / AR projected on a small lens in front of your eye when wearing a pair of their special glasses. It was never really meant to be a mass-market product and has since been discontinued – but that along with the Google VR Goggles – the last version called Google Daydream points to continued development of this technology. I expect that eventually there will be a way that images will be projected directly into or onto the eye reducing the size or eliminating the need of goggles. The need for computer screens will be replaced by this technology.

If you had any spare time, what would you do with it?
I bought and restored a sailboat two summers ago. I would love to have more time to learn to really sail it – for it to become second nature. Right now, frankly, I am still scared of it.

Patrick, I appreciate you sharing the saga of boat renovation which follows in the next section, and may I say your adventures have convinced me to never buy a sailboat.  However, for my readers who may be hardier of spirit and firmer of purpose than I am, can you give some advice for sailboat restorers?
I have always had a love of the water and of boats. As a toddler and young child, I would spend endless afternoons in the summer after a thunderstorm dropping sticks, leaves, acorns – anything that would float into the overflowing creek behind our house after a big rain and rush along the banks watching them “race”, getting stuck, or oftentimes even sinking. In our kitchen sink I would imagine myself as a submariner as I loaded the toy submarine I dug out of the cereal box with baking soda to watch it dive under the water. In the bathtub I was always surrounded by various plastic boats, some that I could wind up and they would move on their own.

As I got older – I more and more gravitated to boats I could get into myself. On weekends my father and I would often go fishing at my uncle’s house and there I would float around for hours in a little blow-up raft my father had bought me. One of his favorite stories that he still tells to this day is the time I hooked a large-mouthed bass and that fish proceeded to pull me all around that little pond.

In the summers we would spend upwards of four weeks at my aunt’s house who had a house waterfront on the Albemarle Sound in Kill Devil Hills. They owned a 14’ (and later a 16’) Hobie-Cat. I looked forward all day; heck all week until my cousin or uncle would have time and the wind would be right and one of them would take out the sailboat. As these were small boats and the crowds at my aunt’s beach were often large – many times I did not get to go out on the trips as it was generally adults only. But on occasion, I would get lucky and get to go out. Being propelled by wind alone was something that grabbed me and never let go. Several times my cousin Richard got the boat up on one pontoon which was exhilarating and terrifying all at once. On other occasions; if the wind was low enough – he would let me man the tiller (which is quite a tough task for an 11 year old in anything more than a light breeze on a Hobie). But the shot that finally drove the nail home for good on my desire to sail was the day he let me man the jib sail, the small sail forward of the mast on some boats. To be asked to pull in the jib and to feel the response to that action was what made the boy feel like a true sailor! (Where in reality I really wasn’t doing much!)

Life moved on, I went away to college, began my career and my family and had still never owned or sailed a sailboat. However – my love of the water did not wane. The sailboat had to wait – but until then I found the art of the kayak. I started out with two sea kayaks and since then our family of kayaks has grown where we currently own eight kayaks ranging from an 8’ white water kayak to a 19’ Kevlar sea kayak. My kids have all grown up kayaking; paddling their own boats since ages as young as 6.

Two years ago, at age of 44 I finally had the opportunity to own a sailboat. I don’t recall how now, but I ran across a Craig’s List ad where someone wanted to trade a Sunfish style sailboat for a kayak! Well just so happened I knew where I could get my hands on a nice kayak and he happily made the trade! It was one of those odd trade situations where I feel both parties truly felt they came out on top. (In my opinion I traded a $300 kayak for a $1000 sailboat.) This sailboat was in pristine condition and was perfect to learn to sail on. However, this boat was located far out on the east coast of NC, near my father in-law. He so happens to also live water front on the Albemarle Sound in Roper, NC so I sent the boat home with him. This was in May and we would be spending the week at his house in July. So the sailing would have to wait a couple more months – but I had my boat!

Or should I say I had my FIRST boat!? Yes, that would indicate that I now have two sailboats. Shortly after (and I mean like within weeks), I was browsing Facebook and an ad popped up where someone was selling an old sailboat for $300 with trailer! Now mind you, a Sunfish is often called a dinghy. It is best sailed by only one or two people max, is a day sailor with no cabin area (or storage as all) and its overall length is only about 14’. It’s a “toy” where this was a “real” sailboat! And it was only a few miles down the street. I sent the ad to my wife Heather thinking she would just laugh it off – but she jumped right on it and said we needed to contact these people NOW before it was sold. She didn’t have to tell me twice. An hour later I had a deal made to buy a boat sight unseen. On top of that, I was in Georgia that week working so it was up to Heather to go complete the deal and tow the boat home.

We didn’t really know anything about the boat but Heather grew up with this style boat as her dad owned them and also built them for a company in Edenton NC. So she quickly recognized the boat for what it was and when she got it home – we quickly identified what we had. We had purchased a 1977 O’Day Mariner. She is 19’ in length and has a sleeper cabin that will sleep 2 comfortably or 4 if two are children or really comfortable with each other!

Once I got home from Georgia and we were able to look at the boat closely – we felt she was in pretty good shape. We quickly surmised that she had not been sailed since 1992 (based on the previous license stickers on the bow) and had likely been sitting in the woods for the last 10 years or so. However, everything was there, and the (original) sails are in decent condition. That did not mean there wasn’t a lot of work to be done though! The first step was pulling out the rotting cabin cushions that had become home to 74 billion large black ants. Most of them came out with the cushions, however the rest were “gently” transported out of the boat with the aid of a vacuum.

I am not an expert at boats by any stretch of the imagination; I slightly know more than any random person you might meet on the street. However – I have learned a key to purchasing boats of this age – find one that does not have a wood core for the fiberglass hull. Many boats use wood, some even soft wood such as balsa to add stiffness. This is all fine for a properly maintained boat, however for a 40 year old boat that has been sitting in the woods for half its life, a wood core is oftentimes a cancer. Honestly, we got lucky that the Mariner has very little wood and is not wood cored at all. A boat this age with a wood core that has had major water penetration would oftentimes just be considered “totaled” beyond reasonable cost to repair.

The Mariner does, however, like most boats use foam inside its bulkheads in order to add flotation and easy up-righting capabilities in case of capsize. If this foam gets wet underneath the fiberglass, the foam needs to be dried or you will be carrying around a lot of extra weight which could potentially make the boat unsafe or ride dangerously low. As a result, this should be one of the first things you need to check and dry out if necessary. Some owners cut small ports at the low point of their bulkhead in order to access the foam and dry out the water if necessary.

With little fear of water damage, we were able to begin our restoration project with a couple hours of work with the pressure washer and a good wet vac. The boat really looked like a different boat just after this first step.

Next I removed the wooden shelves in the sleeper portion and sent that off to my shade-tree carpenter father to made copies of the shelves which would later be painted and reinstalled. After the shelves came the grueling task of pulling down a thick vinyl wall-covering that ran from bow to almost the stern inside the cabin. I don’t know if there is an easy way to remove this; I just used a heat gun and scraping tool – which was NOT fun in the mid-afternoon summer sun. Instead of replacing the wall-covering we chose to paint it. We used an anti-mildew primer and then covered with a high gloss exterior paint which we believe will be easy to clean. The look, honestly, is not perfect as the walls are bare fiberglass and impossible to smooth perfectly; but we are very happy with the outcome.

For the cabin cushions, my wife took on the task of making new ones. She bought the foam and fabric and gathered some measurements by deconstructing what was left of the originals and other measurements she took anew. This was a huge task and a fairly costly one. Sewing our own cushions still cost more in supplies that the original boat has cost us! But they came out wonderfully!

The first rookie mistake I made on the restoration project I still have yet to recover from. Along the entire bow and inside the cockpit are wooden handles and various foot rails. I removed all of these, stripped off all the old varnish, and then reapplied new teak oil to the wood. Afterwards I put on three fresh coats of varnish and then remounted all the hardware on the boat. Between the boat and hardware one must apply a sealer/caulk of some sort to give a tight, uniform fit to the fiberglass and prevent leaks. Some will use a 3M 5200 type sealant. This is not really advisable on anything you may ever want to remove again as this is a semi-permanent seal. Instead of this I used Butyl tape. This tape is awesome and I highly recommend it for installing hardware on boats or even campers. It is easy to use and non-permanent. When complete my wood shone in a classic teak color that would make any sailor proud.

Fast-forward a month or so and a good rain or two and my rookie restoration mistake reared its ugly head as my beautiful wood began to have a milky look to it. Perplexed I looked more closely at the varnish I had used and realized it was not rated for exterior use. Ugh! It all had to be removed and done again. This led to rookie mistake number two! Ehh I can just lightly “rough” up the finish that is on there now to remove the milkiness and to give the correct varnish something to adhere to. This would save a lot of time and effort over starting completely over. This is what I did and it looked great – for a while. Today, if you walk out to look at the boat, you will see the wood is milky and the varnish is peeling off. I will have to do this entire project over – for the third time! So, as you can see – for an article on “Advice for Everyone” – where I can’t give good advice on how to do it – I am an expert on how NOT to do it!

If I were to detail everything I did to this boat, it would require a book; so I better tie things up just by listing all the other things have done. On the boat I have replaced all the running rigging (after a storm last July about brought the mast down while moored), straightened the mast (from where the rookie sailor running away from said July story got the mast caught in a tree loading it back on the trailer… that day is for another blog..), replace the upper and lower gudgeon, refinished the rudder, re-piped the cockpit drains, minor gelcoat repair of nicks and scratches, other than the wood also reset all other hardware such as the bowsprit, patched a couple small cuts in the sails, replaced the tiller, built a custom mast crutch that inserts into the gudgeon to make trailering easier, replaced the motor mount, rebuilt the trailer (another story on its own) and a lot of other odds and ends.

After all this work and effort – you are probably wondering about all the great sailing we have done? Well sadly, not very much. I have taken the Sunfish out quite a bit as it will fit on a lake here in the neighborhood. The Mariner, only a couple times. I am still a novice sailor and, frankly, do not yet have the confidence or experience needed yet to take her out on my own without a more experienced sailor on board. My confidence was greatly setback last summer with the storm damage obtained at mooring and my subsequent panic and making matter worse because of the panic. I am a bit gun-shy at the moment, yet I do have a sailor friend that I plan to spend time with this summer and hopefully she will see more time in the water in the near future!

That’s a story,  sure enough.  Good luck with it.  Can you finish up by telling us some interesting things about yourself that aren’t already covered?
I have a large comic book collection and still read and collect a little today.
I have been doing CrossFit for a little over a year and love it; before that I trained for and ran two marathons.
I was left alone at the Lincoln Memorial on our 5th grade school trip to Washington DC.
When I was a kid I had to take a special speech therapy class at school because I had problems pronouncing some words. For instance spoon was “foon” and steak was “snake”. Even today there are words I cannot pronounce such as humiliate which is a bit humiliating and I can’t even tell anyone that, which is also humiliating.
My daughter Lyndsey and I are going on a trip to the UK in two weeks for her high school graduation.
I was equal partner in a custom software development company for 10 years.

Patrick, thanks for letting us get to know you a little bit.  Good luck with the sailing, and may your journey go well.

Les Brown–Advice for Wildlife Painters

What is your name? Any nicknames?
Leslie Morris Brown (aka, Les). Shortened to Les because I kept getting my mail addressed to “Miss,” “Mrs.”, “Ms.” I was once nominated for “Who’s Who among American (something or other) Women.”

What is your occupation? If retired, can you tell us from what?
Retired biology/geology professor, Gardner-Webb University. Now with the “you are over the hill” title of Professor Emeritus.

How old are you?
I’m proud to say I have lived 76 and 5/12 years. People say I don’t look that old, which I take to mean 39.

Where do you live?
I live with my beloved wife, Joyce, in the metropolitan one stop-light city of Troutman, NC, near Lake Norman and NASCAR stuff.

Do you have a website or a blog or a Twitter account or anything where people can learn more about you?
Only the seldom viewed:

I’m very much impressed with your art, and thanks for permission to show this example.  Can you give us some advice for wildlife painters?
First and foremost, don’t try to paint “plein air,” that is, from life in the field. The critters run or fly away. Audubon shot his birds and stuffed them. Please don’t do that. I like birds. Loose sketching in the field is okay to then take to the studio for further work. However, if one is an abstract artist, go for it, in the field, with pen and ink in boring meetings, anywhere except while driving. Henry or I may be on the road.

Actually, bird paintings are an easy place to start. Unlike painting people who all look different, birds of each species look pretty much alike. If you can paint one male cardinal, you can paint all male cardinals. I try to find some interesting background for my wildlife paintings. I have lately been enamored with trying to paint water for my shorebirds. This is a true challenge.

I paint with acrylic, mostly for convenience. They don’t have the mineral spirit, maybe lung-rotting, odor and they clean up with water. The downside is that acrylics dry fast. There is a learning curve to dealing with the fast drying.

Don’t expect to earn a living painting. Everybody and all of their neighbors are painting and writing. Do expect to accumulate a large number of paintings, each of which you think is brilliant, but others may be harder to convince. Expect the question, “What am I going to do with all of these?” Your children will not want them and likely will have no interest in your soulful efforts. One solution is to paint over them again and again. You will still have all of your paintings in thin layers on your canvases.

Painting, drawing, writing or any other creative effort is a great stress reliever and time waster for anyone, especially retirees like me. And, who knows, you may become the next Jackson Pollock.

Thank you, Les! Can you tell us the most interesting place you’ve visited?
Long ago, we had the great privilege of going to Kenya and Tanzania. I thought it would be the Mecca for a biologist, and it was. But, the greatest part of it was interacting with the people, including the Masai. Also, the gentleman who led the trip was Dr. Jack Partain of the Religion Department of Gardner-Webb University who had lived in Kenya for many years as a Baptist missionary. He was venerated by the people we met as a great compassionate man. His mission was to bring Christianity to the people within their own culture, without trying to intimidate them with “hellfire and damnation” rhetoric. He believed in compassionate, Christ-like, assistance and love for the incredibly poor people of those nations. He was the embodiment of what I believe missions should be about.

Your favorite meal?
No contest; a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. For a little more up-scale, I would go for grilled salmon with appropriate trimmings.

Pet peeve?
Mean people

Favorite television show?
Big Bang Theory for comedy and Chicago PD for drama, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert for what-ever category it falls into.

Favorite book?
Whatever I’m reading when asked!

What would that be at the moment?
“Lies the Mushroom Pickers Told,” by Tom Phelan. I just finished it. It is a little totally Irish gem, character driven with humor and a mystery background.
“A Sand County Almanac,” by Aldo Leopold is among my all-time favorites because of its wonderful environmental message and lyrical passages. It, along with “Walden” by Henry David Thoreau, made enormous impact on fueling the great environmental movement and national environmental consciousness that is now under attack.

If people want to pray for you, they could pray for…..?
I would prefer that people pray for those in greater need than I, and for the healing of our nation divided. I can always use prayers for helping me to be a decent person.

Are you married or have you been? Any kids? Grandkids?
Married to my beloved poet, Joyce Compton Brown. I give her credit for any success I have had in life. I was pretty much of a goof-off in high school and my first year in college. Then I met Joyce. I changed quickly and never looked back. We have two grown-and-gone daughters, Melissa and Michelle. And we have one granddaughter, Anna.

One thing many people don’t know you can do?
I can turn my tongue over and roll it into a tube. Does that count? I play harmonica and fiddle so badly that the sound (not music) never leaves our house.

The world is the poorer for the loss of your music, sir. If you had any spare time, what would you do with it?
All of my time now is spare. I keep up my weedy lawn, fix household things that are within my limited skill set, doctor my cats. I would like to take more art courses and travel more.

Can you tell us something about your cats?
We have two cats, but likely not for long. Our little rescue tabby, appropriately named Lovey, with one cauliflower ear and abbreviated tail from a previously hard life, now, after living the good life for about twelve years, is suffering from kidney failure. She was supposed to pass to kitty heaven about a month ago, but she is now on her fourteenth life. We were poised to have her euthanized, but on the way to the vet, she was on my lap, looking out the car window. Our hearts broken, we turned back. We hydrate her every other day, poke pills in her mouth and give her lots of love that she returns. She is holding her own, doing normal cat things. I found the little emaciated kitty with a skink hanging out of her mouth a couple of days ago. She didn’t want to give it up.

Our younger fur-baby weighs about fifteen pounds, eats like a pig and leaves a carpet of fur all over the house. She is also a rescue, likely part Maine Coon gray and white, named Gracie. Our cats are prone to attach themselves to me. I’m a cat magnet, but I’m trying to encourage Gracie to adopt Joyce. When Lovey is gone, we will have a problem. Gracie did not get the cover-it-up gene for litter box etiquette. Thus Lovey, the extremely tidy kitty, covers Gracie’s “gifts.”

Something to look forward to, I suppose. Tell us some interesting things about yourself that aren’t already covered?
I enjoy writing. I have had a few short stories and poems published. I had my DNA test done and found that I have absolutely no Cherokee genes (a family belief), but I’m one third British, one third Irish and about twenty some percent Viking (Scandinavian) and traces of other European. Somewhere along the line, I lost the urge to pillage. I am also a relative of the great American author, Thomas Wolfe.

On behalf of civilized society, we’re grateful that the pillaging urge has dissipated. Thanks much for letting us get to know you a little bit, and may the Lord guide your adventures. Take care!

Morris Crump–Advice for Food Truck Owners

What is your name? Any nicknames?
Full name is Morris Judson Crump III (don’t judge…lol).  Mostly go by Morris, a few people call me Mo or Momo.  I attached a picture to the email.  Do you see the resemblance?
I do see the resemblance.  Where was that taken?
That pic was taken at the Clarno Palisades of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument – just last week.
Thanks!  What’s your occupation?
Currently unemployed, I’m getting re-certified to do massage therapy again (was an LMT from 1996 to 2008). I’m also heading back to school to be a Chiropractor.
Can you tell us your age and where you live?
I’m 48 years young, and Portland, Oregon.
Do you have a website or a blog or a Twitter account or anything where people can learn more about you?
My Facebook account is a pretty good place to get a sense of who I am and what I’m about.
The most interesting place you’ve visited?
Greece, hands down, and three places in Greece specifically: Standing at the foot of Mt Olympus was amazing – we were told Alexander the Great gave his victory speech BEFORE going out and conquering the “known” world (I remember thinking how incredibly insightful a psychological ploy that was – centuries before the advent of the field of psychology). Equally amazing was walking up to the Oracle at Delphi – on the same path walked by the ancient Greeks. Also cool was jogging on the 100m track where the very first modern Olympics was held.
I’d add the Holocaust Museum in DC to the most interesting places that I’ve visited. It’s seven floors and I could only get through about 3 of them. We also visited a concentration camp in Nuremberg. At first, I left those out because they’re notable for awful reasons. On the flip side, the Olympic Stadium in Berlin where Jesse Owens ran in 1936 was pretty cool, and getting in trouble for chipping off a few pieces of the Berlin Wall was fun, too, in 1991. The Spy Museum in DC and the Mob Museum in Vegas were also fun, must do places to visit.
Your favorite meal would be?
That’s a tough one – there is SO much food I love. It’s hard to beat a good veggie omelette, cheese grits, buckwheat pancake, Morningstar veggie sausage (I’ve been a vegetarian for about 20 years), and fresh-squeezed OJ for breakfast. A great lunch (which they serve at The Roasting Company on Montford Drive in Charlotte and which I go back for nearly every time I go home) is a plate of collard greens, black eyes peas, cornbread, and cheese and pasta salad, with sweet potatoes or baked cinnamon apples for dessert. Dinner would have to be a Macho Taco salad from a food truck called Garden Monsters, here in Portland. It’s amazing – you and your readers will have to visit and experience it for yourselves.
Pet peeve?
Crooked pictures (the ones that hang crooked, not the ones that are criminals – those I adore.)
Favorite book, or movie, or television show? 
Book? Just one? There are so many! In no particular order: the Chronicles of Amber series, by Roger Zelazney; or the Elric of Melnibone series, by Michael Moorcock; or any of these three series by Piers Anthony: Xanth, Apprentice Adept, or the Incarnations of Immortality. Or Firefly, also by Piers Anthony (I read all three series, and Firefly, between 20-30 years ago, but they’ve stuck with me. I never thought about it, but I guess Piers Anthony is my favorite author). I’ve also enjoyed the Dirk Pitt series, by Clive Cussler. Movie? Dragon, the Story of Bruce Lee, or Gattaca, or The Gods Must Be Crazy. TV Show? Don’t have an all-time favorite. Right now, I like Game of Thrones, The Man in the High Castle, Orphan Black, Sherlock, and Black Sails, which is funny because I haven’t historically watched much TV, and when I have, I’ve gravitated toward sitcoms, like Cheers, and the Big Bang Theory. We also watched Grimm and The Librarians, because they were filmed in Portland.
Two more favorite movies, Love Actually and When Harry Met Sally.
Dang, Henry, you’re really making me think. I’d also add No Way Out, The Usual Suspects, and Presumed Innocent to my movie list. I love a good thriller with a plot twist.
If people want to pray for you?
If people want to pray for me, they could pray that I make it through the DC program at the University of Western States.
Are you married or have you been?  Any kids?  Grandkids?  Pets?
Married since October 15th, 2004. No kids, so no grandkids either. One dog, who we named Nicholas Aristotle Crump. He’s a rescue we got at about 5 weeks old, back in 2006. Goes by Nikko.
One thing many people don’t know you can do?
Wiggle my ears, wiggle my nose, and raise one eyebrow at a time.
If you had any spare time, what would you do with it?
Build a tiny home. There is a tiny home hotel (with five homes, I think) here in Portland, and we took a tour of it once. I’m pretty fascinated by them. Also, I think it’d be pretty cool to own and run a food truck that offers nothing but meals made in crock pots.
Can you give us some advice for food truck owners?
In answer to your query about advice for food truck owners, I’d expand it to their customers as well.
First, to the food truck owners – regardless of the food you specialize in, please remember that food is also medicine and have at least one item available that reflects that truth. Also, please have at least one item that a vegetarian can eat. Preferably a meal that satisfies both requests – healthy and vegetarian, and that’s satisfying to eat, too:) Vegan and gluten-free would also be nice, but I recognize that those folks make up a much smaller portion of the population than vegetarians do, so the economics of having things available for them might not work. But there are enough of us vegetarians in the world that it shouldn’t be too difficult to have something for us.
For the customers – I still hear people question the cleanliness of food trucks. It’s my understanding that they are held to the same sanitary standards as brick and mortar restaurants, and I’ve certainly eaten at more than my fair share and never gotten even a little sick as a result. It’s also been my personal experience that some of the best food I’ve ever eaten has come from a food truck. Some prepare truly gourmet foods (for street prices). So give them a try!
Tell us some interesting things about yourself that aren’t already covered. I was a member of the Young Actor’s Guild and got invited to audition in NYC for Little Lord Fauntleroy. I was a ballboy for the Carolina Lightning soccer team. I’ve met the Six Million Dollar Man, got my first tennis lesson from Althea Gibson, own an autographed picture of Pele, and played soccer in Germany while I was in the Army.
Morris, thanks much for playing along and for letting us get to know you a little.  Good luck and we’ll be praying for you with the chiropracty and massage therapy.

Betsy Tankersley–Advice for Extreme Couponers

What is your name? 
Betsy J. Tankersley

What is your occupation?
Professionally a Production Stage Manager, but currently a baker at Nellie’s Southern Kitchen (owned by the Jonas Brothers’ family).

How old are you and where do you live? 24 and Belmont, North Carolina.

Do you have a website or a blog or a Twitter account or anything where people can learn more about you?
Feel free to follow me on Twitter (@pledged2god), but you’ll only learn about my obsession with #LawandOrderSVU

What’s the appeal of Law and Order SVU?
So, I don’t know if this will fit the vibe of your site, but it’s the truth.
I am a survivor of assault, and watching the show and seeing the characters help victims has been incredibly therapeutic. Sometimes in an episode, a character will give voice to the emotions I felt or continue to feel, and I feel a little less alone in the daily struggle.

To my readers: I asked Betsy if she’d be willing to share with us some of the experiences related to these difficult events in her life, and she’s agreed. I’d like to thank her for her openness and courage in doing so. If you’d like to read more, please click here.  Warning: Some intense and potentially disturbing material.

Betsy, thank you very much for sharing that, and may your journey bring you peace and healing. I also admire how you refuse to let your bad experiences define you. Speaking of which, let’s get back to the fun stuff. Can you tell us the most interesting place you’ve visited?
Most interesting to myself: Greenwich Village, New York. I love all the art, the people and the whole vibe.
Most interesting to other people: Bogota, Colombia. SO many cool animals and stunning architecture.

Your favorite meal would be?
My grandmother’s spaghetti. I’m pretty sure it cures everything.

Favorite book, or movie, or TV show?
Pride and Prejudice in every variety. I try to read it annually. If you need a copy, I will hook you up!

If people want to pray for you, they could pray for……?
Wisdom. Peace. Perseverance.

Family or pets?
I have an eight year old cat who acts like a rebellious teenager.

One thing many people don’t know you can do?
It’s not really a trick or anything, but I’m into extreme couponing.

Can I ask you to give some advice to extreme couponers?
I highly recommend that you ask friends and family if they use their coupons. You would be surprised how many people just throw them away. The more you collect, the more you can save. For example, between all the coupons I got from friends at church and work and the ones that I purchased, I got about a half-dozen packages of cat treats for free. It made my rebellious teenage cat very happy!

If you had any spare time, what would you do with it?

Tell us some interesting things about yourself that aren’t already covered.
I’ve served as a Production Stage Manager for over 100 shows across the United States and on the high seas and am one of the youngest people to be employed as an Entertainment Production Manager with Norwegian Cruise Line (first embarkation was at 20 years old).
I am writing and composing a musical about the effects of combat-related PTSD. I am hoping to have it produced in order to raise funds for veterans.
I collect vinyls (favorites in my collection are a mint-condition Blues Brothers record, several Shaun Cassidy records and a ridiculous amount of original Broadway cast recordings).

Just for fun, I’m also including a link to a Facebook video of you singing “Wildflowers.”  Thanks for letting me share this!

How did you get into stage managing shows for cruise lines?
Simply an online job board! I’d been stage managing at the Flat Rock Playhouse and other regional theatres for a few years and was looking up jobs on a theatre website and found an advertisement for Norwegian Cruise Line. It’s different than working in theatre on land in a lot of ways: One, you can’t really just walk away if someone drives you crazy…you’re in the middle of the ocean! Two, there’s a new show every day, if not more, so you are constantly in tech. Three, the crew is constantly rotating, so you are always teaching and learning. But you see some awesome places and meet some incredible people! They even have church groups on board. (I support them by sending them materials, if anyone wants to assist.)

Betsy, thank you so much for letting us get to know you a little. We’ll be praying for you in your journey forward. God bless.

Katie Leon Guerrero–Advice for Medical-Legal Consultants

What is your name? Please include a nickname if most people call you by that.
Mary Kathrine Burgin Leon Guerrero. Please call me Katie!

Is “Kathrine” the correct spelling?
Actually, I thought of adding this to the last answer. Kathrine is the correct spelling. It was misspelled on my birth certificate and mom never had it corrected. I didn’t know until I applied for a driver’s license when I was in high school. At that point, I decided just to leave it the way it was.

What do you do for a living?
I have three jobs. First and foremost, I am a nurse.
I work in the hospital on the High Risk Obstetric and Labor & Delivery Units. I’m also cross-trained to work in the NICU and on the Mother/Baby unit. I teach Fetal Monitoring classes, too.
I own my own medical-legal consulting business, Bridge Pointe Nurse Consulting. I work with attorneys, nurses, and insurance companies on medical-legal claims. I work for both plaintiffs and defendants.
I just took a job with a company called Med-Ed. I will be teaching a Fetal Monitoring Certification exam preparation course to nurses at hospitals all over the United States.

How old are you?
That depends on when you publish this! I will be 39 on June 1st. (And I’m lucky to share a birthday with my Aunt Peggy.)

That would be today! Happy birthday! Where do you live?
Harrisburg, NC

Do you have a website where people can learn more about you?

The most interesting place you’ve visited?

Can you give us a highlight or two about visiting Hawaii?
I went to Hawaii with my family when I was 16. We went to the Big Island and stayed on the Kona coast. It was so beautiful, it didn’t even seem real. The best part was swimming in Captain Cook Bay. We went on a snorkeling trip. The water was so clear, you could see the bottom from 50 feet up. A pod of dolphins came by to play with us. There were giant sea turtles and beautiful fish, too. It was amazing.

Your favorite meal would be?
Hmm. Something with seafood. And cheese. And dessert.

Pet peeve?
Chewing with your mouth open. Ew.

Favorite movie?
I could watch Elf every day.

Why is “Elf” a favorite?
I love Elf for a lot of reasons. It’s hilarious. It’s about Christmas. It’s about the innocent and unconditional love of a child (or in this case, an adult Christmas elf), and it’s a movie I can watch with the whole family.

Family or pets?
I have two children: Anthony is ten years old and Evelyn is eight. We’ve got an 8 year-old Shih Tzu, a new 1-year-old rescue mutt, and a cat.

One thing many people don’t know you can do?
Play the piano.

If you had any spare time, what would you do with it?
First, I would sleep. I would also like to travel and spend more time with my friends and family.

Tell us some interesting things about yourself that aren’t already covered.
I have metal plates and screws in jaws. If you think I have a screw loose, you might be more correct than you know!

Do you mind telling us what happened to your jaw?
I had orthodontic surgery when I was 17.

Thanks for all this. Can you give us some advice for medical-legal consultants?
Interestingly, my best advice to medical-legal consultants is about introductions and making connections. Do you mind if I put a plug in for my LNC group? (Legal Nurse Consultant) It’s ok if you’d rather not. I don’t get any kickback from it. I just think it’s a great group.

No problem at all. Go ahead.

In full disclosure, I’m a member of the conference committee (a volunteer but elected position). The group has been fantastic for me. About 90% of my work has somehow been related to this group.

My advice to medical-legal consultants is to focus your time on making genuine connections with other consultants. This may mean helping someone out within your area of expertise, giving someone a ride to the airport at a conference, offering a prayer or comforting word to someone in need, or connecting over your shared love of dogs. If you dedicate your time to the person instead of the business, the business will come.

If you’re not sure where to start, join a medical legal networking group, such as Juris Education Resource Knowledge for LNC’s – fondly known as the JERKs! This fantastic group is a collection of knowledgeable, generous, and passionate nurse consultants that would love to see you succeed.

Katie, thank you for letting us get to know you a little bit. May your endeavors be successful, and, again, may you have a very happy birthday! God bless.

Ty Unglebower–Advice for Freelance Journalists

What is your name?
Ty Unglebower

Can you tell us your occupation?
Freelance journalist

How old are you and where do you live?
39 and Knoxville, Maryland.

The most interesting place you’ve visited?
Probably Seattle, Washington. I was only there once for two days, but would like to get back.

Could you tell us a little about how Seattle caught your interest?
I was in high school, and Mom and my younger sister and I were going on a cross country trip. That was one of our stops. We spent two nights there, took several tours, and visited Mt. Rainier. I enjoyed how it seemed far less congested and claustrophobic than most East Coast cities I’ve been to, but still had plenty to do and see. The Space Needle of course makes it one of the more interesting American skylines as well.

Your favorite meal would be?
Spaghetti and bread.

Pet peeve?
Incorrect use of A.D. as pertains to years. It is properly “The year AD 1500.” Whereas most will write, “1500, AD.”
I also get highly annoyed with misquotations.

Where can we find you on the internet?
Twitter: @TyUnglebower

Looking at your website, you describe yourself as “writer, actor, introvert.” Could you give us some insight into why “introvert” makes your top three list of self-identifiers?
Introversion influences so many different aspects and processes in my life in ways that run counter to the conventional American social structure, it felt as though it would almost be false-advertising not to mention that I am introverted. To be open about this right off the bat provides some small cushion against the expectations folks often have about being gregarious, pushy, stimulus-oriented. It doesn’t solve everything, but it is a start towards knowing what I am and am not about if people know from the start that I am introverted.

Thanks for sharing that. Favorite movie?
Probably “The Lion in Winter.”

Are you married or have you been? Any children?
Never married, I have no children.

One thing many people don’t know you can do?
Truthfully, I don’t believe any of my talents are hidden. People who know me tend to know the things I do well.

What advice would you offer to freelance journalists?
Ask. Everywhere, anywhere if they are in need of a writer. Know what you like to write about, find a publication or paper or source that shares that interest, and just ask them if they accept freelance writers, or if they would be willing to let you try to write a piece for them. If you don’t get an assignment, do it all over again somewhere else. If you do get an assignment, do it well, on time, and still do it all over again somewhere else. Meet people connected with such places if you can, and if you cannot, at least compliment writers of pieces you enjoyed, even if it appears in national magazines. It’s difficult to find the work sometimes, and difficult to keep doing it, so writers ought to consider themselves somewhat on the same team, at least for a while.

If you had any spare time, what would you do with it?
I would devote more time to my writing in most cases.

Tell us some interesting things about yourself that aren’t already covered.
My first fully formed sentence was, “I can talk Mom, I just don’t want to,” at age three or so.

Could you give us a sentence or two about the greatest frustration you’ve faced in being a writer? How about the same with the greatest satisfaction you’ve found?
The greatest frustration with being a writer in my case is probably successful publicity, both for my work, and for my potential services. It’s difficult to find places for which to write more freelance material, and even more difficult to sell the fiction that I write and publish myself. Finding a way to be in front of the proverbial audience is frustrating, as is not having my work read by anyone/few people.

The greatest satisfaction I’ve found as a writer is when I do reach someone, and they tell me or the world about it. When I know I have entertained, or provoked thought, laughter, introspection in someone else by way of my writing, I’m contented to put up with the frustrations a while longer.

Thanks much, Ty. And may I mention also that I’m a fan of your work, and I’d encourage my readers to check out your website and Twitter feed. We appreciate you letting us get to know you a little bit. May the writing continue to bring satisfaction, and may you prosper in it.

Sue Bargeloh–Advice for Equestrian Therapists

What is your name?
Sue Bargeloh.

What is your occupation? If retired, retired from what?
Retired from Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Worked there, and throughout the DOE complex, as a trainer, providing management training programs and facilitating organizational design.

How old are you?
Age is 30/32. My husband and I have used this method of describing age for years now, it seems to express a more truthful concept of how we actually feel.

Can you tell us a little about your method for telling your age?
My husband, Tom, is the one who came up with our method for determining age. We started in our forties, so at that time we looked back on our thirties with nostalgia. Consequently, it seemed appropriate to use 30 as the baseline, since we still felt like we should be in our 30’s, then add the appropriate number of years to be accurate: 30+12= 42, for example. In our fifties we began to start with 40 as a base and build from there. Now that we’re in our sixties, we should be using 50 as a base, but depending on how well–or not–I feel on the day I’m giving my age, I’ll use 30, 40 or 50 as a base.

Where do you live?
For now, in a motor home in campgrounds between Raleigh and Asheville. We have a house being built in Raleigh that is supposed to be finished in September.

The most interesting place you’ve visited?
Have done some world travel and lived in at least six different states, but recently I experienced a tactile art exhibit in Sarasota, Florida that was a truly interesting experience. A room was hung from floor to ceiling with different colored silk ribbons, all the same size. The experience was to walk through the room and experience the silk flowing against you from every direction, kind of like walking through a very thick, silken forest. Very zen, very beautiful. The other most interesting experience was watching–literally–saguaros bloom in the Sonoran Desert.

Your favorite meal would be?
Salad, cheese pizza.

Pet peeve?
People who litter and people who refuse to pick up after their dogs when they walk them in public.

Favorite book, or movie, or television show?
Don’t watch a lot of movies but: Mr. Holland’s Opus, Have many favorite books but two that come to mind tonight are To Kill a Mockingbird, A Man Called Ove.

If people want to pray for you, they could pray for….?
Giving me the strength to let go (one of my main learning objectives in this life).

Are you married or have you been? Any kids? Grandkids? Obnoxious and demanding pets?
Married (22 years), one step-daughter, one horse (Danny), two dogs (Sydney and Bridget) and one cat (Little cat). No obnoxious and demanding grandkids.

(Grin) Thanks. One thing many people don’t know you can do?
Reiki. Ride dressage. Play the piano.

Can you tell us a little about reiki?
Reiki, meaning ‘universal life force energy,’ is an alternative healing methodology in which a practitioner places hands on the patient to channel ch’i, or energy, in order to provide pain/stress relief and healing.

If you had any spare time, what would you do with it?
Write plays, write stories, write poems. Do yoga and ride bike. Volunteer at animal shelters and soup kitchens. Work for legalization of medical marijuana. Direct plays.

Tell us some interesting things about yourself that aren’t already covered.
I ran a therapeutic riding program in New Mexico that served handicapped children and adults. I was a Licensed Practical Nurse before changing careers. I’m an amateur actor. I’ve volunteered as a reading tutor. I love to garden. I am a late-in-life vegetarian. I saw one of the best Pink Floyd concerts, Dark Side of the Moon, in Pittsburgh in the 70’s. I met and spent time with Monty Roberts, the original Horse Whisperer. Many years ago I was able to spend time in Paris and actually speak French (now lost to me).

Great, and thanks much. Could you give some advice for people interested in therapeutic riding programs?
For those who might not be familiar with these programs, therapeutic riding uses horses to help people with physical, mental, and/or emotional disabilities. There are a variety of ways horses can be used to help people. I once established and ran a Recreational Therapy program where our riders were taught by certified instructors (me and three other women) how to actively engage in riding a horse to the extent possible given the type of disability of each rider. Recreational Therapy riding helps patients to relax; improve muscle tone, sensory and motor skills; and develop coordination, confidence, and well-being. At one point in our program, The North Mesa Riders, we had a physical therapist working with us, which elevated the program to a Hippotherapy program. In Hippotherapy Programs licensed physical therapists, occupational therapists, or speech and language pathologists guide the therapeutic team to encourage specific motor and sensory inputs for the rider’s benefit.

There are therapeutic riding programs all across the country, and there are several in the Asheville/Hendersonville/Brevard area. Most of these programs use a team of volunteers to assist the riders as needed: some riders need a volunteer walking beside them on either side of the horse and a volunteer leading the horse, while other riders may have only one side-walker volunteer, and a very few riders have full control of their horse. If you enjoy helping others, this is a hands-on, out-of-the-box way to make a difference. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

YOU DON”T HAVE TO HAVE HORSE EXPERIENCE. Volunteer training will teach you to be a horse leader and/or side walker. If horses frighten you, be prepared to lose that fear (or at least 90 percent of it–it never hurts to have some healthy respect when working around a large animal) and then fall in love and want a horse for your own. No one who watches how these amazing animals care for and manage their unstable riders can remain untouched. Warning: Falling in love with horses can lead to economic and marital stress.

EMBRACE THE DIRT, THE FLIES, AND THE MANURE. Don’t wear perfume, sandals, or shorts to the stable. Pull your hair back and don’t bother with make-up. Leave jewelry and fake nails behind. Your volunteer work will put you as close to God’s natural creative efforts as you can get in today’s urbanized landscape, so let go and enjoy it. The riders and the horses will love you despite your sweat and smudges. And if you have a dog, he/she will adore any smells and manure you bring home. As for other family members…well, maybe not so much.

GIVE YOURSELF EXTRA TIME when you volunteer. You’ll need time to help prepare horses for the next class and time to get riders lined up to the mounting ramp to get onboard. You’ll need plenty of extra time to listen to the riders as you get to know them because you’ll be helping them in a very unique and personal situation. They will become your friends and want to tell you about themselves, the disability they are struggling with, and the wonderful things they are learning from their horse. You’ll need time to talk with the instructors and other volunteers as you get to know them. They will become your friends as you work together to plan new ways of helping each rider achieve his or her goals. And you’ll certainly want time to brush and pet the horses you work with. They will become your friends and partners in making a difference to others and you will love feeling their energy and learning their individual personalities.

BE PREPARED FOR EMOTION. It’s hard not to feel humbled by the courage of a paraplegic who allows himself to be hoisted onto the back of a huge animal for a lesson in balance and motion, and you’ll feel exaltant when after weeks of grueling work that same person shares that his spinal flexibility has improved from riding. You’ll have to fight tears when you listen to a young girl sob because her classmates make fun of her disability at school, and then you’ll smile through those tears when she’s in the saddle, proud and confident on her horse, high above the rest of the world and full of power and magic. And you’ll chuckle when the class of ladies with MS decides they need an extra 30 minutes each week to spend time drinking iced tea and chatting after the lesson because they’re all such good friends now and, well, just because!

To find out more about therapeutic riding and its various types of programs, do a few web searches: you’ll be overwhelmed with information.

Thank you, Sue, and God bless. We appreciate the opportunity to get to know you a little. May your journey continue to be interesting and full.

Theresa Cox–Advice for Hobbyist Filmmakers

What is your name? Any nicknames?
My name is Theresa. Sometimes my friends just call me “T”.

What do you do for a living?
I am a self-employed hairstylist. It’s how I have fed myself for the last 20+ years.

How old are you? (You can lie if you want to.)
44. I don’t lie about my age. I am sure it is written on my face.

Where do you live?
Mills River, North Carolina

Any internet presence?
I have a blog but it’s just a place to vent. My Twitter account is woefully inactive. But I love showing off videos I have done over the years. Click here or search for ladyzahl on YouTube.

The most interesting place you’ve visited?
San Francisco, California.

Your favorite meal?
The meal I don’t have to cook, but some steamed asparagus sounds good right now.

Pet peeve?
My pet peeves are highly inconsistent. What doesn’t bug me today just might irritate me tomorrow.

Favorite book, or movie, or television show?
My favorite book is “Wizard’s First Rule” by Terry Goodkind. My favorite movie is “Starman” with Jeff Bridges. My favorite television show is Star Trek: The Next Generation.

If people want to pray for you, they could pray for…….?
My nephews. They have me as their guardian and I may not know what I am doing.

Are you married or have you been? Any kids? Grandkids? Pets?
I was married until I got traded in. No plans for other marriages are in the works. I have one daughter and 2 granddaughters, 8 years old and 2 months old. Sadly, they live in Alabama. I also have a cat that believes he is a reincarnated Egyptian god. He thinks he should be fed anytime he meows. I keep having to remind him that we aren’t in Egypt and that the Egyptians rang the cats’ necks and mummified them. Thus far, my words have no effect.

One thing many people don’t know you can do?
Most people don’t know that I speak two languages, English and Spanish. Three if you count pig Latin.  I also can play clarinet.

Where did you learn Spanish?
I am self taught. Many Hispanic clients would come to the salon where I worked with a translator. The translators never seemed really comfortable with telling me what the clients wanted, which made me nervous, so I decided to learn their language so I could communicate with them myself. I bought books from the college and when I had a working knowledge of the language I immersed myself in it. I would watch TV in Spanish and would go to online chat rooms where people spoke Spanish, made lots of embarrassing mistakes but they helped me learn. I still make mistakes and construct sentences weirdly sometimes but I could get by in a Spanish speaking country if necessary.

If you had any spare time, what would you do with it?
I would either create things or film things or sleep.

Tell us some interesting things about yourself that aren’t already covered.
I am an amateur actor, and director. I directed “Romeo and Juliet” and “The Miracle Worker.” “The Miracle Worker” thus far is my favorite. I also film and edit videos. I don’t have fancy cameras and such but I make do. I love to do all kinds of crafts from polymer clay to painting, crocheting, paper crafting, etc.

What sorts of things do you do with polymer clay and papercrafts?
I do all sorts of things. With polymer clay I usually use it to cover other things like bottles and such. I bought a silhouette cutting machine and I have been busy making decals and such. At times I crochet doll clothes. It all depends on the mood.

Can I show my readers this sculpture you made?

You can use whatever pics you need.

Thank you!  I enjoy your videos. Anybody interested can check out a lot of them here or your previous link. Can you give us some advice for hobbyist filmmakers?
Hmmm. Be open. Don’t be afraid to ask opinions or share credit. Don’t get boxed in, be willing to bend, particularly when working with actors. Also, keep it short and sweet. I have watched hour long videos that could have been trimmed down to five minutes and could have made more of an impact. Beyond that, don’t film your neighbors unless they want you to, keep it clean, (that way more people can watch it), and keep it safe.

Thanks much, Theresa. We appreciate you letting us get to know you a little. Stay creative!