Bader Farms: Just Peachy

Bader Peaches

Bader Peaches

Check out an excerpt from my profile of Bader Farms from Missouri Life:

Missourians take pride in many things. There are the beautiful Ozark hills that gradually fade into the distance; clean, sparkling rivers that weave through the countryside like a ribbon fluttering in the wind; and rustic old mills that tell of a lifestyle generations ago. And then there are Bader peaches.

Growing up in the northwest edge of the Bootheel, Bill Bader stared working in the peach orchards as a high school student in 1970 to earn money to buy his school clothes. This part-time job changed his life.

Continue reading

Making the Difference: Entrepreneur helps volunteers find local outreach opportunities

Samantha Blyn with some of the Junior Achievement kids she works with through her nonprofit organization, Making the Difference Outreach.

Samantha Blyn with some of the Junior Achievement kids she works with through her nonprofit organization, Making the Difference Outreach.

I interviewed Samantha Blyn, the founder of nonprofit volunteer organization Making the Difference Outreach, for Florida Currents:

Samantha Blyn donated items to charity and wrote checks to support nonprofits. But she says she did not really view volunteering as a need in the community until age 39, when she signed up to help with Habitat for Humanity.

She not only felt a sense of fulfillment in helping others, but discovered what would become her life’s mission.

Continue reading

Uncle Rooster’s Café: Something to Crow About

Courtesy of Uncle Rooster's

Courtesy of Uncle Rooster’s

For the latest issue of Missouri Life, I took a look at Seymour, Missouri favorite Uncle Rooster’s Café:

After demolishing a storefront in 2004, Wayne and Bobbi Dunning took Wayne’s nickname, Rooster, and the vacant lot to open Uncle Rooster’s Café.

Serving up American delicacies, Uncle Rooster’s does more than just chicken, no matter what the name implies. The restaurant is known for its Chicago-style hot dogs and southwest Missouri-style Italian beef sandwiches.

Continue reading

Orchestra of Exiles: Birmingham’s Denise George pens third book in 3 years

orchestra-of-exiles-cover

Learn about Holocaust hero Bronislaw Huberman in my piece on Denise George and Josh Aronson’ book Orchestra of Exiles for The Alabama Baptist:

In her new book, Orchestra of Exiles, Denise George (and co-author Josh Aronson) tells the amazing story of Polish Jewish violinist, Bronislaw Huberman, and how he saved 1,000 European Jewish musicians and their families from Hitler’s horrors during the Holocaust. Released in April, it is her third book in three years published by New York’s Penguin Random House Publishers.

Continue reading

Remembering the Revival

TN Home and Farm - Revival

I recall memories of my childhood in this Tennessee Home & Farm piece:

It wasn’t Mayberry. But it was a small West Tennessee community that resembled the famous television series. Parents raised their children by the Bible and how Andy Griffith raised Opie. It was a time when simple pleasures consisted of family and friends being together. People worked hard, played hard, and the school and church held the community together.

Continue reading

Aruba: Land of white sand beaches and emerald waters

Aruba Sunset (Susan Renee / Flickr)

Aruba Sunset (Susan Renee / Flickr)

Looking for tropical destination for you next vacation? Here’s my article on Aruba for the Chester County Independent:

Covering approximately 74-square-miles, Aruba is a contrast between the beautiful white sandy beaches, emerald waters – and scrubby undergrowth. Sand, that feels like fine granulated sugar meets the coast. Turquoise, blue-green water reaches as far as the eye can see. Footprints fade quickly as the wind swept terrain blows constantly. A generally flat, river-less land, this is part of the island group making up the southern part of the Caribbean.

In addition to the beauty of this Caribbean land, Aruba has a fascinating history. Alonso de Ojeda claimed the area for the Spanish Crown in 1499 and after the end of the 80-year war with Spain; the Dutch took possession of the island around 1634. Dutch is the primary language spoken, but Papiamento is a blend of several languages spoken on a few islands. Aruba has a population of around 100,000 inhabitants with no major cities. Oranjested, the capital has only about 30,000 residents.

Once known for its gold mining until the minerals played out in 1913, the country sought other resources. With only 15 to 20 inches of annual rainfall, aloe, cacti and the windswept divi-divi – the national tree – prosper in this hot, dry climate. Fortunately, the aloe plant that thrives in this climate has become the island’s primary agricultural crop making Aruba a leading producer of skin care products. Also, plantations provide local employment and supply cosmetics around the world. Farmers tend these plants like locals raise cotton, corn, and soybeans in our area.

On visiting an aloe factory, we were told the outer leaves of the aloe plant are the ones to remove. The plant puts up new shoots from the center and will continue to multiply. One of the best natural medicines for a burn, the leaves of the aloe are broken and the sticky residue provides healing qualities.

Huge boulders, the size of small houses, line the coast. Strong waves crash against the rocks. This makes docking a small boat in the area treacherous.

Like a child’s building blocks, visitors notice small rocks stacked one on top of the other. Years ago tourists started this custom which means, “I was not alone. The rocks were here too.” Viewing this practice, one is aware of the land’s handiwork as the surf and wind demonstrate the forces of nature.

Carolyn Tomlin is a Jackson, Tennessee-based author that has been writing and publishing since 1988. She has authored 19 books and more than 4,000 articles in magazines such as Entrepreneur, Kansas City Star, American Profile, Tennessee Home & Farm, Home Life, Mature Living, ParentLife and many others.  You can purchase her full-length works here.

Feeding the Hungry: Communities inspired by couple’s desire to feed the hungry

Jim and Linda Jones lead a team of volunteers to feed nearly 3,000 children with a backpack of food 49 weeks a year.

Jim and Linda Jones lead a team of volunteers to feed nearly 3,000 children with a backpack of food 49 weeks a year.

For Alabama Living, I profiled the Alabama Childhood Food Solution charity:

Jim and Linda Jones have always worked to make a difference, both in the U.S. and abroad. But their effort now is concentrated on their northeast Alabama community.

Serving on 23 short-term mission trips around the world — in the U.S., Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Kenya and Brazil — opened their eyes to hunger. But it was after a mission trip to Africa that Jim saw hunger within one mile of his home — in his own neighborhood.

Jim and Linda Jones lead a team of volunteers to feed nearly 3,000 children with a backpack of food 49 weeks a year.

Continue reading