VOLUME XI • ISSUE 1
31 PATTERSON MOORE BUTLER
A CARING, STRATEGIC
28 IRRATIONAL KINDNESS
46 FROM CRISIS TO RESOLUTION
48 SCHOOL WITHIN A PANDEMIC
HOME AND LIFE
12 How Realtors Save You Money
14 Optimist Day
16 The Sensitive Truth About Losing
18 Choose Love
22 Dumb Jokes for Smart Folks
24 5 Things I’ve Learned
50 Walking a Different Beat
52 Don’t Waste Your Time
58 5 Brilliant Ways You Can Save Money
26 Sara Y Jose
HEALTH & WELLNESS
34 Treating Pain: It’s a Joint Effort
36 COVID-19 Vaccine: Act Now!
38 The Importance of Prenatal Care
40 Zen and Wellness
44 Forsyth County Chamber of
60 Help When You are Hurting
54 Is Your Vehicle’s Software
Out of Date?
IN EVERY ISSUE
10 Forsyth County Government
11 Forsyth County Government |
News Around Forsyth
20 Book Review: Orbiting the Giant
Hairball By Gordon MacKenzie
56 The Country Preacher
“DON’T MISS A THING”
VOLUME XI • ISSUE 1
Market Complete LLC
Larry Brown is a retired
journalist. Larry is a member
of the Sawnee-Cumming
Optimist Club and a mentor
with Mentor Me North
Georgia. A community
volunteer and sought-out
writer, he may be reached at
Tom Burgess is the owner
and operator of Christian
Brothers Automotive in
Cumming. Tom retired from
the United States Air Force
in 2009, after serving his
country for over 22 years.
He may be reached at
Ava Clavijo is a student
at Forsyth Central. She
may be reached at
Pam Evans is an
Associate Broker with
Century 21 Results. She
may be reached at
Graves is a freelance
media developer, writer,
and the author of the book
review blog The Book
Buffet. She may be reached
Rev. David Hill, a long-time
Cumming resident, may
be reached at davidkhill@
comcast.net. A retired
preacher, Hill lives in North
Carolina where he is enjoying
spending time with his
678.208.7077 • www.adampendleton.com
WEB CONTENT STRATEGIST
Amy Lyle lives in Forsyth
with her husband, four
teenagers and a large dog.
Her first book, The Amy
of Failures is a top eBook on
Tracy Ann Moore-Grant
has been practicing family
law since 2002. She's a
partner at Patterson Moore
Butler. She may be reached
Maria I. Morgan is an
inspirational writer and
speaker. She is the awardwinning
author of Louie’s BIG
day! She may be reached at
PRINTING AND MAILING SERVICES
Power Marketing & Printing
678.990.3618 • smccaffrey@powermp
Narendra Singh, MD,
FRCP(C), FACC, FAHA is the
Director of Clinical Research,
Atlanta Heart Specialists LLC,
He may be reached at
Mira Sivan is a family
practice optometrist with an
emphasis on ocular disease,
contact lenses fitting and
pediatrics. She may be
reached at 678-648-5185.
Hannah Testa is 17 years old
and a student at West Forsyth
High School. She may
be reached at
The mission of My Forsyth magazine, a publication of
Market Complete LLC, is to provide readers with stories and
information about their communities and its people. 22,000
copies of your community magazine are distributed via
direct mail and throughout local businesses as part of our
rack distribution. We welcome your comments, stories and
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Publisher makes no claims as to the validity of any charitable
organizations mentioned. My Forsyth is not responsible
for errors or omissions. No part of this publication may be
reproduced or transmitted without written permission from the
Publisher. All rights reserved. ©Copyright 2021
My Forsyth | www.myforsythmag.com
5485 Bethelview Road, Suite 360-135
Cumming GA 30040
(p) 678.614.8583 | (f) 770.888.1511
My Little Loomers
Unexpected. That is the best way I can describe the gift of meeting
Ava (age 10), Addy (age 8), and Aubrey (age 6). The Little Loomers are
remarkable young girls who, encouraged by their parents, decided they
needed to do something other than being “stuck at home” during the
shelter in place order.
In early 2020, as COVID-19 made life as we knew it suddenly come to a
stand-still, kids and their parents had to stay home. Education, religion,
playtime – everything had to be done from the comfort of home.
“The girls came to us with the idea of making loom band jewelry and
accessories, rings, bracelets, necklaces, keychains, fidget toys and mask
lanyards,” explained Lisa, their mom.
The inventory grew quickly, and the young entrepreneurs decided it was
time to sell their wares.
If and when that happens, I can just imagine them talking through it all.
The way we adults should.
A respectful conversation.
I look forward to seeing the girls every Saturday, and have started my
own collection of looms, which I had no idea what they were when I
was first introduced to this product. A year has passed since the Little
Loomers started their business venture.
By weaving small rubber bands together, the girls have created their
brand. For me, they have created a reason to believe in the power of
Perhaps it is simply a matter of weaving together thoughts and ideas to
create patterns of hope and peace. Unexpected looms.
For over five months, Little Loomers have been a staple at the Vickery
Village Farmers Market, creating a following of their own.
So, what is unexpected about that?
The joy of seeing three young girls determined to never give up. This
dynamic trio makes my heart smile. Their smiles are contagious and their
dedication to their craft is commendable.
To watch them talk with their customers, the joyful manner in which they
present their items as customers curiously stop by to take a look at their
loom jewelry, and how they work together is a treat. I am certain there
are times when the girls may not feel like working. Or they may be mad
at each other.
LITTLE LOOMERS support various ministries, including Grace
Fellowship of South Forsyth, Samaritan’s Purse, SEND Relief,
and Water@Work, to name a few.
VOLUME XI | ISSUE 1 | MYFORSYTHMAG.COM 9
FORSYTH COUNTY GOVERNMENT
2021 FORSYTH COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
Molly Cooper (Vice-Chairman)
Alfred John (Secretary)
Cindy Jones Mills (Chairman)
Find Board of Commissioners’ meeting information and videos (streamed live
and On Demand), commissioner biographies and more by visiting the Board of
Commissioners page at forsythco.com.
RECYCLING CONVENIENCE CENTERS
CAN HELP WITH SPRING CLEANING
Start your spring cleaning early! The
Forsyth County Recycling and Solid
Waste Department operates three public
convenience centers for recycling and
disposal of bagged household trash. The
centers are open from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.,
Monday through Saturday (Closed on
Sundays and county holidays).
Tolbert Street- 351 Tolbert St.
Old Atlanta- 3678 Old Atlanta Road
Coal Mountain- 3560 Settingdown Road
For more information on acceptable items
call 770 205-4573 or visit the Recycling &
Solid Waste Department page at
BEGINS POSITION AS
On Jan. 11, Kevin Tanner began his
role as Forsyth County Manager.
The county manager provides
leadership for Forsyth County
government by working with the
Board of Commissioners and other
management to establish
long-range goals, strategies,
plans and policies.
The position also supervises the
county’s administrative offices
and senior management, oversees
county programs and activities;
interprets county goals and policies
and ensures county administration
and senior management are
making decisions consistent with
the Board of Commissioners’
planning and policy initiatives.
Tanner brings over 30 years of
public service experience, including
five as Dawson County manager.
Most recently, he was a four-term
State Representative for District 9,
which includes Lumpkin County as
well as portions of Dawson
and Forsyth counties.
10 MYFORSYTHMAG.COM VOLUME XI | ISSUE 1
FORSYTH COUNTY GOVERNMENT
GET THE LATEST
There are more ways than ever to
receive the latest Forsyth County
FILE BY APRIL 1 FOR 2021 HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION/AGE
65 SCHOOL TAX HOMESTEAD
A Homestead Exemption is one way to reduce the amount of property
tax you pay on your residential property. In Forsyth County, if you own the
property, reside on that property and are a legal resident of the County, all as
of Jan. 1 of the tax year, you may qualify for the homestead exemption.
Residents may apply for exemptions year-round, however, they must apply
by Thursday, April 1, to receive the benefits for 2021. Regular and Floating
homestead applications and information on how to apply are available on the
Board of Assessors page at forsythco.com.
FOLLOW FORSYTH COUNTY
GOVERNMENT ON SOCIAL MEDIA
for the latest news, upcoming
events, videos and information
(Facebook, Twitter, Instagram,
YouTube and NextDoor)
READ, AND SUBSCRIBE to receive
by email, the latest news at
Homeowners who are 65 years of age on or before Jan. 1 are entitled to a full
exemption in the school general and school bond tax categories, as well as
the Homestead Exemption.
For more information or for questions regarding these exemptions, visit the
Board of Assessors page at forsythco.com or call the Tax Assessors Office
at (770) 781-2106.
NEWS AROUND FORSYTH
COTTON HOOK CREATIONS
From booties to hoodies, Cotton Hook
Creations is steadily increasing its crochet
offerings. Adapting to an ever-changing
environment, Savannah Hunter took time to
learn new skills. "I was laid off my job, things
were changing rapidly and I figured I needed
to stay ahead of the game."
Hunter taught herself how to crochet and the
rest is now a Facebook and Etsy story.
WATCH TVFORSYTH to watch live
and recorded County meetings, see
the latest news and feature videos
(AT&T ch. 99, Comcast ch. 23 and
online at forsythco.com)
READ THE MONTHLY
NEWSLETTER Your Forsyth for
monthly news highlights and for a
look ahead at upcoming events
FOLLOW OTHER COUNTY
GOVERNMENT SOCIAL MEDIA
CHANNELS including Parks &
Recreation and the Animal Shelter
"I am a fast learner and enjoy working, and now I
get to do so as a business owner," Hunter added.
When life throws you a curveball, start a new
game, or in Hunter's case, a new adventure.
VOLUME XI | ISSUE 1 | MYFORSYTHMAG.COM 11
By Pam Evans
If you’re a fan of less stress, and holding on to more dollars, hiring a Realtor to help you Sell or Purchase a home is
an excellent idea. The truth of the matter is that it takes a lot of work and professional knowledge to get a home through
the selling process, which is worth remembering when putting up a “For Sale by Owner” sign seems like a great idea.
If you are thinking how hard can it really be,
consider the advantages of working with a
Realtor who works in Real Estate every day
and closes more transactions in one year than
most people do in two lifetimes. It is a Realtors
job to understand the local market, trends and
make recommendations that will help you
capitalize. That plus be an excellent negotiator
Buying or selling a home is a major financial
transaction that can be a disaster when placed
in the wrong hands—even your own. To offer a
cliché analogy, if you broke your leg would you
try to fix it yourself or see a Doctor? Making
a Real Estate decision that could impact your
financial future for years to come is no different,
so consider the following benefits the next time
you’re tempted to go it alone.
SAVE You Money
When it comes to selling, marketing is
everything. Effective sales strategies include
professional materials, presentation, and a
sound online strategy. It’s simple to get your
listing in the MLS service, but not as simple to
get Buyers flocking to your home. Ideal is to
target both other Realtors representing Buyers,
as well as Buyers directly, with effective and
Living comfortably in your home is one thing
and staging your home to appeal to the camera
and buyers may be another. Working with a
professional who can help you accomplish
both is critical. Homes that present well usually
IT’S ABOUT WHO YOU
An experienced Realtor will have a solid
team working behind them, which includes
everything from trustworthy lenders,
plumbers, electricians, inspectors, contractors,
landscapers, etc. Whether selling your home
requires a fresh coat of paint or some more
extensive repairs, your Realtor can recommend
people who will do a great job at a fair price.
Plus, your Realtor will help you prioritize – what
really needs to get done, and what doesn’t.
MORE MONEY AT CLOSING
While you may not always understand the
ins-and-outs of what a Realtor does, a great
Realtor will approach the home selling process
with a strategy, which means they’re going to
work their magic to get you the most money
for your home by appealing to the largest
number of Buyers.
PURCHASING WITH A
Bringing your own Realtor to the table,
including when purchasing New Construction,
is wise. The Realtor in the Sales Office represents
the Builder, not you. Same with a Realtor listing
a property. Their professional responsibility is
to their Client, and they will do what is in their
Client’s best interest. Have your own Realtor
in your corner to help you navigate properties,
assess value, negotiate, and win. Best part is, the
Seller is usually the party paying the Brokerage
fee, not you. So why would you go it alone?
TIME IS MONEY
Plain and simple, the longer your property
sits on the market, the more expensive it is for
you in terms of “holding costs”. Chances are
if you are ready to sell, you are ready to move
on to your next chapter. So, have a solid game
plan with your Realtor, and don’t give Buyers a
reason to wonder what may be wrong with your
property, as it hasn’t sold.
Ask a friend if they can recommend an
experienced Realtor with an excellent track
record. Or do some research. Read Reviews. See
what other Sellers or Buyers have said. Making
the right choice whether you are Listing your
home or Purchasing will absolutely save you
stress, time and money.
Pam Evans is an Associate Broker with Century 21 Results, and can be reached at HelloPamEvans@gmail.com or 678-778-6551.
12 MYFORSYTHMAG.COM VOLUME XI | ISSUE 1
VOLUME XI | ISSUE 1 | MYFORSYTHMAG.COM 13
By Larry Brown
Mayor Brumbalow presented the Optimist Day in the City of
Cumming proclamation to Janna Shacklett (right), president of
the Sawnee-Cumming Optimist Club; and Elisabeth Kearney,
president of the West Forsyth High School Junior Optimist Club.
CUMMING MAYOR TROY BRUMBALOW recognized Optimist Clubs proclaiming
February 4 Optimist Day in the City of Cumming. The proclamation read in part: May
this day instill pride in our city’s Optimists for all of their accomplishments and for
the impact they have to truly make a difference in others’ lives. The two local clubs
are the Sawnee-Cumming and the Forsyth-Cumming Optimist Clubs.
“With the global pandemic continuing to affect the lives of
people around the world, Optimists are choosing optimism,”
Sawnee-Cumming Optimist Club president Janna Shacklett
said. “Now more than ever, we recognize the need for optimism. And
our number one priority is helping children in our community, fulfilling
the motto of Optimist Clubs: Bringing Out the Best in Kids."
“Optimist members remind us of optimism by reciting the Optimist
Creed at every meeting,” she added. “The Creed is nearly a century old
but continues to define our goals and values. It is a promise that we make
to ourselves - to be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind;
to talk health, happiness, and prosperity to everyone you meet; and to
press on to the greater achievements of the future, to quote a portion of
Shacklett said that some of the programs and service projects of
the Sawnee-Cumming Club include the Student Oratorical Contest,
Law Enforcement Officer of the Year, Student of the Year, Student
Essay Contest, Expressing My Passions program for special needs
students, Communication Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing,
Childhood Health & Wellness, and sponsoring Junior Optimist Clubs
in Forsyth County.
“We are grateful to the city of Cumming and Mayor Brumbalow
for recognizing Optimist Clubs through this proclamation. This is
a proud day for Optimists thanks to the leadership of Cumming,”
Call Janna at (678)446-2846 for Optimist information.
Mayor Brumbalow (center) welcomed to City Hall members of the Sawnee-Cumming Optimist Club and the West Forsyth High School
Junior Optimist Club to proclaim February 4 Optimist Day in the City of Cumming.
14 MYFORSYTHMAG.COM VOLUME XI | ISSUE 1
VOLUME XI | ISSUE 1 | MYFORSYTHMAG.COM 15
The Sensitive Truth About
“WHO’S GOING TO CARE FOR YOU?”
By Kurt Arseneau, Investment Advisor Representative, Registered Financial Consultant
As we moved passed 2020, a lot of us had to change not only our working habits, but some had
to take care of older parents. With the fear of contracting COVID-19 and the effects that it may
have on older individuals, we found ourselves taking care of and protecting our parents. This
change started to make me think, who will take care of you or me when I am older?
16 MYFORSYTHMAG.COM VOLUME XI | ISSUE 1
When you were growing up, your parents were strong and
stubbornly independent. You always admired that about
them. Now they are aging and need a lot more help than ever before.
You are not sure how much help they will need from you and what will
happen when your help is no longer enough."
I realize you love your parents dearly,
and you are certainly willing to support
them in times of need. But each time your
parents ask you for help, you probably wonder,
“Who will do this for me?” It makes your heart
sink thinking about your spouse or kids doing
certain “dignity tasks” you never want them to do.
A chunk of your heart breaks off each time you
see a tiny piece of their independence fall away.
When you were growing up, your parents
were strong and stubbornly independent. You
always admired that about them. Now they
are aging and need a lot more help than ever
before. You are not sure how much help they
will need from you and what will happen when
your help is no longer enough.
I know that this is a sensitive subject, but
If you have ever had to watch a loved one
lose their capacity for living independently,
you know how difficult it is for the whole
family. Becoming impaired often starts with
unexpected challenges, like the inability to
stand up after using the bathroom or getting
out of bed. Over time, it gets worse. All too
often, struggles with normal activities of daily
living are accompanied by the loss of dignity
and rapid depletion of savings. You need
assistance but might not want members of your
family to handle more delicate tasks.
Here are Four Sensitive Truths that
we must all know, while we still have
time to prepare.
SENSITIVE TRUTH #1 – WE
ARE ALL AT RISK OF LOSING
OUR FUTURE INDEPENDENCE
Genetics could get in the way of the life you
want in your upcoming years. Preparing a
roadmap now to provide necessary care later
will help you feel less anxious about the risks.
It also helps you navigate sensitive situations.
In the 21st century, Americans can live a very
long time. The average U.S. woman who is
now 65 can expect to live to approximately
age 86 and men on average to 83. If your
relatives outlasted their peers, you, too, cold
live significantly longer than average.
SENSITIVE TRUTH #2 –
In Your Later Years Could Empty Your Wallet
Even with government programs such as Social
Security and Medicare, the costs of living as
an elder adult can come on suddenly and all
at once. In fact, nearly a quarter of Medicare
costs are spent in the last year of life. For
example, the median cost of a nursing home
is over $90,000 per year—and could be much
higher depending on where you get care.
SENSITIVE TRUTH #3 – LIVING
Most people want to live independently for
as long as possible, including staying in their
home. Right now, especially if you are watching
self-sufficiency slip away from a loved one, you
may be worried about what will happen to you
when the time comes.
If you need care, who will provide it? If you
have children, they are a potential resource.
That is assuming that they live close enough to
you and do not have to disrupt their standard of
living. On the other hand, you might not want
your children to change your diaper as you
changed theirs. Bottom line is, knowing what
you want for your later years is key in making
these decisions. Designing your blueprint for
eldercare now will help you make cost-effective
choices you might not be able to access later.
SENSITIVE TRUTH #4 –
THE OPPORTUNITIES YOU
HAVE TODAY MAY NOT BE
When it comes to paying for care, a number of
options are available to those who are currently
healthy. Bu you may not be eligible for them
past a certain age. One common choice for
covering costs is to self-insure or pay expenses
out of pocket. The risk is that you will run
out of money or hurt your spouse’s lifestyle.
It is sadly common for children to receive
diminished legacies or none at all, because the
money was spent on the parent’s care.
An alternative to that is to buy what is
called an asset-based policy, typically a life
insurance or annuity contract with a long term
care rider. Each insurance company structures
them somewhat differently depending on
the state. Bottom line, you have got options,
especially if you start planning early.
You already know what kind of independent
lifestyle you want when you age, but you may
not understand how to pay for it without
draining your wealth.
We can help you shield your financial
plan from excessive health care costs by
consulting with an expert to plan your
golden years. We can help you determine
if you can afford to pay these expenses from
your exiting assets and whether you should.
We will guide you with the right questions
to ask quickly so your available options do
not slip away.
It is up to you if you want to manage
your costs in the future. Your next step
is to call us today at 470-839-9001 to
schedule your Self Sufficiency Session.
Investment Advisory Services offered only by duly registered individuals through AE Wealth Management, LLC(AEWM). AEWM and Arseneau Advisory Group are not affiliated companies.
VOLUME XI | ISSUE 1 | MYFORSYTHMAG.COM 17
By Berni Leonard
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children: to earn the appreciation of
honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit
better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or redeemed social condition; to know one life has breathed easier because
you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
The horizon of A new year brings fresh perspective,
a new slate, and open opportunities. 2020 made me
pause and reflect on how I do life. I realized if you
yearn for more, you have to grow more—constantly
investing in yourself. If you want love, you must give
love. What you put out into the world is what you will
receive in return. Your surroundings are a mirror of
how you choose to give and react in life.
SO, HOW DO YOU GIVE AND CHOOSE LOVE?
ASK YOURSELF THESE QUESTIONS:
WHO AM I?
In both my business and personal life, I seem to always get asked these
questions. What is at my core? What is my foundation? What is the one
thing that grounds me?
For me, it is always “treat others the way I would want to be treated.”
I know this is a common phrase and principle, yet it is so rarely seen and
recognized. To serve and treat others to the best of my ability, I strive to
incorporate integrity, servitude, and truth into my core foundation.
Integrity is one of the greatest gifts that you can give; it is keeping
your word and letting your actions be in alignment with what you have
said. Servitude is having a servant's heart, finding, and losing yourself in
the service to others. And truth; straying from any gossip and spreading
only love and honesty with one another. Though this is easier said than
done, sometimes it takes time to choose the honorable and honest
path. But once you are upon it, the reward is priceless. Find what drives
you and ask yourself what you value - it is in these questions you will
discover who you are and what you represent at your core.
HOW AM I IMPACTING OTHERS?
At the end of the day, it is not the material things that make us, but
rather knowing you have given your all and made a difference in even
one person’s life. Write down five people that have shared wisdom with
you, helped you grow, been a mentor or helped you through change and
adversity. By acknowledging those who have influenced your life, you can
think about who you have impacted through wisdom, encouragement and
unconditional love. You learn from those who give to you, so you can give
WHAT DOES MY DAILY AGENDA LOOK LIKE?
You will not change your life just by thinking about it. You must do
something and do it daily. The secret of success is found in daily routine.
Take a moment to reflect on how you spend a typical 24 hours. Are you
investing in yourself? Are you consistent? Are you intentional with your
routine? We must put time into our own personal care if we are to give
back to others. Be sure to start incorporating moments to reflect and
recharge in your day. You are what you put in. Be mindful of what you
read, who you listen to, what your friends embody - for these will all
influence you. Fuel yourself with good thoughts and tools that will help
you grow personally. You must learn to love yourself first, and by doing
that, you will represent and offer unconditional love to others. Choose
yourself so you can change others.
Reflecting on these questions made me take a good look at my choices
and how they impact those around me. I know that if I am going to lead
others with positivity and maintain lifelong relationships, it starts with
me. I must continue to grow in all areas of my life spiritually, financially,
professionally and health wise. It is our choices that show who we truly
are. You can choose to read 15 minutes a day on a healthy lifestyle; you
can choose friends wisely; you can choose to accept and give love. Love
can be spread and given in the smallest of ways. Sending flowers, saying
thank you, paying for someone’s coffee, giving a compliment, making
a meal for a loved one—these are all simple and small acts that give
love. Spreading love can change hearts, it just starts with you. We can
all make a difference one heart and one act of kindness at a time if we
consciously make it a priority. Choose love this year. Leave the world a
little better than you found it.
Berni Leonard is a beauty salon owner and coach. She
is passionate about adding value to the lives around her,
continuous growth and personal relationships.
VOLUME XI | ISSUE 1 | MYFORSYTHMAG.COM 19
OK, Readers. This month let us take a little quiz together.
1. Would you rather choose which restaurant to visit on an outing or
have your date/friend surprise you?
2. If you are on a trip and see a sign at a highway exit advertising
something that sounds wonderful, do you get off the highway and
explore or keep to your schedule?
3. Would you choose a potentially high paying job where half the pay
is bonus money that might or might not happen or a much lower
but guaranteed salaried job?
4. Are all your friends so predictable that you know pretty much what
their opinions are about any given topic before you have a
discussion, or are you constantly surprised by what comes out of
Orbiting the Giant
5. Do you order the same meal every time you visit your favorite
restaurant, or have you tried pretty much everything on their
menu that seems promising?
By Gordon MacKenzie
Review by Jacqueline Thompson Graves
It is pretty easy to tell what my
quiz is after, isn’t it? Are you a
person who seeks safety and
security, or are you always
looking for a challenge, for wide,
In MacKenzie’s book, Orbiting
the Giant Hairball, he describes an old
Garfield cartoon where the naughty cat
goes into a pet store, opens all the cages
and yells, “Freedom! Freedom!” Much to
his surprise, none of the animals run out,
but instead hover in the backs of their
tiny cages. Garfield runs back down the
aisles, slamming cage doors and yelling,
“Security! Security!” Then he gives us all
It is important to know yourself.
How many writers have written that advice—know thyself—in a million
words when two will do? MacKenzie believes, and so do I, knowing whether
you value security or freedom is an essential part of succeeding, of being
happy. If you are one of those who answered “choose”, “keep driving”, “lower
salaried”, “yes” and “yes” to the quiz above, you probably will not appreciate
Orbiting the Giant Hairball, except maybe to laugh at the pictures. But if you
are a person who is part of the second group – those who chafe against rules,
who butt up against boundaries, who look for loopholes to get out of doing
stupid things required by management—you are MacKenzie’s person. You
will not just laugh at the pics; you’ll get them.
MacKenzie believes, and so
do I, knowing whether you
value security or freedom
is an essential part of
succeeding, of being happy.
Gordon MacKenzie worked for 30 years at Hallmark Cards. He uses
Hallmark, unabashedly, to bash as the quintessential corporate behemoth
with rules for making rules. He shares with readers Hallmark’s beginnings
when an 18-year-old Hall began a “card company” in 1910 when there was
no such thing as a card company. You feel MacKenzie’s frustration as he
shares how this company began as an innovator, then became a structured
place where answers like “we’ve always done things this way” became the
norm. Because Hallmark’s product requires creative people, the company
ends up with frustrated souls who churn out crazy good ideas that are not
how “we’ve always done things”. MacKenzie, hired as an illustrator, somehow
managed to carve out a place for himself, constantly reinventing his role
at Hallmark. He eventually became a bridge between the creatives and the
linear thinkers in management, accounting, and administration.
He tells how he brainstormed with a team of creatives who were designing
a new workspace and discovered they all wanted – wait for it – rolltop desks.
A couple weeks of combing antique stores led to an individualized space
for each person at a cost below budget, a solution thrilling both the creative
team and the accountants.
Very few of us can just jump ship and go live in wide, open spaces with
no boundaries. MacKenzie describes how he learned to coexist, even thrive,
and understand, balancing the worlds of safety vs freedom. Hallmark is
his metaphor for the world and how we all relate to it. His book is filled
with stories and anecdotes. His doodles litter the pages like someone’s notes
during a conference call – elephants, lines of ducks, stairs climbing up the
page. If nothing else, his art is worthwhile. MacKenzie’s line drawings look
like something a very clever kindergartener might doodle. You think, “Hmm.
If this kid got some lessons, he could really draw and paint someday,” except
his lifetime goal is to keep drawing like a fairly talented kindergartener.
By the end of the book, he gets pretty serious. He has been at Hallmark
30 years. He shares his vision of a company pyramid vs a company tree, and
it is pretty convincing. Then he tries to get us to see what God saw way back
when we were just a zygote floating in fluid. “Would you take this artist’s
canvas with you and paint a masterpiece for me?” God asks the baby just
before it is born. “I’d really appreciate that.”
Whether you are a security lover or a freedom lover, no one else can
paint your masterpiece. MacKenzie does a good job reminding us of that.
What you have to decide is whether or not you color inside the lines
Orbiting the Giant Hairball. A Corporate Fool’s Guide to Surviving with Grace
By Gordon MacKenzie, c. 1996
Published by Viking/Penguin Putnam Group, Available at Amazon
For more book reviews and even stuff that isn’t, visit Jacqueline’s
20 MYFORSYTHMAG.COM VOLUME XI | ISSUE 1
VOLUME XI | ISSUE 1 | MYFORSYTHMAG.COM 21
How do you poach an egg?
You just take it when the chicken isn't looking.
AL: What has been the response to your book?
JD: The response has been awesome. Lots of good feedback and support. The
book was a number one bestseller Kindle on Amazon last week for puns and
wordplay and broke the top 100 for paperback, and is the bestselling book of
Humorist Books, my publisher. So those are all nice things.
AL: Can you see the humor in any situation?
JD: I can see the humor in any situation. But sometimes I don’t want to see
it. I’m like a person who can see ghosts, but sometimes I’d like to just not see
them. Being able to see the humor in every situation is a blessing, but it can
also get you into trouble in a big way with friends, family, the law, etc. With
great humor comes great responsibility.
DUMB JOKES for
An interview with Jessica Delfino By Amy Lyle
AL: Describe your experience as a stand-up comic.
JD: When I was younger, I had a lot of stuff to get off my chest—about
sexuality and being a woman. I lived by the Mae West quote, “Those who
are easily shocked should be shocked more often.” Kristen Schaal, Chelsea
Peretti, Andrea Rosen, and Laurie Kilmartin were comedians I enjoyed
sharing the stage with; at the time I felt like had similar sensibilities. I had
a show I ran monthly with my friends Diane O’Debra and Stephanie Sabelli
in New York City (NYC), and comedians like Jim Norton and Colin Quinn
dropped by often. It was a really fun time for comedy in NYC.
In 2016, I had a baby and my whole world changed, and my sense of
humor and comedy perspectives changed, too. Then I had new things to
talk about, mostly about parenting. The new things I wanted to talk about
appeared to be lesser mined areas. And the cycle continued.
After 40, women age in dog years.
AL: What compelled you to write Dumb Jokes for Smart Folks?
JD: I worked in comedy in NYC and as a touring comedian until 2016,
when I had my son. I assumed I would keep doing comedy, but he
provided a very rude awakening that I wouldn’t be getting to stay out on
stages until 2 am for a long time to come. I had a hard labor and had Post-
Partum Depression afterwards which was a big spiritual ouchie. Writing
was a saving grace for me. I wrote about parenting at first and then slowly
re-discovered my voice as a new mom and a changed person. I’ve been
primarily focusing on writing satire with a parental slant and had the idea
to write a joke book of “bad mom jokes” which was mostly one brand of
the kind of writing I’d been doing, though a little different. I guess I was
inspired by the idea that dads get to be the funny ones and that moms are
the mean, tired ones, and I wanted to have fun with that idea. Moms can
tell bad dumb jokes, too. Let me prove it.
"Of all the literary greats,
Jessica is my favorite. Jessica
Delfino is the best writer to walk
this planet! Wait, is it Jessica or
Jennifer? How do I know you
again?”– Jim Gaffigan, Comedian
AL: On a scale of 1-10 how important is laughter during a crisis?
JD: Laughter during a crisis is a solid 10 or beyond, it’s off the scale. Of
course, there is a time and place for everything, but even inside our own
minds or to our close friends, we might find comfort by sharing a laugh in
the middle of crisis. My close pals and I, and of course all of my invisible
friends, laugh a lot together.
What do you call eggs that have reached
From Dumb Jokes for Smart Folks
AL: What's up next for you?
JD: My next project is a compilation book called Moms Who Kill. It’s a
book of true funny stories by comedian moms about being parents, and I am
really excited about that. However, a lot of really awful things come up if you
Google Moms Who Kill, so I’m going to have to work on that algorithm a bit.
AL: Where can we find you and your
JD: My book is on Amazon and some
for more information. My publisher is also
giving away some free copies to anyone
who tells a really good joke (are available
on our website).
22 MYFORSYTHMAG.COM VOLUME XI | ISSUE 1
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By Debra Stipe
My 90-year old mother passed away earlier this year. I regret not asking her this great question:
‘What are five things you’ve learned?’ But I would certainly echo her sentiments in saying that
‘surely goodness and mercy have followed me all the days of my life.’ Psalm 23.
I have always loved
alliteration so here it goes!
I believe the following ‘5
things I’ve learned’ sum
up well the heartbeat
of my philosophy and
mindset on life and love.
PASSION: FIND YOUR
Your heartbeat. What you are good at and what
fires you up.
“The only way to be truly satisfied is to do
what you believe is great work. And the only way
to do great work is to do what you love. If you
haven’t found it yet keep looking.” Steve Jobs
Find your great work and stay there. I
literally had a nightmare once—that I had been
assigned to be a bookkeeper. Now that is a
When asked as a 13-year old girl what I
wanted to be when I grew up, I quickly responded,
‘a mix of Julie Andrews and Carol Burnett’. The
hardwiring does not change that much.
Strive to stay in your lane.
Put in the work. Be Ready. Yes, I had some raw
talent as a young girl, but it was the training
and years of time on the stage and in lessons
and rehearsals that opened the doors for me in
Los Angeles. Do not forsake the work; when the
time is right, the right doors will open.
If you love your work, keep the training going
for a lifetime.
PEOPLE: RESIST THE
TEMPTATION TO PURSUE
100 PENNIES OVER FOUR
The masses are tempting—especially for the
performer in me. The allure of the audiences. But
I have lived long enough to know that it is the ‘4
quarters’, those closest to you, that know you on
your worst day, that love you enough to tell you
the truth, and who you need closest beside you on
They will be there to pick you up on the
darkest of nights. Value them. They are priceless.
PRESENCE: THE POWER
I am always on the go—if not physically at least
mentally. But the value of being simply present in
your current environment, blooming right where
you are planted, giving people the gift of your
presence and genuine listening ear is an invaluable
thing to offer people. I know when I am on the
receiving end of this, it's a life-giving gift. Real
connection happens here.
Listen. Doors have opened for me because I
was interested, I was listening; I asked the question.
PRINCIPLES: WE ALL
HAVE THEM: WHAT ARE
We all live by them, whether we acknowledge it
or not. Define yours.
Personally, I believe that there is a God and
‘His ways work’. His ways are for our good and
for our protection and for our joy. I believe no
one has my absolute best interest at heart more
than my Creator.
Remember, if we do not stand for something,
we are apt to fall for anything. His ways have
carried me, and I have found Him to be worthy
of my complete trust.
Debra Stipe is an actress, writer, and acting coach. She owns Stipe Studio and is the co-owner of Airbnb
Stay Dahlonega. She may be reached at email@example.com. @staydahlonega
24 MYFORSYTHMAG.COM VOLUME XI | ISSUE 1
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Sara y Jose
“THERE IS NO MORE SINCERE LOVE THAN THE LOVE OF FOOD”
A little over three months ago I came across a Facebook page for baked goods
where I could place an order and pick-up the goods within a few days of
ordering. It peaked my interest, so I reached out and ordered some goods.
I am so glad I did! I met Sara and Jose via ZOOM.
The dynamic couple loves cooking, with baked goods being their specialty. Jose is a graduate of the
Johnson & Wales University College of Culinary Arts. Sara, his wife, is a culinary expert. The duo
is amazing at baking some elaborate and tasty treats.
I ordered several items so I could try a few things – and I loved them all.
• Pan con Queso – Bread with Cheese
• Pan con Queso y Guayaba – Bread with Cheese and Guava
• Sourdough Bread
• Jalapeño Cornbread Mini-Muffins
The taste of all of the items I ordered was phenomenal. An unexpected culinary treat where
ingredients were masterfully mixed to create tasteful breads. Not doughy or chewy – simply perfect.
I decided to try another offering - Apple Strudel. As expected, it did not disappoint.
Sara y Jose showcase their baking abilities on Facebook, with videos and pictures. Their weekly
offerings are listed on their social media pages, which I regularly check. Perhaps you should too.
If you are in the mood
to try something new
and delicious, give Sara
Y Jose a try.
26 MYFORSYTHMAG.COM VOLUME XI | ISSUE 1
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You see, Kevin was the quiet, humble guy
with a big smile that was always willing to help. I
never imagined he would take his knowledge and
put it together into a book – a great book. And
that is how IRRATIONAL KINDNESS: The Crazy
Pursuit of an Extraordinary Life movement began.
The word extraordinary has always been of
interest to me. I read it as two words – extra and
ordinary. I know that is incorrect, but that is how I
have always seen it. Perhaps it is partially because
English is my second language. I started thinking
of another way to look at the word extraordinary – so
I began to rethink extraordinary. Slowly the word
made sense as one word – and then Kevin’s book
‘showed-up’ and it all made sense.
Without giving away all the great material in
the pages of this bestseller, here are some of the
premises that the book discusses, in an anecdotal,
beautiful way. As described by the author himself,
the book is a “fast food entrepreneur’s crazy pursuit
of finding beauty in failure, your originality,
renewing your mind, people and persistence."
Perhaps you will consider taking a look at
your own definition of kindness and your actions
for demonstrating so. And, I humbly suggest,
peruse the pages of IRRATIONAL KINDNESS,
a book that I believe may turn your thoughts a
little upside down.
Or maybe just validate the things you are
already doing, one irrational kind act at a time.
MORE THAN A BUZZ WORD
By Julie Brennan
A list of the top 20 buzz words for 2021 should include
the word kindness. We see it everywhere and hear
it often. Billboards, speeches – the word kindness
continues to steadily rise in significance and actions.
I met Kevin Williams in 1999, as we joined other leaders in our community as part of a leadership
program. Over the years I would visit his business—Chick-fil-A—and kept in touch somehow. When
I found out that he had written a book, I had to buy it as soon as I could.
28 MYFORSYTHMAG.COM VOLUME XI | ISSUE 1
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30 MYFORSYTHMAG.COM VOLUME XI | ISSUE 1
A CARING, STRATEGIC LAW FIRM
by Julie Brennan
Jennifer D. Patterson began serving the communities of Forsyth and North Georgia in 1992, when
she opened her first office in Cumming. One of the few female attorneys in the area at the time,
she began focusing on family law matters from divorce and child custody to domestic violence
and contempt issues.
“I am the mother of four kids. I understand when decisions have to be made when parents are
dealing with custody issues,” Patterson explained. “No one wants conflict in their lives, particularly
as it relates to children. But it happens. My goal is to serve the best interest of my clients and
advocate for what is best for their children and their families.”
In 2015, Patterson was joined by attorney Tracy Ann Moore-Grant and the law firm Patterson
Moore was formed. The pair decided to purchase the Merritt House on Kelly Mill Road which
had been sitting abandoned since the death of local attorney Johnny Merritt in 2013. “Our goal
was to do something different than being in the standard office complex. We wanted to create a
comfortable environment for our office.”
Continued on page 32
VOLUME XI | ISSUE 1 | MYFORSYTHMAG.COM 31
JENNIFER D. PATTERSON
TRACY ANN MOORE-GRANT
E. LOGAN BUTLER E. LAUREN DUCHARME
The people visiting us are going through stressful
situations and we wanted to create an environment that
is both professional and comforting, stated Moore-Grant.
The original goal was to renovate the original structure into an office;
however, the team learned a few months into the project this would not
be possible. Termites had taken over major structural beams and so a
decision had to be made.
“We decided we unfortunately had to tear down the original
house, but we rebuilt it to look exactly the same. Most people don’t
understand it isn’t a renovation.” The new building kept the southern
touches of the original building including the high ceilings, oversized
doors, and corner fireplaces. The original sink is in the kitchen and
the doorknobs from the original house have been turned into a
centerpiece in one of the conference rooms. Photographs from the
Historical Society are featured in the lobby.
During construction, E. Logan Butler joined the firm adding his
practice areas of criminal defense, employment law, civil litigation, will and
probate and Patterson Moore Butler Attorneys & Mediators was founded.
Patterson Moore Butler is a law firm that specializes in clientfocused
solutions. The firm specializes in Criminal Defense, Family
Law, Business and Civil Litigation, Employment Law, Wills and
Probate, Mediation, and Parent Coordination. Of the six attorneys
with the firm, five are mediators. With an understanding that every
case and situation is different, members of the firm focus their
attention on each client and work with them in developing a plan to
address their best interests and goals.
Recently, E. Lauren Ducharme joined the firm as a partner.
Patterson regularly handles matters which may be high conflict, including
cases involving psychological custody evaluations, family owned businesses
and retirement division. Patterson’s background in accounting gives her
an elevated level of experience for complex matters. Patterson has a true
understanding of the heart wrenching decisions that have to be made in
custody and parenting matters and has guided her clients as they make
those decisions. She is also a mediator, arbitrator, guardian ad litem and
TRACY ANN MOORE-GRANT
Moore-Grant has practiced exclusively in the area of family law in the
North Georgia area since 2002. After years of complex litigation work, she
focuses her practice on uncontested and amicable divorces, is a mediator,
arbitrator, and guardian ad litem, does divorce coaching for attorneys
and other professionals, case review, and does amicable divorce training,
seminars, and public speaking across the country on the topic of amicable
divorce and family law. In 2019 she founded the Amicable Divorce
Network and was awarded a Georgia Legal Award in 2020 for developing
the Georgia organization and its positive impact on the Georgia family law
E. LOGAN BUTLER
Butler dedicates his practice to Criminal Defense, Business and Civil
Litigation, Employment law, and Probate, Estates, and Trusts. Butler
has previously served as an Assistant District Attorney in the Piedmont
Judicial Circuit (Barrow, Jackson, and Banks Counties) and in the Bell-
Forsyth Judicial Circuit (Forsyth County). Butler has served on the board
for the Bald Ridge Boys Lodge and works with the Chamber of Commerce.
He is an active member of Lanier Forsyth Rotary.
E. LAUREN DUCHARME
Ducharme, who grew up in Forsyth County, has focused her practice on
Family Law since 2007 and is a registered mediator with the Georgia Office of
Dispute Resolution. Since 2007, she has practiced in the metro-Atlanta and
northern Georgia counties as an attorney, mediator, and guardian ad litem.
32 MYFORSYTHMAG.COM VOLUME XI | ISSUE 1
MATTHEW VAN DYKE
Associate attorneys Matthew Van Dyke and Neena Saxena
complete the Patterson Moore Butler team. Mr. Van Dyke grew up in
Forsyth County and is a graduate of the Citadel. He practices in the areas of
criminal defense, small business litigation and wills and probate. Ms. Saxena
grew up in the Johns Creek area and also returned to her roots to practice.
She is a mediator and focuses her practice in the area of family law.
The firm is passionate about being involved in the local community and
all members are involved in various civic organizations. The firm handles
many areas of law including uncontested, amicable, and contested divorce
and family law matters, criminal defense, employment law, wills and
probate, small business representation, mediation, arbitration, and parent
coordination. The firm’s goal is to handle all matters that may face a family
and to be a resource in the Forsyth County community.
The firm offers online mediation booking and various fee
structures, including flat fees and retainers, to address the various
financial circumstances of individuals needing legal assistance.
“When you retain our firm, we work diligently and efficiently to achieve
your desired outcome,” Patterson explained. The firm is offering phone,
Zoom and in person meetings so all clients feel comfortable meeting with
their attorney during COVID-19 For clients who do not have the needed
technology for the new online hearings and mediations, the firm has set
up a client workstation in their office for client use.
From serving on local service organizations, Rotary Clubs and several
non-profit organizations’ board of directors, the attorneys are part of
the community. For the past 12 years, Ducharme has participated in the
Georgia High School Mock Trial Program as an attorney coach and regional
competition coordinator. Patterson Moore Butler serves as the attorney
coaches for Alliance Academy and has a high school intern from the school.
“We are active members in our community and serve on numerous
boards of directors, including Mentor Me North Georgia, Rotary Club of
Lanier Forsyth, and Mock Trials,” Butler added.
No one looks forward
to conflict. But
knowing that you can
count on trustworthy
attorneys is vital
when life, as you
know it, takes an
Available 24 Hours a Day
213 Kelly Mill Rd
Cumming, GA 30040
Monday-Friday: 8:30am - 5pm
IT’S A JOINT EFFORT
By Miranda Reed Cleaver, D.O.
Pain is an unfortunate part of life for
many people. Chronic pain, defined
as pain that lasts for longer than three
months or pain that lasts beyond the
routine time expected for healing,
can be debilitating for thousands of
people. Chronic pain can keep people from
enjoying daily activities such a playing with
children or grandchildren, attending functions
such as weddings, or even enjoying a walk.
Fortunately, with advancements in medicine,
not everyone has to live in constant pain.
Yes, it is true pain is an unfavorable part of
life, but suffering does not have to be. There are
many advanced techniques that physicians, in
particular pain management physicians, can
help perform to get people back up and running
to help increase their quality of life. Most
patients associate pain management physicians
with medications, and this could not be further
from the truth.
Yes, as pain management physicians we
prescribed opioids, as well as non-opioid
medications to help control pain. However,
this is not the only type of service we provide
Pain management physicians will
recommend multiple modalities for managing
pain. These modalities vary and are extremely
specific to the patient’s individual needs and
diagnosis. Some of these recommendations
can include, non-opioids, formal and homebased
physical therapy, massage, chiropractic
care, TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve
Stimulation) Units, heat, and ice.
What do you do as a patient if
you have tried and failed these
things? What is next? How do you
approach your pain?
This is where your pain management physician
will usually step in to help. If you are not a
surgical candidate, or you are wanting to
avoid surgical treatments, your physician
may recommend treatment options involving
injections. Often, people hear the word needle
and injection and will shutter with fear. Even
though every procedure comes with risks, most
procedures are relatively safe and carry a lower
risk profile. These risks and benefits are well
discussed between the patient and physician at
As a patient, your physician wants you to feel
comfortable and ask questions. Ultimately you
are responsible for your own healthcare and you
need to be well informed of what is going on with
your body. Your physician is happy to answer any
questions to help put your mind at ease.
What type of injections are we talking about?
Depending on your diagnosis, your physician
may speak to you about epidurals, facet
injections (nerve blocks) or radiofrequency
ablations, and trigger point injections, to name
a few. These injections can be performed in the
neck, upper, and lower back, as well as for knee
or shoulder pains.
If you have tried and failed the previously
mentioned treatment options, where do you go
This is where neuromodulation or spinal
cord stimulators come into play for many
patients. These are sophisticated and FDA
approved implantable devices that help
change the way your brain perceives pain by
interrupting signals from the area of your body
that hurts to your brain. Do stimulators take
away all your pain? No they do not.
Unfortunately, being pain free is not a
realistic option for most people. However, spinal
cord stimulators can help keep you up and
functioning at an improved capacity without
putting medications into your body.
You have more control over your pain
because you as the patient can control your
therapy settings to adjust for what you as an
individual needs for your pain. Spinal cord
stimulators are also trialed beforehand, so you
know exactly how your body will respond before
you decide to move forward with having your
physician implant them. Spinal cord stimulators
are not usually first line treatment for chronic
pain, but they are a wonderful option for many
patients in which other modalities have failed.
Nothing we do as physicians can fully reverse all
chronic pain issues but helping you as a patient
enjoy your life to the fullest and increase your
daily quality are what we strive for every day.
Miranda Reed Cleaver, D.O., specializes in Pain Management
Physician/Anesthesiology. Her professional interests include low back pain,
cervical pain, complex regional pain syndrome, thoracic pain, knee and shoulder
pain. She may be reached at 770-800-3455.
34 MYFORSYTHMAG.COM VOLUME XI | ISSUE 1
COVID-19 VACCINE. ACT NOW!
By Narendra Singh, MD
The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic is now entering its second year with no signs of abating. Our death
tolls are rising and many business restrictions are returning. Hospitals are overwhelmed delaying access to
treatment for all medical conditions. Multiple new mutations have emerged around the world that appear
to spread more easily but fortunately to date are not more lethal.
The strategies to prevent the spread of
the virus have not changed. Wearing a
facemask in public, social distancing at least
6-feet apart, maintaining good hand hygiene
and avoiding crowded poorly ventilated areas
are key, personal and public health measures.
Sadly, we still have a way to go in improving
compliance with these measures.
For persons with medical conditions
including heart disease the effects of the virus
can be more severe. Elderly individuals and those
who are immunocompromised are at increased
risk. Maintaining your health with a diet rich in
fresh fruits and vegetables is important. Daily
exercise, even if it is only in the confines of your
own home, helps maintain strength.
The one new tool we have for combating
the pandemic is vaccines. The collective efforts
of government and industry have led to the
development of multiple vaccines against the
coronavirus worldwide in record time. Here
in the United States, we have three approved
vaccines – Ntech, Moderna and Johnson &
Johnson. All three vaccines were tested in
well-conducted clinical trials and showed
more than 90% efficacy.
Although the vaccine rollout strategy has
been slower than hoped for the process is
improving and accelerating. As a healthcare
worker, I was fortunate to get the Pfizer vaccine
early. I had the usual common side effects of mild
injection site tenderness with the first shot and
a little more tenderness with the booster shot
along with a low grade fever and generalized
muscle aching. All my side effects were gone in
48 hours. With millions of individuals already
being vaccinated the short term safety of the
injections has been confirmed. When you get
your injections, a 15 minute on site observation
period is recommended. Only individuals with
a history of severe allergic reactions are being
advised not to take the vaccine.
For all others, I would strongly urge you
get vaccinated as soon as you are given access.
Sadly, there has been much misinformation
about the vaccine. We all need to make an
informed decision, but I would recommend
resources such as the CDC https://www.cdc.
gov/coronavirus. Many have raised concerns
regarding long term safety which is valid but c
an only be answered with time. The vaccines
are free of eggs, preservatives, and latex. The
mRNA technology means that the vaccine has
no actual virus in it. If you already have had a
COVID 19 infection and developed natural
immunity the vaccine is still recommended to
bolster the strength of the immune response. At
the present time we have limited knowledge of
how long the immunity will last. I suspect that
with the multiple mutations we may be needing
a shot annually similar to the flu vaccine. The
good news is that the vaccines are free to you
and many more vaccination centers will open
We yearn for life to return to “normal” but
that means a global collective response that
starts locally. So please, act now. Get vaccinated
to protect yourself and those around you. We
will all reap the benefits of a better 2021!
NARENDRA SINGH, MD,
FRCP(C), FACC, FAHA
Clinical Assistant Professor, Medical College
of Georgia at Augusta University,
Director, Clinical Research
Director, Clinical Research, NSC Research,
Director, Canadian Collaborative Research
Affiliated with North Atlanta Heart and
1400 Northside Forsyth Dr. | Suite 340
Cumming GA 30041
5400 Laurel Springs Pkwy. | Suite 1401
Johns Creek GA 30024.
36 MYFORSYTHMAG.COM VOLUME XI | ISSUE 1
VOLUME XI | ISSUE 1 | MYFORSYTHMAG.COM 37
The Importance of
By Nuria Nelkin, CNM
Pregnancy is a beautiful part of the life cycle and
most pregnancies progress healthily and safely during
pregnancy and birth.
Although this is a normal process, it is also a whole new world of
feelings and physical changes. Prenatal care helps educate and guide
women and their families through these changes. Some pregnancies
will have higher risk issues or develop problems that will best be
identified and managed by routine prenatal care.
Prenatal screening tests can identify a host of issues and help
determine if there needs to be interventions to help maintain the
pregnancy and keep the pregnancy healthy for both mom and baby.
At every visit we are always screening to make sure that women have
normal symptoms, labs, and vital signs. We evaluate and intervene when
there are problems, and we refer to a higher level of care, when necessary,
to ensure women get the best and most appropriate care possible.
Even when everything is progressing with no concerns, prenatal
care is the best place to learn about safe and healthy recommendations
of lifestyle, diet, supplements, medications, and ways to help with
discomforts of pregnancy. We also are there to help you adjust to the
huge transition of growing your family.
Pregnancy is not only a great physical change, but also a huge
mental and emotional change for a woman and her family, whether
preparing for first time parenthood or adding to one’s family.
Navigating this with a knowledgeable team helps this transition
be easier. Getting to know your team over the course of several
months helps you form a relationship of mutual trust with your
providers. This helps us know you and your individual needs.
Our goal is to work with you as a team to help you take care of
yourself and your baby, having the healthiest pregnancy and
Modern OBGYN has three convenient office locations. Visit our newest office at Avalon in Alpharetta located at
2710 Old Milton Parkway Suite 100, Alpharetta, GA 30009. For more information on our practice and providers,
Nuria Nelkin, CNM, is nationally certified by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB). She is also a member
of the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM). She maintains her license as both a registered nurse and Certified-
Nurse Midwife in the state of Georgia.
38 MYFORSYTHMAG.COM VOLUME XI | ISSUE 1
HOME SPACES STYLED FOR
By Lanada Chanel Duncan
If 2020 taught us anything, it was that our homes really are
safe-havens and should be the one place we devote time and
attention to making safer and suitable for peaceful leaving.
It’s true now more than ever that having a place to shelter into isn’t
enough. But having a space in which we can escape to and unwind for
self-care is crucial to our wellbeing.
While a garage or attic can be a life saver when you share living
quarters with others but need time alone, there are more areas in your
home that can also be retreat zones to infuse calm and tranquility into
your day and enjoy the benefits of Zen time.
• BATHROOMS are the perfect getaways. In most cases, they allow
for privacy and less interruptions, and you have built-in excuses to
stay awhile if necessary. Adding spa-like elements like Eucalyptus,
bath salts and candles is the secret to creating an indoor oasis
conducive for relaxing.
• SUNROOMS, PATIOS, AND PORCHES are the best spaces for
quiet moments before the world awakens. Style comfortable sitting
areas where you can capture a glimpse of nature and get a little
vitamin D all at once. Incorporate side tables to hold coffee mugs
and cozy throws for quiet time moments had during chilly evenings.
• UNUSED ROOMS are perfect for redecorating into dad or
mom-caves. A mom with her own retreat space is a happier woman,
and this helps keep others in the home happy too. You know the
saying, “If mom is not happy….
Using a tranquil color pallet, functional décor, and accessories to personalize
the space so that it fits your personality and caters to your usual self-care
practices, are key to getting the most out of your retreat cave.
Remember that hiring a professional decorator will help eliminate stress
and indecision from your decorating project and equip you with ideas and
guidance for spending so you get the best results for your budget.
b.e. decors is a full-service interior design firm that offers onsite and virtual
decorating services to professionals who prefer to dwell in an environment
that caters to their living style and total wellbeing.
Lanada Chanel is the Principal Stylist with b.e. decors, an
interior design company that offers design, decor, and details
to evoke peaceful living & wellbeing.
Lanada Chanel Duncan, b.e. decors
40 MYFORSYTHMAG.COM VOLUME XI | ISSUE 1
VOLUME XI | ISSUE 1 | MYFORSYTHMAG.COM 41
DO I HAVE THEM?
By Dr. Weston Waxweiler
Ever wonder what those flat brown spots on your face
are? They might be small “lentil” shaped benign lesions fittingly
known as lentigos or lentigines. The name of these lesions refers to its
Lentigos are also sometimes referred to in common-vernacular
as “liver spots”, -which is a bit of a misnomer as their presence does
not indicate an underlying liver pathology. These lesions tend to
occur on the sun-exposed areas of the body such as the cheeks
(pictured above) as well as backs of hands, face, and upper trunk.
These lesions typically range in size from 2mm up to 20+ mm and
have well defined borders. Colors of lentigos range from sand/tan
to darker brown.
Of note, if you see a lentigo that has an irregular border, multiple
colors (e.g., tan and black), is changing in color/size, or is growing
thicker you should consult your dermatologist. Occasionally lentigos
can develop over time into a type of melanoma called lentigo maligna.
These require treatment as melanoma is a deadly cancer. Please be
careful and wear sunscreen.
Lentigos are primarily caused by the sun or tanning beds.
Interestingly, a history of radiation exposure can also cause lentigos.
Treatment for lentigos includes watchful waiting (they are benign
but must be monitored for malignant transformation), alpha hydroxy
acids, azelaic acid, hydroquinone, vitamin C, retinoids, chemical
peels, laser, intermittent pulse light (IPL laser), and cryotherapy.
Sunscreen, hats, and sun avoidance will all help to lighten these
lesions. Lentigos usually persist if not treated and may increase in
number with age and sun-exposure.
Dr. Weston Waxweiler, MD, FAAD is a board certified dermatologist with the Cleaver Medical Group.
His clinical expertise and interests include skin cancer, pediatric dermatology, diseases of the hair and
nails, and cosmetics.
42 MYFORSYTHMAG.COM VOLUME XI XI | | ISSUE 1 1
VOLUME XI | ISSUE 1 | MYFORSYTHMAG.COM 43
Value of Business Investment
in Forsyth County Increases
by $527 Million
By Laura Stewart
The Forward Forsyth economic development partnership announced the results of a recent analysis of
the Forsyth County tax digest. The analysis reviewed changes in the tax digest from 2017 to 2019, the
period since the Forsyth County Chamber and Forsyth County Board of Commissioners initiated a new
economic development plan for the community.
With only 10 percent of Forsyth
County’s tax digest composed of businesses
comprising 24 percent of the total assessed
value of the tax digest, the remaining
burden of local taxes falls to homeowners.
The average homeowner in Forsyth County
uses more in services than they pay in taxes.
Local leaders knew that there would be
difficult choices to make in the future unless
we can increase new business investments
and new jobs to lift the proportionate
burden from homeowners.
The county’s new Economic Development
Strategic Plan and the creation of the
Forward Forsyth economic development
partnership are the result of an initiative by
the Chamber and the Forsyth County Board
of Commissioners to aggressively focus on
increasing business investment in Forsyth
County and balancing the tax digest.
From 2017 to 2019, there has been an
increase of $527 million in assessed value
of properties owned by businesses. The 19
percent increase in assessed value is driven
in part from adding 208 acres of land now
zoned for new businesses (a 1.5 percent
increase from 2017).
“While this is a long game that will take
many years to implement, it is exciting to
see these initial results.” said James McCoy,
President & CEO of the Forsyth County
Chamber of Commerce. “We are performing
well ahead of the goals set back in 2017. It
speaks well of the partnership and leadership
of the community.”
Forward Forsyth is executing tactics
described in the Forsyth County
Economic Development Strategic Plan
to encourage developers to build new
buildings for target companies to lease and
marketing the community and availability
of those buildings to target industries:
technology, data services, e-commerce and
distribution, advanced manufacturing, and
Forward Forsyth’s efforts in 2020 contributed to the creation of 528 new jobs
and $110 million in new capital investment. Forward Forsyth took action to move
the community’s unemployment rate (which was 10.4 percent at the end of April,
2020) to 2.8 percent by the end of November, 2020. To learn more about Forward
Forsyth’s progress in 2020 visit www.focoeconomicdevelopmentsummit.com.
44 MYFORSYTHMAG.COM VOLUME XI | ISSUE 1
& Spa Care
FOR THE PAST 20 YEARS, ABSOLUTE
POOL & SPA CARE HAS TAKEN CARE OF
CUSTOMERS IN FORSYTH COUNTY AND
Owned and operated by Mark Thompson,
customer service and care are of utmost
“The bottom line is we provide more than just
a paycheck for our employees. We train them
on how to improve their skills at the workplace
and in life. We also give them opportunities to
experience serving others and the gratitude
that comes with it,” Thompson explained.
“When they work on a career, customers
will enjoy experienced technicians. When
customers enjoy experienced technicians, they
enjoy working with Absolute Pool & Spa Care.
It's the cycle of a successful relationship!”
As time passed, customers asked for more
services and Thompson complied.
“It can be summed up by our Mission
Statement: "To eliminate the negative
perception of the service industry by
creating a positive experience the
customer will always remember!"
“I can go on and on about why Absolute Pool
& Spa Care is different than other pool service
companies. Instead of a list, I prefer that you,
the customer, understand our beliefs and our
core values,” Thompson stated.
Hot Tub Service
Weekly Pool Maintenance
Renovations & Remodel
Pool Opening & Closings
Vinyl Liner Replacement
Green Pool Recovery
Pool Cleaner installation
Pool Equipment Set-up
"Pool School" / Training
Commercial Pools Service
VOLUME XI | ISSUE 1 | MYFORSYTHMAG.COM 45
From Crisis to
A FAMILY IN CRISIS. A DISTANCED
TEENAGER. A CRY FOR HELP.
WHEN A TIME OF INTENSE DIFFICULTY,
TROUBLE, OR DANGER IS WHAT DEFINES ONE’S
EXISTENCE, A CRISIS WILL LIKELY ENSUE. HOW
TO DEAL WITH THAT CRISIS IS WHAT WILL
LIKELY HELP US SURVIVE THAT CRISIS.
“Getting to the root of the problem is imperative when dealing with a crisis situation,”
explained Jeff Mogan, owner of Corner Farms Forsyth. “Our goal is to provide immediate
crisis Intervention and assistance to teens and families in need.”
Healthy communication is key to facilitating a candid and healthy discussion that can
ultimately lead to conflict resolution and strengthening relationships.
“Setting realistic goals to help families work together while encouraging respect and
balance is something I work alongside those who come to us for help,” Mogan added.
“He is an attentive listener, blessed with a wisdom that results in being able to quickly
and accurately assess the primary root of a problem. He is articulate and creative with his
evaluations, being able to deliver a straightforward and understandable demonstration to
both the adult and the adolescent/child with whom he is working,” stated one of Jeff ’s clients.
The un-tangling of the “unimportant” to get to the root of the problem, and practical
life skills that promote unity and healing in a relationship guide Jeff ’s work.
Corner Farms recently launched Corner Farms RESPONDS (CFResponds), a private
foundation dedicated to helping families and non-profits fund projects and obtain the
necessary financial help to overcome challenges.
For more information about Corner
Farms and CFRespons, visit
Jeff is a Certified Professional
Communication Coach (AACC),
Certified Professional Crisis
Response & Trauma Care Specialist
(CRTC) in Suicide Prevention,
Assessment & Recovery. Jeff
works with the Forsyth County
School System as a crisis
intervention specialist and is a
member of the Board of Directors
of Mentor Me North Georgia and
46 MYFORSYTHMAG.COM VOLUME XI | ISSUE 1
VOLUME XI | ISSUE 1 | MYFORSYTHMAG.COM 47
School within a
By Ava Clavijo
Quarantines left and right everywhere you turn,
an empty table that was once filled with students.
Throughout the past seven months at school, there is never a fully
normal week. It is always “wow look how empty that table is”, as
much as school can start to feel normal, there is always a reminder
that it is not yet. This is why we need to remain diligent with masks,
social distancing, and sanitation. As we can reach normality, we
are not there yet, and will not be soon. The schools are consistently
cleaning and contact tracing to limit the spread of the virus, but it is
ultimately up to the students to prevent the spread by wearing masks
and hand sanitizing. Working and learning during a pandemic has
never proven easy, but we should always remember that we are all
living through this, and to be kind and considerate. Through the
twist and turns of going to school while COVID-19 is running
rampant, we need to remain diligent in cleaning and safety along
with giving ourselves and everyone else grace.
Almost everyone I know has been quarantined at least once.
You get the call, and the next thing you know, another two weeks
before you see your friends again. As much as students may feel
safer at home, there is still no way to not get behind, no matter
how much online work is completed. There is no replacement for
education through an in-person class. As understanding teachers
are about quarantines, it is hard to maintain test integrity when
some of the students are taking the test in person when others are
at home, causing the quarantined students to fall behind. As much
as quarantine is the appropriate response to a COVID-19 exposure,
those quarantined deserve a grace period if they fall further behind.
The in-school experience makes it enjoyable, being able to form
a relationship with teachers and peers. The best part of the day is
being able to socialize. Without that socialization that makes school
enjoyable, completing the work itself seems unbearable.
The more we wear masks and sanitize, the sooner we will get the
normal we all long towards. But normal will not come easy. We all
must take safety measures seriously. As the pandemic drags on, we
begin to get lazy with masks and sanitation and start to get more
comfortable with the thought of getting the virus and getting over
it. I do not recommend getting the virus, it is not fun. Especially as
teenagers, we take our health for granted, but it is always important
to remember our elders and those with weakened immune systems.
Watching my grandmother contract the virus and fight for her life in
the hospital was heartbreaking even though she is now recovering, it
is terrifying to think about losing a loved one as I know many have.
As a community, we have lost so much. We need to work to not lose
anymore by wearing our masks and social distancing.
Overall, life in a pandemic is something no one could have
predicted or known how to deal with, and we have made the best of
it. As it is tiring for all of us, as long as we keep wearing our masks
and social distance, we can soon go back to normal. We just need to
remember to give ourselves and everyone grace because of the impact
the virus can have on our families and mental health.
48 MYFORSYTHMAG.COM VOLUME XI | ISSUE 1
49 MYFORSYTHMAG.COM VOLUME XI | ISSUE 1
Q. Gio, how did you go from being a beat cop
to a drummer?
A. Actually, the irony of my career is that I was
a drummer before becoming a cop. I began
drumming in the 4th grade in Paulsboro, NJ, a
small industrial town very close to Philadelphia,
PA on the Delaware River.
Q. Ok, then why law enforcement?
A. I grew up in a large law enforcement family. It
was a way of life. In fact, the Gloucester County
Police museum in New Jersey has a display
of myself and all my family members (in law
enforcement) in their museum. My grandfather
and his brother were both cops as were most of
their kids, my uncles. My uncle Steve was a New
Jersey state trooper and also the uncle responsible
for keeping me on the straight and narrow. As a
teenager he got me involved in the NJ state police
youth academy. At the time I was in a high school
band called E.S.P playing gigs in local pool halls
and parties. Our band won two talent shows in
high school and I won an individual talent show
for drumming. I really thought I would go on to
be a musician.
Walking a different BEAT
AN INTERVIEW WITH MIKE GIORDANO
By Katie Kaner
Mike Giordano retired from the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office after 20 years of
public service. He began his career as a beat cop and worked his way up to Chief
Deputy before retiring in January of 2017. He is now a professional drummer, who
prior to the COVID-19 pandemic was touring with an international act and playing in
a couple of local rock and roll bands.
I had the pleasure of sitting down one on one with Mike “Gio” Giordano to talk about
his new “beat”.
Q. So, how did you end up at the Forsyth
County Sheriff’s Office?
A. After High School our band members went
their own ways. I ended up going to a local college
in NJ and working loss prevention at Sears. I was
looking for a job in law enforcement, but because
of the nepotism rules up north and having a large
majority of my family in the profession, it was
proving difficult to get hired on in my local area.
I had family who relocated to the Forsyth County
area. I came to visit here for a relative’s graduation
party. While visiting I stopped by the Sheriff ’s
Office and visited with one of the command staff
in early 1996. The conversation went better than
expected and I was ultimately offered a job as a
deputy in the jail.
Q. Did you move right away?
A. Pretty much. At that time, I was dating my wife
Michelle, for about a year. I was ready to leave NJ
and had a long conversation with her when I got
back from my visit. At first, I moved down alone,
but within a few months she enrolled at North
Georgia College and she joined me here.
Q. What happened to your drums and your
A. I had to leave my drum kit in NJ and put my
drumming career on hold while focusing on
my law enforcement career. Although, I was a
50 MYFORSYTHMAG.COM VOLUME XI | ISSUE 1
cop working my way through the ranks, leading
our county SWAT team and enjoying my law
enforcement career, I never stopped drumming.
Once we got married and bought a house, I set up
a drum room in the basement. Every opportunity
I had while not working, I would be in my
basement drumming and practicing. It was stress
relief and always something I never gave up on.
Q. How did you make the transition from cop
A. In early 2017, I had 20 years in with the
Sheriff ’s Office and had the opportunity to
retire at the top of my law enforcement career. I
looked into buying a music store at one point but
decided against it at the time. My wife Michelle
encouraged me to pursue a career in drumming
since it was a passion of mine. When we were
dating and subsequently married, she always
joked with people that she thought she was
marrying a drummer. I spent the next 12 months
or so refining my drumming skills and I decided
to get serious about drumming. I worked in my
basement for about 5-8 hours a day 7 days a week.
I then went online and started looking for bands
to join to play live. I found a company in Atlanta
searching for a drummer to play weddings,
festivals and corporate events. I played with that
organization for almost a year. I played the annual
Owl-O-ween hot air balloon festival in Kennesaw
in 2018 to a crowd of about 6000 people, countless
weddings and other private events.
Q. I understand you were touring with an
international group before COVID-19 hit. Tell
me about that experience.
A. In mid-2019, I was contacted by a representative
of a popular 1980’s, funk, new wave and dance
punk band called E.S.G. They formed in the late
70’s in the South Bronx and enjoyed international
success for several decades touring the world.
They were looking for a drummer to go back
on tour with them in June of 2019. I was given
their songs and audition tracks on a Thursday
and asked to audition the following Tuesday. I
spent the entire weekend mastering the 12 songs
they gave me. I packed up my drum kit, drove
to Atlanta and I ran through the entire set list
with the band and returned home to Forsyth. A
couple days later they called and said they were
interested and asked me to come back to play
the rest of their song list with them. I worked on
the remainder of their songs over the ensuing
few days and repeated the trip to Atlanta. Upon
arriving, I set up my kit, sat behind my drums and
Rene Scroggins the lead singer of E.S.G walked
up to her mic and introduced herself to the empty
audition room and we proceeded to play the full
set list as if it were a concert. Once we finished,
Rene looked back at me with a smile and said I
had the job. To my surprise, she grabbed her
computer, booked me on a flight to Philadelphia
and told me we were playing a sold out show at
the MANN Center in a few days.
Q. Was that wild or what?
A. To say the least, it was wild. I learned their
entire set list in less than 10 days and was about
to play before 14,000 fans. Unknown to me
at the time, 5 time Grammy nominated and
International recording artist ROBYN, who
hails from Sweden and is extremely popular in
the dance pop culture around the world is a big
fan of E.S.G and asked the band to open for her
extended U.S Tour. Philadelphia was the next
show and I had days to prepare.
Q. How did that work out for you? Were you
A. Yes, I was nervous, but I could not let it show.
I just concentrated on my timing and did the best
I could. I relied on my experience and dedication
to my craft. My years in law enforcement and
time as a SWAT commander taught me a great
deal of patience. Combined with my 35+ years’
experience of drumming I felt I was prepared, but
yes, I was nervous.
Q. What do you remember about your first
show with E.S.G?
A. Very little! I was excited and nervous all at the
same time. Sitting backstage with the headliner,
producers and all the activity, I wondered how
the heck I ended up here so fast. I wasn’t nervous
about the crowd and playing in front of people, I
was nervous about screwing up. I take my music
and my reputation serious and I didn’t want to
disappoint the band or the audience. Thankfully
it went very well.
Q. How did the rest of the tour go?
A. After Philadelphia we played the world famous
Barclays Center arena in Brooklyn, New York.
This venue is essentially considered the bands
“backyard” and we played for about 15,000 fans.
After New York, we played Detroit and it was
in Detroit when I finally started to settle in and
get comfortable with it all. From there we went
to Columbus, Ohio, and then to Dallas for our
last show with ROBYN. We finished out the year
in Asheville for a record label anniversary bash
and finally a gig in San Francisco. That is when
COVID-19 began to become an issue in the
United States, and everything got put on hold.
Q. What have you been working on since
A. I’ve been playing with a local band called
Highway 20 Rock-N-Roll Band. It’s a group of us
that got together in January of 2019 playing small
venues around the Forsyth/Cherokee county
area. I continue to play and practice several hours
each day. I keep in touch with E.S.G and we hope
to get back on tour as soon as it is safe to do so.
I truly play because I love music and playing the
drums. It is my new beat now.
Mike lives in Forsyth County with his wife and
two kids, both students at Alliance Academy.
YouTube: Gio’s drum experience
Facebook: Mike Gio
VOLUME XI | ISSUE 1 | MYFORSYTHMAG.COM 51
Don’t Waste Your
Time on Resolutions!
By Christine Roberts
I DO NOT BELIEVE IN RESOLUTIONS.
I do believe in:
• evaluating our lives,
• determining where we want to improve,
• thinking about why, what end result I am
looking for, and
• reverse engineering how to make it happen.
If you start the setting a lot of unrealistic
expectations without thinking things
through, that’s why your resolutions
don’t last through January.
You can end up in a worse place than where you
started when you beat yourself up over it, and
feel defeated and that’s the end of it.
Does this sound familiar? Do you know
anyone who does this? Or is this you?
Well, if it’s you, try not to feel bad. That is a
waste of time.
Treat yourself as a cherished friend, so
when you have that internal dialogue going in
your head, speak kind words.
I have worked in the personal growth industry
with Disney Institute, The John Maxwell Company
and have been a student of human behavior practically
my whole life. I am fascinated by what we as humans
do and why we do it so I’m constantly paying attention
to others and especially to my own behavior.
Every New Year, I start a process of
reflecting and evaluating the previous year
and then determine what I want to achieve in
the upcoming year. Then I constantly check in
throughout the year to see how I’m doing.
This is an ongoing process of trying to be
better today than I was yesterday...therefore
NO resolutions. I hope that when you think of
yourself, that thinking provides a sigh of relief.
Here are the steps that work for me;
give them a try.
• Plan a specific time to go and think – do
this as early as possible. It's never a bad time
bad time to map out our lives.
• Have a systematic way to evaluate where
you are and where you want to go. I use the
Create Your Best Life Wheel as a quick gauge.
• Determine what areas you want to focus
on and WHY. Think about what outcomes
you would like, then back into specific
actions that will get you there.
• Document it! When you document it, your
chances of achieving are increased
dramatically, so write it down.
• Now go make it happen! (You can download
the Create Your Best Life Wheel at
Most people put more effort into
planning a vacation than they do
planning their lives.
Just do it! Don’t overthink things and make it a
There is that saying, “No one plans to fail,
they just fail to plan.” Or another one I love
is from Yogi Berra: “If you don’t know where
you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else.”
So true, huh?
One thing we will not get back is time. We
must live intentionally, so when we are lying
on our deathbed, we can look back and
know we did the best we could with the life
we had. Maybe that’s morbid, but it’s the
Make 2021 the most intentional year ever
starting now with the Create Your Best Life
Wheel. Visit: www.christinemroberts.com/
CYBLGuide and check it out.
Would love to hear from you, leave a comment or connect on FB and Instagram
@ ChristineMRoberts10 and/or LI @ Christine-M-Roberts with your thoughts, or
52 MYFORSYTHMAG.COM VOLUME XI | ISSUE 1
VOLUME XI | ISSUE 1 | MYFORSYTHMAG.COM 53
IS YOUR VEHICLE’S
SOFTWARE OUT OF DATE?
By Tom Burgess, Owner, Christian Brothers Automotive, Cumming GA
Here is an interesting fact
(well, interesting to me); the
modern car has around 100
million lines of code - when
Apollo 11 went to the moon
it had about 145K lines. In
essence, your car is a large
rolling computer platform
with nearly everything
influenced by a computer
in some way. The average
modern-day car has from
30 to 50 computers (with
high-end cars closer to 100)
and an equal number of
sensors to provide the data
all those computers require
Nearly all functions of your car have inputs from these computers and microchips,
from incredibly complex code monitoring engine and transmission performance, to the
mundane such as turning on and off the headlights. So just as your home computer,
I-Phone or Apple watch requires software updates from time to time to fix issues
discovered by the developer, your car’s software requires updates to keep everything
running as it should. The problem is, your laptop repeatedly tells you not to power
down so it can load the latest software update, your car however, cannot do the same.
Although some very recent cars are able to receive an updated patch from the
manufacturer over-the-air or by USB, most vehicles only receive software updates or rewrites
when they go to the dealer for an issue. The majority of independent repair shops
do not have the factory scan tools, tablets and licenses required from all the different
manufacturers to perform updates, so they cannot perform the download even if they
are aware one is available. We have the scan tools and licenses but are often frustrated by
the lack of information in the manufacturer bulletins on what a patch will improve or fix.
Chrysler does a good job relaying updated functionality, GM is the worst.
What types of things can an update or re-flash (which wipes out existing software
and replaces it completely) correct or improve? Nearly everything - from actual
issues a driver is experiencing to improving the functionality of a component. The
manufacturer cannot predict operational issues years down the road, and it isn’t until
owners begin to complain of a problem that the developers know a fix is required. With
computers controlling everything from the dashboard functionality to shock absorber
settings, it is incredible what can be fixed with a software download.
One situation that comes to mind is a customer’s car which had a horrible air
conditioner belt squeal on cold starts. It would seem logical the problem had to lie with
the belt, the air conditioner compressor, or the belt tensioner as those are the only three
components involved, right? Wrong.
Our technician hooked up the scan tool and was directed to download a software
update and the problem was solved. So how did software fix a belt squeal? It turns out
the air conditioner compressor was so low on the engine that the oil in the freon was
collecting in the compressor and on cold start-up the compressor could not pump the
oil out fast enough so the belt would have to slip until the oil was out.
The new software told the engine not to start until the starter had turned the
compressor a few revolutions and the oil was out. Then when the engine fired the
resistance was not too great and the belt would not slip. Without the scan tool, many
shops would have replaced components only to find the issue could not be solved
without a software update.
Transmission issues are also often fixed by updates because the software controls
how hard the transmission shifts, when it shifts, and even vibrations as it hesitates
between shifts. Another common problem we saw during 2020 when folks were not
driving their cars as much was dead batteries. Your software controls when and how all
those computers in your car go into sleep mode. And it appears many versions were not
working properly and were staying on long enough to drain the battery.
In the past, we have also installed updates that help reduce oil consumption,
prevent overheating, improve the heater so the cabin warms up faster, improve gas
mileage, radio reception and Blue Tooth functionality, the list goes on and on.
As your vehicle ages, a software update will change the acceptable parameters from
things like your O2 sensors, which means that Check Engine Light will not illuminate
because the manufacturer knows an 8-year-old engine will naturally have more
Bottom line – if your vehicle has not had an update recently, there is a good chance
one is available.
54 MYFORSYTHMAG.COM VOLUME XI | ISSUE 1
VOLUME XI | ISSUE 1 | MYFORSYTHMAG.COM 55
The Country Preacher
By Rev. David Hill
The Bible encourages us to take a
“selfie”. With this past year still fresh in our
memory, how do you look? It has been amusing
to watch as my grandchildren use their cell
phones as a camera hoping to capture unique
moments. Who could have envisioned using
a phone to take a picture? In the old days we
went into a booth, put in a quarter, and pulled
the curtain to get a picture with a friend.
Public figures, especially preachers and
politicians, are tempted to use older pictures
from their school, college, or marriage
when they looked slimmer and younger.
Often it is difficult to know who the person
in the picture is. The scripture in James 1:
22 – 25 reminds us that what people see us
do should reflect what we have read in the
Bible. “Be doers of the word and not hearers
only, deceiving your own selves”. To hear
and not do “. . . is like unto a man beholding
his natural face in a glass . . . straightway
forgetteth what manner of man he was”.
The Old Testament in Exodus 30:18 and
38:8 gives instructions for the priest to offer
sacrifice in the Tabernacle for daily sins
picturing Christian prayers for forgiveness and
one-time forgiveness symbolizing a new birth.
The Tabernacle was in three parts reflecting
the Trinity. It was in the midst of the tribes of
Israel. Jesus is identified as the true tabernacle
(Hebrews 9:11). To enter the tabernacle the
priest must visit a laver of brass where the basin
was lined with the women’s looking glasses and
filled with water for washing. On behalf of the
people, the priest must be cleansed before he
can approach the door of the Holy Place. At the
laver of brass, the priest would see himself while
washing before taking in the sacrifice for sins.
These symbols (Hebrews 8:1-6) are part of the
Old Testament teaching that God is too holy to
be approached without cleansing. Revelation
4:6 describes the Laver of Brass as a Sea of Glass
(looking glasses) before the entrance to the Holy
Place along with the Ark of the Covenant. The
pattern shown in the Old Testament tabernacle
is seen in some of the description of Heaven
found in Hebrews and Revelation.
The Old Testament emphasis on the
Ten Commandments and the holiness of
the tabernacle give us a glimpse of God the
Father that human effort cannot cleanse us
enough to wipe away our sins and live in
the presence of God. We must have a sinless
sacrifice to do what we cannot do ourselves.
The New Testament Gospels (the life of Jesus
in the flesh) gives us the Lord Jesus Christ as
the sinless sacrifice doing what we can’t do. II
Corinthians 5:21, “For he hath made him to
be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might
be made the righteousness of God in him”.
The New Testament from Acts to Revelation
shows us the power of God in redemption by
the Holy Spirit. How is your selfie?
56 MYFORSYTHMAG.COM VOLUME XI | ISSUE 1
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VOLUME XI | ISSUE 1 | MYFORSYTHMAG.COM 57
By Maria I. Morgan
What do we do when suffering tries to swallow us whole? From
Adam, who lived through the death of his son, Abel, murdered by
his firstborn, Cain, to believers in the New Testament persecuted
for their faith, God’s Word is full of examples that give us insight
and direction. Even Jesus Christ experienced the same trials and
hardships we do:
Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be
touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted
like as we are, yet without sin.
Think about it. Jesus experienced grief and was tempted to despair,
just like us. Remember Lazarus? He was Jesus’ close friend. The day
came when Jesus got the news that Lazarus was extremely sick. By
the time Jesus and his disciples got to Bethany, Lazarus was already
dead. We see the shortest verse in the Bible that speaks volumes about
Jesus’s love for his friend:
John 11:35 Jesus wept.
Jesus’s grief was real. He was devastated by the loss of his friend. You
probably know the end of the story – because Jesus was also God,
he raised Lazarus to life. Since we are not God, we cannot perform
miracles that erase our suffering. But we can take note of what else
He prayed to his Father:
When You Are Hurting
By Maria I. Morgan
If there was a sign-up sheet for suffering, I am
sure no one would rush to add his/her signature.
Difficulties that bring hurt and heartache are not
what we are after. But the last year has brought
both – whether it is the loss of a job, health, or
a loved one; it seems pain and heartache have
been close companions.
John 11:41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the
dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank
thee that thou hast heard me.
Prayer gives us access to the Father, too. We are invited to come
“boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find
grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16) His grace gives us the
strength we need moment by moment to navigate our trials. And he
can use every hard thing in our lives to make us more like Him:
Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to
be conformed to the image of his Son…
In our world, suffering is inevitable. Instead of grieving to the point
of despair, cry out to your Heavenly Father in prayer. He will give you
hope and will not allow even one trial to be wasted.
Can I pray for you?
Heavenly Father, the past several months have been hard. You know
every heartache and loss we have experienced. We are coming boldly
to ask you for mercy and grace for this day. Carry our burdens for
us. And help us move from despair to hope. In Jesus’s name, Amen.
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Christian Brothers Automotive – pg. 55
470-253-7376 | www.cbac.com/cumming
Cherry Street Brewing Taproom – 19
770-205-5512 | www.cherrystreetvickery.com
Critical Path Security – Inside Back Cover
770-224-6482 | www.criticalpathsscurity.com
Corner Farms– pg. 47
770-355-2755 | www.cornerfarmsforsyth.com
Cumming Dance Academy – pg. 5
770-781-4922 | www.CummingDanceAcademy.com
Amigo Embroidery – pg.61
404-216-5740 | www.amigoembroidery.com
Arseneau Advisory Group – pg. 15
470-839-9001 | www.arseneauadvisory.com
Vickery Creek Capital Management – pg. 23
866-571-5818 | www.vickerycreek.net
Shelnutt HVAC – pg. 55
706-265-5854 | www.shelnutthvac.com
Atlanta Hobby – pg. 3
678-513-4450 | www.atlantahobby.com
Gems In Art – Inside Front Cover
770-844-8005 | www.gemsinart.com
Lance’s Jewelry –Back Cover
770-781-5500 | www.lancesjewelry.com
Adam Pendleton Photography – pg. 49
678-208-7077 | www.adampendleton.com
Bryan White Photography + Art – pg. 62
770-889-3202 | www,braynwhitephotography.art
Fairway Mediator.com – pg. 61
678-769-6729 | www.fairwaymediator.com
Apollo Spine and Pain Center – pg. 41
678- 771-8266 | www.apollospineandpain.com
Advanced Center for Joint Surgery – pg. 44
470-839-9200 | www.advancedcenterforjointsurgery.com
Cleaver Medical Group – pg. 35
770-800-3455 | www.cleavermedicalgroup.com
Modern OBGYN – pg. 39
404-446-2496 | www.reyesobgyn.com
Narendra Singh, MD – pg. 37
678-679-6800; 770-622-1622 | www.heartdrsingh.com
POOL AND SPA CARE
Absolute Pool & Spa Care, Inc. – pg. 45
770-886-7870 | www.absolutepoolandspacare.com
Hello Pam Evans Real Estate – pg. 13
678-778-6551 | www.hellopamevans.com
The Dinsmore Team – pg. 41
770-712-7789 | www.dinsmoreteam.com
Casa Nuova Italian Restaurant – pg. 19
770-475-9100 | www.casanuovarestaurant.com
Cork & Glass – pg. 19
678-694-8812 | www.corkandglass.com
CSB Home of Rick Tanner’s – pg. 19
770-205-5512 | www.cherrystreetvickery.com
Lenny’s Subs – pg. 23
678-947-0336 | Fax orders: 678-947-5343
Palapa’s Bar and Grill – pg. 21
770-889-1002 | www.palapasbargrill.com
Tam’s Backstage – pg. 30
678-455-8310 | www.tamsbackstage.com
Tam’s Tupelo– pg. 30
470-839-2024 | www.tamstupelo.com
Wheezy’s Toy Boutique – pg. 29
713-516-3985 | @WheezysToys
ABW MedTrans Solutions – pg. 13
60 MYFORSYTHMAG.COM VOLUME XI | ISSUE 1
Brilliant Ways You
5Can Save Money
By Chrissy Knepshield
FORGET CLIPPING COUPONS, SHOPPING CLEARANCE BINS, OR EVEN GOING ON A SPENDING
FREEZE. THESE MAY BE FRUGAL WAYS TO SAVE SOME MONEY, BUT IF YOU WANT TO SAVE
SERIOUS CASH, YOU NEED TO CHECK OUT THESE TRIED AND TRUE METHODS.
1. GET ON A BUDGET!
I know, I know, I know. “Who has time to budget?” you ask. And my
question back to you would be, “Who doesn’t have time to budget?”
With the countless apps and budgeting tools available on the internet,
you are bound to find something that works for you.
The thing about a budget is that it shows you how much you earn
and how much you spend weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. A budget takes
the guesswork out of personal finance. Using a budget will allow you to
give, save, and spend within your means.
2. PAY YOURSELF FIRST
The best way to build wealth is to pay yourself first. Sadly, most people
pay themselves last. When you make a habit out of paying yourself first,
you learn to live on less than you make and place a cushion between
you and life’s emergencies.
One way to determine how much to pay yourself can be percentagebased.
A budget will show you how much you are making, and based
on that number, you can put away 10%,15%, or even 20% of your
monthly net income into savings and Investments. Be sure to figure
out living expenses as well so that you do not go overbudget.
3. AUTOMATE YOUR BILL PAY
Many companies make it easy for you to pay your bills on time and
online. They receive your payment by the due date, and you avoid
a late fee. You can set up automatic bill pay through your service
providers by visiting their company website or calling their business
By automating monthly bill payments, you save both time and
money. You avoid paying postage and writing out a check. When you
automate paying your monthly bills, you also free up time to do more
4. GET RID OF CONSUMER DEBT
For the past several years, my family has been on a journey to debt
freedom. We are almost there. We became tired of living with tens of
thousands of dollars of debt. Due to the high debt to income ratio, we
were living paycheck to paycheck. The only wayto stop the cycle was to
get rid of consumer debt.
According to the U.S. Treasury, the National Debt for 2020 so far
exceeds 21 trillion dollars. The numbers show just how much of a
financial crisis the nation is in. Focusing on eliminating consumer debt
will help you save more money long term.
5. LIVE ON LESS THAN YOU MAKE
By far, this is the simplest way to save money and lots of it. When
you learn to be content with what you have, it does not matter
when the latest and greatest shiny, bright object comes out
I admire people who live on less than they make. To me, they are
all the wiser for having self-control and valuing what they already own.
When you live on less than you make, you have room to financially
reach other goals. Living this way is a choice and offers way more than
Chrissy is the founder and creator of the personal finance blog a plan to prosper. She is a stay at home Mom of three and
the household CEO. Chrissy has a passion for sharing with other Moms about mindful spending, intentional saving, and
practical debt elimination. As her family journeys towards debt freedom, her goal is to inspire others along the way.
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