Hometown Madison - January & February 2017


Volume 3 Number 1

Jan/feb 2017

All About Us


Lessons from Lucky


Looking for the story

CA.CNews.FBChamps4x5_Layout 1 12/20/16 2:49 PM Page 1



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2 • Jan/Feb 2017

4 • Jan/Feb 2017

publisher & Editor

Tahya A. Dobbs


Kevin W. Dobbs

Consulting editor

Mary Ann Kirby

Account Executives

Rachel Lombardo

Kati Gaines

Dacia Durr Amis

Contributing Writers

Camille Anding

Ben Hutton

Mary Ann Kirby

Susan Marquez

Erin Williams

staff Photographer

Othel Anding

Administrative Assistants

Alisha Floyd

Brenda McCall

Layout Design

Daniel Thomas / 3dt

• • •

It will take a few days to adjust my thinking to writing 2017, but I’m grateful for a new year

and its opportunity for a fresh beginning. This year will mark our 4th anniversary of Hometown

Magazines. I’m confident I’ll continue to be at home on the learning curve.

However, I’m also confident that the list of new friends will grow as we meet and highlight the

stories that are still waiting to be discovered in our hometown. I’m especially grateful for my new

friend, Andrew Seago, who I recently met and am delighted to feature in this issue.

Andrew’s attitude amid his extreme physical challenge is beyond inspiring.

I’m blessed that Andrew’s’ story will serve as the perfect prescription for

any who complain and whine about the trivial in day-to-day living.

I extend a special thank you to our advertisers and readers who are

making it possible for Hometown Madison to be a part of 2017.

As publisher, it’s my desire to promote our hometown and its wonderful

residents. I’m amazed and inspired with just how many there are!



For subscription information

visit www.htmags.com

Contact us at info@HTMags.com


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.

In this issue Super Shakes........................ 6

Addiction Lurking................... 10

Hope Conference .................. 16

Lessons from Lucky ...........20

Oh Happy Day .........................26

A Re-Defining of Disability........... 32

All of Us ......................... 40

Looking for the Story .............. 46

Hometown madison • 5

A small building with a drive-thru

was available at the Reservoir area, and

Stogner and his wife signed a lease and

started their business. The business was

originally called Super Shakes, but they

had to change the name to Quick Quakes

because the owner of the building served

ice cream shakes next door and didn’t

want any confusion. Once the ice cream

store closed, the former owner gave

Stogner the greenlight to change the

name back to the original Super Shakes.

“It was about that time we were

Susan Marquez

Jason Stogner had a problem. As a graduate of University of

Southern Mississippi with a degree in nutrition and dietetics and being

a registered dietician, he knew more than a little about good nutrition.

But as a sales rep who traveled all day (making healthy meal plans for

patients), Stogner was often forced to eat unhealthy fast food on the

road, mostly because of the convenience and lack

of other options. “I knew what I was eating wasn’t good for me.”

Stogner began preparing smoothies at home to take with him on

the road. “One day my wife, Jodie, tasted one and she thought they

were great. She told me I should be selling those!”

Stogner gave it some thought and looked into existing smoothie

franchises, but the nutritional information for the drinks was not good.

“They were high in sugar and low in protein. I started playing with

some formulas at home, playing with different ingredients to form new

drinks that would provide energy and nutrition while satisfying hunger.

It wasn’t long before I decided to open my own place.”

opening our second location in the

Township in Ridgeland, so we used that

as an opportunity to rebrand ourselves,”

explains Stogner. Through a series of

events, Stogner met his business partner,

Taylor Lyle, who owns a label company in

Richland. “He made the labels for Quick

Quakes, and one day he delivered them

in person and ordered a shake. Soon he

was coming every day and he also started

ordering shakes for his staff. We talked,

and he asked if he could join me in the

business, and we’ve gone full steam

ahead ever since.”

There are now two more Super Shakes

locations, one in the Crossgates area of

Brandon, and the newest inside the

Healthplex in Madison. “Franchising is

6 • Jan/Feb 2017

definitely in our plans for the future,” says Stogner.

“We’ve had people contact us from all over the country,

including New York, Florida and California. We definitely

plan to grow.”

Super Shakes are made to order at any of the locations.

There are nine basic formulas that meet a variety

of nutritional needs. “Everyone needs 15 to 30 grams of

protein per meal,” explains Stogner. “People who skip

breakfast often go up to 15 hours without a meal. What

they don’t realize is the body will get its needed protein

supply from the muscles or even from organ tissue, so

it’s important to refuel the body each morning. When the

body is deprived of essential nutrients it needs to stay

healthy, the immune system is weakened and the body

goes into a downward spiral. That’s why we offer Super

Fit, to keep folks healthy and fit.”

Hometown madison • 7

Other formulas include Super Fuel, Super Trim,

Super Power, Super Charge, Super Calm, Super Meal,

Super Gain and Super Sleep. All of the formulas are

available at the Super Shakes locations, and can also

be purchased in large containers that make 30 servings.

The formulas can be customized with different

flavors and supplements which can be added.

All the powdered formulas are made in Mississippi

with the best raw ingredients sourced in the United

States. “We try to keep things as local as possible,

especially with the fruits and vegetables we use.”

The powders are made using whey protein isolate,

the best form of protein available. There are also

vegan versions which use pea protein or egg whites.

Stogner says he usually drinks two of the shakes

a day, which is helpful with his active lifestyle. He is

still employed as a sales rep full time, and he has a

country music band, The Jason Stogner Band,

which has two releases on iTunes.

“I think Super Shakes has a world of potential

to grow,” says Stogner. “We started out to make

a difference in Mississippi, one shake at a time.

If we can make it in Mississippi, the least healthy

state in the Union, we can make it anywhere.”

8 • Jan/Feb 2017

Hometown madison • 9



Ben Hutton’s Story

Intro from Dad, Steve Hutton

As a parent, what you are about to

read will fall under the category,

“This could never happen to us.”

I can assure you, you’re dead wrong

in that assumption. Today’s drug

addict is often the private school

star football player, the privileged

child driving a BMW that his parents

gave to him, the good-looking college

sophomore, the child of the well-known

public official, and your neighbor’s

beautiful daughter you saw grow up

next door. It’s real, it’s epidemic,

and it’s all around us—right here

at home.

10 • Jan/Feb 2017

The following words

are from my son ...

It was 2009 and I was 18-years old.

I had more friends than I could ask for.

I had a beautiful girlfriend with an incredible

personality. I was in great physical shape.

I had a black 2009 LTZ Silverado 1500 which

was way too nice for any guy my age. I was

extremely successful in sports and had

Division I college football in my near future.

I had a family who loved me. I was raised

in church and had everything I could ever

ask for. From the outside looking in, my life

was perfect.

Fast-forward about a year: Nobody

wanted to be around me. I no longer had

girlfriend. I was super thin and looked like I

had almost quit eating altogether. I was

so pale that I don’t even think pale would

any longer be the correct word to describe

me. My hair was long and ungroomed.

That black Silverado had been taken from

me and sold. I had quit showing up for

practice with that college dream team and,

in fact, I had decided I could no longer handle

going to school at all. My life was completely

falling apart.

What happened? How could I go

from having such a “perfect” life to

someone who was barely holding on by

a thread? What could be so bad that it

could cause such a destructive impact on

my life? How did I all the sudden throw my

goals and dreams in the trash as if they

never existed?

Today I’m 25 years old, soon to turn 26.

I was asked to share my story about a certain

subject that is seemingly becoming more

and more of a problem in today’s world.

Even worse, everyone knows about this

growing problem, but not many know what

to do about it. The issue I’m discussing is

addiction—that ugly word nobody wants to

talk about.

If you ask 10 different people how

to help someone that is struggling with

addiction, you’ll most likely get 10 different

answers. Some of those answers may look

like this: Maybe they’re just going through

a phase. Maybe they have a mental illness

and need proper medication. Maybe they

just need to grow up. Maybe they need some

better friends. Maybe they just need a better

Hometown madison • 11

job or maybe they just need someone to

talk to. Maybe they need to be at a different

school. Maybe they just need proper support

from their parents. Or maybe they just need

to figure out what they like to do that makes

them happy. Maybe they need to go to rehab

or maybe they just need go to church more.

The list of “maybes” can go on and on

and on. So, what is the answer? Maybe you

yourself have struggled with addiction or

maybe you personally know of someone that

has. If so, you know that trying to find the

solution can be an endless maze of confusion

that always brings you back to the beginning.

Often, the one thing that may seem to

work for a while one day, doesn’t. And the

one struggling is back at it again as if they

never stopped—and are probably getting

worse. It’s as if they can’t see what they’re

doing to themselves and the people around

them and, if they can see, they don’t seem to

care because they just keep doing it. It’s as if

they’ve lost all care about life in general and

no longer have any hopes or desires. All they

seem to be concerned about is themselves

and whatever substance it is that they are

addicted to. If they actually cared about

themselves and everyone else around them

wouldn’t they just stop? Why do they keep

doing this?

I have one reason for writing this

story. That one reason is to somehow grab

someone’s attention that needs to hear this.

Whether it’s the addicted or someone trying

to help the addicted, here’s the point: I spent

years “trying” to get sober. I tried so hard

to get my life together and failed time after

time, which only made things worse. I was

furious at myself for continually failing—over

and over and over again.

Finally, two years ago, I found myself

sitting in rehab for the fifth time. I was at

a very rough place—a low-point in my life

where I didn’t know what to do anymore. I

was miserable and no longer cared about

anything. I wasn’t sure how much longer

I could even try. I was so low in life that I

seriously considered becoming homeless

and just doing drugs until I died. I hated

myself. I was done.

I made a call to my parents from rehab

and they mentioned a place called Teen

Challenge. They said it was different and that

I should try it. I called another friend from

rehab and, ironically, he mentioned this Teen

Challenge place, too. He had heard about it

on the radio. I had absolutely no desire to go

but, for whatever reason, agreed to at least

look into it.

I wound up at Teen Challenge of the

Dakotas in Brookings, South Dakota. It’s the

best place I could’ve ever “wound up” and it

was at just the right time. When I got there I

was so broken and at such a bad place in my

life that I was willing to listen to practically

anything they had to say.

This is when things changed.

They told me that there was actually

nothing wrong with me. They said I didn’t

have any disorders like many doctors had

told me. They taught me God’s word, inside

and out. They showed me that all along I

had been searching for God’s love and didn’t

even realize it—I was just searching in the

wrong places.

I had fallen prey to believing the devil’s

lies. I believed that drugs were the only

thing I had to help me cope. I thought that

without them I couldn’t make it and that

nobody understood the things going on with

me. Ended up that was all just a big lie.

I had begun to rely on drugs in the

same way I was supposed to be relying on

God. The drugs may have helped me feel

better for a while but they always ended up

bringing disaster. God doesn’t do that. God

always works for our good, but I didn’t know

how to rely on Him.

It didn’t make much sense to me. I

literally had to be taught how to rely on

God. Through scripture and through leaders

teaching us by example, I learned to talk

to God. I learned to read God’s word. And I

12 • Jan/Feb 2017

learned that God has a love so deep for me

that I can’t even understand it.

I learned that by Jesus Christ dying on

the cross for my sins, I’m forgiven of all the

things that haunted me day and night, and

I can be free from those chains. Not only

can I be free from that life, but I can now

live an awesome fulfilling life by trusting

God and carrying out what He has planned

for me. That doesn’t mean it’s easy—but

it’s more than worth it.

If I wanted to go back and start

doing drugs right now, I could. But

why would I? Why would I go back to

something that creates a temporary

feel-good and escape when God offers

me a life from which I never want to

escape or hide.

If you are the one struggling with

addiction or anything for that matter,

God doesn’t care what you’ve done no

matter how bad you may think it is. He just

wants you to come to Him. He wants you to

let Him change your life inside and out. He

wants to give you a reason to live.

The decision to put your trust in God,

is completely up to you, but I can attest

that it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.

And it’s one that I’ll never regret. Praise

God for grace.

Closing from Dad . . .

My wife Joni and I drove Ben to South Dakota. He was broken

and facing multiple criminal charges. And as we pulled away,

we were convinced we would never see him again this side of

Heaven. He was tired, defeated, beaten, and had no desire to

continue living. But God wasn’t done with Ben.

Honestly, if we hadn’t actually lived our story, I wouldn’t

believe it. Addiction is unbelievable. I began to journal one

day simply as therapy, and 15 days later had written 67,000

words. It is our prayer that our story may serve as hope to

those families entangled in addiction, and as a warning to

parents of young children as they navigate raising Godly

children in an ungodly world.

(The paperback, Pride Aside, may be purchased at www.prideaside.org and on

Amazon. Ebooks are available on Kindle, iBooks, and Nook.)

Hometown madison • 13






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Hometown madison • 15


Susan Marquez

Some things happen because there’s a

need. That’s exactly why the Hope Conference

for Cancer Survivorship happened the first

time. Susan Mason saw a need, and she worked

to fill it. Fifteen years later, she’s still working

hard to fill that need for area cancer patients,

cancer survivors, and their caregivers.

Mason was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s

Lymphoma in 1994. Like so many people

do, she went to the M.D. Anderson Medical

Center in Houston for a second opinion. “I

was immediately connected with their patient

support system,” she recalls. “Every year, I went

to Houston to their survivor’s conference where I always received

a lot of knowledge, education and encouragement.”

Back at home in Clinton, Mason said she realized that the

metro Jackson area has a lot of medical facilities, but there was

nothing offered like the conference she had been attending in

Houston. “Our area is unique in that instead of one huge medical

center, we have several top-notch hospitals. I thought it would be

great to pull them all together to form a coalition to serve cancer

patients and survivors. I wanted to do a conference in Jackson

like the one they have in Houston.”

What Mason didn’t know was that the hospitals are all highly

competitive and nothing like what she wanted to do had ever

been done. But that didn’t stop her. “It was a challenge to bring

them all together, but I managed to do it!”

She began by contacting the Mississippi Chapter of the

American Cancer Society and the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society

of Mississippi. “Those organizations started on this journey

with me, and they are still involved, along

with Jackson State University and Belhaven


That journey resulted in the first ever

Hope Conference in 2002. “The church I go

to, First Baptist Church Jackson, hosts the

conference, which will be held for the 15 th year

on March 4, 2017.” The conference will have a

survivors panel featuring Whitney Pickering,

Stephanie Bell Flynt, Senator Hillman Frazier,

Terri Hederman and Ashley Johnson. Coach Jay

Hopson of University of Southern Mississippi

will be the keynote speaker, sharing his own

experience with cancer.

Breakout sessions will include cancer exercise therapy as

well as sessions that focus on education and encouragement.

Mary Margaret Judy is the executive director of St.

Catherine’s Village in Madison. When asked to give her thoughts

on the conference and the program, in general, she said, “Put

it in the hands of our Lord and his physicians. Do not give up

hope. St. Catherine’s Village and all of the St. Dominic family are

proud to help light the way for the Hope Conference for Cancer


The logo for the event, a lighthouse, was designed by

Marshall Ramsey, also a cancer survivor. “Our motto is ‘Lighting

the way to cancer survivorship’ because we want to shine light on

people and their journey,” he said.

For more information on the conference visit


16 • Jan/Feb 2017

Hometown madison • 17



I hope

to reach

this year

1. Lisa Beagles

– Owner, Doe’s Eat Place of Ridgeland.

I want 2017 to be a year of progress,

without regrets, while maintaining my

priorities. God, family, and then business.

I want to better my community by

encouraging local small business

cooperation and providing practical

help to adults with limitations.

2. Trent Nelson

First, I would like to volunteer more

time towards community service.

Starting in 2017, I’m going to be on the

board of directors for the Madison

County Chamber of Commerce. With

that, I’m excited to see what opportunities

to help serve others come about. Second,

I want to continue with a healthy lifestyle.

In 2016, I made some lifestyle changes

striving to be healthier. I started eating

better and exercising at Kudzu Crossfit in

Gluckstadt. So far, I’m 40 pounds lighter

and just feel better in all aspects of my life.

3. Hunter Owen


In 2017, I want to continue to grow my

gym, Coyote Crossfit, to positively affect

as many people as possible in the Madison

County area. I also want to set a positive

example for my family and friends in my

faith and fitness!

18 • Jan/Feb 2017


4. Tianna Cowan


In 2017, I strive to be debt free and have

financial freedom! I also love traveling

and would like to travel more and

explore all cultures.



5. Brian Leach

I plan to locate my Alfa Insurance Agency

in the Town of Livingston to meet the

insurance needs for the families in that

area. In March, 2017, my wife and I are

expecting our first child and I strive

to set a Godly example for my family

as we grow together.


6. Nikki Grafton

In 2017, my goal is to love myself so

I can better love others and to give my

children the present of my presence–

and put my phone down.

7. Alison Martin

In 2017, I hope to make better decisions

about what to say “yes” to, and make

more room in my schedule for downtime

with my family and I would love to

read the Bible all the way through this

year. I’ve always wanted to do it but never

have. Hopefully, 2017 will be the year.

8. Cooper Tyner

My goals for 2017 are to learn how to

shoot a gun and to buy my wife a new

car because she is the most wonderful

woman in the world and she deserves it.



Hometown madison • 19

20 • Jan/Feb 2017



Loving When It Isn’t Easy

olly was born On September 23, 2013. and our lives changed for

the better. After being married for almost three weeks, my husband

and I knew we wanted to add to our family. So when she turned sixweeks-old,

Dolly, the golden retriever puppy, joined our household.

Dolly is the perfect dog. She’s sweet-natured, obedient, cheerful, and was a breeze to train.

She is truly one of those once-in-a-lifetime dogs, and we couldn’t love her more.

Fast forward two-and-a-half years to when we stumbled upon a fearful, skinny, black,

pit-bull mix puppy. She came crawling to us out of nowhere and we found out she had

been living under a shack after being dropped off and abandoned a few days earlier. In less

than 10 minutes, we pulled 14 ticks off of her. We decided to keep her, and, in that moment,

she became “Lucky.”

Hometown madison • 21

Although Lucky doesn’t have a mean bone in her little

body, loving her hasn’t always been easy. When we decided

to take Lucky in, we also took in her past problems, learned

behaviors, and lack of training. We learned that she was

deathly scared of leashes, ropes, water hoses, riding in a

vehicle, and being picked up.

On top of that, Lucky has turned our yard into a field

of craters. She’s torn apart more than her fair share of

pillows, towels, toys, mats, etc. If it’s outside, in Lucky’s

eyes, it’s fair game.

Between cleaning up after her, house training her,

teaching her not to jump and to not be afraid of a leash,

teaching her to trust humans, and showing her how to

act around children, there’ve been many times that I’ve

almost thrown in the towel. I mean, she’s just going to tear

it to shreds anyway, right? In fact, I’ve almost done it more

times than I’m willing to admit.

However, in the last six months that Lucky has been

a part of our family, amidst all the hair-pulling trials,

she has taught me more about patience and love than I

would’ve learned on my own.

Lucky teaches me everyday how to love when loving

isn’t easy.

With Dolly, we fell in love with her instantly because

she is the easiest, most cheerful and obedient dog we’d ever

been around. Loving Dolly was easy. But in life, more often

than not, loving isn’t easy at all. In fact, it can often be

messy and difficult, at best.

When we make the choice to love others, we have to

love all of them—including their past problems, current

issues, and future predicaments. Real love in relationships,

whether with family, friends, or, in my case, a dog, is a

22 • Jan/Feb 2017

Lucky teaches me everyday

how to love when loving isn’t easy.

Hometown madison • 23

24 • Jan/Feb 2017

Loving when it isn’t easy doesn’t

just change the other person,

it changes you, too.

journey full of detours, snags, and

unlovable moments along the way.

And, it’s not always easy.

When we chose to bring Lucky

into our family, much like how we

choose to bring others into our

lives, we made a commitment to

love her, regardless.

While Dolly draws immediate pats and smiles from

others, Lucky doesn’t. I mean, who doesn’t want to love on a

Golden Retriever? It’s harder to want to pet a rambunctious

Pit-Bull. In many ways, Lucky has had the odds stacked

against her and been discriminated against her entire life.

How many of us know others like that: People that are

easy to love and don’t look intimidating versus others

who we stay away from based on their looks and perceived


In some ways, Lucky has taught me to go beyond what

I’m comfortable with. Although I don’t have kids yet, I want

them to grow up learning that you love others regardless of

whether they’re lovable or not, especially if they’re different

than you. I want them to learn that others, like Lucky, can

come out above the circumstances they were born into, and

that love transcends similarities or looks.

I want them to love well. Whole love.

How will our kids today know what we don’t exhibit?

And if we’re really honest with ourselves, we’d see that

there are times when we aren’t always as loveable as we

think we are.

At the end of the day, we’re actively training Lucky

and teaching her what we expect of her. And while I hope

she’ll someday stop tearing things up and start behaving

better, I can’t say for certain she will. I think the same thing

is true in life. While we love others and hope they will

come out of certain scenarios and situations that make

loving them hard, the stark reality is that sometimes they

won’t. But choose to love them anyway. Loving when it

isn’t easy doesn’t just change the other person, it changes

you, too. n

Hometown madison • 25




Susan Marquez

26 • Jan/Feb 2017


Adam Panetta

took his girlfriend

out on their boat

one sunny summer day,

she didn’t

suspect a thing.

“It was a

normal day,”

Kristen Panetta


“We went out about three or four

in the afternoon, and after about

an hour, he took me to a secluded

area at the Reservoir and told

me to go the front of the boat.

Then he asked if he could blindfold

me.” Kristen didn’t think

anything of it because Adam was

such a kidder by nature. “I just

thought if he threw me off the

boat, I’d be really mad!” While

she was blindfolded, Adam

quickly rolled out a red “carpet”

made of paper, sprinkled it with

rose petals, put on a button-down

shirt and put a sign around their

rescue dog’s neck. “He told me to

take off the blindfold, and there

was Stella, our dog, with a sign

that said, ‘Will you marry my

daddy?’ It was perfect.”

When they returned to the

dock, their families were there to

greet them. “We had a party right

there at our condo’s clubhouse,”

says Kristen. “It was so much fun,

and so special.” That was on July

12, 2015. The wedding planning

began right away.

Kristen and Adam met in

high school, but they weren’t high

school sweethearts. “I was in the

ninth grade at Madison Central,

and he was in the tenth. We met

over the Christmas break when

we were both hanging out at the

same friend’s house.” They did go

to his junior prom together, but

Kristen said he made her nervous,

so she wouldn’t date him. “Yet, we

would talk and talk all the time.

We were just great friends.”

Adam went to Ole Miss, and

a year later, Kristen went to Mississippi

State. Her senior year, he

moved to Chicago to work. “We

talked on the phone a good bit,

and one night we made a bet on

who would win American Idol. If

he lost, he’d have to come see me.

If I lost, I had to travel to Chicago

to see him.” Adam’s contestant

won, and Kristen announced to

her sorority sisters that she was

going to see Adam in Chicago.

“They were shocked. They really

didn’t know anything about him,

and they knew I wasn’t the spontaneous

type.” Once she went

to see Adam in Chicago that

summer, Kristen said they have

been inseparable ever since.

Kristen has always enjoyed

doing side projects on her own,

and liked the idea of being her

own boss. “Adam encouraged me

to find something I wanted to

do and to write a business plan,”

she said. “I worked with Kendall

Poole, a local wedding planner,

Hometown madison • 27

and realized that I loved everything

about weddings. There are

already some wonderful wedding

planners in this area, so I didn’t

want to step into that, so I kept

thinking about what I could do.”

Along with her mother, Kristen

made several trips out of state

to visit small bridal boutiques

to shop for her wedding gown.

“My mom said that Mississippi

really needed something like

that, and the idea was born!”

Kristen did some research and

together, she and Adam decided

that she needed to go ahead and

do it while she was in full-out

wedding planning mode, or wait

a couple of years. “I decided to

go ahead and do it!” So while

she was planning her wedding,

Kristen opened Elle James Bridal

in Ridgeland. “We are located

just above Bella Bridesmaids on

Jackson Street in Ridgeland. I

only sell bridal gowns, and they

only sell bridesmaids’ dresses,

so we complement each other


Kristen walked down the aisle

in her own wedding gown on

April 30, 2016. “We got married

at Providence Hill.” The couple

had wanted to marry by the lake,

as an homage to their engagement

on the water, but there was a

100% chance of thundershowers

forecast for their wedding day.

“We decided on Wednesday to

hold the ceremony indoors,”

remembers Kristen. “Of course,

on our wedding day, the weather

was beautiful. But that was OK,

because everything was simply


Adam’s father, Eddy Panetta,

passed away when Adam was in

college, so as a way of having his

dad close on his wedding day,

Adam asked his father’s brother,

Joseph Panetta, to officiate the

ceremony. “We were budgetconscious

throughout,” said

Kristen. “We had a string quartet,

but for as long as I could

remember, I wanted a choir at

my wedding singing ‘Oh Happy

Day’ as we walked up the aisle

as husband and wife. I couldn’t

afford a choir, so I wanted the

string quartet to play it.” Kristen’s

mom told her that the leader

of the quartet said the song

wasn’t well-suited to be played

by a quartet, but Kristen was

adamant. “On our way up the

aisle, I had an ear out, listening

for the song, until I realized that

there was a full choir at the end

of the aisle, clapping and singing

“Oh Happy Day.’ My mother had

arranged it as a surprise for me!”

Their dog, Stella, was honored

at the wedding with a

signature drink. “It was called

‘The Stella,’ and we had her

name and the recipe printed

on the cocktail napkins!” It

seems Adam and Kristen have

found the right recipe for a

happy life together. n

28 • Jan/Feb 2017

Hometown madison • 29

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Hometown madison • 31

32 • Jan/Feb 2017

Camille Anding

A Re-Defining of Disability

Hometown madison • 33

In 1981, Andrew Seago,

at age four, survived a

near-death accident and

was thrust into the world

of the quadriplegic.

Insurmountable obstacle?

Not for Andrew. Thanks

to a faithful network

of family, friends and

caregivers, young Andrew

with great fortitude

and tenacity, denied his

paralysis of robbing him

of a productive life.

After almost three months in St. Dominic Hospital,

Andrew adapted to homeschool until the second

grade. It was a giant decision when he joined other

second graders at Spann Elementary and continued there through

the sixth grade.

Since Andrew’s three older brothers attended Jackson

Academy, his transition into high school was a given. After

graduation, he wrestled with his future but once again followed

his brothers to earn a degree at Mississippi State.

“It was a God thing,” he said as he explained how he was

able to find caregivers in just a month before school began.

After earning a degree in educational psychology, he continued

his college studies and earned his Master of Rehabilitation


One of his caregivers, Quantae Walker, described Andrew’s

lifestyle as, “on the move.” He speaks to church groups and

teaches classes in his area of expertise.

His most recent project is heading up the Magnolia Classic

fundraiser for Joni and Friends. The Classic is an “intense”

dodgeball tournament scheduled for January 28, 2017 at Jackson

Academy. There are three divisions – adult, youth (8-16) and high

intensity. Entry fee for a team of six is $120.

This is the tournament’s fourth year. It’s grown from three

teams to thirty-two last year and helps fund the summer camps

for disabled families in Mississippi and Alabama. Junior high age

to adult participate.

Andrew’s contagious smile seems a strange counterpart to a

life that’s confined to a motorized chair and breathing apparatus.

He’s mastered the maneuvering of his mobile chair with the use of

his chin and is accustomed to the round-the-clock caregivers that

are always nearby. Preston Jackson has been with him for thirtyfour


“Some days are really bad; some really good,” Andrew says

of his condition. “You just have to roll with it.”

As he faces daily challenges, he realizes, “everybody’s got

problems.” He sees his faith in God as essential in coping with his


In the midst of his disability world, Andrews says, “Ablebodied

people have a hard time relating to me or any other

disabled people. And I’ve had a hard time relating to other

disabled people because I’ve lived such a normal life. I’ve been

blessed with family, friends and caregivers, and I’m resigned to

the fact that I’m here for a reason.”

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Hometown Madison





Why did you decide to make Madison

your home?

We decided to make Madison our home in

2015 because we wanted a hometown feel

with the amenities of city life. Madison is one

of the most beautiful cities with a variety of

entertainment, dining, shopping, and most

important, a great school system.

Tell us about your family.

Victor and I have been married for 14 years.

Victor is a health administrator with the

Mississippi Department of Health and I am a

clinical psychologist with Batson Children’s

Hospital. We have 2 children, Victor, II (Vic)

and Lauren. Vic is a 6th grader at Madison

Middle School and Lauren is a 5th grader at

Madison Avenue Upper Elementary. Our

children are actively involved in the Madison

Ridgeland Youth Club (MRYC) and Victor

has, and continues to, coach football and

basketball with MRYC.

What is your favorite memory of

living in Madison?

There are many fun memories about

Madison. However, among the most fun

memories are: Being warmly welcomed

to our neighborhood with a cake and a

smile from neighbors and enjoying the

fireworks (with my family) on 4th of July

in Liberty Park.

What are some fun things to do in

Madison on the weekends?

There’s always something to do in Madison

including a variety of sporting events, catching

a movie at The Grandview–Malco Theatre

or dining at first class restaurants. When we

are not busy with school activities or

recreational sports, particularly on Sunday

after church, we often enjoy taking a walk or

bike ride on one of the beautiful trails.

Share some things you enjoy doing

in your spare time.

We enjoy cooking out and entertaining family

and friends. During the summer months we

love spending time at the pool or taking

family vacations. Most of all we enjoy

cheering for our children’s sports teams

(basketball, football, softball and baseball).

Where are your three favorite places

to eat in Madison?

Kristos Greek Restaurant, Bonefish Grill,

and Georgia Blue.

What are three things on your bucket list?

Taking trips to Africa, Paris and Hawaii are at

the top of the bucket list.

Who is someone you admire and why?

The person that my husband often talks of

and admires the most is his grandmother. She

was an educator and owned her own tax

business. She taught Victor the value of hard

work and getting an education. She would

often remind him that mediocrity is not


Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Victor and I often talk about early retirement

as we both started our professional careers

very early. So, we will most likely be traveling

to visit our kids on their respective college

campuses, traveling the world or maybe even

starting our own consulting business in the

area of health and wellness.

What is your favorite childhood memory?

My favorite childhood memories include

listening to my mother tell the story of the

birth of Jesus, the smell of homemade cakes

and pies, and the laughter of family during the


If you could give us one encouraging

quote, what would it be?

In everything, set an example by doing what is

good. In your teaching, show integrity and

seriousness. (Titus 2:7)

What is your favorite thing about

Hometown Magazines?

Hometown Magazine provides a view into

the lives of families that shows the hospitality

and warmth of Mississippi’s communities. n

Hometown madison • 37

serving our community

Fire Marshal Joe Davis

canton Fire Department

Why did you decide to be a fireman?

It was a childhood dream.

How long have you been with the

Canton Fire Department?

17 years.

Tell us about your family.

My wife’s name is Linda. I have two sons,

Tyranny and Joe Davis, III.

What is the toughest thing you have

experienced in your job?

Responding to a sick or hurt child.

Share some things you enjoy doing in

your spare time.

Mechanic work, fishing, hunting, training

dogs, and spending time with my family.

Name three things on your bucket list?

Buying my wife a 750 BMW, adding a room

addition to my house and sending my

youngest son to private school.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?


If you could give one piece of advice to

a young person, what would it be?

Stay in school. Obey your mother and father.

What is a favorite childhood memory?

Being baptized and joining my church.

What is the biggest mistake you think

young people make today?

Not finishing school and not going through

with the goals they had in mind.

What is your favorite thing about the

City of Canton?

Being a part of the Canton Fire Department

and a member of Mount Calvary Missionary

Baptist Church. The EMS and law enforcement

is the best. I am fortunate that I get to live in

this great city with my family.

Who is someone you admire and why?

My Uncle Buck. He was the man who taught

me my ABC’s and 123’s. He also encouraged

me throughout my childhood. His famous

words were, “Always be your own man.”

38 • Jan/Feb 2017

madison's finest

Sheriff Deputy James Hall

madison county sheriff's Department

Why did you decide to become a

sheriff's deputy?

I got into law enforcement so that I could try to

keep the community I work in a safe place to live

and raise a family. When I became a deputy for

Madison County Sheriff’s Department, that same

attitude applied but it became more personal

because this is the place that I call home.

How long have you been with the

Madison County Sheriff’s Office?

I have been here two years including the time I was

in the sheriff’s deputy reserve program. Each day

was an opportunity to meet new people in the

community and to see and learn new things that

I did not know about law enforcement in general.

Tell us about your family.

I am happily married to my wife Cara Hall. We just

celebrated our first anniversary this November.

We have a dog and a cat that keeps us pretty busy.

We both have family that live in Madison County.

What is the toughest thing you have

experienced in your job?

I don’t think I can mention one that would be any

worse than the others because to the people that

fall victim to those things, it is possibly the worst day

of their lives. You just have to stay professional and

let them know that you care for them and are there

to help –whether it’s losing a loved one in an

accident, or the victim of a senseless crime.

Who is someone you admire and why?

I don’t necessarily have an individual that I’ve always

looked up to, but rather the kind of person that gets

up every day to work and support his or her family

and also helps out those less fortunate than them.

They do all these things and don’t expect any

recognition for their work. They are the unsung

heroes and I admire that.

Where do you see yourself in ten


Hopefully I’ll still be serving the citizens of Madison

County with the sheriff’s office. But wherever I am,

I know that God has a plan for me and my family,

so I am pretty excited about it.

Share some things you enjoy doing in

your spare time.

I am a country boy at heart so I often enjoy hunting

and fishing and just spending time with family and

friends in the outdoors.

Name three things on your bucket list?

To spend some time in Alaska doing some hunting.

I’ve always wanted to build a cabin by a lake on

some land. My wife and I want to visit is Ground

Zero in New York City.

If you could give one piece of advice

to a young person, what would it be?

Try to think about how the choices that you make

affect others–like your parents and friends. Be

smart about those decisions and think for yourself,

not letting pressure from outside sources force you

to make the wrong decisions.

What is a favorite childhood memory?

When I was playing baseball for a select team called

the Madison Royals. We were in Memphis playing

a game and they brought me in to close out the

game on the mound. The game was tight and the

winning run was at the plate. I had two outs and

was able to strike the batter out to win the game.

I think that is the dream of every little boy, and I got

to live it out that night.

What is the biggest mistake you think

young people make today?

I think that young people believe that bad things

cannot happen to them and that they are invincible.

They need to just be more careful because God

only gives you this one life on earth and it can be

taken away in an instant. But by the same token,

you should strive to use the life that he has given

you to make the world a better place.

What is your favorite thing about

Madison County?

The pride that the people that live and work there

have for their county.

Hometown madison • 39

40 • Jan/Feb 2017













Hometown madison • 41






“It was September 26, 2015,”

recalls Whitnie McGee. “It was

game day, and most people

have a hard time believing we

were both wearing red.” That’s

because Whitney, a Booneville

native, is a die-hard Mississippi

State fan. “I used to tell my family

and friends that I’d never date or

marry anyone from Ole Miss or

Alabama.” That’s what makes the

story so much fun. Richard is a big

Ole Miss fan. Because she was a

good girlfriend, Whitnie agreed to

accompany Richard to an Ole Miss

game in Oxford, and she thought

he was taking her to dinner at the

Ajax Diner on the Square before

the game. “He had been acting

a little funny, but I didn’t think

anything of it.”

When they got to the

sidewalk in front of Square Books,

Richard stopped and told Whitnie

that on the very spot where they

were standing, his grandfather

had proposed to his grandmother

65 years earlier. “Then he told

me that he wanted to spend

the rest of his life with me, and

he got down on one knee and


Luckily, she said “yes,” because

just above them on the balcony,

her mother and his entire family

were looking down on them.

“They all clapped and cheered,”

says Whitnie. “It was the sweetest


The storybook romance

began on Halloween in 2013.

“His best friend married my best

friend and that’s how we met,”

Whitnie says. “We were at a

Halloween party and hit it off.

Somehow, we ended up singing

karaoke somewhere and I sang

the Ike & Tina Turner version of

‘Proud Mary.’”

Whitnie had a feeling she

might see him again, and a couple

of days later he texted, asking if

she’d like to hang out. “He cooked

me dinner the next week, and

we just connected. We’ve been

together ever since.”

Richard was originally from

Canton, and when the couple

began planning their wedding,

set for April 23, 2016, they chose

to get married at Lake Caroline.

42 •• Jan/Feb 2017 2017









“His parents live there, and most of

our friends are in the Jackson area,

so it seemed like a natural thing to

do.” They got married on the pier,

overlooking the water, and had

the reception in the clubhouse.

“It was beautiful.”

Hers wasn’t a traditional

wedding – “we wanted something

that was more about us.” Whitnie

walked down the aisle to Elvis’s

“I Can’t Help Falling in Love with

You.” Dan Confait played the song

on an acoustic guitar and sang as

Whitnie approached her groom.

Her 12-year-old Pomeranian

was her “dog of honor,” wearing

a pink dress that matched the

bridesmaids’, accented by a crystal

necklace. After being pronounced

husband and wife, the couple

went back up the aisle to the Dolly

Parton/Kenny Rogers song “Islands

in the Stream.” It fit us. We love

country music, and we love to

have fun.”

The wedding had a vintage

shabby chic theme, with Mason

jars filled with baby’s breath and

pink roses lining the aisles. Her

cake, created by Amy Davis of

Turquoise Chandelier in Brandon,

featured a cascade of pink roses.

“I know it was my wedding,

but I think it was the best ever,”

said Whitnie. “We had the best

time.” As the band (Smiley and the

Young Guns from the Delta) played,

the couple and their guests danced

the night away. Before the night

was over, she made a song request

and got up on the stage. “This is

the song I sang the night we met,”

Whitnie said to her guests. “It’s the

song I was singing when he fell in

love with me!”

As Richard and Whitnie made

their exit, the band played the Ole

Miss and Mississippi State fight

songs while guests held sparklers.

A New Orleans-style parade,

complete with band playing

“When the Saints Go Marching In”

followed as the guests all shared

their good wishes for couple

to have a long and happy life


The couple now resides in

Madison. Richard is in logistics,

working as a manager with JB

Hunt, and Whitnie is the marketing

director of Northpark Mall in


Hometown Hometown madison • 43


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44 • Jan/Feb 2017

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46 • Jan/Feb 2017

Mary Ann Kirby




Everyone has a story, don’t they? I often

make up peoples’ stories in my mind so that I

can fill in the gaps created from not knowing

details—and I’m not entirely sure why I do

it. I guess I’m just an observer of life. And

because I like to write stories, I’m always on

the hunt for one.

My husband and I have even made a

game of it. We’ll see a couple that we don’t

know at a restaurant and spend the next

thirty minutes creating their fictitious story.

It has made for some hilarious conversations

between the two of us as there are no limits

to the depth of detail that make this couple


On Sundays, when people are asked

to come to the front of our church during

invitational, I often cry at their “stories”—

even though I don’t know what those are.

I sometimes wonder if they’re broken and

hurting and I all of a sudden ache for them

and the burdens that they may carry.

I imagine the single mom, raising a

family alone and trying to make ends meet.

Or the one that dreamed of children but

struggled with infertility. I imagine the man

that has recently lost his job and his insurance

benefits only to have just gotten a bad report

from the doctor. And all this is completely in

my imagination, mind you. I can’t hear them

when they speak to the pastors at the front of

the church—but I can see them—and for some

reason I’m compelled to give them a story.

Maybe I’m crazy. Or maybe it’s how I make

strangers more relatable. I have an intuitive

desire to connect.

Several years ago we had just moved

into a new neighborhood with super-strict

covenants. Our first Christmas season in our

new home had come and gone and Mardi

Gras and Valentine’s Day decorations had

begun to pop-up everywhere. Every day I

would ride by this one house that still had

Christmas lights hanging from their eaves.

And every day I would think, “Surely they’ll

take those down soon.”

I’m certain there were guidelines

somewhere that addressed the timely

removal of neighborhood Christmas

decorations. If not, there needed to be.

Another week would pass and the lights

still remained. I had become indignant

that they weren’t following the rules (what

rules?). I mentally drafted the letter that

would be sent to the homeowners association

demanding that their lights be removed.

When had I become Nosey-Nellie, the

judgmental neighbor that made everyone else’s

business her business? Why did I even care?

Aren’t we all guilty of doing this in some

form or fashion—making other people’s

issues our business? Don’t we often judge

people’s choices without fully understating

their reasons for making them?

The adored actress and comedian Betty

White was once quoted as saying, “I don’t

know how people get so anti-something.

Mind your own business, take care of your

own affairs, and don’t worry about other

people so much.” She’s 94-years old. I wonder

how long it took her to figure that out.

So on the 21 st of February of the very

first year in our new covenant-protected

neighborhood, 58 days after Christmas and

7 days after Valentine’s Day, the offending

home was lit up like I had never seen. I’m

certain it could be seen from space. Their

Christmas tree stood defiantly in the living

room window and the icicle lights that

hung from the eaves blinked as if to signal

their rebelliousness to the entire world. I

absolutely could not believe my eyes. Their

blatant disregard of holiday decorating code

was mind-boggling.

As I slowed my car and rounded the

corner to get a better view, a banner that

read, “Welcome Home Ryan” hung across the

garage doors right next to a flag bearing the

United States Marine Corps emblem. And then

it made sense. Their son was returning home

and they had “saved” Christmas just for him.

I burst into tears. First of all, I felt

grateful. My sense of patriotism immediately

outweighed my sense of incredulousness.

How thankful they must have been to have

him home and in the safety of their loving

arms. But then I felt embarrassed. They

don’t make enough lights to express the joy

my husband and I would feel had our own

son been returning home. To this day I am

changed as a result of that experience.

When you look at a person, any person,

remember that they have a story. Everyone

has gone through something that’s changed

them. Life is hard and everyone has ups and

downs—and fears and pain. Give grace, love

and support to those around you who may

have struggles you don’t see. Our opinions

don’t matter. But how we treat people, does.

I “imagine” Ryan and his family to have

had the most extraordinary Christmas-in-

February that ever was. And now, when

I see something that doesn’t necessarily

make sense to me, I try not to criticize it but

rather look for the story. After all, when you

actually realize there’s something you don’t

understand, then you’re generally on the

right path to understanding all kinds

of things.

Hometown madison • 47

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48 • Jan/Feb 2017

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Hometown madison • 49


madison county Schools


National Merit

L-R: Brantley Hudnall (Commended Scholar), Owen Ivan (National

Merit Semi-Finalist), Tommy Brunson (National Merit Semi-Finalist),

Alex Usher (National Merit Semi-Finalist)

Economic Summit Winners

Seniors Breana Pigott, Trey Buckley, and Mac Lashley, were the overall

champions at the International Economics Summit, beating out around

70 teams. This competition is conducted through the Mississippi

Council on Economic Education.

Youth Legislature 2016

Front L-R: Kylie Cockerel, Riley Angell, Baylie Baudier, Katelyn Adams,

Molly Hutto (Teacher) Back L-R: Jake Kealhofer (Teacher) Harrison

Grimes, Caleb Collins, Will Clark, Kathryn Mccullouch

The Mississippi Youth Legislature is a model legislative and judicial

program for high school students. Students from Mississippi public and

private schools come together at our State Capitol and participate in a

mock legislative session. Student participate as a legislator, attorney,

supreme court justice, lobbyist, press delegate, or legislative page. Each

legislator writes a piece of legislation that they debate through the

legislature in hopes of having it signed into “law”. Each piece of proposed

legislation, or bill, goes through the full legislative process. During each

session, a full cabinet of officers (students) is elected to serve over the

next year’s Youth Legislature.


Lazaire B. Martin is a stay-at-home mom that volunteers her time to

making the lives of her children and our community a great place to live.

She’s the 2016 Highland Elementary Parent of the Year.

Elementary students participated in the Toys for Tots drive for two

weeks. Children were excited to bring and donate a toy. Toys for Tots has

been touching children’s lives all over the world for over 20 years. The

students, teachers, and staff here at Highland were extremely glad to add

more smiles in the world.

50 • Jan/Feb 2017

Submissions provided by local officials from each individual district and not to be considered editorial opinion.

Madison Avenue

On Thursday, October 27th, the Madison Police Department,

Homeland Security agents, FBI agents, Mississippi Highway

Patrol, and the Bureau of Narcotics assisted MAUE students in

solving the crime of the missing chandelier.

A week before the event occurred, the chandelier, made of

recycled plastic bottles, was stolen from the library. The thief left

behind a footprint, fingerprint, hair sample, drink in a cup at the

top of the ladder and a note that said, “Sorry.” The students used

these clues to figure out who the thief was.

Students made statements to law enforcement officials about

what they heard and saw. Six suspects were identified before

Mystery Night. Students arrived Thursday evening and reported

to their homeroom teacher. The students and parents watched a

video outlining the evidence and the motives of each suspect.

Three labs were set up to analyze the thief’s footprint, fingerprint,

writing sample, drink sample, hair sample, and time card. The

students used this information to eliminate suspects and identify

the final two suspects.

After completing the three labs, students moved outside to the

stage to hear the FBI reveal the gender of the thief. Once the

gender was revealed, Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler spoke to

the thief and let her know that stealing is not tolerated in Madison.

The thief apologized and then Judge Dale Danks sentenced her to

fifty hours of community service at the Webster Animal Clinic.

Hometown madison • 51


madison county Schools


Look what Santa brought to Mannsdale! The Mannsdale library

has a new Makerspace. A Makerspace is an area where students

can create, invent, explore and build. Students are using a variety of

materials from Legos to robots. They are learning the beginning

stages of coding and using their imaginations in the process. The

makerspace challenges tie in with the literature being read during

Mrs. North’s storytime. These Mavericks love the new addition!

52 • Jan/Feb 2017

Submissions provided by local officials from each individual district and not to be considered editorial opinion.

Madison Station


In October, the MSE kindergarteners visited the Jackson Zoo

for lots of fun and smiles.

On December 9th, Madison Station 2nd graders got to go on a

trip with their passports to many different areas of the world

that included Mexico, Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Canada, and

France. The students learned about the different Christmas

traditions in those countries as well as music, food and games

they have.

The students in 3rd grade had Egypt Day on November 17th.

Egypt Day is a fun filled day where the kids dress in Egyptian attire,

perform a play, play games and have food from the Egyptian


Hometown madison • 53


madison county Schools

Madison Crossing

Madison Crossing Elementary School students were visited by

Germantown cheerleaders, dance team and football players who

welcomed students to school and visited some of the classrooms.

Amber Young, a senior at Germantown High School, is one of 65

mentors at GHS. She comes to visit and works with her mentee

at Madison Crossing Elementary. Amber attended Madison

Crossing in elementary school and says it’s so much fun coming

back to her old school. Raina Cross is a third grader and enjoys

spending time with Amber twice a week. Amber was recently

crowned Homecoming Queen at Germantown High School and

plans to attend MSU and major in Elementary Education.

54 • Jan/Feb 2017

Submissions provided by local officials from each individual district and not to be considered editorial opinion.


Our K5 classes had their Annual Christmas Program, “Happy

Birthday Jesus”, in honor of Grandparent’s Day. All our parents

and grandparents were invited to join us for this special day in

celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.

The K3 classes at MRA had their Annual Gingerbread Decorating

Day on Tuesday, December 6th. The parents and/or grandparents

were invited to come and help on this festive occasion.

Hometown madison • 55


madison county Schools

Christ Covenant

The program for Christ Covenant School’s Grandparents Day this

year was A Salute to America. Students in kindergarten through

fifth grade performed patriotic songs and our middle school

students served as hosts and hostesses. After the program, grandparents

were invited to tour the classrooms. What a sweet time it is

at CCS where we are privileged to honor each grandparent with a

musical program and special time spent with grandchildren.

56 • Jan/Feb 2017

Submissions provided by local officials from each individual district and not to be considered editorial opinion.


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Hometown Hometown madison • 57

Camille Anding

The Time Coin

Alonely Grace stared out the frosted

window, watching the blustery north

winds make havoc of the carpet of

brown leaves. The New Year’s January seemed

to taunt the warm memories of Christmas.

The frigid temps and relentless winds

combined to add misery to her loneliness.

The noise and warmth of her Christmas company were sorely

missed. Grace turned her back to the drab winter scene and sat down

near the fireplace. The corner where her Christmas tree had blinked and

twinkled was just another lonely corner in her home. The fire glowed

brightly, but it was the only bright thing in the room. Loneliness with its

dreary gray cloak wrapped around Grace with a smothering grip.

She retreated to her closet to find a sweater but instead, pulled a

cherished quilt from the top shelf. Sitting with the cover made by her

mother added a love layer of warmth over her entire body. Grace

touched the stitches and traced their long-ago artistry. The stitches

were tiny and uniform – the work of a veteran seamstress.

Grace remembered many of the fabrics

– remnants from handmade dresses her

mother had sown. The pink and white checked

gingham was a favorite Easter dress that Grace

wore with her Easter “bonnet” and white

gloves. The red, white, and blue stars were a

Fourth of July memory.

As Grace studied the quilt, her thoughts turned from her loneliness

to the treasure on her lap. Her mother had taken remnants and tiny

scraps to create a covering stitched in love. She could vividly picture her

mother leaning over the stretched cotton canvas that her dad helped

erect in the den.

Grace had walked around her mother’s “quilt factory” many times

but never associated the creation with a treasure. Time and inevitable

change had reversed that.

The quilt would warm Grace on this lonely day and transport her

to long ago memories and the blessings of a happy childhood. God

would use the quilt to teach her that remnants – even scraps can be

transformed into works of beauty by His touch – no matter our age.

And loneliness? For today, it would ride off on the winter winds. n

58 • Jan/Feb 2017

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Hometown madison • 59

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