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: lesbrownsart.com

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?
TRAVEL.

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?
Yes. www.bridgepointenurse.com

The most interesting place you’ve visited?
Hawaii

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?
TyUnglebower.com
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!

Carolyn Angel–Advice for Nurses

What is your name? Carolyn Angel.

Any nicknames? Not since childhood and we’re not going there. “Trouble,” maybe. That’s one I’ve had lately. That’s one they call me at Carpenter’s Hands.

What is your occupation? Retired from hospital nursing.

How old are you? Sixty-six.

Where do you live? Mills River, North Carolina

The most interesting place you’ve visited? Probably Alaska.

Why is that? We did four mission trips there with Carpenter’s Hands. The first one was in 2004, 2005, then I forget exactly how the others fell. Also, Alaska has beautiful scenery!

Can you tell me about the Carpenter’s Hands ministry?
It’s based at Mud Creek Baptist Church but it’s not limited to Mud Creek. I go to French Broad church and some of the other members do too, but it’s not even limited to Baptists. We have a Methodist and some others who go. In the summer we go on a mission trip; this summer it’s going to be to New Hampshire to work on a girls’ camp so they can reopen it. The week after Christmas we do a mission trip as our birthday gift to Jesus. That may be in another state, or this past year it was in the county, helping out with a building for people that are rehabbing from drugs, for them to have a place to go on the weekends. Sometimes we work on people’s homes, that sort of thing. Sometimes we have training and participation in disaster relief.

Your favorite meal would be? Steak, baked potato, and salad.

Pet peeve? People following too close when driving.

Favorite book, or movie, or television show? I like NCIS. I read the Bible, of course, and I like mysteries.

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

Are you married or have you been? Any kids or pets?
One dog that thinks he’s human. I’m widowed and have two children, grown, and a daughter-in-law.

Tell us about the dog that thinks he’s human. He came to us because of our son, who we told couldn’t have him. He’s become a part of the family, his name is Timber, a good-sized dog. He can pout and then he can turn around and make sure I make it to bed okay. He’ll walk in front of me sometimes or follow me but he won’t go to bed until I’ve gone into the bedroom. I’ve got lots of stories, well, you know Timber.

I do know Timber. Can you tell us one thing that many people don’t know you can do? I can paint some, whenever I take the time to. I like to do landscapes.

If you had any spare time, what would you do with it? Take off somewhere for two or three days, just by myself and just relax and read.

Tell us some interesting things about yourself that aren’t already covered. I have no ear for language, I have found out, although I would love to learn Spanish. Years ago I found out that mission work can happen here in the United States–it doesn’t have to be overseas. Over the years that’s one way I’ve grown, and now I’m at the point where if God would call me I could do mission work overseas (with an interpreter, of course.) I’d love to travel more. One of the things for me that God has given me, it’s not so much witnessing to people as being there, maybe for Christians. I have had the opportunity to witness but it seems to be more being there for people sometimes, which kind of feeds more into the nursing, too.

What advice would you give for nurses? If you go into nursing, go into it because you want to help people and not just for the money, and go into it thinking about helping the younger nurses. When you’ve been in it awhile you want to help the younger nurses as they come along. Through the years I’ve realized that God used that as part of a ministry. It does have its challenges, too. And do it because you want to and not because someone else thinks you should.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
Just having lost Clyde over a year and a half ago, take it day by day and allow yourself to grieve and don’t put a time limit on yourself. For each person grief is individual and it can catch you unawares sometimes. And one thing as I’ve gone through it it’s been good to be there for someone else who’s grieving. And I’ve been very grateful to my church and Carpenter’s Hands who’ve been there for me through that. God is good.

Thanks, Carolyn, for sharing with us and letting us get to know a little about you. God bless.

Mary Thompson–Advice for Research Historians

What is your name? Any nicknames?
My name is Mary V. Thompson (I never changed my name when I got married, because I was 41 at the time and everyone in my field knew me by that name–it was too late to change it). My dad sometimes calls me Dolly; my brother used to call me Sissy. In high school, I was known as “the little dynamo.” My next-door neighbor in grad school called me “Masha” or “Mashinka,” which is my name in Russian. My husband has always called me “Catwoman” (sometimes I wonder if he remembers my real name).

What do you do for a living?
I am the research historian at the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington, which is located across the road from Mount Vernon. Started working there in 1980, as I was finishing up a master’s degree in history at the University of Virginia. I spent 18 years in the Curatorial Department and have been part of the Library staff for 19 years now.

How old are you and where do you live?
I’m 62, but still feel about the same as when I was in high school (only physically creakier), and I live in Alexandria, Virginia.

Where can people find you on the Internet?
They can find me on LinkedIn.

Most interesting place you’ve visited?
Egypt. I’ve been there twice and would love to go back.

Favorite meal?
Meatloaf, macaroni & cheese, and green beans. Next favorite would be a really good burger.

Pet peeve?
The fact that the world is run by morning people.

It sounds like you’re not a morning person. Can you tell us what that’s like?
I enjoy the night, because it is lovely and quiet. Can get a lot of reading or writing done without interruptions (or watch movies that my husband doesn’t like). Working 9-5 (or in my case 9-6) is very difficult–I don’t really wake up until about noon, even if I am at work. I tend to get a second wind about 4PM and often work until about 7PM.

Favorite book, or movie, or television show?
Favorite book: There are too many, but let’s say “Jane Eyre.”
Favorite movie: Again, so many I love, but I guess it would be “The Trap” with Oliver Reed and Rita Tushingham.
Television show: I Love Lucy.

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

Are you married or have you been? Any kids or pets?
I’ve been married for almost 21 years.

No kids (was told at 33 that I wasn’t able to have any; thankfully I found someone who didn’t care about that).

Pets: Currently have a 15 year old calico Persian cat, who is my baby and incredibly sweet.. A few years ago, had a dog (West Highland White Terrier) and three kitties, but we lost one kitty about four years ago from congestive heart disease at 13, and last year lost the dog (3 weeks before his 18th birthday) of kidney failure, and about five months later lost another kitty (age 17) from kidney failure, as well (he never really got over losing the dog, who was his best friend). Will be getting a new puppy once I retire.

One thing many people don’t know you can do?
Belly dancing.

Oh, that’s a wonderful mental picture. Where and when did you learn to belly dance?
Started learning in high school and then took lessons here in Alexandria at one of the local rec centers.

If you had any spare time, what would you do with it?
When I retire, I’m looking forward to doing more at church–I’d like to sing in the choir and/or play in the orchestra; would also like to do more cooking at the homeless shelter (have done that some with my Sunday School department and love feeding people).

Can you tell us some interesting things about yourself that aren’t already covered?
I play flute, recorder (alto and soprano), dulcimer, and one-handed piano. I make really good: scrambled eggs with cheese; green enchiladas; and chili. I’m addicted to gummi bears.

Can you give us some advice for research historians?
It’s really important to be interested in everything. Sure, you may love history, but historians now are expected to produce tables and charts to quantify their findings, so you have to be good at math. Reading in fields like sociology and anthropology can be really helpful, because those books and articles might give you an idea for a new angle or approach that might be useful for a history question you are investigating.

One of the fields I’ve worked in for several decades now is historic foodways, which has involved trying to make foods based on 18th century recipes. It’s a lot of fun, but knowing how to cook prior to taking on this project was really important. So just keep open to other fields and new ideas.

Thanks much, Mary. We appreciate you letting us get to know you a little bit.

Greg Tipton–Advice for Alaska Sport Fishermen

What is your name?
Greg, GT at work

What is your occupation?
Air Traffic Control

How old are you and where do you live?
49 years old and Hendersonville, North Carolina.

The most interesting place you’ve visited?
Alaska, what a breathtaking place in the summertime. Daylight till after midnight and the most beautiful scenery I’ve ever encountered. The fishing was incredible. Sockeye salmon fresh out of the Kenai River can not be beaten. The wildlife is incredible. Rivers, ocean, mountains, icebergs, glaciers, the list goes on and on.

Favorite meal?
Sockeye salmon from the Kenai River.

Pet peeve?
People who drive slow in the left hand lane on the interstate and refuse to get over but speed up when you try to pass them on the right.

Favorite television show?
Last Man Standing

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

Are you married or have you been? Any kids or grandkids? Obnoxious and demanding pets?
I’ve been married and divorced twice, I have seven kids, all but one adopted and all but two have special needs, and I have two beautiful grandkids, and absolutely no pets.

Can you tell us how it came about that you’ve adopted numerous special needs kids?
I was born with spina bifida and my mom always made sure I had the best medical care possible and pushed me to do everything I could even when I didn’t want to. I hoped to one day pass that on to my kids. After numerous miscarriages during my first marriage a friend introduced us to adoption. When we figured out how long it took we investigated special needs adoption, which took over two years the first time, but was quicker than a traditional adoption and felt like where God was leading us. After the first two it was almost like an addiction; we wanted to help as many kids as possible. After losing our daughter Janet in 2004 it was really hard to consider anymore, however, we did manage not only one more adoption, but we ended up with temporary custody of two more. Thus the seven we have now. Only one remains at home but they have been and continue to be a huge blessing in my life. Right under my nose God gave me a ministry that I will always cherish.

Thanks, Greg, and that’s an amazing story. If you had any spare time, what would you do with it?
I love to travel. Nothing like a good road trip.

Can you describe what you would consider the ideal road trip?
A good road trip for the weekend would be a journey through the mountains down roads you’ve never traveled. Seeing places you’ve never seen. Small towns are full of history and culture. Talking with people who have lived a totally different life.
The ultimate road trip would be across country to the Pacific Ocean. Over on a southerly route and back on a northerly route. Probably taking two weeks at least, each way. That’s a retirement trip that is on my bucket list.

Fishing in Alaska figures into your favorite meal AND your most interesting place. Can I ask you to give some advice to Alaska sport fishermen?
Fishing in Alaska is a tremendous adventure. There are many types of fish and many types of bodies of water. River fishing for salmon is the best type by far. Be prepared to get wet because it rains quite often in the summer. Be prepared to run into all types of wildlife including moose and bears. Bear spray and a gun to scare them away is not a bad idea, or when you go make sure you take someone you can out run LOL. If it’s your first time, a guide would not be a bad idea. There are so many places to fish and so many ways to fish, if you’re not familiar with the area it might be frustrating. Take lots of pictures because you cannot describe the beauty of it all. So a good pair of boots, rain gear, and a good guide will make your fishing experience in Alaska more enjoyable.

Thanks much for sharing with us, Greg. God bless.