Baseball Season Is Here

Michael Collins, Wilson Living Magazine author

by MICHAEL COLLINSMichael Collins, Wilson Living Magazine author

“People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.”

Case Collins running a hit - Wilson Living MagazineCase Collins running a hit last MayThat sentiment above was proclaimed by Rogers Hornsby, a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame and one of the greatest players to ever play baseball. That same statement could have easily been heard out the mouths of many in Smith County, including my Dad, Harold “Slick” Collins. Although many people are happy with the products of Spring like the warm sun finally poking thru the grey cloud cover, or finally getting to sleep with your windows open, many folks also look forward to the spring for baseball!

As soon as it begins to warm, activity picks up at all the ballparks around Smith County. Every day the weather permits you will see moms and dads piling out of their vehicles with their children and bags of ball stuff. From Crump-Paris to the City Park, Spring means baseball in Smith County. And Smith County has all sorts of leagues available to boys and girls of all ages. For boys and girls ages 4 to 6 years old, Smith County T-Ball is available. For the slightly older, Smith County Coach Pitch is an option for boys and girls 6 to 8 Collins Family - Wilson Living MagazineMichael, his son Case and his father Harold “Slick” Collins.years old. For girls 8 to 16 years old interested in fastpitch softball, Smith County Softball has two leagues, “Little Girls” and “Big Girls”. Smith County Minor League eases youngsters ages 7 to 10 years old into “real” baseball with part of the year using a pitching machine and the rest of the year kids actually pitching. Children ages 10 to 12 are eligible to play Little League. Children ages 13 to 16 years old are able to continue playing baseball in the Smith County Senior League. Also in Smith County there are High School and Middle School baseball and softball teams. Do you get it now? Smith County loves them some baseball!

Collins Family - Wilson Living MagazineBaseball and softball are huge parts of children’s lives in Smith County just as it is in surrounding counties. These sports play a vital role in the development of children which translates directly to the wellbeing of our towns. Baseball provides the means for many children and parents to experience for the first time working together as a team, learning to win as well as learning to deal with losing, differences in abilities in children, and accountability to a universal set of rules. Along with the physical and mental abilities that are exercised when children participate, baseball also is important to the social development of children.

Case Collins - Wilson Living MagazineMichael coached Case in 2012Baseball played a huge part in my life. It was my first experience with organized sports and it couldn’t have come at a more perfect time for me. I first played baseball as a 7 year old in Houston, TX. I have been a lifelong resident of Carthage but my family moved to Houston so my mother, Cindy Collins, could undergo cancer treatments at M.D. Anderson Hospital. I had moved away from all my friends and the experience of being on a team quickly provided new friends. After I returned to Smith County I played in Minor League, then Little League, then Babe Ruth and High School Baseball. My Dad, Slick Collins, coached me every step of the way except for High School. Those experiences I hold dear to my heart until this day. I have so many friends that tell me how much they respect my Dad for coaching them as a child and how much fun they had on his teams.

Michael and Case Collins - Wilson Living MagazineMichael handing Case a trophy for T-ball in 2012This year will make the 33rd year my Dad has been involved with baseball. I am so proud of the effect he has had on the lives of so many children in Smith County, including mine.

Collins Family - Wilson Living MagazineSince moving back to Smith County after graduating from law school I have sponsored a Minor League and a T-Ball Team. This coming season will mark the third year my son, Case Collins, will have played T-Ball for the ‘Collins Law Dogs.’ I hope I can carry on the tradition of being involved in the lives of the children of Smith County just like my Dad has been.

And by the way…if you can’t find me at the office or my house this spring, you’ll surely find me on the ballfield!

Hale Moss Named as Honoree of 23rd Library Roast

Sue Siens

by SUE SIENSSue Siens - feature author Wilson Living Magazine

Hale Moss Roasted - Wilson Living MagazineDirector of the Wilson County Library System, Alesia Burnley, 2013 roastee, Hale Moss, and Library Board Chair, Diane Weathers

Ready, set, laugh! It’s time for one of the funniest fundraising events, the annual Wilson County Library Roast.

Hale Moss - Wilson Living MagazineThe event was the brain-child of former State Representative Stratton Bone and the Wilson County Library Board. The tradition of roasting, toasting, and laughing our heads off at a local prominent citizen started in 1991, and has netted more than $177,500 over the past 22 years. Proceeds from the event benefit all of the libraries in Wilson County and is used for needs not covered by the regular budget.

This year’s honoree is local businessman and owner of Moss’s Garden Center, Hale Moss.

Known for his active participation with the Wilson County Fair, Hale is the President of Wilson County Promotions, sponsor of the fair. He will be roasted by friends and colleagues on Thursday, March 28, at Castle Heights Elementary School in Lebanon. (This is one Roast you won’t want to miss!) Tickets are $35 each, or discounted tickets are available for tables of 8 or more, and can be purchased at the local libraries, from board members, or from the honoree.

Hale Moss at Wilson County Fair OfficeAlesia Burnley, Wilson County Library System director, said “The honorees are brave and also very generous, to allow the guests to have a fun time at their expense. The honorees and the Library Board sell the tickets for the event, and we always have a great turn-out.”

Alesia estimated that 200-250 guests usually attend the event. She noted that a wonderful meal will be served by Jordan’s Catering, and added, “The board and others in the community help with decorations, printing, and financial support to make the event a success.”

2012 Roastee Sue Vanatta and children2012 Honoree Sue Vanatta surrounded by her children after the roastingGeorge Harding was the honoree at the first Roast in 1991. The event program said, “King George – The Royal Roast”… and “The only thing brief about George is this biography.” As you might guess, that was just a preview of the hilarity the guests would experience. Local writer and artist Anne Donnell has drawn the artwork of each Roast honoree for all of the event programs.

Following Harding, other courageous Roast honorees included Glenn Gardner, former State Senator Bob Rochelle (who also serves as Master of Ceremonies at most Roast events), Donna Evins, Ed Callis, Campbell Brandon, Mildred Hearne, Frank Dudley, Leonard Tyree, Patricia Bone, Coleman Walker, Kathy Warmath, James Cason, Dixie Taylor-Huff, Andy Brummett, Johnie Payton, Larry Locke, Hattie Bryant, Woody Hunt, Lucy Lee, Chip Smith, and in 2012 – Sue Vanatta.

When asked to comment about her “roasting” at last year’s event, Vanatta said, “I was extremely honored and excited to raise money for the libraries. My advice is to choose your roasters carefully… they will fry you! It was all in fun and for a very good cause. I am looking forward to a good time at the next one.”

And so are we!

Meet Your Neighbor – Gravel Road Tradition Beckons Photographers

Ken Beck

STORY | PHOTOS by KEN BECKKen Beck - feature author for Wilson Living Magazine

Gravel Road Traditions ownersFrom left, near the end of the road at Gravel Road Traditions, Jessica Sloan, Yvonne Kittrell and Gena Sloan stand near the entrance to the farmhouse that has been home to Gena’s family for about 170 years.

A couple a miles off of Highway 70 between Lebanon and Mt. Juliet, a stony road meanders seven-tenths of a mile through woods, over creeks and past pastureland to the 200-year-old Rieff Land Farm.

Here awaits a portrait photographer’s paradise that visionaries Gena (Haney) Sloan, Yvonne (Jennings) Kittrell and Jessica (Berryman) Sloan have dubbed Gravel Road Traditions.

Gravel Road Traditions SignThis historic family farm, rich in natural beauty, character and charm, lies in Wilson County, 30 minutes from Nashville, and presents pristine landscapes and rustic structures ideal for portrait photographers. The farm welcomes professional and amateur cameramen and camerawomen who are looking to capture nature and people in a unique setting. Vintage furniture and props are available. The fee is $15 per half, $30 per hour and discounts the longer you stay. For more info, call (615) 351-9720 or go online to www. This sign greets visitors to the photogenic Wilson County farm now operating as Gravel Road Traditions.The photogenic farm offers natural and manmade settings wonderfully suitable for picture taking, especially for family portraits or photographs of children ideal for Christmas cards or the photo album.

Besides trees, fields and creeks, the landscape features presents barns, a restored wheat house, log corncrib, rock garden, a one-lane bridge, a long white fence, hay bales and a cemetery bordered by a limestone rock wall. The trio also has a room stashed with props aplenty.

The second-oldest farm in Wilson County, Rieff Land has been a century farm since 1976 and features a two-storied, two-winged 5,000-square-foot structure that has been the home place to Gena’s ancestors, the Burton family, going back almost 200 years.

Gena and Yvonne, best friends since their freshman year at Mt. Juliet High School in the early 1970s, and Gena’s daughter-in-law Jessica, opened the farm to photographers in October.

As for the name of their business, Gena said, “My family’s big on traditions and family. We’re hoping this will become the tradition for families to take their portraits here, and we live at the end of a very long gravel road.”

As for their inspiration, Yvonne said, “We knew we wanted to do something with family, and we both collected antiques. So we were in the car one day and came up with this idea.”

“We have had a few people come to take pictures here in the past, and we’ve had lots of family weddings,” Gena said. “Since I’m retired and my mom needs somebody here all the time, we just decided to take our interests in antiques, family and the farm and put it all together.

“We offer a serene family environment for family portraits, baby’s first birthday, bridal pictures, anything you want to capture memories for your family.”

“Gravel Road is a place where a family can bring their professional photographer with them or for a single mom, who can bring her children out here,” Jessica noted. “It’s a place close to town but it seems like a long way out.

Gravel Road Traditions - Wilson Living MagazineOne-year-old Gabriella Faith Truong, daughter of Heather and Wayne Truong of Lebanon, sits for a portrait by Lebanon photographer Jana Pastors during an outing at Gravel Road Traditions. Photo by Jana C. Pastors / KINDRED MOMENTS PHOTOGRAPHY & DESIGN • 615-818-4646“What is unique is we offer props here: antiques, old suitcases, a toy tractor, mantel, a horse-drawn wagon, an old church-window frame. So photographers don’t have to drag things with them.”

Thus far, cameras are clicking as the trio plays host to approximately a dozen photographers every weekend. The fee for use of the farm and the props is $30 an hour.

“Everybody says this is a photographer’s dream because we have the props,” Yvonne said. “Photographers will ask us for certain things, and we’ll go out and find it or create it.” Indeed, professional portrait photographers are finding this historic property to their liking.

“Any photographer will jump at the opportunity to be welcomed into a background atmosphere that is full of endless possibilities,” said Lebanon’s Jana Pastors, who owns Kindred Moments in Photography & Design.

“My first day of shooting at Gravel Road Traditions was incredible. With a shed full of usable props for every season and photo sites decorated to add that extra background accent, this was a photographer’s dream.

We Need Your Help

We Need Your Help - Donate Your Dress

Attention girls, we need your help! Do you have dresses in the back of your closet that you have worn once and will never wear again? Do you know those people that have dresses upon dresses in a closet? What about the girls with a closet full of shoes they will never use? Well, we have a solution for you to take those items out of your closet and put them into a girl’s hands.

We Need Your Help - Donate Your DressSeveral Youth Leadership Wilson students have volunteered to make prom dreams come true for everyone. Those include: Ashlee Agee (FCS), Brittany Petry (FCS), Amelia Haddock (FCS), Sam Anasky (LHS), Sarah Griffi th (MJHS), Eleese Huddleston (Lebanon), and Sydnee Steverson (WCHS).Youth Leadership Wilson is teaming up with Friendship Christian in “Operation Prom” to collect any items a girl may need for prom: dresses, shoes, jewelry, makeup, hair accessories, etc. These items can be new or used, big or small, it doesn’t matter, we accept it all. Our mission is to help girls from Sneedville, Tennessee have the necessitates they would need to go to prom.

This has been done for a couple of years now, but not many are aware of it. We hope that this will become a topic of conversation around Wilson County and that it will gain a lot of support. We need your help to spread the word!

If you or anyone you know would be willing to donate items for these girls, we would greatly appreciate any item and the girls would too. There are two locations where these items can be dropped off:  Lebanon Chemical and/or Friendship Christian School. The deadline to turn in items is April 1, 2013. Please join us in making this an experience the girls will never forget.


  • DCA Junior/Senior Banquet is April 13th
  • Middle Tennessee Home Education Association’s
  • Banquet is April 19th
  • Friendship Christian School Prom is April 20th
  • Mt. Juliet High School’s Prom is April 27th
  • Mt. Juliet Christian Academy Prom is April 27th
  • McClain Christian Academy Prom is April 27th
  • Middle Tennessee Home School Prom is May 10th
  • Lebanon High School’s Prom is May 11th
  • Watertown High School’s Prom is May 11th
  • Wilson Central High School’s Prom is May 11th

Host a Post-prom Party

Host a Post-prom Party

Host a Post-prom Party!

Host a Post-prom Party!

The after-prom party has taken a twist in recent years as parents have teamed up to sponsor alcohol-and drug-free celebrations in their home or other venues. The challenge is to make the party so entertaining that teens will want to attend. If you are planning to host an ‘After Prom Party/Breakfast’ here’s a helpful list of Do’s and Don’ts a few parents offered Wilson Living…


  1. Buy LOTS of food
  2. Talk to as many parents ahead of time to reassure them you will be there and to get their expectations
  3. Get their (the parents) phone #s (home and cell) and email addresses
  4. Label all car keys before having the kids put them all in a basket (and take ALL keys even of kids who didn’t drive– they sometimes “trade” keys)
  5. Go over the ground rules with the kids before the party begins. It is a NO-ALCOHOL party, and any found/seen will be confiscated, parents will be notified to pick you up from the party
  6. Have lots of pillows and blankets
  7. Have fun! Be a parent but not a policeman
  8. Have only one brand of water bottles that you put out with your sodas, and make it an off brand
  9. Carry the kid’s overnight bags into your house. The unduly heavy ones (with contraband) can be easily identified
  10. Have the adults sleep in shifts, so you can get a little sleep and always have an adult awake


  1. Expect to get any sleep
  2. Put out orange juice early that is meant for breakfast (it may get spiked)
  3. Turn down any offers of food from other parents
  4. Turn down any offers from other parents to keep you company during any part of the night
  5. Rent any movies or videogames without your kid expressly asking for it or they will think whatever you got is lame
  6. Let them close any doors, except for the assigned boy/girl sleeping areas (and check them)
  7. Embarrass your kid too badly! (No matter how hard you try, something is bound to embarrass them)
  8. Be surprised that the kids think they can pull one over on you. They forget we all were young once
  9. Be surprised to find out that it is sometimes the girls who try to sneak in the contraband
  10. Run outside barefoot the next morning without watching out for rocks or garden edging (‘spoken from experience!’ said one Wilson Living reader)

Sandra Harville – 2012 Bachorelette

Sandra Harville 2012 Bachelorette

Sandra Harville 2012 BacheloretteName:: Sandra Harville

Occupation:: Enterprise Asset Management Specialist – Spectra Energy (40 Years)

Connection to Lebanon:: Lived here for past 36 Years

Kids?  Yes, 3!  Trey Estes, Julie Palmer and Carrie Tomlin.

What do you, yourself, like to do on a day where you have the whole afternoon free? Reading or shopping with a friend

What gives you the most joy in life? Helping others

What is an ideal date to you? Dinner, movie and good conversation.

Favorite restaurant: Stoney River in Nashville.

Hobbies & Interests:: Reading, the gym, shopping, cooking, traveling, and time with friends.

What characteristics do you find most appealing in a man? When asked this prior to photo shoot I said class because it entails many things like character, integrity, honesty and sincerity; compatibility is a good one, and last, but most important, would be his love for Christ and the man that he is when no one is watching.

Dream Vacation:: Italy.

Fill in the blank. You are the fun-loving one of your friends. (Examples:: wild, mothering, eccentric, adventurous, mature, fun-loving, etc)

Favorite Quote:: I actually have two that at times have shown up on my screen saver:
1) Character is made by what you stand for, Reputation by what you fall for.
2) Tears not allowed to flow go back down into the heart and turn to ICE.

Accessories: Kate Spade Necklace $398 , Earrings $98, Shoes $298 Hair + Make up by Aqua Bella

Joy Baenziger – 2012 Bachelorette

Natalie Baenziger 2012 Bachelorette

Natalie Baenziger 2012 BacheloretteName:: Natalie Joy Baenziger

Occupation:: I am the Assistant Manager at The Crystal Couture Store. The “Sparkliest” store in Lebanon.

Connection to Wilson County:: My Parents relocated from Cave City, Kentucky in 1987.

If you had an entire afternoon free, what would you be doing? My LOVE is spending my free afternoons in my kayak floating down the Cumberland River.

Favorite restaurant:  PF Changs is my favorite Restaurant.

Hobbies and interests? Fashion, Sewing, Music, Making Jewelry, Kayaking, Wake boarding, and Camping

What characteristics do you find most appealing in a man? I love a rugged, patient, outdoor kind-of-guy who is able to be comfortable in his own skin, but who still has a sense of his own style.

Fill in the blank.  I am the most TATTOOED one of my friends. 🙂 Lol

Dream Vacation:: My Dream Vacation would have a warm climate with some sort of body of water, plenty of outdoor activities and plenty of night life for entertainment.

What is an ideal date to you? My ideal date??? I am into having fun!! Whether it be at a movie or a new restaurant we read about in the paper or even people watching at the Mall. I am easily entertained by the simple things.

Favorite Quote: A quote ” A girl should be two things Classy and Fabulous” – CoCo Chanel.

Accessories: All Necklaces by Kate Spade, $98; $378; $128 Kate Spade Leopard Shoes, $328 Hair + Make up Asante

Mary Hugh Skeen – 2012 Bachelorette

Mary Hugh Skeen 2012 Bachorelette

Mary Hugh Skeen 2012 BachoreletteName::  Mary Hugh Evans Skeen

Occupation::  I am a retired educator from the Lebanon Special School District.

Connection to Wilson County:: Lebanon has been my home for my entire life.

Kids:: I have two children, Mary Neil and Mark, plus six wonderful grandchildren.

What do you like to do when you have an entire afternoon free? My days are so full that a “free” afternoon is rare, but when that occurs, reading and gardening are my choices.

My most joyful moments in life are with my family and close friends.

What is an ideal date to you? An ideal evening would be laughter, being with very dear friends, music and dancing.

Favorite restaurant? By being a Wilson County girl, of course, the Chop House and Cracker Barrel would be my favorites.

I have so many interests that I would love to experience, but entertaining, cooking, gardening, sewing/knitting, travel and the list goes on…Life is good!

What characteristics do you find most appealing in a man? Integrity, caring, and

Dream vacation:: My dream vacation is a river cruise down the Danube or Rhine River.

Favorite Quote:: I have lots of favorite quotes by which I live, but one is, “To all things, give thanks.”

Accessories: JAMIE Belle Meade Fox Fur, price upon request Dillard’s Earrings, $14 Hair + Make up Aqua Bella

Rebecca Winfree – 2012 Bachelorette

Becca Winfree 2012 Bachelorette

Becca Winfree 2012 BacheloretteName:: Rebecca Winfree

Occupation::Customer Accounting Representative

Connection to Lebanon:: I was born and raised in Lebanon.

Kids? None

What do you like to do on a day where you have the entire afternoon free? I love sitting outside with my dogs, soaking up the sunshine, and reading a good book.

What gives you the most joy in life? Sharing laughs with my family and friends gives me the most joy, especially every second I spend laughing with my dad.

What is an ideal date to you? Dinner at a restaurant where we can sit outside and talk is the most ideal date for me.

Favorite restaurant: AJ’s in Destin, FL and Maggiano’s.

Hobbies & Interests:: I enjoy spending time with those I love, reading, and watching movies and tv.

**This question is optional, but feel it would be fun–What is the most bizarre thing that has happened to you on a date while being single?

What characteristics do you find most appealing in a man? I like a man who is Christian, confident, genuine, honest, and can make me laugh in the worst of situations.

Dream Vacation:: My dream vacation would be at a luxury resort where the staff took care of everything and all I have to do is relax and show up for delicious meals.

Fill in the blank. You are the comedic one of your friends. (Examples:: wild, mothering, eccentric, adventurous, mature, fun-loving, etc)

Favorite Quote:: But the Lord says, “Do not cling to events of the past or dwell on what happened long ago. Watch for the new thing I am going to do. It is happening already –you can see it now! I will make a road through the wilderness and give you streams of water there.” (Isa. 43: 18-19, GNB)

Accessories: Kate Spade Earrings, $98 Dillard’s Bracelet, $85, Shoes, $69 Hair + Make up by Beauty Boutique

Jennie Walpole – 2012 Bachelorette

Jennie Walpole 2012 Bachelorette

Jennie Walpole 2012 BacheloretteName:: Jennie Walpole

Occupation:: I am the Owner/Master Stylist at Asante Salon and Day Spa and an Artistic Advisor with Joico/ISO/Minardi, where I travel the US educating other stylists.

Connection to Wilson County::  I was born and raised in Lebanon. I went to elementary school, high school and beauty school here. Now I am blessed to be a business owner in Lebanon as well.

Kids:: I have two beautiful minis and they are my world!

What do you, yourself, like to do on a day where you have the whole afternoon free?
If I get a free afternoon I am either getting my nails done or I’m laying out at the lake or pool.

What gives you the most joy in life? The simple things God has given me bring me the most joy. Being a mom, making someone feel good about how they look, sharing special moments with people I care about, and laughter.

What is an ideal date to you?
An ideal date for me is one I don’t have to plan!

Favorite restaurant:
My favorite restaurant is J Alexanders in Nashville.

Hobbies & Interests::
I love music, traveling, football, camping, photo shoots, cooking, and any activity that includes my family and friends.

**This question is optional, but feel it would be fun–What is the most bizarre thing that has happened to you on a date.
I was seated at a table with my date and had someone try to take my picture (to bust me) because they didn’t realize I was single.

What characteristics do you find most appealing in a man? The characteristics I find most appealing in a man would be someone who is attentive, honest, goal driven, selfless, respectful with a random sense of humor, a great smile and looks amazing in a suit and tie.

Dream Vacation:: My dream vacation would be on an island with our own private beach, massages, delicious food and beautiful sunsets.

Fill in the blank. You are the __outspoken __one of your friends. (Examples:: wild, mothering, eccentric, adventurous, mature, fun-loving, etc)

Favorite Quote: If you can’t accept me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best!-Marilyn Monroe

Accessories:  Kate Spade Necklace, $264 Dillard’s Shoes, $148 Hair + Make up Asante Beauty Boutique

Katie Maxwell – 2012 Bachelorette

Katie Maxwell - 2012 Bachelorette

Katie Maxwell - 2012 BacheloretteName:: Katie Maxwell

Occupation:: First grade teacher

Connection to Lebanon:: I have lived in Lebanon all of my life.

What do you, yourself, like to do on a day where you have the whole afternoon free? I like to spend it doing anything with my family and friends.

What gives you the most joy in life? Making a difference in my students’ lives.

What is an ideal date to you? Going to a Titan’s game!

Favorite restaurant: Cheesecake Factory

Hobbies & Interests:: I love running, singing, teaching, and football season!

What characteristics do you find most appealing in a man? A Christian guy who is funny, confident, athletic, and caring.

Dream Vacation:: Hawaii.

Fill in the blank. You are the___ one of your friends. (Examples:: wild, mothering, eccentric, adventurous, mature, fun-loving, etc):

I am the creative one of my friends.

Favorite Quote:: “Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the number of moments that take your breath away”-Unknown

Accessories: Kate Spade Earrings, $48 & Bow Bracelet, $78 Hair + Make up 

Blushing Bridal Show promises one-stop shopping for brides and grooms to be

From invites to the honeymoon, the 1st Annual Blushing Bridal Show has you covered! Plans for this bridal show began much like one would plan a wedding. There’s the location, the decoration and of course, the announcement. All three of those were covered pretty quickly when Wilson Living teamed up with The Mill at Lebanon and Party Providers to host The Blushing Bridal Show, set to take place at The Mill on Sunday, February 20th from 1pm-5pm. The guest list is pretty easy. The trio of event organizers wants everyone to attend! This show will provide creative concepts and local vendors to help plan every detail of that special day.

Continue reading “Blushing Bridal Show promises one-stop shopping for brides and grooms to be”