V 6#3 5.20

2 • MAY 2020

Hometown MADISON • 3

4 • MAY 2020


My roots were first planted in a rural

section in Union County between Oxford

and New Albany. My brother and I grew

up there watching my parents build a

photography business that even family

said would never make it that far from

“town.” But my parents stayed with their

vision of “The Studio in the Woods” and

worked extremely hard to see it grow and

prosper. It was a testimony for our family

of God’s faithfulness to His children.

It was in 1994 that my parents realized

the studio was no longer adequate to

meet the workload. Daddy drew up

plans for a major addition that would

give ample room for more innovative

lighting and backgrounds. He had a

work crew begin in late January when

business was slowest. The studio was in

remodeling chaos when a greater chaos

came- the ice storm of 1994.

Not only did work crews abandon

the project, my parents were without

power for 21 days! I know Daddy felt like

the business might not survive, but he

continued to lean on his faith and pray

for light at the end of his tunnel.

God WAS faithful, and the business

rebounded and jumped to an even

larger area of clients. It wasn’t a pleasant

experience during the “storm,” but what

lessons were learned!

This COVID-19 storm has staggered

the world. Businesses have and are

suffering. Our hometown will probably

never return to the “old days.” However,

with renewed trust in a faithful God,

hard work, and everyone rallying around

our local businesses, our hometown

could very well rise above her former

self. I say we adopt a new motto for

these challenging days: “With man this

is impossible, but with God all things

are possible.” Matthew 19:26 l

ON THE COVER: Emily and Jeff Speed–this year’s Go Red For Women Open Heart recipients.


Tahya A. Dobbs



Kevin W. Dobbs


Mary Ann Kirby


A Second Chance 6

The Power of a Shower 16

Hometown Q&A 20

An Open Heart 26

Circle of Red 29

Hometown Goodness 32

The Chalkboard 40

The Time Coin 50



Brenda McCall


Lindsey Dees


Jenna Nottingham



Alisha Floyd


Daniel Thomas - 3dt



Caroline Hodges


Othel Anding

Mississippi Governor’s Mansion lights up red for heart health awareness. For subscription information visit or contact us at / 601.706.4059 / 26 Eastgate Drive, Suite F / Brandon, MS 39042

All rights reserved. No portion of Hometown Madison may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher. The management of Hometown Madison is not responsible for opinions expressed by its writers or editors.

Hometown Madison maintains the unrestricted right to edit or refuse all submitted material. All advertisements are subject to approval by the publisher. The production of Hometown Madison is funded by advertising.

Hometown MADISON • 5

6 • MAY 2020

A Second Chance

Lauren von Foregger

In 2012, Katherine Byrd was a normal,

healthy, 24-year-old. She was a recent

college graduate, newlywed, and was

starting her first job out of college. She had

never struggled with illness in her lifetime,

so that October, it was a shock to find herself

telling a doctor, “I feel like I’m dying.”

Katherine and her husband, Adam, had

recently travelled to Starkville to attend a

football game.

“I started feeling off, and I knew immediately

something was very wrong,” she said.

“I thought I was getting the flu, but then

quickly realized it was much more serious

than that.”

Katherine began to experience symptoms

like fever, chills and the gastrointestinal signs

of food poisoning.

“I assumed I had eaten something bad

and had food poisoning, and I thought it

would pass,” she said. “But it got worse.

The abdominal pain was like nothing I had

felt before.”

She went to a walk-in clinic where she

was told she likely had a virus or food

poisoning, and that it should go away on its

own. After several more days of symptoms,

Katherine was admitted to the hospital where

they gave her fluids. She began feeling better

and was released, planning to return to work

the next day. But that night, the symptoms

returned full force. Katherine then made an

appointment with a gastrointestinal specialist,

who also told her she was likely experiencing

food poisoning and that the symptoms

should subside on their own.

But after four more days, Katherine

noticed that she was extremely dehydrated

and began to worry her kidneys might be

in danger.

Her father took her to Baptist Medical

Center where she saw an internal medicine


“He sat with me for three hours,” she

recalled. “He ran all kinds of tests and lab

work and made a list of every single

symptom I was experiencing. No other

physician had taken that amount of time

to really listen to me.”

Katherine was told her kidneys were failing

and that her internal organs were shutting

down. She needed to be admitted into the

Intensive Care Unit (ICU) immediately.

In the ICU, Katherine received blood

transfusions and dialysis. She would remain

in the hospital for an entire month. Because

of kidney damage, her blood pressure

skyrocketed, causing seizures.

During her time in the hospital, Katherine

received more than 25 plasma transfusions,

made possible by the Mississippi Blood

Services and a personal call for donors on

social media.

Katherine was diagnosed with Hemolytic

Uremic Syndrome (HUS), a rare blood

disorder that can be caused by e-coli.

“I had eaten something with e-coli and my

body was reacting to it,” she said. “My blood

cells were being destroyed faster than I could

produce them.”

As Katherine’s kidney function returned

to normal, her doctors recommended she

be treated with a new and experimental

chemotherapy drug that was seeing some

success in Europe with infants suffering from

HUS. The drug worked, and within a few

treatments, Katherine was released and able

to return home.

Her scare with her health has given her a

new perspective on life, she says.

“Looking back, it makes me more aware

of my overall health and I’m probably overly

cautious now,” she said. “You never know

when it’s going to happen to you – no one

is invincible.”

Katherine is currently the Go Red For

Women director for the Metro Jackson

American Heart Association. Locally

sponsored by central premier sponsor

University of Mississippi Medical Center,

Go Red For Women is a movement created

to spread awareness of the dangers of heart

disease and stroke among women, and

serves as a catalyst for change to improve

the lives of women, globally. Katherine says

she brings her perspective on health with her

to work each day, making what she does for

a living more meaningful.

“Prevention is important,” she said. “If I

had not been a healthy individual, it’s possible

I wouldn’t have made it through my health

ordeal. It’s the same with heart disease and

stroke – you can’t totally predict what will

happen to you, but you can do everything

in your power to prevent it.”

Katherine says she also sees life as fleeting

and doesn’t take things for granted because

of it.

“That’s another part of our mission at the

AHA – to give people longer, healthier lives,”

she said. “Not just more years, but more

healthy years. That hits home for me,

because I feel like I was given that gift.”

“I love getting to work with volunteers

and companies, and connecting with

people,” she said. “I believe the work we do

is good for our community and our state,

and I truly believe what we do helps people

and saves lives.”

For more information about

Go Red For Women,

or how you can get involved with

Metro Jackson American Heart Association,


Hometown MADISON • 7












8 • MAY 2020

CALL NOW: 601-401-3299

Hometown MADISON • 9




Mary Ann Kirby

10 • MAY 2020

Anyone that has ever lost a loved one

knows of the longing that comes with

wanting to somehow reconnect. In our

minds, we know they’re gone but we

still need to feel them to know that

they’re ok--- and neither time nor

distance can change that desire.

There’s an old saying that goes,

“When cardinals appear, angels are near.”

I’ve always been enchanted by that idea

as the red cardinal has played many

prominent roles throughout our history.

The notion that cardinals are messengers

of spirits exists across numerous

cultures and beliefs--- just ask anyone

that’s seen one when they

needed it most.

But truth be known, redbirds

are pretty common in this area.

They thrive in this habitat and while

I’d love to think that every time

I see one it’s a spirit-come-to-visit,

it’s just as easy for me to

imagine that it’s not.

In 2012, my grandmother died at the

age of 96. When it was time to clean

out her house, her youngest son from

California (and the sibling-declared

family-favorite among the four of her

children and two grandchildren) came

to Mississippi for a week to help with

the overwhelming task ahead. She had

lived in the same house in Yazoo City

for over 80 years.

There was stuff everywhere–in the

attic, in the garage, in drawers, and in

closets stacked from floor-to-ceiling.

Much of it I had meticulously sorted

over the course of several weeks and

months but when it came time to do

the final clearing, a lot of it was taken

to the curb. We worked for days to

ultimately prepare the house to be sold.

I called the waste management

company to arrange for a special pick-up

since it was just too much to leave until

the regular trash day. They needed a

heads up–it was a lot. Besides, I needed

to get back to Jackson and wanted to

know that it would be taken care of.

Early the next morning, as promised,

the garbage truck ran and around

mid-day I called my uncle to verify that

it had, in-fact, all been cleared away. He

walked outside and was just astounded

at what had previously been an absolute

massive amount of rubbish. The

mountain had been reduced to a single

random Christmas ball. Every bit of it

was gone.

As he leaned over to scoop up the

old faded ornament, he noticed

something shining in the grass. He

reached down to find a little gold heart

charm. The irony was not lost on him

that it was all that was left–and that he

had found it. He stuck it in his pocket

and went back inside.

His wife was in the kitchen at the

stove fixing a late breakfast. They were

still on California time and were slow

to get going, not to mention worn out

from the several days of hard labor,

prior. He reached in his pocket and

showed her the heart-shaped trinket

and when she flipped it over, she

noticed right away that it was engraved

with the name John. That was his name

–my grandmother’s youngest son–the

declared family favorite, which now

seemed somehow divinely confirmed.

Coincidence? Maybe.

Hometown MADISON • 11

Several years before her death, my grandmother gave me an

enamel-coated steel colander. It had belonged to her, seen decades of

usage, and was the only “strainer” I had. I used it regularly and often.

It had long-since begun to rust where some of the enamel had

chipped away, but I continued to use it anyway. I eventually purchased

a new one–coincidently, after she passed. The one she gave me was

just too rusty. So one day I decided to throw it away.

I put it in the garbage. I took it out of the garbage. I put it back in the

garbage and before I even closed the lid I reached back in to rescue it.

It was not just a rusted colander but a piece of my past–and a piece of

someone important to me. I thought to myself, “This is ridiculous!”

And after wrangling with it for almost an hour, I proceeded to shove

it down into the trash bag and tie it shut, once and for all.

The weather on the morning of “trash-day” was bleak. It was

already drizzling and the forecast called for the possibility of severe

conditions later that afternoon. By the time I got home from work,

dark had fallen. It was storming with 30-mile-per-hour winds, and

my garbage can had blown clear to the end of the cul-de-sac. I had

no choice but to battle it out and go get it.

The rain was blowing sideways and I was soaking wet and dragging

the garbage can behind me. I noticed what appeared to be some type

of helmet in the grass next to the curb–dome shaped and glistening

under the streetlight in the pouring down rain. Maybe it was my son’s.

I’d grab it as I dashed up the driveway.

But it was no helmet. It was that colander, turned upside down and

sitting there all by itself. How did it get out of the bag that I had so

painstakingly and reluctantly tied together? I was stunned–and still

am to this day.

Coincidence? Maybe.

12 • MAY 2020

So a few weeks ago, I was in our backyard building a fire in our fire

pit. I had decided to dispose of some sensitive paperwork that really

should have been shredded, but burning was simply more convenient

and certainly more fun. In the closing of my grandmother’s estate, I

had stored countless banking statements and papers that needed to

be discarded but were too sensitive to just put in the trash–and still

held value in my heart. So I poured a glass of wine and my husband

and son helped load up the fire pit. I recalled funny stories about my

beloved grandmother as they continued to crumple up papers and

put them below the logs. Then we lit them.

The fire struggled to catch. My wood was wet. I decided to add

some kindling from a pot we keep nearby. That’s when I saw the

blooms. For 30 or 40 years, my grandmother had a pot of succulents

on her back porch that stood year-round on a little dime-store plant

stand in the rain, sun, sleet and occasional snow. She was a master

gardener and yet these succulents were the only plant-life I brought

home with me after her death. I’d had them now for several years and

they live on my back patio next to a big fat pot of kindling. I looked

down and they were in full bloom–and they hadn’t been the day before.

I’ve never seen them bloom. Ever. I didn’t even know they would.

So, I’ve decided they were blooming just for me. As if to say, it’s ok to

let go–just never forget.

Coincidence? Maybe. But it serves as a wonderful reminder that we’re

never far apart. The truth is that the bond we share with those we

love is a bond never lost or broken–not even by death. Death just

changes the dimensions–like water, evaporating into steam.

Or like a redbird sitting on a window ledge singing, “My spirit will

live on forever there within your heart.” n

Hometown MADISON • 13

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supports Batson Children’s Hospital,

part of University of Mississippi

Health Care, Mississippi’s

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almost $2,000,000

14 • MAY 2020

Dr. Shawn Sanders

Susan Marquez

When Shawn Sanders was in high school at

Jackson Prep, he knew that he wanted to major

in engineering, and he knew he wanted to go to

Mississippi State. What he didn’t know is that one

day he would be not only saving people’s lives

but giving people a better quality of life in his role

as an interventional cardiologist at Baptist Heart

in Jackson. Sanders has been at Baptist Heart for

four years, where a wide range of services, technology,

and expertise is offered to keep hearts

and blood vessels healthy.

Sanders was an excellent student at Jackson

Prep, which led to him being a Presidential

Endowed Scholar at MSU. “I was undecided in

what type of engineering I wanted to do,” says

Sanders. “I liked science and math, so I wasn’t

sure which direction to go. While I was still at Prep,

I got a call from MSU saying I needed to choose

which field of engineering I wanted to study.

The guy told me that not many people were in

biological engineering, so it would be easier to

get into classes. I decided to choose that.”

While at MSU, Sanders discovered that he

really liked biological engineering. “Mississippi

State had a good track record for students in

biological engineering being accepted into medical

school. So I took the MCAT (medical college

admission test) and passed. One thing led to

another and I was accepted into the University of

Mississippi Medical Center.”

Early on, Sanders shadowed family friend

Dr. Mike McMullan, a cardiologist who was working

at UMMC. “Mike went to church with our family

and was a friend of my parents. While shadowing

him, I learned that a lot of cardiology is physiology,

and there is a lot of engineering involved; after

all, the heart is the body’s pump. That was my

first experience in medicine, and I was fascinated.”

As he went through medical school, Sanders

couldn’t help comparing every experience with

the ones he had in cardiology. “Nothing ever

compared to that. In my third and fourth years in

med school, I chose internal medicine residency

with the goal of doing a cardiac fellowship.” That’s

exactly what he did, and during his cardiology

fellowship, he served as chief fellow. He was

named UMMC’s Cardiology Fellow of the Year in

2013. Currently, Sanders is finishing a fellowship

in interventional cardiology with particular interests

in the endovascular treatment of peripheral

arterial disease as well as transcatheter aortic

valve replacement.

As a cardiologist at Baptist Heart in Jackson,

Sanders has the opportunity to see people at

their lowest point and later seeing them thrive.

“The most rewarding part of my job is watching

patients get better,” says Sanders. “With interventional

cardiology, I get immediate gratification.

People come into the hospital very sick, but we

can do things that can make a patient get better

very quickly. That’s a great feeling.”

Sanders met his wife, Sara, while they were

both students at UMMC where she currently

practices internal medicine and geriatrics. The

couple lives in Ridgeland with their two children,

Charlotte (7) and Wilson (5). The family enjoys

travel and going to the beach. “We also love

going to restaurants. We have friends in New

Orleans and love visiting with them and trying

new restaurants.” Sanders says he also loves

music and art.

One thing that Sanders is particularly proud

of is that Dr. Mike McMullan texted him a few

years ago to ask if his son, Matthew, could

shadow Sanders. “He did, and now Matthew’s

in medical school. I feel like we have come full

circle, and I’m real happy about that.” l

Hometown MADISON • 15

16 • MAY 2020





Teresa Renkenberger

of Flowood started

Shower Power with

a dream and an old

box delivery truck after

realizing the needs of

Jackson’s homeless population.

“I had made friends with a man who told me he got clean in

a gas station bathroom,” says Renkenberger. “I asked him when

the last time was he’d had a shower, and he told me it had been

about a year.”

That one comment set her wheels in motion. Renkenberger

began formulating a plan to help her friend get clean. She found

an old delivery truck on Craigslist and bought it the next day.

Kevin Poe, a local body shop owner who sold her the truck,

was so intrigued by Renkenberger’s idea that he offered to

help renovate the truck into a mobile shower and let her park

it at his downtown business.

Abbie Walker

Fast-forward. Now, every

Friday and just a little over a

year after purchasing the truck,

Renkenberger, along with her

faithful volunteers, offers a free

shower to anyone who needs it.

The Shower Power truck is currently

located at 836 South Commerce Street in Jackson.

When the shower truck opened its doors in December of

2019, Renkenberger says they had about three people show up.

“It felt like nobody was coming to my birthday party,” she said.

“We had to go find people.”

Since then, Shower Power has given well over 500

showers to people in need.

But showers aren’t the only thing offered. They feed their

visitors and provide basic necessities and toiletry items as they

are able. And as word has gotten out, more and more people

have wanted to get involved with what Shower Power is doing.

Hometown MADISON • 17

18 • MAY 2020

Local restaurants like Sugar Magnolia Takery, Burgers and

Blues, and Smokehouse BBQ have provided meals on Fridays.

Others have brought meals, come to cut hair, or brought clothes.

No matter what each person needs, Renkenberger says she

tries to help any way she can.

“We pray together and share our life stories,” she says.

“They are our friends.”

And a shower does more than just make someone feel

physically clean. It also changes their attitude. “We’ve seen

people open up,” says Renkenberger. “When they leave at the

end of the day, they feel refreshed in more ways than one.”

Mary Ann Kirby serves on the board of directors for

Shower Power and volunteers weekly. “This has been a game

changer for me. I see these people through a completely

different lens now. I used to judge and assume that the guy

on the corner was just a panhandler or hustler. But it’s what

he does, not necessarily who he is. There’s a difference.

It’s a means of survival.”

“Just because someone doesn’t have a home doesn’t mean

they don’t deserve to be respected,” says Renkenberger.

“We listen to them and care for them because we want them

to feel valued and to remind them they’re not alone.”

In fact, she believes access to a toilet and a shower should

be an absolute human right. She will continue to champion that

cause to effect change.

At the beginning of March, Renkenberger (a realtor by

trade) bought a building where she can park the mobile shower

out front. She’s not sure just yet how Shower Power will use

the space, but she’s already got some ideas about how to

further help and employ Jackson’s homeless. “Everything

that’s happened, God has had His hand on it,” she says.

Even though they give clean clothes for people to put on

after taking a shower, Renkenberger says their next project

is getting a washer and dryer so people can wash their own

clothes as well. And Shower Power welcomes anyone wanting

to volunteer their time, resources, or their services.

She went on to say, “I’ve genuinely made friends with a

lot of these guys. I wake up in the middle of the night thinking

about something they may need or something they said. I look

forward to Fridays more than any other day of the week.”

During the COVID-19 crisis, as many businesses were

closing, Shower Power increased the number of times they

opened the truck for use. Deemed essential by the City of

Jackson, the volunteer staff added Tuesdays to their weekly

schedule. And on Easter morning, they gathered their friends,

while still being very mindful of social distancing, and fed them.

During a normal week, Teresa says many of the people

that come to Shower Power hang out at the Eudora Welty

Library. One day, before closing their own doors due to

COVID restrictions, one of the library staff members called

Teresa to say, “I don’t know what’s in your water, but

these guys are different. You are making such a difference

in their lives.”

“There are needs all around us,” says Renkenberger.

“If we ignore the call, we miss the blessing.”

To learn more about Shower Power and to find ways to

get involved, visit or find them on Facebook.

Shower Power is in constant

need of men’s jeans, t-shirts,

duffel bags, sleeping bags, men’s

and women’s sneakers, work boots,

clean socks, and undergarments.


for more information.

Hometown MADISON • 19

20 • MAY 2020

What have

you learned as

a result of the


order we’ve all

been under?

Today and always,

MECU is by your side

With a positive

– supporting

mindset you can


create your own



I also learned,


that it


is essential to

keep a sufficient supply of toilet paper in stock

helping you succeed.

in case something like this ever happens again.

But I’m sure everyone else learned that too.

Contact us today.

We’re here to help.

Angela Mitchell

VP Marketing, Members Exchange

“The overwhelming generosity of people was

astonishing. Everyone banded together to help out

everyone else; vendors and customers alike.

Our suppliers rallied together and got us everything

we needed to continue in the new Covid world.

Our customers, who are like family, bought gift cards,

they got curbside and they genuinely cared about the

people that work for us. It really was beautiful.

I was touched.

Julie Koestler

Owner, Koestler Prime

We (601) are 922-3350 beyond grateful | (800) to all 748-9459

our wonderful

customers. They have sustained us through this

pandemic. We have found lots of great ways to adapt

and survive as the situation unfolds. We have been

offering virtual shopping, curbside pickups, free local

deliveries and of course our Social Shopping is

always available on Facebook and Instagram.

We can ship or deliver.We have to take it one day

at a time, and we are confident that local businesses

will come back stronger than ever.

Gladys Dorian

Owner, Madison Marketplace

The culture at our dealership of a relaxed buying

experience and respecting their time and personal

situation is exactly what today’s consumer expects

and enjoys. Because of our location, we weren’t reliant

on drive-by traffic, so thankfully working the phones,

email and the internet really fit what we already do.


Darren Furman

General Manager, Mac Haik Madison

601.957.3753 • KOESTLERPRIME.COM • 1000 HIGHLAND C


I learned that there is joy in simplicity, we all handle adversity differently and that

is okay, to extend grace to others, and that our community is so supportive and

amazing. Waking up with a grateful heart truly helps in these times.

Jordan Dottley

Owner, West of 55

Hometown MADISON • 21



of gratitude

Mary Ann Kirby

Staying positive in a negative world will not only better your life

but will change it in more ways than you can ever imagine.

I’m not sure I remember a time in my

life that I’ve truly felt the “weight” of the

world like I have recently. I’ve literally

gotten to the point that I cannot bear to

watch the news for the constant barrage

of negative behavior, terrible stories and

discouraging reports. Sometimes I think

it would be best to just squeeze both my

eyes shut and stick my fingers in my ears.

La-la-la-la-la-la . . . .

It’s easy to see all that’s wrong in the

world. It’s everywhere–sickness, death,

unemployment, a collapsed economy, and

dirty politics. And it’s certainly easy to get

overwhelmed and consumed with worry

and dread, not to mention that all of us have

our own struggles. We all have mountains.

So how do we stay positive in such a

negative world?

It has become my mission, particularly

during these unprecedented times, to

focus on the things I’m thankful for. I’m

deliberately turning a blind eye and

limiting my exposure to all the things in

this universe that can zap me of my joy.

And at the risk of sounding cliché, it’s an

attitude of gratitude that can move those

pesky mountains that often seem to get in

our way.

I started thinking about my son and

how important it is to ensure that he

understands the concept of being thankful

in what I consider to be a largely thankless

world. I don’t know about you, but I am

keenly aware of the sense of entitlement

that young people seem to have today–and

I believe it’s purely generational. It’s not

even their fault. They’ve just never known

what it is to do without. And we’re the

ones that worked ourselves to death to

give them everything! Think about it. Oh,

the irony.

Teaching a child to look beyond their

one-person universe can be a challenge. But

kids who aren’t taught to be grateful end up

with those feelings of self-entitlement and,

even worse, are constantly disappointed.

And if that’s not reason enough, grateful

people report lower levels of depression

and stress, stronger immune systems and

lower blood pressure, feel less lonely and

isolated and have more joy, optimism and

happiness. Who couldn’t use a good dose

of optimism and happiness these days?

So since they’re not born with it, how

do you teach a child to be appreciative?

The most obvious answer I can think of is

to lead by example. We must live lives of

gratitude if we want our children to really

22 • MAY 2020

We are called to be a thankful people.

learn to be grateful. We need to point out

the positives in people and in situations.

We need to criticize and complain less.

I know I need to be more mindful of my

grumbles and let my child hear me being

more overtly thankful for things–often

easier said than done when we’re so

inundated with outside noise.

We should also reward thankfulness.

It may sound crazy, but thanking our kids

for thanking us may go a long way toward

teaching them that we appreciate them, too.

If we consistently delight in their gratitude,

it will reinforce that behavior and they will

express it more often.

By using everyday moments to make

gratitude and thankfulness part of your

family’s daily life, you’ll foster a confidence

and gratefulness in your child that will lead

them to become kinder and more appreciative

people in general–which leads us back

to where we started. In a world with

countless negative forces, what if we all

made it our mission to overcome them

with loving, positive affirmations of


The incredible thing about gratitude is

that once we realize all the things we have

in our lives and all the things we can do,

we create feelings of contentment within

ourselves. And it’s with these feelings of

contentment that we live happier lives–

because when we’re content, our thoughts

are positive. And based on the law of

attraction, when we think “thankful”

thoughts, we bring more into our lives

to be thankful for.

No matter what the current circumstances,

there’s always good to be found.

Even when things aren’t at their best, count

your blessings anyway and let them buoy

your sagging spirits. Whatever you send out

into the universe will come back to you.

So, find the good–and teach your children

to find the good as well. Surround yourself

with encouraging, optimistic and grateful

people and see what happens.

And be happy about finding the positive

and consciously cultivate more gratitude—

so much so that your heart explodes with

delight and contagiously stretches out to

those around you. The people that you love

in life deserve your gratitude the very most

and they will respond in ways that are both

encouraging and fulfilling.

We are called to be a thankful people.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life–

and turns what we have into enough.

If you want to feel happy, try on an attitude

of gratitude for a change in your mood,

your outlook and your life. n

Hometown MADISON • 23


Though We

Stay Apart,

We Stand

Today and always,

MECU is by your side

– supporting your

financial needs and

helping you succeed.

Contact us today.

We’re here to help.


(601) 922-3350 | (800) 748-9459

24 • MAY 2020

Hometown MADISON • 25

26 • MAY 2020

An Open Heart

Lauren von Foregger

Jeff and Emily Speed were brought together through loss and tragedy.

Unbeknownst to them, each of their respective spouses would pass away suddenly from cardiovascular

issues within a two-month timespan, and they would eventually find their way to each other.

Emily and Blayne were married for nine years

and had two young boys. In March of 2016,

Blayne, a lawyer, had gone away to Georgia on

routine business. Emily received a phone call

from her assistant.

“They said the group had broken for lunch,

and Blayne had laid his head down on the desk.

My assistant told me, ‘Blayne isn’t breathing,’”

Emily recalled. “I didn’t know what was going on.”

She received another call a little while later

and was told Blayne was gone. He had died from

a massive heart attack at the age of 42. Emily’s

family was shattered.

“The worst part is that my husband was an

only child,” she said. “His mom is like Mother

Theresa. Blayne was her only child. At the time

he died, she was on a cruise with her best friend.

The captain of the cruise ship had to ask her to

call home after an excursion only to find out from

her husband that their only son had gone to

heaven, and she had to get an emergency flight

home the next day.”

The family laid Blayne to rest the next weekend.

Looking back, Emily remembers signs that

may have been related to heart disease.

“He never went to the doctor,” she said. “He

didn’t make checkups a priority. He could have had

high blood pressure or something similar and we

would’ve never known. And he never drank water.

It drove me crazy. He would always say, ‘I am like

a camel, I don’t require water.’ ”

Jeff agrees this is the common denominator

between the couple’s deceased spouses: Not

making check-ups and general wellness a priority.

Only two months later, Jeff was experiencing

a similar trauma with his wife of 22 years, Joan,

in Perdido, Florida.

“We spent a beautiful morning at the beach,”

he recalled. “We had our two sons there, along

with their girlfriends. Joan’s parents were there,

too. We came up for lunch. Joan got up and went

to the bathroom, and while she was in there, she


Jeff found his wife unconscious on the bathroom

floor and called for help. His son administered

CPR on his mother until paramedics arrived.

“No son should have to do that to his own

mother,” said Jeff.

The family had Joan airlifted to the nearest

hospital, but she died shortly after. She had suffered

from a massive aortic embolism.

“It’s possible that she had heart or blood pressure

issues before this happened, but she was very

private. None of us would have had a clue.”

Fast forward to the next year. Jeff and Emily

had no idea of the other’s existence, or their

shared experiences. A mutual friend suggested

they meet.

“After a chat by text and a phone call, we

decided to meet up downtown with a group

of friends,” said Jeff.

They hit it off immediately. The next week

they had lunch, and the a few days after that, they

had dinner.

“He picked me up in a limo!” said Emily,

laughing. “That night, we knew. We knew we

were going to end up together. A few months

later we got married.”

“We were grieving together,” said Emily. “We

had a lot of crying together moments.”

“You don’t move on,” said Jeff. “You just move

forward with what you have.”

The couple will be featured as the Open

Your Heart honorees at the Metro Jackson

American Heart Association’s Go Red For

Women Luncheon to be held June 17, 2020,

at the Jackson Convention Complex. University

of Mississippi Medical Center is the Central

Premier Sponsor for the event.

Go Red For Women encourages awareness

of the issue of women and heart disease, and

also action to save more lives. The movement

challenges women to know their risk for heart

disease and take action to reduce their personal

risk. It also gives them the tools they need to lead

a heart-healthy life. Jeff and Emily’s story will be

shared through a video at the luncheon.

The couple says their overarching message,

what they’ve learned through both of their tragic

experiences, is simply to take your health seriously,

and be proactive about prevention.

“Don’t think that something like this can’t

happen to you,” said Jeff. “Don’t wait. Don’t put

off that doctor’s appointment. Everybody is busy,

but it doesn’t have to take another tragedy to

inspire people to put their health at the forefront.”

For more information on Go Red, or to get involved,


Hometown MADISON • 27

28 • MAY 2020

The Metro Jackson American

Heart Association’s “Circle of Red”

is a passionate group of women

and men who have the influence

and resources to significantly impact

the health of Mississippians. A social

circle grounded in advocacy for

women’s health issues and fueled

by a passion to empower, educate,

and save lives, the Circle of Red is a

network that teaches women and

men to love their hearts and take

active steps to protect them. These

members are active ambassadors

and supporters of the American

Heart Association’s mission to be a

relentless force for a world of longer,

healthier lives.


of RED

To become part of this dynamic

group, contact Katherine Byrd at

or 601-906-8596.

Janet Harris

Go Red for Women Chair

Tina Lakey

Circle of Red Chair

Central Mississippi

Go Red for Women Premier Sponsor

Hometown MADISON • 29

Alissa Wallace

Amber Arnold


Anita Wray

Circuit Clerk of Madison County

Ann Barnes

Prime Care Nursing

Robert Lesley

Atmos Energy

Rosalyn Howard

MS Nurses Foundation

Betsy Latham

Brett Thompson-May

MS State Board of Nursing

Brian Fenelon

The Fenelon Group

Carolyn Boteler


Samantha Lofton

Barnett's Body Shop

Sandra Culpepper

MS State Board of Nursing

Cathy Allen

Berkshire Hathaway Home Services

Cindee Herlocker

Edward Jones

Cindy Carraway

Carraway Construction

Connie Watson


Sandy Stonecypher

Shan Montgomery

MS State Board of Nursing

Deborah Minor


Denise Stewart

MS State Board of Nursing

Donna Bruce


Dr. Alejandro Chade


Sherry Pitts

Shirley Jackson

MS State Board of Nursing

Dr. Erica Bass

MS Premier Plastic Surgery

Dr. Jim Galbraith


Dr. Kellan Ashley


Dr. Michael Hall


Stephanie Hoverman

Tammy Phillips

Community Bank

Dr. Michael Maples

MS Baptist Medical Center

Dr. Mike McMullan


Dr. Myrna Alexander Nickens


Dr. Rishi Roy

MS Baptist Medical Center

Dr. Tamika Bradley

Jackson State University

Dr. Teri Dyess

St. Dominic Hospital

30 • MAY 2020

Dr. Trey Clark


Emily Speed


Floyd Wiley

MS State Board of Nursing

Frances Ware

First Commercial Bank

Jacqueline Phillips


Jan Collins - Madison County

Business League & Foundation

Warren Herring

TrustCare Health

Janie Jarvis

The Bridal Path

Jeanhee Kang - Berkshire

Hathaway Ann Prewitt Realty

Jennifer Boydston Johnson

The Law Offices of Roberts Bridges Boydston

Jennifer Robinson


Jequetta Ilion Davis

MS State Board of Nursing

Jessica Lakey

Renasant Bank

Johnny Maloney

Cowboy Maloney's

Kelley Gatlin

Gatlin Interiors

Kim Stonecypher

Stonecypher Consulting, LLC

Laura Moore

MS State Board of Nursing

LeAnne Brewer

Millsaps College

Leigh Ann Ross


Leslie Musshafen


LoRose Hunter-Moore


Mary Wolverton

Dig Creative Solutions

Melissa Jones

MS Dept of Human Services

Melissa Robinson


Meshelle Rawls

Foundation for the MidSouth

Michael Parnell


Michelle Dunn

Merit Health

Mike Barkett


Pam Ware

First Commercial Bank

Patti Daly


Patty Clark Peder Johnson Phylis Johnson

MS State Board of Nursing

Rebecca Martin

Prudential Advisors

Renee Rice

Bank First

Vera Rucker

MS State Board of Nursing

NOT PICTURED: Charla Blackwell, MS Board of Nursing - Stephanie Martin, MS Board of Nursing - Trina McNair, Methodist Children’s Home - Dr. Rebekah Moulder, St. Dominic’s Family Practice

Hometown MADISON • 31



Heart-healthy recipes

from the American

Heart Association


Beef Sliders

with Avocado, Roasted Poblano

Pepper, & Cotija Cheese

These mini burgers offer a taste of

southwestern cuisine.

• 2 large poblano peppers

• ¾ pound extra-lean ground beef

• ¼ teaspoon salt

• 8 whole-wheat slider buns

(lowest sodium available)

• 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. crumbled

cotija cheese

• 1 large Italian plum (Roma)

tomato (about 3 inches),

cut crosswise into 8 slices

• 1 medium avocado (mashed

with a fork)

Preheat the oven to 500°F. Line a

baking sheet with parchment paper.

Put peppers on baking sheet. Place

on the middle rack of the oven. Roast

for 10 minutes. Flip and roast for

10 minutes, or until the skins are

charred and blistered. Remove from

the oven and place in a bowl. Cover

with plastic wrap. Set aside for 10


Using your hands or a spoon, shape

beef into eight thin patties, about

three inches in diameter. (uncooked

patties will be larger than the buns

and will shrink as they cook.)

Sprinkle patties with the salt.

Preheat a large nonstick skillet or

griddle pan over medium-high heat.

Cook patties for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip

and cook for two minutes, or until

the beef is no longer pink.

Peel the skin off the peppers by

gently rubbing them with a dry

towel. Remove the seeds and ribs.

Cut each pepper into four long


Place each patty on a bottom bun.

Sprinkle with the cotija cheese.

Top with 1 pepper slice folded

in half and 1 tomato slice.

Spread the avocado over the

tomato. Put the tops of the buns

on the sliders. Using four short

skewers, pierce two sliders with

each skewer. Serve immediately.

(serves 8 mini-burgers)


Frozen Yogurt Bark

This frozen yogurt bark studded

with fruit is a fun treat for kids and

adults alike. But be sure to eat it as

soon as pieces are removed from

the freezer as it melts in about

15 minutes.

• 1 ½ cups 2% low-fat plain Greek


• 2 tablespoons honey

• 2 tablespoons chopped,

unsalted almonds

• ½ cup chopped mango

• ¼ cup blackberries or

raspberries, chopped if large

• ½ cup blueberries

In a medium bowl, add yogurt and

honey. Mix together to combine.

Line a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish

with parchment paper. Use a spatula

or knife to spread the yogurt as thin

as possible over the entire bottom

of the dish.

Add the chopped nuts over the top

of the yogurt. Use your fingers to

slightly press them into the yogurt.

Peel the mango, cutting the slices

around the pit. Finely chop the

mango, along with the berries, if

they are larger than bite-sized and

need chopping. Top the yogurt

with the fruit–add as much fruit as

will fit over the top. Again, slightly

press fruit into the yogurt.

Cover with plastic wrap or foil and

place in the freezer overnight. When

ready to serve, lift the parchment

paper from the baking dish onto a

cutting board. Break bark apart into

pieces and serve. Keep remaining

pieces wrapped in parchment paper

and sealed in a Ziploc bag in the

freezer for up to 1 month.

(serves 8)


Overnight No-Cook

Banana Oatmeal

• 2 ½ cups skim milk

• 1 Tbsp. honey

• 1 tsp. vanilla extract

• 3 ½ cups rolled oats (not instant

or quick-cooking)

• 2 bananas, halved lengthwise

and sliced

• ¼ cup chopped, unsalted pecans

or walnuts

In a large, re-sealable container or

bowl, add milk, honey, and extract.

Stir to combine, adding oats and

stirring to combine. Seal or cover;

place in the refrigerator and let sit


The next day, peel each banana.

Halve each one lengthwise and slice.

Divide sliced bananas and nuts over

each oatmeal portion. Serve.

(serves 4)

32 • MAY 2020


Guacamole Deviled Eggs

Deviled eggs always bring a crowdpleasing

touch to start a meal or small

party. Using guacamole as the base is

a heart-healthy way to indulge in

deviled eggs, as avocado subs for the

majority of egg yolk in this recipe.

• 9 large eggs

• 1 medium avocado (halved, pitted)

• 2 tablespoon fat-free sour cream

• 1 ½ teaspoons lime juice

• ⅓ cup seeded and finely chopped

Roma tomato (1 to 2 tomatoes)

• ¼ cup finely chopped scallions

• ¼ teaspoon salt

• ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper

• 1 to 2 teaspoons finely chopped


• Dried or fresh cilantro, to garnish



Fill a large pot with water, add the

eggs, and bring to a boil over high

heat. As soon as water begins to boil,

cover with a lid, remove pot from the

heat, and let eggs sit for 10 minutes.

Drain water and transfer eggs to a

bowl of cold water to cool. When

eggs are cool enough to handle,

remove the shells. Slice in half

lengthwise. Remove the yolks. Put

two whole egg yolks into a medium

bowl and discarding the remaining

egg yolks. Place the egg white halves

onto a platter.

Slice the avocado in half and remove

the pit. Use a spoon to scoop the

avocado’s flesh into a bowl. Use a fork

to mash the egg yolks and the

avocado together. Stir in the sour

cream and lime juice.

Remove the seeds from the tomatoes

with a spoon and discard; finely chop

the tomato, along with finely chopping

the scallions. Add both to the mashed

avocado, along with salt, pepper, and

optional jalapeno. Stir together to


Spoon the guacamole into each egg

white half, dividing the mixture

between all 18. Garnish with a

sprinkle of dried or fresh chopped

cilantro, if desired. Serve.

(serves 18 deviled eggs)


Berry Nuts Granola Bars

Granola bars aren’t just easy to make,

they can also be sculpted based on

your tastes. Add anything from

sunflower seeds to flaked unsweetened

coconut to a variety of nuts and

nut butters. Even a tablespoon or two

of chocolate chips can be thrown into

the mix to entice kids.

• 1 cup dried, unsweetened


• 2 cups old-fashioned oats, divided

• ½ cup sliced, unsalted almonds

• ¼ cup flax seeds

• pinch salt

• 2 tablespoon canola oil

• ¼ cup maple syrup

• ⅓ cup reduced-fat peanut butter

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line an 8x8

baking dish with parchment paper.

In a food processor, add cranberries;

process until chopped a bit, about

30 seconds to 1 minute. Add 1 cup

of oats; continue to puree until oats

are a flour-like consistency. Transfer

to a large bowl. Add remaining 1 cup

oats, almonds, flax seeds, and salt. Stir

together to combine.

In a heatproof container, add oil,

maple syrup, and nut butter. Warm

in microwave until soft and pliable,

around 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir

mixture until smooth. Pour nut butter

mixture over oat mixture. Use a spatula

to thoroughly combine. Transfer to

the prepared baking dish. Wet your

hands and press down on the mixture

to help it stick together.

Cook in the oven for 30 minutes.

Remove and let cool slightly. Press

down on mixture again to stick

together. Cover the top with plastic

wrap and place in the refrigerator at

least a few hours (or preferably

overnight) to harden. Lift parchment

paper from baking dish. Use a serrated

knife and cut the granola bars into

12 pieces. Serve or transfer to an

airtight container for 1 week.

(serves 12)


Turkey & Bean Tostadas

with Avocado-Tomato Salsa

Baked tortillas hold the same appeal

as their fried counterparts in this

tostada recipe – they’re crunchy

and delicious!


• 2 cups chopped tomatoes

(about 2 medium tomatoes)

• 1 medium avocado (halved,

pitted, diced)

• 1 large ear of corn, husks and silk

discarded, and kernels removed

from the cob OR 1 cup frozen

whole kernel corn (thawed, drained)

• 1-2 medium fresh jalapeño peppers

(seeds and ribs discarded, finely


• 2 tablespoons red onion,

finely chopped

• 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

In a small bowl, stir together all

ingredients. Set aside.


• Cooking spray

• 5 6-inch corn tortillas

• 8 ounces skinless turkey breast,


• 1 can no-salt-added black beans

(rinsed, drained)

• 2 tablespoons water

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking

sheet with aluminum foil. Lightly

spray foil with cooking spray. Place

tortillas on the baking sheet. Lightly

spray tortillas with cooking spray.

Using a fork, pierce tortillas a few

times to prevent them from filling

with air. Bake for 5 to 6 minutes on

each side, or until golden brown.

In a medium nonstick saucepan, cook

the turkey, chili powder, cumin, and

coriander over medium-high heat for

5 to 6 minutes, or until the turkey is

no longer pink, stirring occasionally

to turn and break up the turkey.

Add the beans and water to turkey.

Cook five minutes, or until the beans

are heated through. Using a potato

masher, coarsely mash the beans and

turkey together. Remove from heat.

To assemble the tostadas, spread the

bean and turkey mixture over each

tortilla. Spoon the salsa overall.

(serves 5 tostadas)


Bluey Smoothie

• 1 cup frozen blueberries

• 2 cups frozen peach slices

• 2 cups packed, fresh spinach

• 1 cup fat-free milk

• 1 teaspoon honey

Into a blender, add all ingredients and

blend until smooth, about 1 to 2

minutes, stopping to scrape down

mixture if needed. Pour into two

glasses and serve.

Hometown MADISON • 33


of Summer

34 • MAY 2020

A short story from one southerner to another.


Because of our warm spring, these beauties

have started to bloom early. Each year when

they bloom, I feel a combination of joy and

nostalgia. We have four raised beds at our home

that I plant every year. And my husband – who

is always the practical one – continues to remain

perplexed as to why I dedicate an entire bed to

zinnias and sunflowers instead of adding to

our tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, or peas year

after year. I guess if you didn’t know better,

something that wasn’t edible in a summer

garden could seem like wasted space. However,

they’re my favorite thing in our small garden,

and the one bed that tends to get more TLC

than anything else.

When my grandparents taught me to garden

years ago, I can remember that first year sitting

down with my Mawmaw and writing out what

we’d plant. I had never grown zinnias before

(which is a shame, really), but she included them

both years that we grew a large garden together.

Each day during those summers when we’d

go work in the garden, she’d check the zinnias

and clip a few. It didn’t take me long to learn

that the red ones were her favorite. While most

old-timers like my grandparents would say to

plant zinnias around your gardens to help bring

in the pollinators and make the rest of your

plants grow and thrive, I think that was only

a small part of the reason Mawmaw enjoyed

planting them. In all honesty, I think she just

liked them and enjoyed Mason jar vases filled

with zinnias on her kitchen table. Mawmaw

had a way for appreciating practicality and

usefulness; however, I think she loved the zinnias

not for their usefulness, but instead for their


Mawmaw made her entrance into heaven

three years ago, and there’s not a summer that

has gone by since where I haven’t planted

zinnias in our summer garden. I think when

you miss someone who had such a profound

impact on your life, you still look for ways to

incorporate them into your daily life even after

they’re gone. For some, that could be going to

their favorite places, drinking out of their favorite

coffee cup, saying old sayings they used to say,

or maybe even planting your own zinnias.

Every day when I cut them and fill Mason

jars around our house, it’s like I’m talking to

Mawmaw; the person who taught me how to

cook, snap beans, ice cakes, and cook extra for

dinner so that there’s always room for someone

else at the table. Mawmaw’s strong arms that,

all too soon, didn’t work like they used to after

her stroke, still managed to have a hold on my

heart that remains today.

While I know that she spends her days now

leaning on the Everlasting Arms, her fingerprints

are still here – in so many aspects of my life.

And the zinnias are just one of them. They are

a reminder of the person who seemed to know

a little bit about everything and had the biggest

heart I’ve ever known. She was someone who

always gave off more and more beauty, time

and time again, just like the zinnias

In a way, those zinnia blooms are almost

like photographs of her and me–memories and

moments of two past summers that now seem

so, so far away.

And with each cut there you are, Mawmaw.

I sure have missed you.

Hometown MADISON • 35

36 • MAY 2020


Leadership at Merit Health River Oaks in

Flowood recently announced the hospital

has opened an interventional cardiac catheterization

laboratory, a needed service in the

community. Merit Health River Oaks is the first

Mississippi hospital to gain approval to offer

24-hour interventional cardiac catheterization

care without on-site cardiac surgical services.

Prior to the opening of the lab, the hospital

provided only diagnostic heart catheterizations.

The addition allows the hospital to offer more

clinically complex care to heart patients when

time is of the essence. A few minutes can add

up to make a great difference – in saving a life,

and saving a heart.

During a ST-elevation myocardial infarction

(STEMI), a type of heart attack, time is incredibly

important. A STEMI occurs when a clot interrupts

blood flow to the heart. Merit Health River Oaks

works with local emergency medical service

providers to get patients to the ER and cath lab

to facilitate timely opening of the artery.

About Merit Health

Merit Health serves the healthcare

needs of residents of Mississippi

through its 9 affiliated hospitals.

The healthcare system offers a wide

array of services including orthopedics,

cardiology, women’s health, emergency

departments and broad diagnostic

medical and surgical services. The

network has more than 1,800 licensed

beds, more than 2,500 physicians on

the combined active medical staffs,

more than 3,000 employees, and

more than 40,000 admissions and

more than 250,000 emergency

department visits each year.

Members of the Cath Lab team at Merit Health River Oaks

Front L-R: Ashley McKee RT(R); Mary Kay Holliday, RN; Neil Knight, RN; Brooke Lawrence, RT(R),

Dr. Almois Mohamad, cath lab medical director and interventional cardiologist.

Back L-R: Trey Hall, RN; Chelee Davis, RN; M.M. Baumann, BSN, RN, director, Cardiac Cath Lab;

Jayson Potter, RT(R) and lead, and Lindsay Hof, RT(R).

The hospital’s interventional cardiologists

are experienced in both radial (wrist) and femoral

(groin) artery access for cardiac catheterization.

Services available in the cardiac cath lab include

interventional procedures for coronary artery

disease, as well as interventional procedures for

peripheral vascular disease.

“With the opening of the enhanced cath

lab, our cardiologists can provide potentially

life-saving care within the recognized critical

window of time,” said hospital chief executive

officer Dwayne Blaylock. “This new service in

Rankin County may allow a patient to receive

cardiac care quicker.”

The new area is staffed by an experienced

cardiac catheterization team, including

Dr. Almois Mohamad, interventional cardiologist;

Dr. Nathan McIntosh, emergency medicine

director and cath lab director M. M. Baumann,

a registered nurse with 20 years of experience

in cardiovascular patient care.

“Immediate access to the highest standard

of cardiac care facilitates life-saving diagnosis

and treatment for patients,” Dr. Mohamad noted.

“Having the ability to diagnose and treat a

blocked artery or other cardiac emergency

on-site without having to transport the patient to

another facility reduces the potential for damage

and in many cases, can mean the difference

between life and death.”

Merit River Oaks has begun using an alert

system that allows emergency medical

services to notify hospital staff of incoming

cardiac emergency patients, said Dr. McIntosh.

“This new system increases the gateways for

across-the-board communications to insure

patients receive immediate care in the event

of a cardiac emergency,” he said. “Having this

advance notice reduces the amount of time

before an interventional procedure can be

performed and the patient can be returned

to optimal health.”

Timely medical attention is critical in the

event of heart attack. Knowing the symptoms

can help you or someone you love get to the

emergency room sooner. According to the

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,

the five major symptoms of a heart attack are:

• Chest pain or discomfort

• Feeling weak, light-headed, or faint

• Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck or back

• Pain or discomfort in one or both arms or


• Shortness of breath

Other symptoms of a heart attack could

include unusual or unexplained tiredness and

nausea or vomiting. Call 9-1-1 if you notice

symptoms of a heart attack in yourself or

someone you are with.

Hometown MADISON • 37




Steak Seasoning

• Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning

• Garlic powder

• Onion powder

• Sea Salt

• Pepper

• Country Pleasin Grillin Chillin


• Worcestershire sauce

• Zesty Italian salad dressing

Apply dry ingredients to steaks first

– Tony’s, garlic powder, onion

powder, sea salt and pepper. Using

a fork, poke each slab of meat several

times, then apply the wet ingredients

– Country Pleasin, Worcestershire,

and Zesty Italian. This allows the wet

ingredients to permeate the inside of

the meat. Once all ingredients have

been applied, place meat in a ziplock

bag and make sure all the air is out.

Allow the meat to marinate overnight

in the refrigerator. After cooking to

your liking, sprinkle with sea salt and

allow to rest for a few minutes, then

slice and enjoy!


Shrimp n’ Grits


• 2 T butter

• ⅓ cup all purpose flour

• 1 carton of chicken broth

• Garlic powder and cajun

seasoning, to taste

• 8 oz. cream cheese

Melt butter completely. Add flour

and mix to a dough-like consistency.

Stirring constantly, add small amounts

of chicken broth until a thick fluid

consistency is reached. Season with

garlic powder and cajun seasoning to

desired taste. Add cream cheese and

stir until completely melted. Simmer

on low, stirring occasionally.


• 6 servings of quick grits

• 5 lbs. fresh gulf shrimp

• Sea salt, pepper, and cajun

seasoning to taste

• 8 oz. fiesta shredded cheese blend

Cook grits according to package

instructions. Cook shrimp in a large

sauce pan with butter, salt, pepper,

and cajun seasoning until shrimp is

pink in color. Add shredded cheese.

Now you should have a pot of grits,

pan of shrimp, and a skillet of roux.

Combine all fixings to your taste!


Coconut Delight


• 1 cup flour

• 1 stick oleo, melted

Mix well and press evenly into a

9x13 pan. Bake 15 minutes at 350.


• 1 8-oz. cream cheese, softened

• 1 cup powdered sugar

• 1 cup cool whip (large container)

Blend cream cheese and sugar

together; add Cool Whip. Spread

over crust.


• 2 3-oz. boxes of instant

vanilla pudding

• 3 cups milk

Combine the two pudding mixes

with milk – mix well. Pour over

second layer.


• Remaining cool whip from

large container

• ½ cup pecans

• ½ cup coconut

Spread remaining Cool Whip over

the top, and cover with pecans and

coconut. Refrigerate.

Serves 3-5

38 • MAY 2020


Chicken Roll-Ups


Veg-All Casserole


Instant Banana Pudding


Chicken Pot Pie

• 2 T butter

• 1 package sliced mushrooms

• 1 bundle green onions

• 8 oz. cream cheese

• 1 rotisserie chicken, deboned

and shredded

• 2 8-ct. jumbo crescent rolls

• Seasonings: garlic powder, onion

powder, salt and pepper to taste

Cook mushrooms and green onions

down using butter. Melt cream cheese,

add the mushrooms and green onions.

Stirring constantly, add chicken to the

mixture, along with seasonings to taste.

Roll out the crescent rolls and spoon

the mixture into each roll, being sure to

add just enough to where the cresent

can be rolled up and not spill the

ingredients. Bake at 350 for 12-15

minutes, or until golden brown.

Makes 16 rolls


Hamburger Casserole

• 1 lb. ground beef

• ¼ cup canned milk

• Salt and pepper

• 4-6 large potatoes, sliced

• 2 large onions, sliced

• ¼ lb. sharp cheese (cubed)

• 1 can cream of mushroom soup

Press ground beef into a 3-quart

casserole dish. Pour milk over ground

beef, adding salt and pepper. Layer

sliced potatoes over meat. Add sliced

onions and cheese. Add soup and

bake, covered, for 1 ½ hours at 350.

• 1 roll of Ritz crackers

• 2 29-oz. cans of Veg-All, drained

• 1 cup of chopped onions

• 1 cup shredded cheese

• ½ cup of mayonnaise

• Butter

Crush one roll of Ritz crackers, set

aside. Mix all the other ingredients into

a casserole dish. Pour crackers over the

top until evenly covered. Add slivers of

butter 2-3 inches apart on top of the

Ritz. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.


Nanny’s Brownies

• ½ stick of butter, softened

• 2 T of cocoa

• 2 eggs

• 1 cup sugar

• ⅔ cup flour

• ½ tsp salt

Mix all ingredients and pour into a

greased pan. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.


Crock Pot Mac & Cheese

• 3 cups of shredded cheese

• 2 ½ cups of milk

• 12 oz. of evaporated milk

• 8 oz. of cream cheese

• 1 box of elbow macaroni

Throw all ingredients into the crock

pot. Cook on low for up to 2 ½ hours.

Add more milk if it is too thick.

• 2 small packages of instant vanilla

pudding mix

• 1 14-oz. can of condensed milk

• ½ cup of Coffee-Mate creamer

• 1 16-oz. carton Cool Whip

• 3 ripe bananas

• 1 box vanilla wafers

Mix pudding according to the box.

Add condensed milk and set aside.

Mix Coffee-Mate and Cool Whip.

Layer a large bowl with wafers,

bananas, pudding and Cool Whip

until full. The top layer should be Cool

Whip and wafers. Best served chilled.

• 1 sweet onion, diced

• 4 T butter

• ⅓ cup all purpose flour

• 1-2 cups chicken broth

• 8 oz. cream cheese

• 1 rotisserie chicken, deboned

and shredded

• Garlic powder and onion powder,

to taste

• Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning,

to taste

• Salt and pepper, to taste

• 24 oz. bag of frozen mixed vegetables

• 6 eggs, boiled and diced

• 2 ready-to-bake pie crusts

Sauté onion in 2 tablespoons of butter.

Leave the onion in the same sauce pan

that you will now make the roux.

Make a roux using 2T of butter and

flour, chicken broth and cream cheese.

Add chicken to the mixture, and

season with garlic powder, onion

powder, Tony’s, salt and pepper.

Add mixed vegetables, along with

diced boiled eggs. Line a large black

cast iron skillet with one pie crust,

pour in mixture, and cover with the

second pie crust. Bake at 450 for 10-15

minutes, or until golden brown on top.

Serves 4-6

Hometown MADISON • 39

The CHALKBOARD Madison Schools

St. Andrew’s

On May 8, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School Senior Arness Georgetown announced that he plans to play basketball at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn.

“I am blessed to have the opportunity to keep playing at the next level,” Georgetown said. “I’m really excited to come in with the guys and get to work. I look forward to

competing every day and helping to make Rhodes a championship contender.” During the 2019-20 season, Georgetown averaged 9.7 points per game, 1.5 assists per

game, 5.7 rebounds per game, 1.0 steals per game, and 0.2 blocks per game. Additionally, he is a member of the Saints’ 2018 State Championship team as well as the

2020 State Championship team.

On May 6, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Senior Aaron

Cooper announced that he plans to play football

at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn.

“I am incredibly grateful to have received an opportunity

to continue playing football at Rhodes College next fall,”

Cooper said. “I am eager to continue pushing myself to

improve athletically to compete at a collegiate level.”

“I would like to thank all of my athletic coaches, trainers,

and teammates for putting me in the best position to

mature as a young man and athlete which has prepared

me for this opportunity,” he continued. “I would like to

thank St. Andrew’s community for being gracious and

supportive of not only me but also the rest of the

student-athletes. I am forever proud to be a Saint.”

Across the 2018-19 and 2019-2020 seasons, Cooper

picked up 745 receiving yards, 50 catches, and

8 touchdowns. Additionally, Cooper played for the Saints

varsity boys’ basketball team and varsity baseball team.

40 • MAY 2020

On April 22, 2020, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Senior Ebun Opata

announced that she plans to join the track and field team at

Washington University in St. Louis.

“I feel so blessed that God has given me the opportunity to do my

favorite sport at the collegiate level,” said Opata. “I am so appreciative of

my family, friends, and coaches that have supported me and cheered me

on at track meets since I’ve been in 7th grade. I’m looking forward to

seeing what God has in store for me during the next few years!”

Opata is a member of the Saints varsity track and field team and varsity

girls’ basketball team. She won two individual State Championship titles to

her credit. In 2019, she placed first in the 100-meter hurdles and the triple

jump. She ranked 6th overall in the state in 2019.

On April 20, 2020, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Senior Reeves Fisackerly announced

that he plans to join the Rollins College swim team this fall. Rollins College is a

Division II school located in Orlando, Fla., and is a member of the Sunshine

State Conference.

“There’s something really special about Rollins that’s difficult to put into words, and part

of that is due to the physical and social environments,” said Fisackerly. “I’m excited that

I will be able to explore several of my academic interests at a very strong liberal arts

school. I can’t wait to begin the elite, collegiate level training I’ve looked forward to for

many years.”

Fisackerly is a member of the Saints’ varsity boys swim team, which took home the

MHSAA Class I State Championship title in 2019, and placed second in the 2018 State

Championships. He was named a finalist twice in the 2017 MHSAA State Championship

and twice in the 2018 MHSAA State Championship. Additionally, Fisackerly swims for the

Mississippi Makos swim team, placing as a finalist seven times in the 2019 Mississippi

Swimming State Championships. He is ranked 11th among male high school swimmers in


Hometown MADISON • 41

The CHALKBOARD Madison Schools

Madison Central

The Pawprint Yearbook Financial Staff hosted its annual Beauty and Beau pageant February 3-7.

Senior Beauties

Left to right: Mary Swayze Thornton, Meghan Thrash, Jalyn Kelly, Sydney Stokes, Libba Ewing, Most Beautiful Keely Young,

Ashley McGhee, Olivia Smith, Lauren Cooper, Anna Johnston and Allie Grace Bell.

Senior Beaus

Left to right: Ian Garrett, Brandon Strain, Clayton Fairchild, Wade McDougal, Most Handsome Randy Harris,

Justin Lairy, Caleb Martin, Connor McMullan, RJ Mack

42 • MAY 2020

Junior Beauties Left to right: Ellie Hetzel, Adeline Walters, Payton Abner, Kellen Fairburn,

Ann Cabot Stockett, Marley Stover, MaryDale Mitchell and Taylor Boyt.

Junior Beaus Left to right: Joe Gallaspy, Rob Embry, Walker Rogillio, Chandler Welgos,

Justice Rose, Harrison Bruce, Robert Tickner and Christian Contreras.

Most Beautiful Keely Young

and Most Handsome Randy Harris

Sophomore Beaus

Left to right: Simon Tipton, Mack Gorton, Jackson Tyner

Sophomore Beauties Left to right: Annalise Ferrell, Ann Travis Hutchinson,

Leighton Barrett, Kendall Starkey, Sarah Kate Killens, Reid Hewitt

Hometown MADISON • 43

The CHALKBOARD Madison Schools

Madison Central

Madison Central High School is proud to announce its 16 National Merit finalists.


L-R: Emma Grace Trammell, Allie Grace Bell, Lane Taylor, Jessica Shoemaker, Sreya Maddali, Cameron Fowler, Jackson Joyner, Chandler Miller,

Kaylee Hood, Aswin Arunachalam, Sam Gaines, Eric Chen, Julie Luke, Drew Dunn and Amy Lin. Not pictured is Annie Thomas.

Students had fun collaborating with classmates in their American history class

to create a presentation about the conflicts during the Jackson era.

L-R: Alecya Berry, Abby Sheffield, Elisabeth Morton, Mary Cameron McArthur

For the third year in a row the MRA robotics team qualified for the overall state

tournament with FIRST robotics. The competition was held on the campus of

the University of Mississippi. Twenty-four teams from all over the state

competed. The MRA team was awarded the second place Connect Award.

This judged award is given to the team that most connects with their local

science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) community.

Back L-R: Chesley Price, Conner Ivey, Carter Watchel,

George Dew, Animesh Kumar

Front L-R: Ian Wright, Will Thompson, Jack Laws,

John David Phillips, Josh Khanna, Alden Bailey

Price Farrar

Vanndel Chinchen

Cole Farrior

Price Farrar, Vanndel Chinchen, and Cole Farrior, all showed exemplary talent

and skill landing them a position with the All-MAIS Division 1 soccer team.

44 • MAY 2020

Shirley D. Simmons

Shirley D. Simmons Middle School celebrates student success! Students recently took the Case 21 test which prepares them for end of the year state tests. Awards were given for

most growth and overall highest proficiency. The 6th grade class won both awards for highest overall proficiency in math and English! We are so proud of all of our students and the

hard work they put in every day to achieve their learning goals! Keep up the good work!

Individual award recipients include: Xander Bell - Most Growth in 8th Grade English, Shelton Hayden - Most Growth in 8th Grade English, Kendrick Jobe - Most Growth in 8th Grade

English, Deja Weaver - Highest Proficiency in 8th Grade English, Patricia Evans - Highest Proficiency in 8th Grade English, Christian Dawson - Highest Proficiency in 7th Grade English,

Jakayla Page - Most Growth in 7th Grade English, Samecia Brinson - Most Growth in 6th Grade English, London Lott - Highest Proficiency in 6th Grade English, Jakeliah Crowley -

Most Growth and Highest Proficiency in 8th Grade Math and 8th Grade Science, Terry Thompson - Highest Proficiency in 7th Grade Math, Jakelcey White - Most Growth in Algebra 1

and 8th Grade Math and Highest Proficiency in 8th Grade Science, Salaria Chesser - Highest Proficiency in Algebra 1, Elijah Jones - Highest Proficiency in 6th Grade Math


Every third Sunday of the month,

MRA faculty and students visit

the Ronald McDonald House in

Jackson to cook and serve breakfast

to families who are away from home

while receiving care in the Jackson

area. The Ronald McDonald House

serves as a “home away from home”

for families of seriously ill children

who must travel to Jackson for

medical care.

Hometown MADISON • 45

The CHALKBOARD Madison Schools


Germantown High School

recently held its annual

Night in the Spotlight

(Beauty and Beau).

12th grade

Front: Abby Vance, Claire Price,

Teana Neal, Olivia Irby, Cara Metz,

Amber Horton, Hannah Rae Britt,

Isabella Bissell, Mamie Ainsworth

Back: Tony Esquijarosa, Slade Rushing,

Graham Stephens, Austin Lee, Grice Fortenberry,

Reed Carpenter, Thad Stephens

11th grade

Front: Shelby Rainey and Chloe Carter

Back: Carson Buckner, Kaleb Joiner, Kendall Austin,

Colton Gardner, Houston Hailey

10th grade

Front: Kate Umphlett, Olivia Rabalais,

Kate Guillory, Peyton Davis,

Cassidy Watkins

Back Row: Ryan Augustine,

Carson Yoder, Brayden Cline,

Cannon Curtis, Colt Yoder,

Cole Burton, Hayden Simmons

9th grade

Laurel Mitchell, Isabella Nolen, Parker Gardner

46 • MAY 2020



daniel thomas

graphic design / illustration


Hometown MADISON • 47

TheTime COIN

Camille Anding

In times like these, strange things

abound! I would never have

imagined toilet paper as a prized gift.

It’s somehow due to a strange phenomenon

relating to the coronavirus that’s added toilet paper to

the “endangered” list. It’s disappeared from the grocery

shelves, and truckers who are delivering it to stores

could possibly need armed guard protection.

This week our doorbell rang and an angel in human

form, standing some distance from the door, had left a

twelve-pack roll of toilet paper and a bouquet of tulips.

The flowers were lovely, but we scooped up the toilet

paper first as Othel shouted, “Hallelujah!” Only in times

like these!

I’ve been a kind of harper on the electronic age

kidnapping our young with their screen entrapments

and the way multiple-on-top-of-multiple TV channels can

manipulate an entire day. But worship via electronics is a

blessing when the church doors are closed. We plan to

be back in our pew when the doors open again, but

Easter Sunday was a blessing – getting to watch three

powerful messages online. Only in times like these!

God is definitely giving us time to recall

blessings that I was so accustomed to

that I failed to see them as blessings –

running to the grocery store to pick up

and pulling them close, speaking with neighbors within

touching distance, inviting friends for a meal, enjoying

a dinner in a restaurant with menus and waiters,

shopping in REAL stores for birthday presents, keeping

a dental appointment, strolling through the rows of

flowering plants at the nursery, visiting with friends in

assisted living facilities, and ordering a bucket of

popcorn in a movie theatre.

Times like these have given me much time to think.

Will large crowds ever sit packed in stadiums watching

football pile-ons again? Will the COVID-19 resurface in

another replication? Will basketball players go back to

competing among sweaty bodies and close contact?

Will emergency rooms become last resorts for people?

Will home offices become the new norm? Will a

supply of masks become a necessary safety item?

Times like these have brought on a myriad of

questions and changes, but one thing will never change:

“In times like these you need a Savior.

In times like these you need an Anchor.

Be very sure, be very sure

Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock.”...

for all times. ●

a single item, eating with extended family

50 • MAY 2020

Hometown MADISON • 51

memories are made at

drive thru safari park

safari rides - birthday parties - weddings

class field trips - hundreds of animals

special events - catering - observation deck

steakhouse - tavern - buffet

retail shopping - mississippi artisans

meat market - bakery

-and so much more-

Visit our website today!



every day!


WWW.MCCLAIN.MS | 601-829-1101

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